Thursday, November 19, 2015

The mood in the city

A late fall view from Central Park. 2:00 PM.
Thursday, November 19, 2015. Overcast and cooler, yesterday in New York, although not so cold for November – in the low to mid-60s and high 50s at night.

The mood in the city is much like the weather. Neither hot, nor cold, and definitely uncertain. It’s not something people talk about unless you ask, and even then you might not hear. Many of us are unaware so many of us are feeling the same thing, as if it's in the air. Or the water. The massacre in Paris did not bring it about because it’s been there for awhile now. But it underscored it. Fear. We all know fear. I was too young to have heard it at the time, but there was a President who addressed the people in a terrible moment in our history with these words: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”  A word to the wise right now, or so it would seem. Sounds easy for me or any of us to say, but it definitely requires digging down for it.
Another fall scene.
Nevertheless, it was Wednesday, and Michael’s was the lunch spot.  Busy busy, such as entertainment reporter Nelson Aspen with actress Louise Shaffer; Mickey Ateyeh was hosting a Jewelry Luncheon including Denise DeLuca of de Grisogono, Colleen Caslin of Verdura, Orit of O Group, Abby Huhtanen of Ippolita, Linda Buckley of Tiffany, Marion Fasal of the Adventurine, Sally Morrison of Love Gold, Jennifer Pearson of  Assael Pearls, and Katrin Zimmerman, designer of EXOVO.

Moving along, seated nearby, Jon Bren celebrating a birthday with father Peter Bren; Steve Rubenstein; Charles Schaffran; Peter Brown; Mark Weber; Dick Danziger; Tom Goodman; Jolie Hunt with Felicia Taylor; Jack Kliger with Fran Pomeranz; Tomas Maier, Alice Mayhew; Martin Puris, Elihu Rose; Andrew Stein; Nelson Roth, Nick Verbitsky; Elizabeth Belfer; Adrienne Cleere; Daniel Crown with Mrs. Crown and Kenny Alpert; Richard Farley; Richard Fitzburgh; Nikki Haskell; Michael Kassan; Kim McCarty with Blythe Danner; Chris Meigher; Alexis Mercedes; Nancy Murray with Judy Price; Ann Hearst McInerney with her sister Patricia Hearst Shaw, Debbie Bancroft, Kathy Hilton, Sharon Bush, Milly de Cabrol, Kimberly Rockefeller and Bettina Zilkha; Nazee Sajedi; Harris Faulkner with Don Peebles.
A table of eight interesting women, standing left to right: Kathy Hilton, Milly de Cabrol, Kimberly Rockefeller, Debbie Bancroft, Sharon Bush, Bettina Zilka, and seated, the hosts, the Sisters Hearst, Patricia H. Shaw and Anne H. McInerney.
Last night I was a guest of Patsy Tarr at the second night of  Twyla Tharp’s 50th Anniversary dance perfomances Presented by Joyce Theater at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. Patsy is the Dance philanthropist which is another word for dance devotee who is a benefactor of all aspects of that world. Balletomane applies for the ballet. It’s in your soul; almost a way of life. I am neither balletomane nor devotee although through Patsy’s eye I’ve become “aware&rdquo. And who doesn't like to watch great dancing, or in Twyla's case, stupendous dancing.

And last night was not only a great dance performance, but it was exceptional for this first timer. I’d never seen a Twyla Tharp program before. I know that doesn’t seem possible considering how I spend so much of my waking hours. But the opportunity never came along before.
Emerging from the Lincoln ristorante on the plaza looking south at 7:30.
Patsy also took me to dinner first at Lincoln, the restaurant at Lincoln Center on the plaza level. I didn’t even know about that; and it’s been there several years. The food is good, and they know you’ve got a performance to make too, so the service is excellent too. We talked about Jonah Bokaer, the dancer-choreographer who has been commissioned to stage a piece of his own at BAM. He was a discovery of Patsy’s; she’s been a fan since she first saw him.

When we got to the theater, the first thing she wanted me to see was a sculpture which was done by Jasper Johns, commissioned by Lincoln Kirstein. I’ve passed through this lobby scores if not hundreds of times and never noticed it (always in a rush). Yet, there it is: a treasure.
The David H. Koch Theater.
One day when Johns was working on the piece in his studio, he was visited by his friend Merce Cunningham (this is the story Patsy told me as we looked at it.). Johns told Merce that it was commissioned for “the State Theater” (which is what the theater was originally called when it was built -- the New York State Theater).

Hearing that the sculpture/painting was going to hang at this grand new theater in the grand brand new Lincoln Center, Merce responded with characteristic modesty: “gee, I’ll never set foot in that….”

To which Johns replied, “well then put your foot in this (the sculpture) and you will be there forever….” And so he did, and so it is – in the upper right hand corner of the piece is the footprint of the immortal Merce Cunningham.
Jasper Johns work commissioned by Lincoln Kirstein for this wall in the theater.
The actual footprint of Merce Cunningham. (see story)
Patsy first saw Twyla Tharp 45 years ago. It was one of those Aha! moments for her. For Patsy, Twyla was identifying the changing world for women in her work. She’s followed Twyla’s work and performances closely ever since. The two women got to know each other as friends sometime in the early 80s. This is Twyla’s 50th year as a professional dancer/choreographer/independent producer and now legend. Twyla Tharp.

I’m not a dance critic and can’t even explain what I’m seeing so that you can appreciate it, or even thrill to it as I did last night. I only know that if I sit and watch and pay attention, I’ll get something out of it. I’d never seen, or been aware of seeing Twyla Tharp’s work before. I know I never saw her dance before. It’s possible that I’ve seen pieces she’s choreographed because she was Director with Baryshnikov at the ABT. But I’ve never seen her company of dancers.  They’ve been on tour with this production – Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, etc.

The first part, in two sections, prececed by a First Fanfare and  a Second Fanfare, titled Preludes and Fugues with music by John Zorn, and by Johann Sebastian Bach. The second part of the evening after a short intermission was called Yowzie.  

In the program Twyla was quoted: “Simple put, Preludes and Fugues is the world as it ought to be, Yowzie is as it is. The Fanfares celebrate both.”

“Yowzie” music is American Jazz with Music performed by Henry Butler/Steven Bernstein and the Hot 9. Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by James Ingalls. The program cover shows the costumes for “Yowzie.”  Riveting, fabulous, faster and faster and astounding. The dancers, the dance, the music; everything and everyone about it raised the roof of the David Koch Theater last night with that show. It runs through Sunday, November 22nd. Happening, happily; treat yourself.
The company taking their bows after the frenetic and energetic, athletic, balletic extraordinary performance by the company of Twyla Tharp's creation, demonstrating something certain that is humanly possible.

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