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1960s the Cold War still lingers. We fought the Russians, we didn’t share. We had Gershwin, they had Tchaikovsky: we had baseball, they had the Bolshoi Ballet.
They loved their ballet; we called them sissies, faggots.
Miracle of miracles, the Soviets decided to let us filthy capitalists sniff their treasure: the Bolshoi. All that female scatch, covered with white satin, set off my white tulle-net pin-wheel tutus.
Dancing what? the most popular ballet, of course: Swan Lake!
Where? Where you can fit the most people all at once, of course: Madison Square Garden!
Hilary and I got tickets, cheap seats, way up in the nosebleed rafters.
I wasn’t a big Tchaikovsky fan in the 1960s: but oh that D Minor!
(Now I play the main theme on the keyboard regularly. (I didn’t learn how till my fifties! But, yes, I did know what I was missing!))
Madison Square Garden wasn’t exactly sold out for this enemy visitation, but a lot of people poured in. The old Garden would hold 15,000, 20,000 people, depending on the exhibit.
Never mind, get straight to the heart of the story:
The orchestra plays that deep D Minor.
The acoustics at the Garden … Wait a minute, pk: there are no acoustics at the Garden: certainly not in the Garden of the mid-1960s. It’s a visual arena, for bedlam, for team sports: basketball: dunk! Hockey: smack! Crunch!
the New Garden
The orchestra plays that deep D Minor. The best of Romanticism is encapsulated right there. The ballerinas enter: tip toe, flash snatch, tippy-toe …
When from high on high, up with us, among the nosebleeds:
Wha’ja have for lunch?
The orchestra, the dancers, soldiered on. The audience too tried to grit their teeth, to ignore the vulgar sabotage, to pretend not to hear, or smell, the fart in church. Beat, beat: Louis’ answer came:
a liverwurst sandwich.
You don’t reserve the Garden without anybody knowing. Somewhere high up in the kleptocracy’s hieratic democracy more than one committee had approved the Commies’ visit. But not every faction had been consulted: the union that opened the doors, swept up the litter afterwards, oiled the seats of the bolted-in-place folding chairs periodically, whatever, didn’t wholly endorse this way-pre pre-Perestroika.
These workers: Would they have tried to drown out Eisenhower as he gave his inaugural address?
(Maybe they would have for Obama.)
Would they have committed a comparable vulgarism at midnight Christmas mass in St. Patricks?
What? Would they have shrill-whistled? have held a mic to their ass to amplify that sacrilegious fart?
(No. No more than they would have rooted for Jack Johnson while watching John L.)
Which of those above committees considered the veto power of the unions?
The Times forecast the event, the Times covered the event; but not that detail!
The soul of the thing is in the details, all of them.
There. That sure is different from yesterday’s botched resurrection. Better, for sure. Some of that botch may yet bleed back in.
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