I fly from Vermont to New York City in sleepy, pre-dawn country fog. Moo. Upon landing, I am wide-awake, delighted and ravenous.
We start the day at Zucker’s with bagels and smoked fish. A few capers. We see an impromptu comedy performance in the subway, but of course — I am with Theater Boy.
As is our habit, we head for the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MoMA) to binge on Calder and Matisse.
We drink in classic city views from side windows to cleanse the palate. Ah.
Rest and Recharge
Whoa. Times Square is still a wild and woolly place. I check into Hotel Edison, in the heart of it.
I’m charmed by hotel murals like Troupe du Jour, an homage to Broadway and vaudeville. I am also charmed by Edison’s cute bellman, woo-woo.
Sleep and Sustenance
Theater Boy and I share an evening meal at Morandi on Waverly Place, where we succumb to a succulent if incongruous trifecta of Carciofi alla Giudea, Pasta Cacio Pepe, and several Negroni.
Monday at the Met
Ta-da! It’s opening night at the Metropolitan Opera — electric and historic.
Imagine! I’m here for Fire Shut Up In My Bones, the groundbreaking new opera by composer/jazz musician, Terence Blanchard, the company’s first work by a Black composer. Based on Charles Blow’s poignant memoir, Fire tells the story of a young man’s triumph over a difficult and disturbing past. Baritone Will Liverman is passionate, absolutely wonderful, as Charles.
Soaring duets, solos and ensembles blend jazz, blues, and operatic tradition. Soprano Latonia Moore as Charles’ mother, Billie, often steals the show. Angel Blue sings three characters —Destiny, Loneliness and Greta, and young Walter Russell III is Charles’ seven-year-old self, Char’es-Baby.
Here, step-dancing meets ballet and tragedy meets humor. Charles’ decision whether to exact revenge on his abuser or “leave it in the road” remains profoundly moving throughout.
Lincoln Center herself is a stunner, and it’s an honor to be among this dazzling and diverse crowd. I experience a glowing moment of surprise! sincere patriotism as we stand and sing the national anthem — all 3,000 of us — beneath the golden ceiling.
I am sure the thunderous ovation could be felt all the way to Memphis.
Stunned, we head wa-a-ay up to the Empire Hotel lounge to digest what we have seen, with a grand bird’s eye view of the city at our feet. A gorgeous and deeply moving evening, beginning to end.
Thanks as always to Theater Boy — precious friend, traveling companion and lighting genius.
Not Quite Done
Good morning, Tuesday. I haul myself to the Upper West Side to visit lifelong friend, Stephen. We stroll historic Riverside Park for a few warm and drizzly hours. Only reconnect!
After our uplifting and soggy recharge, I head back to MoMA — because I am never quite finished.
Adam Pendleton’s Who Is Queen? blends stark graphic images, sound, music, text, photography and film — a dynamic floor-to-ceiling exploration of Blackness; a monumental collage in stark B&W.
With readings by poet Amiri Baraka, recordings by composer Hahn Rowe, a recording of a Black Lives Matter demonstration, plus fragments of music, this exhibition excites all the senses. Brilliant.
Pop of Color
My sister-friend Seeky and I close the afternoon with a bit of arty shopping. We buy a nifty fruit bowl for our sister Abby, and discuss grabbing matching bowls for ourselves. Red or blue? Ah, next time!
Gertrude says, “Go!”
I take a last, lingering look at my serious friend, Gertrude Stein. I hear her say, wisely, “Time to think about heading home.” Sadly, she is right.
We say our messy goodbyes and celebrate Seeky’s anniversary at The Clam, a jolly West Village bistro celebrating seasonal fare — and of course the briny bivalve — in jazzy style.
We love the Clam’s warm rolls, famous clam dip, and grilled Branzino with golden raisins — a sensational Sicilian taste-memory. Their wine list is outstanding, and they make a mean martini.
I’ll be back to sip, savor and explore in time for next year’s Clamiversary. Count on it.