February 19th, 2006


(no subject)

I went to a benefit concert for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra last night. The benefit was the brainchild of the director of the Performing Arts Center, someone I do not know, but whose last name is the same as one of the conductors of the night.

There were three conductors, none of which was the conductor of the philharmonic, which is a musician-owned orchestra, the only one of its kind in the U.S. Our own Michael Nowak and Cliff Swanson took the baton on some wonderful pieces of music, including Barber's Adagio for Strings - and the scherzo from Beethoven's ninth. And a Mozart symphony, a really short one. And more. In addition to the symphony, two jazz groups performed, terrific performers, of course New Orleans groups.  One of the groups, the Storyville Stompers Brass Band, consists of six musicians. They paraded their way through the lobby and onto the stage actually during the first intermission, so people were mingling in the halls and on the stairs when they came by, filling the building with music. At the end of the concert they again played their way into the hall as people were grabbing their coats, and marched around the hall, playing, single-file. Some members of the orchestra grabbed their instruments and took off after them, dancing and sometimes playing along, and the parade got longer until the stompers stopped in the main lobby area, where they continued to play to departing audience members. Many of whom simply stopped and danced.

The other jazz group was Banu Gibson and the New Orleans Hot Jazz Band. If she didn't exist I think they'd have had to invent her. She's in her thirties, I'd guess, outgoing and friendly,with a rich jazz voice, and she said she was born with that name. I thought it was some kind of New Orleans name but it's actually from some other country, I don't remember.

Interestingly, very few of the musicians are black. That disappointed me, of course. I believe the orchestra recruits from all over the country, of course, given it's a professional full-time orchestra. So color is what you get, and I'm sure there are more white musicians looking for work than there are black. They are fine musicians. It was a real treat to hear them play difficult music so effortlessly, so cleanly, so beautifully. Our own symphony often surprises me with its expertise but this is a higher level. Some musicians from the SLO symphony, in fact, joined the orchestra, which says something about the caliber of their playing.

The end...


(no subject)

I'm really moving this weekend....not...

Yesterday I read and read and played sims and played sims. I went to that concert, great break, almost wished I'd asked someone to come with me. Today I've managed to get dressed but I haven't yet brushed my furry teeth. AFter I do that I will pack up my swim gear and head for the gym. Hoping against hope that everyone else doesn't have the same idea at the same time.

(no subject)

There are Big Questions out there to be asked, and I am not afraid to ask them.

Today's question: pillow shams. Are you supposed to remove the pillow from the sham at night, before sleeping on it? Assuming, of course, that the pillow has both a pillow case and a sham on it.

Book bonanza

I went to Borders today, to find a book to replace on I borrowed that Paul lost (I did not succeed in that) and to look for another book by Robert Wilson and to finish the one of his I was reading (The Company of Strangers). Of course I had to have a glance at the sale books. One the Three-for-two table I  found two books that are on my wishlist, plus a few others that looked interesting enough. So I bought:

The curious incident of the dog in the night-time (mark haddon - novel)
The End of Faith (sam harris - nonfiction)
Animals in Translation (temple grandin and catherine johnson - nonfiction)
The Blind Man of Seville (robert wilson - fiction)

I have begun The End of Faith and am engrossed already. No, it isn't about the loss of faith, of a nation seeking God. It is almost the opposite. It asks the questions about religions that need to be asked, and flatly says that they all have to go, and go now, for the sake of the world.

I am an atheist, meaning not that I "lack faith" but that I do not believe in a god. I have spent a lifetime tiptoeing around others who believe in a god, in spite of the sometimes-insane tenets of those beliefs. I have lately become more and more uncomfortable "accepting" others' religions when those religions simply aren't good for us, for the world, and are in fact the cause of more violence and death than anything else. I agree with Harris that it's time to put an end to it, to acceptance of insane beliefs of any kind.