Sunday, April 29, 2007
Tutu Too Much Coincidence
So I'm getting gas yesterday; $2.909 per gallon, an excellent price around here. I have just had my hair and goatee cut to military shortness, why I don't know, except that I let Don perform his tonsorial artistry while he asks about Berlin and my sex life, or both, or either. As I'm finishing up the Freudian act of inserting the pump into the gas tank nozzle, a person walks out of the KISS Mart (the title presumably incorporates the acronym for Keep it Simple, Stupid). The person is wearing a pink tutu. It's chilly out. Fair enough. At first, my brain registers: chubby, fairly unattractive woman in her late forties. Until I get to the full beard, glasses, and balding pate -- to go with man boobs, hairy legs, and sensible shoes. I find it only mildly perplexing, or faintly amusing. It is around noon. I'm still groggy from sleeping late on a Saturday morning. The gent filling up his fat-ass S.U.V. near my car is all excited in a "get a load of this, Marge" sort of way, can't wait to tell his fat-ass wife and kids and grandkids in his fat-ass vehicle. He looks over at me. I slowly shake my head and mumble. I don't feel like being complicit with the yokel in the S.U.V., then again, I do admit to myself to being intrigued by this, wondering if the Pink Tutu Guy is a) an actor, b) an anarchist or c) a proud transvestite. I walk inside to buy some newspapers, trying to discern more. There doesn't seem to be any buzz, and I don't have it in me to say, "Hey, did you see that Guy in the Pink Tutu?" It seems just too much much of a cliche to yuck it up, plus maybe I just imagined the whole thing, or maybe it's some street theater. Something. Or nothing.
I go home and read the front-page New York Times obituary on Mstislav Rostropovich. I've heard the name, but hadn't known much about him. (The photo above is "borrowed" from that obit.) I love the image: the brazen beauty of Mr. R. playing Bach at the crumbling Berlin Wall in 1989. In the splendid write-up, I find this revelation:
"He [Rostropovich] had a mischievous sense of humor that cut through the sobriety of the concert atmosphere. He sometimes surprised his accompanists by pasting centerfolds from men's magazines into the pages of their scores. At the San Francisco Symphony's 70th-birthday tribute to Isaac Stern, he played 'the Swan' movement from Saint-Saens's 'Carnival of the Animals' attired in white tights, a ballet tutu, a swanlike headdress and red lipstick."
Even without the serial comma after "headdress," I am now forced to wonder:
-- Did Pink Tutu Guy read this article earlier in the day and whimsically celebrate the life of this energetic, original, and fiercely independent maestro?
I'll never know. For now, I choose to think, Yeah. Sure. Why not.
Incidentally, the National Symphony Orchestra has a great photo of the late cellist as an infant in 1927. He's lying in his father's cello case. Symmetrical: bookends of a life.