Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sunday downtown

My mom's birthday took place at the beginning of November.  I had actually bought a gift for her back in the summer, but I put it on the back burner (ie, Christmas) when I saw that the Philadelphia Orchestra was playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons at the beginning of December.

Yup Cristin: I reused your Terrain packaging the very next day.

I grew up listening to classical music in my mom's house, and this led to me learning violin in fourth grade.  I later quit at the end of ninth grade to start photography AND to make a political point against my school's orchestra directors for, essentially, putting baby in the corner--i.e., with the violas--for an ENTIRE year.  All I wanted was to keep playing second violin--not the crappy/boring (yet utterly necessary) viola part--but nobody listened to me so I walked.  I had long gotten over not being worthy of playing the first violin part, but I was a reliably solid second violin and found myself insultingly and unnecessarily demoted a few weeks into freshman year.  It thrilled me to quit. THRILLED me--not because I hated playing, but because the people in charge had irredeemably let me down.  You won't listen when I talk? Ever? Fine.  Brace yourself for whatever comes next.  At first they thought I was bluffing, but then when my name didn't show up on the sophomore roster they went ballistic.  They tried intimidating me into reconsidering. (I believe one of them said, "Photography is stupid and pointless. Why are you doing that?" GREAT tactic for winning over someone who already doesn't respect you, but whatevs.)  Ultimately, I told them to go take a long walk off a short pier.  You don't mess with me now, and you didn't mess with me then.  I could seriously do a whole post on that one three minute conversation from late 1997.  But I won't.

At least not today.


I kept up with private lessons through eleventh grade and then stopped for good.  For some nerdy reason, I also remember listening almost exclusively to Temple's radio station ("Your classical and jazz source ...") for a solid two years in fourth and fifth grade.  They're still on the presets in my car ... honest to God, I would know Jill Pasternak's voice in my next lifetime.


I think I've listened to Vivaldi's Four Seasons AT LEAST ten million times.  Well, that's not entirely accurate. Maybe 100 million times.  Originally, my mom had a cheap cassette tape that (I think) she bought at the Acme one day--they used to have a big display of $2 cassette tapes next to the registers. When mom upgraded to a CD player in 19-frickin-98 (five years after everyone else) it was probably the first CD she bought. ACTUALLY, I think Leslie and I bought it for her and gave it to her with the stereo for her birthday.  (Geez mom, how old were you in 1998? Probably not much older than me.)

Bird's nest fern

I bought four tickets for Vivaldi so that Ron and Leslie and I could go with her and prayed it wouldn't rain that day, God forbid we show up with bad hair.

(Really. God FORBID.)

(Very serious.)

The Kimmel Center became the official home to the Philly Orchestra exactly twelve years ago this month.  (Erin is saying, "HOW THE HELL DOES SHE REMEMBER THAT???" Because I remember studying for first semester freshman finals while watching a special about it on TV.)  Prior to the Kimmel Center, their official home was the Academy of Music which (in my opinion) is ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND TIMES MORE BEAUTIFUL but is acoustically inferior for an orchestra performance.  Apparently, acoustics trumps decor.  You can tell I'm not in charge of any of this.

(If you have a really good memory, then you know Leslie's graduation was here in May.)

The performance was seriously amazing.  Maybe other people think this is lame, but I love going to a performance where I already know the music pretty well.  I've been to performances where I know nothing on the program, and sometimes it's ok and other times it just sucks because it's hard to follow (but not because the performance is poor).  My mom actually hadn't been to the orchestra before, so I was glad that the entire first part was something she knew inside and out.

The violin soloist totally killed it--he was this tall, skinny, grey haired Italian guy and he was just masterful.  The guest conductor was crazy amazing too--this shorter, rounder guy with crazy grey hair that bounced all over the place as he went nuts (like totally, freakin NUTS) on the harpsichord.  We had seats directly above the stage, and it was HILARIOUS watching the two of them follow each other on stage.  Both of them were on a different planet.  The conductor would wiggle his eyebrows at the soloist and the soloist would go crazy with whatever movement was at hand.  Seriously, both of them were characters out of cartoon.

Please, we're not total animals ... we took this at the end of the intermission. Even though it's totally not allowed.

It was just so cool to hear this concerto live and not on a CD or an iPod (or a cassette tape).  Plus, the Purcell and Haydn that followed it was just as beautiful and so cool.  The whole thing went by in the blink of an eye.

Afterward, Leslie was in charge of picking out a place for us to have dinner.  Initially she had planned on something really casual, but then she changed her mind and miraculously snagged a reservation at the impossibly packed Barbuzzo.  (Check this out too! So cute! Also, Jess, I'm dying to stop here next door.)

We took our time getting to Barbuzzo--the window shopping was outta control. We hardly saw a thing though, so I'll definitely going back this month for more of that ...

Don't be misled. My Lovely Peanut Butter Husband (normal people call him "Shane") commented that this menu looks like lame-o rabbit food which could not be more wrong.

(More wrong than shutting down PB&U? Don't be ridiculous.  But, close.)

Here's what we ate:

(I'm being totally serious.)
(Ready? You're not, but here goes):

  1. We started with the maiolino pizza and arancini (so-called "mini oranges" that are in fact fried balls of risotto)
  2. Sheeps milk ricotta (ie, grilled bread with the creamiest ricotta and sweetest balsamic in the world)
  3. Braised short rib
  4. (What follows is three forms of pasta) Bucatini all'amatriciana
  5. Tufoli calabrese
  6. Tonnarelli nero (the BEST of the three pasta dishes, in my opinion)
  7. Salted caramel budino (which, seriously, I could just eat continuously non-stop until I finally just died already. Really, that would be ok with me.)
  8. Warm Lancaster apple and raisin bread pudding (Leslie's favorite)
  9. Mulled cider sorbet (my mom's favorite)
And I had the sanguinello cocktail and my mother ordered a beer which hasn't happened since maybe 1977 and PROBABLY WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN!!

Wild and frickin crazy times, people! Linda ordered a beer!!!  Leslie and I thought we had accidentally fallen into the fifth dimension or something.

Happy birthday, momma!

I literally carry eight lipsticks in my purse and not one of them is on my face.  That's great.

And just for those of you who are obsessed with Leslie's apartment (there are a few of you), here's what's going on these days:

My grandmother made the afghan.

Pillows are from Target.

If you've never been to hear the orchestra, make sure you go (wherever it is that you happen to live--there has to be something near you).  Maybe it's not for everyone, but you might really like it.

1 comment:

Jess said...

Wow, dinner sounds amazing!! And the jewelry store even better! I looove the druzy tear drop earrings!