Intimate in Venice



I hope nobody has told him people are expecting to spend an intimate evening with him. He'd be in for a shock.

There’s not much I can say about the poster on the trash can near the “Giardini” vaporetto stop.

Of course that’s not true.  I could say all sorts of things, but there are two main observations that it inspires, which is why I’m mentioning it.

First: Once again, as at the festa the other night, it’s written in English.  I guess they don’t believe any non-English-speaking Italians/Venetians/miscellaneous foreigners are going to be interested. Or they don’t want non-English-speaking I/V/mfs coming to this event, even if they did happen to be interested.

Or maybe it’s in English because there’s not enough space on the poster for “nan yon aswe entim ak ekselans nan” or “ng isang kilalang-kilala na gabi na may ang quintessential” or even একটি বিশুদ্ধ সঙ্গে অন্তরঙ্গ সন্ধ্যায়.”

Second: It’s not that it promotes a mere concert.

It’s going to be “an intimate evening” with James Taylor in the Piazza San Marco, a event which, on the intimacy scale, certainly beats the stuffing out of Bobby Short at the Carlyle, Sally Bowles at the Kit Kat Klub, or Noel Coward anywhere.

The Piazza San Marco cannot in any way be made to look, sound, or feel intimate, any more than can Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania, which it resembles more than you might think.  Go Nittany Lions.

But maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe the next time you want to savor an intimate evening with your personal heartthrob, you should plan a candlelight dinner in the Piazza San Marco.  If the racetrack at Belmont isn’t available, I mean.

Sweet Baby James is going to have to work some kind of magic to keep this intimate. Or even quintessential.



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  1. Andrew says:

    I think the mamma in the photo is telling the boy that a big walking pink jelly bean is about to get him.

    • Erla Zwingle says:

      Excellent theory. I’d only revise it to say that (seeing as the boy is transporting the aforesaid big pink jellybean — if you mean the floating object tied to a string, as opposed to his mother, who is also somewhat pink — she would be right confronting any second thoughts or insecurities he might be expressing by saying, “You wanted it, I’m not going to be the one taking care of it.”

  2. Andrew says:

    Sorry meant to put this on the next post

  3. > Once again, as at the festa the other night, it’s written in English. I guess they don’t believe any non-English-speaking Italians/Venetians/miscellaneous foreigners are going to be interested.

    Looking at his schedule, that american folk-rock guy appears to be most popular or well-known in Britain, so maybe it’s true that english-speakers are the (exclusive) target audience.

    Otherwise, a bit of tolerance for english text is probably just a small sign of gratitude. (Venice lives off the english-speaking and has been ever since the late 1800s. Without the influx of wealthy anglo-americans, the city could not have survived the tremendous poverty of the pre-WWI period and the english speaking have been very supportive of the city to this day.)

    BTW, as a central-eastern european, I can offer the view that being chauvinistic about foreign language use is a sign of insecurity in one’s national image or existance. Countries around try to ban ethnic minorities from posting village names in their own language, or speak so in public places, supress publishing and that leads to conflicts.

    It is encouraging the italians do not feel a need to play such “language n*z*” and Sud-Tirol had been solved so well. If german is OK, than is english is OK, too!

    • Erla says:

      Venetians don’t tend to demonstrate gratitude; they have historically demonstrated commercial acumen. Therefore it’s undoubtedly more accurate to interpret this as follows: “Most of the people who come here, from whatever part of the world, probably speak at least some English, so this is the most efficient way of communicating with them.” Obviously, at this point in history, it’s not only English people who speak the language.

      As for Mr. Taylor’s fame, he’s been around for decades, plenty of time to become famous via every known means (internet, CD’s, iTunes, etc.).

  4. Christa says:

    Thanks for the shout-out for the blue and white of the Nittany Lions, Penn State, and State College PA where I lived for many a year. Intimate my foot…HA

  5. Erla says:

    Always happy to oblige.