Tag Archives: Paul Parish

San Francisco Ballet’s 2013 Gala, January 24

11 Feb

Celebrating San Francisco Ballet’s 80th season, Helgi Tomasson gave his audience and supporters a sleek event of pas de deux, a pas de trois, one pas de quatre, a solo and a final ensemble excerpt which will begin Program I January 29.

I am fascinated by the choices Tomasson sometimes makes for partners, particularly for fluffy moments like George Balanchine’s Tarantella to the tinkly music of Louis Gottschalk, which sounds  like a precursor to early New Orleans jazz. So much so you can imagine it on an early Victor Red Seal record or envision it being played on an out-of-tune upright piano in some seedy New Orleans dive.  Pairing Sasha de Sola and Pascal Molat was novel, although de Sola conveys jauntiness along with her extraordinarily straight back.  Molat can dance the cheery street urchin in any guise thrown him,  his final measures soliciting every last centime.

Switching gears the suicidal solo from Roland Petit’s L’Arlesienne touched on daring the audience; it worked. Pierre Francois Vilanoba made one of his initial impressions in the company dancing this role and the title of Lar Lubovitch’s Othello.  A dozen years later, Vilanoba conveyed the mental dislocation with a honed ferocity, a  image of suicidal madness worth remembering, circular grand jetes, flailing arms, riveted gaze.  Petit doesn’t always get many marks for his choreography, but his theatricality is unmistakable.

Returning to the light touch, August Bournonville and his Flower Festival at Genzano with Clara Blanco and Gennadi Nedvigin was another surprise pairing, nicely matched in size and sweetness.  Blanco could have been better coached;  she was half way between her iconic Nutcracker Doll and the thoughtless Olga in Eugene Onegin.  Nedvigen’s finishes in tight fifths elicited enthusiastic applause.

Myles Thatcher’s In the Passerine’s Clutch was conceived as a pas de quatre for Dores Andre, Dana Genshaft, Joan Boada and Jaime Garcia Castilla and enjoyed a premiere at the Gala. Thatcher used music from the prolific compositions of contemporary Polish composer Wjceich Kilar and is his third choreographic essay for San Francisco Ballet affiliated dancers.  Passerines are called perchers and number the greatest proportion of birds in the avian kingdom, including swallow, ravens, thrushes, sparrows, warblers, even the Australian Lyrebird.  Thatcher’s attempt to capture the darting, clustering, clampering, quarreling and mating deserves a second viewing.

Lorena Feijoo made her first appearance since giving birth to Luciana in the Act III variation from Raymonda, hand slaps and all  to Alexander Glasunov’s insinuating music .  Feijoo’s delicate sensuality was touched with a distinctly regal quality.  Audience members clapped when she appeared on stage.  Shades of Alexandra Danilova.

Tomasson’s Trio featured Sarah Van Patten, Tiit Helimets and Vitor Mazzo, in the section of the work set to Tchaikovsky music.  They danced an eloquent, inevitable triangle with Mazzeo as the dark figure luring Van Patten from Helimets arms, Mazzeo bearing a limp Van Patten off stage right with Helimets alone and forlorn at the curtain.

The Wedding pas de deux from Act III of the Petipa-Gorsky Don Quixote  completed the Gala’s first half, danced by Frances Chung and Taras Domitro as Kitri and Basilio in the lustrous white costumes designed by the late Martin Pakledinaz.  Rendered with eloquent understatement, and measured formality, Paul Parish mentioned Felipe Diaz, one-time San Francisco Ballet soloist and currently a company ballet master, had rehearsed the two.  Paul observed, “You absolutely have to have someone tell you where your head needs to go, where your eyes should focus.  It’s something you cannot do alone, or just with your partner.”  Chung and Domitro emphasized polish more than bravura.  That seemed to disappoint a number of individuals, but it suited me just fine.

Three pas de deux and one ensemble piece were the  Gala’s second half content, a paean to the company’s repertoire range.  Maria Kochetkova and Vitor Luiz reprised the first act dream scene between Onegin and Tatiana where John Cranko’s Tatiana sees Onegin emerge from her bedroom mirror in a dream.  Given the elaborate set, one understands why Tomasson chose this snippet to open the second  half; it’s a major production operation.

