Mar 30, 2009


a year and many missed opportunities and assorted cancellations later, i finally met irene winter for lunch. she is an art historian, scholar of the ancient near east and cross-cultural aesthetics, macarthur fellow, great teacher, and undoubtedly one of my favourite and most influential professors--and she's retiring this spring. we spent nearly two hours at pamplona (josefina passed away in 2007 and the restaurant changed hands, but the place and the food remains sort of the same), during which time two jaw-dropping factoids emerged:

first: she and her husband bob are close friends of stanley and rose-mary crawford. stanley crawford is the author of a garlic testament, an unjustly neglected gem of american writing usually filed under gardening*--a semi-philosophical discussion of his family's move to new mexico, the construction (by hand) of their adobe house, and the pound weight of the real. did you know that to testify is to swear with your hands over your testicles? i didn't know that either. the crawfords were recently in cambridge for a book tour and came to dinner; my frustration is a palpable mist.

second: since purchasing the tivoli model one, i have been falling asleep to the well-tempered clavier, played by rosalyn tureck. conversation had meandered onto the subject of a baroque concert hall in munich (which i'm visiting in may) and baroque composers like js bach and how modern interpretations strip out the ornamentation in the scores when she let slip that not only did she enjoy tureck's interpretations, she was also close personal friends with her at oxford and after. i was momentarily incapacitated by this revelation.

* yet another instance of the inadequacy of categories.

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