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Zemlinsky and the Moon

I’m no scientist, but the way I understand it, the Earth’s blanket of clouds, mist, precipitation, dust, and volcanic ash will change the moon’s color tonight. It might turn blood red, orange, or dark brown. The exact shade of the moon will reveal something about the Earth's atmosphere in a particular moment. Seeing it, you might feel inspiration or a spark of madness or the hope of attaining the unattainable. You might become a werewolf.

I’m not actually superstitious, but when a new Bridge CD of classical songs by Alexander Zemlinsky landed in my mailbox yesterday, I felt a stab of something weird. You see, many of the songs are about the moon.

Magic Flutes

“The Queen of the Night vanished into the split rock, the stage lift worked, the prince and the birdcatcher set out on their adventures. The scene changed and in a room in Sarastro’s palace lay Pamina, abandoned and afraid. And here was alchemy again as the quarrelsome, rapacious Raisa became a young girl whose simplicity and seriousness was affirmed in every limpid note.

Think Outside the Book

After last week's blog about the Captain Underpants Name-Change-O-Chart 2000, I had some interesting comments from my friends that read my blog. In response to my comment about the Captain Underpants series not always being a big hit with teachers, librarians and parents alike, my friend Kristin commented that her stepson's teacher had recently recommended that he cut back on the Dav Pilkey books and expand his reading repertoire a bit. Easier said than done, in my opinion.

Think about it: as a kid, how might you hear about new books or authors?

A rambling post about Vera Clark

The Middle of Nowhere is approximately halfway between Rochester and Buffalo on a windswept ridge at the edge of a frozen wildlife refuge. As in New Zealand, where sheep far outnumber humans, Canada geese outnumber people here by about a million to one. Presently it’s so icy that even the geese have fled. On Saturday afternoon, the only sign of life was a twittering flock of snow buntings on summer holiday from the Arctic Circle.

The Ring and You


My friend Andrew pointed me to WNYC’s special about Wagner's Ring Cycle.

Wonderful.

Imagine This American Life condensing 20 hours’ worth of epic Wagnerian operas into 58 minutes and you get the idea. Smart, fast-paced, and slightly droll in the Ira Glassian style, the hour-long show includes interviews with writer Alex Ross and singer Jane Eaglen, who recently performed A Sea Symphony with the RPO and ROS in Eastman Theatre. It also includes an interview with a guy grocery shopping for Ring-related items.

His Funny Valentine

Alma Mahler interests me. One of the great muses of the early twentieth century, she fell in and out of love with composers, artists, an architect, and a writer. She inspired paintings, symphonies, buildings, and poetry. She even wrote her own music, suffocating artistically when her first husband, Gustav Mahler, asked her to stop.

Bruce Beresford’s 2001 movie about Alma, “Bride of the Wind,” takes its name from a painting of the same name by Oskar Kokoschka.

Boobie Chickenfrack

Trust me on the title, there is a purpose.

Have you just had one of those days (or weeks) where you are not only extraordinarily busy, but things just don't seem to be going your way? I had one of those days/weeks last week. In grand form. How did I regain my almost-lost mind? Boobie Chickenfrack.

Six-word memoirs

Try to sum up your life in six words.

A new book, “Not Quite What I Was Planning," presents some of the best six-word memoirs culled from Smith magazine. You may have heard Neal Conan talking about this book on WXXI/NPR’s Talk of the Nation. Some of these are quite funny.

I made up a few fictitious memoirs.

“Secret to life: wine, women, song.” - Luciano Pavarotti
“Born in Churchville: conquered the world.” – Renee Fleming
“Got kicked out of the Met.” – Kathleen Battle

WXXI Kid's Writing Contests

WXXI's education department is currently accepting applications for two children's writing contests! Do you know a wonderful writer, incredible illustrator or super storyteller? If so, check out the information below because you won't want to miss these 2 fabulous opportunities!

Grammy wrap

Rochester’s Ying Quartet was wise to skip the Grammy awards for a gig in Ohio. The group didn’t win in their category, Best Chamber Music Performance.

Here’s the scoop on Rochester’s classical/jazz nominees:

MARIA SCHNEIDER earned a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition for Cerulean Skies from her new CD, Sky Blue. She beat Bela Fleck, Harry Connick, Jr. and Phillip Glass.