It was a very interesting experience. Beautiful, in some ways. Standing by the curb, filming with the iPhone, with the sounds of pious and beautiful religious music in front of me and reggaeton, car horns, and motorcycles flashing behind me, it sort of epitomized the struggle to remain religious in a world that moves as fast as ours. Historically, religion has been a slow-moving concept; it begs contemplation, thoroughness, and reverence. Nowadays, it’s hard to maintain those things. It’s possible, but it’s hard. I liked that these people had the nerve and the interest to sing in that context. And it’s not like they were isolated. They were definitely old fashioned; the men wearing collared long-sleeved shirts, belts, dress pants, and the women wearing ankle-length, long-sleeved dresses and hair coverings, but they weren’t naive. One man came up to me afterwards, and introduced me to his five children, and commented on my iPhone. Then he asked me if I “knew the Lord”. I told him I did, and that I was Jewish, and he was very pleased. There was this sense of genuine excitement at appealing to someone else’s faith. He liked that a Jew appreciated their Christ-oriented music, and I liked that they wanted to sing it for me. He told me about their congregation, which is in Russell, and I think I’m going to try to go to some services. They sound very interesting. The congregation sings in this area often during the summer, so I will try to see them again. I loved hearing them sing, and I want to talk more religion with them. I don’t know all that much about Mennonites, and they seem like very interesting people.
Archive for category: music
I listen to and make a lot of music. Here are my reviews, recommendations, and other ideas.
How do you mourn for someone as complicated as Michael Jackson? The amount of ways in which he’s related to the world is huge. Beautiful dancer, child star, messed-up man, criminal, and so on. I’m hearing people say that he’s just a person, and that people die all the time, which is true, but he’s more than that. Before his long and slow fall, Michael Jackson was a beautiful man. And here’s the thing: I think the reason people are either so gossipy or apathetic about his death is precisely because of his long slow decline. Picture someone who was disgraced instantly, like OJ (I know he’s another black man, but that’s not the point). He’s almost canonized, despite how much people might loath what he got away with. Michael Jackson just faded.
And as a result, I would argue, the world doesn’t know what it’s lost. I’m mourning not for the Michael Jackson who was a screwed-up kid, not for the Michael Jackson who messed with his body so deeply, not for the Michael Jackson who came to represent the depravity of a dirty old man, but for the amazing, sexy, and beautiful man who danced with zombies and pioneered the moonwalk in front of a screaming crowd. After all he’s done and been through, and if he couldn’t in life, he deserves, in death, to finally rest in peace.
The saga of my purchasing of the new iPhone 3G S began yesterday, when my mom asked why I hadn’t camped out for the new iPhone. I explained to her the upgrade eligibility requirements, which resulted in my being unable to buy an iPhone at the unsubsidized price until December 12th. She tried to find a way around it, and we spent a while on the phone, somewhat unsuccessfully. The result was that I went to the Apple Store in Holyoke today to try to badger them into giving me a phone for the cheap price. They couldn’t for any of the reasons we had thought of, but it turned out my father’s line (on the family plan) was eligible for an upgrade, so we bought the phone through that line, and then went to the AT&T store and had them switch it. This took two full trips back and forth, but it got done, and the result is that I have the new iPhone, which is awesome. I’m still working on a case for it, but the new features seem to be pretty great.
This evening I was in Natick seeing Cadence with two other members of 5-Alone. The show was excellent. They did a lot more jazz standard and barbershop type stuff than I was expecting. It was all good, but some of it felt a little recursive after a while. Except for the Cole Porter. Cole Porter is really the best. You just can’t beat him in terms of standards. Fabulous.
It has been an extremely successful day.
I didn’t get home until about three in the morning, so I took the day off from school today to sleep and catch up on work.
The concert was amazing. The orchestra itself was really cool; a blend of people from all different countries. The conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas, was incredibly fun to watch. He had more expression than almost anyone I’ve ever seen before.
Four ten-thousand-watt (I think) projectors covered the entire ceiling and back wall of the stage of Carnegie Hall. Before each piece, they would show maps of where the composer lived, as well as periodically showing videos about select performers from the orchestra, compilations of audition videos during intermission, and some really cool multimedia stuff during a few pieces. During John Cage’s Renga and Aria, for instance, they projected the shapes and syllables he used to notate the piece, which is pretty cool sounding. Will and I got a look at the control room for all of the video, and it was intense. There were racks and racks of complicated audio-video and computer equipment, and all sorts of things we didn’t understand at all.
The orchestra also played Ride of the Valkyries, which is pretty much the most epic piece of music ever.
For me, the two highlights of the performance were the Internet Symphony No. 1, Eroica, composed and guest-conducted by Tan Dun in its world premier, and a piece they did with Mason Bates, a really awesome electronic DJ. He played with the full orchestra. Dun’s piece had a part for car rims which were played with ball-peen hammers.
