The Concert. The Tuesday concert at the Church of the Epiphany, a piano recital by English pianist Anthony Adkins, his first American concert. Ravel, Chopin, Alwynn and Faure. Very enjoyable, particularly the Faure, which was the transposition of a piece originally written for the harp. Many notes, and the piano was more harp-like than you could imagine.
The Peace Cafe. A Sunday morning program at Busboys and Poets, one of a lengthy series bringing together different voices on the middle east, this time with Mohammed Sawalha, professor of linguistics at An-Naja University and founder of the Palestinian House of Friendship. Committed to peace, yet his conversation is basically: we want peace, but look at those Israelis. If only they would leave us completely alone, we would all be friends. There would be no problems. A little simplistic, I thought. But perhaps you cannot accept much more on either side.
Jewish Month at the Library of Congress. I am not sure why May is Jewish month, but it is, and there have been a number of programs on Jewish topics. I have attended three: one on the history of Jews in Ethiopia by a former curator of the National Museum of Ethiopia, Yohannes Zeleke; one on Nazi Propoganda (art work, film, etc.); and one on the history of Jewish Washington and Jewish Alexandria during the civil war. I found the third program to be the best. The propoganda program was, I thought, designed for a much less knowledgable audience, and the Ethiopian program was too helter-skelter.
The Book. The Country Under My Skin by Gioconda Belli, a member of the Nicaraguan upper class, a poet, and an underground, and then exiled, and then public Sandanista. Interesting viewpoint of the Sandanista defeat of the Samoza dictatorship, of the difficulty in determining what Sandanista governing policy should be, and of the eventual defeat of the movement. Meetings with the Castro brothers, with other Latin American leaders, and leaders from the USSR and even Vietnam, all of interest. But then there was Belli herself, someone I did not like at all, driven as much by her sexual urges as by her political considerations. If you thought, like in the movies, that rebel movements were as much about sleeping around as anything else, this book will prove you right. That she walked out on two husbands, after having been unfaithful to both. That she went into exile, leaving her children behind and presumably giving them little thought. She did marry a third time, this time to an American journalist, so that in the aftermath of the Sandanista years, she was able to live in California, and go back to Managua for visits. Ugh.
Restaurants. Nothing new. Shanghai Garden and Indique. Both good.
And. A memorial day picnic, our Israeli houseguest, helping our neighbors plan a trip to Barcelona and our friends a trip to Turkey, taking the car to the body shop, watching “The Big Lebowski” on DVD, and trying to read the newspapers every day. Oh, yes, and occasional work.