A Midwinter's Weekend Ramble With Stella

  • Stella and I had an absolutely delightful evening on Friday at the PAC to see the Milwaukee Ballet's rendition of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Journal reviewer Strini liked it, too, and he went on and on about how great a Puck ol' Marc Petrocci. Honestly, casting Petrocci as Puck was almost a no-brainer obvious move on choreographer Bruce Wells' part, but we weren't there for either the Thursday or Saturday performance where Petrocci danced Puck. No, we were there Friday, and not to worry, we got Michael Linsmeier as Puck, who was, in our minds, absolutely perfect as that mischievous little imp as well. In fact, since it wasn't so obvious a casting choice, maybe we were more pleasantly surprised when, now, after seeing Linsmeier creep and crawl and plant his seeds of discord all over the stage, I'm not sure I could imagine anybody else in that troupe dancing the part. Linsmeier stole the show (and that's hard to do when you have the fablous Tatiana Jouravel in a lead role, as she danced Titania, accompanied by David Hovhasnnisyan as Oberon.) He was puckish, indeed. In fact, isn't this character how we got that word, puckish? Well, Linsmeier was Puck-ish.
    The sets were lovely, and as complicated a plot as it was, Wells rendered it well enough that we could follow the story enough without having to refer to our program narrative all night (as I often have to do). I know it takes place in Greece, but it really looked more like Shakespeare's England, or perhaps even more so, Tolkien's. The characters all looked like something out of Lord of the Rings, and Linsmeier himself could often move like Gollum. The kids from the Milwaukee ballet, by their age alone thrust a sense of goodness and innocence amongst the forest dwellers, which I suspect was by design. It definitely was a greek story told by Englishmen. It wasn't heavy, there didn't seem to be any kind of giant moral, just lavish, dreamlike dancing and lots of fun. Quite a change from what Michael Pink has been serving up. I like this variety.

  • Stella and Brian hit the Bucks game Saturday night, and maybe I should stop going to Bucks games, because whenever Stella goes with Brian, they win. And win triumphantly! Down by, what? 25 at the half and quite the comeback. Further, Brian reports that the anthem was delivered by the Midwest Vocal Express -- and they never fail to enthrall -- and halftime entertainment was the Bucket Boys, who are always a treat. I watched the game from home and thrilled to see Michael Redd turning in a performance we need to see from him more often.

  • And today, Stella and I decided to take advantage of the wonderful weather and spend it at Red Arrow Park skating. Stella worked on her amazing moves, and I just worked on not falling. I love skating there. But I don't love the fact that apparently there's only one Zamboni driver who has to work a variety of parks. A rink of Red Arrow's size really needs to be Zamboni-ed at least hourly, especially since Red Arrow is free (which means it's packed.) Frankly it was difficult to skate when we first got there -- another patron put it perfectly when she said, "It's like skating on a sno-cone." Maybe I'm spoiled because, when I was a kid, we'd skate on ponds and such, and those can't have been ideal skating conditions. Then again, we weren't sharing those ponds with a hundred other people at a time. Must be budget cuts.


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