Monday, February 4, 2008

Weekend: Part 1 - Ballet, Brahmin, Birthday

Weekends rarely feel long -- somehow both an excess and an absence of activity can make them pass too too quickly. My past Friday through Sunday, however seemed to stretch a week long, a virtual parade of friends, family, art, entertainment, and lots of food.

Friday I met Melissa for dinner at Crow before the ballet. It was fantastic. I loved every bite I could squeeze in of my mushroom/kale/squash risotto, and then I tried her incredible roast chicken. Delicious oil and vinegar with the (unfortunately tough) bread, and interesting cocktails. A bit pricey ($28+tip per person), but good atmosphere and not obscenely packed or slow pre-show, a major plus near the Center.

We've all read Romeo and Juliet at least a couple times in public school, and have seen the Leonardo DiCaprio/Claire Danes version if nothing else. Even if we haven't, I think the basic premise is ingrained in every American female's psyche by the age of seven. It's the ultimate love story, right? Tragic and beautiful.

So I was both excited to attend a ballet which I was sure I could follow along, and a little uncertain what I'd take away from a reiteration of such a well-known story.

I was also uncertain of Prokofiev's composition, which I played on repeat for three days in preparation. Lush, sweet, tinkling melodies like two chiffon-laced ballerinas prancing through the mist? No. It's a circus, upbeat and loud, crashing and overly-excited. Interesting, but not my idea of romance.

So the curtain opens on a smooth white set, bare except footprints, and the dancers emerge in spare dark and light costumes. We begin with the friar, in my mind a round bald man in a heavy brown robe, here definitely the most interesting and attractive character in the performance. His initial impassioned thrusts set the tone for the evening, vigorous and spontaneous.

With dancers, the score is not chaotic or hard to follow -- it is narrative, and entirely appropriate. Melissa suggests something about youth, and I realize this is not a love story, not the romance novel I read in high school, but a story of overzealous youth, irresponsible and irrepressible. I'm struck by how quickly the story unfolds, how ridiculous their actions are, how when we begin Romeo is chasing a different girl. It's still beautiful and poignant, but I leave feeling sad rather than smitten -- sad and old.


Saturday I peruse the Rack pre-hair-appointment, and am heading for the door when I see a fresh rack of assorted handbags. I spy a very leathery hide that must belong to a Brahmin, and am ecstatic to find it is in fact my coveted brand, reasonably priced. (Which for me means it does not produce internal debate, nor am I embarrassed to admit the price in public. Later, I confirm MSRP is about $300 more.) My slight hesitance that it's a bit small for me vanishes when I think of how I've been watching Macy's since I first saw the bags, and have seen one Brahmin on sale once. And so I clutch it to my person and look around furtively at other shoppers who may poach my catch, and in a materialistic display that would make our president proud I step into the checkout line with my wallet out.


Hair appointment, then Flexcar to Darrington where 18" of snow in my parents' driveway forces me to park early and my stepdad to come pick me up. My mom and Caitie are Wiiing in the living room, my stepdad's present for her 52nd. I take charge making fondue, which everyone scoops up by my stepdad -- he takes a few bites, then clearly decides to wait for something more meaty and traditional. I also take charge of cake, because I'm on a schedule, then I'm out the door and chasing my high-beams back to civilization.

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