Music


…because it’s MY blog (and a great performance too).

 

That’s me!  I’m channeling Kurt Cobain and playing the power chords to Teen Spirit.  I’m at the Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle thanks to John’s conference there.  The evening also included a trip up the Space Needle too.

I loved Seattle.  It’s my favorite (American) city yet.  It’s walkable, I relished the daylight to well after 9 p.m. (summer solstice), Pike Place Market gives it a lively focal point, it possesses a wealth of beautiful old buildings (visit the Seattle Architecture Foundation for guided and self-guided tours), and I LOVE their library by Koolhaas (much to my dismay).  AND we were treated to amazingly bright, comfortable, summery weather.  It was the “perfect storm” that left me sufficiently entertained.

I’m definitely going back.

Semi-dome, Transit Plaza @ Union Station

I had gobs to do this past weekend especially since I would be leaving for New Mexico on Tuesday. Despite that, John and I had a hankering to take on one of our favorite day trips through Pasadena. We drive downtown and park at Transit Plaza at Union Station, get a day pass and duck in and out of the stops along the Metro Gold Line on the way to old town Pasadena and oftentimes cap the day with dinner at Traxx (consistently a great meal and in a great space: Union Station). In the past we’ve discovered the Museum of the Southwest (at the Metro stop by the same name), Margarita Jones for a memorable chicken mole enchilada and blue cadillac margarita (at the Fillmore stop), exquisitely junkie antique shops (at the Mission stop), and we’ve trekked to the Norton Simon (from the Memorial Park stop). I’m pretty sure the Norton Simon is, architecturally, my favorite art museum very narrowly beating the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art.

As I readied for a day of walking in the bright sun, I chose a breezy skirt, sleeveless shirt and my new blast-from-the-past Jesus sandals. These were sandals popular in the 70’s that I spotted and immediately acquired (“made in Italy” usually closes a shoe deal for me). I was aware there was no insole cushioning, but I figured I wasn’t hiking La Luz trail up to Sandia Peak (for instance), I’d be fine.

We only made 2 stops: the Mission station to hit the antique shops and then to Memorial Park. From there we walked – back-tracking to near the Del Mar stop to try a restaurant nearby and walked back again into Old Town Pasadena and then Metro’d back to Union Station. When we got back on the Metro, I could feel a burning sensation on the soles of my feet. I figured the train ride would lend enough time to rest my feet. And so at the end of the Gold Line and the day, we didn’t go straight for our car, we headed for Olvera Street. It was the weekend before cinco de Mayo and we both knew we had to duck in on the scene. I scarfed a churro against the expected backdrop of mariachi music and we enjoyed the cool breeze and the slant of light at sunset along with the music. I LOVE mariachi music! How can anyone not love mariachi music???

So after a dose of fiesta we headed back for our car and as I walked, the effect of the sandals kicked in. My left pinky toe had just about enough of the strap that harnessed it for hours and I felt an electrical-shock type pain that affected my walk. I tried adjusting my shoe so many times as I slowly walked back to the car clinging to John.

My feet were fine when I got home and out of the sandals and I’ve since put the sandals on sabbatical for my feet to recuperate – couple more days I’ll get back to wearing them a lot (but not for day tripping).

…so the brewery open-studio gig was this weekend and after attempting to go on the wrong weekend the actual show is, really, anti-climactic (see past post “Back to LACMA”). We both had our own projects at home which kept us in for the weekend except for the SWPL* double header: heading out to Carson for Ikea AND Target. We decided to mix it up with some retail entertainment. It’s such a treat to experience high ceilings and large spaces given our cramped living quarters.

Ikea: I’m incensed – they’ve changed their generic Ikea-techno-elevator-house music loop to top-40-“commercial-tribal”. I hate it. I loved their techno-loop music along with the blue arrows on the floor directing my procession and the taped announcer over the PA while ascending by escalator: “welcome to IKEA…”. It was honest, transparent, and playfully modern; I could, with full awareness, accept my role as a willing consumer with these cues. I would very nearly believe that I could look up the music’s subliminal messages (i.e.”…get the swedish meatballs after you check out…”) on ‘lyrics.com’. It’s really losing its semiotic wit and Whoville edge (I even used their free post cards for greetings and casual thank you notes and they’re gone too!).

Target: Love the lighting there; just the right spread and footcandle bouncing off the white VCT floors – very flattering. No wonder everyone likes shopping there. Also, received my free, nylon, Target bag with this month’s Vanity Fair magazine (in the mail for subscribers). Brought it. Used it. Very attractive graphic too.

conc_hall.jpg

I just pulled into my parallel park upon my arrival at work when my cell phone rang. It was John: a co-worker of his offered him tickets to the LA Phil. I’m hesitant. I’m thinking: it’s a “school night”, I’ll have to leave work early, what about the commute?, what am I going to wear? We ended the call with a few “well-if-then…s” and a promise to report back. We both took a few minutes to meditate, look up the program online, and come to our senses: “uh – YEAH!” (hey, I’m not a morning person).

And so we went (Wednesday, March 26). I have to admit that an evening out on a weekday does not have the same ‘vibe’ as the weekend. It carries that pall of having to report to work the next day and lacks that sense of relief and celebration that goes with “WEE!”-kend.

Despite traffic warnings (for a concurrent event at Staples Center), we made it in time with a small margin of elbow room. The amuse-bouche for the evening was Franz Hasenohl’s riff on Richard Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel: Till Eulenspiegel – einmal anders! It was familiar but I couldn’t place it for its Gerschwin-esque play on the piece. It was delightfully comical and I eased back into my seat (3rd row orchestra – just to brag) for the rest.

Next came Mozart’s String Quartet in C major, K. 515. From where I sat, the cello was a little strong, functionally, however, the performance set the scale: tuned the audience for the intimate acoustical scale (and demand: no coughs or candy wrappers) required for chamber performances. The audience, despite a gracious pre-concert address and plea (by Martin Chalifour) not to applaud between movements, applauded between movements (I think he may have given a mixed message). I could see the ensemble players exchange grimaced-smiles as they endured the well-meaninged assault on their performance.

Intermission came. I wasn’t feeling so good. My tummy was gurgling for having a quick bite instead of dinner and “I hear” the acoustics at Disney Hall are ace. I was considering sitting out the second half and wait for John until the end of the performance so as not to compete with the ensemble. I decided to persevere – a worthy decision. The performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A major, K.581 left me spellbound. There was a noticeable chemistry among the players (Michele Zukovsky, Martin Chalifour, Gustavo Dudamel, Dale Hikawa Silverman, Peter Stumpf). Michele Zukovsky’s virtuosity (clarinet) was intoxicating and her interludes were well-balanced by the rest of the ensemble (one minor, squeeky critique: some phrasing in the Larghetto seemed to exceed breathing scale and distracted-in an impressive way- just a hint). The Larghetto, especially, was phenomenal. It closed, spinning itself (and me along with it) into that silence and pause between movements. I was suspended and there for a brief, quiet moment I wished and prayed: “…please, no applause…” …and the audience applauded. I sighed and the Quintent proceeded. Overall, the performance was exquisite. I left with the feeling of having seen a really good movie: the story and the plot were focused, the characters were fleshed-out, the acting drew you in. Bravo! What’s more, is, I heard the Larghetto again the next day on KUSC for the “anti-road rage” piece at 5:00 pm. The performance I attended was recorded and I’m pleased to report: you canNOT hear my stomach grumbling (did I mention the 3rd-row orchestra seating?).

Thank you Simon and De-Ling!