IT’S THAT KIND OF A CITY

The last time you were splurging at the Vuitton branch on Nevsky–did you know that you were in the building where Nijinsky had his last St. Petersburg apartment? It was very spacious and he lived there with his sister and mother.

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A GREAT LADY

Nora White Shattuck’ s family just gave her a big fete for her 90th.

Several weeks ago, she called to tell me she’d liked the Ballet Review interview. I waited until the festivities had ended to call her, and apologize for a little typo on my part.  White told me that had “sweated” all through her New York-bound train trip, when she had to leave the Ballet Russe tour because of an ailing appendix.  Somehow in my spell check or just because of a glitch I made, that came out “sweared” instead of “sweated.”

“That’s perfect,” she said today when I apologized. “I think I was probably swearing. I was underneath the benches. . . “

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A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE

Responding to what Laura and I parley-ed about Serenade, Anna Demwoski writes:

“I would love to write like Laura. However I disagree with her. Balanchine may have been ‘stylizing away from the moment’ in the 1970’s. But Diana Adams’ performance in the CBC telecast is not evidence of this. I saw Serenade on the State Theater stage in 1978, and in video recordings on youtube that simulate the point of view of sitting in a large theater.

The telecast of 1957 gives me the impression that the dancers are in a small dark gym, their faces and figures revealed by flickering fluorescent lights. I am watching them in a gallery one floor above. I love it. But is it a record of a theatrical performance of Serenade in 1957?”

Was Adams’ performance emotionally hyped for the cameras? I couldn’t say. But I do know that Balanchine used to tell various Waltz ballerinas: “Look at her like she’s your mother,” about that moment when, as Adams shows us so eloquently, the Waltz lady goes to a corps de ballet member for solace.

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BELLICOSE, INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC

from the new Army Chief of Staff. Under-reported, naturally, by the “mainstream” media, but Mark Karlin at Truthout isn’t shy about pondering how ominous these words are.

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HAVE YOU EVER HAD PEACHES FRESH OFF THE TREE?

I have over the past several days, and I picked them myself.  Some were a little over ripe from the sun, but however mushy or bruised in parts they were all-systems-delicious. It’s like those “Maverick” pears from Harry & David, the scuffed-up ones. My parents used to send out New Year’s gifts of the perfectly-complected pears but buy “Mavericks” for our own consumption! Nobody complained.

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I’M GLAD YOU GOT OVER YOUR ISSUES –

But did you have to get THAT over them??

That’s what I’d like to say to a friend of mine who recently died of something HIV related.

When I first knew him decades ago he wasn’t a virgin, wasn’t closeted, but was pretty much celibate–because he was terrified of AIDS, and also, I think, because of hang-ups relating to growing up in the Bible Belt.

He moved away from NY and I didn’t see him for a long time. When I saw him over the last ten years he was over his inhibitions. He’d become in fact rather reckless. I would laugh and say to him, “Is the same sweet little hung-up person I knew. . .”

He never told me he was sick and living across the country I hadn’t seen him in four years

I left a VM for him a few weeks before he died, and when he returned it he said he sounded the way he did because he was getting over bronchitis. Soon after that, his sister called me to tell me what was happening.

Was his secrecy a hangover of some kind of guilt? As another friend of mine used to say, “All extremes meet.”

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I LIKE THIS T-SHIRT

“Bellevue: Health Care for the 99 %”

Saw it on someone and asked about it. Seems it sold out at the Bellevue gift shop. It was printed to go along with a marathon in which Bellevue staff was participating.

It’s good for Bellevue to keep its visibility high. . . New York wouldn’t want it to go the way of St. Viincent’s, would we? (Yes I know one is public and one WAS private.)

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VIOLETTE VERDY

brightened our Manhattan shores twice (so far) this year–

once, to tape for the Balanchine Foundation her coaching Balanchine’s Sonatine in February, and then second, to teach at the School of American Ballet in May. At SAB she also coached a class in her Emeralds variation. I went to watch and it was, well–unforgettable. Moving.

Didn’t go to watch Sonatine, but Marina Harss did and she’s written about it for The Nation. Here it is!

I was talking today to an ex-NYCBer who was in the corps of Jewels in the late-1960s. He’d be warming up and make it a point to watch Verdy dance her Emeralds variation at every performance. And each performance she gave was expressed somewhat differently.

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YOU KNOW,

sometimes it’s really nice to see classically oriented ballet dancers do something totally  Neo.

Case in point: Baryshnikov with Browne, Carberry, and Dunham in a scaled-down Who Cares? for Dance in America from the late-1980s. It wasn’t fashionable or even acceptable in many quarters to say something like this at the time, but boy did the other side of the plaza do justice to this! Yes, male virtuoso technique’s gotten fancier (read: pushy and cluttered) since then, but Baryshnikov still can’t be beat.

I just saw it recently for the first time. I watched Tchernichova work extensively with those three women but Who Cares? wasn’t in ABT’s rep. I think Baryshnikov did a concert version on his private summer tours. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Wish I could tell Elena how good “her girls” look here–yes, she was proprietary that way!

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WHEN MEGYN KELLY IS CONSIDERED AN HONEST JOURNALIST –

You know how low the bar’s been set.

I’ve already written about that softball she tried to throw Jeb, and how he fumbled only by failing to catch it–the “if you knew then what you know now” pitch on Iraq.

And yes, she’s considerably less odious than The Donald, but as RETIII at DailyKos.com points out, she lied through her teeth at the debates.

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