It was great that the parents got to hear the concert.
The past six weekends have been extremely busy, with Black History Month at church. The last Sunday in February, there was a miscommunication by the guest minister.
We ended up having two different preachers for our two services, the latter showing up five minutes before the latter worship started, and she was great, but it was nerve-wracking. That’s also the day of the luncheon, which my wife is heavily involved in.
March 10 began with cleaning the house in anticipation of having folks over to play the card game hearts. Back in 1987/1988, a rotating cadre of us would go to Broome’s house to play three or four times a week. It has been reduced to once a year, the Saturday nearest my natal day.
But it’s not all card play. There’s a lot of talking among old friends, some of whom hadn’t seen each other in a year or two. There’s also eating, especially Orchid’s lasagna(TM).
At one point, there were six of us left. We could have played two games of three players each. Instead, we pretty much invented, on the spot, a double-deck game, stripping the deck of the pair of 2 of clubs. One CAN get BOTH queens of spades at the same time. It was so bizarre, in a GOOD way.
Pretty much as soon as the last guest left, my wife rushed down to the Palace Theater to attend the Albany Symphony. Early on, the mayor of Albany, Kathy Sheehan gave brief remarks about how great the ASO is. I had introduced her at my church for her talk on her equity agenda six days earlier.
The concert was conducted, as usual, by the adventurous David Alan Miller: it was the preview of what would be performed at the Kennedy Center in April 2018. The first piece in the second half was Dorothy Chang’s The Mighty Erie Canal, featuring 150 fourth-through-sixth graders from the Troy Public Elementary School All-City Choir.
Of course, their parents were there to see them, bringing along the singers’ younger siblings, who made the noises that toddlers will make, during the first half, Joan Tower’s Still/Rapids featuring pianist Joyce Yang, and Michael Daugherty’s Reflections with tuba virtuoso Benjamin Pierce.
It was great that the parents got to hear the concert. My wife overheard one parent of a small child sigh that they were not able to afford a babysitter. So it was what it was.
Still, as a snobbish symphony goer, it was easier to listen to Michael Torke’s Three Manhattan Bridges, also with the dazzling pianist Yang, after the kids, and their parents, and their sibs departed.
We got to bed about 11 p.m. EST, but woke up about 7 a.m. EDT. My position about the evils of changing the clock is on the record.
We dragged ourselves to church, then the Daughter went to the movies while we went to see the touring production of the Tony-winning play, The Humans, by Stephen Karam, at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady. It’s about a family dinner on Thanksgiving.
Instead going to the homestead in Scranton, PA, the folks celebrate at the apartment of younger daughter Brigid (Daisy Eagan), a struggling composer living with her 38-year-old, still a student, boyfriend Richard (Luis Vega) in Lower Manhattan.
The visiting Blakes are the father, Erik (Richard Thomas, yes of The Waltons), the mother, Dierdre (Pamela Reed), older daughter Aimee (Therese Plaehn), with a plethora of problems, and Erik’s dementia-stricken mother (Lauren Klein), who’s having one of her “bad days.”
If you’ve ever had a holiday meal with extended family, you will recognize these people. The play is funny, sometimes uproariously so, and sad, and a little eerie, as disappointments about life bubble up.
The Tony-winning set by David Zinn is recreated here, and it’s brilliantly designed and used. The Humans was sensitively directed by Joe Mantello. Here’s a review.
The performances were good, but the storybook is still very thin.
There’s only three of us, but we calendar a LOT these days so that we don’t inadvertently book a couple items on the same day. These all happened in June.
ITEM: The Wife and I saw, at the local Steamer Number 10 theater, Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, an “unauthorized parody” written by Bert V. Royal. The “play imagines characters from the popular comic strip Peanuts as degenerate teenagers.”
It starts when “CB and CB’s sister have a funeral for their dog, who recently contracted rabies and was put down after killing ‘a little yellow bird’.” This is NOT children’s fare.
It was very good, but obviously very dark. I would like to believe that the homophobia displayed by Matt, a manifestation of Pig Pen, would not be as virulent in 2017 as it was when the play was first performed in 2004, but maybe it is.
ITEM: Friends of ours gave us tickets to the Albany Symphony Orchestra, which is a very fine symphony indeed. This program was held at the EMPAC, a fascinatingly cool structure.
The logistical issue was the birthday party to which the Daughter was invited late in the afternoon, but that ended up working out well. She stayed at the party long enough that she was home alone only about an hour. In large part, that was aided by the ASO decided NOT to perform the first piece on the program because ot wasn’t ready, the first time that’s happened when we’ve attended. But the other four pieces were quite enough.
ITEM: The three of us saw the last performance of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Mac-Hadyn Theater. All I know of this musical is the LP I owned, barely 30 minutes. This is expanded by at least three songs. The performances were good, but the storybook is still very thin.
ITEM: Another trip to Mac-Hadyn a couple weeks later to see Anything Goes. The first time I had seen it was a couple years ago at Catskill High School. I continue to marvel how well the choreographer coordinate people coming off and on this tiny stage.
ITEM: I’ve mentioned our church’s relationship with Giffen Elementary School, with with the Book and Author event the past five years, and tutoring for even longer. We went to the grand opening of Wizard’s Wardrobe, “a non-profit organization providing a free, after school tutoring program for elementary school students in the South End of Albany.”
Bermel was “inspired by tempestuous letters written by Hungarian composer Bela Bartok, [reflecting] on the struggles of living as an immigrant in an unfamiliar country,” the United States.
The family went to the Wednesday, November 23, 8 p.m. showing of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady. It won the 2015 Tony Award for Best New Play, and is now on its first North American tour. Simon Stephens has adapted Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel.
Fifteen-year-old Christopher is extraordinarily intelligent, but has difficulty with everyday life. “When he falls under suspicion for killing his neighbor’s dog, he sets out to identify the true culprit, which leads to an earth-shattering discovery and a journey that will change his life forever.”
The Daughter has almost exactly the same symptoms.
Mother’s Day, May 10, was absolutely beautiful. Blue skies, decent temperatures, no rain, flowers in bloom. Had a nice dinner with an extended troupe of in-laws in Catskill, an hour south of Albany. Got home that evening, went to bed with a hacking cough, which led to a sore throat, in lieu of sleeping. This was not a cold or the flu; this was allergy, to trees, and grass, and pollen. There are conflicting theories as to whether a long and harsh winter could lead to an equally irritating spring allergy season, because it postpones the budding.
All I know is that I was miserable, despite getting injections every four weeks for several months. Now I’m on Fluticasone (nose spray), Advair (an inhaler) and am taking Zyrtec tablet (actually the OTC equivalent); the latter makes me tired, so I take it only at night. I’ve been sleeping sitting up for most of last week and a half. Continue reading “Bring back the bad weather!”