The Weekend

May. 2nd, 2014 11:33 am
ceebeegee: (Default)
So the concert actually went quite well. N**** came over Friday night and we drilled the living hell out of her shaky parts--we drilled so long I was worried I wouldn't have a voice the next day. Girl just does not read music and isn't really that musical (like she does not have the instincts of a singer. Some of this is knowledge and some you're just born with). I figured out at one point she was adding counts because she thought that the fragmented measure that accompanies a cautionary key change (when there's a new system and the key changes, the composer will add a key change at the end of the previous system to alert whoever's playing/singing that the key is about to change, like this:



She thought that was its own measure and was adding counts. Anyway so I worked her through this and DRILLED. (I found out from Donna the next day that she'd basically told Donna she could read music and work on her own which obviously was not the truth. Donna was pretty annoyed.) She sounded okay on Saturday--still a little shaky (from nerves more than anything) but she didn't blow it. I felt very good about my music even though I'd kind of risked it since I'd been unable to turn down a soccer game that morning (although I forced myself not to yell). (And oh my God! I brought some oatmeal and ate it on the train and stuff the container in my bag which of course overturned on the way to the game and vomited oatmeal ALL OVER my stuff. Nice.) But it all went well and Donna was telling me that she'd heard some nice reactions to my soli. (I will admit, I know how to nail Come Away Death and The Willow Song.)

And my aunt was in town! One of my Dad's four younger sisters, my aunt Clarissa--and she's my godmother as well. After my game I ran over to Penn Station and picked her up and we took the train up to Inwood for the performance. So she got to hear me sing! Afterward she treated me to a Broadway show and we decided to see The Bridges of Madison County. I haven't read the book or seen the movie and dozed off *several* times during the first act. So perhaps some of this escaped me but I had a hard time figuring out why she had this affair when she wasn't really unhappy in her marriage. Clarissa explained some of it to me but I think perhaps the movie would do a better job--I think movies are better for communicating intimacy. I don't know. The score was certainly gorgeous and the guy who played Kincaid was terrific (and he was the standby! I think he went up on the lyrics during his last number but he was still great). Kelli O'Hara has an absolutely lovely voice but I did think she was a little mannered portraying an Italian (the hands).

Criss also gave me some family artifacts like--this is wild--my Dad's teddy bear from CHILDHOOD. Daddy gave it to her when he went off to boarding school and asked her to keep it safe for him--she has kept it all these years and now gave it to me. It is now thoroughly battered and well-loved. I put him next to Paddington and they can be friends. She said I could either return it to Daddy or keep it--I think the latter, I'm worried he won't take it from her (my Dad and his brothers are in the middle of a huge feud with my aunts. They haven't communicated in years).
ceebeegee: (Default)
Received just now. I'm just gonna highlight the annoying parts.

Hi everyone!

It's tomorrow!!! Everyone excited? Yay, it's gonna be great! I got some loose ends, some of which I previously got a reply back from some (not everyone), but it's important everyone knows these 3 topics:

Attire: nice concert black. J****, I only sent that email to the singers, so my apologies for just getting this to you now. I'm pretty sure I'm wearing black dress slacks, a spangly dress tank top with a sheer shirt over it (like a jacket)- if it helps to have an idea. Ladies can choose black skirts, dresses, or slacks (I just have to wear slacks since I'm sitting at the piano, lol!) R** said he's wearing a black suit. Clara and N**** recieved and replied back too.

Narration Blurbs: Clara, did you receive the email? (R** and N****, I know you did). J****, did you receive it, because I had a couple of further-tweaked narrative blurbs - wanted to be sure you saw it.

Call Time:
We got through all the songs on Wed., and it's the ensemble songs I want to call everyone for.

1:15- Call Time for all singers (ensemble songs music rehearsal)
1:40- Add J**** (putting it all together & setting e.g., top of show, entrance, a couple of songs/positioning, final bow)
2:15- Break
(2:30- Audience may arrive this early)
2:50 pm- Everyone return from break
3:00- Concert begins
A celebratory drink afterward :-)

Thank you so much! Please, everyone email me back, so I know you've got it. BTW, if you want to run through any of your solos, I'm actually going to show up even earlier, to set up the room and be available for anyone who wants some extra time. The call time is 1:00 pm (Clara, R**, N****), but I will be there 12:00 noon. Sometimes the library will keep the upstairs door to the auditorium locked (until call time), so call me if the door's locked and you're looking for me. I'll come let you in.

Thanks, don't forget to email me to say you've got the info in this email,
Donna


Holy FUCK, Donna! CALM DOWN.

Not to mention, she changes the call time twice here--and last night she'd said the call time was 1:45. Now it's one o'clock--for a ONE HOUR CONCERT. Jesus. This is why I have said yes less and less to Donna--I really get pissed at early call times when I DON'T NEED THEM. Especially for an unpaid gig.

I swear just to be a dick I'm not going to email her back until tonight.
ceebeegee: (Helen of Troy)
So I'm doing this concert of Shakespearean songs for Donna and there's a ton of music, some of which I already know. No problem, Donna's stuff is easy enough to read. There are two other singers on the bill--one is a guy named R** who's pretty good, and the other is a girl named N**** who has a beautiful voice but has a hard time with the music. For the last two weeks Donna has been making the girl's tracks easier and easier (or giving them to me) because she just isn't getting it. She turned one duet into a solo so at this point I have FIVE soli! Wednesday night we had our "dress rehearsal" and N**** did pretty badly--worse, actually, than she's been doing in rehearsal. She was obviously very nervous. One of the biggest hurdles is this section in the "Lullaby" song (from Midsummer)--for the most part the song is in 3/4 time but in the middle part it goes crazy. 3/4 to cut time to common time to 3/4, all within one staff. It's tricky even for me--this poor girl is just at sea. Donna thinks she just needs to run it but we've done that and she's still messing up. So I asked her if I could help her, she said YES. I sat her down and talked to her about time signatures and how to read them, what cut and common times mean and then I went through the music and marked how to count, with 1, 2 etc, above the notes. I said don't be embarrassed to do this, I do it myself if the rhythms are tricky. And then I told her tonight you need to go home and sing this and clap/count. Get this passage into your mouth--let your muscle memory help you. do this 20 times tonight, and then ten times tomorrow morning. Tomorrow night, another 20 times. We made plans to get together tonight to go over the stuff and she was thrilled. I'd taped a lot of the group numbers with my iPhone so I said I'll convert these to audio files and send them to you.

Well, last night I'm trying to convert these iPhone videos to sound-only files and trying to use iMovie. It's not easy at all--iMovie is a great moviemaker but it's almost too complicated. There's actually a really easy way to do this (save the video to your desktop and then open it with Audacity, my sound editing file--Audacity only captures the sound portion of the video so then you just save it as an .mp3)--but I didn't figure out this easy way until after midnight. I'd literally been working at this for several hours, trying to convert these videos so N**** could listen to them and get the whole sound of the number into her head. Finally I'm done and ready to email the files to N****. I don't have her email address but Donna sends out SO MANY emails, I can easily get it from them, right? In fact Donna had just sent out another one at 11:30 (where she gave me MORE music that should've been N****'s so that's a last-minute change I have to incorporate--good thing I'm so reliable, right?!). The thing with Donna's emails is that she gets really weird about whether or not people have received them and always asks for confirmation. So there's this constant round of emails, followups to emails, replies to emails, confirmations and replies and it's just a LOT of emailing. It clutters up my mailbox and I get annoyed at having to reply "yes, I received your email" after EVERYTHING she sends. Anyway so she sent one at 11:30, I open it up, dutifully reply "got it," hit send and then I look at the "To" line, expecting to see Ray's and Nadya's emails.

There's nothing, only Donna's email. She emailed it to herself and bcc:ed us. I don't have Nadya's email.

I go through all of Donna's MANY emails. All of them were bcc:ed.

WTF WHYYYYYYYYY? Why does she have to make it so complicated? Why, for God's sake? Why would she hide our emails from each other? What possible reason could she have for that? I emailed her IMMEDIATELY asking for Nadya's address--remember, she'd emailed me just 30 minutes before and she (of course) asked for confirmation. I didn't hear from her so I texted her at 12:30--nothing. Finally at 2:00 am I emailed DONNA the fucking sound files and asked her to forward them to Nadya. I was super-annoyed at the whole thing. Donna, I am doing YOUR cleanup because you didn't realize this girl can't read music. I am doing this not because I need to--hey, I know my stuff--but because I want us all to sound good. It kills the vibe when someone's up there sounding terrified, and I want my friends who are coming to see a good show. Furthermore I really don't have time to do go over this with N****--my aunt is coming to visit tomorrow and staying with me and I'd really like to clean the place and just relax. Donna has talent blinders on sometimes--she just doesn't realize how BAD some of these singers are. Oh my God, some of the talentless guys she's had in her concerts--I was insulted to share the stage with them, frankly. This girl is not really bad--she does have a lovely voice--but she can't really read music at all, which means you need to work with her a lot more. And Donna should've realized this and made sound files, drilled her, whatever. It shouldn't be my job.

Having said this, since I am doing this, the least you could do is not hide our effing contact information for no reason! I just don't even get why she would do that. She sent me this rather defensive reply this morning--Donna, go ahead and get defensive because you need me a lot more than I need you! I am far and away the best musician *and* singer in this little concert (Ray isn't bad but I am better) and well she knows it or she wouldn't be throwing me MORE stuff (as a direct result of this girl's inability to learn the music) at the last minute.

Easter

Apr. 21st, 2014 01:49 pm
ceebeegee: (Default)
I have to say, loud screamy sneezers annoy the hell out of me. Seriously, you can't control that at all? You really have to scream like that? It just seems like such a cry for attention.

And am I the only one who cannot stand Al Roker? Every time he starts his schticky schtick on Today I cannot lunge for the remote fast enough. They were talking about some story about lions and one of them said they'd heard that lions sleep 23 hours a day. Immediately Dumb Al starts singing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and then had to up the ante but dancing around the studio. Just ugh. I think it all started when I saw him on Letterman and he kept interrupting Dave with his own jokes and then laughing at them. Let him do his job, dude.

Okay, rant over. Easter was lovely. I had lunch with an OLD friend--haven't seen her in nearly 20 years. She and Cami, Ryan and I all did shows at the Susan together--Amy was a great dancer and did a tour but then settled in Manhattan and then Austin Texas. Apparently she's been back in Virginia for a few years but I had no idea. So happy to see her! After we finished we went over to Cami's museum and said hi to her as well, yay!

The choir director of St. Andrew's, my old parish, has been asking my Mom (who's on the vestry) if I could sing (with the choir, that is) when I come home for major holidays. So I did for Christmas and then I did it this weekend for Easter. Just two things to learn (or go over), a descant for the hymn Jesus Christ Has Risen Today and the Hallelujah Chorus, which we used to sing every Easter. I literally grew up singing that every Easter in that choir loft but I haven't sung it in performance for at least 30 years. It was a trip! That piece is so well-written, I really got into it and just wailed soprano-style. King of Kiiiiiiiiiiings! And Lord of Loooooooooooords! And Lord of Lords! It's really fantastic music and I had a great time with it. And Mom was saying such nice things, saying I really sounded great and soared on my high notes (noteworthy because my mother certainly is not free with her compliments! She's not super critical either, I'm just saying that she wouldn't say that unless she really thought that).
ceebeegee: (Default)
YAISSSSSSSS SUNNY BEAUTIFUL WEATHER THIS WEEK SO HAPPPPPYYYYYYYY

Of course we have rain today and tonight and I have a soccer game so there you are. THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS.

Had a busy Saturday. I signed up for a Meetup soccer game in my neighborhood with a group I've played with before. The field was at 128th and Third Avenue so I trotted up there--it was spitting a bit but nothing we couldn't play through. AT FIRST. As the game went on the dampness started going right through my bones, especially my feet. Between my nearly-flat feet and the horrible bunions, rain can really do me in and by the evening I was in so much pain I had to stay off my feet completely. But it was worth it--I scored five goals and assisted on several as well. NICE assists too, some really clever goals ;) So glad spring is here, I have two games scheduled already this weekend!

I also had a rehearsal with Donna for an upcoming concert Shakespeare songs. These are gorgeous actually--Donna is a weak lyricist but she really knows how to compose for Shakespeare. She emailed us the music last week but typically I did not get around to looking at it until I got there. She complimented me at one point and I sheepishly admitted this was the first time I'd looked at it--this is when it's great to be an excellent sight-singer! (And it helps that Donna generally composes according to voice-leading principles. She might play around with the tempi a lot but her melodies are easy enough to sight-sing.) Or not great, maybe, since it encourages laziness. I then regaled the other two singers with stories of how I developed my sight-singing skills as a child in church. I said sopranos always have the melody and with a 4- or 5-verse hymn, you get bored singing that over and over so you start reading the alto line, then the tenor...This is why I can harmonize with so many Xmas carols :)

Anyway the concert should be lovely and I'm actually going to invite people to this, since I have several songs. Oh, and my aunt Clarissa (who is also my godmother!) is visiting that weekend!!! So she will be able to attend, and then she wants to hang out with me afterward. I can't wait to show her my beautiful new place.

Ryan was given a couple of comps to La Boheme at the Met so he offered me one. Ryan hasn't seen many operas--I think this was his third--and he's never seen Boheme before so I discussed it with him. As often as it's done, I don't think it's an ideal intro to opera since so little happens in Boheme. If you don't already love opera, I don't think that one will change your mind--Carmen is better, more exciting, the main character is MUCH more interesting than Mimi and everybody already knows the music since it's referenced constantly. If you've ever seen Flashdance, the Music Man or The Bad news bears, you know some Carmen. (Especially the latter which utilizes the entire score.) Anyway Ryan did enjoy the production which is legendary--the reveal of the Café Momus set is gasp-inducing.

I saw that the Met is doing The Death of Klinghoffer which I'd really like to see. I haven't seen too many modern operas and I enjoy the ambition of modern music. At Sweet Briar I think I was the only music major who liked twelve-tone music--I liked how intellectual it was, it felt like listening to a puzzle. I enjoy the mathematical aspects of music (which 12-tone certainly explores!) and get kind of bored when it's all just pretty melody after pretty melody. At any rate I'd like to push myself to see some more stuff like that--I used to see a lot more ballet when I first moved to New York and I'd like to start going again. It's pretty easy to see arts on the cheap here if you're willing to stand or wait on line or something.
ceebeegee: (Default)
We had Friday and Saturday off from rehearsal.  I welcomed the opportunity to forget about the show for two days, but I wanted to work on the tap solo and NAIL that entrance, so I booked space at Ripley-Grier for Saturday afternoon.  I've also been sick the past week--Friday night was brutal, I could not stop coughing--so dragging myself out of bed Saturday morning wasn't fun!  Susan and I drilled the hell out of the solo and by the end I was nailing it AT tempo.  Triples and everything.  Yay!  So I think the key is to warmupwarmupwarmUP every night.  Run that thing over and over and over, and then run it listening to my iPod.

I dragged myself back home and curled up in bed, pausing only to email regrets to a Halloween party.  Ugh...

