Sunday, December 29, 2013

‘A great night at Centerpoint’


A great night at the Anthroposophical Society Saturday. As advertised, it truly was a celebration of the Holy Nights in Music and Verse. The music of Debussy and many others in voice, piano, harp, and recorder; verse from Robert Frost, Robert Graves, Pasternak, and Steiner, to name a few.

The meeting place of the New York City branch is a welcoming little space. Artwork, oil on canvas and mostly abstract, by Rayén Millahual Vargas, is exhibited throughout. The meeting room itself is a great little performing arts space, with a small elevated stage and comfortable seating for probably around forty (and not so comfortable for maybe fifty). A third of the ceiling is open with a gabled skylight. It just strikes me as the perfect spot for lectures and other programs for small to medium-size audiences, in case you want to take note of that. It’s worth inquiring if it is available for hire.

And then there’s the bookstore: packed wall to wall, top to bottom with hundreds of titles on the meaning of Anthroposophy and its practical applications, by Steiner and others; biographies about Steiner; books on other philosophies for all levels of learning; and more.

I think I’m going back on New Year’s Day for Cliff Venho’s presentation “Where Darkness Is Light: The Hymns & Songs of Novalis.”


Courtesy Fox 2000 Pictures

The event was over by about nine o’clock, and with nothing much else going on, I headed over to Second Avenue to catch a movie. “The Book Thief” takes place during the Second World War in Germany, and its title refers to the main character, a young girl who nicks The Gravedigger’s Handbook from the man who buries her little brother, who salvages another book from a local nazi bonfire, and eventually helps herself to the contents of the personal library in the home of the local head nazi. Anyway, it’s the only schoolmate who befriends her who embodies nearly all the virtue in the story unaided by any encourgement from others. A star track athlete who idolizes Jesse Owens, keeps inviolate the secret of a Jewish man in hiding, does what he can to protect the girl from the school’s most enthusiastic Hitler Youth—doing all this and more while his father, a party member, goes along to get along—and, in the end, perishes in an Allied bombing raid, is named Rudy Steiner.

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