We spent most of yesterday over in New Haven to have lunch with old friends and to catch a remarkable one-woman performance of the autobiographical "As I Remember It" at the Yale Rep by the unique modern dancer/actress/choreographer Carmen de Lavallade.
At 84, she is vividly theatrical, charismatic, humorous and sassy. She can still do more than just indicate dance movements. She can move. Her lifelong husband Geoffrey Holder died last year, but she is still truckin. Lives in Manhattan.
Mrs. BD was thrilled to meet and chat with this iconic dancer at a special reception afterwards, because she has mentioned her to me admiringly many times over the years. In person, de Lavallade is elegant, modest and charming, in great shape, and loves hors d'oevres. No surprise to me that she was hungry for treats and wine after holding the stage alone for 1 1/2 hours.
We had an hour or more to stroll around downtown New Haven and old Eli, which all looks better than it has in my lifetime. My pal, like my Dad, went to grad school there and never left the university. New Haven is a clearly Town and Gown city. The gown part is a strong and large faculty social club (which includes some local professionals outside the Yale community), as it has been for hundreds of years. Much of New Haven is blue collar or urban poor and there are parts you might not want to go to.
Somehow, the tired old city still has a handful of exclusive old jolly Waspy clubs for bow-tie wearing men. How did those survive? They do not run the city anymore - retreated into their private lives and gave it to the townies to screw it up with property taxes and oppression of job-creators.
A few pics below the fold -
OK, most of the campus is later 19th C neo-pseudo gothic ("Disney College" architecture), but that has a comfortable, easy-on-the-eye, human-scale traditional feeling to it. Not much left of the colonial or early 19th C originals.