Marquis de Lafayette & A Carrot
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Zanahoria : Del ár. hisp. *safunnárya,
y este del gr.
σταφυλίνη ἀγρία staphylínē agría
Diccionario de la Real Academia Española
I really ignored the existence of the carrot until 1955 when my family and I moved to Mexico City.
Our second house after a few months in another was on Guillermo Shakespeare. Latin Americans, when possible translate into Spanish given names of famous foreigners. Not too far from our Guillermo Shakespeare was Plaza Jorge Washington.
My mother soon learned when taking a taxi home to properly pronounce the name of our street. She would tell the driver “Llévenos a la calle Guillermo Shak
(rymes with Jack) s
(s in English) peh – ah
(the musical note). To place the house she would say ,”Casi esquina con Marqués de Lafayette.” In Mexico City the different neighbourhoods are called colonias
. Our house was in Colonia Nueva Anzures.
On the corner with Lafayette and Shakespeare there was a juice bar. It was there that I discovered the delights of carrot juice. I could not quench my thirst of carrot juice because it was expensive.
My youngest daughter found out about this some 15 years ago so she gave me a juicer. I had juice for days until I found out that the carrot juice would stain the insides of the juicer orange (imagine the lining of my stomach!). Someone gave me the tip that if you rubbed the stain with salad oil the orange would go away. I became lazy and exiled the contraption to the basement.
Back in January (during our slow move to our new house in Kitsilano a colonia
of Vancouver, B.C.) I found the juicer and guilt prevented me from executing the term we used for getting rid of stuff we did not want or need “dumpomatic.”
I am happy to report that since the middle February to now I have been indulging in my carrot juice in the evenings before bed. Sometimes I use a couple of celery sticks. A bit of Maldon Salt
and good black pepper finish off my so favourite concoction.
This time around the juicer will remain in the kitchen.
Thank you Hilary.
Obsolescence & That TV Over The Mantle
Friday, February 12, 2016
One of my pleasant plans that were to happen in life in our new little house in Kitsilano was the prospect of cycling to Limelight Video
on Broadway and Alma. That is not to be as Limelight is closing shop in a few weeks. While many of the DVDs that they carry are available in our Vancouver Public Library system (and some are not!) it’s the British series that I found on the Limelight shelves that were the real attraction.
I have been visiting my framing friends Bruce and Jim Macadam of Magnum Frames. They do blockbuster business even though I believe that the concept of framing a photograph or a piece of art is on its way out. Why would anybody of the more recent generation opt for a unchanging image (boring!) when a flickering image of constant change can replace it? Somewhere in the innards of my soul I believe that art galleries will also go the route of the dodo.
Of late I have been listening to my over 12 CDs and (yes!) records featuring Gerry Mulligan. I believe I might visit Sikora’s and see what other Mulligan CDs I can find. I wonder of this attraction of mine for obsolescence which includes playing some of my cassettes, shooting film and not being subscribed to Netflix. My hard copy NY Times
is outside the door 365 days of the year and reading it (and the Vancouver Sun
) have been a constant routine (breakfast in bed with Rosemary) for over 15 years.
My Rosemary and I in spite of living in smaller quarters are preparing to have an outstanding small garden this spring. Nurseries are hurting as gardening is dead. Replacing it we have large (but short) fat scented candles and amazingly life-like plastic flowers that need not be watered or fertilized. No I am just being an unreliable narrator here. It will be a real garden.
And we have books.
Yes, and books. We are surrounded by them even though I know I have little time nor little inclination to re-read any of them. Do I really want to tackle my Gore Vidal novels? Will I ever read my P.D. James again? Could it be that these hard covers look nice inside the antique lawyer’s bookcases? Is this show-off vanity on my part?
Luckily time is short to reflect on any of the above.
In one way I have come to be part of this 21st century. In our Athlone home we had a perfectly serviceable Sony Trinitron TV. Our moving company friends from Nicaragua took it to the dumper. We now have a 43 inch Vizio 4K that sports outstanding sharpness, particularly with comparison to the fading memory of the Trinitron.
A flat-screened TV presents a problem in a small house. This is the case when I refuse to have any such contraption in the bedroom. The only place left is the inevitable mantle. That 43 inch TV is ugly over the mantle. My friend Robert Friedman told me our 43 inch is too small. “You have room for a 50,” he said.
My friends at Magnum Frames designed an executed a most elegant solution to the ugly and black TV.
They sandwiched between two pieces of Plexiglas (the front one is a special UV blocking version) my portrait of my older granddaughter Rebecca. Then they framed it with a narrow black wooden molding. It fits snugly over the TV with two little metal brackets on both top corners. You swing the TV forward and slip the frame. When you push the TV back the frame sits just right and the black TV becomes the matt.
