The Blog

| April 21, 2018

Number 246

Calabria Foti Plays the Violin

Music Choice says so. 

We listen to Music Choice a lot. It’s that series of music channels you get in overpriced cable TV packages. And the collection of channels manages to cover categories like Musica Urbana, Throwback Jamz, Teen Beats, Sounds of the Seasons, Light Classical, and, of course, Hip-Hop Classics (how long, do you suppose, does it take for something to be considered a classic?). At any rate, pick a category and you’ve got background music for hours.

But Music Choice doesn’t stop there. Oh no. They’ve decided to give you a Cliff Note biography of the various artists – just the highlights, or what they consider the highlights. Obscure factoids that are one sentence long, tops. And sometimes the results are…curious.

Vivaldi was buried in a pauper’s grave.

Handel wrote The Messiah in 24 days.

Bruce Springsteen donated his Harley Davidson to tennis pro Andre Aggasi’s charity Christmas auction in 2008.

Shawn Mendes says he was in love with Emma Watson when she played Hermione in the Harry Potter film series.

and one of my personal favorites,

Calabria Foti plays the violin.

I especially like the last one because I’d never heard of Calabria Foti, she’s a great singer with a beautiful name, and the whole phrase is random, but sounds like it could be the title of a Truman Capote short story from the era when he could still write. This has nothing to do with the real Calabria Foti. Absolutely nothing.That name, though. I love that name. It’s old and new at the same time, like music and memories…

  “I sing,” she says, while brushing her hair and gazing at her reflection, turning this way, then that, hoping to find an angle that still makes her appear hopeful. “It’s what I do, every hour of every day. Sometimes on a barstool, center stage, wearing gloves and pathos, for an indifferent audience. For money. Other times, I sing in my head, silently, for a much more appreciative audience of one. It fills me, do you understand?” 

  She looks away from the wonder that is herself and locks heavily-lidded eyes on me, just for a second, then returns her gaze to the vision she obviously prefers.

  “Perhaps you do. Understand. Doubtful, but perhaps.” 

  Calabria is her name. She sings. About love hoped for, love lost. She’s getting herself ready for tonight’s performance, preparing the illusion of a been there-done that-forever desired-forever desirable-minx. I’ve come to fix a burned out light bulb in her dressing room, and she’s asked me to stay. “It calms me,” she says.”I still get butterflies after all these years. You’ll sit with me for a few minutes? Yes?” And so, I stay.

  “I was pretty once. Some said beautiful. You’d have looked back at me as I walked away. You would have. Everyone did. But that was…” her voice trails off. The light fades from her eyes.

  “I should go,” I say. “It’s almost show time and I need to check the lights.”

  She awakens, as if from a dream or a nightmare. “Can I get you anything?” I ask, “Water? Tea?”

  “Seconal? Whiskey?” she replies, as the smallest of smiles crosses her lips…but not her eyes. Then she ever so slightly shakes her head, “No.”

  As I turn toward the door, I hear her say quietly,”I also play the violin, did you know that…not that anyone cares anymore…not that anyone cares…….”

You get the idea…


Certain shades of limelight wreck a girl’s complexion.
– Truman Capote

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