Friday, February 1, 2013


He's scary, and brilliant. And dangerous -- he does whatever he feels like doing, following his instinct, bypassing logical thought.

He has a powerful sense of who we are and what will shock us.

He likes, loves, trusts, admires, and is amused by himself. All those things that make a man successful are in his pocket, and he takes them out and uses them.

At the moment, he doeS NOT have a new, block bustering hit on his hands,  though he expected his latest film, "Django Unchained," would knock people out and they'd flock to the theater.

How does he handle this?

He steam-rollers over the thought. Money, ground into the mud, doesn't seem to affect him. He told an interviewer confidently, (with his moving-making partner present). "I gave them a scene they will never forget." Tarantino was talking about the horrifying, upsetting, disturbing, footage of a man, a slave, being beaten. He has pooh-poohed "Roots," the Alex Haley television show about blacks in America, a series that's been praised throughout the world. Tarantino's I don't care attitude conveys his delight in giving us, the audience, a vision that will shock us, maybe forever.

Okay, Tarantino -- you certainly gave us visions, great entertainment -- shocks, spice, and laughter -- in "Pulp Fiction."  (Bits of my favorite scenes are in this video.)

The fact is, I'm inspired and exhilarated when I perceive that a creative person is hell bent committed to doing what he sees, feels, wants to say, show, reveal. Yes, I really do think he's dangerous -- though I perceive something in him that enjoys, delights in life -- a seed in him  reaching up to the sun. Even so, he seems to be a destroyer.

Also, I think Tarantino's strangely fragile.  (His girlfriends apparently include -- Mira Sorvino, Sofia Coppola,  actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho -- maybe Uma  Thurman -- strong, famous women who are known for trusting themselves. Birds of a feather?) His love-life makes me like him. I get a sense that  his iron "love myself" ego has tender spots. 

Nevertheless, I sense that he could go off in a deadly wrong, self-destructive direction -- that his lust for shock could overpower his personal need to survive. Anyhow, Tarantino's films are part of a deck of cards I deal out and play, and replay for stimulating diversion, (like those sex scenes in "Monster's Ball" -- Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry). I've seen "Pulp Fiction," and "Reservoir Dogs." more than a few times and each time I see them, it involves me 

I actually think Quentin Tarantino's a genius.

GENIUS? Yep. He's in tune with his inner voice, and knows things I don't know about the world today, his generation, not mine -- he understands, and shows me, explains to me -- the violence of now. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Black Death  (1411) 

While we worry about getting the flu and wonder if this year's flu is worse than last year's, two books are out on the possibility of a pandemic.

I don't think they're selling like hot cakes. Most people (like me) don't want to think about a pandemic. They just want to know what to do if they get the flu.

Mark Harrison, Director of Oxford University’s History of Medicine unit, has published "Disease, and The Modern World," -- a chronological history of pandemics. Exploring how the next pandemic will happen; he suggests that some current inspection laws result in quarantines actually making us more vulnerable. The regulations are politicized -- for instance, though there's no evidence that virus travel in meat, countries banning pork imports from N. America, have thereby boosted local exporters.

Highly accredited scientific journalist, David Quammen’s latest book, “Spillover,” focused on "zoomotic" infections, (those that pass from animals to humans). No doubt about it, Quammen said, as he showed how the three most recent outbreaks -- SARS, bird flu and swine flu—indicate that the next pandemic will be zoomotic in origin.

The NY Times articles in September and October, revealed deep concern, and stated that another pandemic is inevitable.

Authors David Quammen, Mark Harrison, and other scientists, do not shy away from the “next big one.” They warn us that the SARS scare of 2003, might have been the big one but it wasn't, because of good luck -- communication. Because there was huge publicity,  people took precautions before it got out of hand. They are saying loud and clear -- there is nothing we can do to stop the next big one from happening.

Yow! Nothing we can do? It's inevitable?

Oh boy, big money can be made from a pandemic scare -- drug manufactures, before, during, and after the pandemic, have something to promote that will make them billionaires.