On to the strains of John Philip Sousa and Balanchine’s wonderful spoof of the Sousa  brass umpapa.  This 1958 romp for New York City Ballet was first danced by San Francisco Ballet in 1981; I can remember Madeline Bouchard, Anita Paciotti and David McNaughton scintillating in their assignments.  Here Vanessa Zahorian and Davit Karapetyan took on the Stars and Stripes  pas de deux created by Melissa Hayden and Jacques D’Amboise.  Here danced for a sunny pertness rather than the broad good humor originally conveyed,   Zahorian and Karapetyan came across cheerfully.

Yuan Yuan Tan and Damian Smith danced Christopher Wheeldon’s pas de deux from After The Rain, set to Arvo Part’s extended ethereal score which never seems to conclude. It was an etched, elegant performance, tender but seeming to proceed under glass.

Excerpts from Serge Lifar’s Suite en Blanc finished the Gala, an ensemble piece which has become de rigeur in a Tomasson-run Gala, serving to remind the audience that a company stands or falls on the calibre of its corps de ballet as much as the brilliance of its principal dancers.  Lifar, who was the last major male dancer to rise under Sergei  Diaghilev’s influence, was ballet master for the l”Opera de Paris ballet company from the mid-‘Thirties through World War II, including  those four long years of the Nazi Occupation of most of Northern and Central France.  This work was premiered some mother prior to D-Day and in Zurich, appearing to lack any reference to the privation the French dancers were experiencing.

While I intend to discuss the ballet further after seeing the entire work, it was marvelous to see Sofiane Sylve as one of the center dancers, conveying in her bones the style and presentation required for this very French ballet.


Words on Dance with Joanna Berman October 22

24 Oct

Deborah DuBowy has taped interviews with dancers mostly by dancers for nineteen years in San Francisco, usually including stills and sometimes taped footage of the dancer’s signature roles.  This year’s Isadora Duncan Dance Award Ceremony recognized this  record with its modest certificate and “dustable.”  Her presenter was Edward Villella who will be the subject of the next interview, scheduled for the Paley Center for Media, New York City, March 11, 2013.  September 15, 2013, capping the second decade of endeavor will see Maria Kochetkova interviewing Carla Fracci, the memorable Italian ballerina.

October 22 DuBowy arranged for another memorable interview, which probably won’t ever be seen visually because the Vogue Theatre on Sacramento Street simply did not possess stage lights.  Nonetheless the audience not glued to the third presidential debate  got to hear Joanna Berman answer the adroit questions posed by James Sofranko and see snippets of Berman in Rodeo, Swan Lake, Company B, Damned and Dance House.

The comparatively brief interview was preceded by nine films of varying length, some of them gem like.  It commenced with Natalia Makarova dancing with Mikhail Baryshnikov to a Chopin Mazurka, part of a lengthier exposition created by Jerome Robbins for the January 17, 1972 Gala to raise money to keep the New York Public Library Dance Collection open.  Both dancers were at the peak of their careers, their elevations impressive, their elan unmistakably Russian.

A considerably edited interview with Yvonne Mounsey this past June was next, conducted by Emily Hite, capturing in speech Mounsey’s performance qualities.  It was wonderful to see Mounsey wrap hercomments around her favorite role, the Siren in the Balanchine ballet Prodigal Son. I saw her dance when Jerome Robbins was the Prodigal; her understanding of the predatory female remains undimmed.

A brief film by Quinn Wharton followed. Mechanism, had a text relating to machines  and featured two Hubbard Street Dance Company members, Johnny McMillan and Kellie Eppenheimer. Her balance, barefoot on demi-pointe, was cool, controlled, mind-boggling.

This was followed by Miguel Calayan’s short, Prima,  featuring Shannon Roberts (she has a new name Rugani) with  modest tiara, romantic length tutu topped by a royal blue tunic. Dancing  around a spacious vintage ballroom whose location I’d love to know, the footage captured her feet in releve, her body in grand jete and turning attitude, at the barre, covering space, ending in a wheel chair with a doll-sized proscenium stage and puppet dance figure.

