November has been full of surprises. I went to the dentist today and I am bummed that I have a cavity which will need to be filled. On the other hand, I have been cavity-free for twenty years! That's a pretty good track record. I chose the dentist because his office is super close to my apartment, but it's also in a really great retro building with great a midcentury-modern sign. Indeed, the interior is funky too. And the staff includes a hilarious lesbian dental hygienist. She told me, "I can't cook for sh*t, but I'm a total gay man when it comes to decorating". They also have a resident huge dog that wanders the office, but the dentist said nobody is allowed to pet it until the end of the day. Thank goodness. No dog germs in mouths allowed.
I got some of my jewelry accepted into the Holiday mART at Sewickly, PA's Sweetwater Center for the arts. I made a mix of funk and traditional things in hopes I could make a little cash and raise some money for their arts programs. Here's some samples.
I recorded the music to the Drama School's spring play, The London Cuckolds, and it's being edited now. I think it's going to sound great in the space of the theatre, and I can't wait to see the show go up. I was surprised that the editing is going so smoothly. The engineer is able to speed up some movements slightly without sounding distorted, which I think will give the scene changes an extra boost of vivacity.
I'm feeling pretty good about feeling like I have a direction in life, which includes eventually teaching music, hopefully specifically composition. Though other projects may happen in the meantime, I think it's the first time in my life where I'm able to feel like I'm not wishywashy about what I'd like to do for a long period of time. It feels pretty solid. Just in time for my five-year college reunion this summer.
I was also asked to join my friend in seeing The Grapes of Wrath, a new opera by Ricky Ian Gordon that played in Pittsburgh for the last two weeks. I really enjoyed it; it was my first professional opera experience and I'm glad it was 1. accessible, 2. theatrical, and 3. in English. There was also a great harmonica part in the orchestra. I had met the composer last year, and it was great to hear his personal perspective on writing the work and its drawn-out revision process. There was one ridiculously over-choreographed scene, but the rest of the 3 hours went by quickly (thank you to whoever included a men's shower scene with a real working shower). I also teared up twice, as well is to be expected in Grapes– like the book, the opera don't end so hot. The orchestration also thins out to nothing by the end of the opera, with a silent curtain call, and it is very effective.
Opera is not my genre of choice- I know little about it and I've only recent come to understand more fully why the music and actors interpret it differently than musical theatre or art song. I feel like I'm ready for a more "classical" opera performance. But I will not be ready for any Wagner any time soon.