Tuesday, July 04, 2006

summer tickles


Romeo and Juliet is, for me, a tear-jerker to the max. I can relate to emotionally charged, impetuous decisions of the type made by the very young Romeo and the even younger Juliet. Everything for them is so absolute, so final – there are no shades, no gradations. There have been times when I saw my days in just this way.

And that whole bit about arms taking your last embrace? It sets off torrents of tears for me. It’s like when Molly gets to have her last dance with Sam in the movie Ghost, to the track of “Unchained Melody.” I can’t even watch that anymore. Way too sad.

Still, R&J outdoors in Spring Green is Madison magic. Okay, not really Madison, since it’s Spring Green, but it’s magic nonetheless.

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walk up to the theater

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past flowering meadows

The last time I had watched R&J I was recovering from my most dire medical crisis (brain bleed). Life was so replete with drama that the woes of the Capulets and Montagues seemed like just another horror in the sack of life’s tragedies.

This night it was different. The air was hot, the rose wine for the picnic was chilled – small things that made the evening mellow and calm. It’s easier to take in the drama on stage when the scent of the forest is there to tickle you and chocolate covered vanilla ice cream bars are sold at intermission.

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And on the drive back, the fireflies kept the spell alive for just that much longer.


Ed tells me: we need to see if the tent is large enough for our camping trip to the Rockies. Can you take a look at it today?

We set up a light little bundle of canvas and poles in the small lakefront park across the street from my loft.

How many is this supposed to sleep? It looks awfully tiny…
It’s described as being adequate for one and half.
Fantastic. It’s good for one person and a dog. Can you even fit in this thing?

I want to note here that Ed is a solid 6 foot 4 inches. He dominates spaces far larger than this one.
I am skeptical. I climb in and try to imagine what it would be like zipped up there for a whole night.

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Are these little dots on the bottom the beginnings of rips? How old is the tent anyway?
I guess there are tiny holes... It is pretty old -- so old that when I called the company to ask about parts, they didn’t even have this particular model in the database.

Small and ancient and with holes. I’m sold.

What else can I say? I am not the one who will be carrying this thing. The tent is light, the hike is steep. How fair is to ask for bigger and brighter accommodations, maybe with a tad fewer holes in the floor? Ah... frugal Ed.

I just hope it never rains in the Rockies.


A new eating place in Madison? Let’s try it.

I admit it, last night was my first foray into the Overture Center for the Arts. There are many reasons for my avoidance of it. It became sort of like daily blogging – I wondered how long I could continue the trend, of abstinence, in the case of the Overture Center (even as I passed it almost daily on the way home from work).

It figures that a new restaurant on the terrace would finally pull me inside.

I’m a fan of good views and bright spaces and Fresco, the restaurant up there by the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) terrace has both.

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The place has a kitcheny feel to it: it’s all techy white and chrome and there aren’t fussy table cloths nor fussy wait-persons. It's all straightforward and to the point. The food is pricey, but not up there with l’Etoile or Delmonico's or any of the other high-end establishments and that’s good because you can forgive unfussy preparations so long as they don’t break your budget.

I ate spicy shrimp and mushroom-crusted halibut and I wolfed down a giant tart with cream and strawberries and I sipped an espresso and admitted to myself and anyone who would listen (for once I was not dining alone) that Fresco is good and robust and very lively. I like the noisiness of it. I like anything that knocks down stuffiness in eating places, especially those located in buildings that aspire to be great Art Centers with expensive tickets to great performances.

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halibut with a black trumpet crust, over scallion risotto

It is a shame that the name reminds me of the diet soft drink of the seventies, but maybe that’s just me. I was addicted to Fresca once upon a time and its flavor lingers on my palate with all the memories of coming to the States with a single suitcase and $200 on a hot July night exactly thirty five years ago.

Happy Independence Day.