Carolyn Goto, former principal dancer with Oakland Ballet, created a DVD of Ronn Guidi in connection with the Legacy Project, affiliated with the Museum of Performance and Design.  Careful editing allowed the audience to see segments of three important Oakland Ballet restagings: Michel Fokine’s” Scheherazade,” Eugene Loring’s “Billy the Kid” and Bronislava Nijinska’s “Les Noces.” In addition Guidi  was seen evaluating Sergei Diaghilev’s benchmark influence on the arts.

Following intermission, San Francisco Ballet member Luke Willis introduced “Freefall,”a partially completed film created with his brother. It featured a charming child, Pauli Magierek playing her mother, and two dancers in space, Sean Bennett for certain and perhaps Kristine Lind; it seemed to explore a child’s fascination with potential future romance.

The choreographic  process between Jorma Elo and Maria Kochetkova in the creation of a solo for her  in the 2012 Reflections tour came next, an interesting exploration of the  making and interpreting of a choreographic vision.

Judy Flannery, the Managing Director of the San Francisco Dance Film Festival, brought trailers from this year’s Festival and the news that September 12-15, 2013 will feature the Festival’s collaboration with an international dance component, information which has yet to make it to the Festival’s website.  She also introduced Kate Duhamel’s “Aloft,” with Yuri Zhukov’s choreography for six dancers,  photographed on the northern edge of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Credited as being inspired by the America’s Cup sailboat races and the qualities of the swift vessels, the dancers moved against whipping wind, gravelly ground with the City in the distance as backdrop.

A final break ensued before Joanna Berman and James Sofranko followed the brief glimpse of Joanna in “Rodeo,” and her entrance as Odette in “Swan Lake,” with Cyril Pierre as Siegfried. Berman remarked that Christine Sarry warned her against emoting at the Cowgirl and in “Swan Lake,” she felt exposed and uncomfortable, enjoying Odile more because she, essentially, didn’t
have to be “pure.”  Berman liked story ballets because sa narrative provides meaning to the work,the why the preference for  “Serenade” and “Dances at a Gathering” to the more abstract repertoire  created for New York City Ballet.

Berman had studied at Marin Ballet with Margaret Swarthout before a year at San Francisco Ballet led to a six month apprenticeship before joining the corps de ballet.  What wasn’t mentioned was Berman’s attending the International Ballet Competition in Moscow, the youngest entrant to date, being eliminated in the second round because of a stumble.  Returning with her coach, Maria Vegh, there was a solo performance in celebration at the Marin Civic Center before Berman moved over to San Francisco Ballet School.

Joanna Berman’s dramatic gifts shone in “Company B”, “Damned” and “Dance House.”  I did not see her in the Possokhov reading of the Medea tragedy, associating it with Muriel Maffre and Lorena Feijoo.  Berman’s warmth, a quality Paul Parish calls “creamy,” at odds with Medea’s decision, made the brief footage that much stronger.

Berman now periodically sets “A Garden” for Mark Morris and works by Christopher Wheeldon. She spoke concisely about the responsibility of realizing the choreographer’s intent, a focus she followed when she danced.

James Sofranko also asked her about her post S.F. Ballet guest appearance with ODC, dancing with Private Freeman to choreography by Brenda Way.  When he asked Berman about the arc of her career, she replied she had no desire to go elsewhere because of the calibre of the company and the presence of her family.

The evening reminded one of the elusive quality of comfortable familiarity that seems to have seeped out of many dance occasions with the generational shift. It was good to enjoy the sensation once more.

Dance Lovers Remember Remy Charlip, 1929-2012

24 Aug

This got started the day following Remy Charlip’s funeral and celebration; I was sure it would meander, as the mind and emotion lets go at such times to encompass loss and experience and memory of the individual newly absent to life and the circle of his friends and activity.  Necessarily it will be churned out in stages, interrupted by necessary daily chores.

I can’t say I knew Remy Charlip, but I did meet him and talk with him and saw him around  at and in performances, struck by the genial nature of his presence.  He was gracious, giving and referred me to an editor who didn’t like my submission at all, no fault of Charlip’s.  The fact of his offering impressed me with a certain security of soul, innate when generosity is so manifest.

We both as disparate times served on the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards Committee. Jenefer Johnson, one of the current members, wrote Charlip wanted to give Izzies – the certificate and the “dustable” to everyone – and wanted to create a scarf for the occasion. [Maybe the Committee might consider a collective one, to drape over a recipient like the Olympics as Darrell Fisher records the moment; there would need to be a blanket when production collaborators collectively warrant the accolade.]

