Sunday, February 28, 2010

Paul and Harry

When I first moved to NYC I wanted to experience all the culture it had to offer. I went to museums, plays, and dance performances regularly and saw films from all over the world and the whole range in terms of size and budget. Gradually I realized that I didn't like alot of it and I started to become more picky. I grew tired of looking for meanings within meanings within meanings, it just made me feel stupid. I was looking for culture that created connections to my own life and how others are similar/dissimilar to me and to really sound shallow-for beauty. I have never been the fan of art that is created to shock me. Real life is shocking enough. I do like how it can make me look at an idea/concept in a different way but at the same time I hate being hit on the head with a hammer in the process. And I don't know what it is but no matter how much I am enjoying an exhibit, I start yawning and can't wait to get to the last piece.

So I started going less and less frequently and often lost track of even what was going on. But luckily I have a friend who breaks me out of this mode periodically. He buys 2 or more tickets via TDF for things he wants to see and then goes down his list of friends to see if they would like to join him. I am not at the top of his list, but he knows I am on a budget and only have time to do these things on weekends. Last night I went with him to see the Paul Taylor Dance Company perform. There were three individual pieces and although the third was clearly the best I will probably always remember the first one because the first evoked wonderful memories for me.

The opening is a guy alone sitting crosslegged getting high dressed in a tank style t-shirt and blue jeans. As the piece goes on, more dancers join him and they all dance in a carefree, exaggeratedly relaxed style which I am sure much harder to do than it looks. They are all wearing jeans in the styles that were popular in the 1970s--various degrees bell bottoms, the flat front with the double row of black buttons (how I wanted those at one time!), all that very pale blue. And the music--all Harry Nilsson songs, songs that I knew, songs that I heard on the radio when they first came out. I was very young in the 70s but this piece brought me back to that time in a way that I had not expected.

Frankly I felt so connected to this piece that although I appreciated the other two pieces on a intellectual level, they seemed too serious, too mechanical, which I am sure is an unfair assessment. And because the Olympics are still at the top of my brain, I started comparing moves to those I have recently seen in the figure skating competitions. LOL so clearly I wasn't in the moment like I had been in the first piece. For me, that piece should have been last because it set an emotional standard that the others couldn't reach. I didn't ask Larry what he thought, I didn't want to sound uncultured but also he is older and I am sure that piece didn't affect him in the same way.

My friend walked me to the closest subway station but I wasn't ready to sit on a train. I felt like moving and it was a beautiful night to be in Manhattan. My head was full of the better part of the 70s and Harry Nilsson. I walked past the next station and was about to continue walking past the third when reality set in, my boots aren't the best walking shoes and it was 11 p.m. with at least a 45 minute ride home.

But today I am listening to Harry, thanks to Paul.

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