mojosmom: (chf)
I had a crazy busy weekend, the last weekend of the Chicago Humanities Festival, plus a couple of other events. But so worth it! I figured I'd relax this week, so what happens? Today I get an email from the Harris Theatre, informing me that all, repeat all, tickets to the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra's concert tomorrow night, in honor of the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, are $5, AND ticket fees are waived. I just paid $5 for what would have been a $120 ticket (which may explain the dearth of sales!).

So if there are any Chicagoans reading this, go here. Promotional code is 3381.

Friday night, I went to the annual dinner of the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, honoring a local attorney who does a lot of federal white collar criminal defense. Place was packed, food was good. What more can you ask?

IACDL Board meeting the next morning, but I had to leave early to get to the Newberry Library to hear Laurence Bergreen talk about Marco Polo. Then down to the Art Institute, where I browsed a bit in the gift shop before going to a concert by Ars Antigua, entitled "The Birth of Opera", with much Monteverdi, et al, introduced by Brian Dickie of the Chicago Opera Theatre. After that, I caught a bus up to Northwestern University Law School, to hear Hon. Frank Easterbrook (7th Circuit Court of Appeals), Lawrence Tribe (Harvard Law School) and Geoffrey Stone (University of Chicago Law School) talk about the Constitution. Stone and Tribe are both advising the new president, so they declined, when ask, to speculate on future Supreme Court appointments, although Stone, not, I think, jokingly, told Easterbrook that he wouldn't suggest his name. (Easterbrook is generally considered a conservative jurist.)

Went home and did laundry because I was rapidly running out of clean clothes!

Yesterday was even crazier. I went to the Newberry in the morning to hear Ronald Mallett, physics professor at the University of Connecticut, talk about time travel. If anyone has millions and would like to back his construction of a time machine, he'd like to hear from you.

Now, I had a ticket to hear Rebecca Goldstein at the Spertus Institute at 2:00. But a couple of days ago, I'd gotten an announcement for half-price tickets to Richard Danielpour's opera, Margaret Garner (libretto by Toni Morrison). I had wanted to go, but it was a tad expensive, so this was a real temptation. And I succumbed. Fortunately, the theatre is literally a block-and-a-half from Spertus, so I heard Goldstein on "Modern Philosophy and the Rise of Secularism", and left 15 minutes early to get to the Auditorium Theatre with time to read the program. Since this run was the first time in 65 years that there's been grand opera at the Auditorium, that was added incentive! As far as the opera itself is concerned, the voices, particularly Patrick Blackwell as Robert Garner and Karen Slack as Cilla, were excellent. The music was a bit trite at times, but Danielpour uses a lot of influences, and overall it's quite a powerful piece of work. Following the performance, there was a post-show discussion, which I stayed for part of. But then I had to leave to go a couple of blocks down to the Merle Reskin Theatre for the closing performance of the Humanities Festival, Klea Blackhurst's tribute to Ethel Merman, "Everything the Traffic Will Allow". Fantastic!

Then I went home and was tired. ;-))
mojosmom: (Music)
Wednesday night, my friends and I went to the Goodman to see a play called "Gas for Less" (yea, really, that's what it's called). It was about an independent gas station on the far north side of Chicago, and it's going under. The play is set on two dates in late 2005, and much of it revolves around the guys watching Bears football games. I'm convinced that the playwright meant much of the football stuff to be relevant, but it sailed right over my head, as I don't have the first clue about football generally or the Bears specifically. We had dinner first at Trattoria Ten, always good. When we were leaving, I noticed that Jim and Kevin were at the bar, so I stopped to chat. They were on their way to Chicago Opera Theatre's Orlando (see below).

Thursday I went to the CSO - Dvorák's Symphony No. 8 in G major, and Ives' A Symphony: New England Holidays, conducted by Michael Tilson-Thomas. I enjoyed it very much. However, I've decided I'm not going to re-subscribe next season, but will get individual tickets instead. Looking at the various series, I realized that there wasn't any one series where I wanted to hear every concert, and that I'd be better off getting single tickets for the things I really want to hear. It's been a bit logistically difficult, too, this year.

Saturday began with a few errands, and then a stop at a local consignment shop that was having a 50% off sale. I love consignment shops! I got a pair of shoes (black high heels), two dresses, two skirts and a belt all for around $30 (the shoes were the single most expensive item). Then I stopped at O'Gara's to pick up a book they were holding for me, The Smithsonian Book of Books.

The weather being absolutely gorgeous (I think summer may actually have arrived!), I spent a good part of the afternoon hanging out on the porch drinking iced tea, reading, and explaining to Lilith that, no, she could not go into the neighbor's apartment.