Rita Felciano and I attended Remy’s hillside burial at the Fernwood Cemetery in Mill Valley; her Prius took us through heavy northward traffic across the Golden Gate Bride into sunshine and the Stinson Beach turnoff, coastal trees, then increasingly up into the sun-dried hillside overlooking tree-shaded buildings in Tennessee Valley.  Fernwood Cemetery, as its website explains, is an ecologically sound resting place of individuals wanting their bodies to disintegrate into the soil minus cosmetic procedures or excessive barriers to the earth.

Cars lined the edge of the ascending road as Rita parked.  Stephen Goldstine and Emily Keeler came with Corinne Nagata, soon June Watanabe and Deborah Slater. Other individuals arrived, looking familiar, if not known by name. Joanna Haigood was there with her husband and handsome young son. More mourners arrived after us. Embraces were exchanged, the ambiance  one of  gravity and acknowledgment; if there were tears, they were muted.

A group arrived with two or three baskets and a box containing an ivory envelope and card bearing Remy’s name, dates of life and a small shot of rainbow-hued grosgrain ribbon for those present. Keith Hennessey stood beside a tall, slender giant and a dark-haired man with bronze skin.  Deborah Slater remarked, “That’s Jules Beckman.”  Before their arrival, the Rabbi Singer explained some Jewish rituals  about forming lines and requesting no photographs.  A modest-sized man of compact build, he held a black binder, wore a black hat, sported a nicely trimmed beard and a gold  circles on each ear.

The hearse door was opened. The Park Service green clad cemetery personnel carried the willow basket,  its crafted  pattern adorned by a scroll of white roses, along a mulched pathway and up to the grave’s edge.   Erica, in charge of the arrangements, later  said she had chosen the spot after vetoing the Jewish section of the cemetery as the graves  there were too close together.  She wanted space for Remy. What a space she chose!  A hillside,  a semi-circle of eucalyptus behind the grave dug by Latino personnel, down the requisite depth revealing the terra-cotta hue of the soil. It was the first time Rita and I had seen a wicker coffin;  I suspect  a first for others.

We gathered, some fifty plus, as the Rabbi’s wife sang in Hebrew in her clear, small voice, accompanied gently by the Rabbi on a large tambourine.  The Rabbi explained the ritual of helping to bury the dead as one felt able.  Behind us below the path a relatively new grave bore large headstone of granite carved with the name of the deceased and seashells.  When the wind subsided, the heat of mid-afternoon August embraced us.

Erica stood at the head of the basket speaking briefly, followed by Beckman stating qualities of character he felt Remy personified, then kissed the basket.  The cemetery personnel lowered the basket into the terracotta oblong, removing the straps.  The rabbi spoke, while three women distributed  rose petals and rose-tipped white rosebuds, devoid of scent, amongst us. We began to cast the roses onto the basket now resting deep down.  The rabbi’s wife continued to sing; we negotiated the slope to toss the flowers.

Rabbi Singer intoned the Hebrew burial phrases, repeated by one or two women near me, the words, their cadence rising and falling ,the occasional gutteral confluence, most of us unable to continue beyond the Rabbi’s instruction with the burial exclamation.

Erica picked up one of three green handled shovels and cast a few terra cotta clods into the grave, followed by Jules Beckman and Keith Hennessey.  Hennessey stood with the shovel near the mound helping women who needed it when they came forward to participate.  One  young woman, bare shouldered in an ankle-length black and white striped dress, stepped forward, grasped the shovel  resolutely casting two shovels full.  She energized my lurking impulse and I stepped forward.  While Keith held my forearm I grasped three or four clods, tossing them towards the head and at the foot of the basket, a moment and sensation not soon forgotten, and found my hands pressed together, Hindu namaste style.  June Watanabe followed.  As we backed towards the path, the group moved forward to participate.  Stephen Goldstine walked slowly down the incline to cast his share while at the head of the basket the tall, slender giant dug into the dry, uneven mound several times, intently casting the contents at the grave’s head.

In the midday warmth returning along the path and reaching the paved road, there were many embraces and low conversation. Rita drove the circle above the incoming road, past and around the historic cemetery with its ornate nineteenth century markers; the car descended to the entrance, back to the junction of the Stinson Beach Road where a roadside stand was selling peaches; on to the highway towards the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marina cutoff and the new tunnel approach replacing the hazardous, creaky Doyle Drive.

