26 February 2007

all that i will ever be

Yesterday the marathon but not the Oscars. Before I went out to breakfast, I finished reading Tania Katan's My one-night stand with cancer. It's a compelling story of a woman who had mastectomies at the age of 21 and 31. The part about the cold of the surgery room was one of the most compelling moments for me -- the very live memories of that feeling -- but there were lots of resonations throughout. She ran one 10K topless, evoking my sister's getting arrested for topless behavior. I talked to Tania after the CAA panel she was on. She checked the law in California before she ran topless and the state law about topless women involved exposing the areola. Since her mastectomies took those away, she was within the law.

Breakfast was the normal paper and pancakes at Silver Spurs. Actually, not the normal since I had to eat and read pretty promptly in order to go to the Jože Plečnik lecture at the church of Saint Cyril on St Mark's Place. I arrived about ten minutes before eleven and there was still a service going on. I stood out front. A woman walked up, finishing her cigarette. I asked if she was here for the Plečnik lecture and she said yes. She was a Slovene, here to do a short-term job at the U.N. We talked a bit about Slovenia and being in the U.S., currency. She mentioned that getting used to U.S. coins is made more difficulty because there are no numerals on the coins. I hadn't thought about that but it's true: one cent, five cents, one dime, quarter dollar. Those words are cognate with other romance or germanic words but it's not as easy as 1, 5, 10, and 25 for a non-anglophone.

As 11 neared, others arrived that appeared to be lecture types. Then some musicians arrived. Eventually we went into the sanctuary after the church service seemed to be over. The musicians finished setting up, no screen for an architectural lecture. The musical group started to play Slovenian jazzy music. Annice, Jay and I were getting a little nervous that perhaps the lecture was not happening or happening in some other room in the rowhouse church building. I tried to relax and enjoy the music, chalking it up to chance. The group stepped aside, a guy read a poem in Slovenian and English, a lady sang three traditional songs, the group came back and did another number or two, the poet returned for another poem. Then there was a bit more of the M.C. The Slovene woman that I talked to beforehand was sitting in front of me. She turned to say that the lecture would begin soon downstairs in the social hall. Phew. I told Annice and Jay, they phewed.

The lecture by William Singer (Fulbright in Ljubljana in the early 1990s) was wonderful, just right for the group. Not much talk, lots of pictures. I fell in love with Ljubljana. It had been on my radar but it looks really wonderful. Plečnik lived from 1872 to 1957 and was a student of Otto Wagner in Vienna. He started out as a Wagnerian late Jugenstil architect and drifted through various modernisms and revivalisms. One church is like a stretched Semper opera house but the ramp up the bell tower was trying to out Corbusier Corbusier, according to Singer.

After the lecture, I went down to Fourth Street to join Mac at New York Theatre Workshop. Actually first I stopped at St Mark's Books to get something on Plečnik but ended up with the Lonely Planet guide to Ljubljana. Also stopped at Pageant which reminded me of grad student trips to print shops. In those days, Pageant was huge and dusty; now it's a small shop but still with some worthwhile prints and pages from books, Harper's, etc. (yes, it's sad that the books have been taken apart). Then Mac appears in the window and we head off to NYTW. The play was "All that I will ever be" by Alan Ball. It was really fine overall and there were some passages about facing life and living that were really wonderful. Perhaps the strongest scene was Raymond and Omar. Raymond is an older gay man who hires the hustler. We don't see them doing whatever they did but they are talking about life, truth, fear, fearlessness, growing old, falling in love/lust. You know, the great themes but well-written and -delivered.

After the play, we ran a couple errands and dropped stuff off at Mac's before going off to the Rawhide, aka the "Palais du danse" as we call it. Imagine our delight that the dancers were our two favorites: Michele and Craig. It was really special. The bartenders had the red carpet programs and Oscars on the TV but the competition was not very serious ... well, wasn't until the Oscars really started but even then Craig and Michele beat out Ellen DeGeneres ten to one. Craig joined us for dinner again and even gave us a ride home since the snow had fallen and it had gotten rather slushy underfoot.

Quite a Sunday and that had followed a pleasant Saturday evening at Andy and Garth's on East 50th Street. Mark and Charlie were up from Houston. Roberto was there with his friends Matt and Gerry. Gerry is Gerald Mocarsky who did the wonderful b&w photos in Reed Massengill's Self-exposure. Gerry's are the guy in the wet pajamas and in the alcove with all the pictures. http://www.geraldmocarsky.com/

And that had followed a lovely Thursday evening with Sharon, Nancy and Lee. Sharon was in the City for the week between caring for her mother in L.A. and going to Venice for classes in Italian (poor thing). It was great to spend the evening with them (but between Andy and Garth's on 50th and Nancy and Lee's on 52nd, it was quite a bit of Sutton/Beekman Place).

No comments: