Thursday, July 01, 2010

Clowns to Cows; Broadway to Brewster ... Photos, Photos -- Step Right Up!

Out of the past: From July 1, 2010

This I snapped during my walk down the east side of Central Park from top to bottom, 110th to 59th. So comforting a sense of community along the way.

In the afternoon, I was tempted to walk back up on the west side, but a little too hot. Maybe next time.

I was tempted to go for an on-the-spot sketch of myself. Every year, the potential artistic result becomes ever more sobering.

If you like modern art, MOMA is heaven. I went there to see the wonderful work of photographer Henri Cartier Bresson.

I was over this way to take in the NBC Studio Tour. What a rip off. $16 for seniors and kids (guess I qualified for either). Just two studios, too much promo talk about Dr. Oz, and we pay them so they can try getting us to have a mini video made that we can buy on the way out?

Mama Mia, whatever became of the great Broadway songwriters! The "juke box musical" still thrives. Audiences want songs that appeal, and for too many seasons, the school of Sondheim did not deliver. Thus the profitable reliance, a la Mama Mia, on crafting shows around already existing hit songs from the last thirty years. When I went to the ill-directed revival of West Side Story (some of the lyrics and dialogue in Spanish), the music and dance still electrified. This was possibly the most ground-breaking of all musicals, daringly created more than fifty years ago by true New York theatre pros. And yet by the end of the overly ambitious evening, I felt a strange let down; either time or too much tinkering had enlarged second act flaws and rendered the work less real than I recall it to be when it thrilled me in my youth.

I've grown to admire the new Times Square makeover. Once during the 1980s, out from my pocket slipped a one-dollar bill to the ground. Instantly, competing human vultures swooped down to claim it. I hurried on. Such a scary, sleazy place then, I didn't go back for years. Now, New York is one of the safest cities in the U.S., and such a hard place to stay away from. It has so much to offer.

How lost that losing billboard looks. What do New York and China have in common? Neither venue has awarded Cirque du Soleil with the kind of near-automatic crowds it has easily counted on in other places.

Took a train up to Brewster Village an hour and a half out of the Big Apple, boarding it at the gloriously restored Grand Central Station.

I went there to see Kelly- Miller Circus. Since rain had been forecast for the late afternoon, my paranoia, in collaboration Kelly Miller's reputation for frequent encounters with bum weather, convinced me that I was about to trudge through a lot from hell, sinking helplessly into mud, quicksand, slate and snow, cracked peanuts and runaway tigers, scored by the dark sinister laughing sounds of crazed troupers, and end up on the emergency flood control crew. "showgrounds" was littered on the front end with mobile homes. No umbrella in hand. High tailed it to the ticket wagon, then to the front door. Rain drops started to fall, THAT moment had arrived. At least I'd get into the tent dry. Raindrops ceased. Sun returned. Green grass stayed green. All things considered, Norman Rockwell all the way. A lovely lot!

The following evening, out to Coney Island for the opening night of Ringling's Illuscination.

Master illusionist David DaVinci doing a pre-opening night TV interview.

Guess whose backside you're glimpsing? Through a series of incredible flukes (a tale to be told in full sometime down the road), I ended up at Illuscination sitting only one seat from the aisle, directly across from which sat he. I didn't discover this until intermission, and then was not about to ask him for a photo. When he turned around, I could not resist the urge to remove my new compact little Canon SD 780 IS, aim and shoot. My paparazzi target: Kenneth Feld.

Down to Luray, Virginia: My niece Lisa, sister Kathy, and little Noah greet me at the nearby Culpeper train station. What a contrast! Lisa, her husband Bryan and son Noah moved up here just a month or so ago from Ft. Lauderdale Florida. Bryan was away piloting United Airlines passengers here and there; he prefers shorter domestic routes because he likes take-offs and landings the most.

Noah is a fun little kid to hang out with. He even insisted I read him a bed time story -- new experience. I read something I hardly understand, fearing he'd ask me all sorts of questions. I pushed at lot of drama into it, and he never said a word, his eyes all a twinkle as he gazed up at me.

Then we had fun playing "Can't Stop Shopping," a new game which was first played recently in China by its co-inventors Boyi Yuan and myself. Kathy and Lisa made some constructive suggestions at the end of play, which Boyi and I have since discussed, leading to slight design changes and some tweaking of the rules.

From flight attendant to purser, Lisa flew for United for 20 years, and then retired to have her first child, Noah. Surprised us all. What a dramatic life lifestyle change, and she loves it.

Cows are mooing
Crops accruing,
My dear old Swanee!

Au Revoir, Luray!


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