Rita left me off at ODC’s Theatre on 17th Street as Margaret Jenkins and her daughter crossed 17th at Shotwell and strolled towards the entrance.  I followed their example, met by a pretty dark-haired young functionary who advised me where I could stow my inevitable portmonteau with little danger of loss.  Down the slight ramp there were four tables, two on each side, devoted to substantial finger food – slivers of pastrami and beef, hum mus, olives, sweet pepper slices, cauliflower and pea pods, french, rye bread, pita – two and three platters of each with generous spoons to assist in noshing.  Near the corner windows  bottles of water, white and red wine rested on a formica surface; against the wall, orange and kiwi slices, strawberries, large soft molasses and raisin oatmeal cookies, layered in circular pattern.

Helen Dannenberg stood by a door with her customary majesty; I noticed Joe Goode. Theresa Dickinson came up to talk to Carlos Carvajal who sat beside me.  The tall stranger sat down on the other side, introducing himself.  Patrick Scully,  one of the scores of individuals whom Remy encouraged and embraced in his whole hearted, but penetrating way, came from Minneapolis where he started a performing space called Patrick’s Cabaret  flourishes. It sports a website where Scully speaks eloquently about that active, non-profit enterprise.

When the gathering moved in to the theatre, Jules Beckman sang “Everything Must Change,” which Remy had taught him.  Joanna Haigood, in a warmly colored knit jump suit danced her half of the duet she had danced with Remy, “When the Lilacs Bloom” full of felicity and warmth.  Then I left for an appointment.

Unlike this ramble, Rita Felciano’s account in The Bay Guardian is brief, superb, and interspersed with You Tube footage, well worth watching.  Paul Parish’s celebration in The Bay Area Reporter places Remy in history, lists his accomplishments, mentions his honors, Remy’s ability to make art while celebrating various niches in life and endeavors.

Allan Ulrich in the San Francisco  Chronicle and The New York Times paid tribute to Remy Charlip, noting his 38 children’s books and his Air Mail dances, his years with the Merce Cunningham Company, his founding of the Paperbag Children’s Theatre.

Missing  in the accounts was what for me was one of  Charlip’s major collaborations, “Growing Up in Public,” and tribute to and a vehicle for the late Lucas Hoving.  Like Charlip, Hoving chose to live out his final years in San Francisco, a  much loved, teaching figure, tenderly cared for at the end.  Unlike Charlip, however, Hoving was not widely celebrated, perhaps because of generational and national differences, along with the relative immaturity of the dance community at that time. Following Hoving, Charlip embraced the community and it in turn encircled him in this most fitting tribute to his gentle, whimsical, faun-like life with its unique brand of  patriarchy.

Suhalia Solo, August 5, Lesher Center for the Arts

11 Aug

A member of the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards Committee is expected to cover the many genres of dance in the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties, seeing at least twenty during the period September 1- August 31.  This includes the obvious: ballet, modern, tap  and “ethnic” dance, particularly Indian forms and flamenco. It  has expanded to include hip-hop, praise and ballroom dancing, plus unusual video recordings of street dancing.  Practitioners of these forms have  earned an Izzie  dustable and  accompanying certificate.

With Abby Stein and Paul Parish, two Izzie stalwarts, I made it to an early Sunday evening performance August 6 to see Suhalia Salimpour at the small theatre of  Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts.  It had been a sellout for quite some weeks.

Many years ago I took classes from Jamila, Suhalia’s mother, when UCSF’s Millberry Union programs had included a brief introduction to danse du ventre, belly dancing or whatever one calls this intensely feminine dance form.  Jamila, a handsome raven-haired woman, had delved deeply into the background of the form, reputed to have developed as a ritual helping women prepare for the delivery of their babies.  With the Chicago  Exposition of 1893 designed to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the New World, the ritual  had become an entertainment form for the tired businessman of the Middle East.  In 1980 Jamila compiled the evidence in a monograph she titled “Middle Eastern Entertainment at the Chicago World’s Fair, 1893” with three strong-faced women adorning the cover.

