Wednesday, September 30, 2009

 
We decided to check out sitcom night on ABC and just a few seconds into Hank, the new Kelsey Grammer comedy, was Melinda McGraw. She was a student of mine many years ago. I knew she had gone to LA and was doing well but co-starring on a Network sitcom is very good exposure. Hank is decently written and she was very strong in it.

From there, the level dropped quickly. The Middle passed by us without causing even so much as a chuckle. At one point, I asked Fritz--I didn't have my watch on--if there was any hope of it ending soon. This was followed by Modern Family for which we'd had some real interest, given the presence of a gay couple who've adopted a little daughter. Like The Middle, Modern Family was shot down by poor writing.

We gave up completely with Cougar Town--Courtney Cox appears to be doing a Julia Louis-Dreyfus imitation, just for starters.

So it wasn't a very good night on the tube.

*******

The latest outdoor work:

Concrete steps set into the rather steep hillside from our little parking area to the vegetable gardens and solar panels high above on the hillside.

What will be the herb garden on the right, with about half its good soil in it. I carry the stuf in five gallon buckets from two . The little notch taken out of it in the upper right is designed to house three big garden pots with different types of mint planted in them. I'm building a retaining wall,
to the left, to hold back and stabilize the loose soil; actual solid rock begins in the upper middle of the frame and goes off to the right.

Inside the house, the sun is rising right behind one of the glass block windows in our exercise/dressing room, throwing a carved wooden statue of the Indian goddess Lakshme into total silhouette.

*******

We have tickets to violinist Joshua Bell's tour appearance in Portsmouth in early February. Joshua did a little experiment while in the D.C. subways a couple of years ago:

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007.....

The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later: The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes: A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children.
Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes: The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money, but continued to walk at their normal pace.

The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour: He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. Findings:

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world.
He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million. Two days before Joshua Bell had sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the Metro Station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and people's priorities.

The questions raised: "In a commonplace environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?"

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made............How many other things are we missing?

Comments:
what a great experiment
I think a lot of this has to do with our 'conditioning' we purposely go numb/block out people on the street, people we don't want to see.
I remember a famous actor dressing shabbily as a street person.
no one noticed him
when he 'cleaned up' and went back he was immediately recognized and surrounded.
 
The garden/stone work is looking great! What satisfaction it must give you. And that's interesting about Joshua Bell. We certainly are conditioned to see street/subway musicians as little more than beggars. But having spent a lot of time in Paris, I know they run the gamut from that to talented professionals. And, if you pay attention, you can often tell the difference!
 
you are brave to watch commercial network tv - i only watch a few shows - NCIS being the fav. and now THE GOOD WIFE (good writing and strong acting). have to have my soaps - Desp Housewives and Brothers and Sisters (yummy guys)

of course the LnO shows

now, cable - ah! BURN NOTICE, IN PLAIN SIGHT and ROYAL PAINS.

other than that its the PBS mystery and masterpiece theater and brit sitcoms ... amazing even rewatching As Time Goes By marvel at the acting and writing.
 
Your garden will be amazing. I've planted some flowers and plants in a strip of earth beside my apartment building. Yesterday I planted daffodil bulbs for the coming spring.

And amazing about Josh Bell. I love when artists do something like that. It makes the place seem more alive (whether it be a person playing an instrument or like here in Lexington, a local artist, made wooden dolls and hid them throughout the city. He would then use Twitter to give a clue to the toys whereabouts.). It's sad though that no one was paying attention.

Thank you, Will, for the birthday wishes! :)
 
I remember the Joshua Bell experiment... A very teeling experience about perception.

The stone work & wall look amazing. Can I see your garden in person sometime?

I have enjoyed Modern Family, but I have only seen episode #1.
 
I almost also give subway musicians a contribution, the amount depending on their skill.

I think planting the mint in separate pots is a good idea, but they take over no matter what, so I'll be interested in seeing if this works.

Kathy Boyce

P S maybe I'll run into you at Symphony on Sunday at Flicka's farewell tour.
 
Wow, what an interesting story. I've heard some really neat playing in the metro but seriously, if we're in the metro, we're on our way somewhere, you know, a place we've already agreed to be. I would guess that would explain the bulk of the "not stopping" to listen. What if he were playing in a park on a sunny day at lunch hour. It would probably have different results then.
 
Your blog is amazing! I am seriously enjoying it, and this post w/the Joshua Bell experiment is so true. Thank you for the great read!
 
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