Yesterday I felt a little better.  We had a clean up rehearsal and went over a lot of the music and much of the dance.  Vocally there was a decent amount to clean up--there are a LOT of discrepancies among 1) what we were taught by the music director, 2) what he notated in the score (he wrote many of his own arrangements) and 3) the vocal tracks he recorded for us all.  Kind of annoying, mainly because he's a bit of a dick, one of those guys that is brittle and will not take well to any pointing out of mistakes.  The mistakes are a bit more apparent to me than to the other two altos (I'm singing alto on this) because I read music and see the mistakes he's made--uh, what I'm hearing on the vocal track is NOT what is in the score in front of me!  His arrangements are great though, I'll give him that, I especially like the last number.

Singing alto is weird for me--I enjoy the opportunity to sight-read (sopranos usually just get the melody) but the parts are always a little low for me.  I can hit the notes but they're not terribly comfortable.  And I'm not used to hearing the alto line, I'm trained to hear the soprano line.  So I had to work harder than normal on the score for this.

I gotta say though, I'm a little nervous about two performances.  I have a strong suspicion that the guy who plays Frank N Furter is tone-deaf.  This is not a death knell--Tim Curry talks his way through much of the score--but if that's what he needs to do, then DO it.   Don't massacre the score by trying to sing what you can't, just commit to talking it.  I'm not sure how familiar he is with the score--I don't believe he's seen the movie as he didn't want to go on a cast outing to see it, he was afraid of being influenced by Curry's performance.  (To which I say--man, you need to develop stronger acting instincts.  I've seen the movie many times, and my take on Columbia is nothing like Little Nell's.)  Anyway, I guess he doesn't know the score but in that case, LEARN IT.  Get the soundtrack and listen to these songs, even if it does influence you.  The Sunday before we open is a little late to be stumbling over the Charles Atlas song.  It's a good thing he's a good actor--his performance (other than the singing) is pretty decent.

The other performance is Steven as the Narrator.  Again, don't know if he's seen the movie but his take on the Narrator is all wrong.  The Narrator is the CONTROL character--he (like Janet and Brad) is quote-unquote normal.  He's not a freak, he's commenting on the freaks.  He's supposed to show up how weird this whole journey through his normality.  Steve's playing it almost like he's excitedly gossiping on the story.  Noooooo!  Deadpan, controlled, sober--THAT'S the Narrator.  Not giddy and excited, it undermines his function.  And this is small but it gets on my nerves nonetheless--he sings the last verse of Superheroes instead of speaking out.  Now Steven does have a lovely voice but the way he delivers it, he's all soulful and sad, NOOOOOO!  Again, that's not the Narrator.  This didn't happen to YOU, you're the messenger.  And I know he's singing it not because it's a character choice but simply to show off his (yes, lovely) singing voice--but it's not appropriate for the character or the show.  Ergh.

We have tech/dress tonight and tomorrow, and then an invited final dress for Wednesday.
ceebeegee: (Columbia)
So we had our history final the Tuesday before Christmas--it was modified open book in that we were allowed to have in hand the last text we studied, Le Livre de la Cité des Dames by Christine de Pizan, and we could even have notes in it, but we were not allowed any other text. (And yet, we were expected to be able to cite and reference those texts.) So, a little different from the exams for Roman History. Naturally of course I studied like crazy for it--I went through the book with a color-coded system, highlighting 8 different themes we'd discussed throughout the semester, like the use of the vernacular, contemporary women's writings' treatment of the body, that sort of thing. This turned out to be VERY useful--once I saw what the essay questions were, I had the quotations and references immediately at hand, I just had to flip through the book, looking for the color-code for that particular theme.

However we also had to reference Roman de la Rose--from memory. Luckily I'd pulled several quotations dealing with most of the course's themes, and as soon as we received the exam I turned it over and wrote down my memorized Roman quotations. This took some time, as did my outline for my essay, so by the time I actually started writing, it was almost 45 minutes gone. But write I did, for the next two hours in a blue book. (Mom asked me if we still wrote in blue books--I said yes indeed, and I always wanted to sneak one ouot as a souvenir. But then through my proctoring I found out that's a common means of cheating--people will take them, write out the answers (presumably to advance essay questions), and then sneak them back in. So now they stamp the blue books with stamps specific to that exam period--it was a red star this past time. I still can't get over how the exams are all proctored--at Sweet Briar and, I'm pretty sure, at Mount Holyoke, all exams were on the honor system with no proctors. Sweet Briar took the honor system VERY seriously--we were required to memorize the pledge (What do you want, it's Virginia!). I still remember the final sentence--I will report myself, and ask others to report themselves, for any infraction of this pledge.) ANYWAY, I think I did okay on the exam; we still haven't gotten them back. He told us that our final papers were in his outbox so after I turned in my exam, I went over to his office and snaked it out of the box--A. Whew!

I did love the Dante, found it fascinating to write about--my topic examined circle imagery in his Paradiso.

Initially Dante’s choice of imagery seems self-explanatory—medieval pre-Copernican cosmology was rife with spheres, with Earth at the center of the universe surrounded by concentric rings wherein the planets dwelled, ultimately topped by the fixed stars, the Primum Mobile and the Empyrean. But a closer examination reveals Dante’s clever and imaginative exploration of this conceit, one which ultimately proves as simultaneously crystalline, musical and absolute as Dante’s vision of the heavens themselves.

