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Hobbies: Mathematics, literature.
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Member since: 7/20/2002
After the Dream:
A sequel to the previous note,
"Through a Soda-Fountain Mirror, Darkly"
From John Lahr's recent review of "Our Town":
"We all know that
something is eternal," the Stage Manager says. "And it ain't houses and it ain't names, and it ain't earth, and it ain't even stars—everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings."
The conclusion of Lewis Caroll's Through the Looking Glass:
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream --
Lingering in the golden gleam --
Life, what is it but a dream?
An apt setting for a realistic production of "Our Town" would be Randolph, N.Y., a rather timeless place that a few years ago even had a working soda fountain of the traditional sort. Yesterday's note was prompted in part by an obituary of a young girl who attended St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Randolph.
This is the reason for tonight's site music, "After a Dream," by Fauré.
See also Piper Laurie's recent film, St. Patrick's Day.
Through a Soda-Fountain Mirror, Darkly
For Piper Laurie on Her Birthday
"He was part of my dream, of course —
but then I was part of his dream, too!"
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, Chapter XII ("Which Dreamed It?") quoted as epigraph to a script for the film Pleasantville, which features a soda fountain from the 1950's.
"Scenes from yesteryear are revisited through the soda-fountain mirror, creating such a fluid pathway between the past and present that one often becomes lost along the way."
— Caroline Palmer's review of "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean"
The above quotations are related to the 1952 film Has Anybody Seen My Gal?, in which James Dean makes a brief appearance at a 1920's soda fountain. The film is chiefly notable for displaying the beauty of Piper Laurie, but a subplot is also of interest. Charles Coburn, a rich man visiting incognito a timeless town rather like Pleasantville or Riverdale, takes up painting and is assisted by the young Gigi Perreau, who supplies him with the frame from a Circe Soap ad displayed in a shop window.
For more on a fictional rich character and Circe — indeed, enough for a soap — see my note of January 11, 2003, "The First Days of Disco," and the sequel of January 12, 2003, "Ask Not." In the manner of magic realism, the adventures in the earlier entry of Scrooge McDuck and Circe are mirrored by those in the later entry of C. Douglas Dillon and Monique Wittig.
For a less pleasant trip back in time, see the later work of Gigi Perreau in Journey to the Center of Time (1967). One viewer's comment:
This is the worst movie ever made. I don't want to hear about any of Ed Wood's pictures. This is it, this is the one. Right here. The bottom of the deepest pit of cinema hell.
Happy birthday, Miss Laurie.
Rather, in fact, like "Our Town." Here is John Lahr on a current production of that classic:
"The play's narrator and general master of artifice is the Stage Manager, who gives the phrase 'deus ex machina' a whole new meaning. He holds the script, he sets the scene, he serves as an interlocutor between the worlds of the living and the dead, calling the characters into life and out of it; he is, it turns out, the Author of Authors, the Big Guy himself. It seems, in every way, apt for Paul Newman to have taken on this role. God should look like Newman: lean, strong-chinned, white-haired, and authoritative in a calm and unassuming way—if only we had all been made in his image!"
— The New Yorker, issue of Dec. 16, 2002
If Newman is God, then Miss Laurie played God's girlfriend. Nice going, Piper.
Thanks to Meghan for the following:
not going, not coming,
rooted, deep and still
not reaching out, not reaching in
just resting, at the center
a single jewel, the flawless crystal drop
in the blaze of its brilliance
the way beyond.
— Shih Te (c. 730)
It turns out that Shih Te ("Foundling") was the sidekick of Han Shan ("Cold Mountain"). Here are some relevant links:
Thoughts of Robert Frost (see past two days' entries) lead to "Two Tramps in Mud Time," which in turn leads to Jack Kerouac and Gary Snyder splitting wood in The Dharma Bums.
This in turn leads, via a search on "Kerouac" and "axe," to the sentence
"There's the grace of an axe handle
as good as an Eglevsky ballet,"
in Big Sur.
Kerouac taught me when I was 16 and he is still teaching me now that I am 60.
Searching for "Eglevsky ballet" leads to this site on André Eglevsky, his work, his life, and his children. A further search leads to his daughter Marina Eglevsky, who stages dance for the Diablo Ballet.
Born to Dance
Marina Eglevsky and
the Diablo Ballet
— a rare and gifted
pas de deux
Those who feel the above is too "arty" for them may nevertheless appreciate the movie by the same name: "Born to Dance" (1936), starring Eleanor Powell and James Stewart.
