Today was the end of Camp Tertulia, the Spanish-Language day camp my kids attended this Summer where they played fútbol, learned Capoeira, sang Brazilian pop songs, and took field trips to places like Tortilleria Nixtamal. Best. Camp. Ever. Tonight, we all gathered in the Sheep Meadow for a picnic dinner to celebrate the camp counselors our kids had grown to love. If you are counting, we have probably eaten more meals in Sheep Meadow this Summer than we have in our apartment.
As we were gathering, we noticed a couple ride up on two of the coolest bikes ever. One had a wheelbarrow type contraption on the front and we watched as they unpacked a bottle of rosé and some elegant food next to our boisterous crowd. Of course, we had to get a closer look at the bike and when we walked over to check it out, it happened that the bike’s owner, Auggie, was an acquaintance of ours we hadn’t seen in years (our children had attended La Escuelita together), who was dining with his friend Billie, a fellow biker and trapeze artist. After catching up, they joined our picnic and told us they were on their way to see some Accordion Wrestling at Lincoln Center, as Auggie was learning to play the accordion himself.
Never one to pass up anything having to do with the accordion (and for the record, I walked down the aisle at my wedding accompanied by…. a solo accordion), we decided to join them and Auggie was a good sport about letting the kids ride his amazing bike. On the way, I started to tell him about my friend, Dean, a fellow accordionist and about five minutes later who did we run into on the street? Dean, himself, who was wandering around the Upper West Side with his delightful friend, Sara. Of course, they could not resist the siren song of accordion wrestling either, and soon we were a rather large party on our way to Lincoln Center.
I must admit, I assumed the term “accordion wrestling” was somewhat metaphorical and was gearing up for some kind of contest involving dueling musicians. But for Finnish artist Kimmo Pohjonen, accordion wrestling is exactly that: wrestlers on stage with live accordion, which has a strong history in Finland where matches were often accompanied by live musicians. His interpretation is more of a beautiful choreography of the wrestlers and musicians – mixed up with photo projections and film which was all rather dreamlike. It was really quite mesmerizing and the kids were transfixed. I sat watching the spectacle, aware of experiencing a perfect summer evening. It’s moments like this that make the sacrifices of living in Manhattan totally worth it. Sometimes New York is a really small town.
Afterwards, Auggie ferried the kids home on the front of his bike and made plans for future biking and who knows what else! This, of course, has almost nothing to do with urban domesticity, but is a completely true story.
If you want to see for yourself, the will be performing again on Saturday evening, August 4th at 8:30 p.m. Lincoln Center Out Of Doors. Start your evening in the Sheep Meadow. You never know what might happen!