Sooooo much to explore there--music (dance and the music's circular tonality--paging my BA in music!), Commedia's rhyme scheme (which is terza rime (ABA BCB CDC)--each triplet is a circle that sets the ground for the second line), even that the term comedy originally meant song. Against that I contrasted the idea of light imagery:

[Dante] is only a visitor to this blessed realm; he cannot wheel endlessly around the heavens basking blissfully in affirmation, he must progress as far as possible until his journey has ended. And so Dante uses light imagery to contrast with his circular musical metaphors—light for music, sight for sound, the challenging for the affirmative, an open-ended straight trajectory for that which is curvilinear and cyclical. Light of course cannot bend, and light as a metaphor for unbending truth and a vehicle by which to ascend suffuses every canto, nearly every stanza of Commedia.

And then held them up against each other:

The inherent push-pull tension between the two constructs of circle/line, music/light (“when each clock-art both drives and draws,” 91, line 142) is brilliantly illustrated by the poetic structure of the poem, those tight little aba, bcb, cdc tercets—one rhyme anticipating the next, a chain mail of circles that advance little by little, forming a rosary of epiphany and transcendence.

When I wrote the paper in early December this was all going swimmingly and I was basically in the clear, just had to write the conclusion--and then I saw that I'd missed something. The professor's notes for the paper specifically said we had to bring in at least one other contemporary writer. I PALED. I was going through all the other mid-late writers--"Who do I know? Can't write about Bacon, I've already done him [I wrote about Bacon in my previous paper]--ORESME, I know Oresme." Seriously, I was pretty much panicking. I was able to get out a few paragraphs, about a page, on Oresme and circles, then got back to Dante and squeezed out a conclusion. So, nice to know that worked out.

After the final, I could just relax and enjoy the holidays but naturally I've been anxiously checking the SSOL (Student Services Online) to see if grades have been posted. Finally, two days ago, they had--an A for the semester, yeehaw! Now, on to Laws of War (and a byGod TIMELINE) in the Middle Ages!
ceebeegee: (Ireland)
When I got back to the hostel I was exhausted--protests, Book of Kells, shopping, it all takes its toll--so I napped a bit before braving the TEPIDTEPIDTEPID shower again preparatory to going out.


This is me playing with the self-timer before going out, this time SOLO, OMG!

I poked my head into a couple of pubs and ended up at one not too far from the hostel. It was quieter than the one I'd been to the night before but they had live music as well. I just sat at the bar and sipped my Guinness, chatting with the locals who were mostly older. One older guy glommed onto me--this was sort of annoying actually. He was nice at first, we were chatting and then I noticed he kept trying to correct me during the course of our conversation. Things like--him: "You know Bob Dylan, right." Me: "Sure." Him: "NO. You don't really know Bob Dylan..." Me: "..." This happened several times--I would make some polite response to whatever conversation gambit he extended and then he would correct me. He also did that annoying-guy thing where they sense that perhaps you're not as thrilled with their company as they would like (I was getting a little tired of being corrected) and instead of, I don't know, being better company, they try to make you feel bad. The thing that annoyed me the most was when he tried to ruin the footage I was taking--I had my camera and was filming the singer/guitarist and he slurred "you really need to listen to this" and then waved his hand in front of the camera to try to ruin the footage. This...did indeed get on my nerves.

However, everyone else there was very nice. I met a young couple--the girl was named Fiona, and I can't remember the guy's name. When I told her my name, she said "that's a very Irish name!" When the bar closed we discovered it had been snowing for quite some time! There were several inches on the ground--snow is fairly unusual in Dublin, and I got to explain to them that "this is really good snow! Not too powdery, not too wet, this is the best for snowballs and making snowmen." And naturally I got in a snowball fight with random Dubliners! One guy with whom I was trading missiles said (after hearing me speak) "oooh, she's not from arrround herrre!" SO MUCH FUN. Really, just a delightful last night. On my way back to the hostel, I helped build a snowman.



I have no idea why the flakes appear to be going up in this--this was me collaborating with another random Dubliner. I can't remember exactly what we were trying to recreate though, but there was some reason he was throwing it up in the air.



Isn't it gorgeous?

The last day was--well, the last day. I left the hostel and dragged my luggage through the snow with me. Breakfast was YUM. Did a little last minute shopping and grabbed the Airlink (bus to the airport), did NOT miss my flight :)

Oh Ireland. Thank you for opening your arms to me. I will be back.
ceebeegee: (Ireland)
~~The Evening!~~

So as I trudged back to the hostel, I decided to stop by the Tesco (local gorcery chain) to get something to eat in my room, and maybe some British Candy for my Mom (we luuuuurve English and Scottish and Irish food--they do candy especially well). In the store I ran into someone who said hi--she was a Dutch girl staying at the same hostel, very sweet. We chatted a bit and I said "hey, I was thinking of going to a pub that has traditional music, do you want to come along?" She said sure so after napping and showering (OMG, the hostel had TEPID showers--TEPID, y'all. Other than that it was perfect--safe, spotless, friendly, but I honestly don't know if I could ever stay there again, it had TEPIDTEPIDTEPID showers. NOT HOT. *Shiverrrrrrrrrrr*) we met around 10 and ventured out, finding a place just a few blocks away called the Celtic.



This place was a straight up BLAST. Right out of central casting, a Dublin pub complete with traditional music, dancing, enthusiastic natives drinking Guinness and lots of posters on the walls.



