sanura: (Default)
( Dec. 8th, 2014 08:43 am)
Wow. That may be the best show experience I've had since Tony Beliveau handed me a piano string right off the stage.

I arrived in Austin, found a relatively convenient and free parking spot, and confirmed the time of the show with the bartender at the Hole In The Wall (very apt, really). I spent the remaining 7 hours mostly in the car, occasionally in the Burger King next door, finishing Deathly Hallows. I got to the end of the epilogue just in time to go in and watch the openers start setting up, around 9:30. Andrew arrived shortly thereafter, and we sat at the bar chatting (the bartender was very helpful about giving me drinks with no alcohol).

Eventually, some of the guys came up to the bar from their little clique in the corner to get drinks. I said hi to George across Andrew, and he said a surprised hi back, and asked where he knew me from. I explained we'd come to see Crash Kings last time they were in Austin, and introduced myself and Andrew, and stated our cities of habitation. George was impressed with the length of my trip just to see the band, but I told him they were worth it. He hoped so, and told me the show was gonna be pretty different this time, as they had no drummer and were playing acoustics. I didn't mind, as I really liked the acoustic recording of Land Without Age they posted on Youtube, but they had a cojon even on that one, so this was gonna be a new experience for me.

We talked about the albums a bit, and I explained The Gears probably has about 200 plays on my iTunes. "The whole album?!" he asked, and I confirmed. It's a good one for drawing to. The Overload is a little less of a constant companion; I love some of those songs so specifically I can't let the next track roll on. He asked which ones I skip; I know I'm a Cat is his favorite, but I said it anyway with a lot of qualifiers. I just love the first four and Legend of Red Mahogany so much I skip to them.

I had my copy of Dance With Dragons facedown on the bar, so he asked about my book. I showed it to him, and we commiserated over the different levels of action in the various installments of A Song of Ice and Fire. I told him I'd been saving this one for awhile, so I could reread the others and get the foundation of the story back under me, but I eventually gave it up and just started it, as I'm afraid GRRM is going to die before he gets the last ones done. George has apparently met GRRM; he told the story really well. He was hanging out in the Beverly Hills Mariott with his hotel-heir friend, whom he didn't know was the son of the owner until after they'd already been friends in college forever (I told him about Joodles's unexpected descent from the Exec VP of Shell, and he was suitably impressed), when he saw GRRM walk through with some people. He yelled out "I'm a big fan", and got a nod and a smile in return, and then "of the books!", and that made GRRM come over and talk with him a bit. What a fun conversation that could be.

He eventually went back over to his friends, but Tyson came up to get a drink and did a double-take at me and Andrew, saying "look who it is!" and I admitted we were the ones who had stolen their merch table last time they were in town. He was glad to see us, and went around the back while  the openers started to play. I'm sure they were skilled and talented, but punk is not my genre, and I think the rest of the bar concurred, as they (Trophy Kids, I believe they were called) garnered only polite applause and seemed content with it.

And then King Washington came on and did two whole songs for their sound check, soliciting feedback from the all of 12 people in the bar about the sound. Did anything need turning up or down? Nobody said so, so they played amazing show.

They started with Hey Boy, which I don't know well, as the singular recording on Youtube is not very good-quality audio, but I certainly loved it live. They did an awful lot of songs I did know, though, and Andrew and I tracked the various levels of obviousness of Beatles influence from song to song. Andrew even said he recognized several of the ones they had played at the first show we saw.

George asked me by name from the stage how I liked the acoustic versions of their songs, which was fun. I said "I love it!" and I was very enthusiastic, but he teased me about how when people's voices go up like that they might not mean what they say. I reassured him that I spoke the truth; I really did love it. Everything was just as powerful as the studio recordings, and the several unfamiliar tunes grabbed me I'm sure just as hard as they would have if it'd been an electric show.

It is an interesting thing, being a musician. I am sure there are people who love individual pieces of music as much or more than I do, but it is a delicate thing, a live show. The experience is so easy to mar, or even ruin, with the wrong atmosphere. I try not to be a snob about concert etiquette at classical shows, and I think I succeed pretty well, but it still draws me inexorably out of the potential greatness when somebody is continuously unwrapping candy next to me, or a kid is kicking my seat, or a hard-of-hearing couple are faux-whispering comments to each other. These are not occurrences that can screw up a rock show, and for that I am grateful; even acoustic shows are so much louder than any bar ambiance that I can be totally immersed in both the sound and the sight of the guys on stage pouring music into the air. When it is music I have obsessed about independently of live performance, there is the added dimension of interactivity; they are people, and they play music, and I am a person who can play music, too.

