Monday, September 15, 2008


This delightful photo was sent by the founder of my gay book reading group in Boston.


Are you aware that these waffle packages were recently circulated at a big Republican rally/fund raising event? Among the bottom feeders spewing their bile there was the Great Sleaze himself, Mitt Romney.

These scabrous Aunt Jemima-inspired images were circulated for the Republicans by two young advertising guys who, when the whole business was made public, immediately hid behind the "social commentary" defense and purged their site. Racism lives, is promoted, and is used as a political weapon by the Bush/McCain/Cheney/Palin-led Republican Party.

England is noted for its early music ensembles, many of which claim that they know definitively just how music was sung and played two or three hundred years ago. I could do 45 minutes on why that simply isn’t possible, but something none of us wants right now.

However, one thing I do say to people who make that claim is that even if one COULD make an exact recreation of a period performance, 50% of the performance equation that can never be reproduced is the audience. If an authentic period performance isn’t experienced by an authentic period audience, but by an audience that’s heard everything that came after and lives with art, philosophy, politics, spirituality, science and society thoroughly alien to the era supposedly being exactly recreated, then what you have is a museum exhibit rather than a living dialog between the stage and the concert-goer.

Recently there was a report on a music blog of one conductor rebuking an audience for talking and making other noise while his ensemble was playing. To me, this attitude sent up a big red flag signaling hypocrisy.

Until the last quarter of the 19th century, audiences went to theater, concerts and opera in a very casual way, eating dinner in the boxes, wandering around the auditorium to greet friends, talking at will, etc. etc. Most or all the auditorium lights were on during the entire performance so this social activity could go on unimpeded. When England’s Prince Albert went to the theater, a platform was put up over the front rows of the stalls (orchestra seats) with a table and chairs so he and his friends could play cards while watching the play and, very importantly, so that the entire audience could see HIM. Anyone sitting in the center orchestra seats could see nothing else in any event.

There was a constant buzz in the audience; in fact, when audiences fell silent, it frequently meant that they were unhappy and that the performance, and/or the work being performed, was in serious trouble.

In opera, Richard Wagner led the reform movement with the way his operas were performed at Bayreuth. In spoken theater, one of the great leaders was playwright August Strindberg who blithely appropriated all of Wagner's reforms and published them as his own in the famous Preface to his play Miss Julie, a dozen years after the opening of the Bayreuth Festival with the Ring of the Nibelung in 1876.

I've seen signs that the Wagnerian discipline has been relaxing for years in our theaters--everything from bringing babies to the theater; through the whole cell phone thing (including taking and making calls in the Metropolitan Opera during the performance); to bringing food into the auditorium. In several cases that I've personally experienced, food in the auditorium has been with the permission and even encouragement of the theater management. We won't even speak of the frequent/constant talking during performances.

So, ironically, the authentic performance specialists may soon see the ultimate in authentic performance, where their 18th century singing and playing style is viewed by people on their feet, talking, eating and drinking, doing business, and phoning the baby sitter. One wonders if they'll welcome the “authentic” competition!


Here are a couple of pictures of the finished paving. Above, the house with parking off the mechanical room entrance on the west side.

South and below the house, the garden shed will be dropped onto the square "pad" of gray crushed rock at the back of the parking turnout. The shed will match the house with cedar wood siding topped by the same red roof shingles. Installation date is October 28.


The Wit and Wisdom of George W. Bush AND Dan Quayle

<- Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.

-> We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe

My burning question is do you believe in the doctrine of signatures?
Michael, I'm at a complete loss here--please explain and I'll answer as best I can.
Wow, the new driveway looks great. I'm glad you got it in- I would not have wanted to negotiate the unpaved version with snow on the ground.
Hi Will

What a lovely fruit that is *ahem*

Hard to believe the Aunt Jemima thing actually happened isn't it? The times, they aren't a changing.
the doctrine of signatures is an old medical belief that something in nature that resembles a body part must be 'good medicine' for that organ's condition.
For example, the leaves of lungwort resemble the cross section of a lung; it was believed good for lung ailments.

So this little plant must be nature's little viagra.....
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