The Spiral Staircase welcomes The Four Story Mistake to the blogosphere. Clearly a blog of discerning taste.
I am a big fan of the much-maligned Wikipedia. I say: Incomplete and suspect information is better than none! It is also, under certain circumstances, better than information you have to pay for or leave the apartment for.
Recently I met a famous author I really admire. We were both at a small party, and I was making the drinks.
It was a strange experience. I actually felt physically ill and unable to talk to her. I drank too much and sort of cowered in the corner,
conscious of a kind of force emanating from the author that I was unable to engage. Which reminds me of two things: the boy I had a crush on in fourth grade, and that Buddhist saying that we relate to the truth the way a dog relates to burning grease. You cannot eat it because it burns, and you cannot abandon it because it is too delicious.
To make matters worse, I had sent this eminent author a copy of my first novel, which I deeply regretted doing, as she must get loads of losers sending her their novels.
Someone at the party brought up Wikipedia. I said how much I love it and that I felt guilty for never donating. She said, "Donating articles?" And I said, "No, donating money. I use it a lot and I think I should donate." She made a sour face and said, "They already have all those ads. I don't think they need your money."
The weird thing is, there aren't any ads on Wikipedia.
But I thought that this was sort of the universe's way of telling me that I need to write an article on Wikipedia. I've been on the lookout for one ever since.
After re-reading my favorite novel for, like, the eighth time, I discovered that it was shockingly wiki-less. So here it is: my first Wikipedia entry. It needs editing, so please pitch in.
This show gave me magical dreams. These women are amazing, as are the musicians who accompany them. The last show is a matinee tomorrow. If at all possible, run out and see it.
This photo is from the Times' slightly-missing-the-point review.
Nothing about the performance is "crude." In fact, the thought occurred to me while watching that this might be the most refined form of culture I've ever experienced. Like, if aliens were going to blow up the Earth, I'd send in Nrityagram to justify our planet's existence through dance.
This is a good show for fans of the Hindu god Krishna. The pieces that end the second half are both introduced by readings from the Gita Govinda. The duet about Krishna and Radha together on the banks of the Yamuna is a powerful spiritual transmission. The solo that follows, in which Radha suffers because Krishna comes to her late and disheveled from making love to another woman, is mind-blowing.
The reason I love Krishna more than any other deity is because he loves women. All women. His greatest devotees were the women around him.
She ornaments her limbs,
When a leaf quivers or a feather falls,
Suspecting your coming,
She spreads out the bed
And waits long in meditation.
Making her bed of ornaments and fantasies,
She evokes a hundred details of you
In her own graceful play.
But the frail girl will not survive
Tonight without you.
Jayadeva (12th century)
Gita Govinda (Tr. Barbara Stoller Miller)
The moon made a good showing last night,
making all other concerns seem shallow.
Even with all that architecture in the way, the moon remains undefeated.
People act crazy during an eclipse. I know someone who was even attacked while out for a simple evening stroll. Get well soon, Snack!
It's hard to be a little dog in a big dog's world.
I am spending a weekend with the girls. It makes me think of a round we used to sing in girl scouts.
Make new friends
and keep the old
One is silver
and the other's gold
Sadly, my personal experience of Brownies was as an evil, neo-Nazi organization.
I am forming my own rival scouting organization/street gang, starting this weekend. We will wear special hats. There will probably not be much violence involved in my street gang, although we will be available for hire as spies/dancers.
There will be a merit badge system of some kind. The badges I am going for this weekend: Fine Dining and Sleep.
This poem will be read at the start of all meetings of my new scouting organization/street gang. From the collection Gitanjali, by the great Bengali poet and Nobel laureate Rabindrinath Tagore.
On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying,
and I knew it not. My basket was empty and the flower remained unheeded.
Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from my
dream and felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the south wind.
That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing, and it seemed to me that it was the eager breath of the summer seeking for its completion.
I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and that this perfect sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own heart.