The irony of wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt in a concert hall named after Andrew Carnegie did not escape me, and I think it was responsible for my being rejected by an interviewer from the BBC, who I guess was looking for people more well-dressed than us. We were a rather odd-looking group.
We hung out in Times Square for a while beforehand, got some excellent food from a street vendor, bought some hip-hop (which we listened to on the way home), and almost purchased some Obama condoms (“Michelle approved, ladies and gentlemen”, and “Create your very own stimulus package”), but they were $5, which was not practical.
The YouTube Symphony Orchestra is a historic event, but not for the reasons I had originally been thinking of. In terms of the formation of musical groups, the real democratizer was the recording process. In that respect, this is really no different. But it does really represent the way that classical music, and, indeed, the idea of collaborative music in general, is changing in response to this type of technology. It opens up new ground for the way music can be composed, put together, and performed. I am excited to see where it goes from here, and I am proud to have witnessed this event.
Also, this post has more categories than any I have ever written before, I think. It is just that awesome.
Tomorrow I am heading to Carnegie Hall to see the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. It is a half-day at school, and since I normally have no classes in the morning on Wednesday, I am not going in to school at all. Will will be picking me up at home, we will grab another friend a couple blocks away, and then head to New Haven. From there, we will take the train into the city.
The show is at seven-thirty, so we are going to be back pretty late.
I dug three holes, each three feet wide, and one-and-a-half feet deep. Two and half hours of work for a total of thirty dollars gives me twelve dollars an hour (not bad). But I wanted to calculate how much I was paid per volume of dirt (disregarding the rather substantial rocks I had to dig out and move).
Three holes, with a radius of one-and-a-half feet, and a depth of three feet.
πr2h = π(1.5)21.5
3π/2 ft.3 dirt per hole.
Thirty dollars for three holes is ten dollars per hole.
10/(3π/2)=20/(3π) $/ft.3 dirt ≅ 2.122065907891938 $/ft.3 dirt.
I bought David Byrne’s new album, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today online. So far, it is pretty awesome. I wish I had noticed the option to buy it in FLAC as well as MP3, seemingly for no extra charge, but I didn’t. Oh well. I did buy the vinyl package, so in a few days I will receive the album on vinyl, which is going to be great.
The Webcomics Weekend was a huge success, at least for the two hours I was there. I met a lot of awesome people, including Ryan North, David Malki, Joey Comeau, and Emily Horne. I bought two shirts, the first for me and the second for a friend who couldn’t come but is a die hard Dinosaur Comics fan. Also I got a gigantic pastrami sandwich on an onion bagel at the restaurant at Eastworks, which lasted me the rest of the day.
We didn’t do so well at Harmony Sweeps. We didn’t place or get Audience Favorite (we did both last year), but the groups that did were fabulous. I didn’t feel that disappointed, because I had a really great time, heard some really good music, and got a chance to perform with some really fun people.
Also, I had a singularly AWESOME experience after the show. A bunch of girls came up to the group, and asked for our AUTOGRAPHS! And they wanted pictures with us! It was SO COOL! I have NEVER given an autograph before, and I enjoyed it so much. They said that they were part of a high school choir as well, and they wanted us to come see their show, which we totally would have, except that it is on June 1st, which is 5-Alone‘s big show as well, and my birthday with all of its investment and skydiving-related opportunities and commitments. Speaking of my birthday, I was recently informed that Lucky’s, a tattoo and piercing parlor in Northampton, will give you a free piercing on your eighteenth birthday. This fits in perfectly with my planned theme for that whole day, so I am considering getting another piercing. It would definitely be an ear. I have to decide if I want to get my other (right) earlobe pierced, or if I want to go for one of those upper-ear-type things, and if so, if I want it to be on the left (already pierced) ear, or or the right. Decision, decisions.
Tomorrow I am sleeping, going to see my school’s production of Hair with a friend, and going to a Mock Trial meeting.
I am pretty sick and did not go to school today. I spent the day at home recuperating, running some errands, and I had a rehearsal this evening.
Last night I had a conversation with my mom about transgender health care, and, after reading articles today about the Pope’s anti-condom remarks en route to Cameroon, I am pissed off. People need to realize that some things supersede religion or personal belief. Human life and health is always more important. Always. Whether or not you think people should be having sex-changing surgery, the fact is that they do, and if you are a health care provider of any kind, you have a duty to those people that supersedes your beliefs about the morality of what they are doing. The same holds for religious figures. If you want to preach abstinence, that’s fine, but the fact is that condoms save lives, and to tell people in Africa, the continent worst-hit by AIDS, that condoms are “part of the problem” (yes, he actually said that), is just plain lying. That is outside of the realm of belief. That is false, and it should not be tolerated.