Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Real Santa

Last week's newspaper came with an unusual sticker affixed to it. It advertised a local mall's "Fast Pass" to Santa. Apparently parents can now go to a website, purchase a photo package and then print out a Fast Pass which enables them to "bypass the regular line and hop onto our faster VIP line" to visit Santa.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving In South Africa

South Africans don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, nor do we have an equivalent to this uniquely American tradition.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Only Connect!"

Only connect!  That was the whole of her sermon.  
Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted . . .
-E. M. Forster, Howard’s End

Music is my optimal language, and I want it to express my world.
-Dylan Mattingly, Composer

In 2006, a group of teenage musicians in California called Formerly Known As Classical presented a program of classical music that had been written “Since We’ve Been Born.”  That meant 1989, and the program they came up with was this:

Hallelujah Junction (1996) by John Adams
Nickelcurve (2005) by Preben Antonsen
Sonata for Lou Harrison (2004) by Matthew Cmiel
Of A Summer Evening (1988) by David Conte
Last Round (1996) by Osvaldo Golijov
Cantos Desiertos (1993) by Terry Riley

I knew the names of only two of the composers:  John Adams, who by that year was almost in his dotage, having reached the ripe old age of 59, and Terry Riley, who, at 71, was even older.  The others were unknown to me:  though Conte and Golijov were younger, they were well into middle age.  Antonsen and Cmiel are both quite young.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oh What a Night

The sign in the lobby said, "This show contains strobe lighting, gunfire, and profane authentic Jersey language," so I knew I was in for a good time when I arrived at Philadelphia's Forrest Theatre for a production of Jersey Boys.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Welcome Sound

This past summer, the Hudson Valley was dry and hot.  Ponds disappeared, turning beautiful vistas into tableaux of mud.  Turtles abandoned a log beached in waterless ooze.  Fewer insects meant fewer birds and dragonflies.  A catastrophe, albeit of a minor sort when thought of against the world at large.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Street painting originated in Europe in the 16th Century, when artists known as “I Madonnari” created images of the Madonna on street surfaces in exchange for bread and olive oil. Modern day “Madonnari” continue this artistic tradition by creating fine art with chalk as their medium and the street surface as their canvas.