Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Are you scared of bats? Only if they're acting in a manner that suggests they're rabid. I had three bats in my house in Boston and one in this new house in southern New Hampshire, so I’m something of an old hand.
When you were a kid, did you go out on Mischief Night? Is this something like Devil Night in Detroit? Since I’ve never heard of Mischief Night, I don’t think I’ve been out in it.
What is your favorite trick-or-treat candy? Almond Joy. Now if I had my way, it would be Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Bittersweet Chocolate Bar with Almonds (you see a pattern of chocolate and almonds here?)
Have you ever seen a ghost? Yes. At least I truly think so. A wonderful man, a great director and acting coach for whom I designed productions for seven years at MIT. It was along the Memorial Drive in Cambridge and it was definitely his walk, his face, his Greek Fisherman’s cap. And it was one week after his funeral.
The most memorable costume you ever wore? Age five, a red Devil costume, the suit and mask of which were made out of vegetable dyed red cotton. It had a long red tail that dragged on the ground behind me (tell me THAT wasn’t gay!). It was an unusually warm day for Halloween in New York City and I perspired rather heavily in the suit and mask. When I got home with my treats, I took off the mask and my mother screamed. The unfixed vegetable dye had run into my perspiration and was streaming down my face. She thought I’d been slashed and was bleeding to death. I got a real kick out of that.
Do you carve a happy or a scary face on the pumpkin? I’ve done both and I’ve also done abstract, non-representational pumpkins. I mean, I’m a designer . . .
Will anyone wear a costume to work on October 31st? I’m sure they will—I just won’t be there.
Any cooking or baking you do for Halloween? Not really, no.
Have you ever been to The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland or
Any element of the season you don’t like? The fact of holiday-creep: I hear that it’s not a single day now but Halloween Month, and by the time Halloween comes the artificial Christmas trees have already b een on sale for six weeks.
What is your favorite scary movie? The Turn of the Screw, followed by Psycho.
Do you cook the pumpkin seeds from your carved jack-o-lanterns? I have done regularly in the past. Not sure we’ll have one this year.
Are you intrigued with vampires? Not really. Maybe sexy male ones in costumes that can be gotten off easily.
Scott of Bill in Exile published these items late last week and I thought they deserved wider circulation. Also, word is out that the Palin campaign is no longer answering to the Republican hierarchy and that she's now essentially a rogue candidate. She could probably get into all kinds of interesting mischief! Anyway, thanks Scott for these:
"One well-connected Republican in the private sector was shocked to get calls and resumes in the past few days from what he said were senior McCain aides — a breach of custom for even the worst-off campaigns."
And then there's this:
With despair rising even among many of John McCain's own advisers, influential Republicans inside and outside his campaign are engaged in an intense round of blame-casting and rear-covering - much of it virtually conceding that an Election Day rout is likely.
"….If you really want to see what ‘going negative' is in politics, just watch the back-stabbing and blame game that we're starting to see," said Mark McKinnon, the ad man who left the campaign after McCain wrapped up the GOP primary. "And there's one common theme: Everyone who wasn't part of the campaign could have done better."
"The cake is baked," agreed a former McCain strategist. "We're entering the finger-pointing and positioning-for-history part of the campaign. It's every man for himself now."
Second half of the pictures from Lyon:
The Beaux-Arts Opera de Lyon, with the striking contemporary new "wing" rising from the original building. It contains rehearsal halls and production shops.
My first time in Lyon was in the late 1980s during a wonderful period when a colleague of mine and I were leading three week summer study/travel trips to Europe for high schoolers. When we got to Lyon, the students, who were all girls that year, asked if we'd take them to a disco. We consulted with our hotel about a respectable place for a group of American students, and were given the name of a club right behind the opera house which they assured us was fun, safe, just the thing we were looking for-- and at midnight there would be "a spectacle!"
We got there around eleven as the place was just beginning get going. We clued the bartender into the fact that our kids were not to be served hard liquor but could have a glass of wine each, as their parents had signed consent forms. Somewhere in all this, we noticed that at the tables and in the booths surrounding the dance floor it was either all male or all female but the penny didn't drop until my very attractive straight female colleague went to the ladies room and a woman from one of the tables immediately got up and followed her in.
While this was happening, the girls were getting frustrated that none of the guys were asking them to dance but--OMG! some of them were out on the floor dancing with each other. We all got together for a little conference, and everybody decided everything was cool because it really was a very nice place. The girls decided not to be wallflowers, got up and approached the gay boys to dance--and they were very happy to do so.
At 11:45, a procession of beautifully made up tall, slender men carrying hat boxes and garment bags paraded through the club into the backstage area, and promptly at midnight, the "spectacle" began--a big, brassy mostly lipsync drag show that was a knockout. We had a great time and got them back to the hotel by 2am. The students, not the drag queens.
When we came out of Customs at Logan Airport in Boston, masses of parents were waiting and before most of them were even in their parents' arms, the kids started calling out, "Mr_____ and Ms_____ took us to a transvestite bar!!" The parents loved it.
Interior courtyard of a 17th century apartment building. These interior courtyards have passageways that link them to the streets in front of and behind their buildings. During the Second World War, French Resistance members could melt into and out of the buildings and slip easily through the city with minimal time in the actual streets, the better to evade Nazi patrols.
Astronomical clock standing on the floor of the St. Nizier Church. It's highly mechanized with moving figures.
The oldest part of Lyon looking from the peninsula across the Saône.
Unfortunately the water was turned off in this fountain. My first time in Lyon I spent much of an afternoon at a cafe opposite it. With water tumbling down between the horses, the effect was as if they were leaping and plunging through the ocean. The sculptor was Bartholdy, whose Statue of Liberty dominates New York City's harbor.
The 17th century City Hall or Hôtel de Ville of Lyon. It dates from the reign of Louis XIV, who is still present in the form of an impressive equestrian statue in the large park opposite. Unless it's a recreation, I have no idea how the statue of a relatively tyrannical king survived the French Revolution.
And last but hardly least, the same team of artists who devised the trompe l'oeil painting on the windowless building wall in Vienne, painted the two blank walls of this building in Lyon. The characters are all connected with the city's history from many eras.
Much as I love almonds and chocolate, I prefer Mounds to AJ because Mounds has dark chocolate. I'm troubled by your embrace of milk chocolate. Milk chocolate is the first step down the slippery slope towards white chocolate, and white chocolate is both an oxymoron and a plot introduced by the East Germans to pollute our precious bodily fluids. I would like to see an immediate and forceful repudiation of the so-called white chocolate; otherwise, I may have to pay for a series of robocalls denouncing your confectionary proclivities. Think of the children.