Belly Dancer Sue
As every Manhattanite knows, the earth is the size of Manhattan – and perfectly flat. If you leave, you fall off.
This truism is ringing in my ears as my bus pulls out of New York City and heads for New Jersey. So far, so true. So far I’ve missed one bus, and the bus driver on the next bus, who is supposed to let me off at my stop looks none too friendly.
So why am I leaving my NYC home for NJ – a strange land where people ride cars instead of subways and live near turnpike exits instead of numbered streets? Why is this simple (Manhattan) island girl doing in the land of Tony Soprano and (according to old gangster movies) machine guns in violin cases? Why is my video camera and tripod packed in my guitar case ?
The guitar case makes me look like I’m going to a folksinging gig. But I am actually in hot pursuit of “ice” – which is what we wannabe gangsters/slangsters call diamonds. (It’s also a hot summer day, so I wouldn’t mind some real ice.)
Turns out the place I am heading has both – diamond earrings and Italian ices. Mamari Jewelers/Art Gallery in Nanuet, NJ is hosting an opening party for their new facility. I’m supposed to do on-camera interviews of artist/designers Philippe Valy and Bob Tyne (who are picking me up in NJ). I’m also hoping to borrow dangling diamond earrings for the shoot – for the head shots Bob offered to take, and for my fantasy lifestyle – which includes ice of the non-flavored variety.
Real life has more glitches than glitz. I miss my NJ bus stop and travel to the end of the line because I don’t know the landmarks and the surly bus driver doesn’t tell me where to get off. However, after that rough start (I even offer to go back to Manhattan to avoid making my friends late) we finally hook up – and since the party starts late – we’re on time – even early!
The store is actually a small building – a mini-jewelry castle owned by a middle-eastern family. I instantly head for the jewelry counter, where I slide some fabulous diamond drop earrings onto my ears (a perfect fit). Then I slip into a black lace, clingy, spaghetti strap top – perfect for showing off diamonds! So far, so good.
I go upstairs to check out the gallery. The walls are hung with my friends’ artwork; and there’s a table set up as a bar – plus soft drinks, bottles of wine – and no corkscrew. I go back downstairs to look for a corkscrew – where the party is well underway.
Loudspeakers are playing middle eastern music with a driving beat. In the middle of the crowd is a belly dancer. The videographer and photographer are snapping away, as she tries to coax shy party guests onto the dance floor. I don’t need much coaxing. The hypnotic rhythms call to my ancestral Semitic roots- I am, after all, a Jewish girl from the Bronx (or maybe I just like to shake my booty). Anyway, the belly dancer and I start moving in perfect synch … as I live out my dream life – diamond earrings and belly dancing!
The party moves outside, where Philippe Valy body paints a pretty young model (Lidia Keenan) in the parking lot. Then we all go upstairs where I interview Bob Tynes and guests about his photographic/painterly images. The guest pick out favorite images and give their interpretations – mainly about dreams of freedom and peace.
I also talk Philippe Valy about his paintings and hand-painted hats (influenced by Greek mythology, surrealism, and Picasso-sqe eroticism). The hats provide a sculptural surface for his fantasy designs – as does Lidia – but (unlike pretty young models) you can take the hat home :)!
I didn’t take the diamonds home – but maybe next time – especially if I work on my belly dancing…
- Don’t give up or be overly discouraged or anxious – I thought missing my bus stop would make everyone late – I was even ready to go home. But as it turned out, it was no big deal.
- Step out of your comfort zone , habits, and habitat and try out new things – like belly dancing, diamonds and another state…of mind. The world isn’t really flat and and you don’t fall off – but you knew that!
- Know when to stay in your comfort zone -and how far to stretch it. Lidia didn’t want to be body painted in her bikini in the parking lot – so she compromised. She went along with the painting, but kept her jeans on.
- Enjoy a taste of fantasy life – you don’t have to own something forever to enjoy it for now. Besides, after a while, you get used to anything – even diamond earrings. If I got diamonds everyday -they might not be as much of a thrill as playing “dress up” for the party.
(Photography: Bob Baker)
Susan (“Dr. Sue”) Horowitz, Ph.D.
Book: “Queens of Comedy”
(Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Joan Rivers,
Phyllis Diller, and more!) www.smashwords.com/books/view/219367
Musical: “SssWitch”: www.ssswitch.net