If you've been on tour for 10 weeks and you're stalling to figure out the progression of a song you haven't played in awhile, and your words have left you, you can say that into the microphone and it will remind me that you are real, someone real created this stuff that I love, and it is possible to do amazing things in the world even if you aren't a constant paragon of perfect stage presence. If you flub the progression a little bit when you play the aforementioned song, and then recover beautifully and rock a scorching solo, and then explain sheepishly how in those 10 weeks you have somehow forgotten to play the guitar (especially if I happen to know you are an utter guitar badass, a graduate of the USC guitar program), it is endearing and reassuring, because you are real! It is not a mean indictment of your mistake that brings me joy. You are a person! You are not a recording, and I am not either, and that means I can aspire to your level someday.

I don't know if these things and a sense of bone-deep rightness soak into fans who don't write or play themselves, but when I see a show full of greatness, especially flawed and goofy greatness, in an idiom I can analyze and appreciate and identify all the aspects of which I like, some of which seem to be precisely tailored to my musical preferences, it's not just an academic satisfaction. It's the closest I think my humanistic soul comes to a religious experience. Except it's also fun.

George insisted they were done when they played their last song, as "that is literally all the songs we know", but somebody shouted out "Tom Waits!" and it was on. He encored, by himself, while Billy and Tyson started loading out their amps and instruments, with 3 tom waits songs. He took requests for the first two, one of which was The House Where Nobody Lives, and then did the one he was going to do in the first place, The Heart of Saturday Night. I wished I could have remembered the one I like from his soundcloud, All the World is Green, but it was fantastic just to hear him say "that's my jam!" when somebody asked for something he liked. He eventually begged off around 1, admitting he could play Tom Waits all night.

Andrew didn't stay long, but I waited around, finishing my Bloody Mary Mix (I told you the bartender was helpful). Tyson came and sat with the table of girls next to me, and George eventually came and sat down with me. I asked for a copy of The Gears for the way home, since they hadn't had any left last time, and I couldn't burn a cd despite having a computer day job. He asked me what my job was, and I ended up basically pitching OpenStax to him. I admitted I wasn't really looking forward to going to work tomorrow, though, and he realized I still had to drive back to Houston. "Get outta here!", he said, but I said it wouldn't make much difference. He loved the idea, of OpenStax, anyway, and was very enthusiastic about accessibility and openness, and recommended me the Aaron Swartz documentary, which I have to admit sounded painfully sad but excellent.

He mentioned they're going straight from Austin to Phoenix, so we talked about driving and long trips and touring, and I said I thought I would do well in the touring life. He said it's hard, especially a ten-week jaunt like they've been doing. I know that, but he misses his family and friends and girlfriend, and I don't have any friends ("I'm sure that's not true," he said seriously, but for real, very few of my friends live here, so I might see more of them if I were a nationally touring entity), so I think I'd be suited to it. And the driving.

I mentioned I stay awake by singing, and he hypothesized probably not on 16-hour trips, so I told him about the Kansas City to Boston drive where I had the midnight-to-9am leg and spent the whole time singing the earlier discs of the Beatles Anthology at the top of my lungs. I love the obscure stuff you find in those kinds of compilations; we talked about obscure recordings from early in the era and how fascinating they are. He explained how his girlfriend's grandmother was a jazz singer whose first recording gig was with Benny Goodman and whose early recordings are now lost. The time was a tricky one; stuff used to just get burned. I mentioned as a similar example Doctor Who, and how lucky we are to have as much the Anthology we do; he suggested it's probably because they got really big not long after they started recording. He also recommended a more obscure set of Beatles recordings, the original acoustic demos of the White Album, known as From Kinfauns to Chaos, available in the dark recesses of the internet. It's amazing.

He thought he should probably get back in the van, and I said I'd drive to Houston instead, and thanked him emphatically, with a return thanks for coming out. It was. The best show.
sanura: (Default)
( Aug. 17th, 2014 11:24 pm)
It was one thing to go to the V&A, which I didn't realize was free, in the company of another history enthusiast and fellow fan. She shepherded me, or we shepherded each other, around the ancient, medieval, and renaissance exhibits, around the jewelry collection, and through the silver and glass corridors to the secret members' tea room, which was beautifully tranquil and had lunch available. She got me a lovely tea and gave freely of her painkillers (apparently we synced over the internet before meeting), and we sat and talked for quite awhile before I gathered the wherewithal to get to the Globe.

