Testament

I hope I can find the words to describe “The Testament of Mary,” with Fiona Shaw.  She has no trouble with words, in a flawless, pointed, energized, painful one-woman play by Colm Toibin.  I read the book when it came out a few months ago, and the book seems to be a transcript of the play.  While I enjoyed it, the play and Shaw’s performance has left me dizzy with awe, exhaustion, and reverence.

The subject is irreverent–positioning Mary as a truth teller about what really happened during Jesus’ last days and the rewriting of religious history.  The play may have one of the best last lines in all of theater history.

The experience of the play started the moment I arrived, about 15 minutes early.  Shaw was walking out on stage, and people were milling about on stage.  “Are those audience members?” I asked the usher by the stage.  I was invited to join them and did.

By then, Shaw was seated, wrapped in a blue blanket like a shawl over her head and most of her body, over a corral dress.  She was holding an apple in one hand and three lilies in the other.  Her gaze was heavenward, and her lips moved, as if in prayer.

As gorgeous as any Raphael Mary, still as any sumptuous still life, Shaw was pedestaled for display.  She sat in a glass box, covered with a gauzy, black scrim.  The audience meandered around her and around the stage, most stopping in front of the vulture chained to a three legged, wooden table.  The huge black bird with its bare blue head and pinkish purple beak occasionally would extend its wings to full span, revealing the white under-feathers.  Twice, it freaked out, and a handler calmed it.

The stage was strewn with detritus, both vaguely historical and vaguely modern.  Handwritten notes, a dirty coffee cup, and an old tape recorder were on one folding, metal chair, next to hip high earthenware jugs.  A ladder, some wire, a birdcage, some herbs in a basket with gloves, a tub, all were scattered around the stage, a messy counterpoint to the perfect beauty of Mary as presented to us through the ages.

In the back, a tree with a wheel horizontally affixed to the top added creepiness to the staged world that didn’t quite cohere.  Nearby, the stage floor had a glass window.  Looking way down, like into an archeological dig, were more earthenware jugs, some broken, and a bare mattress.  The audience couldn’t see this hidden room, unless they came on stage.

Synthesizer music played all the while.  Then as Shaw stood up, the black sheer curtains fell around her, and the glass box lifted to the rafters.  She removed the blue and coral garments to reveal a plain gray tunic over taupe pants and brown boots.  She revealed the Mary the audience would encounter.

She put on the glove, took the vulture onto it, unchained and took it offstage.  The stage went dark.  The synthesizer music softened.  Running water was heard.  The play began.

Camera Obscura

Thank you to my friend Penny, who reminded me how much I love the public art at Madison Square, just about my favorite park in the city.

Bird rearSo with the temperature hovering near 50 degrees, I decided to walk over today to see what there is to see.  You can’t miss the huge bird made out of gigantic nails.  You can see the construction pretty clearly from this picture of the rear (you can also double click it to enlarge it).  The front of the bird is in the slide show below.

People were much more attracted to this obvious piece of art, juxtaposing the manmade and the natural, nails and bird, that to that little, white, round canister, sitting by its lonesome.

Camera Obscura ext 1

 

You  can probably see why.  The door to the canister is open in this shot.  I liked the minimalism of it.  Penny had told me what to look for, so I wonder if I would have wandered over if she hadn’t.

I’m so glad she did!

The canister is an art installation by Sandra Gibson and Louis Recorder, two film artists.  It’s a camera obscura, the precursor to today’s camera.  A camera obscura works the same way the eye does.  By creating a darkened chamber, with a hole to admit light, an image is projected upon the chamber wall, upside down.

Then artists like Vermeer, reportedly, could trace the outline of the projection to get proportionately accurate buildings, landscapes, rooms, etc.

This installation is small, and the day was moody.  The sun kept going behind clouds, then reemerging, which made the projection ever changing.  The artists said they wanted to “do a film piece without technology,” according to the docent, who let us in and monitored how long we could stay.  I would say the results are mesmerizing, like a good film.

The docent pointed out hard to see changes in the scene–cars going by, pedestrians, the traffic light changing from red to green.  None of those details turned out in my pictures, but the results of the famous Flatiron Building look suprisingly similar to Edward Steichen’s atmospheric 1905 photograph (below right), only upside down and bent where the wall met the floor.

