I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
December 15, 2014 - 11:03 a.m.
I got up very early today, shortly after 7 why did it take me till 9:00 to start writing? Oh right, I'm an idiot. If I weren't one I'd remember things like that.
Festivus is in full swing. Last night I went to Robinson & Rohe's Lightbox Christmas Concert. That's Liam Robinson and Jean Rohe. It was not what I expected. Last year they did a shadow puppet show with the puppets created and designed by Andrew Benincasa. This year Andrew created a static display, the lightbox of the title. This picture by Andrew is better than the ones I could take. I'll show you mine too.
I had a vibraphone in the way.
I'm getting ahead of myself. First I had to get there. I always complain about getting to Jalopy but it really isn't bad before it gets late. I take the to the B61 bus. the bus ride isn't long at all. I can do it in 35 minutes if I make good connections. The making the good connections is the problem.
The website said the show started at 8:00. I have finally learned that means get there at 8:00 not a half hour early to get good seats. I got there at 8:05 or so and was the first one. The music started at 8:30. First up was James Shipp and Nadje Noordhuis. James is the vibraphone player in Jean Rohe's End of the World Show. He sometimes plays it with a bow. I meant to ask him what kind. I forgot. I think it's a cello bow. Could be a bass. Of course I didn't catch a pic of him using it.
Now who can tell me what instrument Nadje I playing.
I was wrong at first. I thought baritone horn but this has fewer loops and is higher pitched, about the same as a trumpet. In fact it looks like a trumpet that let itself go. That my friends is a flugelhorn. What did I think of them? That's complicated but worth writing about. The thing is I'm not sure what to make of them. They use a musical vocabulary I'm not familiar with. It's not like so much "modern" (some of which is 100 year old) classical music that I know I don't like. If I spent more time with it I could find myself loving it. There is a there there. Maybe I wouldn't love it but it's possible It's hard to expand your musical horizons in jumps. You have to gain some familiarity with it. I've been trying to do that with jazz or ages and it's worked. Other people have to do that with bluegrass or old time. I know they got chops and I can tell from his stage patter that James is one of my people.
After a short intermission Liam and Jean took the stage.
As you can see they used unusual mood lighting from above, footlights not spotlights. it gave it an eldritch feel. Then they started singing and this was exactly what Christmas and yes Festivus are supposed to be. The music was ethereal yet warm. It was not a heavenly choir but the voice of humanity. It did what they often do, sound simple while actually being complex. Jean's voice so often dances around Liam's sometimes racing ahead other times falling behind. The effect is heartbreaking harmony
Some of the songs are traditional. Some are overtly Christian. Some have nothing to do with religion but the true Festivus spirit of love and community. Community was at the heart of the show. The audience doesn't just listen, it sings. This is not singing along to the familiar carols everyone knows. No we learned new songs. We had part to sing. One one all we did was a drone. That's great for me. I can hit one note and hold it. It gives me time to find it. It's amazing how I could feel when I got it right. I matched Liam's accordion. On many songs I can't sing the full range and had to find harmonies I could reach. I am terrible at this but I love to try and the feeling was so welcoming I felt comfortable doing it. This is what the holidays are about.
Nadje and James came back and joined them on some songs.
It was a very special evening and my only regret is that I didn't make all my friends go with me. I didn't know anyone there. Why didn't I invite people? I knew how great it would be. Next year you are all joining me. Each and every one of you. We'll have to have it at BAM but I'm fine with that. It's easier to get to.
Thanks to the MTA website I was able to time leaving with the arrival of the bus. I waited about 30 seconds for it. So the trip home wasn't bad either
I'm making progress with the spreadsheet of all the shows I've been to this year. I've completed April. I'm not going to be able wait to the end of the year to publish the results. Maybe I can keep up the pace of adding two months a day.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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