So far this morning, I have considered opera, biscuits and gravy, learned that it is World Lung Cancer Day and read tweets from a famous author about peeing on a tree in his driveway before getting behind the wheel for a bagel run.
I am still not sure how the day is stacking up on my end, although I ultimately relied on my cowboy larder out here in ruralburbia to have those biscuits and gravy.
You might think the California author’s choice of bagel, cream cheese and sliced tomato, sprinkled liberally with fresh-ground black pepper, would be the healthier breakfast choice, but I say not necessarily so if you consider the California freeway lifestyle. I already have lung cancer, and driving, as we know, is pretty risky, too.
On the lung cancer score, I am readying for a trip to MD Anderson in Houston and was grateful yesterday to find non-stop flight from and to Albuquerque. As for operatics, I am sticking mostly to my own theater these days.
Frankly, I haven’t been back to the Santa Fe Opera since suffering several years ago through painfully silly scenes of pirouetting doormen and grass-skirted aboriginals line-dancing on a desert island. I didn’t have a date for the Willie Nelson concert there and gave my tickets away. I stupidly neglected to make reservations for Lyle Lovett. I would have proudly remembered seeing those two at SFO. In case you don’t want to experience similar loss, I will remind you that Esperanza Spalding and Grace Potter are coming to Santa Fe’s Lensic theater next week and Los Lobos (“Rain, rain, rain…an evil rain…”) are slated to appear at Buffalo Thunder in Pojoaque. (To get to Buffalo Thunder, just follow the long line of US 84 traffic now visible through the open north side of the opera house).
The opera curtains opened when a friend wrote this morning to rat out, in a nice way, Tommy Lee Jones, who sat a seat away from her at a recent Santa Fe Opera performance of Salome. Although he appeared studious and appreciative, my friend said she overheard him suggest to his company that they could leave at intermission. Trouble was, Strauss made this opera one big act.
Well, I wouldn’t fault Mr. Jones, given my last experience there and the fact that I am a fan. He looks to be a real horseman and I like his movies. Now that I think of it, if “Cold Mountain” can be an opera, so could be Jones’s “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada,” although there probably isn’t enough room to drag a body around by horseback on the SFO stage, while you can probably fake all the hiking in “Cold Mountain,” which was good but read kind of like an opera in need of an intermission.
But I should be grateful. Opera recently provided me with a brush with fame, one of the few others in my life being in the audience for an appearance of Sky King and Penny at the Ohio State Fair in the mid-1950s.
It was the very same production at SFO, where my friend saw Tommy Lee Jones, that resulted in my first Google alert for John Robertson — a digital seed that I planted a long time ago but which had not stirred until conductor David Robertson struck up the music for John the Baptist in Salome.
An opera reviewer mentioned the conductor and the beheaded Baptist in the same article, published by one of my former employers, and a Google algorithm bingo rang the “John Robertson” bell on my iPhone, although I clearly would have been closer to fame sitting a couple of seats away from Tommy Lee Jones.
This photo of brother-in-law Bill’s Clydesdale, Chance, which I employed as click-bait on Twitter, is relative to all this in that he is kind of a ham and it seems his big mug would work on an opera program — a rather handsome tenor. And I’ve always felt my association with him represents another brush with fame.
But on Sunday the famous author T.C. Boyle tweeted this hot-milk and empty-screen reminder that fame does not come easy: