mojosmom: (Default)
Since last I wrote, I have had quite a bit of music and music-related events in my life. Georg Friedrich figured prominently in a couple of them, hence the bad pun in my subject line.

I went to the dress rehearsal of Rinaldo at Lyric, which is basically little different from seeing an actual production. Some of the singers don't use full voice, and there is always the possibility of repeats (though none occurred on this occasion). It's absolutely marvelous, and I am looking forward to the actual event in a couple of weeks.

The next day, the Apollo Chorus (140 years old and still going strong) and the Elmhurst Symphony performed Handel's Dettingen Te Deum and Mozart's Requiem at Rockefeller Chapel. Both pieces were magnificently performed, and the setting was perfect:
Dressed for Christmas

On Sunday, I went back to the Civic Opera House for their backstage tour. What fun! We got to see all the various departments (wigs, wardrobe, props, etc.), and learned lots. So I can say that I have been on stage at Lyric and in the orchestra, and it wouldn't be a lie. And I got to wear a crown:
Crowned head
(The weird head position is because it was too big and wanted to fall off. "Uneasy lies the head", as they say.) Lots more pics here.

As you can see if you click through to the set, they're doing Showboat, which was, in my view, a waste of Lyric's resources. I don't go to Lyric to see musicals. It didn't help that it was miked, and not well, or that there was no chemistry between Magnolia and Gaylord Ravenal. Fortunately, their next foray into musical theatre will be outside the subscription series, so I can calm down about it.

Yesterday, they had a press conference to announce that Lyric has commissioned an opera based on Ann Patchett's book, Bel Canto, rather a natural, when you come to think about it. I am particularly thrilled that Nilo Cruz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, will do the libretto. Teatro Vista has done a ton of work with him, so I feel even more connected.

After the tour, I dashed off to the Smart Museum for a short concert of food-related music, ranging from Purcell to Schubert to Ravel to Comden & Green. The program was done as part of the events around the exhibit Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art, which I didn't have time to see that afternoon, but will go back to view.

In non-classical music events, I went to a wonderful film last night, Chico and Rita. Set in Cuba, New York and (briefly) Las Vegas, this animated film tells the story of two Cuban jazz musicians, pianist Chico and singer Rita, and their star-crossed love affair, from when they first meet in 1948, up to the present. I loved the animations, particularly the cityscapes. And the music, well, it just can't be beat. See it if you can: http://www.chicoandrita.com or http://www.chicoandrita.co.uk/

And in non-music . . .

My financial advisor decided that, since I have now been retired for several months, we should have a meeting to review my situation. All is well, all is, indeed, very well, and I have decided to transfer another account I have over to her. I've actually been thinking about that for awhile, and now it's done.

I went to an interesting lecture at the Art Institute about restoration (and faking) of old masters, and how conservators can figure out what's been done.

Today bids fair to be a fair day (it was already in the '50s at 8:00 a.m.!), so I am going to go out and enjoy the day. It's personal pampering day - I'm getting a manicure this morning and a haircut this afternoon.
mojosmom: (banned books)
I was rummaging in my junk closet, looking for some Kraft paper to wrap a parcel, when I knocked a wooden clothes hanger off the bar. It hit me on the bridge of the nose (don't worry, I'm okay), and managed to break the plastic frame of my glasses right down the middle! Fortunately, they're just cheap readers, not expensive prescription glasses.

After mailing the parcels and dropping a few things at the dry cleaners, I went over to the Smart Museum to see the exhibit, Echoes of the Past: the Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan. As not infrequently happens, I'd been intending to go, and suddenly realized it was the penultimate day! It's a fascinating exhibit. These stunning pieces were carved into the rocks of the caves in the 6th-century, and remained intact until the beginning of the 20th, when Buddhist art became collectible and the caves were vandalized to obtain sellable items. The exhibit includes a number of pieces from the caves, but also has digital reconstructions. More here.

(As it happens, the exhibit is traveling to the Sackler Gallery in Washington, and will be there while the BookCrossing Convention is taking place. I'll definitely want to go to the Sackler; they will also be having exhibits on the Shahnama, on Whistler and the Victorian Craze for Blue-and-White, and a couple of other interesting sounding ones.)

What I hadn't realized was that the Smart was also showing the David Wojnarowicz video, A Fire in my Belly, that was removed from the National Portrait Gallery after a bunch of idiots who probably never even saw it got all upset over one image of a crucifix crawling with ants. Apparently, a whole slew of institutions are now showing it, thus once again proving that censorship is the quickest way to disseminate that which is censored! It's actually rather difficult to judge quality of the video itself, which is made up of quick cuts between a wide variety of images, including a lot of archival footage, because it is unfinished. It's disturbing, but it needs to be. After all, he's raging about the AIDS-related death of a friend.

They also have a new piece in the reception area, the first of what will be an ongoing series. It's a huge and gorgeous ink drawing by the Chinese-born artist, Bingyi, called Cascade, that evokes traditional Chinese landscape paintings. If you go to Bingyi's website, click on "Projects", "2010" and then "Cascade", you can see more about it.

Last night I went to a great concert, Allen Toussaint with Don Byron (sax & clarinet) and Nicholas Payton (trumpet). Mostly stuff from their album, The Bright Mississippi, but other pieces as well. Symphony Center was rockin'! Gosh, I do love New Orleans jazz. I'd missed dinner because a friend came out to the courthouse to file some documents and we went out for coffee/tea, and I got home just in time to change and head to the concert. So afterwards I went to the bar at Rhapsody (in the Symphony Center) and had steak frites and a couple of glasses of Malbec.

I see I haven't mentioned the Lyric Opera production of The Mikado. I could have done without it. Not that it wasn't well-done, but a) I'm not a Gilbert & Sullivan fan, and b) Lyric Opera isn't the house for G&S. However, Stephanie Blythe was wonderful. A friend has pointed out that updating this to the '20s is a bit odd, as the Mikado would be the Taisho emperor and Nanki-Poo would be Hirohito. I don't think the production team caught that nuance.
mojosmom: (Birthday cake)
Birthday first (today):

I slept late! Of course, it helps that it was a Sunday, and I didn't sleep too late - the cats insisted on being fed. So I fed them and then myself. I'd bought some lovely fresh organic eggs at the farmers' market yesterday, and fried up a couple of them, over easy, had that and some raspberries - also from the farmers' market.

Read the Sunday paper in a leisurely fashion, talked to my sisters, both of whom called to wish me "Happy Birthday!", and then went over to the Smart Museum for a jazz concert. It was supposed to be held in their sculpture garden, but neither the audience nor performers would have been happy with two hours in 90┬║+ heat, so they moved it inside.

I stopped by Borders afterward and bought a pop-up book I'd had my eye on, and then came home and fixed a birthday dinner: boneless lamb steak, salad and sweet corn (again from the farmers' market). I have some green tea ice cream that I'm going to have later.

I have also been absolutely swilling iced tea all weekend. Best thing for the heat.

Yesterday, I went to the farmers' market (obviously!), but didn't stay long as I was meeting friends for lunch. We had tickets to a staged reading of Tanya Saracho's play-in-progress, El Nogalar, part of the Goodman Theatre's Latino Theatre Festival. It's based on Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, but is set in current day Mexico, and is excellent! It's going to have a full production as part of Goodman's next season, a co-production with Teatro Vista. TV had a cocktail party after the play for donors, potential donors, etc. in the Goodman's VIP lounge, which was nicely attended.
mojosmom: (movies)
A while back, a discussion with friends about travel digressed into "why do people dress like slobs when they travel?" which led to my usual comment that, when it comes to plane/train travel, I imprinted on Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest, and why don't I have a train case?

On Sunday, when I picked my friend Margaret up to go to dinner, she said, "come inside, I have something to show you", and she gave me a vintage Frost Blue Samsonite® train/make-up case! It's got a tray that hooks on the front, and a tilt-out mirror, and a removable quilted pocket. So I'm all set. All I need now is Cary Grant!

Yesterday, I wandered over to the Smart Museum for free concert in honor of a) Valentine's Day, and b) their exhibit, Sites to Behold: Travels in Eighteenth-Century Rome. With soprano, violin, harpsichord and violoncello, the program was called "Love, Italian Style" and featured works of Veracini, Vivaldi and Domenico Scarlatti. I got to the museum early enough for a bite to eat and a browse through that exhibit as well as an utterly gorgeous show called The Darker Side of Light: Arts of Privacy, 1850-1900. I fell completely in love with one piece, Fernand Khnopff's Memory of Flanders: A Canal. I love that one bit of sun in the upper left, and, in person, there is a sheen on the water that is incredibly realistic. My other favorite was Max Klinger's series, A Glove (be sure to click to see all the images).

I've made my hotel reservation for Amsterdam (I'll be at the Europa 92 with some other Bookcrossers), and am looking into hotels in Florence (I really need to just make a decision, but there are so many choices!). I also need to reserve plane/hotels for my trip to NYC in May/June. I'm just debating whether to go out on the 26th, and visit Book Expo, or wait until the 27th. I think I need to check my work schedule/vacation time available.
mojosmom: (Turning pages)
My summer housemate has returned to the bosom of her family in Brooklyn, at least until she returns to the University in September. I let her leave her bike in a storage area of our basement. Mira was actually quite a good housemate: quiet, clean, friendly but not intrusive, smart, and, according to Lilith, gives good tummy rubs.

I took Friday, my birthday, off work. I did some boring errands, like getting a oil change and taking Lilith for her annual check-up. But I also went to the Smart Museum of Art for the exhibit Seeing the City: Sloan's New York, etchings and paintings by John Sloan, along with some photos and letters. I had read Van Wyck Brooks' biography of Sloan several weeks ago in anticipation of the exhibit, and while it certainly wasn't necessary for an appreciation of the show, I was glad that I had done so. It gave an added depth of understanding. I must say that I prefer the etchings, and the night paintings, to the figural representations. The Museum had also set up an interactive computer program, which allowed one to locate on a map, or on a timeline, the various etchings and paintings. It also contained photographs and film of some of the locations that Sloan drew (some of the film was quite early - turn of the 20th-century). I have another book, John Sloan's New York Scene, a collection of excerpts from his letters, diaries, etc., that I think I will read before the exhibit closes in September, and then make another visit.

I had an appointment with my hairdresser in the late afternoon, but she was running very late, so I switched it over to the evening. That allowed me to take myself to dinner at a local Italian restaurant before the appointment. She gave me a cut much like Meryl Streep's in The Devil Wore Prada, but my bangs are shorter. (I do peer over my glasses like that, though, particularly during cross-examinations.)

Saturday I had planned to go to the local farmers' market, but it was raining so I didn't. But I did go to a neighborhood spa place, Japanese Spa Zen, where I treated myself to a Japanese herbal bath and an hour-long massage, another birthday gift to myself. What a pleasure! I will definitely go again, though it's a bit too expensive to do frequently. But a half-hour massage occasionally won't break the bank.

Today I went up north for dinner with friends and general hanging out. Fran's daughter had dropped by with her latest creation, Fran's sixth grandchild (2 1/2 months), so we all cooed and admired.

June 2017

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