• Upcoming trips



    13-23 January, 2018 Cruise out of New York around the Caribbean on the Norwegian Gem. Note : this trip has been cancelled altogether because of the damage caused by the hurricanes to the Caribbean islands.

    October 31st - 11 November. Caribbean cruise to break up the winter. Note: The itinerary has not yet been determined owing to the havoc wreaked by the hurricanes.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    October 8 Went to BAM, for the first time since Ethel died, to hear a wonderful modern opera composed and written by Matthew Aucoin called “Crossing”. It is based on Walt Whitman’s experience and the libretto is largely taken from his poetry.

    The story is multi-themed, as modern plays tend to be; the first is a harrowing anti war depiction of the suffering wounded seen through Whitman’s eyes when he volunteered as a nurse during the American civil war; the second is Slavery and its effect upon a run-away slave who fights on the Union side; the third is treachery portrayed by a guilt-laden deserter who spies for the South. And forth, inevitably these days, is the (entirely fictional) homosexual one.

    The powerful music fits the story perfectly and the voices of the lead singers and the chorus is magnificent; Rod Gilfry, bass-baritone, sings the part of Walt Whitman, Alexander Lewis plays John Wormley, the deserter, and Davone Tines, whose baritone reminded me, distinctly, of the sound of the legendary Paul Robeson.  Both Christine and I were extremely moved by the work. We newly discovered Walt Whitman’s poetry, too.

    October 20. Thanks to the invitation of our friend Francia, who is a member, we went to the Diller-Quaile School of Music to listen to a chamber concert given by the Diller-Quaile String Quartet. The program was comprised of Haydn and Debussy quartets; played magnificently by very experienced and talented musicians in an intimate. and perfectly designed, music space. Chatting with the musicians after the concert added to a first class evening.

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Museum mile – The artist and his model

Every year, the museums on Fifth Avenue (The Museum Mile) hold an open evening for all-comers. The Avenue is closed to traffic for the occasion and cases of coloured chalk are provided so that frustrated New Yorkers of all ages can vent their artistic yearnings on the unsuspecting tarmac.

The event is always oversubscribed and the line for each museum snakes around its respective block. Christine and I attached ourselves to the Cooper Hewitt line because neither of us had seen the inside since the start of the two-three year make-over which has just been completed. (The garden, where Ethel and I spent countless serene hours, is still not open, though).

We took a whirlwind tour of several galleries and my impression was one of chaos; like the Sir John Soanes museum in London, not an inch of wall or floor is  left without an artifact or exhibit occupying it! It could be that this  impression was largely due to the crush of people. There were many exhibits of interest which I would like to see in depth and, since I am a member of the Smithsonian, of which, the Cooper Hewitt is a branch, I will be able to view  them later when the museum is not under siege.

One happening of note this year was an artist (whose name I couldn’t get because of the crush of photographers around him)  painting his model (literally) on the sidewalk outside the Guggenheim! I fought for shots along with the best of them; not as successfully as I would have liked, but you can judge for yourselves from the sequence I have posted in this blog.

On the way to Fifth Avenue, this tent was set up in the street  opposite The Cooper Hewitt and a stylish wedding  reception was just breaking up . . . .

On the way to Fifth Avenue, this tent was set up in the street opposite The Cooper Hewitt and a stylish wedding reception was just breaking up . . . .

 . . . . on the way back, a man was lying on the ground by these tables and an ambulance was screeching is way to the scene. I was not the groom I understood.

. . . . on the way back, a man was lying on the ground by these tables and an ambulance was screeching is way to the scene. It was not the Groom I understood.

 . . . . encouraging mums and dads watched while their kids enjoyed the unexpected freedom . . . .

. . . . encouraging mums and dads watched while their kids enjoyed the unexpected freedom . . . .

The object is to use up as much chalk as possible in the allotted two hours . . . .

The object is to use up as much chalk as possible in the allotted two hours . . . .

 . . . . . .

. . . . . .

 . . . . . .

. . . . . .

One of the design exhibits in the Cooper Hewitt . . . .

One of the design exhibits in the Cooper Hewitt . . . .

 . . . . .Fabric designs

. . . . .Fabric designs

 . . . favours and  . . .

. . . favours and . . .

 . . .and funny hats were part of the fun.

. . .and funny hats were part of the fun.

. . . . . I wish I could have taken note of the artist’s name; I would be interested in seeing his other works. He was lucky in finding such a brave model for this public work!

Blasé New Yorkers passed by with hardly a look when the artist first started work . . . .

Blasé New Yorkers passed by with hardly a look when the artist first started work . . . .

 . . . . .  then the I-phone crowd descended upon the scene and it was every man for himself !

. . . . . then the I-phone crowd descended upon the scene and it was every man for himself !

finishing touches

finishing touches

 . . . . detail . . . .

. . . . detail . . . .

 . . . . . .

. . . . . .

 . . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

 . . the brush tickles a bit . . .

. . the brush tickles a bit . . .

 . . .quite a lot sometimes . . .

. . .quite a lot sometimes . . .

Orange ear!

Orange ear!

The finished work. (NOT for sale!)

The finished work. (NOT for sale!)

Click on the images for greater detail.

 

 

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