Tuesday, May 25, 2010

See as a Google Calendar (click on Agenda tab in upper right)

Upcoming Stuff To Do

- Already going -

MFA First Fridays, SoWa First Fridays

JP Contra, Gays for Patsy

Wherever they are
Prairie Home Companion
Cirque du Soleil
Basel Twist

Places I want to go
Great Barrier Reef
Cloud/rain forest
African savannah
Rome, Venice

Boston stuff to do
Puppet Showplace

Museums around Boston
Gardner Museum - Third Thursday "Gardner After Hours"
Museum of Fine Arts - MFA First Fridays
Institute for Contemporary Arts
RISD Museum
USS Constitution
Somerville Museum of Mosaics
Museum of Bad Taste (? in basement of Somerville Theater)

Boston performing and presenting organizations
Boston Symphony Orchestra - $9 rush Fri 10am, Tu+Th 5pm; talks at 6:45 and 12:15; cafe 5:30, "after 7"pm, 11am lunch
Boston Philharmonic
Boston Classical Orchestra
Boston Chamber Music Society
Boston Conservatory
New England Conservatory
Boston University School of the Arts
Boston Cabaret

Boston opera organizations
Boston Lyric Opera
Opera Boston
Boston Opera Collaborative
Guerilla Opera
Longwood Opera
Juventas! New Music Ensemble

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Went to a Handbell Concert at the Congregational Church of Littleton, in which a rowing colleague was ringing.

It was my first handbell concert, and I enjoyed it more than I expected. I feared I'd get tired of all the bells -- ringing -- but it turned out that there was enough variety and cleverness in composition that I didn't get bored. And in a couple places I was transported. The beginning of "The Cold of Between" by Rima Greer was really enthralling. And the Bach "Little" Fugue in G Minor translated nicely to bells and chimes.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Went to the Back Bay Chorale's J.S. Bach B Minor Mass performance at Sanders. Appealing and nicely done.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Boston Ballet Balanchine concert with Brad was lovely. I particularly liked The Four Temperaments. I know the chronology goes the other way, but it reminded me of some Mark Morris that I saw earlier this year.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Went to the California Academy of Sciences. Cool green roof, beautiful airy space inside, nice marine exhibits with corals. The A/V in the planetarium was busted, though, so didn't get to see that show. And the architecture was quite graceful, but I missed there being substantial supports holding up the roof. I felt a little bit uneasy with so much open space with apparently so little holding everything up.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Boston Philharmonic concert last night was all 20th-century music:
Revueltas Sensemaya - engaging, rhythmic, cinematic music, and brief
Ginastera Harp Concerto - impressive virtuosic playing, but meh overall
Stravinsky Rite of Spring - I don't think I've heard this performed live before and I understand even more why people would respond so strongly to it almost 100 years ago at its premiere -- lyric then brutal, delicate then overwhelming, frightful then briefly calm -- and essentially unrecognizable as classical and romantic music of the time, yet still engaging and moving. Wow.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Heard the BSO Chamber Players at Jordan Hall with B.

The Barber Summer Music woodwind quintet was familiar and much more interesting to hear after not hearing it for such a long time. I noticed many more of the lines and their development and relationships to one another after listening to an audio course on Beethoven symphonies.

The Bolcom Serenata Notturna for oboe and strings didn't grab me. Nicely played, but nothing brought me into the piece.

The Beethoven Septet Op. 20 for winds and strings was the draw to the concert for me. I really like the piece: charming and fun. I also hadn't really noticed before how much the piece really features the violin. I'd recalled it as more of an ensemble piece. In any case, it was lovely and well-played.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Taming of the Shrew at The Atlanta Shakespeare Company's The New American Shakespeare Tavern was fun. I hadn't seen The Taming of the Shrew since college, from which I only remember a bit of one scene (but that I remember that much means it made an impression on me). This performance was played large and not subtle, bawdy at times, and quite fun. It has me keen to see more Shakespeare soon.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

BSO's Open rehearsal of a Harbison Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra and Mahler Symphony No. 7 was pleasant enough. Nothing grabbed me. I'm still trying to get my arms around what it is about Mahler that so grips people. Oh well. Glad I went in any case.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sean Altman's Jewmongous concert (and master class) at MIT was fun. I'd seen Sean Altman as part of Rockappella and briefly on Where in the World is Carmen San Diego, but not solo.

