Saturday, January 28, 2006

MOZART'S 250TH: I was beginning to feel like a little boy who knows there's a birthday party happening but had not received an invitation. Relieved when Raphael invited me to the last of the Berlin Philharmoniker's concerts at Carnegie Hall celebrating the miracle of Mozart. Rapture!

[Also relieved I didn't have work out meeting Philip, after his inelegant dinner invitation. Ha!]

Interesting programming: a young Brit called Thomas Ades and Maurice Ravel to round off the program. New York audiences so embarrass me with the self-congratulatory and obligatory standing ovations and drawn out applause. Even Simon Rattle, who i assume is more the reserved Englishman back home, hammed it up to the gallery. But we got a lovely Satie as encore. So the audience's lolling labrador behavior did yield a dividend. I felt ungenerous.

End of a full day. A grest conversation taking up where I left off with Evelyn in Lexington last November about the Appalchian Center perhaps being the stage for a study of the Northeast. Has possibilities.

Friday, January 27, 2006

BASEBALL: Finally, a personal Holy Grail of sorts. Mirra and I went over to the Natural history Museum where Naomi had set up a screening of the Cutting films in the Northeast. I had heard of this since the early 1990s when I showed the Cutting films on his expedition to Tibet in the Tibet Film Festival.

Valrae thought it was just Assam, since the description of the 19030 silent film told merely of a British military expedition to the Naga Hills. I told her I'd still want to see it as I suspected it might have Manipur in it, Assam being the larger adminitrative term the British often used when referring to the area between India and Burma. And I was right. Half way through the film, Cutting and Teddy's son? brother? Kermit Roosevelt descend into the valley and shot scnes of boat races, wrestling, foot hockey, polo and a bunch of anthroplogical shots. Amazing stuff.

The film itself is a curiosity. There was a flawed and amateurish narrative about two Sema Naga boys. Charming but a bit embarrasing considering we sat under an original poster of Nanook of the North. Flaherty must have rolled his eyes if he saw the film then. And surely he rolled in his grave today.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Met with the new Consul General here. I have had not truck with the legation here since Nengcha left. Perhaps something to do with the political climate being represented here before this new administration. I remember Indrani made a comment to me as about the difficulty of connecting with the revivalist mindset.

I had gone to talk about baseball but ended up proposing a program celebrating King and Gandhi. It was sparked by my puzzlement at being given an appointment on King's birthday. Should not the conculate be closed, I had wondered, while waiting in the reception area under a large painting of Gandhi.

I am happy the Ambassador, an urbane and cultured lady, responded ao favorably. Not only will it express the ties between the two countries in a constructive way but it will also be a way of participating in an American debate. I want to say, Look here guys, King is not just a Black and White issue. He is more than that. Ideas are not just about which state closes their libraries in honor of King and which refuse to. The thoughts of the two statesmen drew from all, belong to all and can be used to the benefit of all.

I will speak to Richard about Lincoln Center and Linden about The Asia Society.

Friday, January 06, 2006

1891: A very productive day. Ima is disappointed that I am staying away so long this time but she knows a lot of things are happening. She would have enjoyed the meetings I had with Robert and Esa.

Robert wants to bring Laihui to the US in Spring of Fall of 2007. I suggested that we do Khongjom Parba using the photographs at Alkazi’s collection. He loves the idea and will talk to Ralph, Rachel and Tim McHenry. Funny thing, I set up my meeting with Esa at Sepia without this in mind but jazzed things are clicking into place.

Esa offered use of the Manipur pictures even before I asked her. We looked at the Johnstone album together again. Too bad the 1891 album is in New Delhi but she will get it scanned and loaded up on the server. So I will ask to use the pics for WMI, the baseball film, Ima’s book on Idhou Sanakhya.

I am thinking Eigya Syam for direction, Ima for script. Excerpts read onstage from Mrs. Grimwood’s terribly self-serving but charming memoir? I will also talk to Jim Ivory about doing the show here. Maybe Vanessa Redgrave I am thinking.

Can Laihui do Khongjom Parba? Will it be only percussion? How about Pena? Do we need Ibeni or Manimacha? A counterpoint of perspectives of two divas at their peak of their craft might be fascinating.