Camera Obscura Flatiron BldgSteichen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The graininess is similar anyway.  I took a few pictures to show the effects of the changing light, which you can catch in the slide show below.  I think they’re eerily beautiful.

Of course, there’s also the mind-bending idea of a camera inside a camera.  I’ll leave you to ponder that one…

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Irreverent

Tonight, I dipped into the joys of New York Theatre Ballet, which does performances in small venues with live music–both a real rarity in the ballet performance world.  They also want to give under-served dancers a chance and introduce people to ballet and its great masters.  What a wonderful mission, so refreshing compared to the stereotypical, stodgy ballet of your grandmother.

The program tonight was “Legends and Visionaries.”  My two favorite works came early on.  Gemma Bond, a dancer with New York City Ballet, was written up in last Sunday’s Arts & Leisure section in the New York Times.  Her dance called “Silent Titles” was quirky and funny and fresh.  The men wore white tie, the women a sort of odd mix of the swans from “Swan Lake” and flapper style dresses, in black, gray, and white.  Like a silent film, get it?

The dancers, sans-costumes, in rehearsal.

Two older dancers then came on stage to talk about their memories of working with the choreographer James Waring in the 1950s.  I had never heard of him, but listening to these two poised people reminisce and then seeing the two solos made me long for more.

Legends and Visionaries: Program B

 

Quirky costumes were the order of the night, and here’s the dancer from “An Eccentric Beauty Revisited” danced to Erik Satie’s 1920 piece La Belle Excentrique.  The dance was adorable, irreverent, bratty.

She stopped at one point, center stage, and cocked a hand behind her ear and waited, until we got it and started applauding.  I could watch her performance again right now and be just as delighted by it.

 

 

 

If you ever have the chance to see dance up close and personal, no matter what kind, that is a special treat.  Add really good music and the visual pleasures of costumes, well, life is good.  It even made me want to dance again!

Search for serenity

1644 in China was tough–the end of an era with the fall of the Ming dynasty, peasant rebellions, famine.  Many literati-scholars chose to take refuge from the world.  “The Artful Recluse” at the Asia Society presents their works, so ethereal, so lovely, I couldn’t reconcile what I was seeing with the trauma of their times.  The ignorance of this Westerner was proven by the passionate, young, white man I overhead reading and interpreting the calligraphy text with his Asian friend.

This figure is meant to convey loneliness–the literati crossing the bridge of life alone.

Asia

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps like me, you can enjoy the simple beauty of a lotus blossom by Li Rihua.  His poetry compares the flower to a woman’s body.

For a quick tour of East and West, compare the bird and flower paintings at the Asia Society with the Audubon exhibit at New York Historical Society.

 

 

 

 

Here’s one example of an Audubon watercolor on view now.

 

 

 

Bada Shanren was one of my favorite artists in the Asia Society show.  A small gallery is dedicated to his exquisite ink on paper works.  Minimalist strokes and ink wash convey lusciousness.

The artist was famous, enigmatic, and supposedly mad.  His settings didn’t always make sense.  But his beliefs make perfect sense to me.

His personal symbol was the lotus, a flower that grows out of mud to blossom, transcending the troubles of politics and war.  His was in search of serenity to mask the scars of life.  I hope he found it.

Although unusual, women could become recluses, too.  The lucky few could removing themselves from their roles as wives or concubines to pursue poetry and art.  Two are represented in the exhibit.  Here is Xue Wu’s beautiful hand scroll Wild Orchids, from about 1601.

Although I intellectually understand that these works reflect duress, I still felt my blood pressure lowering in their presence.  May we all rise above the mud in our lives and blossom into beauty and serenity.

History of the Irish

As a more intellectual alternative to the party-hearty St. Patrick’s Day activities, I joined Francis Morrone, tour guide extraordinaire with the Municipal Arts Society, for a tour of the history of the Irish in New York City.

While the Irish were a presence in New York from its beginnings, the famine caused by potato blight from 1845-1851 is when the Irish became even more significant.  By 1855, one out of every three New Yorkers had been born in Ireland.  A million people died in the famine and with 1/3 of its population emigrating, Ireland’s population dropped in half during these years.  As Francis said, “mind bogglling.”

The proprietor of Stewart’s Dry Goods store, a wildly popular precursor to the department store, paid to bring many immigrants over–a charitable act.  He also gave jobs to the new arrivals.

