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
January 29, 2018 - 11:32 a.m.
My choices were take a nap or blog and I chose blog. That's how much I love My Gentle Readers. I'm listening to Leonard Cohen's Songs of Love and Hate perhaps the darkest album ever. It's not very good background music but I'm finding it hard to turn it off. I give up, it requires too much of my attention. I must really love My Gentle Readers. I switched to Bach's Complete Works for Harpsichord by Michael Galling. It's over 15 hours long.
Yesterday was a busy and atypical day. My first stop was the New York Times Travel show at the Javits center. I loved the auto and pet shows at the old coliseum when I was a kid but it's something I've rarely done as an adult. As I don't have the money to Travel and there aren't many things to play with there the Travel Show is an odd choice, especially as I went by myself. There was a reason, Experience Sicily had a booth there. That is Allison Scola's company. If you want to discover the real Sicily book a trip with them; You not only get the sights and the history but also the local culture, food, and music. Still, why did that bring me to the Travel Show? It's because Allison is half of Villa Palagonia, one of my favorite bands. They are so much one of my bands that I'm an admin on their Facebook page. That's foreshadowing. There were stages set up around the show, one was the Europe Stage. VP had a set there.
Allison offered comps to the show on her social media and i got one. I got my ticket online with a passcode. The Times mailed a badge to me. it was just a card with QR code. I figured I'd get a bad holder when i got there and someone would scan the code. Nope. i asked and just walked in. Nobody even asked to see my badge. Everyone else was wearing theirs on a Lanyard. i don't get it.
My next mission was to find the Experience Sicily Booth. I had a booth number but didn't see numbers posted anywhere. I went on the assumption that the people running the show were competent and booths would be arranged geographically. I was right. There was Europe right next to Africa. It was too much to ask that Sicily be right next to Africa, but Southern Europe was kept together.
I knew that Allison would be busy working but I'd figure I'd let her know I was there and talk to Joe. Joe's her husband and other half of Villa Palagonia. Things worked out as I planned except that I got lucky and Allison found a minute to give me a Hi and Hug.
I discovered that I had the time for their set wrong by 15 minutes and I came early anyway. I used the time to explore the show. Let's see how well you know me, what was I looking for? I'm not talking about a country; something that might be at any booth. That's right, food. At first, I couldn't find any, but more careful perusal turned things up. A line was a good clue. I'm not the only one looking for food. I had a Korean dish; I have no idea what it was. Some sort of fried dough with filling. It had green things in it and I was afraid it might have fish, I gave it a sniff and it didn't smell bad. For some reason I was brave and tried it. I'm a very finicky eat that has a strong reaction to foods that I dislike. It was interesting. I'm not sure I'd say good but if were all I had to eat I could and I might grow to like it. That was not the best food I found; that was in the family travel section. The booth for a camp had make your own s'mores. That's far more to my taste. I like what I like.
On the way to the stage to see Villa Palagonia I realized that I should do a Facebook Live from their Facebook page. I had no time to consult Allison and Joe about it as they were getting ready to perform. I used my judgement and went for it. I did not have an ideal seat for doing the video as I got there only a few minutes before they went on. I was where I like to sit when not doing video, front row center. I couldn't get both Allison and Joe in the same frame. I had figured out a way to video FB Live in landscape mode, but I couldn't get that to work. I don't know if they changed something or I forgot the trick. Next time I'll set up and do it right. How did I never think of doing this before?
As it was the Travel Show and the purpose was to get people to go to Sicily they did all traditional Sicilian songs. They did Abballati! Abballati! which means "Dance! Dance!" I knew they'd do that as Allison does a tarantella and comes out into the crowd and has people dance with her. They also did Vitti ‘na Crozza in Sicilian. They usually do the same melody but with English lyrics that Allison wrote, Anna & Luca. As someone that sees them often I appreciate that.
