It takes a long weekend to…

ProgDayHeaderArt-MushroomIt takes a long weekend to make a short movie, see some great music, enjoy the country with narrow dogs, and turn congressional hearings into a nationally acclaimed opera.  Let me explain.

Em is now back from her First Descents excursion.  As predicted, this was an intense time and I have no doubt the reverberations will continue for quite some time to come while they’re being worked into her general psyche and identity.  Basically, take about fourteen young adult cancer survivors to Jackson Wyoming (scene, coincidentally, of the Beckerantz honeymoon) and take them rock climbing, out of their comfort zone and let everybody feel alive in a way they never have before.  The results are hard to put into words, especially for someone who wasn’t even there, but I’m sure she’ll be reporting at length on Seeemilyplay.  But tonight, it’s all about iMovie.  I’ve supplied this girl with what little knowledge I have and she’s running hog wild.  The results are already tremendous, and she’s only up to about the three minute mark.  Hopefully, by the end of this long weekend, I’ll link to an audio-visual document that will give you some idea of what she has experienced over the past week.

ProsaicParadise is soaking in the groovy sounds at ProgDay 2009 down in Chapel Hill.  She’ll be seeing Ozric Tentacles and some other cool acts over two days.  Kudos to her for making the trek in the name of great prog!

FBdN is in the country with his family and the greyhounds.  Bucolic and calming pictures are already starting to emerge, and I urge you to check them out.

It’s Fringe Festival time here in Philadelphia and one of the local acts is an opera based on the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings and Alberto Gonzalez’s extraordinarily humorous performance.  The thing itself was outrageous, but the The Gonzales Cantata is swiftly becoming a national craze, especially thanks to Rachel Maddow.

Aliette de Bodard is catching up on her Battlestar Galactica and has a few choice thoughts as she gets into season 4.  This woman is an exceptional writer of sci-fi and fantasy and her career is just starting to take off, so it’s exciting to get her sincere thoughts on BSG and everything else.  Her blog and fiction are highly recommended.

Finally, there is a great Dylan bootleg from July 5, 2009, that has just surfaced at T.U.B.E.  There’s always great audience tapes of Bob’s shows, but this one is from the soundboard, which gives it a little more clarity.  Great setlist, including my favorite from the new record, a lil ol’ blues number called Jolene.

The meta- post, or blogs nobody reads

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As Emily begins to take flight and FBdN spreads its wings to fly in a more individual direction, I am compelled to revert to the meta-post.  A rumination on blogging will hardly display the intense compactness and focus of one of Em’s entries, or the articulate and erudite humor routinely found at FBdN.  In the latter’s case, there can be no dispute that a profession in writing was inevitable.

No, the meta-post (the one that seems like it’s never going to get started – this one!) is boring to others and extremely self-indulgent.  But, since so few people read this blog (or even know about it), I am safe from any real consideration of audience.  Or am I?

It is not a child’s journal, hidden safely in a closet or under the bed.  This is a more public space.  Family and friends presumably know that you’ve staked a claim to a certain corner of the virtual universe.  They are not barred from reviewing you innermost secrets, should you choose to share.

An that’s the funny thing about writing.  It reveals so much, often without meaning to.  So while I’m posting pictures of vacation, promoting a political point of view, or suggesting a new collection of Brazilian music, I may let my guard down.  I may want to.

Odds and ends – music, friends, family, fun

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Special thanks to el Sturg and his lovely wife for hosting me in the DC metro area.  Senor Sturj and I ventured into the wilds of Columbia, MD for Progressive Nation 2009.  We got treated to Zappa Plays Zappa, Dream Theater, and even a little Queensryche.  It was a great night of music with a dear friend, but I’ll need some time to digest the whole deal.  In short, the Zappa set was brilliant, satisfying and very much what I expected.  It was a treat to see such extraordinary music played so brilliantly.  Dream Theater, quite simply, was an onslaught.  Portnoy might be the best in the business behind the drums.  I’ve seen him before, but not with HIS band.  This show was loud, abnoxious, mighty and awesome.  Like I said, more on that later.

I also received a huge supplement to my music collection via Mr. and Mrs. Sturg.  With the former, I have an opportunity to hear every single show Mahavishnu played between 1972 and 1974.  Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday night, etc, etc.  That is a deep collection.  From the later, I got to continue my education in sounds from around the world, as the Mrs. has traveled widely, speaks fluent Spanish and supplemented her considerable music collection accordingly.  I was only able to scratch the surface while being treated to pancakes and fresh fruit this morning, but I still managed to collect many gigs.  It was a good haul; just how good, will take some time to fully realize.

Friday night (still in Philly), my friend Joe had the sense to push me to Johnny Brenda’s, where I always love what I see.  In this case, it turned out top be a band I had already seen, but in a much worse venue.  I previously reflected on these events over at Fretbuzz, so there’s that.

On Thursday we wrapped up a great visit with my dear sister and her hell-ish beast-like offspring amazingly sweet and hilariously funny kids.  Dorothy has some great shots posted at her .mac sight.  I’ve got a few things to add, although most of my stills are from the Bat Mitzvah.  This video (warning: unedited!!) gives a good feel of how things progressed:

With today’s 7-3 drubbing at the hands of the Gigantos, the Phillies have now dropped a disturbing number of games on this seven-game west coast trip.  I wouldn’t worry so much, seeing as their lead in the atrocious NL East is still pretty comfortable, but they will undoubtedly have to play San Francisco and/or LA when playoff time comes, provided they get there.

I guess the last thing worth mentioning is the insane joy I’ve been getting from following Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG’s Data; yes, that Brent Spiner) on Twitter.  He has clearly elevated the art form.

AND, last but not least, the new Beardfish record Destined Solitaire is yet another work of genius.  Great music, lyrics, cover art, everything.  More on that later too.