While the more famous and more opulent St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue would havSt Pats sidee been central to this weekend’s parade, we visited the first St. Patrick’s.  From the side, it’s an ordinary looking cathedral, with Gothic pointed windows.

St. Pat's odd exterior

 

 

 

But from the front, the cathedral is an oddity.  Opening in 1815, the church predated Gothic Revival, and Francis surmises that the architect didn’t quite have the style down.

 

St Pat's old brick wall, cemetery

 

Francis really admires this old brick wall that surrounds the church and its cemetery.  The wall was actually defensive, protecting from Protestant vandalism.  Resentment of Irish immigrants partly stemmed from economic concerns.  Immigrants, desperate for work, were willing to undercut labor wages–not a way to build popularity.

Industrial School

Poverty was new to New York, and institutions emerged to help those who suffered.  Among the reformers was the Children’s Aide Society, formed in 1853, which then started Industrial Schools.  These schools were free for indigent children, offering not only education, but also free meals and health care.  Here’s the Dutch-inspired Industrial School right across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

To show some of the prejudice, consider that poverty was blamed on Catholicism in Protestant New York.

 

With such predominance in the population, the Irish became central to New York’s Catholic Church community, as well as its police, fire department, and schools.  Using organizational and political skills, Irish rose in the ranks of government, to lead the Democratic Party and becomes bosses in its meeting place, Tammany Hall.

Since there was no welfare, by 1863, Tammany Hall became a place where the poor could get coal, clothing, food, and a job, in exchange for political support.  William M. Tweed, a powerful boss of Scottish descent (not Irish), recognized the potential for mobilizing the Irish vote.  Even though the welfare system was efficient, Tweed and his cronies were crooked and eventually brought down.  The Irish, initially in those entry level jobs, rose to power.   Boss Tweed died in jail, but for the next 70 years, Irish-run Tammany Hall would continue to control New York politics with even more powerful bosses.

Police DeptFunds from Tammany were partly how this incredible building for the Police Department was built.  It’s now a coop (sigh, New York real estate), and Cyndi Lauper apparently lives here.  Note that the five female figures on the front of the building represent the five boroughs, with Manhattan front and center, largest of them all.  You can click on the picture for a larger view.

Police Dept, Manhattan

 

 

 

 

 

We stood on the actual intersection of Five Points, where three streets come together.  Five Points is, more importantly, the name for a notorious neighborhood of 19th century gangs, crime, filth, and disease.  That police station, run and manned by the Irish, arrested the many Irish criminals in “paddy wagons.”

The reason for the problem neighborhood is a quintessential New York story.  The 50 acre drinking water reservoir called the Collect Pond, was not only used for fresh water and recreation (as well as experimentation with steam-powered boats), but also as a dumping ground for industrial waste.  By the 19th century, the reservoir was so polluted that the city decided to drain it and the nearby marshy meadows with a canal pumping into the Hudson River (along today’s Canal Street).

Then, the city filled in the former reservoir with rocks and dirt from the nearby  leveled hills, but didn’t do too good of a job.  Hungry developers built many Federal style, middle class houses on this new neighborhood land.  The houses began sinking fairly quickly.  The stench from the old tanneries seeped up from the ground.  Panicky, homeowners abandoned the properties, leaving only the poorest, who had no choice if they wanted a roof, to live there.  You can imagine how nice that was.

But sometimes, good comes out of adversity.  Only the Irish and the freed black population would be so poor and so desperate to live in Five Points.   But it wasn’t all horrible.  Francis researched that many were able to save enough to move to better circumstances.

Dance competitions were very popular in the neighborhood, and arguments erupted over who was better, the Irish dancer Jack Diamond or the African American “Master Juba” Lane.  They had a dance-off, where the latter apparently won.  But the two became great friends, performing together in minstrel shows in the 1840s and 1850s.  Where Irish step dance met Lane’s stylings emerged as tap dance, a Five Points invention.

St. Andrews

 

Here is St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, where 2:30 a.m. mass was held for all the reporters who worked at the many newspapers located around City Hall.  The city that never sleeps…

 

 

 

 

And the city that always has something amusing for the eyes…here on Mulberry Street.

