Thursday, December 18, 2008
The following speaks for itself. I posted it this afternoon on the site specifically set up to contact Barack Obama with comments on his soon-to-be Presidency. The URL, should you wish to add your own comment, is: http://change.gov/page/content/contact/
Dear Mr. President-elect:
I am writing out of feelings of extreme disappointment, concern and betrayal over the invitation to Reverend Rick Warren to be a highly visible and approved voice at your inauguration.
I voted enthusiastically for you and co-hosted an event in support of your election to the Presidency, which I felt was essential to returning this country to sane and responsible government. As a legally married (Commonwealth of Massachusetts) gay man, I understood that you do not support gay marriage but you did not seem to be overtly homophobic and, in fact, appeared to support gay rights in general. I understand completely that one can be against gay marriage and NOT be a hate-monger.
However, Reverend Rick Warren IS a hate-monger and his very recent comments informing me that my marriage is down there with incest, pedophilia and polygamy are a gut punch insult of a kind I voted for you to end forever. I have read and tried to accept your public comments this morning that we must have inclusion and dialog again in this country, and I couldn't agree more. BUT, are you inviting the Klan to march in your Inaugural parade?--the Neo-Nazi skinheads?--Aryan Nation? I thought not.
However, Reverend Warren's presence at the lectern on January 20th reinforces the sad truth with which gay men and lesbians still live in the United States: that we are the last minority it is not only acceptable, but perhaps even respectable, to hate and discriminate against.
I must respectfully but urgently recommend that the invitation to Reverend Warren be withdrawn and that your long hoped-for Inauguration will not be tainted by bigotry and anti-gay rhetoric.
William A. F______
Faculty of Music and Theater Arts (retired)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
In the media frenzy over the shoe-throwing incident during Bozo’s appearance with the President of Iraq, I became aware of the depiction in mosaic of Bozo’s father President George H. W. Bush on the floor of the Al-Rashid Hotel's lobby. All visitors entering the hotel are forced to walk on Bush's face to enter the hotel.
If anyone still doesn’t know it, throwing shoes at someone or even revealing the soles of the shoes to someone, is considered a major expression of contempt in Islamic culture
A slightly belated Happy 100th Birthday (December 12) to American Composer Elliot Carter! Mr. Carter celebrated in Boston and New York City as the Boston Symphony presented a new horn concerto by the astonishingly vigorous and mentally acute composer, as well as other very recent compositions by this major musician in an unprecedentedly prolific extended Indian summer to a very distinguished career. Mr. Carter continues to write as he enters his 101st year.
A huge number of musical compositions in many genres have been inspired by paintings, sculpture and other arts. Moussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (paintings by Victor Hartmen); Resphigi's Church Windows and Botticelli Trilogy; Henze's cantata after Gericault's Raft of the Frigate Medusa; Rachmaninoff's Isle of the Dead from Bocklin's famous painting; Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George (Seurat); Stravinski's The rake's Progress (after Hogarth); Benvenuto Cellini by Berlioz (statue of Perseus)--these are just off the top of my head.
From the New York Times, here's the latest entry in a crowded, very rich field:
Music Review: 'Later the Same Evening'
If Hopper’s Freeze-Frame Magic Sprang to Life
By VIVIEN SCHWEITZER
Edward Hopper’s cityscapes evoke many possible narratives of loneliness and solitude, some of which are imaginatively brought to life by “Later the Same Evening,” a one-act opera inspired by five of his paintings.
A joint production of the University of Maryland and the National Gallery of Art in Washington (which hosted a Hopper exhibition last year), the work, which has a score by John Musto, received its New York premiere last week at the Manhattan School of Music.
In Erhard Rom’s simple, elegant set, five Hopper paintings are hung on a gallery wall. The opera unfolds over one evening in New York in 1932, with each scene a vignette involving people in Hopper’s cityscapes — whose lives then intermingle with the figures in the other pictures. There were additional characters in the plot not taken from any of the paintings.
The clever concept, the brainchild of Leon Major, is vividly realized by his intelligent directing and Mark Campbell’s witty libretto. David O. Roberts’s costumes and Scott Bolman’s lighting evocatively recreate the ambience of each painting.
The opera begins with Elaine and Gus O’Neill, a dysfunctional couple inspired by Hopper’s “Room in New York.” During their scene of marital discontent (in which Elaine picks out Broadway tunes on an imaginary piano) Estelle Oglethorpe, a newly widowed woman waiting for her date, perches on a sofa at the side of the stage — the very image of the solitary lady in Hopper’s “Hotel Window.”
The young woman in “Hotel Room” becomes Ruth Baldwin, writing a letter to her boyfriend, Joe, explaining that she is leaving the city.
Mr. Musto’s musical-theater-like score, which features recurring marimba riffs, chromatic interludes, fugal passages and hints of blues and jazz, was effectively conducted by Michael Barrett. The promising young cast on Sunday from the Manhattan School of Music’s Opera Theater included Jaclyn Bermudez as Elaine and Min Won Shin as Ruth.
Thelma, the woman from Hopper’s “Automat,” becomes the usher in a particularly effective scene (inspired by his “Two on the Aisle”) in which most of the characters (including Estelle and her date) watch a Broadway show. In the final scene a dejected Joe (devastated that Ruth has stood him up) walks into a cafe and encounters Thelma: hints of a future love affair that could allow Hopper’s solitary characters to escape the lonely destiny he imposed on them.
As for Daddy Bush, I'd walk on his face too. Gladly.
Hope you boys are recovering with the snow and ice and power outages and all.
My guess is you can't -- and no Googling!
The point is, Obama was elected by an entire country's worth of opinions, viewpoints, and outlooks. Many of those differ from my own beliefs, and as much as I believe I'm right, they believe I'm wrong.
To that end, Rick Warren's speech is a blip on the political radar. It will be forgotten within minutes of being given. No one remembers who presents the award, only the person who won it!
With that circus out of the way, I do believe that Obama silences his more righty/centrist critics, and get down to more weighty matters.
He's way too shrewd to have made this decision lightly.