And the latest news about "Tamiflu" -- a leading British medical journal, BMJ,  asked drug maker Roche to release all its data on Tamiflu, claiming there is no evidence the drug can actually stop the flu. Since Roche has not responded, BMJ, has called for European governments to sue Roche, and get the money back that has been needless spent on stock-piling Tamiflu.

In 2011, Prescription Tamiflu was included in a list of "essential medicines" by the World Health Organization.

Clearly, staying healthy is getting to be a bigger, fuller, full time, part time job.

My own remedy -- avoid crowds -- avoid people with colds, shop online, have things delivered. I'm focused on the good luck -- the communication back in 2003 -- that's why I am sharing, loud and clear, what I have learned.

Brugel, "Hell on Earth:"


Monday, January 28, 2013


My husband and Phil Lawrence, the director for the Shakespeare company that John was trying to get into, were sitting on the bench in my dance studio.  They were talking about me.

My studio floor had been covered by a huge 15 x 40 yellow-brown braided rug for more than nine months.   Our baby, two month-old John David, was in the front room with Iris, his nurse.   I'd been rolling up the rug every day, for a month, doing abdominal exercises, taking my barre, and working on creating a solo for myself.

When I finished performing the solo for the two men, I headed for the kitchen and made coffee for them, figuring they'd needed to talk about my dancing and the choreography.

"The Four Seasons," Vivaldi's Opus 8, was going to be a 45 minute solo.  I was planning to sell it -- and myself -- as guest artist, to string quartets, or small string orchestras.

Dancers don't do 45 minute solos.  I wasn't a big name, but I had reviews, quotes from critics from my performances with my Dance Drama Company.  I didn't want to go back to being the mother-janitor-director-choreographer-leading dancer.  Becoming a soloist with orchestras  seemed like a great idea.   

In Vivaldi's "Spring," I performed slow, tentative movements that suggested my body was a seed coming to life. "Summer" was joyful quick steps, leaps and turns. "Autumn" was gracious, grand, swirling movements as if I were greeting guests.  "Winter" was dimiuendo-ing music, during which I slowed down every step, and gradually lowered myself to the floor, and stopped moving.

Re-entering the studio with the coffee pot in hand, I heard someone say, "Does she cut the mustard?"

I waited, couldn't breathe, was hurt, bothered, riveted  by the question -- my future was hanging there -- I had an exquisitely beautiful little son, a husband who loved me, loved my work as an artist, and understood that I needed to dance.  He understood why, after a tour of England and Scotland, I didn't want to head a dance company again.

Opening night in London had been cancelled because one of the male dancers who practically worshiped me, punched one of the girl dancers, who was snotty, disrespectful to me during dress rehearsal.  He knocked her to the floor.  She couldn't get up.  The doctor we called said her arm was fractured.

Opening night in London was the culmination of a year of work on "Dream Dances," a full-length ballet that received raves throughout Great Britain and Scotland -- it might have launched me as a major choreographer.  A boy dancer who loved me, a snotty girl who probably resented the fact that I was the star dancer -- perhaps I would have been a better artistic director if I hadn't also been the leading dancer -- the boy, the girl, and my ego -- my chance to make it -- bang-crash gone.

I heard Phil say, "I liked the Vivaldi."

John: "It's a long solo."

They talked about other dancers for a few moments.

One of them murmured, "But does Emily cut the mustard?"

Yes" one of them said.

That YES was what I needed.

I unpacked a costume  that I'd made for a ballet I did a long time ago, and in my studio, with paper on the floor, did some poses.

Thousands  of brochures were mailed out; tours were booked; performances were given.   In fact, more than once I was called the "Maria Callas of Dance."

I performed the Vivaldi at Town Hall in NYC, and at Lincoln center -- here's the photo of me in "Autumn."

What did the guys mean when they asked does she cut the mustard? It meant is she able to handle a difficult job, meet the necessary requirements, and expectations?
Do I cut the mustard as a wife, mother, ex-dancer-writer that I am nowadays?   Well, mustard's a good spice to use on various things you eat -- even so, with or without mustard I handle what's on my plate.