Mulberry Street

 

Delirious

Sometimes a Broadway show is really Broad-way, and Matilda is…the best of everything Broadway.  The delirium of the first act is almost beyond words–the sets, the costumes, the zany parents and over-the-top, drag role of the school principal, with child triple threats who are razor-sharp, picture perfect.

The second act has some more serious elements, but only as serious as author Roald Dahl ever gets.

This isn’t the Matilda I saw, who was a sprite, and at her core an actor, but it will give you a sense of the look and feel.  I do recommend Oona Laurence in the title role.  She’s teensy, but already a Broadway and film veteran, with polish to spare.

Matilda the Musical is previewing on Broadway

The man in green checks is Gabriel Ebert, who played the sensitive grandson in the wonderful off-Broadway 4000 Miles.  Never say that Broadway talent can’t stretch.

All the magic that was supposed to be Cinderella, don’t waste your time.  Hurry up and get your tickets for Matilda, because I think it’s going to be the next Producers and Book of Mormon.  It’s so much better than the latter, and definitely matches the former for overall good time.  Adult appeal is definitely there, and the closing seconds and curtain call will leave you smiling all the way home, even over two subway rides!

Cassatt the feminist

The New York Public Library has a sweet exhibit of Mary Cassatt prints currently on view.  The works show the influence of Japanese print aesthetics, particularly linear flattening.  What’s wonderful about the prints is you see her hand at work.  She was an innovator, mixing print forms like drypoint, aquatint, and softground, all on one work, even as she was showing conventional subject matters–studies of her sister, mother and child, the usual.  Many are quite abstracted.

Eve's Daughter/Modern Woman: A MURAL BY MARY CASSATT

What drew me to NYPL today was the lecture by Sally Webster:  Mary Cassatt, Women’s Suffrage, and Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.  

I’ve missed Webster academically, as she’s retired.  But at least, I got to hear her speak about Cassatt’s missing mural from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair Women’s Pavilion.  Webster has written a book on the topic, if you’re interested.

 

The 1890s found the woman’s movement in resurgence, after two splinter parties reunited.  But even as the World’s Fair included a Woman’s Building, many feminists have decried the separation from man, ghettoizing their art, writing, architecture, and thought.  Webster showed how the pavilion was architecturally removed from the main part of the fair.  Still, the Woman’s Building was one of the most visited at the fair.

Cassatt’s three panel mural was one of six in the Gallery of Honor.

Unfortunately, since the panels have been lost, only these black and white images are available.

The middle panel features 12 women in contemporary dress harvesting fruit, and it’s called “Young Girls Plucking the Fruit of Art or Science.”  Webster talked about the scene as an allegory (where a figure stands in for an idea), but also placed it in historical context.  After the Civil War, the Seven Sisters colleges opened, and women were could more easily get a college education.  And she suggested that the women plucking knowledge were a direct assault on Genesis.

The Woman's Bible: A Classic Feminist Perspective

 

If so, Cassatt was keeping good company.  In 1895, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of my heroes, at 80 years old rewrote the Bible.  She was condemned as a heretic, but her assault on how the Bible justifies women’s second class status is still in print today.  Cassatt offers her own repositioning of the Eve story, where she celebrates women gaining knowledge, rather than be punished for it.

The right panel shows women as Art, Music, and Dance, allegories of course, but presented in contemporary dress, enjoying themselves.

The left panel: “Young Girls Pursuing Fame,” with Fame as an allegory, but even more, attacking the demure, self-effacing Cult of True Womanhood that dominated much of the 1800s in the U.S. and Europe.

Webster concluded by suggesting that the three panels of the mural taken together represent the three stages of a woman’s life and more:

Childhood – harvesting

Youth – enjoying what’s been harvested

Maturity – the ambition to pursue our dreams (as active participants in the Arts)

In 1893, Cassatt herself had reached maturity, with a 30 year career behind her, fighting her own battles with the Cult of True Womanhood.  She left us an innovative, subversive voice.  Thank you, Sally Webster, for bringing a lost work to life.

Death for 5 Voices

Do you remember the first time you saw a Shakespeare tragedy that really got under your skin?  What about Sondheim breaking your heart?

The combination of these two is how I still feel over an hour after seeing Death for 5 Voices at tiny Prospect Theater.  Luscious music that combines the work of the eccentric, depressed Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo with new pieces, and the whole work created in about a year.  Remarkable.

