Sunday, May 15, 2005


Saturday night we ate at Pepe Verde in the old neighborhood and met Dexter the Director for the play Orson’s Shadow. On the way we ran into the producer and scores of other people that DD knows. Hugs and kisses for all....those theater people. The play was good and still boasted some of the original Chicago cast (it was Tracy Letts’ second-to-last night; he has to get back home to do three Steppenwolf shows in a row). It was well done if a bit loud, and at half-time we were able to go next door for a quick ice cream. I always want sugar after garlic. Bad lady.

Today it was up at 4:30 AM for the wretched crawl out of bed and long wait for the eF-ing train and ride down to the Puck building. Seemed like 3:30.

There was a line to get in and the shoe area was wall to wall crazy (ie, full). There were far more people than I’d ever seen at the second week of practice; mat space was at a premium, even at 5:30AM. (In past years you could waltz in at 5:30 and get a spot in the second or third row, no problem). The vending area has expanded; in addition to chai there were more t-shirts, DVD’s books, etc for sale than ever before. Also apparently we're all invited to a big 90th birthday party for Guruji on Thurs at the Puck Building, featuring a performance by Anoushka Shankar (Ravi’s *other* daughter). Of course one finds out about it long after booking a ticket that has one leaving on Thursday afternoon. Of course the party is from 6 to 9. Of course the last plane to fly NYC-Chicago is at 8PM. Of course one has two private lessons and a class to teach first thing Friday morning. Of course one is constantly calculating the financial, professional and interpersonal costs of staying an extra day.

Practice was sweaty and difficult (I suspect even people with healthy spines are stiff and weak at 6am). I also had very little balance. But it was delightful to be led through the poses by Guruji, and to see Sharath and Saraswati walking by. But my mind was all over the place.

Afterwords I said hello and waited to kiss Guruji’s feet. I waited a long time; it seemed as though everyone in the world had to have their photo taken with him, from several angles, before they could say goodbye. Sharath actually remembered my name, which was nice. Guruji smiled and hugged me without seeming to recognize me and asked, "What thinking?"

Afterwords I was not happy to learn that chai is now $3. The first year there was no chai, the second year it was $1, the next time it was $2 and now it is $3. It is still the best chai in the world, though. It’s sad when it’s gone.


Apparently for full primary the previous week (it was at 6, half primary was at 8) the mats were thisclose and people had to practice in the entryway.

Savasana officially lasted about 30 seconds. Then Guruji was like, "Thankyouverymuch."

Today we did 7 surya namaskar A and 3 B


After class a bunch of us (six Chicagoans) went to breakfast at Café Orlin. We ate outside, lovely, then split up. I came back to Brookyn, had a nap and watched the rest of HumTum. Then I accompanied M to the park with the dogs he’s looking after. There we saw some strutting men (and nurturing women) preparing to rehearse an outdoor mini-musical about the American Revolution. They were in full dress; the men had lines while the women occasionally sang backup and flitted and tittered. The dogs would have none of it.

Later on M. chased not one but two sets of rotten teenagers off the stoop. Apparently he washes it each morning, and there they were putting out their cigarettes and spilling their cokes and spitting. It’s kind of fun being old when you’re in company like that (just not when it makes your back hurt and your practice suck).

I’m so out-of-it, who knows if we’ll ever see the Diane Arbus exhibit at the Met or the Basquiat one in Brooklyn or a TKTS half-price Broadway show or the Ashes and Snow thing at Chelsea Piers or anything. It’s so much easier to just sit on the stoop….

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