Here’s the link to my newest blog at CityBeat, about my visit with Jon to Hen of the Woods Underground.
I love blogging about food!
Here’s a link to my latest article in CityBeat about this world premiere ballet.
New Year’s Eve is traditionally the time the Valins pull together a gathering. Our OTR house is about as clean and decorated as it ever gets. We buy lots of goodies and treats, and cold cuts and this year I am making chili as well.
We’ve had a rotating cast of guests at our signature gathering. This year, we still are anchored by family members, but I am also remembering all the years my parents would arrive (always early!) carrying their contribution to the party. My dad would always want to start playing pinochle as soon as he could gather three other people . . . my mom would wander about chattering and tell me to do one thing while I was doing another . . .
I miss them terribly.
However, this year we are going for it once again. We’re expecting family and friends, and Puppy will get overexcited and bark and bark and bark . . .
I’d also like to offer a sincere “Happy New Year’s Eve” to all the readers of valinkat.
I’m looking forward to making a fresh start in the new year.
So what if it’s a fairly arbitrary marker in time – I’m game!
See you next year!
Read my newest in CityBeat!
Although last night’s “Swan Lake” at the Aronoff Center was a massive collaboration involving Cincinnati Ballet, BalletMet Columbus and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, two dancers at the heart of the story made it come to life for me.
The first moment Patric Palkins as Prince Siegfried bounded onstage, he personified a very young man unsure of anything in life, but most of all sure he had not met the love of his life. After finally meeting her in the admittedly strange form of an enchanted swan/woman (Janessa Touchet), the devotion of each to the other was complete.
Okay, there is one major bump in the road, when the Prince is fooled into thinking Odile (also played by Touchet), daughter of the evil Von Rothbart (Zack Grubbs), is the One, but in the end love triumphs, even if it’s in the form of a so-called apotheosis where the two are united not on earth but in heaven. Unfortunately, I was denied this last glimpse of the lovers, since the set was constructed so that a large clump of hanging branch blocked my view from the right balcony.
But be that as it may . . .
It’s hard enough to take in this ballet, there’s always so much going on, that having a through line, as they say, in the form of the lead dancers is essential.
This was Touchet’s third time in the role, and she’s said this will probably be her last time doing the ballet. I sincerely hope not. But even more touching was Palken’s debut in a full-length “Swan Lake.” This talented fellow was recently promoted from the corps to a senior soloist, and it’s easy to see why. Though he had opportunities to show his ability to get into the air and seem to hover there, he also had plenty to do just displaying Touchet, whose Swan Queen is definitely the star of the show.
Every partnership is different. This had extra interest because Palkens is younger than Touchet (well at, least in ballet terms. They both seem very young to me!). The tenderness and care with which he related to her gave the story a resonance I appreciated. His dismay at being fooled into pledging his troth to an imposter was poignant, as were the final embraces of the lovers as Von Rothbart continues to force them apart.
I’ve come to think that sometimes I bring as much to the show as the dancers. This time, I did actually experience this ballet as a tragic love story between two soul mates, and for whatever reasons – including choreography, staging, dancing, music – it moved me greatly. Can’t ask for more.
Here’s the link to my newest feature for Cincinnati CityBeat: