Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Board Games & Valse swing-musette

I just read Joshua Kosman's excellent Board Games Issue in Sunday's pink section of the Chron (Dec. 14). Well-written and discerning, as always. Didn't really have anything on my Christmas list before, but now I do. Here's hoping that the family Santas are paying attention ;)...

Winter has blasted into the Bay Area. After a couple of weeks of beautiful, dry, sunny skies and near-60 degree temperatures, a wet cold front blew in on Sunday. And what a cold front...I even had to pull my ski jacket back out a couple of days earlier than planned. Good news for the Tahoe snow situation. Brrrr... Brrr...

What I'm reading: Finished The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (Auden's translation of the Brecht). I plan to watch the DVD of Kurt Weill's setting next. While the text has lost much of its original power to shock, its biting commentary on the nihilistic push for profits is--sad to say--still relevant. A bitter tale for a jaded, post-modern society.

What I'm listening to: When I was in Paris (doesn't that sound so cool to say, except I was only in Paris for a day and a half, which isn't so cool after all?), a colleague invited me to join his family (his gracious wife and amazingly well-behaved young daughter) for a very interesting one-woman performance by cellist Cecile Girard. Working at times with a pre-recorded accompaniment, Girard played some of her own compositions and arrangements--including a setting based on Pink Floyd--plus a couple of traditional cello solos, and also sang a few songs in a charming chanteuse style. It was great. But what really wowed me was the valse swing-musette. Tres cool. She has a CD that I plan to get. Check out the fourth cut, Mysterieuse.

What I'm working on: same as before, plus Weill's I'm a stranger here myself .

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