Though next April first, we will have been a couple for 40 years, this Friday the 23rd of September is our first wedding anniversary.

You will recall that we elected to get married last year on the Autumnal Equinox, in observance of ‘marriage equality’.

This year, the equinox occurs on the 22nd, as it will next year, before returning to a pair of 23rd’s again.

Stephen has promised me this flawless 40.22 carat diamond from Tiffany’s, which we spied in a full page ad in the New York Times last week.

He assures me that this gift will cost many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many times our net worth and will fling us into irredeemable debt, but I don’t care.

Well…

best_friend

edward-albee-2004-1959-2-shot

Edward Albee died yesterday.

I was first introduced to him in high school in probably 1963 by my friend Tony via a recording (on vinyl, for heaven’s sake) of ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’.  Two years later I staged his one-act ‘The Sandbox’ as a Speech and Drama class project, but had to excise the ‘god’ from ‘goddamn’ in the dialog, this was high school, after all, and the South.

In the Eighties, I met Albee himself at a reception after a lecture.  I circled the knot of people clustered around him until apparently he noticed and rather abruptly stuck his hand out in my direction.  Our conversation was very brief, during which I said ‘Virginia Woolf’ had given me ‘a quote for every occasion’.

He seemed to enjoy the remark as just cocktail nonsense, having no way of knowing it was actually true.

A couple of things struck me in today’s NY Times obit:

“His own writing was less than successful — he tried short stories and gave them up — and though he published a handful of poems, he gave that up, too, when he was 26, because, as he put it, “I remember thinking, ‘Edward, you’re getting better as a poet, but the problem is you don’t really feel like a poet, do you?  You feel like someone who is writing poetry’.”  He added: “I knew I was a writer and had failed basically at all other branches of writing, but I was still a writer.  So I did the only thing I had not done.  I wrote a play.”

“All of my plays are about people missing the boat, closing down too young, coming to the end of their lives with regret at things not done, as opposed to things done,” Albee said in a 1991 Times interview. “I find most people spend too much time living as if they’re never going to die.”

About 25 years ago, an acquaintance asked me to do a quick poster for a local production of a play called ‘The Shadow Box’ (not Albee’s ‘The Sandbox’).  The play ends with a ‘call and response’ sort of thing, and I tinkered with these pairs, rearranging a couple of them (the effrontery!).

The nifty color doodles in the background have faded completely.  Hmm…

shadowbox

Sometimes here on Domani Dave I’m sure it doesn’t show, but I’m an adherent of that Blanche DuBois tenet which maintains that deliberate cruelty is the one unpardonable sin.

Liza, if you’re reading, I didn’t mean to be mean with the last post.  It’s just that to make my point, you do have the reputation of maintaining — in the words of Herb Gardner — “a philosophy falling somewhere to the left of whoopee”.

I apologize.  But while we’re on the subject, here is a post from almost five years ago, when I used to write such pieces.

–     –     –     –     –

Trail in the Ether

November 15, 2011

A gentleman of our acquaintance named Kelly used to do Liza Minnelli drag in the late Seventies.  He called his show (can you guess?) ‘Kelly with a ‘K’.  Although he performed the Liza moves and mannerisms nicely, the problem was — for lack of a better way to put it — scale: Kelly was six-three, I think.  Additionally, though I will not call him rotund, he was a big-boned gal, and in Fräulein Sally Bowles attire, none of the odds were, in a manner of speaking, in his favor.

I liked Kelly, an audience with him topped-up my ‘grand queen quotient’.  Every so often he would throw these slightly tortured little soirees in his small apartment, and I would go solo.  (At that time Stephen worked with Kelly at the local newspaper and felt that he was adequately dosed with Vitamin K there.)  At one point Kelly was working on a biography of Hollywood costume designer Adrian and for a while corresponded with at least half a dozen obliging actresses including Deborah Kerr and Katharine Hepburn.  I believe it turns out that Adrian, though very talented, didn’t have much of a ‘story’, and the biography fizzled.

During that time, one afternoon our friend Betsy and I were walking across the college campus here and encountered Kelly.  I cannot recall why she would have been aware of his drag history, but when introduced, she said, “Now, it’s ‘Kelly’, right?  With a ‘K’?”  At this point as if on cue, Kelly threw his head back in the finest Norma Desmond fashion, complete with a short, staccato burst of laughter: “What a clever girl! [hand springs up as if to shield the acid aside] Get rid of her!”

Kelly took a job in Arizona and we subsequently lost complete track of him, but ‘clever girl’ lived on.  Thrown together decades later at an art department function with one of Betsy’s sons, finishing his Master’s in Art History, I cracked wise saying: ‘Art’ began on the cave walls of Lascaux and Chauvet, and ended with the graffiti of Jean-Michel Basquiat, and that “everything in-between was just fluff”.  Behold, the lad fired back, “What a clever man, get rid of him!”

Your trail in the ether, Kelly.  Bless you, wherever you are!

I’ve had an extra cocktail this evening.

