At today’s matinee, New York City Ballet was doing everything it could to put on a great show.

But ugh, that empty Fourth Ring.  It really looks dismal de-populated. Since they’re no longer selling seats up there up except for The Nutcracker, why don’t they cut their losses while improving the entire performance ambiance by–

Finding a way to give the tickets away to young people, students or people of any age whose income would prohibit them from even thinking about attending a live ballet performance. How many people would therefore  get to see ballet who would never go otherwise? And a full house is always a boon to performers. Ballet needs to rebuild its audience, and if it has to resort to a loss-leader, so be it–although “loss-leader” isn’t exactly accurate since they’re already not generating revenue up there. How nice to really reach out to the city that way. And what great PR for the company!

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Teresa Reichlen comes alive on stage with the right partner.

Two of the rightest are Zachary Catazaro, with whom I saw her dance Martins’ Symphonic Dances at Kennedy Center last spring, and Russell Janzen, with whom she danced Swan Lake and the first movement of Balanchine’s Suite No. 3 over the past week.

I first saw them paired in Diamonds  in 2014.  Reichlen can be dry but she wasn’t–and the last thing called for in a Suzanne Farrell role is dryness.

Janzen, negotiating a labyrinth of new roles since being pulled out of the corps two years ago, met the virtuoso demands of his Swan Lake solos respectably but without a great deal of force. As a classical technician I’d say he dances as well as nine out of ten men as tall could. In Suite No. 3 he’s not saddled with any big technical demands and he moves beautifully, while sustaining with truth the poetic narrative of the piece. And Reichlen is passionate—a direction she’s needed to be nudged toward.

Passion isn’t called for in Concerto Barocco, but it will be interesting to see Reichlen and Janzen in the slow movement later in New York City Ballet’s season.

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An elected office holder, I mean.  And now a Presidential candidate.

You can guess who I’m talking about.

There is, of course, every cognitive and economic as well as spiritual and aesthetic reason to promote the arts and arts education. It’s just that, once again, virtually the entire Democratic party capitulated–this time, to the GOP’s sting operation against the National Endowment for the Arts in the early 1990s. The Republicans have repeatedly tried to demonize anyone who breathes a word in support of art that is not corporate-backed popular entertainment.

Hillary has made some of the the right noises, and I compliment her on that, but Sanders is once again the most assertive of the Democratic bench.

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Hillary continues to handle things in a way that makes me doubt the fundaments of her modus operandi.

Why does she fall into the classic Democratic defensive crouch when it comes to Benghazi? Why hasn’t she come out swinging?  Why hasn’t she gone to town on the GOP’s hypocricy about embassy security funding? Does she not understand–the way the GOP certainly does–that a take no prisoner offense is the best defense? Didn’t she tell us in 1998 about the vast right-wing conspiracy–and of course facts about who was funding Whitewater and the impeachment circus proved her completely correct. And yet when it comes to Benghazi. she’s deer in the headlights.

Now that likely future Speaker of the House McCarthy gets caught confirming that the Benghazi campaign is yet another GOP abuse of government powers for partisan gain, it is time for her to turn flight into fight.

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Amazon will give you its own preview.

The photo of Osipenko on tour in Holland is one of my favorites.

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That’s what I tell my mother. (Facetiously, of course!) After all, both of her parents’ long-ago ancestors stepped off the Mayflower. And those Pilgrim/Puritans were a piece of work.

We see their legacy in the disturbances of our current culture–the both censorious and fetishized attitude toward sex that’s born of repression and guilt, the zealotry of religious intolerance.

Global violence is OK, but marital infidelity is a scandal worth impeaching a president for. (And don’t tell me it was actually about perjury. You think this country could care less about perjury? Hogwash. If the country cared about lying, GW Bush and his entire crew would be under lock and key. But wait a minute–I forgot–their lies led to global conflagration and carnage. So, really what’s the big deal?)

It’s absolutely fascinating to read about my ancestors in the fictionalized accounts of a writer as great as Hawthorne–not so exhilarating to confront the ideological legacy they left.

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Under a barrage of leading, hectoring questioning by GOP representatives who were determined not to allow her to speak or answer even their own highly tendentious, do-you-beat-your-wife railroading, she kept her cool.

How is it that the GOP retains any female supporters?

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That’s what Trump is plying, as he assures us that his wealth makes him independent of big contributors and thus disinterested.

Disinterested, as in Michael Bloomberg’s disinterested campaign to enrich his developer friends and turn Manhattan into Monte Carlo?

Disinterested, as in Trump’s own plan to cut taxes for himself and other rich people?

Back in 1875, Trollope hit the nail on the the head in The Way We Live Now, concerning Melnotte’s candidacy:

“It seemed, too that the orators and writers of the day intended all Westminster to believe that Melnotte treated his great affairs in a spirit very different from that which animates the bosoms of merchants in general. He had risen above any feeling of personal profit. His wealth was so immense that there was no longer place for anxiety on that score. “

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petition to protest and perhaps prevent the decapitation and crucifixion of 21-year-old Ali Mohammed al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia.

And Saudi Arabia is about to head a U.N. Human Rights Council panel–excuse me??

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Since you’ve pre-ordered, I’ll give you a preview.

“Are you crazy?” Zubkovskaya said to her. “Do you realize you’re marrying a man five years younger?” (Later, however, Zubkovskaya herself married Kutznetsov, who was six years younger than she.) “Every time Zubkovskaya saw me she asked, ‘Tell me, what do you do with him?’ Finally I said, ‘Inna, I don’t know; every morning I wake up, look around and think, Did I get married or did I give birth?’ ”

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