Thursday, May 31, 2007

What are we up to?

Tearing down the fallen-down barn

YES, IT'S BEEN a long time. We flew home from The Netherlands May 2; spent a night in San Francisco; spent a night home (first time in a month); drove to Portland for a long week; spent a short week home again mowing and weeding and such; drove down to Los Angeles for our biannual play fix; came home for another week of tending to business.

Portland, for an event that meant a great deal to me. We spent November 2004 in Rome with two grandchildren, Simon and Franny. While there, Simon watched me writing some music using my computer, and got interested. In no time at all he composed a few pieces I thought quite promising -- I put "Stringy", his first piece, on on my website (you'll need to download the "Scorch" plug-in to hear it).

Since then he's stayed with it, and three weeks ago four movements for cello and piano, flute and clarinet, and percussion were played by professional musicians from Portland's new-music group FearNoMusic. It was for me truly an exhilarating experience, and you'll excuse my saying his was by far the most interesting piece on the program. (This is, by the way, a profoundly important program Fear No Music runs; I wish every such group -- certainly the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players -- would imitate it.)

A few days later we celebrated, very quietly, our 50th wedding anniversary. Giovanna and Pavel took us out, to dinner at Heathman, then to LV lounge to hear a couple of our favorites, Dave Frishberg and Rebecca Kilgore, whose laid-back, sometimes romantic, sometimes ironic stuff is just right for any occasion.

The L.A. weekend was mixed. We stopped as always in Ojai to see our buddies Jim Churchill and Lisa Brenneis; they farm tangerines and avocados and were hard hit by the freeze a few months back but are resilient and philosophical and always fun to be with. (You can read more about them in the April edition of Sunset Magazine; and you really should get a copy of Lisa's wonderful DVD about Bill Fujimoto and his (Berkeley) Monterey Market, Eat at Bill's).

We had time for brunch, of course, at Campanile, always a treat. Eggs and Creamed Spinach!

In Glendale, at A Noise Within, we saw two plays. Well, I did; Lindsey decided to come down with tonsillitis and dropped out after the first -- Joe Orton's very funny Loot, fast and sardonic. The spring Shakespeare offering was Romeo and Juliet, a play that always leaves me feeling a little hopeless. Both productions were worth seeing -- in general, Noise Within has kept us loyal, and we'll certainly be there next season: look at the line-up!
Shakespeare: The Winter’s Tale

Beckett: Waiting for Godot

J.M. Barrie: Dear Brutus

Shakespeare: King Henry IV, Part I

Moliere: Don Juan, translated by Richard Nelson

Williams: The Night of the Iguana
Since then, as I say, we've been tending to business, getting together with sisters, Lindsey recovering and getting out in the garden, me trimming the rosemary, thinning the apples, tearing apart the fallen-down barn (okay, with a couple of hired hands).

We have another week, and then it's back to Portland to see Simon graduate from high school, and Ashland for another nine plays... My, how the time flies by!
A few photos from the last month are on my dotmac page

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