Recently, I read that one only need scratch the surface of a cynic to find the wounded idealist underneath. How true for me. Somedays, ok, MOST days, the cynic is my dominant voice. But occasionally, the idealist struggles through the sticky, slimely viscera, like Ripley writhing around in Alien Resurrection, breaking through, giddy and cheerful. A few things that elicited recent emergences:
Remembering, even in grief, a great artist who's touched me can bring out my idealist. Beverly Sills died a few weeks ago, a rare classical musician well-known by the general public. I first remember hearing Sills in duet with Miss Piggy on the Muppet show, and the last time I saw her was as emcee for the Metropolitan Opera's movie theater simulcast of Tan Dun's world premier, The First Emperor. In both instances, she was smart, witty, accessible. She'll also be remembered as a staunch advocate for the arts. Listen to her recent commentary on NPR's Marketplace, where she explained to corporate donors, "I'm not just asking for your money, I want your body too".
Another favorite witty woman with a sweet, sharp tongue, the recently departed Julia Child. After reading, My Life in France by Ms. Child, and Julie and Julia by Julie Powell, I had to get my hands on The French Chef, her TV show for WGBH in Boston, 1963-1973, (Emeril and Rachel, bow down in humility and gratitude). I can hardly count the laughing-out-loud moments watching Julia edify me with her passion, skill, and experience. Last night's episodes included a graphic description of the various types of tripe, and the sad but probably very tasty demise of a 20 lb. lobster named Big Bertha. At one point in her show on potatoes, she got a bit overheated, grabbed a handful of paper towels and vigorously wiped down her face as if she was an NBA star (I'm sure she could have dunked). I love her!
A few other random things that perk me up when I'm feeling goopy:
The Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington never fails to surprise, interest, and inspire me. And this summer, admission is free all the time for everyone, June15-Labor Day.
The felines (Jackson, left, and Bob), posing here as bad-asses, have surprisingly little baggage for their age. And they keep the canine in line.
Need I say more?