I had a ticket for Handel's Orlando that evening, at the Harris Theatre, and as the Gospel Fest was happening just behind the Harris at the Pritzker Pavilion, I decided to go down early and catch some music there. I don't usually get to go to Gospel Fest, as it is ordinarily the same weekend as the Printers Row Book Fair and the 57th Street Art Fair. But, for some reason, it's a week earlier this year (Blues Fest will be next weekend, along with the aforesaid book fair and art fair.)

I had figured on just grabbing a hot dog at one of the stands for dinner, but then I saw this sign:
Robinson's No. 1 Ribs

So I headed left and had some short ribs with sauce. The most amazing thing happened! I was wearing a white linen dress and did not get one single, solitary drop of barbecue sauce on it. I think that's a first. I had my camera (I seem to carry it everywhere these days) and took lots of photos, primarily of intricately braided hairstyles.

The opera was excellent (I do love Handel! all those counter-tenors!). They'd moved the scene from the time of the Crusades to WWII, and while I don't think the updating added anything, it didn't detract, either. There was a pre-opera lecture by the conductor, Raymond Leppard, who made some snide remarks about "Eurotrash" productions, but he said he had no problems with this one. He also said that the opera was rather about "Make war, not love", and that it was probably Mr. Bush's favorite. Snickers all round from the audience. I ran into Eric and Ed in the lobby beforehand, and again at intermission, and Eric (who should know) was quite impressed with Tim Mead, who sang the title role.

Mira came over today to pick up the keys. I shall have to get her keys to the basement doors as well, as she has a bike and will need to stash it there. She'll be moving in probably June 22, for about four weeks.

More hanging about reading this afternoon, and then over to the University for Mahler's Resurrection Symphony, with the University Symphony Orchestra, University Chorus and Motet Choir. Back home for a ribeye steak and asparagus, and a tomato, scallion, radicchio and endive salad, with green tea ice cream for dessert.

I do have to go in for jury duty tomorrow, so I'm hunting up a big, thick book to take with me.
mojosmom: (katrina)
And the rains stayed away! Guess Mother Nature didn't want to mess with a bunch of Katrina survivors. Last night's concert was by the New Orleans Social Club (and friends). These musicians came together on an ad hoc basis shortly after Hurricane Katrina to record the CD, "Sing Me Back Home". Two years later, they are still in demand for concerts. They were joined last night by the Hot 8 Brass Band, Irma Thomas, John Boutté, and, from Chicago, The Legendary Koko Taylor and the Mucca Pazza Marching Band. The event was sponsored by the City of Chicago, along with Sweet Home New Orleans, Operation Playground and Habitat for Humanity.

The crowd was sparser than I'd have expected, though. I guess the dark clouds to the west, along with the pessimistic weather reports, kept some folks away. But plenty of people did come, and a lot of them brought umbrellas, which comes in handy when you get the urge to second line*! And they sure did get the urge:
Chicagoans can second line, too!

Now, I have to say that you haven't lived until you've had the Queen of Soul (Thomas) and the Queen of the Blues (Taylor) on the same stage at the same time, knocking it out. This had to be one of the best concerts I've been to in a long time. The music was outstanding, the energy levels were high (pre-concert announcement: "Please keep the aisles clear. If you feel the urge to dance, please dance in your seat or at the open space at the back of the seating area"), and everyone was there because we love New Orleans! When Koko Taylor sang "Pitch a Wang-Dang-Doodle (All Night Long)", well, I think everyone was ready to do just that.

* It occurs to me that some may not be familiar with the term "second line". It means the funky walking/dancing part of a parade just behind the band, and waving handkerchiefs and twirling colorful umbrellas is standard. The tradition comes from jazz funerals, where the first line took the cortège to the cemetery with sad and mournful tunes, and the music became joyful and spirited on the way back, followed by dancing second-liners.
mojosmom: (cat)
Much as I like my iMac, with its light weight, and its flat screen that adjusts easily, those advantages turn into a drawback if you have a cat who thinks that the desk space in front of your computer is her natural napping place. "Oh, did I tilt your screen down when I stretched out? Well, whose space is this, anyway? I am the cat!"

Ah, but she's far too cute for me to get too annoyed with her!

Yesterday, I sat around waiting for the cable guy. About twenty minutes after the latest time he was supposed to get here, I called the cable company and said, "what gives?" After checking around, the customer "service" guy informed me that my service call had been cancelled, as there had been an outage and they assumed that my service was restored. Hello? How about checking with me? So now I'm without cable for another week, and will have to sit around all next Saturday afternoon. NOT the way I like to spend a summer Saturday.