We immediately got drinks and sat down, me with camera well in hand. Note the shamrock in the head of my Guinness!



LOTS of cute men there, all of whom were super-nice and non-skanky. We got talked to quite a bit. I was called a "good girrrrl" by a few guys who seemed to find me nice. One was named Colum (I remember at one point Colum telling us, in his lovely accent, how attractive he found blondes ("they'rrre hot!"). I can't remember the name of the other younger guy who talked to me (began with an A?)--he was a musician though. The guy in the picture below was named Frank.



If you look closely at this picture, just under the white arching-to-the-right part, you will see on the uppermost partitition on the far side of the bar....a picture of John F. Kennedy. THAT'S how classical Irish this place is! LOVE. IT.
ceebeegee: (Default)
Does anyone have this album? I just need a couple of songs from it--or at least I'd like to listen to it before buying it. I saw it on Broadway and remember a couple of songs that I really liked, "Missing You" and "The Honor of Your Name." Unfortunately neither Amazon nor iTunes offers a single song option for the album (in fact, iTunes doesn't even have the album...).
ceebeegee: (Xmas Tree)
I've been so busy the past few days and it's not going to relent until sometime around Christmas (!). Saturday I had the AATI reading--we had rehearsal for that in the morning, then I hit the PATH into Hoboken for Xmas Carol rehearsal, then BACK into Midtown for the reading. I was planning to go up to visit Jason in the hospital after that but heard from Don that he was discharged that day so no go. After the reading Tim (who was at the reading) and I went to Houston's to have dinner. We talked about Brandy's (a piano bar on the Upper East Sie where we used to go a lot) and the show and all sorts of things.

Sunday I had Xmas Carol rehearsal, of course. Since last Thursday we have been having stumblethroughs and workthroughs, and also filling in the gaps for the sections that haven't been fully addressed. For example, last night we finally fully blocked and choreographed the Fezziwig scene--we'd had a choreography rehearsal much earlier but half the cast was missing so we had to pick it up last night. I added a bunch of party bits--flirtations, interactions, etc. I also worked out exactly where and how I want the choir to be singing certain pieces--very seldom does the choir actually sing a piece fully all the way through as in a standard musical. It's usually as underscoring or punctuation or as part of a transition. In the second Cratchit scene, when they're mourning Tiny Tim, I'm using the Coventry Carol--I have the choir singing a phrase, and then Mrs. Cratchit has a line. Then the choir comes back in a few lines later. I don't want the show to stop for the musical pieces--they're commentary and atmosphere. Same thing with the show's "anthem" which is an Episcopalian Advent hymn called "Remember, O Thou Man" (which chorus says "therefore, repent!"). I use that piece three times during the play, at three different key scenes, including when Scrooge is staring at the body on the bed.

I have to admit, I'm kind of pleased about the Ghost of the Future sequence. I hope it comes out as thpooooky as I imagine it. I won't tell you what I've done with it but it's not the way it's usually done. I was trying to make it both more thpooooky and also more meaningful. Gina looked pleased last night and told me what I did with the first part of the Future sequence was much more effective than what's usually done.

Slowly, slowly it's all coming into place. *tries to breathe* Tomorrow's going to be interesting--our first night on the set.
ceebeegee: (Default)
I resisted going all digital for a very long time, because I have such a big collection of audio cassette tapes. It would cost me at least a thousand dollars to buy CDs of ALL the shows I have on tape, and of course I have stuff on tape for which there is no CD. Then I got the iPod, and wistfully mentioned something about transferring it all to digital. Jason said "actually there is such software--you could definitely re-format them to .mp3." I'm all "Woo hoo!" He sent me the link to a Better Living Through Technogeekery site, where a guy explains exactly how to accomplish this with minimal expense (software is free, just have to get a stereo cable which is around $5). I download the software and voila!

So for the past week or so I've been working on this project--I decided to start with my personal tapes of concerts and shows in which I performed. A few days ago I finished transferring and editing (the side of the cassette tapes is read as one long sound file by the software, which you must then chop up into individual sound files, which you then export as .mp3s) a concert I did with the Lost Colony Choir back in the summer of '91. We performed Mozart's Litany in B-flat major and I was the soprano soloist. It's really kind of cool listening to this. I LOVED that work (Mozart clearly had a thing for soprani--she gets by far the most stuff in the piece, two full soli plus a number of other lines in the choral numbers and duets. The poor bass soloist gets only 1 or 2 lines!). Most of my early training was in sacred music--I sang in my church choir for years and years, starting at age 7. We had a very strong program, and I still love singing in that pure, clean style. The Mozart Litany is sacred music--basically addressing God and Christ with different names and repeating "miserere nobis" (have mercy on us). The whole piece is written around that, and it's just incredible how many different moods the music evokes--joy, dread, yearning...It's just a great piece and I loved singing it. I would love to do it again.
ceebeegee: (The Opposite of War Isn't Peace)
There's something kind of cinematic about making your way down the street towards the subway station in the pouring rain, fighting against the wind, avoiding the puddles...and not really noticing much or minding because your ears are filled with Mozart's Litany in B-flat Major. It's like your very own soundtrack..