I was turned on to the concert first by a notice in the Globe for his concert the next night at Club Passim, which mentioned his song "They Tried to Kill Us (We Survived, Let’s Eat)." That got my attention. Then I saw the MIT events listing, which also listed a number of MIT a cappella groups performing, so I decided to try that.

It turns out the first half of the show was actually a master class with each of the groups performing a song and then getting comments from Sean Altman. It was fun to hear just a bit from each group and to hear Sean's comments.

Sean's songs were clever and fun, and he clearly relishes clowning around with them. Yay!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, the winter home and workshop of Frank Lloyd Wright was fascinating.

I'm glad a rowing friend of mine mentioned it, otherwise the group of us in Scottsdale would have missed out.

Fascinating place, that actually reminded me of a building that I went to when I was in elementary school. There was a House of the Future built just south of Phoenix near where my grandparents lived and I toured it a couple of times. It was designed by students of Taliesin West, so lots of what I saw looked familiar.

Lots of lovely, interesting (sometimes puzzling) concepts and details. I was most charmed by the cabaret, which seems like a great little place to sit and listen.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Museum of Modern Art in New York was packed when I went on Target Free Friday night. I hadn't been to the Museum (well, past the lobby) since they moved into their space, and I was interested. I was also drawn by the Monet water lilies exhibit, after (finally?) being wowed by the water lilies at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Somehow the MoMA water lilies didn't have the same depth or interest for me, though they were larger and more numerous. Oh well.

Once in the museum, I was drawn to the Marina Abramovic performance (her sitting silently and being filmed with people sitting across a table from her -- for many weeks) and exhibit (which hadn't opened yet, but looks promising from the book I flipped through). I'd like to go back for that.

Tim Burton timed entry tickets were gone, so I didn't get to see that. Oh well.

The museum was too busy and I was too rushed to have much more of an impression or many more recollections than many galleries with works by artists I've seen in other collections.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saw the Varla Valentine at the Ramrod Center for the Performing Arts.

Even though Varla was high -- "very high" on cold medicine -- it was a fun show. It was the first time I'd seen Varla doing puppetry -- with a lovely little spider love story.
Went to BU Art Gallery's exhibit The Shape of Abstration. Appealing exhibit. I was actually most struck by a sculpture -- a finely crafted box with four "outdentations" opened to reveal four differently-shaped polished metal shapes within. Fascinating.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Went to the Telfair museums (but not the house museum) in Savannah. I was most struck by the painting Relics of the Brave, with medals and a letter visible near a woman, older man and child.

The exhibit Counterillumination (C-2010): An Installation by Shih Chieh Huang was also fun, with glowing, "breathing" electronic creations.

Also, it was kind of interesting to be in a smaller town museum with plaster casts of sculptures, which reminds me of pictures of now major museums a hundred or so years ago.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Went to Mark Morris Mozart Dances at the Opera House with Mark L.

I was most engaged by the first piece, Eleven, and enjoyed how the solo piano was portrayed by the solo dancer, and how the rhythmic and melodic echoes in the orchestra were echoed by the movements of the dancers.

In the second piece, Double, I particularly liked how groups of six would come together, break apart, circle, and intertwine with one another in so many variations.

Seeing some of the playfulness and not-quite-ballet-ness of a lot of the dancing had me wondering whether Mark Morris was just having fun, or whether there was an element of mocking traditional ballet forms, too. Hmm...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Went to the BSO's Ravel, Berlioz, Carter concert.

I was a little discouraged when I arrived to see the conductor, James Levine, getting out of a black Cadillac and looking awkward and weak as he was helped across a patch of ice to the stage door of Symphony Hall. I know he's been recovering from back trouble, and I worried about how he'd lead the orchestra.

I don't understand the appeal of the Carter Dialogues. It sounded like an orchestral setting of a BS session at a bar or stoop or extended family meal table. I couldn't pick out an arc or a story or development. It seemed to me just one thing after another, with an occasional echo or embellishment. I don't get it.