In the afternoon, I wandered over to the Hyde Park Art Center. They were having an outdoor, "open to all", non-juried sculpture show and barbecue. They didn't have a whole lot of entries, probably because the call for entries was fairly off-putting. Read it for yourself: )

Today started out to be the kind of day that makes me think about having my Sunday paper delivered. I intentionally do not, as having to go down the street to get it makes me get up and dressed and moving. However, when it is pouring rain (or freezing cold), I think this is not such a good idea. The rain did let up around nine o'clock, though, and that's when I went out.

This afternoon was quite Germanic. I'd seen an announcement of a free concert by a string quartet at the Smart Museum, and decided that that would be a pleasant way to spend an hour on a Sunday afternoon. I got there early so that I could see the shows that were up. They have three separate shows that together cover "The Print in Germany". One was The World Writ Small: Early Northern European Prints, 15th-17th century woodcuts and engravings, Dürer and the like, in one of the small galleries. The second was Majestic Nature/Golden History, nineteenth-century German Romantic art, primarily lithographs and etchings. The third is their major show, Living Modern: German and Austrian Art and Design, 1890-1933. This was huge: Dix, Kokoschka, Kollewitz and many other printmakers, as well as decorative arts by members of the Wiener Werkstätte and others.

The concert, therefore, was also Germanic: Mendelssohn and Brahms. The small gallery where the quartet played was a bit too small for the louder movements of the Brahms, but I nevertheless enjoyed it. I ran into some old friends while I was there, a couple I've known since I was a kid (friends of my parents). I'm always running into them, particularly at Hyde Park events. It's almost a joke between us.
mojosmom: (Millennium Park)
Leonard Bernstein was a complete and utter genius! My god, talk about your American composers, has there been anyone before or since who could do/has done what he did? I love Copland, Corigliano and a host of others, but just in scope and variety Bernstein has them all beat to hell.

There was the most marvelous concert of his work for Broadway at the Pritzker Pavilion tonight (or should I say, "Tonight, tonight . . ."?). Some of my favorites from Candide and On the Town, stuff from Wonderful Town and West Side Story, little known work from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and Peter Pan. It ended with two of my favorite ensemble pieces: "Some Other Time", from On the Town, and "Make Our Garden Grow", from Candide. Beautiful voices, beautiful symphony orchestra, and a beautiful summer night. It was a short concert, only 90 minutes without intermission. I ran into a friend afterwards and we agreed that they could have played all night (oh, wait, that's Lerner and Loewe, isn't it?), and we'd have stayed and listened.
mojosmom: (Millennium Park)
Yesterday, I wore a hat. A navy blue straw hat. I was going to the Art Institute, and decided to go in lady-like style. Blue dress with white flowers, navy blazer, aforesaid hat and navy cotton gloves. Got three compliments on the hat: one from a lady my age, one from a young woman, and one from a guy all dressed in leather (International Mr. Leather is in town)! The event at the Art Institute was a program on The Way of Tea, presented by Shozo Sato. It began with demonstrations of tea ceremony rituals from three different schools, as well as lecture on the way of tea, and one on tea utensils by an American potter who works in Japan with the Urasenke Foundation. I didn't hang around for the tour of the tea utensil exhibit, as I had already seen it.

Today, I went to see the Chicago Opera Theatre's production of Berlioz' Béatrice and Bénédict. They've updated it to the forties, and instead of Berlioz' French dialogue, they went back to Shakespeare, so it's French singing and English dialogue. The updating is logical and works very well.

The weather today was absolutely gorgeous, warmer than forecast. The opera was at the Harris Theatre of Music and Dance, right by Millennium Park, so as it was still warm and sunny when it got out (it was a matinée performance) I decided to have dinner outside in the Park Café. The wait wasn't bad at all, considering the weather and the crowds, only about fifteen minutes. It was about 6:30 when I finished, and instead of heading home, I decided to check out the Monster Percussion Concert at the Pritzker Pavilion, featuring students and faculty from the Northwestern University School of Music. I just stayed for the first half - it was great fun, though. Lots of little kids running around having an absolute blast! I was just sorry that I hadn't brought my camera, which I would have done had I known about the concert.

Tomorrow, I think I'm going to go to the Garfield Park Conservatory, and take pictures of Niki in the Garden.
mojosmom: (busy bee)
Hmm, where to begin.

