I've said it before and I'll say it again. San Francisco is a small town and everyone you meet you will eventually run into again. What that really means is everyone you sleep with, you will inevitably see again in public.
Tonight, after what has been an exhausting, emotional four-day run, capped-off with an hour-and-a-half long conversation this morning with the Femme Fatale about the demise of our affair, I walked into Davies solo tonight and standing there at the bar with her boyfriend was the Southern Belle- to whom I was once engaged.
Now, I never, ever run into her in the City, despite the fact that she lives only eight blocks uphill from me in the apartment we used to share together. The apartment with views of the Golden Gate Bridge from every room including the bathroom. The apartment with views I'll never, ever, have again. I've run into her before of course, because after we split up she started dating the guy who lives next door to my mother (her current boyfriend), so I often encounter her in Sausalito, but I'm prepared for that when I go over there. We wave to one another from across his yard.
How can one ignore one's ex-fiancee? One can't. So I strode over and said hello to both of them. It was the first time I've actually seen them together as a couple even though they've been together for years (I've met him before without her present- because you see he lives next door to my mother,- you see my mother and my sister have this habit of adopting my ex-girlfriends and turning them into something like extended family members, which made one family wedding particularly interesting and somewhat uncomfortable for me a couple of years ago as I stood there talking with three women I've slept with, who were hell-bent on being all chummy with one another).
Have you ever asked yourself as you read this blog why is he always drinking Manhattans? Well, now you know.
So there we are, this uncomfortable trio, and I realize since he came after me, ahem- in the timeline of her life I mean, he knows much more about me than I do about him and I'm thinking how awful this actually is because I have no idea what it is she's told him about me that is running through his mind at this moment. So instead we talk about the Prince concerts back in February, because the Southern Belle and I naturally have Facebook friends in common and she's aware of certain things about my life I have no idea she is aware of until she starts asking me about them. Fuck I hate Facebook. And it's actually just her and I doing the talking, though I keep looking at him to a) keep him engaged in the conversation and b) make sure I'm not about to get hit in the face with a glass. This goes on for about ten minutes, but it felt much, much longer.
How long has it been since I've seen her at a performance? November, 2005, when CC and I sat directly behind her and my mother (!- I swear this is true!) for a performance of Fidelio at the opera. Why now? Why today of all days?
But enough about the Southern Belle and her boyfriend. Let's talk about women I haven't slept with, but would like to.
Remember not-all-that long ago when people used to make snide comments insinuating Anne-Sophie Mutter wore those beautiful, shoulder-less gowns because by emphasizing her beauty it drew attention from her talent, the implication being her career success had more to do with the former than the latter? Those days are over, and not because Mutter's closing in on 50.
Now people are going to be talking about what Yuja Wang is wearing. The 24-year-old pianist took to the floor of Davies Symphony Hall tonight in the tightest, shortest dress I've ever seen on that stage. Never mind the fact that is was hot-pink and black. And she had on hot, "fuck me" shoes. And I'm pissed that from where I was seated I couldn't see her at all once she sat down at the piano because the violinists were in my way. And then she changed into a different dress, all-black, maybe a 1/4 inch longer, equally tight, for the second half. And she had on "fuck me" shoes. She looked like she was headed to the Infusion Lounge, somehow got lost along the way, wandered into Davies, and decided to join the musicians onstage for kicks. In other words, she looked really hot.
Okay, enough of that for now, but believe me, you haven't heard the last on the subject. I only wish I had a camera with me. And a year from now I'll want to know how many "Yuja Wang upskirt" queries Google is getting a day. Okay I'm done with that. Really.
It's been a couple of years since I last saw Wang perform and she greatly impressed me then, but more so with her technique than with her passion. This concert led me to believe she's maturing into a warmer, more confident performer and while tonight's concert didn't really provide the musical vehicles for a passionate performance, it did show Wang to be evolving as a performer. Tonight's concert was chamber music with members of the San Francisco Symphony, kicking off the second half of Project San Francisco, and the first of five concerts she's appearing in over the next week (a solo recital was cancelled after she recently injured her arm).
The first half of the program was devoted to Dvořák's Quintet in A Major for Piano and Strings, Opus 81. I suspect this ended up on the program because it gave the injured pianist a bit of a break. While not a walk in the park, for the pianist it's not a terribly challenging piece. In fact, the string quartet composed of violinists Yukiko Kurakata and Amy Hiraga, Katie Kadarauch on viola and cellist Peter Wyrick more than held their own against the star performer, each offering individual memorable moments, with the violins overshadowing everyone else with lovely playing during the second movement Dumka. It really wasn't until the fourth movement's allegro finale that Wang took over and her piano lauded it over the ensemble.
The second half of the program featured Brahms' Quintet in F minor for Piano and Strings, Opus 34, and here the audience got to hear Wang take off, dominating the first movement with strong, robust playing. Everything then slowed down for the adante into gorgeous playing by the quartet, especially by violinist Melissa Kleinbart. The third movement scherzo had cellist Amos Yang and viola player Yun Jie Liu stomping their feet in time with the music, they were going at it with such rhythmic force it really felt like rock and roll. Dan Carlson's violin also contributed significantly to the overall strength of this particular quartet. Perhaps it's just my preference, but while there was nothing at all to dislike in the first half's Dvořák, it was the Brahms which made the night truly worth hearing.
Both halves received standing ovations, which are becoming pretty standard responses these days, as is applauding between movements (which happened for the duration of tonight's concert) and while I have to say it was a very good night of music, I think the standing ovation was a bit much.