Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gay Mansion

Instead of walking through the other night's activities, which led me to be thrown into one of the more surreal evenings of this year (aside from visiting my bosses' art loft) let me run you through my thought process.

I can't believe I had to take an hour-and-a-half bus ride to pick up sheet music for my piano lesson.
Cool, Ryan is going to pick me up and we'll drive back home together. But first we have to drop off his colleague at this mansion he's staying in for a week during the Obama campaign. Okay.
Wow, this house is totally on the top of the mountain. I bet there's great views. I hear the owners are gay too.
Oh, I definitely want to go in and look around. This could be an awesome place.
Hooray, we got the okay to come in!
Hey this place is totally amazing, and what did you say about the owners being nudists, I mean not that I have a prob--
I. Uh. Hi. Uh.
Um, is this happening?
Wait, is that a dance floor with its own DJ booth? And all the lights are controlled by laptop computer?
Is that a foam machine?
What a view of the skyline. It don't get much better than this.
Wait, you're naked. And now you're checking your email. No wonder there's no leather furniture around here- too much chafing. Now you're asking me for wine. Well...what the hell.
Hey, thanks for the pamphlet on naturism.
Seriously you guys?
If only I lived in the Netherlands I could have naked lunches all the time.
Four bedrooms? Each one is the size of my entire apartment. This is how I envision L.A.
Not quite my style, but I wouldn't complain about living here.
Of course there's a multiperson shower and separate wet and dry saunas.
Hey, you guys are pretty cool.
I can't help but feel weird for my straight guy friend here. He's a minority in this room. Though he is the one who knows this guy staying here, I'm just the friend of a friend of a friend.
I'm feeling pretty casual from that wine?
We should go.
Thanks for the invite to the pool party. In November.
Oh, it's still raining out, bummer.
Maybe I'll go to that party.
So, remember that time, five minutes ago, when your friend was staying over at that gay mansion? Yeah, that was pretty ridiculous.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Festival of Firsts

In a clever tie-in to Pittsburgh's recent Festival of Firsts, this weekend was full of first-time things for me, and I can almost hardly stand all of the excitement from it!

Cutting to the chase: In rehearsal on Thursday night, I got to meet John Adams. This is HUGE! John Adams is my favorite living composer. I'd say my favorite composer of all time, but that place is hard to say, what with Steve Reich and John Luther Adams and so many other composers working today. But John Adams, I've already written a piece in tribute to him! And he was just sitting in the audience, listening to the rehearsal, and Sally, Kate, and I were able to go up to him and chat. I just said hello and small-talked for a moment, but it was a moment of being in the presence of one's idol and knowing that he's just a cool-seeming guy. A guy who is also living history in the story of great American classical music. His music continues to get better and inspire me more and more, and I hope to talk with him for realz when he returns to Pittsburgh to conduct the choir in January.

Friday day was crazy. A tour group came into work and ate at the cafe without giving us advanced notice, causing me and my administrative colleagues to take up restaurant duty, and as I'm trying to take orders and calm people down, I don't know how to work the cash register, so I'm running to work the admissions desk (meanwhile screwing up my sales reports for Monday), and also worked the shop that morning. Lindsay in Membership is an excellent dishwasher, however.

Then, Friday night, I sang with Mendelssohn Choir to premier a work written for Pittsburgh's 250th Birthday (aka Sesquibicentennial Hooplah and Fireworks Extravaganza). The piece is by composer Derek Bermel and lyricist Wendy S. Walters. There are some really cool textures in the piece, and it is my first time on Heinz Hall stage, first time premiering a large work, first performance with Mendelssohn Choir, and first performance sharing stage space with the Pittsburgh Symphony!

I also premiered a pre-concert song by a friend, Scott Wasserman, with fabulous texts by Julie Brown. So I also played piano on Heinz Hall stage, and my, is that a beautiful-sounding instrument. I savored the moment.