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The plot comes from Carlo’s history, and it is Shakespearean (his contemporary).  A second son becomes prince upon the death of his brother and is taken out of the priesthood to marry and procreate.  His wife becomes the muse for his music, one of his passions along with hunting.  But his erratic behavior and absences drive her to a lover, his best friend (oh, and they’re all cousins).

Carlo learns of the affair from more Shakespearean tropes–the weak-willed servant, his Lady MacBethian mother, and the opportunistic Cardinal, another relative.  Of course, to preserve the family honor, he arranges to catch them together and kills them.  History tells us not only does he get away with murder, but also marries again.  How’d you like to be that bride?  Sort of like marrying Henry VIII.

This work is basically opera, with spoken and sung English, and it’s beautifully acted as well as sung by its young cast.  At Prospect, the theater is so small, the audience has the treat of hearing real voices, not amplification.  The run for Death for 5 Voices is short, but I’m guessing it’s future is long.

Venerated Teacher

Although our class is long over, Curator Christian Luczanits of the Rubin Museum of Art invited us Hunter College students to a private walk-through of the reinstalled permanent collection and another special treat.

Christian, Venerated Teacher

 

Here’s Christian next to the feet, literally the footprint, of a Tibetan Venerated Teacher.  He was certainly that for me, and generous, kind, patient, and open, too.

 

Wrathful Deity 2

 

 

This third installation of the Masterworks series has a bit of a focus on wrathful deities.   I just love these deities, who through their wrath ensure auspiciousness for us.  Ah the Tibetan mind.  What’s not to love here?

 

 

 

Mandala detail

And the color of the mandalas, always a treat, especially in the subtly lit Rubin, atmospheric, meditative, lovely Rubin.

Here’s a detail from one mandala.  This is small–maybe 20 inches by 20 inches.  So the amount of detail makes me go blind just thinking about it.

 

You can see the whole mandala, and many more images, in the slide show below.Guardian King of the West, evil eye

On either end of the entry way are Guardians.  I particularly like the Guardian of the West, although he does have the ‘evil eye’.  Don’t you feel it?

Thankfully, this is moderated by the stupa, or dome-shaped Buddhist prayer structure, he holds in one hand.  He must be doing something right, because he has a victory banner in the other hand.  Tibetan statues are not static.  You get a glimpse here, but also look at the full figure in the slide show, and you’ll see the wind blowing his scarf!

 

With the Guardian’s blessing, we got a sneak peek at the upcoming Flip Side exhibition!  It is going to be stunning.  Venture over any time after Thursday.

Flip Side, mantra on forehead of goddessMeantime, a couple of the back sides of the tapestries are in the slide show.  This one is remarkable because the written, red mantra aligns perfectly with the goddess on the front side, so that it appears on her forehead and other key locations.  The fabric is so sheer now, we can see through it with proper lighting, which isn’t quite installed yet.  But we faked it.  When it was created, the artist had to work carefully to line up the text and the image just so.

These are ritual objects, so the intent is important, too.

 

Intent is where we started our visit, with a newly installed Ganesh in the lobby.  Ganesh isFeeding a coin the deity who removes obstacles and thereby brings luck.  Put a coin there to enhance Ganesh’s power.  I put many coins all over my favorite deity.  Here’s one of my colleagues placing hers.

So set your intent for a Rubin visit.  It’s a chance to immerse in beauty, history, tradition, ritual, and who knows?  Maybe a little luck…

 

 

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Earth and Paint

Saturday morning on my street is quiet, especially now that the library next door is closed for renovations (boo!).  I heard my first bird sing in the courtyard.  I got my errands done quickly.

The Whitney was quiet, too, just right for the spirit of the Jay DeFeo retrospective.  The exhibit provides insights into the development of her eye and style, which means it works well as a retrospective.  She made a formative trip to Florence on a fellowship, the only women to get one, and incorporated religious imagery into her work.  She saw the Abstract Expressionists working in New York in the early 1950s.

One gallery displaying only a handful of very large works show how she brought these two impulses together.  Her most famous work is “Rose,” which is set off in its own alcove like a side chapel of a Romanesque church.  The work is a spiritual experience. The Whitney has lit it with reverence.  I got to stand in front of it in silence and meditate, as no one else was around.  I imagine this is what the artist did, too.

