FROM AGNELLO TO ZITI

March 20, 2017

Babs and I are in NYC cat-sitting. (Don't ask.) We're also visiting our son, and I, at least, am doing some publishing stuff, getting ready for BULL's release March 28. We're also eating as if we're ranking members of The Expanding Federation of Gluttons International. Chopped liver? Check. Tikka masala? Check. Mole Poblano? Check. Gai ka prow? Check. That is not to mention, of course, the bagels, slices, black-and-white cookies etc..

 

Question: Is it possible to gain two hundred pounds in one week? 

Answer: Yes! Three if you're serious.

 

 I have no idea what this is, but Im pretty sure we ate it.

 

Between these extravagant potlatches, we have found time to enjoy a few of the other things the city has to offer. The opera. MOMA. The Michael Rockefeller Wing at the Met.

 

As I listened to the orchestra play Violetta's death motif in the opening bars of La Traviata, I was reminded of everything Verdi gave to the world:  the unquestionable beauty of his music, the passion beneath it, the immeasurable, evanescent pleasure it engenders. Later I thought of the singers -- soprano Sonya Yoncheva,  tenor Michael Fabiano, and the great American baritone Thomas Hampson-- and the immense personal sacrifice necessary in order to achieve the level of human excellence they have attained: the physical and mental endurance: the generosity of spirit; the courage to risk failure, disappointment and disapprobation; the musical intelligence; the search for and love of truth that is behind all great art.  And I thought: This is the opposite of Donald Trump.

 The  American soprano Renee Fleming in Verdi's  La Traviata. Both the opera and the singer the opposite of Donald Trump.

 

The same occurred to me  as I stood before the work of Cezanne and Rosseau,

Kahlo and Rothko, and the more contemporary artists Kara Walker and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

 Rosseau's The Sleeping Gypsy. The opposite of Donald Trump.

 

Beauty.

Sacrifice.

Excellence.

Endurance.

Courage.

Intelligence.

Generosity.

Truth.

 

 All the opposite of the 45th president.

 

But rather than feeling discouraged, I felt comforted, relieved even.  There will always be great composers, great singers, great artists of all kinds who are working for the values sought by their predecessors and contemporaries. And these will be loved and remembered in a way that Donald Trump and his ilk will never be.

 Lynnette Yiadom-Boakye's, The Needs Beyond. The opposite of Donald Trump.

 

Perhaps Mr. Trump has more in common with the bis poles carved by the Asmat people of New Guineau. These elaborately carved effigies are meant to commemorate the spirit of a fallen member of the village, Once the death has been avenged, the poles are dragged to the jungle and left to rot.

 

 Quiggy. The opposite of Donald Trump.

 

Fight the good fight, friends.  Feel free to comment below. As always, I'd love to hear from you.

 

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