Saturday, December 03, 2005

South Africa has become the fifth nation in the world to have approved gay marriage. For whatever reason or reasons, it will take as long as a year to establish the procedures, paperwoprk, etc. It sounds like a great lot of bureaucratic log-jamming to me but I'm not South African and not familiar with their processes.

One might think that as more and more nations sign on to the gay civil right movement, our government--our nation--might begin to reexamine it's anti-gay stand, but I have little expectation of that. This country was founded on non-involvement with foreign nations. As we've grown stronger and more arrrogant, the one breach we seem to have allowed in this policy gives us license to interfere in THEIR affairs and policies but does not allow their culture or international stand to influence OURS.

I was driving in to MIT yesterday morning when one of those stories so bizarre you can’t quite believe it was reported on the news. A large stray dog was attacked and eaten alive by squirrels in some town in the English midlands. There were eye witnesses who confirmed that a large number of the little tree rodents swarmed all over the dog and “gutted” it. Local officials then issued a statement that the attack could be blamed on a shortage of pinecones locally. I’m not sure exactly what that means. Squirrels do not eat pinecones and I doubt the tiny seeds could provide too much of the local squirrel population’s diet.

Just pardon me for a moment, however, while I make sure I’ve got enough cat food in the house.

Nobody reads any more. All over the country, newspapers are fading out--our news comes from TV sound bites now; we're told attention spans are down and people will not read anything lengthy. OK, so literacy as we know knew it is gone. But a simple sign giving the name of a building, a building at a major educational institution to boot, this they cannot read?

Our little design and production center is sandwiched in between two other modestly-sized buildings, one of which houses the MIT Traffic office and the Card Service office where ID cards and other magnetic strip cards are made. Every day, at least three people come in, look around at trees under construction or faux stone walls being painted and ask where they can get their parking stickers.

Clearly they haven't read the 1" high black letters that clearly spell out "Theater Arts Technical Staff--Design and Production Center." A variety of small signs saying "We are NOT the Card or Traffic Office" in 2” black block caps were totally ignored. 4" high light reflective pure white type giving the number of our building, E33 (everything has a number at MIT--people don't major in Physics but in Course 8) makes no impression and neither does a big sign with lettering on an arrow POINTING directly at the damn card office attract any attention.

Sometime in June of next year the building housing the Card and Traffic offices is scheduled to be torn down. I'll let you know when it happens, and please stop by. There'll be champagne and cake..

American composer Tobias Picker

The operatic version of "An American Tragedy" was received with a great deal of enthusiasm last night by a notoriously conservative audience, one that dislikes anything without hummable melodies and all the stock conventions of traditional opera. What they got was a splendid piece of musical theater, smartly and cleverly designed and directed, and performed by a superb cast. And the key to the opera's reception ws that the same number of people who sat down for the 8pm curtain returned for the second act that began at ten minutes after 10pm.

The story of the rise and fall of Clyde Griffiths begins and ends with Clyde as a ten or eleven year old boy on the stage, At the very beginning of the work, we see young Clyde in the Salvation Army milieu in which he was raised, interacting with his formidible mother. At the end, as the mature Clyde makes his way to the electric chair, young Clyde takes his hand and, as the last remnant of innocence remaining to him, stands by his errant adult to the end. In the intervening three hours, we see the consequences suffered by those who become involved with handsome, suave, incredibly seductive Clyde Griffiths who has no central core of ethics other than a vaulting personal ambition.

Mr. Fire Island Leather was back again, this time sitting in a side box surrounded by his boys. The younger opera lovers come in a variety of couture these days, including one boy in full evening wear with a pendented brooch in place of a formal tie--and a backpack.

Amid an enormously accomplished cast, there were two stand-outs--Big Dolora Zajick, whose massive voice doesn't just fill the 3,800 seat MET, but bounces off the walls and grabs you wherever you sit, playing Clyde's mother; and Nathan Gunn, in gorgeous voice, moving with the grace of a cat and sexy as all hell. Out Lesbian director Francesca Zambello is fully aware of what the contemporary audience wants to see and wasted no time getting Nathan out of his shirt for the fateful seduction scene.

After prolonged ovations for the cast, composer Tobias Picker received a roar of applause as he came out for the first of several bows. It was a very good night at the opera.

Yes, yes! I wouldn't have made the request if I wasn't up for driving down. Of course, I have just a vague - possibly as much as town - idea where to go, but that's cool. What do you want me to bring? Wear? :-)
I've no idea about the weather then, but can you shelter me if it is too miserable to drive back that night for some reason?
oh, email: chris-at-chrisquilts-dot-com
YAY - Party at Will's office (once the neighboring building comes down).

I can't believe that South Africe is WAY ahead of us with gay marriage. I read that over the weekend and was shocked.
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