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February 13th, 2010

My Friday, By Delia

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After the Great Avatar-Betsey Johnson blowout on Thursday, I don't have it in me to do a full-dress review of the two (!) things we saw last night.  But since one of them was a science fiction film that made very little logical sense and was full of eye candy (although of a very different sort), it would be remiss of me to pass over the evening completely.

First we went to dinner with EK's long-lost cousin Maida, the granddaughter of EK's grandfather's brother, which makes her EK's second cousin, (although my Southern family would have gone down with all guns blazing that she is her first cousin once removed.  Everyone would agree on "Kissing Kin," though).  We ate at The Ukrainian Village Restaurant, which is in the back of the Ukrainian National Home in the East Village.  The food was. . . hearty.  Kasha with beef chips and gravy is what I had, and it was delicious.  But even with all three of us tasting, I still brought half of it home.  Of course, I'd been tasting, too:  Ellen's pieroges, Maida's cabbage stuffed with mushrooms--both of which we finished.  And a nice glass Georgian wine.

Then we went to the Ukrainian Museum (do you sense a theme here?) for a concert of ballads, folksongs, and instumental music from the East European Jewish and Ukrainian traditions (I'm quoting the program).  The performers were Michael Alpert (who is a native Yiddish speaker, bless him) and Julian Kytasty, the scion of a dynasty of bandura players.  A bandura (in case you wanted to know) looks like the graceful child of a lap harp and a lute and sounds a little like a dulcimer and a little like an autoharp, only a lot less tinny.  I can't write sensibly about music, so all I can say is that the music sounded a little medieval to me and a little Sephardic, and that these two men perform as if their two voices, four hands, and two instruments (Alpert is a violinist; both play the guitar) were driven by a single will.  At the end, they had a considerable amount of backup from the audience on three rousing pieces, one in Yiddish, the other two in Ukrainian, which brought tears to my eyes, as people singing wholeheartedly together always does.

There was a reception afterwards.  With a cake in the shape of a bandura.  Chocolate.  Excellent.

And then we went to the Rubin to see The Man Who Fell To Earth.

I don't think I can write sensibly about that, either.  It's not a sensible movie.  And at 10pm, after 2 glasses of wine, (a drink purchase is the price of admission to the movie), I wasn't feeling all that sensible myself.  However, I can state with some conviction that David Bowie was very beautiful, the 70's were no less aesthetically bankrupt than I thought when I was living through them, the alien slime-sex was a lot funnier than I suspect Roeg intended it to be, and the most interesting character in the whole thing (to me, anyway) was Candy Clark as CindyLou, the alien's  human love interest.  She was, in fact, the only human character in the movie motivated by something other than greed and self-interest (although she was always very clear on what she needed, and got it, too, until everything went pear-shaped).  She was, in fact, a recognizable and believable adult woman, with flaws and virtues and strengths and weaknesses, and Roege allowed her to make moral decisions for herself and live by the consequences.  He also gave equal time to male and female Full Monty nudity.  All of which makes me cut him a lot more slack in the coherent narrative, stupid polyester suit, and concupiscent co-ed departments.

I do not, however, forgive him the shuffling, suffering Patient Griselda wife and pathetic children on the White Planet of Doom. 

On the way home, we got into a conversation on the subway platform with a self-proclaimed ex-SF geek, who had seen the movie for the first time in 1976 and told us all about David Bowie's drug problem and the fact that it was really a remake of Stranger in a Strange Land, except Heinlein wouldn't sell Roeg the rights, so he stole the parts he liked best (the sex and the alien, at a guess) and how the movie was a lot more fun to see when you were 14 and stoned.  With which point of view I had and have no argument.

We got home at 1, vibrating gently, and were awakened this morning by the bed falling off one of its blocks.  And we're having company for dinner. 

Tomorrow, (after tea with lareinenoire  ) we're being very, very, very quiet.

ETC (for correct) the spelling of Betsey.  Good thing we've already established I can't spell.

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