zirconium: (Decatur sculpture)
Today's subject line comes from Ninna nanna, a Neapolitan Christmas lullaby. It's from a verse where Mary essentially sings, "It's time to sleep now, and the time for pain will come." Philippe Jaroussky, Christina Pluhar, and the other members of L'Arpeggiata are a joy to watch as they perform it (videos on YouTube), and I have been spending more time with it as I prepare for an audition.

Philly hostel

A year old, I was in Philadelphia, primarily for the Predominantly Playford Ball, staying mainly at a hostel, and wandering around the city early (for a ballet class in a super-sketchy part of town) and late, talking poetry with a bus driver, writing postcards to voters in spare moments, and gazing at variations of glass and light everywhere:

Philly bus stop Philly bus stop Walking around Philly at night

This year I'm prepping for tonight's dance in my own town (I'm calling "Land of Mist and Wonder," which was composed by Rachel Bell, tonight's accordionist, and subbing for another caller on "Wa' Is Me, What Mun I Do?).

As I work on the dances and songs, I have to remind myself that it's OK that I'm not more proficient, fluid, etc. I work more than 40 hours most weeks, I have other obligations/interests and, like most other people, I need mornings where I stay in my sheep-patterned flannel pajama pants past lunchtime, sipping porcupine tea and not going anywhere -- even to the piano two rooms away -- until my shoulders are a bit looser and my my breathing more measured, my body more prepared to welcome and produce both precision and extravagance. You need both for the genres I'm drawn to -- historical dances and chamber music favor fine timing and placement over sloppiness, but it isn't dancing or music, no matter how slavishly one focuses on the rules and steps/notes, if communication and connection aren't also in the mix. People tend to respond to a partner or performer who is looking at them and inviting them into the magical world delineated by the composer/choreographer and brought to life by those moving into and within it.


I wasn't planning to write all that this morning. (I have steps and scales to practice today, after all.) But it is December 1, and I have been thinking of Thomas Peck quite a bit anyhow, which is par for the course when I prepare for a tryout. I sang for him in 1991, as a member of Chicago's Grant Park Symphony Chorus. Here's what I wrote about him in 2000:

He was the choir director who'd asked me where was "Bruton Town" (the title of one of my audition pieces), and I'd told him, "I'm not really sure, I just assumed it was one of those towns where people died for love." He had repeated my answer back to me -- "one of those towns where people died for love" -- with a sort of appreciative astonishment. At that time I hadn't the faintest idea he was HIV+.

And in 2002, I wrote "Living Bread." And, sixteen years later, it is still how I feel and what I know.
zirconium: of blue bicycle in front of Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston (blue bicycle rear)
Today's subject line is from "Fanfare in D Major (Come, Come)," by Grant Hart, who died of cancer a few days ago. I'm listening to a bunch of his songs as I prepare dinner, and damn if his voice doesn't take me back to being 17, to one of the few aspects I care to remember. Warehouse: Songs and Stories holds a special place in my heart as one of the two record reviews I published (and earned checks for!) that summer. (The Replacements' Pleased to Meet Me was the other.)

Depeche Mode performs less than 3 miles from my house in about 24 hours, and 15 years ago I would have been raring to go, deadlines and sleep deprivation and budget notwithstanding. Instead, I'll go to a dance lesson if I can wrap up work in time, and hope to hit the hay before the concert's even over, and if those things don't happen, maybe I'll crank up "Where's the Revolution?" to an unseemly volume while I crunch through whatever needs to be catapulted through its hoops.

But, grumpy as I feel about not feeling up for things (this !@#%@ cough: !@#@!#!% it!), small pleasures abound. I spent part of my afternoon writing to the childhood friend who introduced me to Depeche Mode, and I had a baseball stamp to use on the envelope. I have a new batch of bread dough rising, and snipped thyme from my yard for fried rice. It is far simpler to contact public servants now that my phone plan has unlimited long distance. (The calls themselves don't rate as a pleasure, but it is nice not having to faff with Skype and other workarounds, or -- going further back -- constantly calculating how much each call was going to cost.) The rosebush is still blooming, as are the zinnias. There is a huge pile of ironing, and there is Italian wine in my glass. :)
zirconium: snapshot of my healthiest hollyhock plant (French hollyhock)
The subject line is from "The Church in the Wildwood," a hymn Ann Green apparently used to sing whenever she went back to Mississippi. Made a cheese ball with pickled peppers for her service (because, by the time I got around to figuring out what to pull together on a school night, it was too late to get started on benne wafers, and I have in fact lived long enough to recognize that), and brought sweet potato crackers to go with it.

Lawd, this week.

Transplanted the geranium from Desire to my front yard a week ago. Three days later, every leaf but the smallest one looked infected. Can't tell if that corner is fungally cursed -- last year's results were wildly, weirdly mixed -- or if said geranium just doesn't like Tennessee clay, even though I aerated the hole and mixed in some compost and tried not to get its feet too wet. The French hollyhock a few feet away survived the winter and now looks glorious. Perhaps it's yet another chapter in the universe's attempt to school me in not trying so damn hard that I get in my own way. (Which, not incidentally, is what a waltz partner told me at the Orange Peel a couple of months ago.)

Lawd, this week.

Anyway, I binned all the leaves except for that sweet little leaf at the tip of one stalk, and we'll see if what emerges -- if anything -- looks better. My car reeks of pine chips because I've been too busy to unload eight cubic feet of mulch from it. I would probably do best to compost the mallow seedlings in my sunroom because I waited too long to transplant those, but it's nice to know that the dozens more in the pet food tub are likely still viable.

I am sipping Hild Elbling Sekt and snacking on Milano salami at this hour, because a gal's gottta unwind. Some good dancing tonight. I was tempted to road-trip to Blue Moon later today, especially since there is a waltz workshop on the schedule, and because Jed-who-drives-up-from-Huntsville is a favorite partner, but there is too damn much to do right here at my kitchen counter (so much that I'm going to have to skip a choir thing already on my calendar). Maybe next year...

A singing thing that did happen this week: singing backing vocals on a video, at Jeff Coffin's studio, and chatting with him about his upcoming trips to Tuva and Myanmar. And he's the second person I talked to in person in Nashville this week about Tuvan singers. I do like my life.

My Garden & Gun subscription has kicked in (read, frequent flyer miles from an airline I don't fly that frequently on), and Roy Blount Jr.'s column has beautifully paired opening and closing sentences. The opening sentence: "I'm walking up Dauphine Street in New Orlenas when a man turns the corner carrying a tuba and walking an enormous hairy dog, simultaneously."

A message I sent to a friend in Asheville yesterday: "PUT THE PHONE DOWN and go ogle art at Blue Spiral or eat a marshmallow at French Broad Chocolates or pet the crocheted coats on the cats near Laughing Seed Café."

Wall Street, Asheville
zirconium: photo of ranunculus bloom on my laptop (ranunculus on keyboard)
["Under the oak leaves" - a line from "Au clair de la fontaine" (By the clear fountain)]

The senior minister at my church is on sabbatical, and Rabbi Rami Shapiro is visiting monthly as a guest preacher. On September 11, he brought with him a shruti, which he played as the congregation learned a new round:

I am a fountain

Longtime readers/friends may recall that I do have a thing about fountains... though this past month my scant spare time has been more on lake and river. My Labor Day getaway plans having fallen through twice, I decided to get on a paddleboard four out of my five days off, and last Friday I watched the full moon from my lantern-lit plank on the Cumberland.

Elsewhere and elsewhen: Paying work. Housework. Homework. Paperwork. Footwork. Speaking of--
Dancing: hip-hop, flamenco, Afro-Cuban (orishas), English country.
Friends: Visiting from France and elsewhere. Running for office.. Organizing campferences. Selling taco + lesbian farmer buttons (coupon code here, btw). Preparing for High Holy Days. Coding. Cajoling. Caretaking. I could go on ... in short, inspiring me.
Harvesting: peppers.
Deadheading: zinnias.

Recently published:

  • At unFold: "Spacing for Sky," with typography by J. S. Graustein

  • At Folded Word: "O Margaret, Here We Are Again"

  • At 7x20, a weekful of polished micro-poems: 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5

  • There is more to say and write, much of it off-blog, but a guest arrives tomorrow, so for now it's back to cleaning. Onward!


    Aug. 14th, 2016 09:24 pm
    zirconium: Photo of 1860 cast of Lincoln's hand (Lincoln hand)
    I mentioned Rahsaan Barber in my previous entry. The ads for his concert had caught my eye in large part because he played in First UU Nashville's 2015 performance of Darrell Grant's Ruby Bridges Suite; I sang in the choir.