Okay, last Wednesday I went to see a play called Oedipus Complex, Frank Galati's take on Sophocles' Oedipus Rex. Basically, it was Sophocles, framed and interrupted by bits involving Sigmund Freud, his Interpretation of Dreams and the development of his theory of the Oedipus complex. Sounds a bit contrived, I know, but, gosh, it was powerful stuff. I was completely engrossed, on the edge of my seat almost. It occurred to me, in a discussion of "spoilers" in another forum, that in the case of a play like Oedipus the power comes from the fact that the audience knows what's coming and the protagonist doesn't. That's what builds the tension.

Friday was the Newberry Consort concert, music from the court of a couple of the Holy Roman Emperors. Really wonderful stuff, a combining of sacred and secular, with some of my favorite singers, including the glorious soprano of Ellen Hargis. It was Mary Springfels' last concerts as director of the consort, as she is "retiring" and moving to New Mexico where her partner is now working. "Retiring" is in quotes because she will, it is hoped, return for the occasional concert. Peggy and George have bought a house in Albuquerque. They'll use it as a vacation place until she retires, in about five years. We told her to be sure to buy a sofa-bed as we all plan to visit. ;-)

Saturday, I had a board meeting (stuff was actually accomplished!) in the morning, and in the afternoon I went to my friend Fran's for dinner. Fran's younger granddaughter and Cheryl's two girls gave us a fashion show. They raided the closet where the clothes noone wears anymore are kept, but were forbidden to wear Fran's shoes. Fran's older granddaughter did not join us as she was off to prom; I find it hard to believe she's old enough! But she is, and she has turned into a beautiful young woman. I liked that she didn't worry about a date, but decided at the last minute to go with her girl friends. Picture that happening in my day - not!

Yesterday, I thought about going to one of the Silk Road concerts at the Art Institute, but I figured it would be a mob scene downtown what with the Dalai Lama speaking in the part down the street, so instead I decided to go to the Smart Museum to see the Cosmophilia exhibit of Islamic art. After I'd gone through it, I discovered that there was a docent-led tour happening about a half-hour later, so I had a snack and then went through the exhibit again. It really is wonderful. The pieces are exhibited based on the style of ornamentation, and they range from glassware and ceramics to textiles and books. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed, so I can't share my favorites.

Today was a long morning in court. I had a sentencing hearing on a guy who was his own worst enemy. I told him after we lost the motion to suppress statements that he should take the state's offer of 25. But noooo. So he went to trial, lost, had a mandatory minimum of 60 and got 70. Should have listened to me.

Tonight there was a reception and lecture at the Chicago Public Library, in conjunction with the Smithsonian's traveling exhibit, Picturing Words: The Power of Book Illustrations. They had brought some rather wonderful old books, with hand-colored illustrations that were incredibly vibrant.

There was a story on NPR tonight about Herman Leonard, whose work I love and one of whose pieces I own. It's awful - he's in his 80s and when I heard the first couple of sentences I was sure they were going to say he was dead! Fortunately, they didn't. The occasion was a new book and an exhibit of his work in New Orleans.

Came home to find that Pete's hat had returned to me. He'd left it at the restaurant where we'd had lunch when he was here. I picked it up the next day and went straight to the post office to mail it off, priority, but I guess it didn't get to the hotel until after he'd checked out. I suppose this means I'll have to go to the convention in 2009 and deliver it in person . . .
mojosmom: (Default)
Gorgeous weather this weekend! I fiddled around the house in the a.m., inspired to do a bit of cleaning and straightening up. One of the joys of living in a university community (well, this one, anyway) is the Music Department. There are scads of actually rather decent student musical groups, and Saturday night the Motet Choir was doing a concert of Jewish music at Rockefeller Chapel: Rockefeller Chapel- exterior2 Mostly sacred music (including some pieces that Shulamit Ran wrote for her sons' bar mitzvahs), but a couple of pieces that seemed to be included on the basis of the composer being Jewish, including an odd (but beautifully melodic) piece by Shostakovich, all about a girl, her flute and the communal farm's herd.

Sunday afternoon was even nicer, so I went for a walk in the park down the street. Lots of other folks were taking advantage of the weather, too: Chessmen After dinner I went to the Checkerboard Lounge to hear Maggie Brown:
Maggie B. in black and white 2 She graciously said it would be okay if I took photos; in fact, she gave me her e-mail address and asked me to send them on to her. So, of course, I will.

La musique

Mar. 4th, 2007 11:35 am
mojosmom: (Music)
It's been a rather French weekend, music-wise.

