Monday, July 9, 2007

A Night to Remember

Is there no better metric of civilization than the dinner party? We can thank the war-loving Romans for bringing this timeless tradition to the masses. Prior to them, it was pretty much constrained to royalty, albeit the odd Athenian symposium with naked dancing girls and paltry talk of philosophy.

However, Gertrude Stein is my personal patron of the plate. Although hailing from Allegheny, Pennsylvania, she lived in Paris with her life long lesbian lover Alice Toklas. Together, they hosted a salon that ushered in the avant-garde in the early 20th century.

Portrait of Gertrude Stein by Pablo Picasso, 1906

She described her guests as the "Lost Generation,” which included: Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, André Derain, Georges Braque, Juan Gris, Ernest Hemingway ("Hemingway, remarks are not literature"), Ezra Pound, Thornton Wilder, Sherwood Anderson, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Paul Bowles (whom I practically worship) among others. Who knew that cordials, conversation and cuisine could shape 20th century culture?

One of my favorite places: the grand necropolis, Père Lachaise Cemetery, in Paris.

I had recent occasion to visit Gertrude in Paris. She now resides in the world’s most fashionable necropolis, Père Lachaise Cemetery. I like to frequent it often to visit old friends, from Abelard and Heloise to Chopin to Edith Piaf and many others. Maria Callas use to be a tenant, but her ashes were kidnapped, recovered, and then scattered across the Aegean Sea. Callas is as complex in death as she was in life.

The late, great Ms. Stein.

We can only aspire to crawl in Stein’s long shadow. Recently, the Pentagon Diva and I hosted an “Opera Gala Dinner,” for a few kindred souls, including the indefatigable Her Majesty Maeve. It was magnificent. We find it is best to start with a bottle of wine per person and one for the table. Here’s the menu (sans accompanying opera):

Il Condottiero and Pentagon Diva’s
Opera Gala Dinner

Champagne von Fledermaus
Johann Strauss Jr’s Die Fledermaus, Act 2 chorus “Champagne the Great!”

Assortment of cheese, fruits and wine a la The Magic Flute
Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Act 2 chorus “Seid uns zum zweitenmal wilkommen”

Il Primo
Artichokes Zuppa di Tabarro
Puccini’s Il Tabarro, choking duet “T’ho Colto!”

Il Secondo
Flank of Valkurie
Wagner’s Die Walküre, Act 3, “Ride of the Valkyries”

Aida Battle Spears of Asparagus
Verdi’s Aida, Act 2 post-battle “Grand Triumphal March”

Druidic Mushroom Risotto di Norma
Bellini’s Norma, Act 2 Roman-Druid duet “In mia man alfin tu sei”

Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, Intermezzo

Il Dolce
Falstaff’s Alcoholic Cheesecake with Hänsel und Gretel Strawberry Sauce
Verdi’s Falstaff, the whole thing
Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Act 1, the strawberry-picking expedition

Honey-Nut Fruitcake a la Salome
Strauss’s Salome, final scene

Myriad Cordials
Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, "Belle Nuit, O Nuit D`amour"

Don Giovanni cognac
Traviata port
Lammermoor scotch
“Girls of the Golden West” bourbon
Masked Ball aquavit
Boris Godunov vodka variations
The Bartered Bride’s dancing bear honey-liquors

If I could magically conjure anyone to my perfect dinner party, whom would I invite? Well, aside from the living, certainly the dead. I would start with the following: Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw (also a classical music critic!), Voltaire, Dorothy Parker, Shakespeare, Mark Twain, and Gertrude Stein, at her old pad on 27 Rue de Fleurus. Wit combined with genius is potent stuff indeed.


Camiseta Personalizada said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Se você quiser linkar meu blog no seu eu ficaria agradecido, até mais e sucesso.(If you speak English can see the version in English of the Camiseta Personalizada.If he will be possible add my blog in your blogroll I thankful, bye friend).

Anonymous said...

Do You interesting of [b]Viagra 100mg dosage[/b]? You can find below...
[size=10]>>>[url=][b]Viagra 100mg dosage[/b][/url]<<<[/size]

[b]Bonus Policy[/b]
Order 3 or more products and get free Regular Airmail shipping!
Free Regular Airmail shipping for orders starting with $200.00!

Free insurance (guaranteed reshipment if delivery failed) for orders starting with $300.00!

Generic Viagra (sildenafil citrate; brand names include: Aphrodil / Edegra / Erasmo / Penegra / Revatio / Supra / Zwagra) is an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction regardless of the cause or duration of the problem or the age of the patient.
Sildenafil Citrate is the active ingredient used to treat erectile dysfunction (impotence) in men. It can help men who have erectile dysfunction get and sustain an erection when they are sexually excited.
Generic Viagra is manufactured in accordance with World Health Organization standards and guidelines (WHO-GMP). Also you can find on our sites.
Generic Viagra is made with thorough reverse engineering for the sildenafil citrate molecule - a totally different process of making sildenafil and its reaction. That is why it takes effect in 15 minutes compared to other drugs which take 30-40 minutes to take effect.
Even in the most sexually liberated and self-satisfied of nations, many people still yearn to burn more, to feel ready for bedding no matter what the clock says and to desire their partner of 23 years as much as they did when their love was brand new.
The market is saturated with books on how to revive a flagging libido or spice up monotonous sex, and sex therapists say “lack of desire” is one of the most common complaints they hear from patients, particularly women.

Anonymous said...

Good dispatch and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you seeking your information.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for my bad english. Thank you so much for your good post. Your post helped me in my college assignment, If you can provide me more details please email me.