Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Gesu' Giuseppe e Misha

I had to delete that photo of the dude with the dog from the last post. It was bugging me. In order to do so, I had to delete the whole post and the comments went with it. Why can't I figure out a way to delete a photo from a post without having to delete the whole post? I need Blogger For Dummies.

There is much to report. La Bimba started pointing at things. She had already been gesturing toward things with an open hand, looking a bit like Eva Peron addressing her masses from her Buenos Aires balcony, but now she actually points with her little index finger. I told you she was a genius.

As for crawling, she is moving fast...backwards. She scooted backwards until she hit a wall and then turned ninety degrees and began scooting along the wall until she was half under the couch. The Husband said, "Where'd she go?" Had we found her any later she would have taken up with a band of dust bunnies and lord only knows where that would lead.

Yesterday was San Giuseppe, Saint Joseph, La Festa del Papà, Father's Day. I sent my Dad a Happy Father's Day all'italiana email and explained that Joseph was Jesus's dad, in case they forgot to talk about that in Hebrew school, and this got me thinking about poor Joseph, Giuseppe, let's call him Peppe, and how Jesus's adoptive father (stepdad?), i.e. God, gets all the credit for Jesus's martyrdom, resurrection, and subsequent movie, television, and book rights. Then my mind went further down the blasphemous path and I thought about God and Peppe as Jesus's gay dads. I sure hope I'm not pissing anyone off right now. Just sharing the inner workings of a sleep-deprived mind.

Have I blogged about my former fear of Jesus? As a child, my parents took me to Mexico. I was around five, maybe younger, maybe not, maybe six We went into a church. Everything was going smoothly until we came upon a room with about fifty crucifixes, each about a foot tall, hanging on the wall. I had never seen (or at least never noticed) a crucifix before and the little bleeding naked-but-for-loincloth man times 50 freaked my wee ass out. I ran out of the room only to careen into the church's epicenter, the nave or pulpit or both, where an enormous, larger than Jewish-girl-from-Brooklyn life Jesus hung on a built to fit cross. His wounds were gushing blood. It was like Carrie (though I hadn't seen Carrie at that point...still haven't seen it come to think of it...are you sensing a fear of blood theme yet?). I tore out of that holy place screaming and continued to whimper about what I had seen into the night.

I stopped whimpering the next day, but it took a good five to seven years for me to stop being afraid of seeing Jesus again. My parents took me to many a major European capital, thus many museums, and I had to ask before entering each room, "Is he there?" Even the milder depictions, the earlier works, the Dutch versions made me splutter. Add San Sebastian, John the Baptist, and the rest of the bloody gang, and you've got yourself a bonafide Christianity phobia.

Growing up Jewish in Brooklyn is like growing up Swedish in Sweden: you don't even notice. Up until recently there were more Jews in Brooklyn than in Israel and I bet the scales tipped only after a large number of scary right wing Brooklyn Jews made aliyah (the return to Israel) and set up a bunch of illegal settlements. So it was quite usual for a five-year-old to not have ever heard of or seen a velvet painting of Jesus. No one told me who he was, why he was all over the map, literally, why he was suffering so. I think knowing about him or Him would have helped calm my nerves or at least given me a mantra to work with, something like, "It's okay. It's just the son of God. He's suffering for my sins. It's okay."

My best friend from high school is an Irish Catholic and one of her sisters is an ordained minister (I think) and is married to an Episcopal priest (I think you call him priest) and I used to love to hear all about the Catholicism, all the rites, pomp, circumstance, glory, stained glass, chalices, etc. Real theater plus you got to choose a saint's name at your confirmation. I was always obsessed with names and wished I could have chosen one to add to mine. I remember an Italian girl on my block, Andrea, who told me she was going to choose Rhonda. Was there a Saint Rhonda? Time for another web search!

Now that I've exhausted that tangent, let me tell you about lunch in Bacoli. The food was good, lots of seafood served on fake scallop half shells. But the conversation a group of young Romans was having was great. They were arguing about homosexuality -- disease? nature? genetic? -- at the top of their lungs. The Husband, at the top of his lungs, said, "Sono un poco fascisti i romani." The couple at the table next to ours agreed. This is one of the things I love about Italy. You can call people fascists to their faces and they don't get up and smash a half-eaten lobster tail in your face. People are openly fascist just as they are openly communist, Christian democratic, anarchist, no big whoop.

This was all very interesting, but I was busy being proud of myself for recognizing the group of homophobes as Roman. I got it from the accent and I got the accent because most Italian films are made in Rome and the on screen youth talk exactly like these kids were talking. Same tone, same rhythm. Cinecitta' and shit.

Last bit of news is that I took a dance class last night with a guy named Bruno Valentino, who danced with Bejart and Forsythe {fyi, big names in modern dance}. I had a grand old time doing the neoclassical thing. In brief, neoclassical dance is classical dance, a.k.a. ballet, with your ass stuck out, your foot flexed, and your legs in parallel. It's huge in Europe and the jury that lives in my head is still out on what to make of it. It's very fun to do because it's pretty extreme and exagerrated, but it can look too affected for my tastes. I'm sure there are clips of the aforementioned choreographers' work on YouTube. If you check it out, let me know what you think. Oh, and BIG thank you to D. for sending me the link to the Charlie Rose interview with Baryshnikov. Very entertaining. Baryshnikov is simply the greatest male dancer ever ever. If you think Nureyev, I don't agree. However, the interview features a clip from White Nights, the film with Gregory Hines and Baryshnikov, and though you can see Baryshnikov is flawless and can do anything, Hines is more interesting to watch, looser, more playful.

Oh, how I miss dancing every day and talking about it and writing about it!

One last thing, promise. The dance space where I took the class is called Mudra, is literally a 5 minute walk from my house, has a bar, a gym, a theater space, a yoga space, a pilates room, and a steam room. Crazy. The anglophonic yoga class may have found a home!


Doug said...

Yes, the American fascists wear sheep's clothing (or that of the Lamb -- but not only).

You're welcome re: Baryshnikov. Thought you'd like that. I hate Charlie Rose, though. His interview with Pinter was outrageous, enraging, and, finally, just plain hilarious.

On the blogger issue: if you edit the post and choose the "Compose" tab (as opposed to the "Edit HTML" tab) and just click on the photo and hit the delete button, you should be fine. Works for me...e-mail me if this doesn't work for ya. (You can do a test post with any photo and see what happens.)

gayle said...

Paul was snorting and chortling reading this today. yeah, so what about international women's day and everything is open, but along comes father's day and all is closed, school and such? I also had a more generalized fear of christianity (any organized religion, actually) growing up instilled by a rabidly scientific father, was afraid of my first boyfriend's family (irish catholic) until I figured out what they were all about. Also, the new picture on penultimate post rocks (almost wrote to ask about dog and man, boh?)for all of you who don't know that incredible inverted lady is...figured it out?