Sunday, April 13, 2014
Birthday No. 44
In Italian, when you wish someone "Happy Birthday," you say "Buon Compleanno"--essentially "good completion of the year." It is meant as high praise, that you survived another year, and although I do not know this for certain I do suspect it has its origins in days of yore when mortality rates from disease, pestilence, hunger, etc., were more rampant in the Western world. This is a philosophical preamble for me to write about the recent completion of my 44th year. This past weekend turned out to be one of the more memorable birthdays I've ever had. There is some steep competition for this. On this blog, readers may remember past birthday-related events like when I went to Brussels with SVH in 2011, or my 40th celebration as a "Gay Boys Weekend." Other birthday posts referenced the ASPCA; my birthday falls on the anniversary date of its foundation. And I have had quite a few other historical birthday memories, such as my 30th, which was a week-long trip to Disney World and my first tattoo. I'm already starting to plan something travel-oriented for no. 45...
But this weekend was rather fantastic, and I owe it all to my dear AA. On Wednesday, we had dinner at Sangria for Spanish tapas, and then we went to go see Bullets Over Broadway at the St. James Theater. It was the last night of previews, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It was funny, the women were especially talented in their singing, some of the dance numbers were great, and the 1920s music was very entertaining. The critics aren't as thrilled with it, as The New York Times has already reported (image above showing a scene from the show: Sara Krulwich/NYT). Woody Allen's reputation just isn't what it used to be, with more accusations and mud-slinging going on. But we went to see something different; we really couldn't care less about all that. And we enjoyed ourselves. Even better, as we left, we had a great celebrity sighting: Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick were looking like everyday people hanging out in the sidelines. AA & I were a bit starstruck.
On Thursday, my actual birthday, I worked from home writing an essay for an exhibition catalogue, plus got my free Starbucks mocha. I admit I checked Facebook a few times all day and it made me smile to receive birthday greetings from so many of my "friends" (many of whom are genuinely my friends). That evening I headed out to Jersey City for a yummy home-cooked meal and baked cake courtesy of AA, and I was delighted by a very cool gift of an Apple TV hook-up! Now I can easily stream my iTunes music, Netflix movies, etc., all to my TV. On Friday, I received a very nice book in the mail as a birthday gift from the PR-AMs: Friendship and Loss in the Victorian Portrait: "May Sartoris" by Frederic Leighton by Malcolm Warner. That night, I headed to Hoboken for a dinner for someone else's birthday at Zylo steakhouse at the W Hotel (who knew there was a W Hotel in Hoboken?!), and found myself rather startled to discover I was being feted with birthday wishes as well.
If all that wasn't enough, AA had coordinated birthday drinks and then dinner at Le Zie, a fantastic Italian place in Chelsea we've eaten at numerous times and enjoy very much. My friend RL has been staying with me for a conference in town, so he met up with us, as did nine others, making us a group of 12! I was startled to receive actual presents: a gorgeous Paul Stuart silk handkerchief for my blazers from RL; a bottle of Tito's vodka from the AG-GHs; a lovely floral arrangement made by JM; and from AR and DM an enormous, beautifully illustrated art book entitled The History of Florence in Painting by Antonella Fenech Kroke. And then AA treated everyone to dinner, which pretty much made my heart burst in appreciation and love. I am so touched by everyone's kindness, friendship, and generosity, as this all followed up on generous gifts from a few relatives that arrived during the week. It all has made this an incredibly memorable birthday. I ended the lovely weekend with something I have blogged about and shared more than once on this blog: AA and I headed to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to see the cherry blossoms. They were only just starting to bloom, but we saw numerous daffodils, magnolia trees (such as the one below), and the bonsai. Partaking of nature in this relaxing way with my very special guy helped make this entire birthday weekend a smashing success.