Friday night was the last opera of the Lyric season, Poulenc's Dialogue of the Carmelites. A high note on which to end, both literally and figuratively. This was the very first time Lyric has done Carmelites, and I'm only sorry they waited so long. Very different from most operas - no love interest (unless you consider the nuns' love for God as such), very introspective and philosophical, little action and a lot of talk. The ending must be among the most powerful in all of opera. Sixteen voices, then thwack! goes the guillotine, and there are fifteen. Then thwack!, and there are fourteen. Thwack!, thirteen, and so on until it is only Blanche. And then . . . thwack!

Just Jamie and me from the usual group, but we ran into Eric & Ed during intermission, Eric enjoying the opera from the front of the house for a change. I was telling them about my trip to Venice, and he almost told me the "Howard Mayer Brown dying at Caffé Florian during Carnevale" story again. Unlike most people who tell stories, he did ask me if I'd heard it before!

Last night, I went to the Symphony. I'd gotten an email from Joshua, a former colleague, that he'd landed a couple of tickets. It was Fauré's Suite from Pelleas and Melisande, Ravel's Shéhérezade (Susan Graham was the mezzo!), and Franck's Symphony in D minor. Very nice, and I got all the ex-office gossip during intermission.
mojosmom: (Default)
Yesterday was the opening day of Silk Road Chicago at the Art Institute. This is a collaboration between the Art Institute, the Chicago Symphony, and Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project. It will go on for the next year, and feature all kinds of great programs. I'd originally planned to get to the museum in time for a 10:30 performance by the Silk Road Ensemble, but fortunately decided instead to be there for the opening ceremonies on the Michigan Avenue steps. It began with a lion dance. No, the famous statues did not come to life. The dance was performed by people from a local Chinese cultural organization. There were speeches, and a performance by members of the Silk Road Ensemble. Yo-Yo was there, just hanging out on the sidewalk with the rest of us, though he was induced to take a seat with the dignitaries at one point. Then with a fanfare played by members of the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the red silk banners dropped over the entrances, and we all trooped inside.

There were performances and demonstrations throughout the museum throughout the day. I enjoyed a Silk Road Ensemble performance in the AIOC's jewel box of a theatre, Fullerton Hall, which included storyteller Ben Haggarty. He had me in tears with his telling of the story of the birth of the pipa, and then we got to hear Yang Wei play it. Actually, I heard him a few times over the course of the afternoon.

After that, I went over to where the Chagall windows used to be (they are currently in restauro) to watch students of the Natya Dance Theatre perform traditional Indian dances. Their instructor also gave a short talk about the history of the dances and some of the technique. I walked back toward the Asian galleries, stopping off to see a demonstration by a Chinese landscape painter, and then went to the Tadao Ando screen gallery, which I visit whenever I'm at the Art Institute. As I came out, I noticed a few chairs in the adjacent gallery, and then Yang Wei and some other members of the ensemble appeared and began to play. They were, it seems, wandering about the museum, playing here and there.

Then outside again, for a dragon dance, and more of the Silk Road Ensemble. I had decided to walk over to Randolph Street, where the Silk Road Oasis was having a sale. This was a space that has been operating for a few months, since the Silk Road Chicago Project was announced. Artists' demonstrations, sales of goods, and related events have been occurring there. But now they were closing, and selling everything, quite literally, down to the cloth panels that had covered tables. My plan had been to see what they had and then go back to the AIOC to hear an oud player performing Greek music from before the Ottoman Empire. But you know what they say about best laid plans. At the Oasis, I found a large, unwieldy, and totally irresistable object. It's two bunches of branches, lacquered and tied together, from which were hanging numerous origami cranes. They had originally had it hanging from the ceiling, but it's now on the wall above my bed. It's about five feet long, and maybe three feet in height (though we were able to fold it) and rather fragile. And I had to carry it on the bus. I figured the museum would not let me bring it in and probably wouldn't want to check it, either, so I just headed home with it.

This turned out to be a good plan, as shortly after I got back, it started pouring. It stopped, however, before I needed to head out again to hear the first Newberry Consort concert of the season. The program was 16th- and 17th-century Spanish music, and they had a much larger group than usual, four voices (it was supposed to be five, but the mezzo couldn't make it). The soprano also teaches at the place where I'm studying Italian. One of those "small world" things. They are starting the concerts a half-hour earlier this year, slightly shortening the pre-concert lecture. This avoids a half-hour of hanging around between lecture and concert, and gives people an opportunity to talk with the performers afterward and also get home a bit earlier.

Today, I met Bookcrosser Mochagirl for brunch. She's visiting her sister here. Had a very nice time discussing the differences between the legal systems (and professional culture) of the U.S., Australia and the U.K.