We arrived just as the doors were closing, barely in time for the opening lines of Julius Caesar. It was spectacular. I can't even begin to explain how much more important the Globe practice of entering and exiting through the audience becomes for a play in which the most important character is the Roman populace.

Brutus and Antony were both crying messes for at least half of their impassioned speeches, respectively, and it was perfect.

I went to the Swan to get some iron content in my stomach and he and half the rest of the cast wandered in and dispersed through the bar about 20 minutes later. The girl who had been standing near us in the yard came and sat down with me and talked to me for awhile, then encouraged me when I mentioned I was gonna go say hi and good show.

So I went over after I’d finished my pie, and told him how much I’d cried. He said he hoped they hadn’t been tears of boredom! No, we were congratulating him on his performance. It was a sad play! We talked about how not only were empires falling and politics grinding but also how tragic it is to see friendships breaking up, especially deep friendships like that between Brutus and Cassius.

We spent a long time talking about how important humanity was in Shakespeare and how much he loved the play and this was the part he’d wanted when he first read it and sometimes it can get to be about ideas instead of people and I was like “but Romans are people too” and he was like “exactly!” and we dorked out about performance and character. He did comment on how basically straightforward it was to do with this material, as you have to say the words and think them, and I agreed as how there’s probably a reason we have this theatre that’s for the sake of the one playwright, but even considering the greatness of the text, you have to say the words and think them and I have to believe them. And that what is great about the Globe is that I always believe you.

He noted I must have been to the Globe before so I told him about Scottish Play last year and Antony & Cleopatra two days before and how mind-blowingly awesome they were and he asked where I’m from so I told him my Massachusetts-California-Houston spiel. We talked about how LA is hard to live in unless you know people because he’s been doing a couple plays there over the past few years and then the girl who came up with me for moral support (who had been talking to the lady Brutus was sitting with) mentioned how London’s not much better, and we talked about living in big cities and friendliness. Everyone had been pretty friendly to me, I said! But he thought LA was easier to make friends in, which surprised me.

He complimented me on my hair and scarf and so of course I told him Fry had said that and he said “aha, that means I have good taste” and asked if I’d seen Fry in Twelfth Night and I explained I’d seen it on Broadway and also cried even though it wasn’t sad and he said well but even the comedies have a kind of melancholy to them and we talked about how humanity contains melancholy, even comic characters like Malvolio.

I explained how I’d been floored by not only Fry and his tragic Malvolio but also Sam Barnett and his exquisite Viola and he said he and Sam were in the same year at RADA! And we talked about how awesome Sam is, and I asked if that meant he knew Jamie Parker, and he did! Not in the same year, but he actually knew him before RADA because of school in Edinburgh. I told him I’d gone to see Jamie in Guys & Dolls in Chichester last week, and he asked how it was. I told him it was previews, so it was just a tiny bit rough, but I don’t even particularly like that show and I loved it because Jamie was genius. He (though he loves the show) agreed how he thought Jamie must be perfect for Sky, since despite his natural bounciness (someone who knows Jamie Parker well agrees he has natural bounciness) he is so good at playing bleak, and there is a bleakness to the character that has to come through if it’s going to be good, if it’s not going to be *jazz hands* “its a musical!” (and he actually did the jazz hands, it was charming). I agreed, and said that as much as I love musicals, for me to be invested it has to be at least marginally Real. And that brought us back around to character and performance and how awesome the theatre is. I told him I was trying not to be weird, as I do perform and I know it can be weird, but he was very sweet and said as how it wasn’t weird at all, but very kind, and he really appreciated talking with me and how lucky he was to be here doing this.

And I took my leave and he charmingly introduced himself as Tom and asked my name and we shook hands and I ambled out with the girl who came up with me for moral support. (We went the wrong way, but it was all right).

So chalk another actor up in the ranks of proper dears who will enthuse with you about the things they’re doing. His name’s Tom Mckay. Keep an eye out for him.



sanura: (Default)
( Aug. 13th, 2014 09:17 am)
Yesterday was a day of magic.

You might think it's because we took Talitha southward awhile and looked at three 700-year-old castles including one by a lake with swans, and I knitted in the car and finished off the purple yarn she gave me when I asked for something to make. And that is part of it, because there really is nothing like climbing around a landscape and considering that people climbed purposefully around it and made a life here and fought and baked and slept and admired these fat walls and the view across the lake and generally went about being humans. So long ago.