    A snapshot from the dress rehearsal:
    Rahsaan Barber

    A recording of "Hold My Hand," from the suite: https://soundcloud.com/tn_choirboy/hold-my-hand-sunday-june-14

    That Sunday, the orders of service included postcards of Norman Rockwell's The Problem We All Live With. I'd collected a few left behind in the pews and sent them to friends.

    I had forgotten that I'd received a copy of that postcard myself back in 2009, when my late friend Marilyn purchased it at the Detroit Institute of Arts and sent it to me:

    postcard from Marilyn

    Now I wonder what spoke to her -- why that card, that day, out of the many others in the racks? These conversations we can no longer have -- they don't quite form a regret, not with the many conversations yet to be entered into with the near and the here. The questions that cannot be answered -- this learning to live with them is not new, but the texture and the thicket-ness of them shifts with the living and rereading and rethinking.
    zirconium: photo of Greek style coffee, Larnaca, October 2011 (coffee in Cyprus)
    It took time to harvest the Christmas (aka Prairie Fire) peppers, some of which were hidden behind and below many leaves:

    pepper at the heart of a bush

    Read more... )
    zirconium: my hands, sewing a chemo cap liner (care caps hands)
    There's a feature on Dr. Ysaye Barnwell in the current issue of UU World. It includes this:

    She turns solemn and angry talking about how "Kumbaya," which means "Come by Here" in the Gullah language, has become snarky shorthand for feel-good or weak-minded groupthink. A soulful cry sung by the Georgia Sea Island slaves, the song was carried on by Southern blacks in the time of Jim Crow and lynch mobs, and later by the Freedom Riders when they learned three of their workers had been murdered by Klansmen. "When people say, 'It was a Kumbaya moment,' it clearly was not a Kumbaya moment," Barnwell admonished. "It's actually an invocation for God to come by here now because things are needed. If you hear people use it mistakenly, gently correct them."

    Barnwell elaborated on this at the end of today's workshop at First UU Nashville, whose members will be singing a half-dozen-plus songs/arrangements by Barnwell tomorrow morning (9 a.m. and 11 a.m.). The Freedom Riders sang "Kumbaya" in their camp at a point where calling to God felt like the only option. Barnwell demonstrated how she sometimes opens concerts with a furious, fast, rough-edged rendition of "Kumbaya" that is nothing like the Girl Scout version -- to get the audience toward hearing it as the bone-deep cry for help the words are to convey.

    A recurring theme in the workshop: take time to think about the words of spirituals from the perspective of the enslaved, often after being preached to by so-called Christian masters. What is being taught or signaled?

    A book to read: Rising from the Rails -- how the Pullman porters led the creation of the black middle class, all the while navigating social tightropes. Barnwell described how the porters closely observed the lives of affluent white passengers , to then subsequently teach about investing and other skills new to most postbellum communities. How the porters would gather up discarded newspapers in the cars, bundle them up, and toss them into towns where newspapers weren't available.

    There was much more. I sat, stood, and danced among and between several different people during the course of the day. The afternoon session included a quolidbet that combined "Honor, Honor," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," "I’m a Rollin’," "Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray," "My Good Lawd Done Been Here," and "Please, Lordy," with "Honor, Honor" in harmony.

    Something for me to work toward and look forward to: taming my schedule enough to sing more marching songs and quolidbets. Someday.
    zirconium: photo of bell tower seen on a walk to the Acropolis (athens bell tower)
    [Subject line from Barbara Jordan's "We All Have Many Chances," in Channel (Beacon Press, 1990)]

    River Arts District
    Asheville, April 2016

    Also seen/heard this weekend:

    * a girl on a stool on a porch, with a clarinet

    * a father with his arms full of Maypole ribbons

    * a colleague about a friend who used to play horn for Prince, on retainer

    * the church pianist's riffs on various hymns

    * "Don't Leave Me This Way" (Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes?) at Pinewood Social
    zirconium: of blue bicycle in front of Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston (blue bicycle)
    This morning's subject line comes from The Paper Raincoat's "Brooklyn Blurs," which Alex Wong introduced last night as being about a 4 a.m. ride through Brooklyn, during last night's concert.

    Everyone who performed = legit chops. Charlotte, the dog, was adorable, affectionate, attentive, and amusing ("It's OK, Char, they already donated," Alex said to her, when she started barking at folks re-entering the room.) Megan Slankard and Kristen Ford complimented my hair, which I had re-tealed before work.

    I was able to fit in two walks yesterday -- one during my lunch hour, and one late at night with my sweetie.

    The radishes in my front yard have germinated. There is a new sliver of leaf on the hollyhock seedling I'd feared was a goner.

    Nothing was stolen when some jackass rifled through the BYM's truck.

    I've already won a fantasy tennis medal this year, which does take the sting out of missing out on the current awards by three points. (Picking Alize Cornet was a fatal error.)

    The dry shampoo I tried out this morning is doing its job.

    I am wearing the filigree chai pendant I purchased at a Jewish museum sixteen years ago; my duties today include attending the media preview for a photography show from another Jewish museum that I've been working on during the past year.

    The dance card includes dancing. Also two recitals as an audience member and a recording session + two concerts as a performer. Also, an ice cream date with a friend.

    There's a Vary the Line project to get moving on as well, along with this month's post. I pulled together a sub last night; being at Angelhouse South was lovely in itself, but it did also stir up the gotta-get-my-own-stuff-out-there groove. Which is good. It'd be nice to make some new things as well (Megan praised her Patreon fans last night for allowing her to choose writing over having to play not-so-nice gigs) but I'll carve out that space again eventually. For now, it's time to pick up some dog biscuits with my breakfast and then beat the lane-clogging trucks (and SEC tournament trappings) to my day-destination.
    zirconium: photo of Greek style coffee, Larnaca, October 2011 (coffee in Cyprus)
    [photo challenge: Upper Rubber Boot's 100 Untimed Books] prompt 35: prescriptions for loneliness

    Alfred A. Knopf's photo album came to mind when I was pondering this prompt, perhaps because it's where I store my copy of the program for the 1945 dinner in honor of Fred Melcher's fifty years in publishing (Melcher being a prominent Unitarian Universalist who, among many other roles, was a key player in establishing the Newbery and Caldecott medals).

    35 - prescriptions for loneliness

    35 - prescriptions for loneliness

    In Victoria Glendinning's biography of Elizabeth Bowen, there's a photo of Elizabeth at the Knopf home in Purchase, New York. I find Glendinning's generalizations about sexuality and friendship irritating, but within the nonsense there are glimpses of a past generation's true moments of connection:

    William Maxwell of The New Yorker/ observed that [Elizabeth] was at her best and most affectionate when she was with Blanche and Alfred Knopf -- "I always felt that they must have played together as children" -- and he remembered a dinner party with the Knopfs and Elizabeth as "a kind of blaze of happiness.

    The clipping is from an October 4 edition of the New York Times, in which Penelope Green writes about interviewing Patti Smith:

    "I just do my work, and I work every day, and my ambition is just to do something better than I last did," she said. "I'd like to write something as great as Pinocchio or Little Women. I won't say Moby-Dick because that's impossible. I'd like to write a book that everybody loves. I'd like to take a picture that someone wants to put above their desk so they can look at it while they're writing a letter or doing whatever they're doing while sitting at their desk. I'd like to do a painting that would astonish people."

    But books are her deepest love, and writing them is clearly her keenest ambition. When she received her advance from Knopf, the publisher of M Train, she bought a bronze statue of a young boy who has caught a bird in his hands; she set it in her tangled front yard here.

    "It was my dream to be with Knopf since I was 20," she said. "I wanted to have something solid to mark that. I bought him because he reminded me of Peter Pan."
    zirconium: sculpture of owl at Cheekwood, Nashville (Cheekwood owl)
    16 - instruments

    Upper Rubber Boot Prompt 16: instruments

    Recently reading poems about Madam CJ Walker and A'Lelia Walker has me itching to resume contributing to the African American National Biography project (for which I wrote entries on Frederick Asbury Cullen, Rose Leary Love, and Gertrude Rush some years ago).

    But there are existing commitments to honor first, including learning Paul Winter et al.'s Missa Gaia, which a friend last night joked has become "The Unitarian Universalist Messiah (which, yes, my church has performed multiple times in the past twenty years, but this November's Music Sunday will be the first one I'm available for).

    You know you're in for something different when the credited composers include wolves and whales:

    learning Missa Gaia learning Missa Gaia

    I am reminded that I really do live in an amazing town -- the saxophone soloist for Music Sunday will be Jeff Coffin, and some other Sunday I'll get myself to one of Acme's jazz or soul brunches, and some other time I'll hit the clubs and workshops on the list. But first, there is work to do and there are friends to see. In the meantime: Madam CJ Walker and John Coltrane, at a now-closed doll museum in North Carolina...

