Dining & Dancing

Megan and I headed for the beautiful south coast in her little red car on a rainy Sunday morning.

The ocean was showing off, as it does when stormy weather is afoot, and a few valiant Naked Ladies flaunted their spiky pink blossoms by the roadside. Orange nasturtiums climbed ruined wooden fences, and bright California poppies starred the rolling hills, still summer golden.

We made our usual pilgrimage to Anchor Bay Thai Kitchen:

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and picked up dinner to go. Later I would discover that it was not up to the usual high standard, including shocking oversights like no dressing on the cucumber salad or peanuts in the Massaman curry. I emailed the restaurant and the owner apologized, saying that she was out of town for a couple of days so the kitchen was in less experienced hands. She also refunded the cost of dinner, which I thought was a generous gesture. I hope I didn’t get anyone in trouble, but I thought she should know. I’m sure next time it will be as wonderful as usual.

Our arrival at the theater was perfectly timed, since we were taking our seats in the balcony just as Katerina Novikova started her introduction to the ballet, “The Golden Age”. Katerina gives explanations and interviews in Russian, French, and English for broadcasts of the Bolshoi Ballet, and it must be a tough job. It appears that she is not reading from a TelePrompter, which makes it all the more impressive. She looked particularly lovely in a bronze satin gown.

The ballet is set in the 1920s, and somehow the costumes managed to convey the flapper look:

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The costumes were quite magnificent, multi textured and dramatic. The story is about a young fisherman who falls in love with a beautiful dancer at the cabaret called The Golden Age. The dancer is a friend, or possibly more, of a gangster who owns the club. Drama ensues amid the stunning sets, with the dancing set to music by Shostakovich.

During the intermission, Katerina interviewed the lead ballerina, who was dancing this wonderful role on her birthday. She seemed surprised that Katerina knew this and wished her happy birthday. I enjoy the interviews during the intermission and seeing the dancers practice, warm up, and kid around with each other. It’s endearing to see them acting like kids when in full make-up and costume. We also got a behind-the-scenes look at the costume making, which is so intricate and beautiful. And yet it has to be strong enough to stand up to the strenuous performances.

Before we knew it, the magic was over and the cast was taking their bows, with arms full of red roses. Back in reality, we headed for home. About halfway there, we had to pull over under some wind-gnarled trees to wait for the storm’s fury to abate, since it was like driving through a waterfall, and even with the windshield wipers on high, we could barely see the road.

Eventually the rain slowed down enough to let us get on our way, talking about how much we enjoyed the ballet and how lucky we are to have access to world-class ballet. We are looking forward to the rest of the season.

A YEAR AGO: The Food Fairy stopped by with an armload of gardeny goodness.