Saturday, October 25, 2014

Usual Stuff For The Season

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We rarely get the spectacular autumns Americans associate with New England or maybe Minnesota and Wisconsin. It's going to be 79F/26C today and that's just not cold enough. These pictures were taken in Forest Park last weekend. Good enough for us.

I decided not to go to the pumpkin drop this morning. It's almost an hour drive from home. The pictures from previous years don't look so great - a couple of World War II military planes  dumping little orange spots. There's more to photograph later in the day. Plus, Mrs. C and I babysat Madeleine last night so our daughter and her husband could get out by themselves. It goes without saying I brought my camera. 

Midday update: the family fact-checker, proofreader and editor has informed me that temperature is not the only factor with the leaves changing color. It's also the declining length of the days. Apparently, when there is less sunlight photosynthesis shuts off. When the green chloroplasts in the leaves are gone the color of the structure of the leaves comes out. Now I know.
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Friday, October 24, 2014

What A Great Gig

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Anyone with an interest in the auditory arts would envy the members of Alarm Will Sound. They get to play all this cool new stuff. They live in New York (you may or may not think that's a plus but, as a native of that city, the idea tugs at me). They hang out with all sorts of cool people and they do a residency in St. Louis every year. But I suppose you have to know how to read music and actually play an instrument, be cool yourself and probably know somebody on the inside. I took violin lessons in Brooklyn for five or six years but was absolutely hopeless, devoid of physical talent. Then I emigrated from New York. I wouldn't qualify.

There are more pix from this event on Flickr here but I think I'll wrap it up on the blog. Don't know what I'll post tomorrow. Saturday has a lot of photo ops, though. In the morning there is an event at an air strip on the edge of the metro area where some people will be dumping pumpkins out of airplanes. How could you pass that up but how could you capture it? In the afternoon there is a parade or demonstration downtown by gun nuts (there, I said it) promoting what's called open carry, wandering around the city with your rifle or sidearm in plain view. Just might have to, ahem, shoot that one. And the evening has the insane annual outdoor Halloween party in the Central West End. It's horrifically crowded but there's so much eye candy.

We'll see. We always see.              

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Concrete Forest

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It occurred to me that walking around during the performance of 10,000 Birds was a bit like a stroll through a forest. The birds move, you move, the wind rustles and the sound constantly changes quality and direction. But the similarity ends there.

The listener hears traditional musical instruments, not birds. The venue is mostly a sleek concrete box. Alarm Will Sound animated the place. If you are interested in wonderful, challenging contemporary music you really should check out their web site. Download or buy CDs of some of their stuff.                       

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Little Night Music

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It's not so unusual to have a music performance outdoors at night. It is different to have one on a cool autumn evening, with most of the audience and all of the performers standing or walking around. This created a fluid auditory experience. What you heard depended on where you were, where you were going, the audience around you and the musicians' wanderings. Add shimmering colored panels and you have entered new territory.                  

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Alarm Will Sound Plays 10,000 Birds

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So after the symphony on Sunday afternoon we got a bite to eat in the Grand Centre district, then walked down to the new Public Media Commons. The contemporary music ensemble Alarm Will Sound gave a performance of John Luther Adams' new work 10,000 Birds. Adams was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for music.
The piece has been described as:

based on the songs of birds native to Missouri and the western limit of the eastern hardwood forest, [it] will fully embrace the orchestral range of colors in the instrumentation of Alarm Will Sound. . . Each page in the score will be its own self-contained world that occupies its own physical space and its own time. Each of these pages/places can be performed for an indefinite duration. They can be combined, simultaneously and sequentially, in varied ways.
It was ethereal. The performers carried small digital stopwatches and received cues on their iPhones as they wandered around the plaza. More to come.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

A Musical Offering

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It was a wonderful day for music in The Lou on Sunday. We attended a spectacular concert by the St. Louis Symphony, led by Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin. His reading of Berlioz's Symphony Fantastique was like none I have ever heard, played with exceptional clarity and nuance.

Then in the early evening there was another performance in the new Public Media Commons. It's late as I write this so just a teaser image. It wasn't what it looks like.                       

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Artica: A Game Of Croquet

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Everyone knows you don't play croquet using a flamingo for a mallet and a hedgehog for a ball, except Alice and the Queen of Hearts. There was only one fake flamingo hanging around the Artica site. Had there been more they would have been put to good use.

There was a second day of activities planned for last Sunday but it was chilly and drizzly and not many people showed up. Those who attended contributed to a pot-luck brunch. I brought a case of White Castles, which was very well received. The afternoon's main activity was a bizarre game of croquet, played on several physical and probably metaphysical levels. There may have been a winner but it did not go down in the record book.

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