Last night I went to the Balkan Music Festival at a strange old ballroom in south Brooklyn; it was filled — three floors — with brass bands and choirs; old people and hipsters and art people and teenagers. My sister was singing in the Bulgarian Woman’s choir — she isn’t Bulgarian, but a quarter of our ancestors were Albanian, so there’s a way for us to qualify as indistinct Balkans. My sister had flowers in her hair; wore a white dress. She was happy when I ran into a mutual friend of ours who she’d gone out with a few years ago — because she knew he still had feelings for her and that she still had feelings for him; and because in New York, the passage of two years can make you into a new person altogether. I hadn’t seen people really — non-ironically, joyfully — dance in several years; not since a dance-party in a smokey working class bar in Pennsylvania. I dare not use the word ‘authentic’ — but it was pleasant. I was too tired myself to dance, but I sat in one of the ballroom chairs and watched old and young spin in circles while a folk band played old folk dances. The walls of the ballroom were Tiepolo Pink; a wonderfully kitsch approximation of an 18th-century manor house. I was strangely happy.