Using tango music and the physical concussion of boots stomping on the floor, the ballet follows the unwanted little girl who grows into a dance-hall performer who captivates Juan Perón. But she is followed by her childhood self, a waif in a plain white gown, who quietly materializes at key moments, to haunt Evita.
Perhaps the best part of this ballet, from choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, is performed
by the eyes – with camera closeups revealing the emotions of Evita, (Dandara Veiga), fearing her past will be revealed.
My wife and I have decided that this ballet might be the best we have ever seen.
I have always been something of a snob about TV -- soaps, game shows, series (i was obsessed with "The Sopranos.") However, while staying close to home in recent years, I have opened my mind, at least a bit.
Every Saturday and Sunday morning, we seek out the Aerial America series on the Smithsonian channel -- hour-long views of the states. Sometimes we “visit” states we do not know very well – like New Mexico and Arizona. My wife, born in Connecticut, with genes from early settlers of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, loves the aerial views of New England.
Today the series returned to Maine, which we discovered in the past decade from visiting her uncle Harold, who lived in Bath, a few yards from the Kennebec River, which he had helped dredge before World War II.
Harold is gone now, but the Smithsonian cameras take us to coastal scenes so familiar we could taste the fresh catch at Bet's Fish Fry in Boothbay, A swoop over Brunswick showed the home of author Harriet Beecher Stowe near downtown Brunswick – with an old red-brick mill converted into urban offices and shops – “Look, there’s our Thai restaurant!”
If we were a bit younger, if there were no Covid, we’d be visiting more of Maine, and other parts of this blessed continent.
In recent months, we have seen documentaries of singers who have been part of our adult lives.
Joni Mitchell was honored by the Gershwin award, at the Kennedy Center, beaming in the front row, as people praised her music, her idealistic messages. Joni has been recovering from a stroke, but -- spoiler alert: -- on this recent night, she agreed to go to the microphone and in an older, huskier but still blatantly Joni voice, she totally aced the Gershwin standard, “Summertime.”
Another documentary showed how Roberta Flack started singing classical music – not an easy path for a young Black woman -- and over the years how she took control of her own career.
We try not to miss the series, “Now Hear This,” with American conductor-violinist Scott Yoo traveling all over the world to talk music with classical musicians.
In all the fields I have covered, I have loved shop talk – from coal miners, from athletes, from politicians, who know their field and, if encouraged, will divulge tricks of the trade.
The other night, Yoo explored how Robert Schuman may have been bipolar, interviewing a doctor/musician who can talk and play Schumann.
Finally, CNN has been running a series with the actress, Eva Longoria, exploring the food of Mexico, region by region. Longoria, born in Texas of Mexican ancestry, visits contemporary restaurants in Mexico City and is at her best visiting the countryside, chatting respectfully with the earnest women who farm and cook and also trek into the cities to sell their wares.
Recently, Longoria was in the Yucatan peninsula, not just Merida, but the tidal flats where she learned to sift for salt. She also watched the deliberate process of the regional specialty -- baked pork, cochinita pibil -- in a covered pan, underneath a layer of dirt, overnight, for 8 to 12 hours.
It’s been two decades since I’ve been to Mexico – a soccer match against the USA.
It brought back memories of reading travel adventure books by Richard Halliburton in grade school. (Longoria did not mention the human sacrifices into deep wells that Halliburton explored so many decades ago. )
Longoria’s series makes me want to go back to all the places I've visited -- Puebla, Monterrey, and next time Oaxaca.
For the moment, I’m thankful to contemporary television for the documentaries that take us so many places,
At the moment, Sunday afternoon, TV will take me to another corner of the world -- Oakland, A's vs. Mets.
Measuring Covid Deaths, by David Leonhardt. July 17, 2023. NYT online.
The United States has reached a milestone in the long struggle against Covid: The total number of Americans dying each day — from any cause — is no longer historically abnormal….
After three horrific years, in which Covid has killed more than one million Americans and transformed parts of daily life, the virus has turned into an ordinary illness.
The progress stems mostly from three factors:
First, about three-quarters of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine shot.
Second, more than three-quarters of Americans have been infected with Covid, providing natural immunity from future symptoms. (About 97 percent of adults fall into at least one of those first two categories.)
Third, post-infection treatments like Paxlovid, which can reduce the severity of symptoms, became widely available last year.
“Nearly every death is preventable,” Dr. Ashish Jha, who was until recently President Biden’s top Covid adviser, told me. “We are at a point where almost everybody who’s up to date on their vaccines and gets treated if they have Covid, they rarely end up in the hospital, they almost never die.”
That is also true for most high-risk people, Jha pointed out, including older adults — like his parents, who are in their 80s — and people whose immune systems are compromised. “Even for most — not all but most —immuno-compromised people, vaccines are actually still quite effective at preventing against serious illness,” he said. “There has been a lot of bad information out there that somehow if you’re immuno-compromised that vaccines don’t work.”
That excess deaths have fallen close to zero helps make this point: If Covid were still a dire threat to large numbers of people, that would show up in the data.
One point of confusion, I think, has been the way that many Americans — including we in the media — have talked about the immuno-compromised. They are a more diverse group than casual discussion often imagines.
Most immuno-compromised people are at little additional risk from Covid — even people with serious conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or a history of many cancers. A much smaller group, such as people who have received kidney transplants or are undergoing active chemotherapy, face higher risks.
Covid’s toll, to be clear, has not fallen to zero. The C.D.C.’s main Covid webpage estimates that about 80 people per day have been dying from the virus in recent weeks, which is equal to about 1 percent of overall daily deaths.
The official number is probably an exaggeration because it includes some people who had virus when they died even though it was not the underlying cause of death. Other C.D.C. data suggests that almost one-third of official recent Covid deaths have fallen into this category. A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases came to similar conclusions.
Dr. Shira Doron, the chief infection control officer at Tufts Medicine in Massachusetts, told me that “age is clearly the most substantial risk factor.” Covid’s victims are both older and disproportionately unvaccinated. Given the politics of vaccination, the recent victims are also disproportionately
Republican and white.
Each of these deaths is a tragedy. The deaths that were preventable — because somebody had not received available vaccines and treatments — seem particularly tragic. (Here’s a Times guide to help you think about when to get your next booster shot.)
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.