Sunday, May 17, 2009

Two highlights

I have had two great cultural events this week: yesterday, a book launch for my friend Philippa's book, The Gargoyle in my Yard; and on Wednesday, a Midsummer Night's Dream at the opera by Benjamin Britten.

Gargoyle: Charlie and I went to the book launch, at a nice new bookstore - McNally Robinson - at the totally and completely different Don Mills mall, now known as The Sh0ps at Don Mills, which is set up like a small downtown. Don't know if it's a total success, but it's an interesting setup. There's even a big fountain and town square kinda thing.

There were tons of people at the launch with lots of kids and, happily for Charlie, cookies. Philippa's publisher made a lovely introduction noting how it's likely that none of her friends and family in the audience are surprised that she has published a novel (so true), and then our friend Philippa read. Charlie had to get up on my lap so he could see better, and loved it and laughed (and can't wait for us to read the book at bedtime). Then we all lined up for book signing - we bought four copies - and after the long line had dwindled, they realized they'd sold out. Then a huge group of us including the author trooped down the street for a celebratory dinner.

The fly in the ointment was my getting home with Charlie and realizing I didn't have our big bag of books. AAAAURGH!!!! I couldn't remember where I'd left them, largely because I thought I had them the whole time.

I dropped Charlie at home with my husband and drove the 45 minutes back to the restaurant, and, no, they hadn't seen them. Curses! I spent the drive back home trying to make myself feel better. But it was rather difficult since all four copies of Gargoyle were signed for different people, and we'd also bought some other books - totally cool ones too - for Charlie.

Sad story turned happy when I got home. An email from Philippa: they had my books. OMG, talk about relief. Bedtime story is set for tonight, and the signed gift copies are set aside for mailing out.

Dream: My other cultural highlight this week was a night at the opera. I've only been to one other, which was wonderful, but just okay for my tastes. This Midsummer Night's Dream was magical and eerie, and a little creepy, as well as funny and otherworldly. The voices were beautiful and the music got right into my bones. The stage and performance and forest and audience breathed together.

And the fairies. The first scene (unlike the play) opens in the forest, with just the fairies at night, all of them (there were lots of them) swaying slightly. The fairies are all members of the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus, and in their unearthly costumes, they all looked like, well, my son.

I feel elevated. Here's a photo of just two of the fairies (from the H0uston production; couldn't find fairy fotos from the Toronto production, but they looked just like this).

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