Friday, March 16, 2007

Toward the end of a busy, even hectic week, last night's concert by the Boston Symphony was just what I needed. The single work on the program, Gustav Mahler's Third Symphony, is a ninety minute piece divided into two unequal parts. Part one clocked in at thirty five minutes last night; it was conceived as a Procession of Bacchus by Mahler, a typical mixture by him of the rhapsodic and the almost grotesque. The second, hour long section is divided into five parts including a lovely string-dominated minuet and a genial scherzo (both with the delicacy of Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream music), a rapt song urging mankind to look to the joys of eternity, a rollicking song from the German folk music collection "The Youth's Magic Horn", and a final elegiac movement that brings the work to a luminous end.

Under its new Music Director, James Levine, the Boston Symphony is playing incredibly well--at times the playing is almost unbelievably beautiful. And Levine accomplishes miracles without drawing any attention to himself. There are none of the balletic contortions of some conductors, but he obviously has strong communication with every player individually.

Three of those players were on view last night, and a lovely view it was. To be a timpanist with the BSO these days means to be tall, dark or dark blond, and handsome. Led by principal timpanist Timothy Genis, the three of them looked like so many graceful black swans in their formalwear as they arched low over their timpani to check the pitch after each demanding outburst. Since the timpani are placed dead center on the highest level of the orchestra's risers, these guys are easy to see and very well worth watching.


Snow is swirling wildly around the house in the Northeaster that began to hit just before 10am today in Boston. It arrived with a sudden temperature drop and roaring gusts, and has intensified ever since. I was able to get off campus right after a 1pm appointment and made it home before snow was sticking too badly on the roads. I'd probably go out before dinner to do a first shoveling, but I think anything I cleared would drift over immediately in the strong wind. As I type this, hard wind-driven sleet is blowing horizontally, clicking and tapping at the windows of my studio. Going outside for ANY reason is the last thing in the world I want to do right now.

We're still hoping Fritz can come down tomorrow afternoon as planned. We have tickets for the Prazák String Quartet at Jordan Hall tomorrow night (and I haven't seen hair like the cellist's since some 1950s rock 'n roll heart throbs!). Of course, smartass that I tend to be, I started making jokes about our going to hear the Prozac String Quartet and now it's stuck in my head. Serves me right!

They're playing a lovely program:
String Quartet in F Major, Opus 96, "American"
String Quartet No. 1, "Kreutzer Sonata"
String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Opus 111


Beautiful is as beautiful does—-top international fashion designer Stefano Gabbana is seen on the gold-plated bed in the gold-plated ceramic tile guest room in the house he and business partner (and former lover) Domenico Dolce renovated at Portofino.

However, Stefano’s fathering a child with a gal pal (presumably by artificial insemination, but one never knows) and disappointed (read: enraged) a lot of gays and lesbians by stating that children should have a male and a female parent, not two parents of the same sex.


The following is courtesy of Gaytwogether. I can’t call the result of the debate in advance, but I have a feeling General Pace’s infamous homophobic outburst may actually assist in passing the anti-“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that Massachusetts Representative Marty Meehan introduced to the Congress. Having high-ranking gay officers come out in protest and discuss the indisputable service records of so many gay and lesbian soldiers, sailors, flyers and marines should be extremely influential.

Colonels & Captains Call for Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

WASHINGTON, March 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

A group of seven high-ranking military veterans today responded to recent remarks by GeneralPeter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who earlier this week called lesbian, gay and bisexual service members "immoral" and re-iterated his support for the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gayand bisexual service members. The officers, who are all lesbian or gay, called on Congress to repeal the law, and demanded that General Pace apologize for his remarks.

COL Stewart Bornhoft, USA (Ret.); CAPT Joan E. Darrah, USN (Ret.); CAPT Robert D. Dockendorff, USNR (Ret.); Chaplain COL Paul W. Dodd, USA(Ret.); CAPT Sandra Geiselman, USNR (Ret.); COL E. A. Leonard, USAF (Ret.); and CAPT Robert Michael Rankin, USN (Ret.) issued their statement on Friday morning: "Our community has a long history of serving our country in the armed forces," the group said. "Today, there are more than 65,000 lesbian and gay troops on duty. Another one million gay and lesbian veterans, including the seven of us, have served in our fighting forces. General Pace's remarks dishonor that service, as does the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law. GeneralPace must offer an immediate and unqualified apology for his remarks and Congress must take action to repeal the ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans who want to serve our country."

The highly-decorated officers each served more than 20 years, and several considerably longer. They have earned scores of awards, honors and commendations during their long careers. Four served in the Vietnam War. They have served as company commanders, helicopter pilots, medical officers, commanding officers, psychologists, chaplains, combat engineers, platoon leaders, infantry officers, supply corps officers and intelligence officers.

"Does General Pace believe we are immoral, or that our service was unacceptable?" the group asked. "Does he appreciate the sacrifice and dedication of every patriot in our armed forces, regardless of their sexual orientation? As military leaders, we never discounted the enormous contribution that every service member brought to our armed forces. GeneralPace should do no less, and owes an apology to our men and women on the frontlines and their families."

"Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is enormously proud of thes estellar officers," said C. Dixon Osburn, the group's executive director. "These seven, who stand on behalf of one million gay veterans now living in the United States, are irrefutable proof that lesbian and gay patriots have made valuable contributions to our fighting forces. They have commanded companies, advised government leaders, fought on the ground and directed troops from the air. It was their outstanding performance and dedication to our country, not their sexual orientation, that made all the difference."


I'm ending today with a lovely shot of the great Harbour Bridge framing the iconic Sydney Opera House at night that recently appeared on Synthetic Ego, written by the blogger who signs himself NarcissusAU

A dedicated body builder and enthusiastically randy gay 20-something, Narcissus either takes great pictures or has great taste in what he finds and puts on his blog--as do I, of course! :-) Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

you are the fountain of news, as always.
I adore Mahler; we have the same birthday, a 100 years apart.
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