Just Nathan

A musical offering, in parts
April 20, 2003
Life is a cabaret

This morning we joined the hordes on 5th Avenue for the Easter Parade. The sun streamed through the skyscrapers and fashion boutiques and danced on the hats of the small-town beauties who had travelled into Gotham to display themselves.

smalltown beauty

Lines of smartly dressed churchgoers awaited entry to the gothic temples and television cameras recorded the melee.

We had brunch at a diner (chicken soup with matzo balls and noodles on Passover - oy vey). The hot pastrami with Swiss cheese on rye bread was filling and tasty. Then back to museum mile - this time to the twentieth century collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We had time to see old friends (Bonnard and Pissaro), curious relatives (Jackson Pollack) and blotchy neighbours (Clifford Still).

The highlight of the day was Cabaret at Studio 54 on 54th Street. The production was directed by Sam Mendes and based upon his Donmar Warehouse production of the early nineties. The nightclub setting (we sat at small tables with lamps and drank cocktails) and titillating cast made for a satisfyingly sleazy rendition of Berlin in the 1930's. It was only a few months ago that I saw the film for the first time and I was even more shocked this time as the audience was suckered by the racist "tomorrow belongs to me" and applauded wildly at "if you could see her". An effective performance, which reminded me (if reminder were needed) of how insidious the rise of National Socialism must have been.

After the theatre, we were hungry, but not enough for a large meal. So I suggested cocktails and oysters at the hotel bar. This made for a pleasant end to the evening. I sat at the bar next to the actor Roscoe somebody-or-other who seemed to be well-known. Several people walked up to him and said "don't I recognise you from somewhere"? All he would divulge was that, yes, he is an actor on screen and stage and that he played the part of the narrator in the film "Babe". Whilst this strange conversation was proceeding, Alfred decided to have his tarot cards read by "Tyler", who'd been hustling for work since we arrived. Now I'm quite worried by kabbalistic stuff - with good reason from my own past. Alfred discussed career choices. I decided on the basis of several cocktails and oysters to overcome my inhibition and try it myself.

Tyler is a nice Jewish guy from New York with kind eyes. He travels around making money from his tarot readings. It wasn't clear whether he was sincere or not. The experience was disconcerting. After several cuts of the cards, he told me that somebody called Bobby would become significant in my life. When he asked me if I knew a Bobby, I could only remember the Bobby from Company.

He moved on to draw several cards. I was represented by the Pope, Alfred was Death and between us was the Empress. He said that meant that Alfred was going through major changes in his life, but that there is a strong love between us. The sun card was next - meaning that I should be calm and happy, no matter what was to come. The next two cards made a very bad omen. The eight of cups and the two of swords meant that our relationship wouldn't survive the changes in Alfred's life.

A spooky experience.

The actor turned out to be Roscoe Lee Browne.

Thanks for the chat and cocktails, Roscoe

Posted by nathan at April 20, 2003 01:45 AM


Well within your rights to be sceptical, as a man of science I wouldn't imagine you to believe Tyler at all, but you never know I guess. Sounds like quite an experience all the same.

Posted by: Cosmo Hill-Miers at April 29, 2003 03:23 PM

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