    Doll & Miniature Museum of High Point

    my song!

    Sep. 25th, 2015 07:31 pm
    zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
    David Early-Zald wrote this for me: Mechaieh

    (My copies of the CD just arrived in yesterday's mail. Whee-yay!)
    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    August Moon Day 10 prompt: I love the power of music to lift the spirits. I head to the stereo and put on...

    Jam Coffeehouse

    ...Candi Staton singing "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," a forty-six-year-old song when I first heard it in The Jam Coffeehouse back in 2012. It may have been Madeline Bell's take on it, or Renee Geyer's -- or, this being Nashville, who knows, someone here in town with a good set of pipes. None of the versions I've listened to since quite match what I remember, but I wasn't paying close attention to the cafe stereo in the first place, which made it all the more annoying several weeks later when I realized the chorus was still in my head.

    I find the lyrics of the entire song pretty creepy, truth be told, and most of the melody doesn't grab me either. But that first/third line of the chorus: Just four notes. Maybe three measures? Sometimes that's all it takes. Sometimes I sing along with the mp3 on my computer, and sometimes that line leaps out of my lungs at random -- a bolt of attitude between deadlines or destinations. (And sometimes I get super-silly and sing "dog dog-dog dog-dog-dog dog doggggg /dog dog dog / dog dog dog" at Miss Abby.)

    "Lift the spirits" isn't quite the right phrase for me. I have been known to turn up Alkan's piano concerto when I'm upset, but I don't associate "comfort" with "lift." Left to my own devices, I'm likely to turn to myself music [hello, Freudian typo!] not for uplift or lightening up, but to provide whatever I'm in the throes of -- anger, ambition, gratitude, grief, nerdiness, nostalgia -- with company and fuel.

    Gingerbread sculpture

    This gingerbread jukebox was on display in Asheville a few years ago. Speaking of intense... :-)
    zirconium: of blue bicycle in front of Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston (blue bicycle rear)
    Prompt 7: playing

    7 - playing

    The book was likely given to me by one of my grade school piano teachers, though none of its pieces were formally assigned. There are a handful of notes on alternate titles and verses -- my hymn-nerd tendencies apparently go WAY back.

    What I mainly remember is playing and singing from it year round -- then, as now, for solace and discovery (how will this sound an octave up? if I play it cross-handed? ...).

    The piano in the photo was a gift from the calligraphy teacher mentioned in the previous entry. Years later, I learned it had been a gift to her from her father.

    That moment in By the Shores of Silver Lake when Laura realizes she must be a grown up because [...] is gone? My mind flies to those pages when I think about when, in the process of getting my mother's house ready to sell, I realized that I would not be moving my childhood piano from Kentucky to Tennessee, for a host of practical reasons. It is not a decision I lose sleep over, but it's embedded in my history as This Is What Grown-Ups Do moment: I like being an adult most of the time, but it does at times require making choices I didn't foresee -- choices that carry the gut-punch of saying farewell to things I'd thought I'd always want in my life.

    [Prompted by Upper Rubber Boot's #100untimedbooks photo challenge // http://upperrubberboot.tumblr.com/post/123904555213; subject line from Ahrens and Flaherty's "Streets of Dublin"]
    zirconium: Unitarian Universalist chalice with pink triangle as base (rainbow chalice)
    A June tradition at my church is Music Sunday, and this coming Sunday, at 9 a.m. and at 11 a.m., the choir will be performing a new setting of Darrell Grant's Ruby Bridges Suite.

    It is going to be outstanding. Darrell Grant is on piano and keyboard; man can play. Brian Foti on drums -- ditto. Same for the guy on string bass (whose name I didn't catch, apologies!). Connye Florance is one of the soloists (I haven't heard Lari White yet, who's another). Majic Jackson narrating, with words by MLK and Maya Angelou and others. The gifted and dedicated Seth Adler working sound. Yes, I'm name-dropping, because some of you locals need that to get you out of the house on a summer morning (and I include myself in that group).

