Carmen

Betalo Rubino, Dramatic Dancer, Robert Henri, 1916

Toreador!
Don’t spit on the floor
Use the cuspidor
That’s what it’s a-fore

We went to see Opera Theater’s production of Carmen, which is performed in English, with captioning. Using both the English translation and subtitles made understanding this show’s performance so much easier. This productions was set in Franco’s Spain, rather than Bizet’s 19th-century original setting. I don’t think that this change of period either added or subtracted much from the opera’s story, but it definitely made the dresser’s job easier.

Carmen is easily Anne’s favorite opera and I enjoy it too. Kathy loved the show and Frank found it better than he expected. High praise from him. As always, Bizet’s music is to die for and I think that Carmen’s story has taken on new significance with the advent of the #MeToo movement. Carmen uses her sexuality as a tool, to get what she wants, but I think that she actually cares for Don José, at least for awhile. She is neither predator nor victim, but rather living her life as she sees fit. She does not deserve her fate, but neither does she shy away from it either. In a sense then, she is a modern woman, both strong and self-reliant and determined to make her own way in this world. 

Taste of Maplewood

MRH HS Stage Band
Burn It to the Ground

Last night, in-between the storms, we attended the Taste of Maplewood, which has reopened after a two-year pandemic hiatus. Overall, this year’s fair was not as grand as in the past, but it may take a few years for it to come back all the way. There weren’t that many food booths. Those restaurants that did represent were more into selling booze rather than food. County health inspectors might have detoured them too. We did manage to snag a trio of Chateau Maplewood’s Gougéres Sliders that were quite scrumptious. I had a Schlafly Strawberry Hefeweizen to drink and Anne had a pink lemonade. Neither of us were much interested in any cocktail mixes that would burn our intestines to the ground. We listed to the half-hour set by the MRH HS Stage Band. This is the successor to the jazz band that David used to play in, when he was in high school. The above video captures their finale (The Middle by Jimmy Eat World). These days, we seem to be living in a world that is intent to burn itself to the ground. The optimism and strength of the young people overs hope that this will not occur. 

Signs of Spring

Neighborhood Crocuses and Pollinator

On Thursday, our neighbor, Art the Architect, came by to offers his advice. We are looking to install an upstairs bathroom. There is an area at the top of the stairs where one could be put. Right now, and for the last thirty-five years, it has been just bare studs and subflooring. We talked and he looked the site over and gave us the thumbs up, as in it seemed feasible. This was good news, in that he and his also architect wife, Caroline, had performed a similar service for another neighbor and for them had come to the opposite conclusion. That neighbor eventually had to build an addition in which they could then install their new bathroom. Art promised to come up with a drawing, which we could then use to solicit bids. Right now, is not the best of times to commence on such a project. Through the pandemic, everybody and their brother has been undertaking new home improvement project and there by saturating the market.

On Friday, we took our next step on this project, we went downtown and visited the Saint Louis home and garden show. This was a rather disappointing errand, in that there were few vendors there and all except for one were unwilling to consider undertaking a project such as ours. Still, we have an appointment next week with one candidate. Since the home show didn’t take long, we decided to extend our downtown visit by seeing the National Blues Museum. This relatively new museum was right next door to the convention center. It is pretty small, but still very interesting and on a weekday afternoon, we had it all to ourselves. Pictures to follow. Returning home, we noticed that another neighbor’s crocuses are now in bloom, a sure sign that spring is soon arriving.

Fifty Years Ago

Ann Arbor Monorail

Fifty years ago, yesterday, Anne and I had our first date. I took her to a concert, a rock concert that was held at our high school, Pioneer, in Ann Arbor. That’s right folks, we were high school sweethearts. It was our senior year. The concert’s bill was headlined by Bob Seger, yes that Bob Seger and also featured the MC5. Seger was also a Pioneer alum and had not yet reached the fame that he would later achieve. He was then a locally known, Detroit area musical act, as were the MC5. That night, I picked Anne up in what would eventually become my white VW bug. I came to her front door, knocked and was welcomed inside. Her entire family was there to see us off. We drove to the high school and went inside the auditorium. Some people danced in the aisles, but we were too shy for that. Instead, we held hands while seated and swung our arms together in time to the music. After the concert, I took her home. It would have been hard to believe on that night that some fifty years later we would still be a thing, but it’s true. About that time, Ann Arbor was considering building a monorail system for public transportation. A proposal for such a system was put before the Ann Arbor city council. This project never went anywhere, except to inspire Ann Arbor graphic artist Chris Bidlack to create this poster.