C'est moi!

Sep. 25th, 2012 12:37 pm
hildy89: (carnevale venizia)
I went to see Nathan Gunn at the Kennedy Center over the weekend and wrote it up on my blog over here. I do wish I knew a little more about opera to appreciate some of the pieces. Metro was being a pain that weekend, which made travel difficult.

I'm through with both of my book challenges. I had challenged myself to read 30 books on Goodreads, I'm at 37 right now with three months to go. I also joined the TBR challenge and scaled Pike's Peak, which meant reading 12 books that I owned prior to the beginning of this year. I'm hoping to keep going, but I doubt I'll reach the next summit, which is Mt Vancouver and 25 books!
hildy89: (Default)
So I spent another Thanksgiving in the hinterlands of Fauquier County along with most of my mother's immediate family. Everyone was delighted about the new job and wanted to hear all about it. For once, I didn't feel completely put upon. I always felt a little "When are you going to get a real job?" with them. Then we visited the grandparents' new place out there. I honestly was surprised they picked such a large house for an elderly couple. I suspect the location being not far from my uncle and his wife was a major selling point. I'm a little torn. After my parents' place, my grandparents' house was so familiar. They've always lived there. I suspect it'll be an adjustment for everyone involved.

One useful thing: my uncle finally ripped a copy of Terry Oldfield's "In Search of the Trojan War and other tv themes" LP I bought off Ebay.uk for me. The quality isn't the greatest and several tracks wound up stuck together, but maybe I can edit them with Audacity or something. I did have to add all the track information though. You learn to appreciate CDs and the title lookup -- I'd hate to do that for multiple LPs.

Also: Way too early for Christmas music for my tastes. I'm more ready for *snow* than I am for Christmas. I don't know what that says about me.

The Choir

Jul. 25th, 2010 08:32 pm
hildy89: (girl friday)
I really need to update my icons. All the ones I have are winter oriented. And it's so not outside. DC is sweltering along with the rest of the Southeast. I made the mistake of going to Tysons today with the slight hope of a well air-conditioned movie. Unfortunately everyone else had the same idea, so Inception was sold-out. Lesson learned about buying tickets ahead of time. Or making do with a different theater.

The last couple of weeks I've been watching BBC America's The Choir with the delightful earnest and extremely young choirmaster Gareth Malone. He's four years younger than I am. NPR's Monkey See blog wrote up the series when it debuted. Having spent four years in my own high school choir, this series gave me such flashbacks. It's compared to a "real life Glee", but really there's more "Sister Act 2" to me. These kids have no musical training or background. Some only know pop/r&b stuff, so the classical pieces like "Gloria" and Faure's "Canticle de Jean Racine" they sing are a bit challenging. What was amazing was comparing my experiences. 20+ years and 3000 miles and there's not as much as you'd expect. The sopranos are still bossy, the boys really have trouble getting their act together and the altos have to save everyone. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

If you get a chance, watch it. I'm enjoying it immensely. Even if it's in 80s stereo.
hildy89: (kimono lady)
Hello everyone. Yes, I'm still alive. I'm still working for another month or so. The indexing has been a little crazy lately, especially with all the foreign languages involved.

I joined the throngs down on the mall for the opening weekend of the Cherry Blossom Festival this afternoon. I picked a lovely if extremely windy day to see the blooming things. The blossoms were out in all their glory. I did not make the full circuit of the Tidal Basin this time, stopping at the bridge before heading back. I anticipated a lot more walking today since I wanted to check out the Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese street festival, on the other side of the mall. They'd taken over the stretch of 12th st near the Old Post Office and Ronald Reagan building. They had a whole ton of vendors serving various food. The lines were insane though.

The other T included the more Japanese portion of our story with vendors offering their wares. Kinokuniya sadly looked rather picked over and depressing. Local groups also demonstrated different aspects of Japanese culture. I came upon the Go demonstration where local players would play against anyone, even a complete and utter beginner like me. I gamely lost like a football fan I am -- 23-7. Where some players would patiently show you the rules, my pro seemed to prefer to dump you into the deep end and then partway through start peppering you with questions or suggestions. Alas Akira or Hikaru (or dear goofy Sai) I will not be.

After a false start, I found my way to the J-pop corner. People were playing an array of DDR, Karaoke, and Guitar Hero/Rock Band video games. I couldn't DDR very well on a good day. I couldn't imagine it after a long day of walking around. Katsucon was trying to win people over, as were other artists and dealers. I was afraid I was late for the main star, Ai Kawashima, but she'd just taken the stage by the time I arrived. I'm honestly not too familiar with a lot of j-pop stars, but she performs one of the "One Piece" themes. She used a keyboard to accompany her. I liked her second song "Tabidachi no hi ni...". Unfortunately it's also the name of another song, a graduation song, so finding more info on it has been trying, aside from the video. I stayed through a couple of songs, before I decided to head home. I was exhausted.

