A couple of weeks back, right after we returned from Nelsonville, I showered off, dressed up and headed over to The Metropolitan Opera House for the opening night gala of American Ballet Theatre. I've gotten to go to a bunch of ABT galas, mostly because Susan Jones always invites me. This year she was off staging a ballet somewhere so her daughter Sarah invited me instead.
As galas go, this one was pretty special. For one thing, this year I own a tux, so I wore that instead of my black suit. No one took pictures or anything, but it looked exactly like me in a tux, so if you want to make a picture in photoshop, feel free. The other thing that sort of lifted it from the ordinary was that Michelle Obama was there to make a speech and introduce students from the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School At American Ballet Theatre. She was introduced by Caroline Kennedy who was preceded by Senator Charles Schumer making his ballet debut. Also, there were a lot of gorgeous dancers and people who looked more amazing than me in my tux. (In fairness to my tux, I was the best dressed dude on the subway car both on the way to Lincoln Center and back to Brooklyn.)
Mrs. Obama made a lovely speech about how the arts were important and most everyone in the audience (including myself) totally agreed. There was much applause and a standing ovation and it turned in to the sort of New York society debut that looks good on paper because it was, in fact, completely impressive, gracious and hard to argue with.
The next day, I jumped back on the subway and wandered uptown again, but this time for Laura's graduation from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. No politicians showed and the dress code was more relaxed, but the day was just as festive and I actually got some exposure on the big jumbotron screen--although Laura looked better when they showed her crossing the stage and picking up her diploma than I did checking my Facebook status on my Iphone.
I'm not a big fan of crowds, but if I have to brave them, I can't imagine a better series of events than the first lady's maiden trip as a cultural ambassador to New York City and my girlfriend's walk from one side of a room to another as she became a Master.