Once I had seen Suhalia as a young girl dancing with Jamila, perhaps in the Bal Anat troupe which Jamila had organized.  Since then, a variety of ensemble and individual dancers perform the style.  There scarcely is an Ethnic Dance Festival where the alluring form fails to be present, some with swords balanced on the head while the torso is lowered ceremoniously to the floor with accompanying music.

Now Suhalia has her own daughter, Isabella, who came forward to introduce her mother and the seven musicians comprising The Salimpour Band.  The seven led off the evening, clothed in blue-black shirts and trousers, some with shaven heads,  looking quite formidable.
The music from their instruments invited you, compelled you to want to step past a shaggy curtain into an incense-redolent interior to watch a sloe-eyed woman clinking finger cymbals while circling a small space provocatively.

Out came a cheery, smiling, chestnut-haired woman with minimal red chiffon cascading from below her naval to her bared-feet  and a similar hued bra and scarf.  Immediately, the cogniscenti in the audience emitted the characteristic vibrating, trilling  as it howls.  You can’t miss the special sound, the Furies turned Eumenides  about to  appear.  Wikipedia calls it Ululation, is practiced at all joyous occasions and is called zaghareet.

The expanse of Suhalia’s flesh was at variance with my memory of Jamila who frequently espoused a black  coverup, creating mystery with the suggestive allure of danse du ventre.  Different generation, different attitude; Suhalia exhorts her viewers where Jamila seemed  removed, her allure mysterious in my memory. The technique, however, remains the same, the dazzle created by vibration beyond the hip flips and the pelvic undulation.  To see progressive quivers on the sides of the body while the navel signals its own exercise is a staggering phenomenon, no matter the covering around it. I think the technical term is considered isolations.  Suhalia accented such dual tremors as she raised her arms to rumple her hair, like a woman in climax, or possible labor.

The zaghareets were unending from the predominantly feminine audience, many of whom study with Suhalia.

After Suhalia’s inaugural number, the ensemble played and several musicians performed brief solos.  The Salimpour Band included  Ziad Islambouli, percussion; Fadi Islambouli-guitar [electric]; Robert Roberts, doff; Ibrahim Masri, oud; Morris Musharbash, mazhar; Ahmad Berjami, keyboard.  These names were given me, but what I recognized were a tambourine,  two or three forms of doumbeks. Manjeras or cymbals were not used, the keyboard a contemporary substitute for the santour or hammered dulcimer.  The technicalities didn’t really matter when caught up in the insinuating minor key of the melody and the insistent sound of the doumbek.

In her second appearance Suhalia emerged in flesh colored drapery, shimmering with brilliants, handless gloves covering her arms.  She engaged in a captivating exchange with the principal drummer, up close and cuddling;  on cue, off came the drummer’s tie. Many zaghareets.
Jamila, Suhalia and Isabella espouse a supremely feminine dance form;   may their special dynasty flourish.

Meeting a Familiar Dancer: Chidozie Nzerem

13 Apr

At San Francisco Ballet’s Program Seven opener April 12 I almost ran into Chidozie Nzerem, a former corps de ballet member who also had the distinction of having started his  career in dance through the Dance Education Outreach Program at San Francisco Ballet School.  He moved into the regular classes at the School, becoming a company apprentice in 1995 and a regular member of the company in 1996.

Paul Parish described him as a classical dancer on a heroic scale, and I can remember how his deportment in classical repertoire was invariably noble.  He was so imbued with his training that it took a while for him to loosen up for the special qualities of Val Caniparoli’s Lamberena.  but when he got used to fusing  his training to African movement, he was exciting to watch.

It’s hard to believe he left the San Francisco Ballet some six years ago, first to travel before coming back and appearing in outside gigs.  Then he disappeared from view until Rita Felciano showed me a picture from a European dance periodical where he looked every inch a leading male dancer in the Dusseldorf- based Deutsche Ballett au Rhein.

Chidozie’s reason for being in the audience was based on the death of his mother in mid-March.  I asked him how long he had been in Dusseldorf and he said “five years.”  A further question or two elicited the information that when he started auditioning for companies, “I got six offers, one of them from Monte Carlo.  But I settled on Dusseldorf, and now I am learning Germany.  It was a good choice.”

Despite the sad reason for his presence at the Opera House, I could only think, “Lucky Dusseldorf.”