Sunday, April 17, 2005

Saturday Downtown

Yesterday was the kind of day that I live in this city for. It was beautiful here--cool in the morning and warm & windy in the afternoon, no clouds. I went with Valerie to see the matinee of Movin' Out, Twyla Tharp's modern ballet set to Billy Joel songs. We rode the train of course. We went early enough, so we had time to walk around Market Square and looked at all the wares for sale. We each bought an inexpensive little cloth purse that we had seen before and admired for their color and fabric. Then we walked over to the Hobby Center. I've never been to a show there, so I was looking forward to a new theater experience.

Our seats were on the first row of the center Gallery. I was worried about the need to lean over when/if the performers did much at the front of the stage (downstage, I think), but luckily they stayed back enough to prevent the need for leaning over. Movin' Out is not a musical; it is a modern ballet. A singer and a band were placed above the stage, which allows the audience to watch them at times instead of the stage. The singer and band were very good. As for the show itself, for about the first 5 numbers, I was thinking to myself that I had wasted my money on this show. Neither the choreography, the dancers, nor the story impressed me until about halfway through the first act. Once the lead male dancers went off to the Vietnam War, the story and the show picked up. I thought the the last 3 scenes were the best part of Act I--"We Didn't Start the Fire," "She's Got a Way," and "The Stranger" were the songs involved. I especially like the mourning ballet danced by Judy. Act II was so much better than Act I, but I didn't feel any real emotion for the story or the characters until the "Goodnight Saigon" number--I could feel the start of tears there. The emotion stayed high for me from this point until the end. It wasn't until some time in the second act that I became impressed with the dancing of anyone other than Judy. However, by the end of the show, the dancer who played Eddie had done some impressive dancing too. Overall, I enjoyed the show, especially the Billy Joel songs, which I have always liked.

After the show, we walked over to City Hall and looked at an outdoor art exhibit called Coexistence. You can see some of the pieces at this site I thought the exhibit was really cool and had a lot to say about the world today. Each piece is accompanied by a quote from a famous intellectual. I would have liked to have read all of the quotes, but it was quite warm in the April Houston sun yesterday. I did enjoy looking at all the pieces though, even the ones that I couldn't quite understand. I'm not sure how long the exhibit will be in Houston, but I may have to go back and look at them again.

From City Hall, we walked back up to Main St. and had a wonderful dinner at Bossa, specializing in Latin cuisine. Then we wanted to have a drink at our favorite Irish pub on Main St., but all the sidewalk tables were full. We wandered around, searching for some place else to sit, but we wanted to stay on Main so our options were limited. We settled for a table at the Irish pub on the other side of Main, but we didn't like sitting there so we left after only one drink. Even though we didn't stay downtown and people watch as long as we wanted, we still have a lovely afternoon and evening in downtown Houston.

Being downtown on a beautiful Saturday afternoon & evening, life really doesn't get much better.

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