Then over to the Art Institute again for me, to a concert by the joint forces of the Oriana Singers, Ars Antigua and one member of Ars Musica Chicago. Called "Echoes of the East", it consisted of Italian music of the 14th-, 15th-, and (mostly) 16th-century. I knew it would be good when I looked at the program and saw that it would begin with a delightful little song that is a favorite of mine, Francesco Landini's "Ecco la primavera". The concert was preceded by a slide lecture given by the AIOC's education director, Mary Sue Glosser, whom I always enjoy, and was followed by a short gallery walk. Both focused on "blue-and-white" porcelains, flowers and silk, and how they traveled to, and appear in the art of, the Netherlands.

Unfortunately, in all this running around, I got no work done on my bookbinding project. I'm very much afraid it won't be done as soon as I'd like. I just hope it turns out to be worth the wait!

(Just so you know it's not all culture and glamour in my life, I also: did laundry, shopped for groceries, paid bills, and watched Jeeves and Wooster on TV.)
mojosmom: (Default)
Despite my oft-expressed preference for summer over winter, and hot weather over cold, there comes a time when I've had enough! Please! I don't even want to think about what my electric bill is going to be. I usually hold off turning on the airconditioning until it's really hot, but it's been impossible to open windows. Not even lake effect helps. And normally, turning on my dining room aircondtioner on high does a decent job of getting the entire apartment tolerable, but yesterday I succumbed and turned on the living room one as well.

The judge to whose courtroom I'm assigned has been on vacation for the last two weeks, so I've been able to dress relatively casually. But tomorrow I'm starting a jury trial. I don't wanna wear suits and pantyhose in 100º weather!! Whaaaa!

Mostly I've been lazing around the house, swilling iced tea. But yesterday I went to two events at Millennium Park. Redmoon Theatre did one of their site-specific pieces, called The Balloon Man, on the Great Lawn. What the Chicago Sun-Times said about it )

Then I went across the street, grabbed some food to go at Café Bacci, and went back to enjoy a Grant Park Symphony concert of American music. Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, that whole crowd.

Today, I went to the Newberry Library book sale. 31 books. It was the last day, so everything was half-off. Still, I went a bit wild in the Collectibles/Art room. I spent the morning buying books, and the afternoon cataloguing them!
mojosmom: (Music)
While my car was having its oil changed, I went to the Green City Market. I hadn't been there since last summer, and they have grown! I got golden beets, tomatoes, raspberries, tiny fingerling potatoes, green beans and flowers (ranunculus). After dropping the car back home, I went downtown for Brian Asawa's recital, which was excellent! He did Dowland, Handel, Vivaldi, Schubert, Fauré, Villa-Lobos and a piece from Jake Heggie's song cycle, Encountertenor, which was written for Asawa.
The trouble with trebles introusers )

Went home and relaxed a bit, and debated whether or not to go to the Grant Park concert. Just as I was starting to leave, it began to rain, then it stopped, so I dithered. Finally I decided to go, but threw my umbrella in my bag, "just in case". I ate at the outdoor café in Millennium Park, and then to the concert, which was Carl Vine's Percussion Symphony and Carl Orff's Carmina Burana (with soloists Harolyn Blackwell, Kelsey Quinn and Thomas Dymit). It did sprinkle a few times, but never for long or very much.

It was over at 8:00, but I've only just gotten home (it's about 11:00) because, unbeknownst to me, the concert I went to hear was followed by a choral program for Gay Games VII. (Which explains why there were a couple of annoying "ex-gays" carrying rude signs near the park - they were soundly ignored.) They had choral groups from a variety of places (includig the Combined Gay and Lesbian Chorus of Australia and New Zealand) and styles (the Gospel Chorus from NYC was most rousing, and, as they were introduced, the Navy Pier fireworks went off, which was appropriate as the group's name is IllumiNation!). A good time was had by all.
mojosmom: (Music)
It was a very musical weekend!

Saturday night I went to hear the Newberry Consort, with Trefoil, in a concert of 13th- and 14th-century music celebrating the Nine Worthies, some of it quite fiendishly difficult, all of it beautiful. One of the members of Trefoil, countertenor Drew Minter, was too sick even to get on a plane to come rehearse, so they had to alter the program a bit, and the remaining countertenor and soprano had to do double duty. But, as the Consort's manager said introducing them, "Machaut must go on"!

They will present the same program in New York next Sunday at the Cloisters, which has got to be a splendid setting for this music.

On Sunday, I went to hear DePaul Opera Theatre's production of Le Nozze di Figaro (sung in English), with students from DePaul University's School of Music. I went because Eric was conducting, and so many of his friends were there to cheer him on. We had been informed that Sunday afternoon would feature the "A" cast. As one might expect from a student production, the quality of the singing and acting was wildly uneven (the latter more so), but the young woman who sung Cherubino really stood out. She had that je ne sais quoi that marks the true professional.

