Thursday, March 31, 2011

Macy's—Art and Commerce at the Flower Show

Despite economic difficulties common to almost all enterprises great and small, Macy’s has continued to delight citizens of New York and elsewhere, especially twice a year with its July 4 fireworks display and spring flower show. This year’s show was somewhat garish, but nevertheless delightful as usual. The ground-floor location, devoted mostly to beauty products and jewelry, is enhanced by the many lush floral and foliage arrangements that reflect the aesthetic intent of most of the merchandise. I saw lots of people like me with their tiny digital cameras, but not too many actually making purchases.

Despite numerous upgrades and its longstanding fame from the film Miracle on 34th Street—and don’t forget the celebrated Christmas windows—Macy’s still isn’t a chic or even a really convenient place to shop. Still, they’ll always get me in there at least once a year to see the blooms.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Alice on Brrrroadway!

Free-associating again, I was reminded of a childhood trip to New York City at Easter, long ago. The reason is that I was asked about current April weather, and what the visitor should wear. This made me think of how I nearly froze to death in my then-obligatory camel’s hair coat over what was probably a thin cotton dress. This, even though I wore the hat and gloves considered proper at the time. But the discomfort of the cold was more than offset by my very first Broadway show!

Long a fan of Alice in Wonderland—and long before I was really aware of the objects of Lewis Carroll’s satire (and his fondness for “children, except boys”)—I now realize that Mom had made a special effort for me to see this show, which I enjoyed unreservedly. Also, it starred a young dancer, Bambi Linn, who had received a lot of publicity for her talent and youthful success. A protégée of Agnes de Mille, she had already appeared in the dream ballet in Oklahoma! and as Louise in Carousel. An aspiring ballet dancer myself, I collected articles and pictures of Bambi and other dance notables, and she was one of my heroes.

The show itself used the Tenniel illustrations for its designs, which also made me happy. Although I don’t remember it all in detail, I do remember the great Eva LeGallienne, who also wrote the stage adaptation, flying in on a wire as the White Queen. I was fortunate enough to find this link, which describes the show in detail:

"Alice In Wonderland - The 1947 Broadway production starring Bambi Linn"

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It's Supermoon!

It is the very error of the moon;
She comes more nearer earth than she was wont, 

And makes men mad.

—Act V, scene ii

You can find something in Shakespeare for every occasion. Unlike the "birthers" who don't think President Obama was born in the U.S., or the doubters who don't think men have actually walked on the moon, I'm a believer that he was and they did. And also that the Bard wrote his own stuff, hardworking theater guy that he was.

I'm sorry that this photo of "supermoon" isn't mine; I cribbed it from an online Indian newspaper. My little Canon Powershot just couldn't deliver the goods this evening. I walked down to the end of East 52nd Street (where Garbo used to live, BTW) and joined a few other moongazers, a couple of whom were also trying for shots. Two families brought little children to see the phenomenon of a larger-than-usual full moon at its perigee, something that occurs only once every few years. A clear Manhattan night helped to make this view of la luna right over the landmark Pepsi-Cola sign on the East River especially memorable.

It's easier to worship the moon than it is the sun, because you can look right at the moon without damaging your eyes. And this one is certainly worth a long look.