3rd Tier View at the Kimmel Center

Journal: March 2024

posted in: Personal Essay | 0

After enduring the bleakness that is January and February, I was quite happy when March rolled around. We had plenty of gloomy and rainy days, but at least we were getting more daylight.

It also helped that the month started with a belated celebration of my birthday. Holly and I took a Friday off to make a long weekend. We went out to a few of our favorite restaurants: a late lunch at Oyster House, dinner at Bistro Romano, and brunch at On Point Bistro.

Those meals were interspersed with a couple special meals Holly made for us: Sweet Potato Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy for brunch, and Rabbit Daube for dinner.

In addition to all this excellent eating, I treated myself to Criterion’s The Essential Jacques Demy collection thanks to their occasional 50% off sale. The set includes Lola, Bay of Angels, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Young Girls of Rochefort, Donkey Skin, and Une Chambre en Ville. I was already a huge fan of the first 4 films so the collection was worth it just for those. As it turned out, I also really enjoyed Donkey Skin and Une Chambre en Ville which made buying the collection even more worthwhile.

March was a good month for music. I mentioned in my January Update that a new Sleater-Kinney album, Little Rope, came out. Although my initial reaction was lukewarm, the album has grown on me since.

In March, 2 new albums came out that I took quicker liking to: Kim Gordon’s The Collective

And Mary Timoney’s Untame the Tiger.

The big music event for the month was seeing the Philadelphia Orchestra perform Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. I’ve loved this work for decades and was thrilled to finally have an opportunity to see it live.

I probably would have gone regardless, but I had extra incentive since one of my staff is a member of the Mendelssohn Choir which performed along the with orchestra.

Our seats were in a part of the Kimmel Center we had never sat in before. We were on the 3rd tier on the side of the stage, almost behind it. It was a unique view that was much better than I thought it might be. Most importantly, the sound was amazing.

Another big thing at the end of March was Holly and I both getting new iPhones. I’ll write more about my new iPhone later, but I’ll point out that switching from my Samsung Galaxy S9+ was part of the fallout of spilling coffee on my old Dell laptop. The photos on this post are among the last I took with my Samsung which served me well for nearly 6 years!


Photography

Thanks to the slightly better weather, I was able to get out to take photos on a few occasions.


Reading

Last April, I re-read Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, which I absolutely love. It’s loosely based on Henry James’ The Ambassadors, and I’ve been meaning to read that ever since finishing The Talented Mr. Ripley. In the long ago past, I read a fair amount of Henry James but never The Ambassadors.

The premise of both novels is that someone from the United States gets sent to Europe to bring home the wayward son of a rich family. Both main characters, Highsmith’s Tom Ripley and James’ Lewis Lambert Strether, are seduced by Europe and try to manufacture ways to remain. Ripley turns to murder and deception whereas Strether relies more on social manipulation.

Reading The Ambassadors relatively soon after The Talented Mr. Ripley was fascinating in the way 2 very different writers approached a similar conceit. Of course, The Ambassadors became a classic a half-century before Highsmith’s novel so it would probably would have been even more fascinating to have read The Ambassadors first.

Even not considering the comparisons between the 2 books, I thoroughly enjoyed The Ambassadors. It’s a long novel with few characters so the development of these characters and the interactions among them is rich and detailed. It’s not so much about the plot but about how the characters change over the course of the novel. Reading The Ambassadors makes me want to read more Henry James.

I didn’t know at the time I re-read The Talented Mr. Ripley nor even when I recently read The Ambassadors that a new limited series based on the former was in the works to be released in April.

Given the length and density of The Ambassadors, I finished only 1 other book in March: Sloane Crosley’s Grief Is for People, a memoir of sorts based around her navigating the aftermath of the death of a close friend. It’s a short and easy read full of pithy observations, which isn’t surprising given Crosley’s witty style. I’m not sure the book makes any profound statements about grief, but it is an interesting and moving account of her friendship and her ways of dealing with his passing.

My book pile took a step backward after I returned a couple books to the library!

Books Read in 2024

So far, I have read 8 books in 2024:


Being and Formulating Posts in 2024

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