    Some of the songs have had me tearing up as I study them. The text alone won't convey why -- it's the rise and fall of melody and harmony that hits me in the gut -- but here are some of the lines anyway. In "Hold My Hand," Ruby's mother sings to her:

    Hold my hand, child, hold my hand
    Someday you will understand
    Straight ahead, child, never fear
    God is watching, love is near

    For the world, child, is not fair
    Danger follows everywhere
    Lift your eyes, child
    You will see
    God is watching
    You are free

    And in "Come in," a teacher sings to her student:

    Ruby, you're a special one.
    Pray that I can see you through.
    There's so much meanness in the world
    but you should know they don't see what I see.
    In here you're just a little girl
    who has a right to learn who she can be.

    With faith, and time,
    you'll see that I believe in you.
    We've much to learn, we two.

    Darrell says he spent twenty years writing the finale, "We Rise," originally composing it for a sophomore album that fell through, and then revising it periodically (with a four-bar stretch that kept defying his attempts to perfect the piece), and then realizing that all the great creators resort to "shims" at times, and later recognizing that the suite was where the piece belonged...

    Rise up, brand new day
    You know that love will find a way
    Together we cannot be broken
    Up from the bitter past we rise
    To build a world where peace is spoken
    The time is now
    At last we rise
    This time the circle can't be broken
    This time the ghosts of hate must die
    We'll throw the gates of Freedom open
    The time is now
    At last we rise

    Again, the music is essential -- left to my own devices, I don't know that love will find a way, I see circles broken every damn day, and on, and on, but when I'm singing those words, my unbelief doesn't matter. Rise up, brand new day.

    Like many other commuters, I've been cranky about the congestion amplified by CMA Fest (a friend retweeted Gretchen Peters's quip about meanderthals, and I admit I laughed out loud) ... but I've also been entertained by the skin and plumage on display, and I managed to miss the fish parts on the interstate snarl-up, and I give thanks yet again for the pleasure of living in a city with session players on virtually every block. When I got home tonight, the rock cellist and/or guitarist (not always sure what the instrument is, but the playing is consistently good) who lives a couple of houses away was practicing licks.

    Music in the air, fireflies in the yard, doggie at the door, piano waiting ... praise.
    zirconium: French word for "light" (on wall of Cheekwood Mansion) (lumière)
    I have been humming "I Am That Great and Fiery Force" to myself since Sunday, when it was sung as one of the morning songs at church. Words by Hildegarde von Bingen, set to "Ave Vera Virginitas" by Josquin Desprez -- you can hear a bit of it sung by Missing Rachel, and longer versions of the tune on YouTube, inluding one by a Slovak choir, the Hilliard Ensemble, et al. The verses:

    I am that great and fiery force
    sparkling in everything that lives;
    in shining of the river's course,
    in greening grass that glory gives.

    I shine in glitter on the seas,
    in burning sun, in moon and stars.
    In unseen wind, in verdant trees
    I breathe within, both near and far.

    And where I breathe there is no death,
    and meadows glow with beauties rife.
    I am in all, the spirit's breath,
    the thundered word, for I am Life.

    The chamber choir sang two pieces, including the Real Group's "Words," which was applauded at both services.

    Present reading: Erica E. Hirshler's Sargent's Daughters: The Biography of a Painting

    Recent cooking: Chicken with mushroom-wine sauce (and parsley from an early birthday present); Mexican-ish brownies for a Cinco de Mayo potluck (using salted caramel cocoa mix, throwing in a cupful of chocolate chips, cutting the sugar in half, and ancho chile powder -- they turned out fine. The intern who shares my office gushed about them without knowing I was the one who made them. \o/); fufu (to go with the leftover chicken)

    Today's workout: a long swim. I had lane 2 to myself, which meant I could indulge in backstroke as well as freestyle.

    Today's remaining goal: some ironing. Chores toward comfort: story of my life. ;)
    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    Yesterday, I went to the 12:30 p.m. performance of Tuba Christmas Nashville, a gathering of 148 tuba players who'd gathered at First Baptist Church that same morning for their one and only rehearsal, and then performed an earlier concert at 11 a.m. How awesome is that?

    horns up

    There were so many tuba players that they couldn't all fit on the stage -- some of them were seated in front of it.

    Read more... )
    tuba christmas 034
    One of First Baptist's trees, at the corner of 7th and Broadway.
    zirconium: Photo of graduated cylinder with black and blue feathers (measured 1)
    [The subject line is from Freedy Johnston's "Bad Reputation."]

