I spent this morning getting 6 vials of blood drawn, but only after the nurse took about 10 minutes digging around in my arm, trying to pierce my vein. Not my biggest idea of fun — don’t let the tattoos fool you, I am terrified of getting stuck. Yeeuch.
Obviously a morning this terrible needs to be compensated for in a spectacular way. Mine? A ticket to the Philadelphia Orchestra to hear Ravel’s arrangement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, followed by a trip to the Naked Chocolate Cafe.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I know pretty much nothing about classical music. But NPR is my occasional friend, and I’ve been in love with Pictures since I heard it one morning on a much-too-early drive to work. This rendition didn’t disappoint, but I did wish for more volume. I like to feel like the decibels are punching me in the gut.
The rooftop garden at the Kimmel was actually open today, so I got a chance to go up and take a peek. First thought: the elevator ride is scary but makes for an awesome view. (Design Philadelphia is setting up something rad-looking in the yard next to the Broad Street Ministry; I really want to know what it is!) Second thought: the garden is much less of a garden than I thought, but it’s still really neat. Trees in the sky!
The rooftop garden was warm, but the street was windy and chilly. When it’s cold, I live on hot chocolate. I’d read about the Naked Chocolate Cafe, and knew I just had to stop by and try their wares. I got a petit Aztec hot chocolate (mixed with nutmeg, cinnamon, and other spices) done in a European style (incredibly thick), and I picked up a chocolate and vanilla cupcake for later. The place is decadence to the extreme — my total bill for the 2 items was 6.75 + tip — but oh so worth it.
Next time: I’m going to attempt to eat actual food at an actual food restaurant in Center City. Suggestions are welcome.
If there’s one most exciting thing about the highbrow Philadelphia culture scene for me, it’s the student subscription service offered by the Philadelphia Orchestra. For $25, students can get one ticket to as many shows as they want for the whole season. That’s a whole lot of orchestra performances for less than 1 ticket would usually cost.
On Friday afternoon (ah, the life of a grad student), I took advantage of this deal for the first time, and hauled myself down to the Kimmel to see Dutoit conduct. “The Starry Night of Romeo & Juliet” included excerpts from Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet ballet and a Dutilleux piece inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Both are exceptionally beautiful pieces of music in their own ways, and were a joy to hear.
But the real treat of the show was watching my favorite classical pianist, Jeremy Denk, play Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Sitting down towards the front, I didn’t have a great view of his hands, but the sheer joy in his face went a long way to making up for it.
I’d love to wow all 6 of you reading this with a detailed analysis of the music and the performances, but the truth is I’m a total classical music n00b. The only things I know, I read in Alex Ross’s The Rest is Noise, just like every other 20-something affecting a greater cultural knowledge than she actually possesses. So all I can say is, Jeremy Denk is a dreamboat (and runs the best blog ever), the Philadelphia Orchestra is pretty darn good, and you can’t beat $25 to visit the gorgeous Kimmel Center multiple times in a season.
Next time: 2 things! I won’t wear the dress that shows all the tattoos — oh my, the blue hairs had some nasty looks for me — and hopefully the skylight garden will be open so I can go revel in its amazingness.