Friday, March 25, 2005
We've had some real fun and a lot of R&R. We began last Friday night with Prokofiev's ballet on ROMEO AND JULIET at the lovely little restored Portsmouth, NH Music Hall, danced by the State Ballet of St. Petersberg, Russia. This wasn't the big Kirov Ballet, but a very young company--in effect the kids just graduated from ballet school. They were wonderful, full of energy but with the artistic discipline and all the characteristics of classic Russian ballet. The boys were extremely extravert and athletic (a couple were quite hot), the girls lyrical and graceful. Big hit, with a packed house.
Sunday we drove down to Boston for the Gay Men's Chorus concert--my first. The program centered around the love between men in celebration of the coming of gay marriage. There was one special work for mezzo soprano soloist by Jake Heggie based on the character of Anna Madrigal from "Tales of the City" that went very well and as assorted other pieces, serious and comic. Fritz was struck particularly by a song written by
the late Tom Brown called "Jonathan Wendal Oliver, Jr." a lovely story about a young man who comes out to his father, is disowned and eventually dies of AIDS. You find out at the very end that his father has hand-stitched his name onto a square for the Quilt. In the course of the commentary between sets of numbers we found out that more and more high schools in the New England area are engaging small groups from within the Chorus to perform at fund-raisers for their schools' Gay and Lesbian Alliances.
Monday Fritz helped me hook up a new VCR/DVD recorder which we christened that night with a new Colton Ford DVD. Leather men are a bit more to my taste than to Fritz's but we both had a reasonably good time. We
ended the evening playing out our own version--and had an extremely good time.
Tuesday we headed out to the western part of Massachusetts with the idea of touring MassMoCA, the big contemporary art center; visiting his nephew who has a violin repair, sales and maintenance business; touring Old Sturbridge Village which neither of us had seen in ages; and generally exploring off the beaten path. It began with what could have been a real downer--I had failed to see on the MassMoCA website that they were closed Tuesdays until May. While we were expaining our situation to a woman at the information desk, a man came along, heard that we had come all the way from Boston and said that while it wasn't normally permitted, he'd take us through some of the galleries.
His name was Joe, we introduced ourselves, and it soon became apparent that he must be one of the management, if not THE director of the complex. He had been part of the hanging or installation of everything, knew the artists, etc. I commented on how much contemporary stage design was becoming more and more like museum installations, he said that several of the artists specifically used theatrical techniques in displaying their work, Fritz told him I was a designer at MIT, he started throwing out names of MIT artists, sculptors and conceptual artists whose work was featured at MassMoCA, and before we knew it he had given us at least twenty minutes or maybe a half hour of his time and invaluable commentary. When Fritz checked the museum map that night, we found that we had been taken through about 90% of the place thanks to the
kindness of this man who helped out two guys who would otherwise have missed the whole place. In spite of all that's impersonal in contemporary society, there are incredible moments like this that make life a joy.