Picture this.  Instead of Hillary Clinton, Liza Minnelli is the Democratic candidate for President of the United States.  Today we learn that poor Liza has been hooked up to a ventilator.

Would we not still vote for her over Donald Trump?

I was going to do a short post on olive oil bottles today (seriously…) but, then came this much better opportunity.

Here is a photograph of our very dear friend Martin, whom I’ve mentioned here fairly frequently, and his student Nico.  Martin sent us a heads-up yesterday about tomorrow’s New York Times Magazine.  Have a look. (Click)

I know so many bright and talented and accomplished people, my hubby and Martin included.  I’ve also collected a number of accomplished ‘virtual’ people out there in the internet ether who also seem very bright and talented.

So, is it ‘birds of a feather’, or ‘opposites attract’?

I knew that’s what you’d say!

nico_martin

Okay, so yesterday I got my copy of Barbra Streisand’s new album:

‘Encore – Movie Partners Sing Broadway’

Recently (if you consider May ‘recently’), I reminded you that I was the original Babsophile.  But, my true devotion came then went, dropping away from her for decades, but still sampling from time to time.

The last record I bought was ‘What Matters Most’, which didn’t so much to me.  Before that, it was ‘A Love Like Ours’, from which I liked ‘Isn’t It a Pity’, and ‘The Music that Makes Me Dance’ (from ‘Funny Girl’… old habits).

This new duets contrivance has resuscitated my ardor, but within bounds.  The craftsmanship is there in abundance, but thankfully not the overbearing, it seems as relaxed as the new rush of interviews she’s done promoting the album.

The formula here is each track as a small dramatic scene.  Curiously, out of ten, only two are opposite women, and they are not my favorites.

‘At the Ballet’, with Daisy Ridley and Anne Hathaway, is the lead track of the album, and the lengthiest.  Apparently intended to be something of a centerpiece, disconsidering the talent chasm separating these singers, I don’t know why ‘B’ would place her 74 year-old voice next to these crisper ones.

The other girl duet is with Melissa McCarthy, and the lyrics of ‘Anything You can Do’ have been tailored to that actress’s movie persona.  Chalk-up my lack of appreciation for this track to the fact that ‘salty broad’ is one of my very least favorite types on screen and in life.

Done with the dissing, my favorites are ‘Who Can I Turn To?’ and ‘The Best Thing that Has Ever Happened’, which luckily appear in that order.

Ms. S. has resurrected Anthony Newley, who died in 1999, for the loneliest song ever written.  The lyrics (his) are perfectly tragic and the delivery so gorgeous, I teared-up just shy of a sob.  (There, there Dave…)

Who can I turn to / When nobody needs me? / My heart wants to know / And so I must go / Where destiny leads me / With no star to guide me / And no one beside me / I’ll go on my way / And after the day / The darkness will hide me

And maybe tomorrow / I’ll find what I’m after / I’ll throw off my sorrow / Beg, steal, or borrow / My share of laughter / With you I could learn to / With you on a new day / But who can I turn to / If you turn away?

Surviving Anthony Newley, fortunately Alec Baldwin rescues the mood with the strictly speaking only true ‘duet’ on the record, Sondheim’s ‘The Best Thing…’ which in the CD booklet Ms. Streisand edifies was originally performed between a man and a woman, then between two men in the rewrite of its show.  Neat.

Now, here’s something I need from you.  On hillaryclinton.com, there is a lottery in place for a chance to meet Barbra Streisand, who is currently campaigning for Hillary.

I’m already rehearsing my conversation with Babs so I don’t gush, and you could really screw this up if we can’t keep any negative critique here just between you and me.

Okay?

My thoughts are ever-increasingly difficult to herd into a post, which is why this ‘marvelous journey’ is kinda petering out.

This morning I read a marvelously convoluted post by the author of the term ‘marvelous journey’ as it applies to blogging; riffing on Cavafy, he routinely wishes new bloggers one.  He also, in spite of intermittent protestations to the contrary, is never flustered by uncooperative thoughts.

Inspired by this marvelous post, I offer this rumination, neither very substantial nor original, on one of the liabilities of longevity.

Directly across the street from our neighborhood bakery is a group of three apartment buildings built in the 1920’s: Milledge Circle, Milledge Park, and the Henrietta.  As a student, Stephen had an apartment there at a time when several residents were original to the buildings brand new.

Across the hall from him was Miss O. Vincent, who had traveled the world as a girl, and saw in my spouse (an ‘artistic’ youth…) a soul who would appreciate her experiences over tea.

This morning I was struck (but not very harshly) with how blissfully (?) unaware the slip of a girl selling me my scones (yum) at the bakery was to the fact that things were not always this graceless.

Closer to seventy than sixty-nine, this knowledge is unavoidable to me, and I have it third-hand from Miss Vincent that once upon a time things were actually graceful.

Is it any wonder ghosts moan.

Hubby, ground floor left, Miss Vincent on the right. Click for bigger.

Hubby, ground floor foreground, Miss Vincent to the right. Couple of click for bigger.

