Today, on New Year's Day, January 1, 2009, I wore that same bright green sweater to a brunch.
The photo that ended up in Harley's Ninth, is actually the second photo we took. Roberto and I re-shot the author's photo because the first coverflap looked too sad -- there were all sorts of tragedies at that point in time, reflected in my face -- and Knopf kindly allowed me to redo it. In fact, they kindly allowed me to have a photo in the first place, because they usually don't do that for my genre.
I love Roberto's photos because he captures souls, even the soul of a statue or a building. I also love Roberto because we have the same birthday, July 27. We are both Leos, and sometimes we have thunderous disagreements.
To see more of Roberto's work go here:http://www.robertosilva.net/
(Update 12/20/13 - Roberto has let that domain expire.)
I ended up at Cirk because of New Year's Eve Venetian shenanigans. I was not in the mood to play, and decided at the last minute to change my plans. So, about 5pm, I thought, what shall I do tonight? Just like a movie, I saw the poster for CIRK at the Goldoni Theatre. It was a Pantakin production. All sorts of bells and whistles went off in my brain, because many years ago, I had written about the Pantakin production of Ombra di Luna for the International Herald Tribune's Italy Daily. It was one of my most difficult pieces to write; in fact, I almost gave up, but it ended up being one of the stories I like the best.
The ensemble of Ombra di Luna, or Moon Shadow, challenges the idea of what, exactly, constitutes a circus. Inside a tent at the Port of Venice, smoldering campfires peek out from behind a forest of trees. Painted stars illuminate the ceiling. There is a rumble, and the skeleton of a ship is carried into the ring. Instead of a ringmaster cracking a whip, the host for the evening is a squawking bird wearing a mask in the role of a clown inspired by the Commedia de l'arte. As the evening progresses, elements of folk theater, acrobatics, dance, contortion, music, juggling and improvisation are hung loosely together on the ancient Sumerian myth of Gilgamesh, the seeker who was one-third man and two-thirds god.
Ah! Those were the days, my friends. I can't imagine writing like that for a newspaper at this point in time (I'm sure some of you are thinking: thank god for that!:). In any event, I made a phone call, and was fortunate to score a ticket to Cirk at the last moment -- the theater was packed.
Cirk is similar to Ombra di Luna, only the story is loosely about a missing elephant instead of being loosely about Gilgamesh. None of the players are the same as in Ombra, but the spirit of Pantakin is the pillar. That image you see is Beppe "Sipy" Tenenti juggling, um... elephant dung. It was so bizarre, funky, and out there... but there was something about it that was very human... honest and sincere.
The stand-out in the show was Emmanuelle Annoni, a coquettish colt with a sense of humor, a daring, focused talent, and very flexible bones. Not so easy to feign sleep on a tightrope!
As usual, I am having a problem with my embedding, so here is the YouTube link for the three minute promo. It is very... European, and will give you a nice taste of the difference between cultures -- my voice is very American, and so it seems familiar, but my backdrop is most definitely European:
After the show, I wandered into Piazza San Marco, but was not impressed, so I went home. As the people on the streets became drunk and starting breaking bottles and exploding firecrackers, I watched the fireworks from my balcony as the snow came down. I put my speakers outside and blasted Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 over the Grand Canal, Arturo Toscanini leading Vladimir Horowitz with the NBC Symphony Orchestra, a recording from Carnegie Hall in 1943. It was a beautiful image, the tumbling snow, the fireworks over the palazzi and the people gathered on the Rialto Bridge, listening to the music.
Happy New Year from Venice,
*UPDATE 12-20-2013 - Once again I've tried to fix the formatting on this post, with a little success.