Homegrown Magic

Swimmers at Rochester's Durand Eastman Beach January 13
Swimmers at Rochester’s Durand Eastman Beach January 13

I played a Sarah Vaughn single at dinner the night before last and Peggi told me she woke up with the song stuck in her head. She sang a few bars of it and it was stuck in my head all day. We were pretty certain the RPO’s performance of The Rite of Spring would cleanse our heads. As magnificent as it was it failed to do so.

It is hard to imagine people walking out of Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps in 1913. One hundred and ten years later the piece is so melodic and memorable it feels like an old friend. Instead of Ballets Russes, choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky, the RPO performed with Garth Fagan Dance, choreographed by Norwood Pennewell, “PJ.” It was magical. One moment sent chills down my spine. The primary dancers were clustered on the left side of the stage (is that stage right?) and they were lit to direct our attention accordingly. A group of dancers, either sitting or reclining on the right side of the stage were minimally lit. They rolled their bodies to the left in unison. In our peripheral vision it felt like spring unfolding.

We spent Saturday at our neighbor’s birthday party. Four hours of Jamaican dancehall music, party chat and football playoffs. I was in the kitchen, showing someone my picture of swimmers at Durand from earlier in the day, when my watch and every iPhone in the room sounded an alarm from NY Emergency Management. “Heavy snow will reduce visibility to zero and travel will be impossible.” We were planning to go to Nod’s record re-release party.

The party broke up around nine and the weather didn’t look so bad so we braved the 13 minute ride, our second Saturday night at Skylark. Brave of Casey to host this bill. We hadn’t heard Pengo in a few years and they sounded great. Two synths, drums and a guitar that sounded like a bass in one swirling rush of avant Rochester. Emily Robb was next. She bowed her guitar while we struggled to hear what her synth accompanist was playing. Having started the party early we started to fade early and left while Nod was still planning their set. We brought home their lp, a re-release of their 1992 debut but this time on vinyl. “Summertime” is an anthem like the Stooges “1969” and “1970” and it so good to have on wax.

1 Comment

One Reply to “Homegrown Magic”

  1. 4 hours of jamaican dancehall! 🕺🏻we just finished watching Rockers. On Criterion🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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