A remark from my friend Will, misdirected to another page

A comment from my friend Will, misdirected to another page

I have another ‘online presence’ called ‘Illusion Veil’.

The plan, such as it was, was for a place for my own photographs, and it may yet become that.  Tinkering last year, I put two placeholder photographs not-mine on illusionveil.comwith remarks.

Now, if my own pictures do eventually appear, and you go ‘Hmm…’  Well, won’t that be just like you: mean.

Since I have not posted here for a while, you might enjoy a very short visit there.

The two images are clickable for size.

At some point during the past seven years, I know I’ve reported that when I was sixteen and the ink still wet on my driver’s license, I drove a 1959 Volkswagen Beetle directly, but completely unintentionally, into an oak.

The archery, so to speak, was spectacular, as the front of the car was completely and symmetrically wrapped around the trunk of the tree.

At the time, I was puzzled by my father’s complete lack of anger that I had destroyed the car.  It truly did not occur to me that he was only profoundly grateful that I had not died in the crash, which was died-worthy.

The car was replaced without much to-do, and I ended up with a nifty scar in my right eyebrow.  Nothing like a Prussian saber-style one on my cheek, but still pretty good for a sixteen year-old.

Fast forward to today.  I’m driving the quintessential old-man car, a Big White 2002 Buick, which we inherited from Stephen’s mother in 2004.  The legendary used car salesman’s pitch ‘This car was previously owned by a little old lady who only drove it to church’?  That’s the car.

In 2004, I had just given away my Honda Accord to my nephew who was going through a nasty divorce.  For insurance purposes, I guess, both their cars were in his wife’s name, and she said, ‘You don’t have a car’.

The Big White Buick came with no miles to speak of on the odometer, and four ruined tires with ten pounds of air pressure in each.  We decided that I’d drive it until we decided with what to replace the Accord.

Sloth and the memory of the dreaded car salesman experience have kept me behind the wheel of the Big White Buick.

The car is terribly comfortable and it was free, so what’s not to like?  Only this.  Even with no traffic behind me, drivers will pull out in front of me from side streets.  I’ve reasoned that they decide the old codger couldn’t possibly be going fast enough hit them — or, they do not want to get behind the old coot because he’s probably going twenty miles an hour.

I’ve never driven a large car like the Big White Buick before.  My previous vehicles: a brand new 1963 Beetle to replace the smashed one, a Karmann Ghia, a small Volvo, a Honda Civic, and the Accord.

karmannghia

The Karmann Ghia was a love affair which ended after ten years.  Picking up a friend from the airport in the wee hours of the morning, a suicidal deer leapt into our path, followed much later by two separate large transport trucks sideswiping the car on two separate occasions.

I kept a souvenir.

kghia_plate

I think I should mention in closing that the 1983 Civic I owned, I also destroyed, this time in an Interstate Highway ‘mishap’ of the no-survivors caliber.  Unlike the unlucky Beetle, not my fault, State Patrol certified, thank you.

Be that as it may, since there was a neat thirty year span between my first destruction of an automobile and the second, if I stay on schedule, the next one is due in 2023.

When I do get around to replacing the Big White Buick, whatdaya think?

hummer

I ran across ‘West Side Story’ in-progress on Turner Classic Movies the other evening, and watched it through.  I was 14 years-old when ‘WSS’ first appeared in theaters along with ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ in 1961.

On t h a t subject, in a long-gone previous post, I reported that like multitudes and multitudes of young girls ‘both male and female’, my secret inner Holly Golightly spiked the afternoon I saw ‘B@T’ in 1961.  (I don’t know if it can be said I’ve recovered…)

Two pictures unique under the heading ‘Hollywood New York Movies’, ‘B@T’ was something of a scandal in ’61 for unabashedly having a kept man in the storyline.  On the other hand — and it seems unfathomably quaint now — at least one song lyric was changed for the movie score of ‘WSS’ to please the censors.

Stage: Anita’s gonna get her kicks tonight / We’ll have our private little mix tonight / He’ll walk in hot and tired, so what / No matter if he’s tired, as long as he’s hot

Movie: He’ll walk in hot and tired, poor dear / No matter if he’s tired, as long as he’s near

In the day, I heard the statement that the score of ‘West Side Story’ was ‘based on five notes’.  Decades later I asked a musicologist friend what that meant.  He smiled condescendingly, ‘No time to explain’ (meaning: no idea).

Some while later (research time) we encountered one another and he told me to listen to the opening notes of the overture.  (dah-DAH-dah-dah-DAH)  Still no explanation of ‘based’ on five notes.  Any help out there?

Though I can play the score in my head, yesterday I fished my soundtrack CD of ‘WSS’ from the cabinet and flipping through the booklet while listening, found among the production stills peppered throughout, this one.

Excuse me?

bromance1

Why am I telling you this?

I started blogging in 2009, but September 2015, I ditched the previous posts in a fit of cyber housecleaning. Some of it was really nice writing, but alas as my old friend Susan once said, 'Compulsion is a cruel master'.

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