Friday, February 15, 2013

How to NOT see Vanessa Redgrave

... but that was in another country,
And besides, the wench is dead. - from 'The Jew of Malta', Christopher Marlowe

I  meant to close out Letter from New York and to start a new blog, "iSingular". But haven't had the time. I'll move this over when iSingular is up and running. In the meantime ...

I just had a hot date in the West Village, New York.

To see Vanessa Redgrave in "The Revisionist".

For those not familiar with New York, the West Village  is a Manhattan gay area. I was pleased to go, though we were paying  "Dutch", as I always enjoy this friend's company. ... well that should be past tense. Whatever ...

I hate the West Village. Not because it is GAY. ASIF. But because, unlike most of Manhattan, the streets twist and turn, and are not in regular rectangle grid layout. Round where I live and hang out it's easy. 67th street is one block south of 68th street and one block north of 66th. And the streets go in straight lines. So if you head west on 93rd Street for example, you will end up still in 93rd Street but  in the Hudson River.

But pick a street in the West Village and you can follow it for a hundred years through its twists and turns and never know where you'll end up  - if the journey even ends.

"It's easy", said my friend. "Just meet me at Morandi on the corner of 7th and Waverley. Near the Christopher subway station".

And so tonight I caught three subways interconnecting though miles and miles of stairs, to end up at the  designated desination - Christopher Street station. Hence the quote at the beginning of this post.

Not to worry. At Chistopher Street I climbed another  1,000 stairs and could see the sky. A comforting familar thing.

Back on ground level, I clung to a lamp-post to get my breath back. and then started asking the passer-bys "Where is Waverly Place?"

I have bad long-term memories of Waverly Place - isn't that where Susan Brownmiller got her head bashed in? But as a woman, I stood my ground. "Reclaim the night" as my Sisters say.  Though I have to admit we are pretty safe in the West Village.

There were about 50 people hanging around the Christopher Street subway station,  most looking up Google maps on their iPhones, so I decided to approach what looked like locals  - people walking designer dogs. These people were all extremely pleasant, and as I had deduced, from the area. "Well gee whiz, golly me ma'am,'" they'd say in charming accents. "I know its around here somewhere, but can't remember. Try going north." Or south, depending who I talked to. Eventually I found the restaurant. "Morandi" at 211 Waverly Place.

My friend was sitting there, iPhoning and drinking a martini. I sat down, waiting for him to complete his emails.  A hundred years later he looked up, and with absolute chutzpa said, "You're late". OK, OK already yet.

We ordered. And three martinis later, as I was still diving in to my pasta, he ordered "Gotta go," and had the waitress or associate or whatever is politically correct, hand me the bill. "Is a $20 tip OK?" I asked. "Make it $40," he commanded.

Well it was HIS neighborhood so who was I to argue. Anyway, what is $300 in America currency? A drop in the ocean.

"Quick quick!" he ordered. I started to think that I was out with a hetrosexual;   my past conditioning kicked in and I followed him  meekly to a theater.

Great. At last we were line for pre-paid tickets. And when it was our turn we asked the "person in attendance", ("box office chick" whatever you are allowed to say) for our tickets.

The box office person  started typing in stuff to his computer. I noticed the operating system was Windows 7 and so was about to give up when a hundred years later, he informed us that neither of us was registered.  "This IS the theater for 'The Revisionist?'" I asked,  and he replied, no and that the Revisionist was playing at a theater  some 10 blocks way.

Back in the street my friend strode ahead. Faster than a guy one tenth of his age, occasionally turning to tell me to hurry up. After about 5 blocks I felt my heart giving in, but somehow managed to catch up and to enter the lobby of the correct theater company

"You are too late," said the box office guy who looked like he could have crushed Wladimir Klitschko with his bare hands. "But you can watch  it here," he said, pointing to two plasic bleacher chairs in the foyer. I have to admit there WAS a TV we could look at. I don't know where the theatrer dragged it up from. When I'd first noticed it I had thought it was from a museum exhibition. It wasn't flat screen and the the snowy reception took me back a few centuries to when TV was first introduced to Australia.

"Bloody Nazi!" muttered my friend, and the boxing-looking guy's ears pricked up. He walked straight towards us - "Whatdya say?" he said in a scary Bronx accent. My friend looked speechless and positively cowered in his plastic chair. "Oh,  he was talking about a mutual friend, nothing to do with here," I explained. Me, ever the woman ... Smoothing things over . Looking skeptical though I doubt that the word was in his vocabulary. He backed off.

Only to return 30 years later to tell us we could go into standing-room at the back of the theatre.

My friend accepted graciously. Me -  I said, "don't worry." And took a cab home. Only another $30.

And people wonder why I don't go out much in New York.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Seven men in my life and why I remember them

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin' for to carry me home;
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin' for to carry me home. - Wallis Willis circa 1862
The following is about seven men in my life, what they have each taught me, and with song(s) for each.

 I  have left out three men - my dad, as I never really got to know him, my son as he would KILL ME if I wrote about him, and my beautiful little  grandson who is far too young to be exposed to the social media network.

Here come THE MEN.
When I was beautiful
#1 Tim  Juliff  - brother
Taught me:  the values of love and forgiveness,  the "immaterialness" of material possessions, wit and sarcasm.
Songs: Tim has two songs  because he is/was my brother. "Swing Low Sweet Chariot and the Fugs' rendition of William Blake's How Sweet I Roam'd. "Swing Low" because he had it played at out mother's memorial. "How Sweet" because it was played it at his own.

#2 Patrick - first love
Taught me: that I was beautiful.
Song: everything on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

#3 Philip - the father of our children
Taught me: that real men DO play sport, about laughing during love, and perhaps most importantly, the importance of never being late for dinner .
Songs: Philip has two songs because we had two children together. Plus he has more albums than any other human being on this planet ...
Something from when we started, and Every Breath You Take from when we ended. Most remembered with affection - Every Step.

#4 Michael - Brief, but worth a note because he got the song right
Taught me:  that even though a man can take out a PhD at 15, he needs to  use a clockwork razor for shaving.
Song: Joni Mitchell's Carey because it's a great song and he said it epitomises me. (And it still does IMO).

#5 Robert  - Eternal Hippie at Heart
 Taught me: how to flush floating poo down a toilet bowl, and how to butter bread evenly so that every part of the surface is covered perfectly.
Song: Simon and Garfunkel's Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme.
Remembered with respect and affection.

#6 Richard - American
Taught me: how to use the PC financial package "Quicken"
Song:  Anything Country and Western.

#7 Last one - Name available upon request
Taught me: That I am ugly
Song: This man has no song

Here endeth "Letter from New York:"