Or you might think it's because the Roman settlement we visited that afternoon were just as inhabited, with more evidence and more archeological finds and coins and leather preserved in the anaerobic clay for 2000 years. I can hardly believe it. We spent several hours looking at both the Roman Army Museum at Vindolanda and the actual dig that had its own museum. I saw tablets and a collection of facsimiles with the only female handwriting in the British Roman settlements, inviting her friend to a birthday party. I've always loved Roman history, and the combination of Roman history and what amounts to pre-English history is like nothing else. Celtic triskelions and Roman eagles and thatched half-timber houses with Roman bathhouses. It's fantastic. It's like a fantasy.

The trip down to Chichester was a different kind of time. For awhile, all was well, but at the end (before the last, blessedly quick stretch of 12 miles), we spent 3 hours going 30 miles and I thought we might not make it and I cried harder than I meant to. And my knees were so tense from the stress of the traffic that sitting still was especially difficult despite the need.

For there was need. We made it with half an hour to spare before the show started, and I was determined to catch everything about it. The dancing was thrilling from the very beginning, and I knew the ensemble would be perfect. Peter Polycarpou's singular Oklahoma character was perfectly at home as Nathan Detroit; it was like he was born to play this part and has been waiting for it. And from Jamie's first whistling, ambling entrance, he was perfect, too. He does a very good NYC accent, and looks ludicrously charming and at home in his high-waisted 50s suit trousers and hat.

The choreography throughout was stunning, but the Havana moves were particularly amazing, with the protagonist couple weaving through the dance at cross purposes, bumbling, smoothly intercepting each other's attempts at making any kind of progress... it was its own kind of dance, and I didn't realize until later that it wasn't all choreographed.

My tears didn't fall in I've Never Been In Love Before, but only because I couldn't stand the thought of missing a moment of the view. Magic. Magic all the way through the show, through the climactic misunderstanding through Jamie's manically compelling Luck Be A Lady through the happy ending.

We went to wait at the stage door, having asked the interval ice cream ladies where it was.

Two girls arrived to wait for autographs shortly after us, and we all waited about half an hour. All the ensemble and the other leads were charming as they signed the girls' programs, especially Peter Polycarpou, who stood and talked with them awhile about their acting studies. One cast member came out to his bike only to find he had a puncture, and spent most of the time we waited fixing it with the help of another staffer.

Claire and Jamie finally came out, to the nervous enthusiasm of the girls asking for autographs. They were very gracious, and Claire asked what to get Jamie at the pub as she finished the autograph for the second girl and he realized he'd forgotten something inside. He went back in the stage door and had to yell to be buzzed back in (it was adorable) but he assured the girls he'd be back. And so he was, and he signed their programs and was walking out.

He recognized me in the dark and immediately hugged me and kissed me on the cheek (it was a much less stubbly kiss than last year). We told him how lovely the show was, though he said it was scrappy and that we had been kind to their second preview. This initiated a bit of back and forth about the show. I mentioned balance issues and how the orchestra was really high, which seemed to surprise him. When we said we had been sitting on opposite sides, asked what we thought about how the sight lines were, so I admitted it was particularly hard to see him over the surrounding levels of ensemble in Luck Be A Lady. He grimaced a bit, which I understand, because it's hard to have dynamic staging in a 3-quarter surround. My mom mentioned a weird echo (he said there should be an echo during the sewer scene, but she didn't think it was that). I told him I didn't mean to just critique the show, but he seemed happy to have the feedback and said this was stuff they needed to know, as this was what previews were for. And he said he fell over in the Havana scene. I hastened to assure him I thought it ws intentional (I did, it was very smoothly done) and that it fit right in with the fight choreography but he insisted it was an accident. Apparently he falls over onstage frequently; it's what his twitter profile's about, after all.

I gave him the tree and explained I make trees sometimes and that it was a silver birch because I asked him what his favorite tree was. He was touched, and hugged and kissed me again. He admired the tree thoroughly and said it was delicious and it would live in his dressing room. So that was gratifying.

He asked how long we'd been here; I said three weeks, with a week left to go, and he seemed surprised it was so long a trip. I explained we had a course and this show and that was why I was here, which got a smile. He asked what course, so I explained a little, saying basically the same as last year, the International A Cappella School. He remembered we'd said we had a King's SIngers thing last year. He asked how it was and I answered honestly that it went well for the amount of preparation we had (I think he understood what I was saying). I mentioned we'd also been in Edinburgh and he asked how it was and I said it was delightful except for the parking and he commiserated, saying affectionately that it's impossible to park in "Old Smokey, Old Spooky", which are adorable names for Edinburgh that I've never heard.

He apologized profusely and said he really did have to go, but stayed for a picture (despite my foolishly forgetting the flash for the first attempt) and to say hi to Meg when I asked him one last thing. But, the silly man, he didn't say hi. He made sure the camera was rolling and then started nonchalantly, "Meg-" and then immediately interrupted himself yelling "BOO!" I laughed pretty hard.

