Friday, January 22, 2010

A Moment of David

For no reason at all, my good friend David Webster from Northern Ireland popped into my mind this Friday morning.

Could there be an association between Fridays and David? Let's see: Friday: weekends: booze-acid-and-pot-eviscerated brain tissue: David!

I offer this modest array of two photos of him. David, I am sure that wherever you are, there is entertainment and endless goofing-off. Note, lest anyone mistake the tone of this posting as being a tribute to one passed on, David is very much alive and probably in Edinburgh.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

On The Dominant Divide

"Grand Pianola Music... started with a dream image in which, while driving down Interstate Route 5, I was approached from behind by two long, gleaming, black stretch limousines. As the vehicles drew up beside me they transformed into the world’s longest Steinway pianos…twenty, maybe even thirty feet long. Screaming down the highway at 90 m.p.h., they gave off volleys of Bb and Eb major arpeggios. I was reminded of walking down the hallways of the San Francisco Conservatory, where I used to teach, hearing the sonic blur of twenty or more pianos playing Chopin, the Emporer Concerto, Hanon, Rachmaninoff, the Maple Leaf Rag and much more."
The words of American composer John Adams speaking of his triumphant piece, Grand Pianola Music, scored for double woodwind, double brass with one tuba, three percussionists, three wordless female singers, and two pianos.

It's a favorite of mine. Listen to the third movement!

I can still remember being transfixed, transported, by this piece, on a warm August evening many years ago in Northern Ireland, with a live broadcast -- its London premiere. This is at first a delicate piece of music as it wends like a gentle river through movements 1a and 1b. In the third movement -- called, not 1c, but titled instead "On The Dominant Divide," it becomes a piece of pure ecstasy, and gives
"birth to a melody. This tune, in the hero key of Eb major, is repeated a number of times, and with each iteration it gains in gaudiness and Lisztian panache until it finally goes over the top to emerge in the gurgling C major of the lowest registers of the pianos. From here on it is a gradually accelerating race to the finish, with the tonalities flipping back and forth from major to minor, urging those gleaming black vehicles on to their final ecstasy."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Won't Stop Red Ink

But perhaps it's still better to be dead than red? Either way, won't be read.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Band of Bikers

"In the basement of an apartment building in Manhattan, Scott Zieher discovered a pile of photographs among the effects of a recently deceased tenant. These photographs, presented for the first time in Band of Bikers, offer an intimate portrait of a group of gay bikers in the city and the woods, and a touching snapshot of an entire generation at its carefree zenith."
Hardcover, 7.5 x 8 inches, 108 pages, 81 four-color and black-and-white photographs
ISBN: 978-1-57687-522-3; $24.95

Don't Walk/Walk/Don't/Walk/Won't/Dalk/Awwwk!

According to Gothamist, as many as 13 walk signals on the Upper East Side are sending confused messages (see above). Thirteen? I've seen dozens in every part of the city, and it has been months since I first noticed them...

'Split horsily behind'

"Through the windows I could see men with exaggerated moustaches in tweed coats, which were split horsily behind, gathered round a girl in jodhpurs."