Birds singing in the Sycamore trees …


…dream a little dream of me.

That title will be more relevant by the end of this post if all goes according to plan. Which is not often the case with freestyle writing. This past week has been exemplary of this city’s overwhelming amount of dynamic and diverse art and culture, as well as of the synergy that exists if we know how to find it. In the past week I’ve seen two plays, four gallery shows, one film series, and all were entirely compelling — I would highly recommend any of them. The first play was “Fun Home”, a memory play/musical based on a graphic novel about the playwright’s quest to understand her life as defined by her sexuality and her father’s suicide. It’s at the Public and starred, among others, Michael Cerveris, who was so riveting in Sweeney Todd that I saw it three times when it was last in town, and who was perfect as this show’s equally dark and complex male lead. The second play, also a memory play, is “The Glass Menagerie”; I’ve seen this show before but never as stunningly staged and performed as this version is. It’s magic, not cheap, but if you have the opportunity it is live theater at its very best. In my humble opinion. And Ben Brantley’s. 

Gallery shows – two Richard Serras, one on 21st Street and one on 24th, at the Gagosian; one by a Las Vegas-based artist named David Ryan at the Galerie Richard on 24th – it’s only there through Wednesday; one photography exhibit at Steven Kasher on Vietnam through the eyes of the photojournalists who covered it. It’s fascinating, humbling, heartbreaking, and tells the stories behind some of the iconic images from the war that are embedded in our collective memory. 

Clearly I’m not an art writer or theater critic, but I know what I like and I like everything I’ve seen in the past seven days. 

Finally, Sunday, we went to the Film Forum to see a series of the earliest Mickey Mouse cartoons in honor of the fella’s 85th anniversary. I knew this would be entertaining but I was the plus-one, not the driving force for attending this. It was fascinating from an animation point of view as well as a historical one; the good mouse made his debut in 1928 and his early days encompassed the stock market crash, the Depression, the second half of Prohibition, World War II. His job was to provide escape and entertainment to audiences at a time when the world was short on both; the films reflect beautifully the spirit of the era, the music, the rise of industry and changes in agriculture. There were a lot of kids in the audience, some of whom weren’t having any of it, but many of whom were  – how refreshing that they appreciated the low-fi medium and didn’t need all of the merch tie-ins – the boardgames and backpacks and breakfast cereals – to enjoy the ride. 

I’ve been having variations on my recurring dream lately: the basic plot is that I am entertaining friends in my parents’ home – meant to be my childhood home – and I give them a tour of the house. At the end of the tour I “remember” that there’s another room that I’d forgotten about, a hidden room that is grand an opulent and a little bit haunting but not threatening. I’ve talked this over with a dream analyst and we reached the conclusion that the forgotten room is an unfinished part of myself – an unrecognized talent, an unknown truth, a hidden beauty (her words, as the room is beautiful).

Last night I also visited a venue I frequent in my dreams, a music venue in a New Orleans/Paris/San Fran/Lower East Side hybrid. It’s my favorite place to see and hear live music.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams–Eleanor Roosevelt  

One thought on “Birds singing in the Sycamore trees …

  1. I recently saw “The Glass Menagerie,” and I also loved it. I recommend the Lewis Hine exhibit at the International Center of Photography… and two exhibits for which you will need advance tickets: Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis (at The Frick) and The Armory Show at 100 (at the New-York Historical Society.)
    Have you ever visited this museum?

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