He had to go but he was very glad we'd been there and wished us safe travels as he strode out and picked up into a jog across the car park.

Our travels were safe, but long, and we made it to our homestay in Chatham an hour later than we'd planned, partially due to the difficulty of navigating in the dark, and partially because of the wait at the stage door. I'm not sorry.

It was magic.

sanura: (Default)
( Apr. 11th, 2014 02:17 am)
Well, that was magical.

Andrew and I got to Stubb's heinously early, even after we got halfway there and had to go back for my ticket. We definitely wanted enough time for him to eat, cause he was starving, but I am viciously paranoid about anything with the vaguest possibility of interfering with a Crash Kings concert, so he got the menu and ate at the bar. Luckily we had forever to wait around, so we sat at the weird little folding table on the patio and talked till it turned out that was the merch table and the openers asked if we were the official people cause they needed to set up their merch. They insisted we didn't need to move, though, and stood around chatting for awhile. King Washington are nice boys.

We sort of drifted inside in anticipation of the doors opening and got our wristbands before they let anybody in, because we'd been there for an hour and a half. So we sat on the stage in front of Tony's piano, hanging around to wait, and, lo! While he was setting up, my favorite Crash Kings roadie recognized me, greeted me enthusiastically, and said "don't tell anyone". He knew I was the transcription person, and later he told me Tony had been looking forward to seeing the new ones. So that was gratifying.

In addition to being eminently pleasant to talk to, once the doors opened and everybody took a place on the floor, it became apparent that King Washington are killer musicians. By the end of the first song I had resolved to get the album they had on sale on that table, and none of the following songs disappointed either. They're hugely excellent at vocal harmony, more than just the two-part stuff that Crash Kings feature between Mike and Tony, because both guitarists and the bassist all sing, and they use it almost all the time. I'm a sucker for good vocal harmony, but their songs are also put together very well, vaguely 60s but with a significant amount of unexpected progressions, which I'm also a sucker for, and they don't suck at their instruments either. They also do an adorable faux-echo trick on a couple songs, repeating the last syllable and backing up from the mics. That won me over completely.


And then it was time for our boys. Sometimes when Tony thanks the crowd for being awesome, it's politeness; sometimes he calls them out on their apathy, so this time when he climbed up to his piano and grinned and professed amazement at how the crowd knew how to make a band feel at home, and he wished he could just be here, I don't think it was feigned. The crowd really was great.

As was the show. There is really nothing like the slow-sunrise smile of a performer who realizes nearly everyone in the audience is singing along with him. And there's nothing like his nearly incredulous grin of recognition when he realizes you're in your accustomed spot.

I headbanged so hard it hurt, and was far enough out of breath sometimes that I couldn't even sing properly. I wasn't really keeping track of what went in what order, only that they rocked harder than I'd ever seen them. A lot of that has to do with the material from the second album, naturally, which is less piano-bass and more synthy clav wonderland, but there was enough ingrained amazement I didn't trust myself to remember what happened when.

Tony posted the set list on Twitter later, which is handy, because I think I borked my camera when it jumped out of my pocket, so I only got two tiny clips recorded before it would no longer turn on, and sometimes I use it to keep track of what they played. Luckily, I didn't have to here:



There were a couple of banter/patter moments where Tony established a pretty good relationship with the crowd; he decided that there were an awful lot of pretty girls in the audience, and Austin guys are lucky. Awhile later, Mike told him he was digging himself into a hole when he got to the end of the first runthrough set and thanked us all for flying on Crash Kings airlines with them and made a Malaysia joke. It was probably true. In another moment, near the end, he made a little announcement about how a fan had flown in from Salt Lake to see them for her birthday, and he played her Happy Birthday in an adorably loungy jazz style. It was absurdly cute.

Spectacularly Reckless, a new song I had never heard in my life, is GORGEOUS. I LOVE IT. Even catchier than most of the second album, I was singing along by the second chorus, and I cannot wait to have a recording of it. Tony was talking after the show and apparently they're going right back into the studio when they finish the tour, to start on the third album. Perfect. I want it. I just get so excited.

A few days ago, while I was still vibrating with anticipation about seeing this show, I was trawling Youtube for live videos of the second album, and I noticed something. There were at least clips of almost everything but White Wolf. So I tweeted Tony to ask if they ever played it live, and he answered "yeah we do. Maybe in Austin". Turns out, they had never played it on tour before. So they played White Wolf specifically because I had asked about it, and Tony pointed at me at the end and said "that's for you".

