Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Something happened at UCLA

Michael Sedano

I am getting darned intolerant of growing older. Almost everything reminds me of some past experience. And I cannot stay awake late hours.

A couple weeks ago, I sat in dread as the Friday evening hour approached for the dramatic interpretations of three Samuel Beckett short pieces, "Enough," "A Piece of Monologue" and selected "Texts for Nothing". Dread that I'd not be able to keep my eyes open to enjoy the work. Sleep won and I trudged out at halftime with Beckett ahead 2-0. Seemed like a wonderful set of performances by Gare St. Lazare Players of Ireland . Unless I dreamed it all, the performers kept to the text, and the "Monologue" totally dazzled me, until the woman sitting next to me receives a phone call. Her phone speaks to her. Loudly. "Call from two one three five five six one two eight one" it repeats it three times before the woman bends into her large handbag, rustles around and finally silences the device. All the while actor Conor Lovett stands stock still and silent--the phone rang during a silence--and his next line breaks the house into wild laughter: "Wait" Lovett pronounces with a straight face.

Saturday afternoon was much better. A matinee performance of Waiting for Godot by Gate Theatre Dublin, the teatro Beckett worked with to present the premiere in English of Godot (pronounced by the actors as God' oh, by the way). How much closer can one come to the master? Put me in mind of a recital by the 98-year old pianist, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, who studied under a student of Beethoven; here was the last direct connection to the master. The Gate Theatre offered just such a connection.

I'd spent the previous weeks reading Godot in French and English, as a means of enhancing my experience with the live performance. There is nothing comparable to a staged performance, no matter how effective a reader one is. To start, individual reading misses the timing two skilled actors possess. The rapid-fire repartee opening the play had the audience laughing in all the right places. When Lucky thinks, folks were almost rolling in the aisles, so superb was his delivery. What was more thrilling was the obvious delight of audience members for whom this was their first exposure to the piece itself. "What is it about?" questions filled the foyer during intermission. Being somewhat of a metiche, I was chatting up some bystanders when one asked about the boy, "did they bring him all the way from Ireland," she wondered, "for such a small role?" The shock on her face made me long for my camera when I told her to think of the boy as a young Lucky. Not so small a role after all, que no?

The afternoon at UCLA passed with no one being tased by campus heat, a good thing, I thought. As we exited I had to stop at Richard Serra's monumental sculpture fashioned from 3" steel plate. I rubbed the oxide surface wondering if I had made that steel. Back in the 60s I spent college summers in the mills at Kaiser Steel. Plates like the Serra sculpture were my metier.

Holiday Art & Craft Sale Time is Here
Self-Help Graphics and all the others' annual sales fast approach. Here's a new one from La Bloga's spoken-word publishing friends at Calaca Press. Visit their website for last dibs on Raza Spoken Here 2 (1 is sold out) and, sadly, you just missed the classic but now sold out When Skin Peels. Publisher Brent Beltrán has several titles in the works, so here's a way to support their sensational publications program. Email the publisher for travel directions or sight-unseen offers.

The Red CalacArts Collective presents our first annual Holiday CalacArts Bazaar

Sunday December 10, 2006
12 noon until 5pm
(Home of Chelo y Brent of Calaca Press) in National City, Califas 91950

Support San Diego's Chican@ arts community by purchasing their art as gifts for the holiday season.

Featuring original art, serigraphs, prints, tshirts, books, artesania and other cultural items from:

Nuvia Crisol Guerra
Teresa Yolanda Lopez
Carmen Kalo Linares
Mario Chacon
Ricardo Islas
Sandra Pocha Peña
Keep on Crossin'/I Love Aztlán
Bob Medina
Berenice Badillo
Irene Castruita
Sal Barajas/Motivational Designs
Mariajulia Urias
Fernando Flores
Calaca Press

Plus entertainment including:
Aztec Gold's: A Very Lucha Christmas
Poetry by Irene Castruita and others

Music, food, socially conscious thought and the Calaca hospitality that you have come to know and enjoy.

This event is organized by the Red CalacArts Collective. For more information contact Brent E. Beltrán at calacapress@cox.net.

This event will be outdoors. In the case of rain, this event will be cancelled.

Oh, before I forget again, the best part of growing old is being able to read Cicero's De Senectute and understand it completely. My favorite idea: bitter old men don't get that way because they are old, it's because they were bitter young men.

Move to joy, raza.

See you next week.


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