Amidst all this, I also managed (finally) to get my sister's birthday present mailed (only a week late).

I didn't sleep very well last night, because it was seriously storming. Thunder and lighting, and rain pouring down in sheets, very loudly. But I did manage to drift off, and at least there were no tornados, though the northern suburbs had some bad wind damage. And Springfield got creamed.

Today and tomorrow, I'm attending a seminar downtown with a few other people from the office. One guy didn't show and we were wondering where he was. He showed up late, having forgotten about the seminar completely! He went into work and it was only then that he realized what he'd done. So he hopped in his car and dashed into the city.

The program is actually pretty good, which is a relief because this particular seminar got some bad reviews from people who went last year. But it seems they took the criticisms to heart and it is much improved. There are three breakout sessions running simultaneously, some of which are repeated, so there's plenty to choose from.

And they are feeding us a nice continental breakfast as well as lunch.

In other food related events, we had goodies at my Italian class tonight. It was our last class of the term, so someone brought cheese and crackers and olives, and someone else brought wine and pastries.

When I got home, I found an unexpected package from Harry & David! I had an investment account at Harris (which went through several different owners/name changes over the last several years), and the woman who handled my account recently left to join Smith Barney. Because I've always worked well with her, I decided to transfer my account, and this was a "thank you" gift. Chocolate truffles and nuts and fruit. Yum.

OH! I forgot to say, one of the nicest things about the H&D parcel was the packing materials! A couple of plastic pillows stuffed with styrofoam peanuts, some packing foam, and some other stuff that is now in my "packing materials" stash. And the cats are having fun with the box.

Legal musings )

Ragtime

Feb. 24th, 2006 04:04 am
mojosmom: (Music)
I've just been to a lecture/performance at the University of Chicago, by Reginald Robinson, a MacArthur "genius grant" winner, and ragtime composer. Interesting guy! When he was in the 7th grade, and living in the projects on Chicago's West Side, a couple of musicians came to his school to talk about music "from Baroque to Bebop". When they played some ragtime, he was hooked. He taught himself to read music and play piano, has been composing since his early 'teens, and is on a mission to keep ragtime in the public ear (so to speak). He talked about the history of ragtime, the musicians who invented it and made it popular, and played a lot of tunes. If he ever comes around your town, try to go hear him.
mojosmom: (Music)
I received an email today from Chicago Opera Theatre, announcing a performance tonight of the Chicago College of Performing Arts Chamber Orchestra, with David Schrader. Since I'm a great admirer of Schrader (harpsichordist, pianist, organist), and the program was heavy on Mozart (the "Haffner" Symphony and the Piano Concerto No. 9 in E flat major, along with Ginastera's Variaciones concertantes), of course I went. The students did a very creditable job, and Schrader, on fortepiano, was marvelous.
mojosmom: (Music)
I just discovered I'm an idiot. I never re-subscribed to the Newberry Consort series, and it starts this week! I think I was dithering about whether I wanted to attend at the Newberry (which I usually do) or their new venue at the University of Chicago, and just plain forgot. I'll call tomorrow. I can't believe I forgot to do this.

Saw Moulin Rouge at the Siskel Film Center last night. Why Colette Marchand got an Oscar nomination, I can't fathom. Her performance was seriously over the top. And I continue to be unimpressed with Zsa Zsa Gabor's acting. Jose Ferrer was good though, as was Suzanne Flon. As with most film biographies, this one takes some liberties with facts and chronology, but is probably more accurate than many, and the factual flaws don't take away from the overall truth of the story. It is beautifully photographed and costumed, and, with the exception of two songs poorly lip-synched by Gabor, the music is splendid.

Friday, I went to the opening of a show at the Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts, called Stand & Deliver: Engineering Sculpture Into a Book Format. There are some marvelous pieces in the show, but go to that link and see for yourself.

My car is lovely and clean (which means we'll get rain). The local high school senior class was having a car wash yesterday, so for $5 I got a bunch of very enthusiastic kids doing an excellent job, though I think at times they were getting more water on each other than on the cars.
mojosmom: (Default)
I haven't journaled in several days, so I'm playing catch-up. I think the last thing I wrote about was the free opera at Millennium Park.

On Sunday, there was another free concert, this one by the Chicago Symphony. It was a tribute to the 9/11 victims, and featured Ives' Variations on "America", and Copeland's A Lincoln Portrait, narrated by Sen. Obama. The second half was Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherezade, not one of my favorites, but I don't dislike it, either, so I stayed and enjoyed listening to music in a lovely outdoor setting.

