Dallas, Texas and the surrounding area is a God-forsaken hellscape, and is likely as close to a prison as I’ll ever get. Consequently my eyes have constantly been on the lookout for diversions on the weekends, and one such diversion is the potential allure of the Houston Symphony, a scant 3 or 4 hours away. According to my internet research, they are performing Mahler’s massive Symphony no. 2 this weekend, at least in part because it is the end of Hans Graf’s reign as Music Director. What better way to celebrate one’s tenure than with the “this is a death but we’ll all be resurrected” vibe that isn’t self-indulgent in any way? Continue reading
Wolfgang Sawallisch died Friday at the age of 89. I confess to have been working under the assumption that he had died years ago. Because conducting is often something that people at the highest levels do until they’re extremely fucking old (or extremely fucking dead in some cases), it’s unusual to think of a world-class maestro “retiring” to the Bavarian Alps and just chilling and playing piano and shit. But that’s exactly what Sawallisch did – his last major gig was with the Philadelphia Orchestra, which ended in 2003 and he retired “officially” in 2006 – something that, as I reflect upon that unbelievably relaxed cardigan/tie combo and wry smile, seems totally reasonable, ill health or otherwise. Continue reading
At one point or another, I was writing for examiner.com about the performing arts in Kansas City, but I sucked at it, in large part because I generally can’t write well. That being said, one thing I did write actually was good, and it was this article about Haydn. I don’t really remember why I wrote an article about Haydn, other than the fact that I really like Haydn, but whatever. This is from 2009, the 200-year anniversary of Haydn’s death, which may have been the point of writing it, directly contradicting what I just said. Anyway, read this if you like because Haydn is awesome and I hope I demonstrated that properly. Continue reading
Last night the great Dave McIntire and I met to listen to the symphonies of the Greatest Dane, Carl Nielsen, eat fine foods, and consume alcoholic beverages of the highest quality. Are we nerds? Perhaps. Do we have excellent taste in food, beverage, and music? Fucking right. What follows is my thoughts on the proceedings as they were happening. As soon as he is ready, I’ll put a link to Dave’s take on the evening, but for now here’s a link to his blog so you can get a taste of the man’s writing, which is somewhere between 10 and 50 times better than what you’ll read here. As with the Sibelius symphonies live blog, we tried to use different conductors, orchestras, formats, etc. Did we succeed? Is there such a thing as success in this endeavor? I would argue that there is, and the success is that we listened to a shitload of Carl Nielsen music. Let’s go to the recap!
Read on… Continue reading
A few bits of blog housekeeping:
1) This is the second part of a searing two-part expose of, I guess, uh, iTunes and copyright law and the Supreme Court and probably the 1% and maybe the Ivy League if I get to it and perhaps something about Standard Oil or the Kennedys or something. At any rate, Part 1 can be read here.
2) I am many things, but stylish is not one of them, and that carries over into what this blog looks like. After receiving some feedback that my blog looked like shit (the actual words might have actually been “urine-in-my-eyes-and-face terrible”), I’m trying a different theme that, at least to my eyes, looks better. Of course, I thought the last one was fine, so what the hell do I know?
3) I completely neglected to mention Digital Rights Management (DRM) in the course of my screed yesterday, something which a Facebook commenter reminded me of and which got the old blood boiling once more. Suffice it to say that shit is annoying and I hate it and it is the greatest argument in favor of eMusic, who trade the glitz, glamour, and selection of iTunes for having just plain-ass mp3 files with no silly protection schemes built in to them. Note: eMusic paid nothing for that recommendation. Unless they’re reading this and wish to…
Now then, on to Part 2 of my rant. Continue reading
The Supreme Court of the United States, or SCOTUS (which is close enough to SCROTUM that I valiantly tried to add some shit to their name to fit the acronym but gave up after 15 grueling minutes), is in the process of deciding John Wiley & Sons Publishing vs. Kirtsaeng, a case which involves the purchase of American textbooks in Thailand (where they’re significantly cheaper) and the re-selling of those books in America (for cheaper than the publisher can sell them, of course). At issue is the First Sale doctrine, which limits copyright holders’ rights by allowing for the materials to be re-distributed into the secondary market after their initial purchase, which reminds me: does anyone want to buy my VHS copy of 1980′s gay/animal-porn classic “Three Men and a Donkey?” The case currently in front of the SCOTUS (god dammit, I know there’s a way to do it!), should they rule in favor of Wiley Publishing, would essentially remove the First Sale doctrine as an idea, throwing the idea of “ownership” into utter chaos and essentially forcing me to keep my copy of “Three Men and a Donkey” despite most of the scenes with the donkey being unwatchable because the tape is worn out from constant rewinding. This hearing has the added twist of dealing strictly with goods manufactured overseas, which gets into all kinds of outsourcing shit I don’t want to think about as an unemployed asshole. Stephen Colbert has a pretty entertaining summation of the situation that can be viewed here (if Viacom likes you). Continue reading
Yesterday, for the first time in God knows how long, the weather in Kansas City was palatable. It was so palatable, in fact, that I decided to wander the streets with no real purpose or intention. I took my headphones, my wallet, and an appalling sense of fashion and set off from my apartment in Midtown. Here are five things I learned on my journey: