Friday, June 18, 2010

Bloomsday! James Joyce in Pula, Croatia and on the Upper West Side

Last Wednesday, June 16, was Bloomsday, celebrated in NYC each year by loyal readers of Joyce's Ulysses. Had forgotten about it until bedtime, when I tuned in to my favorite radio station, WNYC-FM, which was broadcasting a special program from Symphony Space in Upper Manhattan. Instead of their traditional reading of the novel straight through—which takes all day—they were interspersing scenes from The Odyssey with long passages from the novel. The program was to conclude with Fionnuala Flanagan reading Molly Bloom's closing soliloquy. I settled myself comfortably with my bedside radio and awaited Ms. Flanagan's performance. My mistake was getting too comfortable. When I awoke about an hour and a half later, Molly was still soliloquizing. I anticipated the final sentences, but dozed off again. Yes...yes...yes....

It's gratifying that the residents of Pula, Croatia (not that far from Trieste, where Joyce spent some time teaching English and where there's a small museum devoted to him as well as a statue overlooking the harbor) had enough respect for the great Irish writer to erect this statue of him enjoying a drink at a local café. It was a pleasant surprise to encounter him there. Yes.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Maybe Not "Only in New York"

Sorry that I couldn't find the exact baseball cap online, so this one will have to do. While waiting for a bus the other day, I was joined at the corner by a fairly nondescript woman wearing a a black baseball cap with BOTOX on it in rhinestones. Make of this what you will. Her face didn't appear to have the frozen look of some of those who submit themselves to Botox injections, but then I didn't want to stare. I understand that these treatments are not painless, so I doubt that I shall ever avail myself of same, horrified as I am by the physical signs of aging. Will just stay in Deep Denial without actually undergoing any so-called treatments.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

"Beloved Ballet Mural" To Survive With Honor

A Long Time Ago, I wrote an article for Dance Magazine (under its previous ownership) about the ballet dancers' mural in O'Neals' restaurant near Lincoln Center. Here's a link to the piece:

Recently, Mike O'Neal, one of the proud and hospitable owners, has announced the closing of this restaurant, long an arts and showbiz favorite. Some of us wondered what would become of The Mural, but genial host Mike has allayed our fears with this, his latest e-mail, detailing the end of O'Neals' as we know it. A seafood restaurant is scheduled to open on the site come fall.


Dear Friends and Patrons,
I'm pleased to announce that Peter Martins has agreed to accept the "beloved Ballet Mural" on permanent loan to the New York City Ballet for the "O'Neal Family", the O'Neal family includes my late brother Patrick and his wife Cynthia, my wife Christine and all our children and me. the mural be on one wall in the Main Rehearsal Hall in the Koch Theater, I believe that all will be pleased.

The remainder of the artwork is being put up on a web site as we speak. You should go to the O'Neals' web link to "O'Neals' Art". Not all the pieces have prices yet. We've been meeting artists, dealers, appraisers and friends to try and establish fair rices on the art. This process may go on all summer, In the meantime you are welcome to make offers and we might be tempted. All the art is numbered so we can keep track of it. Be patient and keep checking the web site.

The Boat Basin Cafe is booming because the weather has been good. this Monday night we will have Flamenco Night again and the Citron Brothers will be back, The beginning of an exciting season.

the World Cup is in full swing at the Boat Basin Cafe and we are opening at 10AM each day for the events. Check the schedule and our web site for all upcoming events.

Sadly we are coming close to the end at O'NEALS'. Our last weekend will be Saturday June 26 when we will have a "normal" Saturday Night and on the 27th, we will serve lunch and pre-theater and the close for a Private Event for the Lincoln Center Theater. On our Last Day June 28 we will open at 4PM and serve wine, champagne and some hors d'oeuvres, All are invited! Customers, employees and even ex-employees.

Don't forget the continue to help the economy and DINE OUT OFTEN.

Midtown Moods

As an addict of the New York Times technology pages—though I'm far from an expert in that area—I keep reading that you can't get very good photos with most of the somewhat older cellphone cameras. Nevertheless, these were taken with my Samsung Instinct and aren't bad. Quite a few of my other blog photos were too, as I'm not always carrying my Canon Power Shot around with me. I would have liked the iPhone instead of the Instinct, which isn't terrible, but I was locked into a Sprint contract and didn't want to switch to AT&T, which doesn't always have great service, I hear.

Still can't decide if I like the chronological juxtaposition of Sir Norman Foster's addition to Joseph Urban's 1928 Hearst Building. I always enjoy looking at it, though, and I guess that answers that. So that's dramatic NYC; cosy-neighborhood NYC is represented by this particularly attractive produce stand (they're all over town) in the Lincoln Center area where I seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time. I bought asparagus and should also have bought their great-looking blackberries. Was trying to get the color contrast with the woman in the chartreuse mesh sweater who's just ducking out of the frame as I snap.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

"At the Ballet"

Just saw again, on cable, the excellent documentary Every Little Step, which chronicles the exhaustive audition process for the most recent revival of the unique landmark musical A Chorus Line. The song "Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet" explains how many kids get hooked on the wonderful, if limited, world of ballet at an early age and never get over it. (I'm still taking class—not the jumps and other hard stuff—at the advanced age of XXX. But it is a professional-level class.) I've already blogged extensively about my obsession with The Red Shoes, which was shown recently, with its newly restored, fabulous Technicolor, on TCM.

Thus, it did my heart good today to see Ulanova as an answer in the Saturday New York Times crossword. They don't usually get beyond Pavlova's first name (Anna). And plié is about as far as they ever get in terminology. Of course, I get annoyed by all of the pop-culture and sports references, but I manage to figure them out anyway. (O.K., I had to Google a character on Lost today; at least I had heard of the program.) My revenge is that pop-culture mavens have to figure out Ulanova.

I took this photo a few years ago on a visit—my second—to Russia. Ulanova was Stalin's favorite ballerina. At least he had good taste in dancers, even if he ruined the careers of many other artists, writers, and composers.