Last night we had our first rehearsal for Admit Impediments. We made very efficient use of the time, getting through, working and cleaning all pages 1-20, and I blocked the two numbers as well. I always try to block as much as I can theoretically, but nothing beats actually having actors in front of you to execute it, so you can see if it works with their rhythms and acting choices.

I feel restored by last night. I really love directing--I feel so completely engaged, every artistic molecule is provoked, and I also get to exercise my perfectionist tendencies. It also helps--immensely--having good actors who understand what I'm asking and can execute it.
ceebeegee: (Southwest cactus)
In my continuing obsession with all things iPod, I've been going through all my songs and making sure they all have correct information, including artwork (album covers), album name, composer, etc. I've also been adding lyrics and while searching the internet for song lyrics, came across this useful site. You can waste spend LOTS of time here: not only do they have lyrics, but lots of trivia--it's like Pop-up Video on a website!

So I'm listening to "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin (you know, the song that every single straight man in America over the age of 30 sings at karaoke) and I'm all "hmm, I should add that to the iPod" and then thought I'd look it up. So I found it on Songfacts and was amused at this incisive commentary:

The verses start out with a natural harmony and depict the tale of a father with his newborn son. Although dad gets the necessities of child rearing accomplished, he doesn't allow himself to put in quality time with his son because of his career. Initially, this seems like no big deal because of his hectic and oblivious life working and paying bills. The recurring verse has the son saying, "I'm gonna be like you Dad, you know I'm gonna be like you..." Over time, both father and son grow into a switching of life roles. The father realizes his son's ambitions and goals of college, grades, and driving and wants to spend more time with him, yet slowly grasps the reality that now his son has no time for such things. In the last verse, Chapin illustrates that the "son" is all grown up with a fast paced job and kids of his own. In a glaring twist of roles, we see that the son now has no time to spend with his father. Sadly, dad realizes that his boy has become just like him.

Gee, ya think?! I mean, that's all pretty obvious!

And by the same contributor:

Some of the lyrics reflect America's movement into a faster paced, almost numb society, hence the line, "Little boy blue and the man on the moon."

Huh? Stop trying to be deep, dude.

But this is fascinating (from the page on Dan Fogelberg's "Same Old Lang Syne"--what? I love that song):

The melody phrase at the beginning of each verse ("Met my old lover at the grocery store...") was taken by Fogelberg from Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture." (To get the effect, just sing that lyric twice, slightly speeded up. Maybe add a few fireworks explosions for good measure.) This song is one of several Pop tunes that have phrases or entire melodies ripped off from classical composers - Paul Simon's "American Tune" (from J.S. Bach), Billy Joel's "This Night" (from Beethoven), among others.

So cool! I'd never noticed that!
ceebeegee: (Magical Dance)
I downloaded a couple of albums last night from iTunes--The Goodbye Girl and The Wedding Singer. I used to have the first one but I lost the tape a few years ago. It's not a bad score--some of the songs are quite sweet, like "I Think I Can Play This Part" and "Paula." "Richard Interred" is also very clever. The score doesn't blow me away exactly but I'm enjoying listening to it, probably because I love the movie so much. But the Lucy I hear through the songs seems a little too knowing--yes, Lucy is precocious but she's still 10 years old, a little girl. This Lucy seems older, like she's 12, and sounds older as well. Martin Short is an inspired choice to play Elliott, but I'm not sure about Bernadette--she seems a little too adorable for Paula, who is kind of a shrew in the first half of the story. I'm curious as to why the show did so poorly with two such big stars in the leads--it may have been due to the whole Richard III sequence, which is pretty dated nowadays. Come to think of it, I can't remember how they handled that in the Jeff Daniels-Patricia Heaton TNT remake a few years ago but then they missed a LOT in that remake. They left unchanged the things they should've changed and vice versa--the original is something of a period piece, and the remake missed a lot of that. I posted on the imdb message board about the anachronisms (or just plain bad research):

*Paula auditions for the show on the stage of a theater. This is not how directors have auditions now in New York City--they rent studio space. Auditioning in the theater makes it look like A Chorus Line.

*The remake takes place in Greenwich Village instead of the Upper West Side (in the original). There is not one grocery store anywhere in the Village where you can have two shopping carts side by side (when he comes up next to her and suggests they combine food expenses)--grocery stores are absolutely tiny in that area of the city.

*In the Greenwich Village of 2004, there is no way you'd have 3 muggers brazenly stealing purses in the daytime. Even at night that would be a big stretch--the Village is one of the safest areas of the city and is packed with people and they would be caught immediately. In the original, which took place in the UWS in the late '70s, it was believable because the city was a very different place then, with a high crime rate. But even supposing 3 muggers were stupid enough to try that in the Village in this era, it's *completely* ridiculous that they'd be able to get away that quickly--in a car? The Village has narrow short streets that are difficult to navigate--they would've hit a red light immediately, or come up behind another car. It's just not believable.

*How can a single, barely-employed mother afford even half the rent on a two-bedroom apartment in the West Village? It's an extremely expensive neighborhood. For that matter how can TONY afford it? Off-Broadway actors make crap for wages. Again, it was more plausible in the original, because the Upper West Side in the '70s was much more affordable (even adjusting for inflation).


*Sigh.* Why remake such a classic movie? To gild refined gold, to paint the lily...

