Sunday, September 11, 2011

Boom! Boom! BEARS!

Everyone waited all year and, like the TV ads say, football is back!  The yakkety-yaksters and professional guessers and Those Men Who Can't/Won't/Don't Shut-the-freak-up About Football were all saying the Bears were going to lose their home opener.  It might not be a big margin, they said, but the Falcons would be victorious with Julio Jones, the Falcons rookie wide receiver (a/k/a bitch), doing especially well.  Julio did do well (on one play it took two Bears to take him down) but not well enough as the Falcons were summarily defeated by the Chicago Bears in Soldier Field.  The Bears took 'em to the woodshed and showed them their saws and logs or whatever the hell "taking them to the woodshed" might mean.

A favorite highlight:  The Bears WON!  30-12 so everyone can suck it.

In addition to football being back, so is opera.  The Stars of the Lyric Opera concert was last night in Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.  The weather was just right, the crowd was well behaved (lovers of opera and rich people not usually resorting to fisticuffs), we all sang The Star Spangled Banner (and my sister and I put our hands over our hearts when we sang it, just like we learned to do when we were growing up and attending very good public schools in Detroit; did no one else get this lesson?), and we were all treated to a lovely evening.  Attending the opera isn't cheap and it was wonderful to hear Renee Fleming sing four times -- FOUR -- for FREE.  FREE!  We got to see and hear new singers who will one day have fantastic careers in opera, especially Rene Barbera, Susanna Phillips, and Jamie Barton.  French conductor Emmanuel Villaume moved things along at a brisk pace which made what we were hearing all the more thrilling.  It seemed as if the singer barely got to the microphone and BANG, the orchestra was off and the singer had best have been paying attention because that musical train was going to leave without him/her.

Renee Fleming with Lyric entourage, graciously greeting the hoi polloi
The most amazing of all was about an hour and 45 minutes before the show when Renee Fleming actually came from backstage to interact with the audience.  Sure, it was a Lyric Opera group that was assembled for interaction, she was surrounded by Lyric Opera staff, and it was for about 20 minutes, but first she had to walk by those of us who were waiting to get actual seats in Pritzker Pavilion, and then walk back by us again.  This stroll was the opera world equivalent of Jay Cutler leaving the dressing room to walk by where fans were lined up for a game, saying hello to everyone who was waiting to be admitted, then walking back to the dressing room and being just as nice.  (It is only an equivalent as it would never happen in a million years.)  The picture of Ms. Fleming was taken with my cell phone as she was returning to the dressing room.  Yes, she got quite close to us in line.  Yes, she is as pretty in person as she is in her photos.  Yes, she was as gracious as you would hope.  Perhaps Renee Fleming can sit down with the Bears and give them a crash course in how to be gracious to fans.  I bet the course failure rate would be 78%.  ("I am sorry, Mr. Urlacher, but returning to the locker room without signing a single autograph was not one of the multiple choice options.")  She might also give a course to her fellow opera singers as no one's ever done anything even remotely similar in all the years I've been attending this concert which is many.  (Once after a show, Quinn Kelsey, the great baritone, was standing at the front of the stage and we went and shook his hand.  He is a very large man with giant hands.  He was quite gracious and about the same size as a pro football player, which proves you can be large, in charge, and nice to fans.)

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the events of 9/11.  As do most Americans who were alive and aware that day,  I remember what I was doing 10 years ago.  But I am only going to share what happened toward the end of evening.

My mom had major surgery the day before so I had a lot to think about in addition to the horrible events of the day.  I make my hair appointments weeks in advance and the next one was scheduled for September 12.  My mom was getting out of the hospital on that day and that would require my attention.  As I was leaving the hospital on the 11th, I called my guy to reschedule.  "Do you want to come now?  I have one person coming but you can come now."

When I got there, my hair guy didn't have another person in the chair which almost never happens.  "Cancellations," he said, "but my next appointment is going to be coming."  He shampooed my hair and we were having an oh-my-god conversation as he cut my hair when the next scheduled appointment swept in.

If this lady were punctuation, she'd be an exclamation point.  She said that after spending a good portion of the day crying, she was determined that she would get a haircut and look good no matter what happened next.  She brought two bottles of wine, pate, and crackers.  The best way to describe our time together is a toast to the departed and a toast to life as we knew it right then.  Thinking about it, I almost feel guilty for how much better I felt when I left there.  Almost.  There were many times of tears, horror, and sadness in the upcoming days, months, years, but right then with my hair looking better and having toasted with lovely people, things were better and I always remember better.

1 comment:

  1. You know who else puts his hand over his heart during the National Anthem? Rahm, that's who. I saw a photograph.