Flavia and I returned from San Francisco last night. I was there all last week at the Sun Engineering Conference. Flavia arrived on Friday.
On Saturday night Flavia and I, along with Venus and Chiara, went to concluding Other Minds concert. It started with Charles Amirkhanian interviewing the composers. The first piece performed was John Luther Adams' Selections from Strange and Sacred Noise. It started with four percussionists each playing a small tom-tom. Two of the percussionists were on the stage, the other two in the balcony. Unfortunately for us, we were also in the balcony above them. So we heard all the sound below us. I imagine it would have been great to be on the main floor and hear some sound from the stage and some from above your head.
The percussionists switched to gongs. That was my favorite part. It was a treat to hear such sustained whooshing sounds and overtones for an extended period. Next the percussionists all gathered together on stage to play four xylophones. This is were I feel asleep. But, for me, falling asleep is not necessarily a sign of a boring work. This time it was a sign of satisfaction of the preceding gong work. I took a break during the xylophones. Adams' piece ended with all percussionists playing very large bass drums. Once again, a joy to hear something not readily accessible.
The next piece was Evan Ziporyn's Melody Competition. This was a pentatonic "festival" pitting two teams of percussionists against each other - moving between stages of togetherness and separation.
The evening ended with Billy Bang's Selections from the Vietnam Trilogy. I haven't attended Other Minds for many years now so I was surprised to hear a more traditional mostly modal jazz band play. I wondered how the audience would react. My question was answered with loud applauses after solos.
It was interesting to see, in the same evening, the contrast in performers stage presence - from the formal, somewhat self-effacing manner of the more "classical" performances of Adams and Ziporyn, to the loose, walk-around-the-stage, get-down style of Billy Bang. Ultimately I prefer the Bang approach, although I did think his body motion was a bit insensitive during the solo piano piece.
This was the first Other Minds (or any "alternative" music concert) I've been to where I liked all the pieces.
Our blue haiku partner, Phillip Bimstein, was in San Francisco too, explicitly to attend the entire Other Minds festival. Thanks to him we went to the after-the-concert party at film maker Henry Rosenthal's converted warehouse house. His house is 5 floors of fantasy. Kind of a bizarre museum/playhouse around Stevenson and 6th street (a dangerous neighborhood).
We walked from the Yerba Buena center to the party, meeting and talking with Tom Steenland, of Starkland records and Stephanie Nugent, a dancer on the faculty of UC Santa Barbara who danced with Ririe-Woodbury in Salt Lake for several years in the early 90s.
At the Rosenthal house we were met at the entrance by young punks - literally - some nice young people with great hairstyles and clothes. They escorted to the freight elevator and up to the 5th floor. On the way up you get a peek of each floor as you pass it - a wild menagerie of shells, tools, skulls, bugs, flying toasters and more. The main party took place on the top floor - great food, drink, desert with original Warhol and Lichtenstein on the walls.
After eating and chatting amounst ourselves and others we wandered the building a bit - running into baseballs signed by Babe Ruth, James Brown's desk, two-headed stuffed animals and a 58 Pontiac next to the billiards table. A fascinating home.
I spoke briefly with Charles Amirkhanian, the Other Minds director. We reminisced about the time Jimmy Miklavcic and I "performed" with I Wayan Sandra at Composer-to-Composer in Telluride, Colorado. Charles seems to be aging well. He seems distinguished and accessible. I watched him relax around the party. He did not seem to stick with the "important" people there. Instead, he made his way around the home and seemed to be open to all. Who knows, but he did seem relaxed.Tue, 15 Feb 2005
From my home office overlooking the valley I see the sun well. It's moving very fast - each day setting further north. Snow on the ground. More on the way. But it won't last long. Sun's quicker than snow this time of year.Sun, 13 Feb 2005
... and finally, approaching the present, honoring this moment, honoring this small being becoming the future, teaching us to see what is right before our eyes while we guide him around the sharp edges.
Here, today, let us simply say, good luck and strong bones. Each of us can see their past unfolding here in him. Each of us can help the future unfold with a grin - with a hand held out to him so easy to smile - to laugh.
That's a good place to be silent now - laughing together.Fri, 04 Feb 2005
Today, my son, Julian Carr had a great time competing in day one of the US Freeskiing world tour competition at Snowbird on the strength of his 10th place finish yesterday. He came in 45th and the cutoff is 35 so he's out. His friend Tyler Knoles is also out. But Julian is looking forward to going up to the competition tomorrow to cheer his friend Parker Cook who made the cut.
Yesterday he came in 10th in the qualifier. His friends Parker Cook and Tyler Knoles also qualified. Here are the results, the qualifier on the left and day one on the right:
A movement towards light, towards clear liquid sound. Only blinding sun on sand, an ocean of silicon, could produce a memory reaching back to the continent's edge. That line where earth meets water. Where two worlds seemingly so strange that only the thought of a sleepless night alone on a hillside covered with sage brings the beast to meet the man.
Clocks tell the story. Over and over while walking, endlessly walking in dry desert heat over shifting trails that disappear after each footstep. It's hard to say which part of the tale is memory and which part is wish. Each step a breath, beat, pulse, a ripple on the surface of skin so transparent that history and hope merge in a dance of falling leaves.
Red and gold. Lips and kisses. Promises worth waiting for but impossible to see, to know. Still, continuing seems to be the only desirable action. So, standing at the wall, book in hand, moving quietly over flagstones towards that moment when everything lost is found, is set out in a row stretching out over the horizon, begging to be followed, pleading to be understood.
And somehow it all becomes clear, completely clear just as the sun sets, leaving everything covered in a fine dust. Never to be touched. Never to be missed. Never to be seen again.
Is there some way to ...
(text for the film - "And Now Ladies and Gentlemen")