28.6.12

Am I a horrible person?

Those who know me well know that I'm a bit of a pedant, and snarky about things others get wrong.  Note: I'm not talking about small mistakes, I'm talking about the really obvious ones.  The recently past ALA Annual Conference brought two opportunities for serious snark, and no, dear reader, I did not let them pass quietly.


First up was this sign at the Bowers Museum.  Can you spot the typo?  




Hint: think Tom Petty.  


The second was later that night, at the first ever Andrew Carnegie Awards.  Did you know that the correct pronunciation is carNAYgie, not the Dale Carnegie version CARnaygie (proof needed? here 'tis).  Imagine my disappointment when the chair of the selection committee got it wrong every single time.  Luckily, the President of ALA and the Executive Director got the memo. 


Yes, I took pleasure in spotting both.  I'll go hang my head over in the corner... 

25.6.12

Notable Quotes

Eventually we find that we no longer need silence. We no longer need solitude. We no longer even need words.  We can make all our actions holy. We can cook a meal for our family and it becomes prayer.  We can go for a walk in the park and it becomes prayer.
The Red House, Mark Haddon

14.6.12

Culture Vulturing

As the academic year draws to a close, it seems a good time to do another wrap-up of the fun stuff I've seen and done since last summer*

Music
  • Blondie: This was the second time I've seen them in the past few years (previously, in 2002 at Roseland).  While the Highline Ballroom is a fun space, sharing it with so many hot, hip PR/record VIP youngsters trying to impress each other with whom each knows and and what they're working on, etc. was not so fun.  As for the concert, it was short - Blondie was basically previewing Panic of Girls, their new album.  It's vintage Blondie in many ways and I keep reminding myself that I should buy it! Of course they played some of their classics, like "Heart of Glass" and "One Way or Another", and while Debbie Harry's voice has changed somewhat she's still able to make those songs work every bit as much as she did in the 70s and 80s.
  • Sybarite 5: One of my favorite quintets, classical division.  This time they let their iPod choose their playlist, with their oeuvre on shuffle and pressing "next" after every piece.  Bohemian Rhapsody will never sound the same again.  They recently did a Kickstarter fundraiser, looking to finance a tour of all 50 states: if they're in your nabe, go see them.  You won't be disappointed!
  • Ray Davies: When I saw he was playing at the Beacon, it was a Must. Go. situation (unlike Thing One, I never saw The Kinks playing at Queens College) and who knows how much longer Mr. Davies will be among us (that gunshot wound in 2004 is still affecting him...).  Of course 99% of the people there were over 40 and many were over 50, longtime fans of The Kinks.  It was a little odd to be seated next to two semi-hip 20-somethings who clearly had no clue about who they were seeing or why.  Even odder, they didn't move during the first half of the concert (they left at intermission) while the rest of us were on our feet, singing and dancing.  The addition of the Dessoff Chamber Choir made songs like "Picture Book" and "Waterloo Sunset" even more special.  And can we all just agree right now that "Waterloo Sunset" is one of those perfect songs?  Because it is.  
  • Julia Haltigan: If you's like Adele's and Amy Winehouse's vocal quality with a country vibe, you'll love Julia.  Musically she's a bit more rock - and she plays guitar, so she's not just up there singing.  I saw her at Mercury Lounge, which didn't do the best for her horn section (it was often overwhelmed by the rest of the musicians) but on her albums it's nice and clear.  Check her out.
Theatre

  • Comedy of Errors: Not your father's Shakespeare!  Boscobel - well worth a separate visit - hosts the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival and they tend to do things slightly sideways.  This one had mermaids... rap music... "Sea of Love" as a soundtrack... and plenty of laughs. The setting is under a tent, looking out towards the Hudson, which can make it a little difficult to concentrate when the sunset competes with the action!
  • Mary Poppins: Thing One's brother and sister-in-law had never been to see a Broadway show, and when it's a Monday you're a little starved for choice so... Mary [effin'] Poppins it was.  Don't get me wrong, I love the movie (Dick Van Dyke's accent notwithstanding) but does anyone really need a 5-minute production number around Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?  Truly, it was atrocious.  And the two Big Effects (when Bert dances around the proscenium and when Mary flies away) are less exciting when you can clearly see the guide wires. Having said that, as a spectacle, as a first Broadway experience, it was just perfect.  Familiar plot? Check.  Familiar songs? Check. Interesting effects? Check.  
  • Seminar: Two words: Alan Rickman.  Oh, all right, here are a few more words: if you know English majors who spout jargon at the drop of the hat, you'll find this even funnier.  Jerry O'Connell's opening monologue talking about Yaddo and "exteriority" and "interiority" was absolutely hysterical.  The plot was slightly predictable but that final set of scenes, in Rickman's apartment?  Yep, that'll be my house in a few years.  
  • The Best Man: Like last year's John Gabriel Borkman, this play is so prescient! As a matter of fact, some one sitting behind me commented that they thought the director had added lines to reflect the Santorum candidacy.  Sorry, folks, Vidal thought this all up decades ago (the setting is the 1960 Republican Convention).  The acting was as good as anticipated, with James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury showing their age but also showing how it's done.  Eric McCormack was a surprise, looking different than his Will character and displaying the gravitas the role requires.   
  • Snap Shot Plays: This series of short one-acts (short = 10 minutes or less) at the Milk Can Theatre was, as expected, a mixed bag.  The plots were usually predictable and the acting was uneven.  Still, watching new/emerging talent is always fun.

Dance

  • SAB Workshop: One of my favorite annual events.  The three pieces were a little uneven, with the younger dancers (not unexpectedly) showing less poise than the older dancers.  Those that starred were clearly the future of ballet, and I look forward to seeing them on the main stage.  As for the ballets performed, Twinkliana was cute - although I confess I was a little tired of the song by the end, and Corgege Hongrois pleased the crowd appropriately.

* in other words, I forgot to post one earlier - shh!

11.6.12

Notable Quotes

I'm having the estate sale early,
Long before I go,
Clearing out the mind's troubled attic,
Sweeping clean the cellared soul. 



Out with the moth's wooly dinner,
Out with the soft nesting of mice,
Haul out the mouldering anger;
I'll no longer review it all night. 



Burn the bushels of grudges,
Dump the files of regrets,
Uncage the ferrets of old fears,
Shame is so last year's dress. 



Sweep the cobwebs of outdated thinking,
Shred the ledger of "you owe me",
Recycle the tattered "someday",
Box up anxieties. 



Bundle the blues and the grumbles,
Delete the detritus of doubt,
Padlock that carton of fidgets,
Pack up that outdated pout. 



Sixty-five years is enough time
To figure out what's needed and what's not,
Old habits and tired protections,
Are all stacked by the door to take out. 



Such baggage impedes freely living,
It's no part of a life simplified;
A soul that is loving and giving
Is not one that's terrified. 



I no longer need these remainders
Of life as I've lived it before:
The soul is shrugging off ego,
The heart learns what it is for.



Certified Wisdom from a Certified Crone, Alice Paul