More firsts! Saturday night I played and sang at the Warhol Museum. I accompanied Scott's piece again, and played and sang (simultaneously) a second Wasserman song called "Dirty Spoon". Dare I say I rocked the house with it. It was by far the best song of the evening, being a raunchy blues from the perspective of a kitchen utensil. But it was the best only in part due to my delivery of the lines "I make you come...undone" and "I'm a spoon, mama, caress my curve..." and mostly due to the fact that Scott is an insanely talented composer. Also, Scott is only 20. And also knowing how cool Julie is makes me want to find a librettist with whom I can write a gazillion songs.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lists of Late

Lately there have been so many things I think about posting, and then the concept slips my mind...mostly because I'm at work. But now that I have a weekend cold, and am stuck sniffling at home while the world frolics in the autumn sun without me, here are some lists.

Things that have been fun:
Mattress Factory work (and first paycheck)
Pittsburgh 250 fireworks
Preparing for the Warhol concert next weekend
leaves turning
morning fog
bluegrass concert
indie band sleepover
reading for fun again

Things that have been annoying:
barking dog downstairs
Sarah Palin
finding a tuxedo
bags of clothes to goodwill
broken washing machine
transferring buses
choir rehearsals

I have to think about these inevitable things:
Doctoral programs?
The next loan starts in November
Rehearsals for recording music to this Drama School play
Retirement account?!

Funny things:
seeing a man playing two saxophones at once (counterpoint on alto and tenor!)
It's almost funny that the broken washing machine won't work because it is so jammed-full of quarters. This washer is probably one of the few things in America right this moment that has so much money it doesn't know what to do with it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Pale Young Gentlemen (and Two Pale Young Ladies)

Last night I had the pleasure of hearing the Madison, Wisconson-based band Pale Young Gentlemen. The cellist in the band, Beth, is a friend of mine from undergrad, and I'm so glad she joined a hip band and isn't stuck playing 'Pachelbel's Canon' at weddings. Instead, she gets to see the country, be signed to a record label, play great music with cool people, and visit friends along the way. It was really inspiring to see a group of people my own age so relaxed about playing music and grateful for the opportunity to play for whomever shows up. All they wanted to do after the concert was enjoy some hot cocoa and apple cider! So, basically I am in love with all of them. To save them a little cash, Amy and I hosted them overnight and they all received an A+ in houseguest manners. What? No coke-snorting, furniture-in-the-swimming-pool, celebrity temper tantrums? Thankfully not present. Though we did talk about freebase spoons, and how they should be used more appropriately. Like for when you want some ice cream.
Composer speak: I think PYG's songs have great promise, and their first album already sounded pretty great (especially the dancey songs), so I'm looking forward to the second album, which came out today! I fully expect PYG to be well-received, especially with good performance conditions, and varied instrumentation of the songs on their studio recordings. Mike's songs have an unpredictably fun quality: a chorus might turn into a verse unexpectedly, or the drums kick in with a sudden dance beat, disappearing seconds later. Cello and viola lines intertwine and then change to bells and tambourine. A craptastic venue like Garfield Artworks in Pittsburgh wasn't exactly ideal for their chamber-music style, and the owner of the place is notoriously difficult, but through it all, their songs had my toes tapping, my diminished chords resolving, and my inner glockenspiel glocking.

This is obviously the part where I say that I hope they become well-loved and well-appreciated by the crowds. And once they get famous (but not too famous that they start throwing furniture out of hotel rooms), I can boast about having two members of the band sleeping in my living room. "...and then, they made me a delicious omelette for breakfast! And they're even cuter in real life..."

Best of luck on the rest of your tour, everyone!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Red Necklace

I made a necklace for a friend's birthday, and it was pretty simple but effective, with some twisted wire, red glass beads, and silver chain. And seeing how she is a contemporary art historian, I thought something modern would do the trick. Turns out it matched the birthday outfit for the evening quite well! And Birthday Girl doesn't have pierced ears, so I'm glad I didn't make her earrings. Again. I made that mistake last year!