Monday, January 23, 2006
Thanks to Ron's Log for this link to a fascinating story about a man who joined with friends to concoct a pagan, totally non-Christian cremation funeral for his lover. It's long and might not be everybody's cup of tea, but if nothing else it's a good reminder of the huge range of gay experience. There's little question these two were deeply in love and connected in some unique ways.
The weekend was a blast from beginning to end. Friday night I went to Boston's mammoth Wang Center, a preserved grand movie palace that's been renovated with the inclusion of a viable stage for big league ballet, Broadway and opera productions. It seats about 4000 and is actually one of my least favorite venues. Theater and musicals have to be amplified beyond endurance, and most presentations are lost in its vast expanses. But dance works very well in the Wang and Friday night it hosted the Mark Morris Dance Group in a revival of a famous work of theirs: "L'Allegro, Il Penseroso ed Il Moderato" a series of poems by John Donne set to music by George Frederic Handel. In the pit were the famed Emmanuel Music orchestra, chorus and soloists led by famed conductor Craig Smith.
Smith's a local legend in the early music scene who's also had a significant international career collaborating with a number of much younger, mostly gay directors and choreographers, while teaching at the great music schools in this country. Morris no longer dances himself but revisited this work, premiered in the late 1980s, with his current company filled with beautiful men and graceful women all of whom perform with a fluid ease that matches the music's elegance to perfection. The accompanying photos don't do the dancing or lighting justice. But they give an idea of the joy and unconventionality of an approach to dance that has women lifting men and six male couples doing a two step interrupted by interludes in which they tap out the rhythm of the music by slapping each other's asses. This last drew a delighted, prolonged ovation from the audience, made up in large part of middle aged heterosexual couples.
Saturday at noon I picked up our guest director from Ireland and headed up to Fritz's. The idea was to give M, who has been in intense rehearsal with our students for the past two weeks, a breather in the countryside and an evening with our friends at a Sweat Lodge and pot luck supper. We hiked the property and cut several saplings that will appear in silver gilt, hanging upside down on the set of the production M's directing. We ate well, talked for hours over tea, and M caught up on his work in the relaxed and quiet atmosphere of the place.
He and Fritz also coined a new nickname for me. I explained on the way up in the car that people from different eras in my life know me by different nicknames--Bill at MIT and Will up in New Hampshire. So the two of them got together (Fritz loves to tease me anyway) and came up with Wib. I like Wib very much actually. I like it because it's unique to me and also because of the fun and mutual affection in which it was developed. M also had a great time Sunday evening with "the boys"--one of them in particular. He's a vivacious, smart and skilled theater professional and we're enjoying working with him at MIT immensely.
Dubya Quote of the Day:
"One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is ' to be prepared '."
- George W. Bush
Sounds like at least one child got left behind during arithmatic class.
Jim--you're right, the colors are a good deal richer and warmer than the pictures show. I just wish the Wang was a more friendly place for the kind of theater I enjoy. It's fine for dance and I hadn't thought about concerts but I'm sure they'd work well there too.