As I left the Theatrical Outfit's performance of "Red," in downtown Atlanta, a light rain fell. The play, full of art talk and aesthetic musings, left me in a sombre mood. The longtime Atlanta theater master Tom Key truly made himself into the haunted Rothko, showing a man covering an acute sensitivity with an art-cumedgeon persona, and young Jimi Kocina as his helper and dramatic foil was excellent.
Once again, I decided against driving home on the interstate and took the local route from Spring to Peachtree. I always like going down Peachtree, imagining it a grand boulevard like say Park Avenue, although Peachtree, along with so much else in Atlanta, is quite mediocre. Still, artistic efforts like Tom's Theatrical Outfit in a once dying part of downtown kindle a hopes for the city, whose lustre has dimmed in recent years.
Thoughts of Rothko and his ruminations on the truth of art/seeing/color/vision vs. commerce/popularity'vulgarity had me thinking about my own life, and others. The New York Times had run three obituaries on three great women who had lived well with full artistic accomplishment: Dorothea Tanning, Wislawa Szymborska and Camilla Williams.
Heading home, I passed the Memorial Arts Center, where once I'd seen some Rothkos at the High Museum. A few other signs of attempts at urban greatness passed by, along with a stretch of strip shopping centers and the like. They have their own truth too, though.
I pass places where I've lived segments of my life, in weekly repeated rituals: Barnes & Noble (alas, Borders gone), Peachtree Pres (where I fitfully go to the gym, and where my children played basketball and went to preschool and where Tom Key annually narrates a Christmas Eve service for kids), and the pond on Lakemoore. I also pass Christ the King, where my wife and I were married, and where I first met Tom at a Sunday morning adult education series. Years of images and memories built up.
The rain grows heavier, and already some parts of Roswell Road are flooded. Again, I'm thankful to make it home.