Monday, April 11, 2011

At the Foot of the Eiffaux Tower


Wow.  These are busy days.  En route to the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia's Shadows of Gesualdo concert, Friday, Marianne and I stopped by the Kimmel Center to see Philadelphia's newest attraction . . . an eighty-foot high indoor model of the Eiffel Tower!  That's it above.  Not completely obvious are the biplanes and dirigibles and steam trains that crawl slowly across the sky on wires above it.

Spectacular, if nonsensical, stuff.   They've got a light show every evening at 7 and 10 in which the lights flash off an on to the tune of classical music.  It's the kind of stuff that gives kitsch a good name.

The concert was stunning.  The Choral Arts Society alternated nine of Gesualdo's Tenebrae with some of Benjamin Britten's religious pieces so that the whole had the feel of a religious ceremony rather than a concert.  It got a standing ovation.

And then it was off to the Pen & Pencil Club for martinis and conversation.

Saturday, the big event was a party celebrating Gardner Dozois and Susan Casper's fortieth anniversary together.  More good friends and good conversation.

And today spring finally arrived.  Marianne and I went to the Morris Arboretum to walk among the blooming leaves and marvel.  Another winter survived!   I snap my fingers at the very idea of starving, man-eating wolves howling in the wastes outside the palisades.

And did I bust Gardner's chops?  And did it phase him . . .  ?

Yes, and no.  I walked into the great man's apartment for the first time since hearing that he's going to be inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and said, "I hear you're going to be HUNG, Gardner."

Leering, he replied, "Whah, Ah'm ALREADY hung, bwah!"

Later, he asked me if I'd ever seen the SF H of F, and then explained that when you're entered into it, a picture of your face is placed on a brick on the ceremonial wall.  "So I really AM just another brick in the wall."

Above:  Notice my use of words in ALL CAPS.  Whenever I teach at one of the Clarions, I always tell my students to NEVER do that.



Curio Theatre said...

I must stop by the Kimmel! We have tickets for concerts in May, so hopefully the Eiffel Tower will still be on display. Ah, Paree! Faux or no.

Curio Theatre said...

Previous comment was by Trillian, not Curio Theatre (I was just writing a blog entry for them and didn't realize I had to log out.)

Michael Swanwick said...

The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts runs to May 1. During which time, there will be lots of free five o'clock concerts (I'm looking forward to the Philadelphia Ukulele Orchestra), and toward the end a street fair, complete with Ferris wheel. It's really worth looking into. Much cool stuff.

On Wednesday, Marianne and I are going to see the Gertrude Stein musical.

JJM said...

I was pleased to see they have Alberto Santos-Dumont's No. 6 circling the Tour Eiffaux ... or, at least, what from afar looks like a reasonable facsimile. (Not in your photo, but I spot it in some others online.)

See photograph here of the original, rounding the Tour Eiffel in the competition for the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize in 1901. (Santos-Dumont won.)

If you ever get into the history of early aviation, Michael, you can find few more colourful figures than Santos-Dumont -- and few, in the end, more tragic.

Michael Swanwick said...

I believe it was Santos-Dumont who commissioned a breakfast table and chair with legs so long that he ate six feet above the ground. Small wonder the French loved him.