OCTOBER 5,6, 2002

Josie playing

The weekend began on Friday at Tokyo with John Barylick for sushi second to none. Friday night, Bess came for dinner, and Carol merited another ayshes hayil award, as she outdid herself once more with an Iraqi dish called Irgyl--meat slow-baked in eggplant, tomatoes, onions, red and green peppers. If Saddam would eat more Irgyl, we would not be sending the 6th Fleet into the Arabian Sea. She served it with a crisp salad of lettuce and endive and steamed broccollini. For dessert, freshly made Bananas Foster.

Saturday morning, we set out early for New York and made it to the hovel in three hours. We unloaded the car, and drove down to Lincoln Center. We had a relaxing light lunch at the cafe at the City Opera, followed by a performance of Salomé. Strauss wrote this astounding opera based on the French version of the drama by Oscar Wilde. It is as shocking today as it was then...well, maybe it was a little more shocking then. Still, there is no greater pornography, repulsive venality and evil, and violent sexuality on the stage today. Eilana Lappalainen, born in Canada, played Salomé with a touch of Madonna, Glenn Close in Basic Instinct, Hannibal Lecter, Anna Nicole Smith, and little Megan in The Exorcist. The Dance of the Seven Veils was a little tacky, with six slaves carrying her around as though it were the finale of a Las Vegas extravaganza. Still, she was a pretty good dancer, as opera singers go, even with a tiny spare tire around the middle. We had seats good enough to see that when the seventh veil fell, there was a body stocking. Mark Delavan was utterly superb as Johaanan, John the Baptist, chained like a wild animal in the pit--filthy, with unkempt rasta-Jewish hair. He was the mad prophet, spewing forth proclamations of imminent doom for the defilers and a last chance for redemption before the coming of the Messiah. He has a massive, clear voice, rough, piercing, with lots of head tone. He's no melted chocolate Robert Merrill, but he's perfect in this role. And when the his head is brought forth on a silbern Schüssel by a glistening, muscular Nubian slave, eyes are wide and mouths are open throughout the hall. The final scene, with Salomé making love to the head, exploring its mouth and tongue, kissing its mouth langorously, and finally rubbing the face into her bloody groin--all to the most gorgeous, sensuous music in the world...well, I'm not sure what the redemptive power of this art is, but it does catch your interest.

The opera was short, and we drove down to the East Village to visit. We went with Josie, Marjorie, and Jonathan to Tompkins Park nearby, where there is a fenced in infant area, with hordes of babies and parents. This is Josie's favorite place in the world. She loves climbing, which she does with determination and grit. She is very, very persistent. She is also the Tony Soprano of the playground, taking other children's toys, no matter how old they are.

Josie climbing..Josie climbing

Josie at the top..Josie takes ball

Raphael and MarjorieRaphael Levy & Marjorie

Then, who strolls by but Aaron, Joanne, and Abie, on a photoshoot for Keila and Tom's wedding wishes.


We returned to the apartment, and Marjorie and Jonathan went out for the evening.  We fed Josie, played and read for a bit, and Carol put her to bed.
Carol reading to Josie..Carol feeding Josie

She goes to bed without a whimper now, thanks to Jonathan's Skinnerian but loving sleep training. When she looks up at Carol from the changing table and says, "Bubbe, Bubbe, Bubbe," you could just melt.

Josie asleep in crib

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