Thursday, August 30, 2007

Stating the Obvious

A young grandmother was holding her 24-day old grandson in the crook of her arm. With her free hand, she smoked a cigarette. They were standing with other relatives on one of the few real sidewalks in Naples. I approached with La Bimba in the stroller, planning to say, "You couldn't at least hand him over to one of his uncles while you got your nicotine fix?" but said instead, "Vedi il bimbo, Lucia! Quant'รจ bello!" Sometimes it's better to let things be.

Yesterday La Bimba and I were hanging out in Piazza Plebiscito (a massive piazza with no shade, in case you've never been...avoid at high noon), when I noticed a group of people marking movement in the center of the square. One was barefoot. I asked someone what was going on and she said that they were filming a dance for a video art exhibit to take place at MADRE, Naples's fabulous contemporary art museum. She pointed to the filmmaker, a chubby gal in black standing behind a videocamera at the far end of the square. When I approached the filmmaker, she was ordering a lackey around, telling him to prevent passersby from walking into the frame. He was running back and forth like a caged animal, begging ice cream eaters and balloon salesmen to walk around the shot. Not an easy job.

The group of dancers, mostly unprofessional, some kids, began to mark the piece, to do a run-through. After some random milling about, they formed lines and began to follow a leader through a series of movements, basic, simple movements from modern choreography. I assumed the leader was the choreographer and wanted to know his name, so I asked the filmmaker.

Me: Is that the choreographer in front?

Her: Excuse me?

Me: Is there a choreographer for this dance?

Her: It's a film.

Me: Yes, but did someone choreograph the movement?

Her: Yeah.

Me: What's his name?

Her: Guido something.

Woe is me! Woe is dance! A video art project based entirely on movement and the filmmaker doesn't even know the choreographer's name. I wanted to say, "Nice way to treat other artists" but said instead, "Guido something. I see."

Am I being wise or cowardly with all these unspoken sentiments?


Marmite Breath said...

Um, sometimes it is wise to be somewhat cowardly. It saves you from a potentially ugly confrontation.

I ADOOOOOOOOOORE Piazza Plebiscito. Adore it.

Piccola said...

Well, it could go either way. My boyfriend (the Italian) always states his opinion. Even if it hurts! He's old school though. Don't people there do that to you?? What it all boils down to is, be yourself. If it's like you to state your opinion, then do it, if not, don't.
The Italian tells me, Don't eat too much bread, then hands me a loaf and says here eat this....WTF?? He says, Don't eat Jell-O ( I just had surgery) it's toxic waste, but my discharge orders say that's one of the few things I cold's still toxic waste, I'll make you brodo instead....go figure.

Anonymous said...

i say let it rip!!!!!

Italiana Americana said...

uahauah tipical naples! well at least bimba isn't in school where the professor is smoking while he goes over lecture notes! see my video link posted! haha

Ambra Celeste said...

My life is full of unspoken sentiments. I am sure it is part of being a stranger in a strange land. Or maybe it is because in true cynical fashion I imagine that even if I give my opinion it won't matter, as it is awfully hard to change people's behavior, let alone their minds...(I'm thinking of the smokin' grandma you mentioned). I don't think it is cowardly at all to save your breath. Who wants to expend energy trying to educate people who don't want to be educated in the first place. But tell us! We want to hear your thoughts! It makes great reading.