Saturday, January 21, 2017

On the March

The Upper West Side was ablaze with peaceful protest as thousands and thousands of Jewish congregations marched past Lincoln Center to protest the new administration—and for women and equality. It was a joyous sight, far different than what was seen from our nation's capital the day before. 

They were joining up—I believe—with the Women's March that went from the UN on the East Side, then down 2nd Avenue, across 42nd Street, and then up 5th Avenue to the Trump Building. 

My thought? 

We need a movement, not a moment. Let this be the beginning. 

Women's Rights & Gay Rights are Human Rights. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Nuestra Señora de Begoña

Our Lady of Begoña sits on my mantlepiece, having been brought out for an alumni reunion for Umbrian Serenades, which will decamp to Soria, Spain this coming summer—the later a result of the earthquakes that continue to shake the eastern part of Umbria. 

I've had her since my father died a little more than three years ago, my mother sold my parent's house and parted with many things. She's the patron saint of Bilbao, where I lived for about eight months at the age of ten in 1968—my father working in the steel industry. He wrote on the back: "Bought in Bilbao, Vizcaya, Spain, in 1968 by Elmer Shigo while at AHV.

My family lived in Spain twice. The first time in Bilbao, and the second time in Valencia. Not having been back since, I plan on visiting both cities when I return to sing with Umbrian Serenades—a truly wonderful and transformational program. 

While I am not a Catholic (I believe in Musick), I like her Rococo-ish design, which gives every appearance of being a 19th century version of an earlier style. However, she is sterling silver, and needs periodic shining to keep her gleaming. Come to think of it: I am going to need periodic shining too, since—as a liberal democrat—I supported a very different agenda for the next four years.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Time Travel: Thanksgiving 2016

The furniture was moved, and the table was set for eight. I used a vintage brown linen table cloth from the 50's that I found at Housing Works, along with green linen napkins edged with velvet. The wine glasses came from one of two crates housed in storage in the basement—newly acquired, or rather I should say found—on the sidewalk, outside a clothing store that was once a restaurant. Catering stuff, someone had hauled them up from the basement and dumped them on the curb. So, now I have 50 glasses and am ready for a party at the drop of at hat.

This is the second time I have moved the furniture around for a big dinner, and also the second time I have been tempted to leave everything in its new place. But invariably, I move everything back if only because it feels better—all those "pairs" talking to one another, the symmetry involved, as well as the original seating plan which makes for better conversation. 

I started preparing on Monday. Never to soon for that, right? After watching the parade from a friend's fabulous apartment on CPW on Thursday, I came home, threw Jacque Pepin's steamed turkey in the oven with carrots nestled underneath on a bed of butter, serving them later on my great-aunt's china that was painted by hand in the 20's.

Full plate & full heart, and wonderful day with friends & family. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Boys in Spoleto

Part of a beautiful fresco in an rehearsal room and performance space at Sala 17 Settembre, Gian Carlo Menotti Teatro Nuovo, Spoleto, Italy, these artfully covered boys have entertained the eye (there are lovely ladies too) since 1917. 

Sadly, I won't be seeing them this coming summer since the wonderful program that I have sung with for the past 6 seasons—Umbrian Serenades, will be based in Soria, Spain. But hey. I'm not crying. Having lived in Spain as a kid (during the Franco years no less), I am excited about returning there and discovering a hidden part of Europe. 

Find more information at Umbrian Serenades. It is a truly transformative program.