DeFeo worked on it for 8 years, starting in 1958, never quite getting what she was after.  Soon the paint built up to 11″ thick in some places, and she carved into it, creating this 1500 pounds work.  The museum in the San Francisco area couldn’t conserve it, so the work transitioned to the Whitney.  Their conservation efforts led to the show.

The work is magnificent, but I loved some of the others as much, if not more.  “Jewel” and “Incision” are mesmerizing.

She shows off the age old division between designo, focused on line, and colore, celebrating color.  Her palette is muted to say the least.  She often works in black, white and gray.  But texture and form is her passion. The work looks like Land Art meets spirit–organic, earthy, luscious.

 

This is “Incision.”  The picture doesn’t do it justice.  But you can see its cave-like quality.  That is paint.

 

 

 

 

I stood in front of “Veronica” from 1957 for a long time.   The paint build up creates so much movement.  I was swept along on a rush of water-like energy, although the color palette is earthen.

My mother made paintings and prints that resemble this, which may be why I resonated so much with DeFeo’s work.

 

 

 

I think you can skip everything else that’s at the Whitney right now, and go stand in that one gallery.  Be transported to her world.  It’s a great journey.

Perfect night

It’s a New York moment.  The artistic perfect storm.

On one stage, at the same time, the New York Philharmonic, Broadway, Metropolitan Opera, and New York City Ballet.  Add Glorious music.  Carousel.

I’ve never been the hugest fan of Carousel.  I can’t imagine ever being able to get past the climactic moment that justifies physical abuse: “Yes, you can be hit, hit hard, and not feel a thing.”

But tonight, until that moment, I gave in.  I think the operatic format of the Encore Series helped, too.  The whole had more gravitas.

From the first note of the overture, I knew something great was happening.  The sound in Avery Fisher, along with the enormous orchestra of the Philharmonic, made the sound lush and swelling at once.  I felt like I was inside the music, riding on a soft bed of wonder.  Glorious, glorious music.

And the voices weren’t too bad either.  After seeing Kelli O’Hara in Nice Work if You Can Get It, deliNathan Gunn and Kelli O'Haraghtful to be sure, hearing her sing Julie Jordan, I didn’t know she had that kind of voice in her.  Every time she opened her mouth, tears rand down my cheeks.  Nathan Gunn is a huge baritone, spoken and singing, and his Billy, well it’s a match for her Julie.

Stephanie Blythe will never be accused of acting, but hearing her sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” with the walls trembling is noble.

Jessie Mueller, coming off her hilarious turn in Drood, takes on the very different role of Carrie, and her Mr. Snow, Jason Danieley was a revelation.  His sweetest, most powerful tenor sliced through the sad wash of the show.  And who knew Shuler Hensley (The Whale!) could sing like that?

Although I really shouldn’t be surprised.  From what I can tell, even the divine Tiler Peck, from the New York City Ballet, can sing, and her second act ballet?  She’s a gorgeous being.  Only John Cullum appears to have no voice, but he was so perfect in the role of Dr. Seldon.  Kate Burton took the throwaway role of Mrs. Mulin, maybe just to be in the company of this company!

 

Too bad there isn’t a cast recording, although who knows?  It might show up on youtube.

Say cheese!

Today, I finally made it to Murray’s Cheese.  I plucked number 30 from the dispenser, but had plenty to entertain me while waiting.

“Manga, manga!” cried a ‘cheese monger’ as he slivered parmegiano and suggested trying it with vinegar.  Okay!

I got snagged into tasting the Churned Seashore Honey from Canada.  Yep.  Bought that.  Mushroom truffle pesto?  Got that, too.

My basket was half full, by the time Eric called my number.  2013-03-02 14.44.45

 

Good thing he was there to help me interpret the 25 feet of cheese rounds, triangles, and 2013-03-02 14.44.54squares.

 

 

 

 

By the time we were done, I had gotten the Challerhocker I had gone in for, yum, and the Etivaz.  I learned the difference between sweet and savory blue cheese, by tasting, of course.  What did I get?  The blue cheese that tastes like chocolate.  Trust me…

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The cheese that wins the award for the prettiest is the local Hudson Flower, with flowers and elderberries, and I don’t remember what else, worked into the rind.  It may not look so pretty to you here, but it does taste pretty.

 

 

 

 

Murray’s is an adventure worth making.  I was ready for a treat, and Murray’s can definitely provide!