This has been a very busy week at work. Our motion call (which is everything except trials, hearings and probation violations) is on Monday, and because of Labor Day and the judge's vacation, we had only one Monday this month, last Monday. So it was loaded up. Then the judge started feeling sick, and at about 11:00 she just began to give dates. Unfortunately, it was necessary to give the custody cases short dates, which basically meant today, which is normally our probation call. So today was loaded up as well. I didn't get out of court until after 3:00, which never happens on Thursdays! It will now be very quiet for two weeks while the judge enjoys a trip to Italy, and the first Monday she's back will be crazy again. (I must say, though, I am enjoying the busy-ness!)

Yesterday, there was a shower/lunch in the courthouse for one of my colleagues, who is marrying one of the court deputies. It was very nice, with lots of good food. However, someone was being a bit too free with the camera to suit the likes of camera-shy me!

I stopped by T.J. Maxx on the way home from work yesterday, and a good thing, too! Though I didn't find what I went there to find (a slip, doesn't anyone make slips anymore?), I did find a simple white silk short-sleeved shell. I've been needing one, as the one I have has got an inkstain that the dry cleaner has been unable to remove. It used to be you could go into any clothing store and they'd have a rack of silk shells in all sorts of colors. Not any more. So when I found this one, I was thrilled. On top of which, they had a pale pink and a chocolate brown, both of which I'll find very useful. And at T.J. Maxx discount prices, as well.

I was supposed to get my hair cut this evening, but I went straight from the office and missed the call that my hairdresser had to cancel. So I've rescheduled for Saturday morning. All was not in vain, however, since just down the street is Powell's Used Books, and they had three boxes of free books out front. It's too bad I couldn't carry more. Mostly mysteries, Grafton, Upfield, Muller, and Paretsky particularly. I grabbed a bunch of Paretskys that I'll register at BC and release, probably at locations mentioned in the books.
mojosmom: (Music)
I'm feeling a bit, hmm, nostalgic isn't quite the word. Old? No. Just remembering, looking back, seeing how far we've come. I've just seen the American Masters documentary, Sweet Honey in the Rock: Raise Your Voice on PBS. It's about their 30th anniversary tour, after which their founder, Bernice Johnson Reagon, retired. The group goes on, with two new singers (see, it takes at least two to fill Bernice's shoes!). I've always loved Sweet Honey, for years and years.

The thing is, though, I remember BJR from the SNCC [Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee] Freedom Singers, formed in 1962 in Albany, Georgia. They brought music to the movement, sang at the March on Washington in 1963. Whenever I hear Sweet Honey or BJR, I think of those days. Wasn't that a time!

Music runs in the Reagon family.
mojosmom: (Default)
It's been awhile since I've journaled any non-book stuff other than my job situation.

Here's the latest book stuff

Cultural stuff. I went to hear the Newberry Consort play some wonderful 15th-century Italian music, from the Palazzo Schifanoia. They also showed us slides of the frescoes there that inspired much of the music they played for us. And I went to see Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, at Chicago Opera Theatre, its Chicago première, directed by Andrei Serban. I thought some of the production was a bit gimmicky (the fairies were in t-shirts, backpacks and on scooters), but for the most part it was fine, and the voices and orchestra were great, as always.

My Italian class went out for dinner after class on Monday to a little place down the block. The food was wonderful; I had "fruity lamb", which was lamb strips seasoned with cinnamon, coriander and rosemary, and sautéed with dried apricots, zucchini, tomato, onion, garlic and cilantro. One whiff and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Unfortunately, the service is not good. It's just the couple that runs the place; the wife does the cooking and the husband handles the front. It's a shame, because people won't come again when it takes forever to get the food, however glorious. No class next week, because of Memorial Day, and the following week (the last class of this session), we're going to Franco & Gianni's, despite the Cubs game. They live a bit too near the ballpark for easy parking, so several of us will meet at Casa Italiana and drive in one car; we can use his spot because they don't own a car. We're hoping for good weather so we can hang out on their roof deck.

I'm in the process of getting organized for my trip to New York. In other words, I'm trying to take enough clothes but not too many. And shoes. Since I'll be seeing the same people for a few days at the reunion, and there are some dressy events, I have to take more than I'd like. I'm also making lists of all the exhibitions I need to go to. So far, the list includes the Met, the Jewish Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, the Center for the Book Arts and the New York Public Library. I'm meeting a friend one evening for dinner in Brooklyn, so I'm likely to go to the Brooklyn Museum and/or the Botanic Garden that day before we hook up.

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