    As I work, I've been listening to Arcade Fire's "Rebellion (Lies)," a song that often takes me back to the spring and summer of 2008, specifically to the counter of Ground Effects, a coffeeshop in Berea, Kentucky. There was neither coffee nor wifi at my mother's house, so I'd drive to Chestnut Street to get my caffeine fix and check in with project managers, and this song was often playing as I researched and wrote, as well as dealing with the things that executors do.

    Foster the People's "Don't Stop" is the ringtone on my phone. (I originally set it as the alarm, but the BYM threatened to stop sleeping with me unless I changed it.) It takes me back to watching tennis in Paris (the DJ frequently played it as exit music -- in fact, I first heard it as "Bon Soir, Bon Soir") at the POPB, which ranks as my favorite arena experience to date, and also brings back happy memories of making myself understood in French, as well as later parts of that trip (such as the evening chez Ginette et Au Lapin Agile).

    The alarm is Mika's Elle Me Dit -- which the BYM probably now can't stand either, since my phone was blaring it every four hours during the first month after The Wreck, to keep us on track with his meds. But the opening still cracks me up every time, and other roommates have burst out laughing at its sheer obnoxiousness... (dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum HEY!)

    The Smithereens' "Blood and Roses" takes me back to my late teens, to an apartment in Lexington, Kentucky, listening to an ex sing along to "I want to love but it comes out wrong." "Dance Like an Egyptian" reminds me of the Snowball Dance I attended with that ex, and the tinsel I draped on his suit (some of which found its way into the Christmas card he sent later that month, which is still somewhere in one of the boxes in this house).

    The Cars' "Just What I Needed" was the only vinyl single I bought in high school (long story, and long after it came out), and I have lots of memories attached to it, but my favorite may be the time I sang it twice at a wedding reception two decades later -- the second time was by request, because the crowd of church teenagers wanted to do the hustle to it, which was hilariously weird and happy.

    "Stacy's Mom" reminds me of dancing with [personal profile] marginaliana in a Chicago ballroom, on another hot summer night. "Lay All Your Love on Me" reminds me of Haifa, Israel -- of the hip sushi bar that played the Erasure cover that earwormed me, the skanky hotel room where I subsequently played it on my laptop through half the night, and the characters that then wouldn't leave me alone until I gave them their say.

    (I usually don't work with music on at all -- especially when creating or finetuning wording is called for -- but sometimes it's unavoidable [e.g., when dependent on cafe wifi] and sometimes it's compatible with the tasks at hand [such as entering data or cleaning up redlines].)
    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    Abby 001

    You can never learn this world too well, nor will you ever be bored by it. I don't fault my dog for not being able to count to three. It took me a whole life, including a million bars of waltz time, not to get lost.

    - W. A. Mathieu, "Triple Nature," in THE MUSICAL LIFE (1994)
    zirconium: photo of flask with feathers in and around it (flask with feathers)
    It's a wonderful world, y'all. A bloke in Cardiff, Othniel Smith, found Nic Sebastian's reading of "Playing Duets with Heisenberg's Ghost" at the Poetry Storehouse and was moved to make a videopoem of it:

    "Playing Duets with Heisenberg’s Ghost" by Peg Duthie from OTHNIEL SMITH on Vimeo.

    (Amplifying the pleasure: hearing about the video not only from Nic but from Rachel, whose d'var Torah on wrestling with angels has me thinking about how "face" and "facet" are only one letter apart; Sarah Sloat's poems at the Storehouse, which I will want to spend more time with later; and the cheap but nonetheless distinct thrill of seeing that if one Googles "Heisenberg's ghost" or "Heisenberg duets," the above video shows up first. [insert joke about Schrodingerian search results...])

    In other news, the BYM's biking bestie brought breakfast to our house yesterday and (in celebration) I showed her all the spent enoxaparin syringes I'd collected in the box another friend had sent chocolates in. (Long story short: the BYM underwent surgery twice last month, which [among other things] necessitated thirty-nine anticoagulant shots, which neither he nor I ever got used to administering; the process was just as awful on day 39 as it was on day 1, especially since he had no padding on him to begin with and has since lost 10-15 pounds.) I mentioned that I had a couple of art projects in mind; the BYM furrowed his brow and made a squinchy face at me, but the bestie's face lit up, and she said, "If you don't end up doing something with them, I will." Have I said lately how much my friends delight me? :-)


    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)

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