Friday, February 10, 2006

Crazy Taos Friday Night Extravaganza

Tonight I went to Taos to watch an American String Quartet concert. I enjoy going to classical concerts for two main reasons: 1) there is no greater place to think and 2) it is my chance to hang out with the over 60 crowd. We don't actually talk, but we rub shoulders and I smile at them with my eyes.

Meghan, Ronnie and I pre-partied with chimichangas and margaritas before heading over to the Taos Center for the Arts. (We were completely sober, a detail that will become important a little later on.) We waited outside in twenty degree weather at the will call window while the woman ahead of us told her friends in the will call booth about some sort of sporting accident.
"Did he have a helmet on?"
"Well, he was wearing a helmet, but he hit his head on the left side."
"Oh dear, that just sounds awful!"
It felt like I was sitting in on a coffee date, except that I was really, really cold.

I experienced something tonight that I have never before experienced at a classical concert. I think the woman behind me was drunk. Besides just talking and moaning throughout the concert, she yelped at the end of the Mozart piece, and then at different points during the Shostakovich piece she said, "finally!" and "oh, great." I did not hear or see a single thing that should have prompted these outbursts. It was as if she was watching a soccer match and commenting on calls from the referee. I was impressed with her silence during the second half of the concert, only to turn around and see that she was not in her seat. She had probably passed out in the bathroom. What kind of person gets drunk before a live performance of classical music? Maybe she used to be a prodigy and she now writes jingles, or maybe she thought she was sneaking into a late night showing of Agent Cody Banks and was pissed at her mistake.

I fell asleep at the last American String Quartet concert that I went to at the Manhattan School of Music. This should not reflect on the quartet in the least; there were a number of reasons why I should have expected this outcome and opted out of going in the first place. 1) I had stayed up really late the night before and then woken up before 7am, 2) the concert took place at 3pm on a Sunday afternoon, the exact time that my body has been trained to fall asleep (another story for another time), and 3) I had slipped on ice early that morning and laid myself out on the sidewalk like I had never laid myself out before, and should have been home in the bath or in bed. On top of that, the concert hall was drafty, so I formed a toasty little nest by tucking myself into my chair with my overcoat. Add peaceful classical music and I believe anyone in my place would have fallen asleep. But hey, I am not defensive about it, I just thought that you should understand the sleep-conducive nature of late nights and warm coats and harmonious music, ok? Get off my back.


Blogger fabulous babe said...

this reminds me of the time sage and i went to the opera. it was an intense german piece - dark, heavy, depressing, beautiful and atonal (like i said, german) - and our first time at the met in new york.

we had been to one other opera together in DC with my mom, but that's a whole other story and not the happiest of memories. suffice it to say, it involved people falling asleep and alcohol and a four-hour opera; not a good time.

anyway, back to the current story. sage and i found ourselves in the midst of a sea of old, mostly very distinguished people. we clearly did not fit in - except for the inexplicable arrival of the socialite rockers chicks just before curtain, who were decked out in very expensive, very cool, very rock and roll clothing, accessories and hair, who came in straight from shopping at barneys (the bags gave them away)...i was puzzled and impressed and trying to work that one out for most of the performance. i was both in awe of and confused by them. but i digress...

sage was having a self-declared bad hair day so when we sat down in our seats, he kept his black knit skull cap on. knowing this to be a propriety faux pas, he informed me of his intentions prior to entering the opera house. i had no problem with this - i wasn't the one with the bad hair day.

meanwhile, once seated, i notice the couple behind us (elderly, regular opera attendees, knowledgable about all things music, opera and the met) and an omnious feeling overcomes me - we might have a culture clash on our hands.

as the performance goes on, my fears are confirmed. during the first interlude between acts, both comment mostly about the piece, the story and plot, the conductor, etc. it is also important to note that there was no intermission and i really had to pee - this only heightens my awareness of everything around me and turns my ears into radar receptors.

during the second interlude, i pick up an interesting transmission. the wife, clearly exasberated, says to her husband: "i don't understand why won't she take off her hat?" to which the husband replies: "that's not a she!".

needless to say, sage did not remove his hat and when the show finally ended, i ran for the bathroom.

you gotta love old people and classical music. you just never know what will happen.

8:49 AM  
Anonymous François BarbĂ©-Marbois said...

Speaking of old people...I would have never offered the land if i knew you people were going to be there. Good people though you maybe, I have real concerns about the snowfall coupled with the chamber music that only takes place on Tuesdays. Tell the .r. I said hi...

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except for the noises/talking, I totally identify with that lady. Up until this year I had season tickets to the local symphony, and I used to love drinking a few beers beforehand and then falling asleep (quitely) during the concert. So peaceful.

6:27 AM  

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