Thursday, July 03, 2003
Monday, June 16, 2003
This saturday night was our third installment of opera care of Opera Theater of St. Louis (OTSL) and a generous gift of season tickets from my parents. Three weeks ago was "Tosca," two weeks ago was "The Abduction from the Seraglio," and this weekend's performance was "Flight" by Jonathan Dove. "Flight" was written for me - maybe too much so. It was a very well combined melange of post-minimalist styles, which should have had me mesmerized; except, the stylistic flavoring from other composers bordered on plagiarism. I spend much of the first act cataloguing the exact works being lifted. A lot of Steve Reich (my favorite composer), especially his "Desert Music;" some bits of Philip Glass' more recent works interspersed - including using a counter-tenor for the lead, reminiscent of "Akhnaten;" a little Leonard Berenstein for familiarity; and I'd swear I heard something akin to Pierre Boulez thrown in to make it interesting. My father and I discussed the opera at length during the intermissions, and I found that my real complaint was that the constant shifting between musical styles removed any coherency from the score, for me anyway, which is exactly opposite any of the works by the original composers. It has made me look forward all the more to seeing "Nixon in China" by John Adams at Opera Theater next summer.
Here're some more sites on minimalism:
- Satie and minimalism: why Eric Satie and not Terry Riley created the genre.
- Eric Satie Homepage: I don't necessarily agree with the above site, but I do like Satie.
- The Official Terry Riley site: the father of the genre - I'm not sure he has any recollection of the '60's, so he's probably happy to give Satie all the credit.
Steve Reich has really carried the torch of minimalism through the years, and with an incomparable sense of composition. John Adams began strongly in the minimalist camp with pieces like "Shaker Loops," but quickly moved into post-modernism with more lyric works like "Harmonium" - sometimes a little too Disney, but still enjoyable. Philip Glass was my introduction to the genre and was a hero of mine until I heard a recent interview on NPR, during which he said he was embarrassed by his earlier, minimalist compositions. Beh! Terry Riley really did start the field, in fact most of the other composers played in his ensemble before going on to their own works, but I'm not entirely sure where he is now - and by the look of his website, I'm not sure I want to know.
Thursday, May 22, 2003
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
My spaniel is poorly behaved and, I feel, needs to be thoroughly humiliated. Do you have any SPCA approved doggy torture devices?
Disgruntled in Detroit
Why yes, a fabulous new line of canine humiliation apparel has just finished the testing phase and is now commercially available from a firm in Japan. Check out their site at: http://www.ne.jp/asahi/beetle/calcium/WANKO.html.
Dear Sir or Ma'am,
What's it like using a urinal anyway; I mean, what's the big deal? I'll hang up and take my answer off the air.
Well (none given),
As a matter of fact, anyone with the right equipment can use a urinal and have a great time doing so. So say the makers of "You're In Control", MIT's answer to MSN's iLoo. And to the people who are so interested in finding something to do during their long hours on the potty, I can only say: eat more roughage.
Thanks for the letters, Mike.
Friday, May 09, 2003
According to the report, "At first, the lead male got a stone and started bashing the hell out of it. Another thing they were interested in was in defecating and urinating all over the keyboard," says Mike Phillips, who runs the university's Institute of Digital Arts and Technologies. Eventually, the monkeys produced five pages of text, composed primarily of the letter S. Later, the letters A, J, L and M crept in. Clearly, the macaques had always been bothered by their names, especially the lead male, Elmo. After several attempts at displaying this displeasure using their own language of throwing faeces, the monkeys settled on a prolonged written hiss. Bobo, the African Green Monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops) in the next cage over commented that it was "just a matter of time" through a series of otherwise obscene hand-gestures.
Monday, April 28, 2003
Friday, April 18, 2003
The condom, which would carry thin film of anaesthetic on its inner lining, has yet to win regulatory approval.
"Men tend to get turned on more quickly than women," a spokesman for Cologne-based firm Condomi told Reuters. "Our condom will even up the odds by numbing the man's sensitive regions -- but not the whole body like when you're drunk." (Dude)
Thursday, April 17, 2003
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Monday, April 07, 2003
As long as I'm blogging about blogging someone else's blog, here a link to the wonderful world of Ganguro: otherwise attractive, Japanese women dressing up as otherwise unattractive, crossdressing Western men dressed up as otherwise attractive, 70's Go-Go-Dancing women. Kind of Art imitates Art imitates Art...
Thursday, April 03, 2003
OK, so that got old fast. Before clearing out my bookmarks and e-mails, some news: I started a new post-doctoral fellowship in January working with Dr. J. William Harbour on uveal melanoma - a cancer of the eye. Unfortunately, the lab's website is more than a little outdated; although, the lab will be physically moving to a new space in July, and we're all hoping to revise everything then. For some light reading on the research I have inherited, check out the lab's most recent publication: "Distinct mechanisms for regulating the tumor suppressor and anti-apoptotic functions of Rb" available in preprint version from the Journal of Biological Chemistry.