Monday, December 16, 2013

Surviving a chilly NY weekend

How do you survive the chill in New York?  Go to shows and readings and lectures and dance recitals and marionette operas, of course!  Last week, I was lucky enough to see several very fun things, sneak in some drinks with dear ones, and randomly shot a few photos of holiday lights along the way.  Random photos will be at the end of the post...

A tremendously handsome pal invited me to accompany him to the SAG Foundation event featuring two of the actors on Downton Abbey, the gals who play Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes (known in real life as Lesley Nicol and Phyllis Logan).  We had thought they were going to show a Season Four teaser (January 5 can't come soon enough!), but they instead showed a Season Three recap video (oh well), then did a very nice Q & A with the actresses.  They were both so charming and funny, humble and down-to-earth.  They are two of my very favorite characters on the show and it was nice to see they're just as awesome off-screen as on.  We spent a fun couple of hours in their company.  I'm sorry I didn't get any photos, so I stole some from the internet.  My standard disclaimer applies.  : )  

Thursday night, I attended the reading of a dear friend's musical.  All I'll say about that is I loved my dear friend's contribution the most and I'll be interested in following the piece's development.  No perspective, you see.  But after the reading, I realized I was pretty close to the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree!  So I wandered over to take a look and soak up some Christmas happiness.  It was freezing cold, but not very crowded, so I got some pictures and just stood quietly to enjoy the view.  I have to admit, at times I can be as jaded a New Yorker as the next person, but I never get cynical about that tree.  It's just beautiful magic to me.  I'm ever so glad I took the time to stop by and see it.

Friday, I took a personal day from work so that I could get a few holiday errands done.  I sent off the large Christmas package to my parents' house and I sat around and waited for my new cleaning lady to come do a holiday cleaning.  Well, darn it, she never showed up!  Ever since my surgery, I just can't get my apartment as clean as I used to, especially my bathtub (I just can't get the angle/lean right without hurting myself), so I thought it would be nice to have somebody come in, do a thorough scrubbing, and I can do the upkeep/maintenance until they come back again.  I was quite perturbed no one showed up.  I got a very apologetic e-mail afterwards, alongside an offer for an extra-long cleaning session to make up for the missed appointment.  I guess I'll schedule something after the New Year, but it doesn't seem like we've gotten off on the right foot...

Months ago, I purchased tickets to an event on a complete and utter whim:  I believe I've mentioned before that I enjoy marionettes.  Well, the Metropolitan Museum of Art presented the Salzburg Marionette Theatre performing their two-hour version of Wagner's Ring Cycle.  With marionettes!  Hello, clearly I was in.  I thought this sounded like a ton of fun so I was greatly looking forward to the performance.  After a very chilly walk from the 6 train to the Met, I arrived with a bit of time to spare.  After I showed my event ticket to the front desk, they gave me a museum sticker as well.  I probably should've gotten to the museum even earlier so I could take a peekaloo around.  It's been awhile since I've toured the Met.  Oh well.

I was surprised that the auditorium wasn't full, but I enjoyed my solitary seat in the tenth row center (no one on either side of me).  The way the theater seats are laid out, there was also no large head in front of me!  Woo hoo!  Since the auditorium isn't raked, thankfully, the stage was.  There were a few children in the audience, but not many.  There was one family of about ten kids, all dressed in black tights with brightly colored sequin tops.  It was a family fashion statement, that's for sure.

The Salzburg Marionette Theatre is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.  The marionettes are all very lifelike, and the puppeteers are hidden above.  This is a new production for them - a condensed, two-hour version of the Ring Cycle.  I was a little disappointed that they did it more as a comedy than as just a compressed opera.  They had two actors, a man and a woman, narrating all the scenes around the songs they did dramatize.  So there was a lot of dialogue added and not quite enough music, to my tastes. 

The scenery was spectacular, though, and when the arias were dramatized, with the beautiful marionettes and the gorgeous scenery, the production was magical.  But then the magic stopped and we got awkward stand-up-comedy-type pieces in between.  They used a wonderful recording of the Ring Cycle from 1958, conducted by Solti, and I would've loved to have heard more of it.  Maybe I'll have to check out iTunes...
The opening bits were spectacular, with underwater nymphs seemingly floating through space and time.  The Rhine Gold was a gorgeous effect, coming up from the trap door on stage.  And I did enjoy their using the two actors as the giants.  The sight of them was amusing, I will admit.  But then some of the other effects were gimmicky, probably to keep the attention of the very few children in the house.

"The Ride of the Valkyries" was spectacular as were most of the pieces set to music.  Then, at the end of the first act (also the end of Die Walkure), as Brunhilde is condemned to the ring of fire, suddenly, smoke from a fog machine began pouring from backstage.  It looked cool on stage, but then it all began wafting into the house.  Audience members began fanning themselves to try to keep the smoke out of their eyes.  There was coughing and the acrid odor of stage fog.  I was reminded of the scene in the movie The Band Wagon, where the final dress rehearsal is ruined by all the stage smoke.  I mean, the effect was lovely at first, but they really should've made more considerations of the ventilation in the house.  I had already pretty much decided that I didn't need to return for the second act, since I had a holiday get-together to, uh, get to, but the sore throat and burning eyes I got from all that fog sealed the deal.  Too bad.  I would definitely like to see the Salzburg Marionette Theatre again, just maybe something that didn't have to be so condensed.  I was looking at their Nutcracker video on their website and it looks enchanting.  Something to dream about.

My holiday get-together with dear ones was lovely and we again had so much fun together.  It's so hard to be so busy, without time for regular get-togethers, but we make the most of our evenings when we can.  For some reason, I didn't get any photos of my dinner at Crooked Knife - the risotto was a tad gummy, but it was nicely seasoned and the scallops were delicious.  The proseco in my cocktail was also a tad flat, but all in all, it was a tasty meal.  I would definitely like to go back and try other things on the menu.

Saturday was the huge blizzard, so of course I had an appointment to get my hair cut.  They assigned me to Mr. Gigi again.  I was soaked by the time I got there, because of the very wet snow.  Mr. Gigi greeted me warmly, said my hair still looked good, maybe just a trim.  Then he said, "and you're going to dye your hair when you get home, right?"  Uh, gee, I guess that means it looks pretty bad when Mr. Gigi sends you home from your hair appointment with the assignment to dye your hair.  I didn't do it that night, though.  Too much product.  Maybe I'll do it tonight... ;)

Yesterday capped off my holiday weekend with a trip to my beautiful goddaughters' holiday dance recital.  They were, of course, gorgeous.  The show was very sweet.  We had a little lunch afterwards, then I did a little window shopping (and regular shopping) around Bloomingdale's.  I got home around 5pm and I was EXHAUSTED.  The holidays always take it out of me.  I should probably try to relax a little this week before heading home.  Though I do have a couple of holiday treats planned for this week.  Keep your eyes open for that.  And I have put together a few auto-posts for over the holidays.  They'll help us all survive the chill.  I hope. 



No comments:

Post a Comment