Okay, so I said I would be gone for a tad and then- again- I just disappeared for more than a week. If I were more responsible or reliable I would anticipate absences, explain them in advance and then not have to make lame excuses in retrospect. But I’ve been busy.
Since last we talked I went back to Florida and bought a houseful of faucets and light fixtures and sifted through dozens of paint chips. I could have written a couple posts with photos right there.
Then I had friends from BCMA (Book Club, My Ass) come for a couple days and we went to the SOFA (International Expositions of Sculpture Objects and Functional Art). There were definitely several good blog entries in that experience, including a description of the porcelain sculptured wall sconces I wanted for the Florida house, the ones that started at about 4,600.00. Of course we’re sticking with Lowe’s 89.00 wall sconces but I AM saving for a 11,700.00 piece of glass by Steffen Dam I might get instead of another car, some day. Robin Andrea, click on that link and you’ll see the attraction.
And I’ve been preoccupied with children’s issues and one of my sisters had bit of a go in the hospital and that was worrisome and just a lot of, well, you know, life.
But frankly, a week without a post here is no big deal. One of my friends in the neighborhood has signed off and that has left a vast empty space, especially when it comes to grace and music and art. For a fleeting moment I thought I might be able to come up with something to help fill that space but I already know it’s doomed to failure. Let’s start with a French painting, shall we?
Okay. That’s by way of telling you about my experience tonight at the Chicago Lyric Opera where I saw a performance of Salome. In theory, this should be adequate fodder for a post of substance on art, history, culture and music with a little bit of a Bible story thrown in for good measure.
Salome comes from the Gospel of Mark and Matthew and tells the story of Herod’s stepdaughter and the Dance of the Seven Veils. Salome dances for Herod, who is always looking at her inappropriately, in exchange for any wish she might have. Unfortunately for John the Baptist, that’s his head on a silver platter.
I think to fully appreciate opera you have to be able to suspend most all of your rational thinking. Richard Strauss’s Salome is a good case in point. The plot, a close re-write of Oscar Wilde’s controversial play, includes the executions of two principal characters, an incest-tinged strip tease and a climactic aria of necrophiliac ecstasy sung by a teenager. Add to that, of course, it’s in German. German is a bit too ich-ty and auf-ty for me; I don’t find it a very, hmm, gentle language. And there are only so many analogies you can make for "lovely white skin" before that loses it’s poetic punch.
Another problem was that this felt akin to a bus-man’s holiday to me. I kept having random thoughts like, "this family really puts the dys in dysfunctional" and "this is what happens when little girls are the object of their father’s sexual attention. They end up wanting some guy’s head on a plate."
Also, consider this: The Dance of the Seven Veils is, basically, that sensuous belly dance-slash-strip tease that ends up with Salome naked (albeit briefly at the Lyric Opera). The magnificent voice of the soprano who sings (and dances) as Salome belongs, true to form, to a lovely but LARGE middle-aged woman. There’s a direct relationship between the size of her voice and her Body Mass Index. So, I was working hard to suspend concrete thought there but soon after she’s rolling around on the stage floor with the Baptist’s head, complete with 18 inch long dreads. For fully ten minutes she hugs and kisses and nuzzles up this bloody stump to a fair-thee-well, trying to get from him in death the attention he wouldn’t give her in life. She keeps complaining that he won’t make eye contact with her.
A more sensitive and thoughtful person could easily read between the lines and find great symbolism and moral lesson in this tragic opera. It portends the coming of Christ and the trouble in store for these earthbound children of Babylon. Plus it’s all Freudian and stuff.
My problem was that I could never really clear my head from these two matters:
Last night I went to the movies and saw, not Stranger than Fiction, as recommended by my friend Bonnie, but Borat. So already my head was filled with visions of large naked people rolling around chaotically. Then this morning I did the exact opposite of what I was told to do about the slow draining kitchen sink. As Rich walked out the door to go spend four days on some beach for a sports conference he said, "Call the plumber. DO NOT put anything down there." So, naturally, I thought that meant the best solution was to pour 18 ounces of Draino down the garbage disposal. Since 9:30 this morning, I’ve been delirious from the thick cloud of methane gas wafting out of the kitchen. Other than the time I went to the opera I’ve been standing by the finch cage, wondering how soon they’re going to topple from their perches. It’s really bad. Really.
I need to do more yoga.