Tuesday, March 28, 2006
She told us kind of delightedly that on a trip to Toronto she found a booth at a flea market that carried the DVD releases. When she revealed that she had been in the films, the seller was thrilled and started telling clients they had one of the actresses among them, which led to her signing autographs. She had DVDs of two of her three titles and we planned a movie night on Sunday.
Saturday we walked down to Lincoln Center, toured E's health club and then went to our separate performances: they to "Festen," a play made from the movie "Celebration," I to "Lysistrata" at the New York City Opera. Composaer Mark Adamo has opened up the classic Greek comedy because he felt that it was a one-joke drama for a modern audience and that Lysistrata herself has almost nothing at stake. Ancient audiences would realize how daring her actions were in leading a sex lock-out against Greek men, but post-feminist audiences wouldn't really get it. So he invented a Greek general who's her lover and she has to face the reality that if she remains true to her principles, it will mean losing him forever. This device gives a depth to the story that allowed for a major emotional climax followed by a happy resolution when he finally realizes the futility of war and adopts her philosophy. The audience was strongly enthusiastic.
We all made a quick trip back to the apartment for Chinese delivery and then headed out to our evening performances: "Well" a quirky but very interesting theater piece for them and Tchaikovsky's "Mazeppa" at the Metropolitan Opera for me. The audience was filled with Russians--in some sections of the opera house it was the only language being spoken--and the opera itself is very Russian--filled with death by decapitation, despair, betrayal and, eventually, dementia out in the snow. Fun stuff. And long. Russian epics are always lengthy and this one was worth every minute.
Sunday was devoted to a trip up to The Cloisters. Built on the ruins of a grand estate house of some robber baron or other, and on a height overlooking the Hudson at the northern tip of Manhattan island, the Cloisters was assembled from fragments of European Romanesque and Gothic buildings dating from the 12th through 15th centuries. It houses a superb collection of medieval art, including the famed Unicorn Tapestries. Unfortunately, the building was severely overheated for some reason and at intervals we were driven out into one or the other of the outdoor gardens just to be able to breathe. E decided she couldn't go back in for a while, so Fritz and I completed the galleries and went to get her. We did go back in briefly for some shopping in museum store and then took the long bus trip back to tea and assorted cheeses at Picnic, a cafe just across Broadway from her apartment.
And so it was time for Horror Night. The first film was "I Drink Your Blood." She told us that because of her type as an actress she was always the "good girl" in town who tries to help but falls victim to whatever horror infects the community. In IDYB, it's a band of hippie satanists (lots of men stripped to the waist) who take over an abandoned house and begin to molest the locals. One boy in the community shoots a rabid dog and gets the idea to take the dog's blood and inject it into meat pies that are the only food available to the hippie clan, thereby making them rabid. When one of the clan's women has sex with all the men in the local construction project, big teams of rabid humans wind up running around murdering and decapitating (not all that different from the opera of the night before, actually). E's character holds many of them off with a garden hose (as rabies is actually hydrophobia--fear of water, naturally). Eventually, things look like they're safely back to normal until the final shots when E wakes up the next morning and has clearly been infected. The horror will go on.
Part of the fun of the evening was her running commentary on which of the men in the cast was having sex with the director (three by my count) and how they'd made the casts of her head for the fake, decapitated version (LOTS of beheadings this weekend!) that was required for the next film. As it was getting late, we only sampled "Deadly Spawn" ("Return of the Aliens" in Europe) up to the point when E's character got eaten in her own basement by great toothy creatures that had invaded from the sky. This is where her head went bouncing across the floor. We also saw lots of just hatched (born? whelped? ) creatures looking for all the world like tadpoles with huge mouths full of teeth, swimming around and presumably just waiting to grow up and invade the rest of the country.
Third and final of her films was "Rottweiler" which a wonderfully designed framed poster hanging in the room where we stayed proudly announced to be in 3-D. The European title of this one is "The Dogs of Hell" and presumably a lot of the 3-D effects involve toothy-mouthed dogs leaping out at the audience huddling together for safety in their little cardboard red and green cellophane-lensed glasses. "Rottweiler" is also out on DVD but, sadly, not in 3-D. E doesn't have this one but will probably get it before our next visit.
On the way home yesterday we visited Beacon, New York to spend a couple of hours in the DIA contemporary art center, one of the most magnificent exhibit spaces I've ever seen. Made from an old Nabisco factory and vast, there are galleries that are forty feet wide and two hundred feet long. Among the highlights were an artist who works exclusively in florescent tubes and an excellent Andy Warhol retrospective.
So today it's back to normal. We're visiting an old colleague of mine and his family for dinner. It's MIT's spring break week and I'll be able to catch up on a lot of work while students are away and before the crazyness starts all over again next week. Major project: a first model of the new house.