La Di Da

Kathleen was flying home from Washington, and, when she landed, we were going to order a tasty but unwholesome dinner from Jackson Hole. Dawdling at the computer, I conceived a desire to watch Six Degrees of Separation while we munched. In 1990, we were too busy with our still-new country house to catch John Guare’s play at Lincoln Center, so we missed a chance to see Stockard Channing on stage (we did see her, though, in revivals of The Lion in Winter and The Little Foxes). She is very much the star of the movie as well.

What I missed in Fred Schepisi’s film adaption, which I’ve seen at least eight or nine times – and I’m being very conservative here – is a location shot early in the film. Actually, it’s an intermittent series of many shots, taken from different angles. The film opens in the Fifth Avenue apartment of an art dealer, but long before that scene has been completely played out, the two principals, Ouisa and Flan, are seen summarizing it in narrative parallel to a huddle of guests at a wedding reception. We see a lot of this crowd and this setting, but only in short takes. That may be why I didn’t recognize the location until this evening. Although – why this evening?

What caught my eye first were the octagonal pillars. Pillars with eight sides instead of the usual flutes are not the most common architectural feature in the world, and these octagonal pillars were very familiar octagonal pillars. Come to think of it, so were the demilune-topped French doors on a far wall, overlooking what I already knew to be a golf course. For this scene was shot in front of the fireplace (not shown) in the ballroom of Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville. I’d say that I grew up at Siwanoy, but that might lead you to think that I can play golf, and I can’t play golf. Playing golf is my idea of Dante’s Inferno, albeit an idea with no supporting experience. Although I do remember sitting just about where Donald Sutherland and Stockard Channing were seated, watching, all by myself, and God knows why, a special black-and-white program (this was long before videotapes) about South Africa’s Gary Player. I was bored to death, but I was giving Maturity a chance.

When I go out for a special evening, I put on the watch that the Club presented to my father when he finished his year-long term as president, in 1966. Kathleen has had Tiffany clean it, and replace the leather strap, so all I have to do is set it and wind it.

When my grandfather was president, during the War – this was my mother’s father, not the Judge – they tell me that he introduced Brunch. I have never submitted this tale to the slightest attempt at verification. I’m saving a few things for my real old age.

2 Responses to “La Di Da”

  1. Nom de plume says:

    Saving a few things for your real old age. What a concept! I did see this play at Lincoln Center in 1990 with Stockard Channing. It has stuck with me, in addition to (as opposed to in spite of) the movie version all these years. I seem to remember also having see “The House of Blue Leaves” during the same era, same venue. Can I be correct? Thanks for the charming anecdote and, as always, keen observation! Who else could have fingered that locale?

  2. Fossil Darling says:

    Ah, Siwanoy. Ah, Carol. Ah, New Year’s Eve. In fact two spent with her (and you!) at the Club. What fun we had! How young we were! Remember driving Boris’s car into the shrubbery because in anticipation of the move to Houston she decided to forego winter tires?