Tuesday, March 20, 2007
He's the 24 year old singer and model Jet Kanashi, who spends a lot of time presenting himself in the persona of a romantic hero, and he most certainly looks like one. His first CD is out with the title "Enjoy the Sadness". His personal website, Namida, with more pictures (though nothing quite so dramatic as the complete version of the one above) and samples of the songs is at http://www.jetkanashi.com/
Jet pushes just about every button I have and will be my desktop wallpaper for an indefinite period of time. The name is a stage name constructed from part of a nickname his father gave him as a boy and the Japanese word for sorrow (therefore linked to the CD title).
Jet began to model at age 19 but found it to be an unhappy experience, feeling that he wasn't being treated well. He'd decided to stop when one photographer persuaded him to give it another shot. The combination of the photographer's personal process and the fact Jet was more mature and able to articulate his own needs resulted in a very different experience. Since then he's worked extensively in front of the camera, and when erotic photography was suggested to him he discovered [fortunately] that he had no problem working naked.
The song samples on his site were a bit disappointing--perhaps I'm just not into the style. The basic sound is kind of new age folk-pop. He has a nice, somewhat shallow tenor but for a man who discusses his perpetual depression at length and in detail, I didn't get as much of an emotional connection as I thought I might, and I'm not sure his pitch is always solid. Others might well have no problems with him at all; for me right now he's better to look at than to listen to.
Straight? Gay? Nothing's stated but something might be inferred. The revelation that girls intimidated him in high school is probably ambiguous; the title "A song for him" for a song about a break-up is perhaps less so. Concerning his visual appeal, there's nothing ambiguous whatsoever.
(Wednesday morning update: The second part of Beautiful's interview with Jet has appeared this morning with some pictures from his mostly nude photoshoot that appeared in the the February issue of the gay German magazine Men. In this section of the interview he answers questions about what his perfect man might be like and volunteers some info on his sexually intimate moments with men.)
Rob and Yann who own Beautiful are a Dutch/French couple who operate a gay B&B located very close to the Marais, Paris's premiere gay neighborhood. Its rooms overlook the Place de La Republique. The pictures show a typical view from a guest room and the style of the interior.
Despite the high style of the furniture and ornamentation, the atmosphere is apparently informal and friendly. The boys admit to walking around the place in various states of undress, and while an ample breakfast is provided, guests serve themselves.
As this week draws to a close, we reach mid-term of the spring semester at MIT. Next week is Spring Break. We don't have any plans to go anywhere far this year, during either the Break or the summer. There's going to be too much going on as the house gets under way for us to be away for any length of time. May 1st, give or take a couple of days, now looks more and more like a realistic date for the start of construction.
I realized this week that I've crossed a threshold psychologically without really trying to; I've already separated myself from my career at MIT and am now looking objectively at what I've done there and at the job itself. It's become very easy to prepare things for my successor, purge files and do all the things that need doing to pass into a different phase of my life. When I was younger I was less confident and more afraid of change. Now I know that a little reinvention of self every now and then is a life-giving, renewing process. I'm ready.
There was an interesting recital at MIT's Killian Hall, an intimate recital venue, last Sunday. Tenor Jason McStoots, who had sung the Madwoman in our production of Britten's "Curlew River" last fall, sang a demanding but extremely rewarding program he'd put together himself along with accompanist Linda Osborne-Blaschke on the subject of a Journey, its rigors and returning home.
Jason has a sweet, clear, totally unforced voice and uses text with great expression but no hint of mannerism or showiness. What drew attention was the daring juxtaposition of composers, many of them gay, across centuries and styles. Instead of organizing songs into neat groups by composer, they followed one another thematically--at one point in the second half Gabriel Faure was followed immediately by Noel Coward, then Franz Schubert, Ralph Vaughn Williams and John Duke.
Elsewhere in the program, Jason premiered a three song group by Charles Shadle who's on our MIT music faculty and who is now composer-in-residence with Intermezzo, the opera company for which I design. Charles had chosen three quirky poems by Herman Melville, including a grotesque one called "The Maldive Shark."
Classical vocal recitals are becoming freer in their construction these days, which I think is all to the good. Soprano Dawn Upshaw does a huge amount of contemporary material and sings one of her song cycles lying on her back UNDER the piano wearing a sort of burlap bag.
And here's a very interesting quote from Joshua Roman, twenty-three years old and alreadythe first cellist of the Seattle Symphony: "I would love to see the classical-music industry crumble, just absolutely fall to bits. Because I think then we'd have to start over. We'd have to say, well, what is it? What is classical music? Is it this concert hall, is it these tuxedos? No, it's this music. And then we could start over from the beginning, build it up, find people who like the music. Like rock and roll started, like the punk movement started."
It's a very nice B&B but you can't open the windows because of the traffic noise.