After their set I continued exploring the show. I was going to watch the Irish Step Dancers that followed them on the Europe Stage, but the music was canned. The other music I spent time listening to was Brazilian on the Caribbean Stage. I knew I'd like music I liked there. I was hoping for Cuban or Reggae, but this was just as good, the most popular music at the show. It takes an effort to not like Brazilian. There were also dancers. Falcon Ridge needs more world music. I try and get what I can to the Budgiedome
I left the show to see All4One Piano Duo aka Sasha Papernik and Alexander Wu. The last time I saw Sasha was exactly a year before; that was in a library in Queens. I love Sasha but she's the mom of a toddler, her daughter was born two years ago when all my friends had kids, and that complicates things.
I found out about the show when she posted on Instagram. She didn't give a location. When I asked she gave an address but no venue name. It was in Upstate Manhattan, Washington Heights at Hudson View Terrace. That's a magical development on Pinehurst Street. It's a beautiful Tudor overlooking a small park at the height of the heights. My problem was I didn't know where the show was. This was a large complex and I did not see the address listed anywhere. I asked someone where 128 was and they didn't know. They asked who I was looking for and I told them a concert and they laughed. That was where they were going. They knew it was in the common room and not its address. As I approached I saw Justin, Sasha's husband. I met Sasha when I saw with her at Joe's Pub when his band The Amigos, now Silver City Bound, was playing. Justin had their daughter with them. I had never met her. Is there a point to saying she's adorable? That should be a given if you know her parents.
When I've seen Sasha and Alex before they were at one piano, but this small room had the luxury of two pianos! When's the last time you saw that? They did some songs four hands one piano, some four hands two pianos, and some two hands one piano. Just one pianist. I'd have been really impressed if they did two hands two pianos with one pianist. That would take very long arms as the grand pianos were back to back.
The program was in celebration of 100 years of women's suffrage in America. In addition to their usual repertoire heavy on Gershwin, Berlin, and Bernstein, they did songs by women composers and songwriters most of which have been neglected; Fanny Hensel (Felix Mendelsohn's sister), Dana Suesse (To her dismay called at the time the "Girl Gershwin), Bernice Petkere, Melanie Bonis, Chen Yi, Wendy Griffiths, and one very obscure songwriter Carol Joan Klein also known as Carole King. They were all great and Wendy Griffiths is weird, and I'd like to be her friend, but the one that most impressed me was Bernice Petkere. Her Lullaby of Leaves was vibrant, not a word you associate with lullabies. I kept on wanting to call it "Lullaby of the Street." It had an urban feel to it. I was thinking, Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris till they played Cool from West Side Story. That was it, that was the feel. They did one more woman composer, Sasha.
This show was very much in my sweet spot, two virtuoso pianists and Sasha is also a great singer. They are educators, giving the historical background to the pieces. The material is intellectual, but Alex and Sasha are unpretentious and genuine.
After the show I was worrying about dinner. I figured I'd make something when I got home even if it was late. Then I found out they were serving food. I went there even before I went to talk to Sasha. I ate something else that I didn't know what it was. Some sort of sliced sausage and ham. Once again, my sweet spot as were the cookies and brownies.
When my tummy was sated I talked to Justin and then to Sasha before heading home. It was easy to get home from by City Island Standards, somewhere between an hour and fifteen minutes and an hour and a half. I missed a show I ever much wanted to see, The Sea the Sea at Union Pool in Brooklyn but that would take me an hour and a half to get to from Washington Heights and two hours to get home from and Chuck and Mira were the openers not the featured performer. I hated missing them. They fit in with the other musicians I heard, not musically but personally. They are all people I can have substantial conversations with while keeping it funny.
I watched the third episode of Doctor Who Season 10. The writing is still weak. I don't know what happened between seasons. It feels like they are trying to give kid lessons in morality. Was the Doctor/Clara dynamic the key to the show's success in previous seasons?
I'm having trouble closing this out. I don't want to use my usual tricks, saying what I'm doing today or what I'm eating for brunch. I want to sum things up. I got it. It was a good day.
I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.
Like Catching Sand in Your Hand - February 03, 2018
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