However, I am LOVING The Wedding Singer--I enjoyed the show very much, and the score is just terrific. The opening number, "It's Your Wedding Day," is so soaring and fun, you just want to start belting it out. Also great are "Someday" (Julia's anthem) and "Casualty of Love"--hilarious! Just a great score.

Screams

Jul. 31st, 2006 12:30 pm
ceebeegee: (Midsummer)
So yesterday we had the Ice Cream Social for the Midsummer cast. The day actually started with a music rehearsal at my apartment--Mickey taught Sami and Melissa the roundel, which he'd set to music, and which sounds absolutely haunting. It's just the extra dimension of loveliness that our production needs--it has this fey, weird, lovely quality to it. Love it. La la la, our Midsummer has a STAFF composer. Sami and Melissa sound beautiful on it as well.

A little before 3:00 the rehearsal ended, and we shifted into Social mode. Silas came over, bringing HIS guitar (I didn't even know he played guitar) and he and Mickey started playing together. I requested some John Denver (I don't care how dorky his rep is, I LOVE me some John Denver. I will sing him every day and twice on Sundays. The man had the voice of God, and he was HOTTT in the mid-'80s once he lost the glasses--check out his video for "Don't Close Your Eyes Tonight," the man was sweaty and lean and divine. I think this is around the time of his divorce from Annie which is unfortunate but he certainly was attractive then). Silas played "Country Roads" and we both sang to it, harmonizing, and afterward I said "If there were any doubt that a white person has moved into 3333 Broadway, that doubt has now been removed." Jason said in announcer tones "This is the first time this song has ever been heard in this building!" And Mickey said "There goes the neighborhood..."

The whole thing was so much fun, so wholesome with guitars and singing and ice cream. All we needed was a bonfire!

I made the basic, old-fashioned vanilla recipe which turned out rather custard-y, as I had to cook the mixture beforehand and ended up over cooking the eggs slightly. It tasted yummy anyway, although the next time I make ice cream, I want it to be creamier. I supplied lots of toppings like malt, fudge, Kahlua, chocolate syrup for additional yumminess, and Chris brought bowls so everyone was well-served. Sadly, Mickey could not partake of the screams, being lactose-intolerant, so I whipped up a mojito for him. Gotta take care of ALL my guests! I'm such a WASP.

We also viewed, again, my DVD of The Brady Bunch Variety Show.
ceebeegee: (Southwest cactus)
It's weird, though, I always think of May 4 as the day of the Kent State massacre (May 4, 1970, in Kent, Ohio, after a weekend of protest following Nixon's incursion into Cambodia). Tin soldiers and Nixon's comin'...Four Dead in Ohio.... That song is so haunting--I first learned about this event in college when I read a book by James Michener about it (the book was very much a product of its time--each female student was invariably described as a "leggy blonde co-ed" or "a stunning, brunette student." I'm surprised he didn't call them birds. But for all that it was pretty informative). I had also discovered the score to Godspell, which, coincidentally was big when Kent State happened, and the song "On the Willows" kept going through my head as I stared at those pictures of Jeff Miller, lying on the pavement, shot in the face. (He's the one in the Pulitzer Prize-winning picture with the screaming girl, who was actually a 14-year-old runaway.)

Rest in peace, Alison Krause, Sandra Scheuer, William Schroeder and Jeffrey Glenn Miller. And not to be forgotten--Philip (?--I don't know that case as well) Green also killed at Jackson State College a few weeks later. Students shouldn't be afraid to demonstrate peacefully.

The weekend

Apr. 3rd, 2006 05:30 pm
ceebeegee: (Macbeth)
Saturday was busy--I had rehearsal for much of the day for both of my shows (Macbeth and my cabaret, about which more later) and then got a pedicure. Both rehearsals went well--for the cabaret I was sight-singing a lot of new music, and Donna was revising her score on the spot so I got to exercise my notation skills, which have lain fallow for lo these many years. For one song she extrapolated one cadence (used previously in the piece) to four measures instead of two. Since it was the final cadence, I suggested the sopranos go up to the C, instead of down to the G. "I'm feelin' it that way." She perked up, played it on the piano and said "That sounds great!" Bow down before my mad arranging skillz!

After that, Macbeth which went swimmingly. The three beyotches (Michelle, Laura and I) are going to ROCK--we blocked the later scenes when McB visits us and we show him the three Apparitions ("No man of woman born..." and the line of kings stretching out from Banquo). I was really into it, and our Macbeth, David, is very strong. I have been analyzing the text very closely and today I did a lot of research about the play and this history. God, I love this play. Soooooo moody and bloody and Celtic.

Saturday night, Michael, Holly and I hung out at Dalton's, half-watching the later NCAA game (*after* Mason got tromped by Florida :( . Mmmm, apple martinis.

I finally had a chance to sleep in on Sunday, but eventually roused myself to walk over to the Scottish Village in Grand Central Station. I was hoping they would have a sort of marketplace, where I could buy haggis and other kinds of food and goods (like at the Highland Games) but it was mostly booths promoting travel to Scotland and stuff. Still interesting but not what I expected. I did get a cute lil' pin with a Scottish flag crossed with an American one.

After that I went to church, and then over to Hoboken for an Actor Prepares meeting with Kelly, Jason, Alex and Don. That was very helpful.

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