Wish I may, Wish I might
I am not prone to wishing. Not for the antique Kazak rug I saw in ABC Carpet, or a black Citroen. Not even for a small cottage on Cape Cod with pale pink roses cascading over a low, white picket fence.
Not me. I don’t wish for those things, but there is something I do really want. It’s not much. Just a slightly larger living room, not much larger than the one I have now. The one I have now is lovely, a corner room with five windows, filled with sun when the sun is out, and wide open views east and south. I used to be able to see the Hudson until Barry Diller’s IAC building went up and blocked my view, but I’m okay with it now, okay with the whole parade of new buildings near and along Eleventh Avenue.
Eleventh Avenue. Who would have thought?
If my living room were just a few square feet larger it would be large enough for me to host salons. An afternoon here and an evening there. A welcoming place for musicians, singers, poets, writers to express themselves and share their gifts. Their voices, in music and in words. And I would serve fruit, a selection of teas, brownies without nuts and a surprise treat.
I would if I could and here’s why:
This past Sunday afternoon my husband and I were in the parlor of a house in Chelsea where we, and about forty other guests, had come to hear, see and be blown away by Ljova and the Kontraband.
This band is way beyond good. They are also likeable, and the vocalist’s voice is as sweet as an angel’s.
Not that I believe in angels. But if I did, they might sound like Inna. Her voice was sweet enough that at times it brought me close to tears. Vibrant enough for me to want to stand up and dance. Or hug her.
Ljova’s gifts are multiple, and the music is life affirming. With all the ugliness that’s crept into our country, the proliferation of stupidity and bigotry, it’s a relief, a privilege to be swept into the world of this music. Joyful, wistful music of dreams and of our past, with the future weaving through.
I sat in the front row on an orange sofa, close to the band. It was hard to shift my gaze from the musicians, each one so gifted, so intense. But I did look away, now and then, at the half dozen guests within my range of vision, and I could see happy surprise at the surfeit of talent in that parlor in Chelsea.
One reason I like to sit in the front row in an intimate venue is that I am short. In case you are wondering, I don’t often wish to be taller. Only when I can’t reach something on a high shelf, or when sitting behind someone with a big head or big hair in the theatre. And even then, my issue is more with them, not me, so it doesn’t count.
But here’s the main reason I like to sit in the front row in such a setting. It is thrilling and also humbling to see, close up, the raw effort that goes into being an artist.
The young couple who hosted the band do a great service. They open their home to artists and neighbors, and the small fee that they charge goes completely to the performers. It is generosity on so many levels. So necessary in this world, where few people take the time, or have the desire, to do something thoughtful.
That is why, if I were a wishing kind of a person, I would wish for a slightly larger living room, just large enough so that I could comfortably host afternoons like the one I attended this past Sunday.
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