Pride & Prejudice and Fanny Burney
Thursday, February 11, 2016
|Fanny Burney at age 32, painted by her cousin Edward Francesco Burney 1784-1785
Sometime around 2001 while rummaging through my then Oakridge Safeway book bin I was intrigued by a large paperback. It was titled Evelina or the History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World
. The author was Fanny Burney. I knew about her father Charles Burney (1726-1824) who was a minor baroque composer and who wrote interesting accounts of the major composers of his era and as a music scholar wrote A General History of Music History
. He was a proto music critic.
His daughter Frances (Fanny Burney – 1752-1840) had written a sketch of Evelina when she was 14 and anonymously published it in 1778. When she was found out she became famous and led the way for the later novels of Jane Austen.
Evelina was a pleasant but startling revelation as it had many parallels to the novels of Austen who wrote Sense and Sensibility
much later in 1811.
Cecilia or Memoirs of an Heiress
was Fanny Burney’s second novel and was first published on 12 June 1782, the day before her 30th birthday. Cecilia is a romance but also contains a strong moral message, not only that money does not bring happiness, but also that happiness bought at the price of duty fails to bring peace and joy. What is most interesting is that this novel was an influence on Jane Austen. Austen’s name is listed as a subscriber to Burney’s third novel, Camilla
. And then there is the title of Austen’s most famous book. It derives from a passage in Cecilia:
“The whole of this unfortunate business,” said Dr Lyster, “has been the result of Pride and Prejudice.”
With that bit of Austen trivia out of the way I will jump to my impressions of the Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of Janet Munsil’s theatrical interpretation of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
directed by Sarah Rodgers.
I could rant and rave about the delightful night my Rosemary and I had last Tuesday the 7th at the Stanley. I will rant and rave but first to the important stuff (in my book).
This is actress (I am old fashioned) Naomi Wright who plays Elizabeth Bennet. I am sure that some scholars suspect that Elizabeth Bennet, the principal protagonist of the novel and the play is a version of Jane Austen herself. To me that is so. Watching Wright I was struck by her resemblance as a younger version of my fave Jennifer Lines. From our seats in the upper balcony in my diminishing eyesight she seemed to be a dead-ringer.
If you accept that Elizabeth Bennet is Jane Austen then you can make the jump as I did on all the stuff that Austen could have done with her life if she had lived longer than her 42 years. I can imagine that Austen and Elizabeth Bennet could have written as bravely as what Fanny Burney wrote in 1811 when she had a one breast mastectomy performed without anesthesia:
“Yet—when the dreadful steel was plunged into the breast—cutting through veins—arteries—flesh—nerves—I needed no injunctions not to restrain my cries. I began a scream that lasted unintermittingly during the whole time of the incision—and I almost marvel that it rings not in my Ears still! so excruciating was the agony. When the wound was made, and the instrument was withdrawn, the pain seemed undiminished, for the air that suddenly rushed into those delicate parts felt like a mass of minute but sharp and forked poniards, that were tearing the edges of the wound—but when again I felt the instrument—describing a curve—cutting against the grain, if I may so say, while the flesh resisted in a manner so forcible as to oppose and tire the hand of the operator, who was forced to change from the right to the left—then, indeed, I thought I must have expired.”
For me Naomi Wright’s performance was the anchor of the play.
The other players were all very good. Two men stood out. I like the new and more recent David Marr (Mr. Bennet) who has a light touch for comedy and thankfully has risen over some of the plays where he is forced to play insufferable twits. And any play (even bad ones, can be saved by any performance by Scott Bellis
) who plays the parson Mr. Colins and Mr. Darcy’s housekeeper.
Shirley Broderick plays the scary and nasty Lady Catherine de Bourgh to almost perfection. Why not perfection? In the spirit of Bellis cross-dressed as a woman I would have liked Christopher Gaze as Lady Catherine.
Years ago Crystal Pite
brought to Vancouver the idea of how important choreography (of every movement even those that are not dance) to the Electric Theatre Company’s Eadweard Muybridge – Studies in Motion.
Sarah Rodgers, choreographer Julie Tomaino, ably assisted by Lighting Designer Marsha Sibthorpe and Set Designer Alison Greene created a set, a situation that was always in interesting flux. I thought of a friend, a lighting designer who is bored at having to constantly light theatrical living rooms. This Pride and Prejudice was far from that.
Now for a bit of a personal confession. As an only child I was always riveted to my mother’s account of the other child she had who would have been my sister but was born dead. She was a redhead. In my early 20s I was madly in love with my first cousin Elizabeth Blew who was a redhead. I was distracted from my preference for red haired women by the appearance of a min-skirted blonde with beautiful legs in 1968 who became my wife.
When not watching Naomi Wright’s Elizabeth Bennet I was all eyes for the sexy but nasty redheaded Amanda Lisman (Caroline Bingley) and Georgia Beaty
( a glorious redhead) who played Charlotte Lucas.
The musicians and actors Sarah Donald (Mrs. Gardiner) and Daniel Deorksen (Mr. Gardiner) added to the charming evening.
And I can only point out that Director Sarah Rodgers
is a redhead…and so it seems was Fanny Burney