Being a jazz widow, this Valentine's Eve I decided to go to the movies by myself. The Lincoln Center Film Society was showing Harold and Maud, and I love this novel but have never seen the movie. So I dragged my maudlin ass out of the apartment and over to Lincoln Center, waited in line for half an hour, only to learn that it was sold out.
This was really depressing: I was thwarted in my already-sort-of-depressing Valentine's plans.
But then I rallied. I realized that it was opera season. I jogged over to the Met and asked one of the old men out front holding a ticket what was playing. He said, "The Barber of Seville." Too good to be true! Nothing could be less depressing than this lightest of all operas. The old man said his wife was sick, so he would let me have her ticket, which was $275, for $200. I ran around looking for an ATM and made it back just in time.
This was the best seat I've ever had to an opera. I was tenth row center for some exquisite singing. I particularly enjoyed the tenor, Jose Manuel Zapata, who had a heavenly voice and a zeppelin-like figure. Rob Besserer was hysterical in a non-singing role as the narcoleptic servant. And best of all, there was an actual donkey on stage during a few scenes. An opera fan really feels like she's gotten her money's worth when there is a large mammal on stage such as an elephant, donkey, or pony.
Then I went to Bar Boulud and had some yummy pate en croute.
Sending a big kiss to everyone who is sleeping alone tonight....
I had a wonderful Manhattan the other day at Pegu Club, which serves, in my opinion, the best cocktails in the city. Balanced and beautiful and sans attitude. (Although, weirdly, when you Google "Pegu Club," their website now shows up with a tag line reading, "The best jazz club in NYC.")
I learned a new word! I've always wondered what the technical term is for the little carafe of extra-ness you get when you order a martini-style drink and it won't all fit in the glass. It is called a dividend, according to Kenta, who is my favorite bartender at Pegu Club. Kenta has zen stylings.
There were some bright-eyed and bushy-tailed twenty-two-year-old girls sitting next to me, newly arrived from Brandeis. They were wondering what bars in the city were good for meeting nice men, and by "nice men," they meant "mensches." Kenta and I were both like, "Um, none." I can't imagine trying to meet nice men at a bar, with the exception, of course, of the bartenders.
I am tempted to buy a dividend, but I have too many gadgets already, including the new one Ethan brought back for me as a birthday gift from Palermo.
It is a truffle slicer and brush! I love it! Now all I need is a truffle. I wish they grew in Prospect park. I would totally buy a pig and run a little business on my stoop.
Today I began to make Jaime Boudreau's Amer Picon Replica, though I'm scaling the recipe down somewhat. Amer Picon is a delicious bitters that is not yet imported into the US. It is gentler and spicier/fruitier than other bitters I've had, and I first tasted it in France in a delicious drink with vodka and muddled Charentais melon.
I love me a recipe that takes months! This comes courtesy of Damon at mixology mecca Lenell's in Red Hook and is slightly different than the one posted on Jaime's site. Not sure which is the preferred recipe.
3 bottles Ramazotti
7 1/2 cups orange tincture (recipe below)
1/2 bottle Stirrings Blood Orange
1/2 bottle of Fee's Orange
1/2 bottle of Evian (what size bottle? not sure, but I have a couple months to figure it out...)
For orange tincture: Use one ounce of dried orange peel for every cup of 100 proof vodka. Soak for two months, shaking daily.
For Amer Picon replica: Mix all ingredients and let sit for at least a week. Strain and filter. Store refrigerated.
I have featured Ganesha in the past, but he bears repeating. Today I direct you to the always scintillating Digest for Semiological Transcoding for a beautiful story illustrating Ganesha's creativity and wisdom. This story makes me think of how when I focus on little, mundane things I waste a lot of effort and accomplish nothing. But when my actions are centered on what is true, they become very efficient.
What can be better than those weird youtube clips of Sanskrit chanting with psychedelic montages of the Hindu gods? It's the perfect thing to watch after a long night on the town.
May all our obstacles be removed.