The two encores not included on this setlist (and boy did the crowd require an encore; we were chanting "one more" for what seemed like several minutes after the boys left the stage) were My Love, which was sweetly touching, especially since it was at the end of a long show and the low notes were pretty iffy in Tony's voice, and Saving Grace, which numerous people in the crowd had been yelling for intermittently throughout the show between songs (Tony mock-sternly informed them that requests were not open at this time). But then after the first encore, I heard the familiar progression rumble that I knew from hearing them do it live before, and just exploded with glee. They hammered the opening bars, and then, on the first verse, which opens "Take my hand", he did his usual mic-grab and step-touch, and looked down at me and reached out for my hand. So of course I gave it to him. I sang so loud and bounced so hard I couldn't breathe, and couldn't sing, and clung to the stage as we all mellowed out during the buildup to the chorus.

I was so tired when they finally left the stage for the last time, I just went out to the merch table and sat down on the ground in a corner. Then I realized I hadn't yet bought the King Washington album, so I took care of that and chatted with the guitarist for awhile, learning that this was their second album (they sold out of the first one, but it was on iTunes). I really, really liked their music and hope to see them live again.

While waiting for the crowd around Tony to thin, I hung out with tour manager who had recognized me, and he asked to see the transcriptions and marveled at them for a bit, explaining how Tony knew I'd be there and was really looking forward to seeing them. He showed me the new shirt, which of course I bought despite wanting one of the new tank tops (they were sold out, and I prefer to buy merch at shows rather than off the online store). Andrew was saying how he felt a bit special because we were authorized to hang around after everybody was gone, as the tour manager knew Tony would want to talk to me. There was a hilarious interlude where about four groupies attempted to go off with Mike (who was very drunk), and then a couple got very upset when he sort of sidestepped them.

Finally, nearly everyone but the crew and the staff and the bands and a couple of really old friends of Tony's were gone. The closing staff, one guy in particular, were getting really grouchy, but there was Tony, beaming to see me, as I told him I had something for him, as well as some questions. So I gave Tony the transcriptions. He grinned really wide when he saw the title of Hesitate and looked through it, and thought for sure I had done both Raincoat and 14 Arms before, but I told him all I had left to do from the first album was You Got Me, because I wasn't sure what to do with the end, and I did 14 Arms specifically because he'd told me he'd wanted to see what it looked like. He told me he still had all of the transcriptions I'd given him, and he looked through the new ones a bit and answered my questions about the changes in the bridge and the inversions in Raincoat to the best of his ability, though he remarked that he doesn't read music much anymore, and he'd really like to get to a piano to give these a good looking over. So I told him I'd love it if he would, and he said he'd send me corrections if he could figure out how to specify where/what to change, and I reminded him there were bar numbers on the sheets. I didn't want to ruin his life or anything, but I'd really appreciate it if he could send me changes, and he said it was his honor. I told him I keep doing these things because he keeps writing stuff I love and just can't leave alone.

I even told him I might do Wednesday on my gig in a couple weeks, and he said, "good for you" and seemed really pleased. I told him I'm a bit terrified, which he thought was understandable, and I was excited but I don't know how to do a rock show, really, as I've never done one of just my own stuff. He reassuringly said he was that way at first and then you try it and you stop being terrified, and it was just utterly fantastic to talk to him about it.

They were loading out during the entire conversation, and the venue staff were getting more and more grouchy, and by the end of our conversation they were literally kicking even the band out, so I bid the boys goodbye and split, and Andrew and I drove home in something of a daze.

Everything hurts now, but that may well be the best show I've ever been to. It was really nothing short of magical, but magic like it's portrayed in magical realism, the kind where everything seems normal and nobody acknowledges the wonder because it's very strange but it's part of life.

I hope there's another show soon.

I hope my own show goes well.

sanura: (Default)
( Jun. 6th, 2013 02:56 pm)
In the last few days, a multitude of theatrical opportunities have presented themselves. Aside from the glorious personal fulfillment the King's Singers Summer School will be (even if similar colleague-related disappointments incur my wrath as they did at IAS, it will still be amazing), there are so many things I will probably be able to see that I am squeeing just at the thought.

First of all, there will still be theaters in the UK showing the Globe broadcast of last year's production of Henry V. Featuring none other than that paragon of Shakespearean perfection, Jamie Parker. Look at him. Augh. I cannot WAIT to see the rest of Henry V. That Crispin's Day speech makes me laugh, shiver, and cry. The break at the end breaks my heart.

