Mercoledi Musicale

Laurent has often said that everything is a Broadway song cue for me – a statement I take exception to vehemently.  Not everything is a Broadway song cue – just most things.

Take for example a recent posting my blog buddy JP over at My Husband and I where the eponymous “I”  lays in bed with his husband Guido and muses on life.  Or I am assuming he was in bed as that seems to be JP’s favourite place for amusing and musing.  But I digress – back to the song cue:  his musings on life, french toast, their new business venture, and their relationship cued a song in the vast catalogue of Broadway songs stored in the Dewey decimal system that I call my mind:  Life Is!  It’s the introduction  to Zorbaan 1968 Kander and Ebb musical version of the Nikos Kazantzakis novel and Michael Cacoyannis film.

There was a time when hit (and not so hit) Broadway shows toured often with, if not the original stars, stars of equal renowned.  When they showed up at the Royal Alexandra or the O’Keefe Centre in Toronto my friend Charlie and I would head down to see them – in the case of Juliet Prowse in Sweet Charity at least twice as I recall.  And I have a feeling we may have seen Zorba more than once.  When we liked a show we liked a show.

Though when it premiered  the show had been referred to more than once as “the poor man’s Fiddler on the Roof” it was reworked and recast for the road – John Raitt was the Zorba and the great Chita Rivera sang and danced the Chorus Leader.  Some of the darkness of the original had been erased but the wry acceptance of events good and bad remained in many of the songs.  Particularly in Life Is!

The show opens in a taverna where a group of people are drinking, playing music, dancing, and talking.  Someone suggests they tell a story – another suggests the story of Zorba.  When ask what it’s about the Chorus Leader (Lorraine Serabian of the original cast) says that it’s about that passage from birth to death – LIFE!

So here’s to JP, Guido, the old cafe, the new cafe, french toast in bed, and LIFE.

On this day in 1875:  Aristides wins the first Kentucky Derby.



Tales the Belle Tells

I first met Elizabeth when I received an e-mail back in November of 2007 asking if she could use a photo from a silly posting I had done early in the month featuring  unusual wine labels.  In those days she had a Flickr page of random silliness and a blog of a more personal and serious, though never humourless, nature on the go. She and I became blog buddies and eventually Facebook friends.  Love Elizabeth included beautiful and heart-tearing poetry, remarkable photographs and engaging personal story telling.   On one occasion she melded the three into something that touched our home and those of so many of our friends for which I will always be grateful.

She hasn’t blogged for a while because, being Elizabeth, she has been engaged in a project with her husband Kirk that started as the story of her great great great Grandfather.  But again being Elizabeth it has taken on a life beyond its original intent. However there is no point in my  trying to explain any of this as she has created a new blog that says its all.  I’ve added it to my own blog roll as I intend to follow all the Tangled Histories they have uncovered and discovered.  You might wish to take a look and do the same.  A left click on the picture from the blog header will take you to “stories of settlers and the unsettled, enslavers and enslaved, family lost and found in the Cherokee homeland”.

On this day in 1828: Initial issue of the Cherokee Phoenix is the first periodical to use the Cherokee syllabary invented by Sequoyah.

Stylish in Stratford

One of the pleasures of returning to Straford this year has been the chance to reconnect, other than virtually, with our friends Spo and Harper’s Other Daddy. Laurent first met them through Spo’s blog three years ago. Of course that led us to HOD’s blog and eventually the chance to meet them here at Stratford last year.

Though they may have had other ideas we decided to make it an annual event. So last Monday we endeavoured to meet at several corners of York and Wellington Streets in Toronto (don’t ask but I believe Shakespeare wrote a play about it – The Comedy of Errors?) and drive up to Stratford. As well as the opportunity of breaking some rather fine bread with them, discussing the plays and just sitting fixing the problems of the world over fine scotches, whiskies and other libations we were the recipients of much anticipated creations that are the talk of the blogosphere: a Spo custom made shirts.

A Spo by any other name!

I won’t go into the story of how Spo came to become a master shirt maker, as that would be his story to tell, but let us just say that he has an eye for fabric and a deft foot at the treadle. And we are the beneficiaries of those talents.

Laurent looking dashing in an elegant Asian print – and sadly
the fireplace was needed to keep our room warm – in August?

Knowing Laurent’s penchant for things Asian – oh stop it I mean artifacts – Spo chose a Japanese print for him. Aware that I am the faithful vassel of a domination of dachshunds he picked an appropriate pattern redolent of snowy walks and struggles with winter coats for me.

And I proudly display my domination of dachshunds.

The waitress at Bijoux (where we received our Spo creatons) was impressed with the perfect
match at the placket. There isn’t a break in the parade of pampered pups.

And to the several people who wanted tried to bribe Spo into giving them our shirts I say: Na yana nana!!

August 22 – 1654:  Jacob Barsimson arrives in New Amsterdam. He is the first known Jewish immigrant to America.

Sweet Sharing

I think I may have mentioned in a previous post the Italian tradition of “confetti”. Not the paper stuff that is so hard to sweep up and that you find under the couch two years after that really super New Year’s Eve party, but the small packets of sugared almonds given as gifts to the guests at weddings, christenings, first communions and other grand events. We were in Firenze for the day on Wednesday and in typical fashion I had an idea where the restaurant we were headed to was located but took a  wrong turn and went passed a store that’s sole purpose was to dispense – at no doubt astronomical prices – sweets to delight your guests and make the sisters of the mother-of-the-bride cluck their tongues in jealous righteousness at the expense of it all.

I thought I’d share two pictures of those sweet delights and also share the sweet delights offered by two of my dear blog buddies while I was at it.

As with so many window displays here this one has a touch of class and elegance about it without quite being over-the-top.  This whole shop just oozed “expensive”

Rosina Daintymouth – that’s the name of the witch in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretal – isn’t the only one to make gingerbread houses to tempt unsuspecting innocents.  Over at She Who Seeks my blog buddy Debra chronicles the Gingerbread Houses that her Rare One, who is not – I might add – a witch, has constructed over the years to tempt her – nor I am implying that Debra is an “innocent”. So before I get myself into further trouble just click on the link and take a look at some tasty temptations.  

The elaborate packaging – flowers, faux-pearls, ribbons – hide the simplest of sweets: sugared almonds.  It would almost be a shame to open the packages and I have a feel that more than one nonna has a collection from family events on display in her china cabinet.

My friend Yvette and I often seem to be on the same track with postings and memories. Last week I wrote about presepe here and she shared a comment about her own crèche. Now she has written a lovely post recounting her childhood memories of growing up in Marseilles after the war and the delightful traditions that she encountered then and continues today. It fills my heart with joy to see that the rituals of a Provencal Christmastide are alive, well and being passed on to her grandchildren. And I wish I had a piece of that gâteaux des Rois and a glass of the vin cuit.

14 gennaio – Santa Macrina l’Anziana