In the larger metaphorical sense, of course, Powell and Eglevsky are both part of the same dance... at the "still point" described so well by Shih Te.
"just resting, at the center
a single jewel..."
"At the still point,
there the dance is."
— T. S. Eliot
From Marshall's Jewelers, Tucson —
A Diamond-Cutter Sutra:
The ideal cut is a mathematical formula for cutting diamonds to precise angles and proportions to maximize the reflection and refraction of light. In addition to these ideal proportions, the polish and symmetry of the diamond is done to the highest standards also. Only then does it qualify to receive the American Gem Society (AGS) "triple zero" rating. A "zero" rating is the most perfect rating that the AGS gives evaluating the cut, polish, and symmetry of the diamond.
When a diamond receives the "zero" rating for each of these areas, (cut, polish, and symmetry), it gets three "zeros," hence the "triple zero" rating. Because of this attention to detail, it takes up to four times longer to cut a diamond to these standards than an "average" diamond.
You may choose to compromise on color or clarity but to ensure the most brilliant diamond you should not compromise on cut....
The "triple zero" ideal cut guarantees you a magnificent balance of brilliance, sparkle, and fire.
Postscript of 1/25/03:
See also the obituary of Irene Diamond, ballet patron, for whom the New York City Ballet's "Diamond Project" is named. Diamond died on January 21, 2003, the date of the above weblog entry.
Shine On, Robinson Jeffers
"...be in nothing so moderate as in love of man,
a clever servant, insufferable master.
There is the trap that catches noblest spirits,
that caught — they say — God, when he walked on earth."
— Shine, Perishing Republic, by Robinson Jeffers
Robinson Jeffers died at Big Sur, California, on January 20, 1962 — a year to the day after Robert Frost spoke at the Kennedy inauguration.
"The poetry of Robinson Jeffers shines with a diamond's brilliance when he depicts Nature's beauty and magnificence. His verse also flashes with a diamond's hardness when he portrays human pain and folly."
— Gary Suttle
"Praise Him, He hath conferred aesthetic distance
Upon our appetites, and on the bloody
Mess of our birthright, our unseemly need,
Imposed significant form. Through Him the brutes
Enter the pure Euclidean kingdom of number...."
— Howard Nemerov,
Grace To Be Said at the Supermarket
"Across my foundering deck shone
A beacon, an eternal beam. | Flesh fade, and mortal trash
Fáll to the resíduary worm; | world's wildfire, leave but ash:
In a flash, at a trumpet crash,
I am all at once what Christ is |, since he was what I am, and
Thís Jack, jóke, poor pótsherd, | patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,
Is immortal diamond."
— Gerard Manley Hopkins,
That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the Comfort of the Resurrection
"In the last two weeks, I've been returning to Hopkins. Even in the 'world's wildfire,' he asserts that 'this Jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,/Is immortal diamond.' A comfort."
— Michael Gerson, head White House speechwriter,
in Vanity Fair, May 2002, page 162
"There's none but truth can stead you. Christ is truth."
— Gerard Manley Hopkins
"The rock cannot be broken. It is the truth."
— Wallace Stevens
"My ghost you needn't look for; it is probably
Here, but a dark one, deep in the granite...."
— Robinson Jeffers, Tor House
On this date in 1993, the inauguration day of William Jefferson Clinton, Audrey Hepburn died.
"...today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully...."
— Maya Angelou, January 20, 1993
"So, purposing each moment to retire,
She linger'd still. Meantime, across the moors,
Had come young Porphyro, with heart on fire"
— John Keats, The Eve of St. Agnes (January 20), IX
Top view of
Top view of
Hearts On Fire
What you see with a Hearts On Fire diamond is an unequalled marriage of math and physics, resulting in the world's most perfectly cut diamond.
"Eightpointed symmetrical signs are ancient symbols for the Venus goddess or the planet Venus as either the Morning star or the Evening star."
"Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame."
— Song of Solomon
"The last words from the people in the towers and on the planes, over and over again, were 'I love you.' Over and over again, the message was the same, 'I love you.' .... Perhaps this is the loudest chorus from The Rock: we are learning just how powerful love really is, even in the face of death."
— The Rev. Kenneth E. Kovacs
"Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again."
— The Who
See also my note, "Bright Star," of October 23, 2002.