Archive for September, 2014

Photo diary: Ben and Tom’s wedding

September 25, 2014
the wedding party (Ben's Uncle Art officiated)

the wedding party (Ben’s Uncle Art officiated)

the reception (Tom's BFF Tanesha ruled)

the reception (Tom’s BFF Tanesha ruled)

ceremony distraction

ceremony distraction

many bowties in evidence

many bowties in evidence

dragonflies inspired by gay nuptials

dragonflies inspired by gay nuptials

this 10-year-old just plunked herself down and read her book (SPEAK by Laura Halse Anderson, if you must know)

this 10-year-old just plunked herself down and read her book (SPEAK by Laura Halse Anderson, if you must know)

the menu (delicious)

the menu (delicious)

cutting the cake (#photo-op)

cutting the cake (#photo-op)

Louis, Joel, and Andy

Louis, Joel, and Andy

Cristobal and Shane

Cristobal and Shane

Performance diary: Philip Glass and Steve Reich at BAM

September 22, 2014

September 11: The BAM Next Wave Festival opened with a month-long tribute to Nonesuch Records, which is one of the great record labels in existence. And the first event of the festival was an unprecedented program of music by Philip Glass and Steve Reich, two contemporary composers often mentioned in the same breath as proponents of music that uses lots and lots of repetition — sometimes called minimalist, an adjective that neither composer embraces, and rightfully so. Their music is often quite dense and full and rich, using additive principles from non-Western musics (Indian, Indonesian).

The three-concert series at BAM was designed to be a historic occasion with both composers onstage playing together for the first time ever. I’ve interviewed both these guys and have been hearing their work and seeing their concerts for three decades, and I don’t remember hearing that they had some kind of feud going on, but much was made of that in the run-up to these three concerts. I chalked it up to promotional hype, but maybe there’s more truth to it than I know.

I found the opportunity for stark comparison between Reich and Glass so fascinating. For all his originality and power, Glass has a pretty small bag of tricks. Meanwhile, certainly for live performance purposes, Reich had more variety and theatricality —

flying mallets are somewhat more fun to watch than people on keyboards and saxophones noodling away at fast arpeggios. Reich performed his own brief piece “Clapping Music” with Russell Hartenberger to start the show, and after intermission he sat in with the Philip Glass Ensemble for “Music in Similar Motion.” But the pairing was pretty clearly a shotgun wedding, perfunctory and rather joyless. Nevertheless, I was glad to see the concert and to revisit beloved music by composers I admire. I especially dug Reich’s “Sextet.”

glass and reich                   Glass and Reich performing together with David Cossin, Nico Muhly, and Timo Andres (not the show I saw)

Photo diary: People’s Climate March NYC 9/21/14

September 21, 2014

(click photos to enlarge)

The People’s Climate March brought together a hundred thousand folks from all over the country for a friendly, peaceful, festive but politically pointed demonstration intended to “sound the alarm” that necessary steps can and must be taken to reverse the already-alarming effects of global climate change. The protests are timed to coincide with an historic summit meeting on the climate change hosted by the United Nations. Will this march have an effect? We’ll see. People in the streets rarely have an impact on decisions made in the board rooms of oil companies. But the march can also be measured by its impact on participants. I kept thinking of the key point Al Gore made in his film An Inconvenient Truth, that it’s all too easy to go from denial to despair and bypass the step of action. Doing whatever it takes to get off your butt and join the motley crowds of citizen participants making noise in the street constitutes action.

I started out hanging with Code Pink, the always feisty and funny women's action group

I started out hanging with Code Pink, the always feisty and funny women’s action group

Dave met me and we spent three hours marching and mingling and contemplating how different our world would be if just ONE Supreme Court Justice had voted the other (i.e., the right) way in Bush v. Gore...

Dave met me and we spent three hours marching and mingling and contemplating how different our world would be if just ONE Supreme Court Justice had voted the other (i.e., the right) way in Bush v. Gore…

it was great to see the different ways people had of connecting the dots to climate change, including carbon emissions, gas-free transportation...

it was great to see the different ways people had of connecting the dots to climate change, including carbon emissions, gas-free transportation…

the vegans making the case for methane gas pollution...

the vegans making the case for methane gas pollution…

lots of kids, lots of old people

lots of kids, lots of old people

all kinds of people you wouldn't expect to encounter at political demos...

all kinds of people you wouldn’t expect to encounter at political demos…

9-21 iwalkthewalk

Quote of the day: CACEROLOZA

September 21, 2014

CACEROLOZA

In 2011, the Chilean government approved the construction of five huge dams in the area of southern Chile that inspired Yvon Chouinard to name our company Patagonia . Mass protests were organized shortly after the announcement of the decision, and we joined them in solidarity by gathering at our Ventura headquarters for a caceroloza, a form of protest used in Chile and other Spanish-speaking countries where citizens bang pots and pans in loud opposition.

— Tim Davis

soundthealarmaction peoples-climate-march

The march is being led by frontline communities and indigenous groups from around the continent and the world, who are many of the first victims of climate change, and at 12:58, we’re having a moment of silence to honor those on the front lines. When you see people start linking hands above their heads, that’s the sign the moment of silence is beginning.

At 1:00pm we are going to end that moment of silence with a great, big noise—sounding the climate alarm that has gone ignored for too long. You’ll know it’s time to ring that alarm and make as much noise as you can when you hear 32 marching bands blowing their horns and church bells ring from around the city (so bring your own noisemakers).

In this week’s New Yorker

September 16, 2014

photo(1)
I haven’t even gotten to this week’s issue, but I just finished last week’s, which is remarkably loaded with good substance, notwithstanding its enigmatic untitled Saul Steinberg cover.

I was taken by virtually all the major features:

* Kelefa Sanneh’s “The Eternal Paternal,” a profile of Bill Cosby that brings up but never satisfactorily addresses accusations of sexual assault;

* Jerome Groopman’s highly technical but engrossing report on a breakthrough in leukemia treatment;

* John Lahr’s profile of Al Pacino, full of weirdly specific mundane details; and

* William Finnegan’s “Dignity,” a moving portrait of the budding labor movement among fast-food workers and an admirable demonstration of a male gringo reporter identifying with a non-English-speaking Latina McDonald’s employee.

Also surprisingly gripping: Alex Ross’s essay on the Frankfurt School of early 20th century intellectuals, centering on the combative friendship of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno and their various takes on pop culture (Adorno and Max Horkheimer, in their 1944 book Dialectic of Enlightenment, opined that the culture industry offered “the freedom to choose what is always the same”).

%d bloggers like this: