14 jan 06 - na, Red Room, Baltimore... Dada-esque, whimsical...
30 Jan - NPR Day to Day music critic, David Was, profiles Hiromi and reviews her latest album, Spiral:
16 Feb - I just discovered the following interview of Kiran Ahluwalia by NPR's Scott Simon, back in December 2005.
25 Feb - Cuong Vu Trio, An die Musik, Baltimore, MD
4 Mar - Abbie Conant and Wm. Osborne, UMBC, Arbutus, MD... Conant was the sole performer on stage, with Osborne (the composer) operating the playback of music and video.
There were just 2 pieces, this evening, but both were long. The first was Music for the End of Time (for trombone and computer-generated quadraphonic tape). The second was Cybeline (A music theater work for performance-artist, video, and quadraphonic sound).
So did I like it? Well, the pieces were somewhat lengthy, but enjoyable. The 2nd one felt longer and repetitious, but the repetition was useful. It was harder to grasp, because so much was going on with sound and vision, and it was often a bit abstract... So repetition of the elements allowed me to focus on different aspects and better understand what was being conveyed or emphasized.
For example, there were these Jungian utterances (recorded phrases by different voices) that seemed chaotic and senseless, at first. I knew they were supposed to be taken from or based on Carl Jung's psychological concepts, because I'd read some of the program notes. It took me a while to relate to them because I had to try to remember something about Jung's theories. (It's been many years since I'd read any of Jung's writings, so I'd forgotten most of it.)
13 Mar - been meaning to mention this website that I learned of a week ago. Crossing East is a series of radio programs about Asian American history... You can hear some examples at the website.
21 Mar - I just heard some old songs last night on the radio. Not sure if I like 'em, but they certainly are interesting.
It was on Fresh Air, the NPR cultural show outta Philly. The guest was Mick Moloney, who has a new CD of Irish american theater songs from the 1870s-1890s New York.
One of the cuts was a song that talked about ethnic folk in the neighborhood, including mention of Irish, German, and Chinese.
6 April - I just came back from a trip to Columbus, Georgia. I'd picked up a copy of a local paper and carried parts of it back with me. Ran across a page of cultural events, and noticed that the Miami String Quartet had played in Columbus several days prior to my arrival. It would've been neat to have attended the concert, as one of the members is a cousin of mine. But when I saw the price -- $30! -- I said, 'ouch!' (I experienced a bit of classical music sticker shock.)
7 Apr - currently listening to an autorickshaw concert (recorded in Toronto at the Glenn Gould studio) on The World in Performance, CBC Radio 2 (via internet).
8 May - last night, heard 2 radio shows on WETA 90.9 FM (studio in No. VA) dealing with Asians and APA's: Pacific Time (produced at KQED in SF) and Crossing East (see above). OF the latter, WETA broadcast the first 2 hours of pieces (out of a total of 8 hours). Pretty interesting, covering such material as Chinese seamen who married Irish women in NY (1870s?), "Manila Men" who created a shrimping village in the bayou outside of New Orleans, Ing Hay (a Chinese herbal in eastern Oregon in the late 19th century), and Polly Bemis (Chinese woman who lived in the Idaho frontier). Next Sunday, it airs from 6pm to 8.
I should say a word about Pacific Time. The radio magazine ended with a spirited interview (by Nina Thorsen?) with musician and musicologist, Anthony Brown, about his new recording of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, which he has rearranged for various instruments (including several Chinese ones) and without piano.
18 May - it was reported yesterday by the BBC (and AP) that a Stradivarius violin was auctioned off for over $3 million. That reminds me of a story I heard, about how my uncle lost his Strad.
I have this somewhat eccentric uncle (an amateur violinist) who, once upon a time, owned a Stradivarius violin. The concertmaster of his local orchestra kept pestering to borrow it. My uncle finally relented, allowing the fellow to use it for a tour. But when he came back, he wouldn't answer my uncle's phone calls.
This lack of response went on for weeks (months?), until the season came around for the orchestra's (annual?) contract negotiation. The orchestra, in an effort to retain the concertmaster, paid my uncle for the violin.
A couple years later, the concertmaster left the orchestra to become conductor of another orchestra. I remember, not long after, wandering into a record store and seeing a recent LP or CD of violin performance by him. The cover photo showed him holding the violin. I thought to myself, 'I know the story behind that violin... Thief!'
9 June - Lately, I've been checking out the progress of Michelle Wie at the LPGA tournament at Bulle Rock (in Havre de Grace, MD) and checking out these old videos of DJ QBert and friends scratching like mad.
You can get to the videos via the Thud Rumble website:
19 June - There's an article in the Washington Post today about a JA law prof., Junichi Semitsu, who's the official blogger for the Dixie Chicks tour, this summer. (Actually, he's already been part of their entourage for the past two months.)
He talks about the Post article, and how the photo of him with the Chicks is cropped, so that you can't read the words on his t-shirt ("MAN ASS for the Dixie Chicks"). Apparently, the words "MAN ASS" are too controversial for the Washington Post. (It's a joke. Semitsu explains that the words are an abbreviation for "MANagement ASSistant.")
It seems that the Chicks need a blogger to get through to their fans, 'cause much of country radio ain't playing their new release (which has sold a million copies).
Briefly reviewing his remarks in the blog and elsewhere in the MSN-DC site, he seems to have a comfortably erudite style.
20 June - Listened to Asia Pacific Forum (WBAI 99.5 FM, NYC - 8pm-9) via webcast. The topics were fine, but the format dulled my interest. Too much talking heads. The host, Shirley Lin, seemed to be more listenable (smoother and more expressive voice?) than other hosts I've heard on that show.