David Bruce: The Coolest People in the Arts — Problem-Solving, Respect, Stage Fright, Travel

Problem-Solving

• John Christie was a very rich man. While listening to a musical performance in a very hot theater (in the days before air conditioning), he grew very uncomfortable, so he used scissors to cut off the sleeves of his shirt and dress jacket.

• Fans once surrounded Pablo Picasso at a time when he did not want to be surrounded by fans. No problem. He took out a gun he had with him and fired it into the air, and very quickly he was no longer surrounded by fans.

• American dance pioneer Ted Shawn came up with an original way to stop obesity in the United States. Simply require everyone to stand for one hour per year naked in public — vanity would soon make obesity vanish.

Respect

• Alexandra Danilova was asked about the difference between a very good ballet dancer (a soloist) and a ballerina (of course, not every woman ballet dancer is a ballerina — only the very best are). She replied, “Ballet is Giselle. Door of cottage open. Pretty young soloist comes out. You happy and say ‘I hope she do well.’ Another performance. Is also Giselle. Alicia Markova come out. She not danced yet. One step only, but you sigh and say, ‘Ah! ballerina!’ You do not ask, you know. She is star. She shine.”

• Suzanne Farrell was a great admirer of ballerina Diana Adams. Once, Ms. Adams gave her a pin of a mouse with painted whiskers and a long tail. Thereafter, Ms. Farrell pinned the mouse — despite its scratchy tail — inside her bra for good luck at important ballets. In addition, Ms. Farrell named her diary, to which she confided her inmost thoughts, “Diana.”

Stage Fright

• Greek-American soprano Maria Callas suffered terribly from stage fright before giving a performance. Before performances, Ms. Callas used to hold onto the arm of someone in the wings. Her dresser once displayed her arm to Sir John Tooley — it was bruised from the wrist to the elbow. Once, Ms. Callas’ fingernails drew blood from another supporter’s hand.

• Famous pianist Adolphe Henselt suffered so badly from stage fright that he used to stay offstage until the very last minute, then rush onstage to play his solo before running offstage again. Once, he had to rush so quickly to the piano that he wasn’t able to put out his cigar first, so he had to smoke throughout his solo.

Travel

• Fashion designer Vicky Tiel tends to dress comfortably for flights, as do many people of wealth and fashion. For one flight, she wore ripped jeans and a ripped jean jacket. She had a boarding pass for first class, but the stewardess looked her over and made her sit in coach, although she protested. She says, “Didn’t the hostess know that the antitravel look is for those who reallytravel? The well-dressed couple in first class is actually the pretty secretary sleeping with her older boss, hoping to move up to trophy wife.” When she arrived in Atlanta, she wanted to file a complaint, but Leticia Moise from CNN Atlanta recognized her and suggested a story: “The Fashion Designer Who was Thrown Out of First Class.” Ms. Tiel modeled the clothing she was wearing, and Ms. Moise asked a passerby, “Would you let her into first class?” He looked her over, and then he said into the microphone, “H*ll, no!”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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THE COOLEST PEOPLE IN THE ARTS

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