So here it is, 11/11. Our anniversary. A truly beautiful day in New York City, crisp, clear, sunny. It’s good to be here. And good to have spent these years together. We are grateful for all the good things life has brought our way…
Sorry, the order of things gets a bit confusing here: I'm trying to play catchup. I did not manage to get finished yesterday, looking back over our first day in New York, Friday—a day of the kind your could only dream of spending in this city. We got as far as dinner at Michael’s. So here’s the sequel:
Friday: The Fifth Act, Theater
After dinner, we walked down—actually, we kind of rushed down: time was short—to 45th Street and west across 8th Avenue to find the theater where we had booked seats for Tom Stoppard’s new play, “Rock and Roll.” Set in intellectual Cambridge University (the backdrop is a huge photograph of King’s College chapel,) and in Soviet-dominated Prague, it’s a wry look at the decline of socialism and the accompanying rise of the music that has come to define the culture of our time.
The central character is an old Cambridge lefty—well, a Communist, really—who remains an unrepentant believer even after the repression of Czech dissent by Soviet tanks in the late 1950s. At a time when even the most diehard communist idealists outside the USSR gave up on the failing system, those who remained defiant in spite of every evidence to the contrary were derisively known as “tankies,” and this cantankerous professor was one of them. Rock and Roll—represented throughout the play by bursts of familiar socially-engaged artists like Pink Floyd and John Lennon, along with the underground Czech “Plastic People of the Universe”—proves more durable, and infinitely more humane, as a promoter of the notion of social justice for all. Though hardly more successful. The play was so talk-heavy and heady in the first half that Ellie and I were close to pleading fatigue and leaving at intermission. We were glad we didn’t. The second half was great theater—rich in content, emotional, fully human, combining the tragedy of aging and disillusionment with the joy of discovering a deeper level of humanity.
We arrived back at our little apartment close to midnight. But only, we consoled ourselves, nine o’clock Los Angeles time.
Saturday: Power Art vs. Powerful Art
As "everybody knows," the New York contemporary art scene moved a good long while ago from SoHo to the Chelsea area, just around the corner from our little pied-a-terre. We spent the better part of Saturday "doing the galleries" there. Once again, we were amazed by the crowds, jamming whole blocks of streets and every gallery we visited. I'll devote tomorrow's entry to an overview. I have pictures to show you. For now, I realize that I'm a day behind, but it IS my anniversary and I don't want to spend the entire morning on the keyboard. Enough.