I was expecting to like the Berlioz Harold in Italy. I was impressed at the delicacy and quietness of some of the passages (how can so many people playing together sound that sweet and ethereal?), but overall it didn't move me. It sounded to me like accompaniment to something else, and I missed the something else.

I really enjoyed the Ravel Piano Concerto for the Left Hand. Engaging melodies, rhythms ( I did hear a lot of Bolero bubbling through), orchestral colors, energy, contrasts. Lovely.

Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe Suite 2 was a bit of a let-down after the Piano Concerto. It got much louder, but it didn't bring me in or along past the first couple minutes. Oh well. The Piano Concerto made the whole thing worthwhile.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saw All My Sons at the Huntington and it was well done, though the lead women outshone the lead men by a lot, and the son, in particular, seemed flat. And it reminded me that Arthur Miller is not subtle. Unfortunately, it was marred, even in the last wordless (on stage) scene by two people talking behind me. Bah.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Went to the Damian Ortega exhibit at the ICA. Cool walking through the "exploded view" of the VW bug in particular. Also enjoyed the "Nine Types of Terrain" movies. Coke bottles, spinning oil drums, spinning oil and camera etc. were engaging, but didn't grab me as much.

Also enjoyed the Quaytman silk screened works with interesting fine scale moire or interference patterns, particularly "Exhibition Guide, Chapter 15 [diagonal pink]".

Friday, January 15, 2010

Went to the Met again and was drawn to three exhibits:

American Stories, Paintings of Everyday Life. I didn't take the time to follow all the stories or read all the labels, but was impressed by how quickly drawn into the, well, story, of each painting I was. A reminder of how compelling and immediately human visual storytelling in a single image can be. I wonder, too, how much of it was because of the American content, and how much of it was universal... Would it strike Europeans (or Asians or anyone else) as curious as an outsider or compelling as human or both?

American Landscapes in the Lehman Wing. Generally Hudson River School grand landscapes, including some of my favorites. These always get to me...

Five Thousand Years of Japanese Art. Japanese art tends to get to me, too. So much elegance, simplicity, balance, vigor. I've become more interested recently in screens, and the Sansetsu Old Plum was particularly appealing.
Went to the Saarinen modernism exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York. Fascinating to see more about his overall work, particularly the TWA terminal, including modeling and construction photos and drawings. I was also impressed again at the Yale rink, surprised to see his Miller House in Columbus, curious about his corporate campuses (Deere, IBM), and surprised at the number of chairs he designed (and that he collaborated with Eames). It was a bigger and more interesting exhibit than I'd hoped for.

And the grand old building is quite handsome.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Went to the Frick Collection in NY for the first time. What a refined and impressive palace-as-gallery. Three Vermeers, and lots of other famous paintings. I was particularly struck by and drawn back to the Turner Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Garden.

I went for the Exuberant Grotesques exhibit, which, though small, was a delight. I'm so drawn to the seemingly endless menagerie of fanciful creatures tied together with swashes on plain backgrounds... Mesmerizing...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Rode the No Pants 2010 subway ride in Boston. Mellow fun. Lots of legs. Goosebumps, too. And fun to see the sequential train results -- some people taking off pants, some people getting on pantsless on the second train.

Met Suzanne of http://talk2meont.blogspot.com/ . It was kind of interesting to talk with her about her social experiment to understand and encourage talking to people on the the T.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Groundswell at the Lyric Stage was engrossing, creepy and moving. Who's responsible for improving the lot of (formerly) subjugated people? What means are acceptable? How much do hope and greed and vengeance color our judgment of what's right?
BSO's Haydn, Bach and Schubert concert was lovely. Yo Yo Ma is impressive, conductor Ton Koopman was gawkily, charmingly enthusiastic, and I was impressed listening closely to the Schubert 'Unfinished' closely. Right up my alley.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Saw Avatar in 3D. I'd heard that the visual experience was immersive and impressive, and that the story was sufficient but not inspiring. With those expectations going in, I was even more impressed with the visuals and feel of the whole thing than I'd expected. And though the story did seem well-worn and a bit simplistic, it more than sufficed to hold the whole thing together -- and even get me to think more about it in the following days. Nicely done.