Second, we will be in London for a week (if not more) for the workshop, so why not attend an actual real live Globe show? While we are there, the Tempest is playing, featuring none other than that miracle of thespian fortitude, Roger Allam. I know him primarily for his genius across from Parker's Hal as Falstaff in the Globe's Henry IV (1 & 2), but I've seen him in other things, too, and it will be electrifying to see him live. Besides Allam as Prospero, playing Ariel in the Globe's Tempest is none other than our BBC Merlin, Colin Morgan. That should be fun, too.

Third, we will be wandering the Britannic countryside, and that means we will probably be near enough to Bath to attend a Theatre Royal production of George Bernard Shaw's favorite play he ever wrote, a romantic comedy called Candida. Guess who's leading? THAT'S RIGHT. I GET TO SEE JAMIE PARKER LIVE. Pardon me, I may explode.

Additionally, today I discovered that the two all-male 2012 Globe productions, Richard III and Twelfth Night, are coming to Broadway in November. I am making plans RIGHT NOW to go. Who plays Malvolio in Twelfth Night? STEPHEN FRY. National treasure of the UK, avuncular pedant of QI, dearest colleague of Hugh Laurie and therefore half of my tied-for-favorite Real Life Brotp, humanist extraordinaire. I will probably get to see STEPHEN FRY do Shakespeare. Who plays Queen Elizabeth in Richard III? SAM BARNETT. Small gay Jewish star of History Boys, standout contributor to the eponymous Britcom about the Olympics of 2012, and half of my other tied-for-favorite Real Life Brotp along with aforementioned Shakespearean hero Parker. SAM BARNETT plays Queen Elizabeth. Have you seen the pictures? There are some pretty great interviews, too.

And while I'm in New York, I might as well tear up the rest of Broadway.

It's going to be an amazing theatrical year.
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( Mar. 26th, 2013 10:57 pm)
ALSO
Reggie came over this evening and took me out to dinner and Band Talk and it's still so new to have frequent access to him and we sat on my couch and listened to our music and explicated ideas and laughed at how many of them were the same as each other's because we've basically never had an aesthetic disagreement in our lives.

We may also have encountered our band name. We'll see if it sticks.

The album is coming together. I felt like such a rock star yesterday that I wore a sparkly shirt and everybody noticed in chamber choir rehearsal.

Brent called to make sure I'd told Reggie about the offer he made to host us in North Carolina this summer for a week. That'd be a thing. Wow.
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( Mar. 6th, 2013 11:46 pm)
So yesterday I livetweeted the 2010 Shakespeare's Globe production Henry IV part 1, which our favorite northern pianist featured as Hal, and the lovely and talented Sam Crane as Hotspur. It resulted in a couple reponses, thus:



I took Jamie Parker's livetweet virginity. Jamie Parker, whose performance as Scripps in The History Boys has been the only modern Christian in TV that I've ever sympathized with. Whose pianistic shenanigans have caused me endless heartache. Whose Pheasantry gig entirely of Sondheim and surprisingly accomplished (though unsurprisingly gorgeous) singing voice are at this very moment in the process of changing my life.

Also:


Sam Crane is glad I know what a glaive is.


Excuse me while I explode.

sanura: (Default)
( Sep. 21st, 2012 10:31 pm)
I keep taking Ella further and further on walks, and seeing more and more amazing uplit trees. It reminded me oddly and vaguely of the times in first grade, at a Waldorf school in Santa Monica, that we had a Halloween party.

I say Halloween party; I don't think it was called that, and it was more like a new-age woo woo solstice gathering with treats. There was an elemental, each in its own environment, each giving us some little symbolic favor. The air elemental was in our little classroom, crystals hanging off every surface and the fan, with the fan on, and billowy white cloth and cotton batting covering all the angles so that the surfaces were soft. The water elemental sat in a river made of shining cloth. I had seen my mom buy and help assemble the cloth, I knew what it was, and it was still magical. The water elemental, in her tail and glitter, gave us a tiny netting bag of iridescent shells. We continued on, each of us first-graders on our own individual quest to collect the favors of all the elementals. The tiny wooden play house in our playground, surely not more than five feet tall, was surfaced with brown stone and hung with dried broom, heather, and herbs; I knew it was paper grocery bags on the outside of the house, and that the pointy-shoed gnome inside was our games teacher, giving us each a gingerbread cookie. But it was lit from underneath, in flickering yellow. And the last stop, a mystical castle somehow sprung where our jungle-gym had been, surrounded by what seemed like hundreds (but must have been merely tens) of grinning jack-o-lanterns. We had to climb up the slide to achieve the goal of the fire elemental.

Just, viscerally, uplit trees and mysterious landscaping with underlying familiarity gives me the shiver of a great memory and reminds me that even things I see every day, and know mundanely well, can be almost entirely new with a change of perspective.
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( Aug. 10th, 2012 01:15 pm)
Such ridiculously good music has been written in the last two days, it's hard to believe. I've recorded rehearsals of several, in case the show bombs, but I doubt it will, because we're learning this stuff as well as we're writing it.

Also other good things. A storm came through around 10 last night and blew coolly through the third floor where we were rehearsing. Then it went away. It's been unreal.

Flowers in the fields, mist on the mountains, and that's not even close to infinity.
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( Aug. 3rd, 2011 11:35 pm)
You know who just made a presentation? TOBY TWINING.

Yes.

He asked us all our names and backgrounds, since he's never had as informed an audience for a workshop/presentation. I'd introduced myself a bit earlier, saying I'd heard a lot about him from Mark and Eric. Which I had. I tried not to be too incoherent, so I shut down a little bit. He started doing his talk once we were all there and he had some idea what we knew, and I was informed enough to ask a couple questions. Though I didn't have that many; what he writes is what I'd desperately love to do.

He showed us two pieces, both with scores on the projector on a sheet on a wall of the art center. String Room, from Eurydice, was the first one. Despite the slight guilt (Eric invited me to the cd release party and I almost went but then there was a surprise dress rehearsal and I couldn't make it to New York), I am glad that I heard it for the first time there. With the score. I watched it go by and cried like a faucet. Because it is so beautiful. And I am not that good yet. Though I felt a little better when I asked him if they had midi in headphones for reference and he said no, Mark pitch-corrected it because they couldn't pay for too much studio time. So it wasn't as spectacularly far above my ability level as I originally imagined. But it was nonetheless mind-breaking. I am getting Eurydice as soon as possible (apologies, Eric, Mark, I don't know why I don't have it yet).

The other piece he played was Schoenberg Dreaming, a pitch-drifting cello piece premiered (and continually refined) by Malina. Also mind-blowing. The difference between the Ben Johnston-style L's and 7's style notation and the equal-temperament approximation with cent value difference annotations is staggering. Some of the accidentals make the sounding pitches more than an octave different from what's written.

He had fifteen minutes left before the schedule said we should start rehearsal (10pm), so he went over the basics of Western style overtone singing. Highly satisfying, with a bunch of people who have been singing JI for a week and a half and are therefore better than average at tuning. >D

Mike's piece, which we rehearsed at 10, is for the traditional string band festival we're goig to see and perhaps participate in on Friday. It's a quartertonal country song. It's got immense potential, though it took us forever to get it together because it was late. The same goes for Jacob's JI common-tone modulation neotrad string band song. It's awesome. I can't wait till we're not all tireder than the dogs and can play well again.
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( Jun. 14th, 2011 11:58 pm)
I carried. All the things. Down the stairs. And put them in the car. Well, I guess Brent carried one amp, the bass and the keyboard. Which, sure, was helpful. But probably didn't lessen my fatigue by much. My room is absolutely empty except for this air mattress and pillows. I even vacuumed the floor. I also vacuumed the upstairs landing and all the stairs, and scrubbed the bathroom and wiped all its surfaces. But mostly, the carrying was what killed me, when they ask. All that's left is my suitcase, my mom's, one small one left to put the blankets and air mattress in, my trash can, and the bike (it goes on top of the car).

Mama and I took the train to school after I finished packing, and when I called to ask, the audio/visual guys were nice enough to put my recital recording in my mailbox instead of leaving it in the locked office. So I have that, and I also went to get some NEC orchestral recordings from Firestone because I was thinking about the Rach Symphonic Dances after we had glee over them last night. Brent met us in Firestone and we listened to the Led Zeppelin he did on my recital, and he freaked out about how good it was. He even flailed a little. Validated!

And then it was King's Singers time. Seriously. )

Once back at the apartment, Tony selflessly heaved some knots out of my back even though I couldn't reciprocate due to straining my wrist during the travails of that day's carrying things down stairs. We ate ice cream, talked a bit, and retreated due to the lateness of the hour and the drive in the morning. But of course there was one thing left: a last Stargate session, if we could make it through. My room certainly is empty. Brent snuggled so comfortably on my conspicuously singular air mattress that he started snoring gently, halfway through the episode, and would have stayed but that I need to sleep super-soundly in order to be thoroughly awake to drive. So he bundled his quilt off with him when he left for his room.
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