Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Monday, August 24, 2015

DOWN MEMORY LANE


Tomorrow Susie and I will celebrate our twenty-eighth wedding anniversary.  I will take her to dinner at  a lovely upscale Durham, NC restaurant on West Main Street called Revolution [you can't make this stuff up.]  At dinner this evening, we were reminiscing about our first dates, in 1948 and 1949, when we were students at Forest Hills High School in Queens.

Our very first date [a story I tell in my Autobiography] was a movie outing.  I took Susie to the Thalia Theater in Manhattan, an early art movie theater, to see a revival of César, the third in a pre-war film trilogy made by the great French director Marcel Pagnol.  [For musical buffs, the entire trilogy -- Marius, Fanny, César -- was turned into the Broadway show Most Happy Fella.]  At about the same time, I started taking Susie to performances of the newly formed Bach Aria Group, which performed arias from the Bach cantatas at venues such as the 92nd St. Y in Manhattan.  It was there that I first heard Bernard Greenhouse, the marvelous cellist who was later a mainstay of the Beaux Arts trio [with the inimitable pixie Menahem Pressler on piano.]  The violinist was Maurice Wilk, the very best student of my violin teacher, Mrs. Irma Zaccharias,

Somewhat later, I took Susie on a big date to the Cherry Lane Theater in the Village, where we watched a performance of T. S. Eliot's Sweeney Agonistes with the curtain raiser Desire Caught By The Tail by Picasso.  We even went to the Davenport Free Theater , a weird and wonderful place in Manhattan where one could watch terrible performances absolutely free.

But our fanciest date was in the summer of '52, when I was working as a Copy Boy at the New York Herald Tribune.  I took Susie to the Blue Angel, a New York cabaret named after the dive in the famous Marlene Dietrich film.  The cover charge was five dollars per person -- a fortune -- but the show was quite memorable.  There were three acts -- Orson Bean, who opened, Josh White, and Eartha Kitt.  Josh White and Eartha Kitt were spectacular, of course, but I still remember Orson Bean's opening joke.  He came out, took the microphone rather diffidently, and said, "Hello.  My name is Orson bean, Harvard 48 ... Yale nothing."  It got a big laugh.

I wonder sometimes.  Do young people today go on dates like that?

2 comments:

Wallace Stevens said...

You will be pleased to know that as recently as a few years ago, at least, Pressler was still going strong. I heard him in a concert with the clarinetist Richard Stolzman at Le Poisson Rouge in New York, a club setting for classical music that is quite innovative. Pressler seemed to take it all in stride. They performed a Brahms duet as their main piece togeher. But the hilight for me was Pressler's solo performance of Debussey's Estampes.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

How wonderful! The times I saw the Beaux Arts, he was delightful.