Aug. 23rd, Palazzolo

a morning spent up at the greek theater with the mandola… quite a hike up there carrying the instrument, it’s not light, but I had the place to myself for a full hour and was just packing up when the first visitors arrived… it’s smaller than I remember, but so beautiful, and pitched on top of the world… there must have been some greek theater going on at some point recently, because there was a plywood stage and floor, with part of the floor painted blue – for the sea, no doubt – and a giant blue mask (others are scattered around town, I noticed). Everything very damp after yesterday’s heavy rain – so different from 4 years ago, when we were stunned by the heat, and the rain didn’t arrive until the last week of September. Apparently it’s been raining most of August… I have no complaints, it’s good working weather and I love my studio in the Travelers’ Museum (how appropriate…) I have begun a photo collage on the walls about my version of Slow Time… even started a new song… verremos… the crazy birds are back outside my window in the evening – they love the mandola, it seems, just as they always did, singing along like crazy with their ‘electric static’ sounds…

Yesterday we went to Buscemi to see the extraordinary itinerant museum dedicated to preserving a record of how the old life was lived – dotted all over the small town in various small rooms, as well as a couple of larger houses, this one man (Rosario Acquaviva?) has dedicated the past 30 years of his life (he started at 28) to collecting and recording the old life that has disappeared – bravo… It turns out it’s actually the 30th anniversary celebration tonight, so if it’s not raining we will head back to catch that, and the last bits of the museum that we missed because of the torrential downpour… Buscemi is a lovely little town – it also has a big saint’s day celebration on Sunday, with the Banda and exploding confetti etc. – will try to go – it’s our last day (our ‘performance’ is saturday evening) and the other option is to go to Ortiga for the night, but that may be pushing the envelope… take it easy, girl….

so today I took a siesta after lunch, then made a tortilla for the evening repast – the onions here are amazing! – and headed back to the studio for a couple hour’s work, which ended with Rosemarie suggesting an apperativo in the piazza… the evening light on the chiesa di san sebastiano was gorgeous… two spritz’s later, we stumble back to the apartment for tortilla and tempura’d squash blossoms (Pam had joined us by then, having finally got her clay oven built and lit), and at 10pm the four of us (Piotr, the young Pole, also joined us) were taxi’d over to Buscemi for the festivities… much confusion over what was happening where, but after waiting for the puppet show to start for a half hour or so (not a hardship, the piazza in front of the church was a lovely place, and Piotr had managed to find a 2 litre bottle of local wine & 4 cups for 4 euros, so we were happy ), the director of the museum announced that it wouldn’t start until we’d all been to the museum (it was his 30th anniversary celebration, after all), so off we all trooped! and I’m glad we did – there was a wonderful quartet of young folk musicians singing in the courtyard – 3 girls singing, 2 playing tamboura and one the fiddle, plus a guy on accordion, all really good – delicious… finally, about midnight, the puppet show! Orlando Furiouso, of course, very violent but rather fun, with a guy who sang about the Baronessa Ricorini (?) – good big peasant-style voice, good guitar playing – and also cranked the handle on the thing that looked like a toy piano but was a kind of giant music box, playing the same frenetic tune each time to accompany all the killing… and then the folk quartet started up again, this time amplified, and we danced! so much fun… but the taxi was waiting for us, so we had to leave at 1 a.m (1.30, really), and I stumbled into bed around 2am… grazie mille!