Monday, June 19, 2006

From Russia With Love

Yesterday I was whisked off to Berkeley by a girlfriend, she took me to see a dance concert for my birthday (which is next week). Not just any dance concert – Baryshnikov. Mikhail Fucking Baryshnikov. He is quite possibly the only 58 year-old on my Men I’d Do list. Wait…how old is Sting? Anyway, he started a dance foundation in NYC in 1979 and these pieces were created there, it’s called Hell’s Kitchen Dance and this was one of only three state-side performances. I saw him once before in the early 90’s and I never thought I would get the chance to see him dance live again. Who could have predicted he’d still be dancing 15 years later? It doesn’t matter that he isn’t doing the astounding ballet leaps and never-ending turns that he used to, his line, extension, control and stage presence are still phenomenal. Part of the performance involved a movie projected behind the stage of a very young Misha in rehearsal, while the real man’s shadow danced beside him, sometimes standing still and watching the younger man perform amazing feats of grace and athletism and sometimes matching him step for step. The finale piece got a tad self-indulgent for my taste (people walking around on the stage bumping into each other or sitting in chairs staring at each other isn’t dance in my book), but it didn’t matter, because my Misha was right there, in the flesh, a mere 100 feet from me. *Sigh*

After the performance we walked two blocks and had dinner at a lovely restaurant then drove back to the South Bay for frozen yogurt. A day hardly ever gets better than that. Both photos by Annie Leibovitz.

The History of Love
Synopsis from the Library Journal: A boy in Poland falls in love and writes a book. When World War II arrives, both the love and the book are lost. Leo Gursky, now in his eighties and living in New York City, struggles to be noticed each day so that people will know he has not yet died. Meanwhile, 14-year-old Alma Singer wants her brother to be normal and her mother to be happy again after the death of Alma's father. In a quest for the story behind her name, Alma and Leo find each other, and Leo learns that the book he wrote so long ago has not been lost. Krauss (Man Walks into a Room) develops the story beautifully, incrementally revealing details to expose more and more of the mystery behind Leo's book, The History of Love. At the end, some uncertainty remains about a few of the characters, but it does not matter because the important connections between them are made.

I really, really wanted to love this book. I’ve read reviews where the writer professed it was their favorite book ever. Me…not so much. It ended up being that I was in love with the idea that the book was trying to get across, of having an “absolute belief in the uninterruption of love”, and using a book as the vehicle in which that love travels, as opposed to loving how the author chose to present the story. Honestly, I got confused at times, and I consider myself to be a fairly sophisticated reader. I’ve read several reviews that said the book needs to be read a couple of times to catch all the nuances and put all the pieces together. The way I read the book probably didn’t help, I generally read a chapter each night before going to sleep, and it’s now obvious that in certain parts some continuation is required to maintain the timeline and the characters. Has anyone else read this book? I would recommend it, even if it was frustrating at times.

My third riding lesson today went very well, even though I was on a different horse than the previous two lessons. Willow seems extremely pleased with my progress and keeps telling me how good I am for someone without any training, a natural it would seem. I don’t think she’s the type to blow smoke, and she has a lot of students. It feels good to be proud of myself, and secretly I didn’t know how long I would have wanted to continue if I felt like a klutz. I know I said I would give myself a learning curve and blah blah, but unless I’m good at something right off the bat I quickly lose interest.

Hmmm, that makes me wonder how I stuck with the IF treatments for so long?


  1. Damn! Mikhail Fucking Baryshnikov!

    That sounds absolutely amazing!

  2. No way!!! I love Baryshnikov!! He's on my to do list, too. I've had a thing for him ever since that 1980's movie...White Nights or something like that with Isabella Rosalini and Gregory Hines.

  3. Mmmmm . . . Baryshnikov . . .

  4. You are so lucky!!! You've seen Mikhail twice!!! I'll bet he is still graceful and beautiful to watch dance.
    And Annie Liebovitz does the most amazing work.

  5. Wanna hear something funny? I got you a birthday card MONTHS ago...I saw it when I was looking for something else, but it made me think of you, so I went ahead and got it.
    So, when are we doing a bday dinner. dude?
    Glad you are still enjoying the lessons.

  6. Delicious Baryshnikov. Magically delicious, in fact. I'm completely envious.

  7. M was the best thing on SATC and I cried buckets when he was dumped in favour of Mr Big at the end.

  8. What a fabulous birthday present! I just assumed he'd stopped dancing. It must have been amazing. And those pictures you posted of him would make any woman put her on her List - no matter what age he was!

    And you piqued my interest in that book. I'll check it out...


  10. charlie's momJune 22, 2006 at 9:57 AM

    Choking on my own drool...and Happy Birthday!