Metro was insane, made only worse by a rather belligerent rider on our train cussing out someone. That he was holding onto a stroller only made me fear more for his children. I was grateful to finally get to my stop and escape the madness.

I've uploaded my photos onto Flickr, including some of the local blooming things at the library.
hildy89: (accolade)
A 26 minute edit of A Moveable Musical Feast, will be airing on PBS stations across the United States and some border stations in Canada over the next few weeks. It's a behind the scenes documentary on Loreena McKennitt's An Ancient Muse tour with performances and interviews. The full 61 minute version is available from Quinlan Road, either individually or as part of Midwinter Night's Dream deluxe set.
hildy89: (accolade)
The tooth hurts a bit less today. That side is still sore, but it isn't the immediate pain of yesterday.

Canada Post finally deigned to show up at my door (or mailbox) with my Loreena McKennitt cd/dvd. It shipped on Halloween and arrived yesterday -- only two weeks! Fortunately Quinlan Road offers the nifty option of a free download while you're waiting for the physical cd to arrive. That's a nice compromise if you're stuck choosing one or the other.
hildy89: (accolade)
Loreena McKennitt is releasing yet another Christmas/winter season album "Midwinter's Night Dream". It'll include eight new songs along with the five tracks of "Winter Garden" which have been remastered. It'll be released in the US in October 28th or it can be preordered at Quinlan Road. The deluxe edition will have the "Moveable Feast" dvd, a behind the scenes dvd on the Ancient Muse tour.

Updatish

Sep. 26th, 2008 08:19 pm
hildy89: (library card)
The new job is a job. My mother used to words "unchallenging". Not a good sign when my smart mouth wants to quote Missy in "Bring it On" -- "What about doing something that actually requires neurons?" I don't think that would be terribly popular. A lot of library tech work is just that, very basic day-to-day stuff, especially when you're moving/expanding/shifting a collection, existing or otherwise. If I had any good advice for people who want to work in libraries: infinite patience (in infinite possibilities), strong back, and good shoes. I'm grateful for the job, but lord is it going to be a long stretch until Columbus Day.

Security is a little tight, so sadly I haven't really enjoyed the nearby Ronald Reagan Building. I was however treated to a free concert at Woodrow Wilson Plaza. That was a weird twist on "name that tune" or as my mother and I used to call the game "But can you skate to that?" The performer was Chuck Brown, the so-called Godfather of Go-Go music, lots of loud heavy beats and rhythms combined with guitar and clarinet and maybe another instrument. They maxed out their decibels. They were performing a fairly bumping piece that had quite a few people swaying their hips. The melody was strangely familiar. I couldn't place it though. For a minute, I thought it was a classical music piece like "Bolero" or something like "Kismet". Then I closed my eyes and I could see Philippe Candeloro landing a jump at the end of a phrase. Yes, it was the "Love Theme" from the "Godfather". That I recognized it through skating and not from seeing the movie says something about me. Not sure what.

The laptop is still hosed. I tried replacing the a/c adapter and the connection is just too loose to hold. It's really frustrating. So I get to talk to tech support. This can only end in tears.
hildy89: (oldtimeradio by biichan)
I meant to post about this yesterday.

Jo Stafford died at age 90. She had a long singing career from the Pied Pipers to her own solo work. She was known as "GI Jo" for serenading WWII soldiers with the USO. Her obits are on Washington Post and LA Times but I first heard about in the Thrilling Yesteryear blog.

Trying to remember where I recognized the name (Smithsonian's "You'd be So Nice to Come Home to" collection), I came across a Big Band Serenade podcast episode on her music. There are a whole rafter of OTR podcasts, depending on your preferences. You can fly with the superheroes, fight alongside crime fighters, cry with the soaps, or dance along to the music. To paraphrase Victor Comstock, that is the magic of radio.
hildy89: (journalist)
So I finished listening to "American Anthem", Gunn's debut recital album. Maybe it's those darned pop sensibilities but I much preferred the music of "Just Before Sunrise". This one was backed by a simple piano arrangement and focuses on American music of various stripes. The disk starts strong with traditional songs like "Shenandoah" and the Depression-era classic "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?" and then wavers a little. Gene Scheer contribues four more songs, including the upbeat (and a little silly) "At Howard Hawks' House" and the blatantly patriotic "American Anthem". The second half of the cd switches to the more spiritual influence of American music. Like "Just Before Sunrise", I liked parts of the cd, but not the whole one. I don't think it showed Gunn's voice to full effect, although it sounded deeper in this cd. His voice sounded warmer in "Just Before Sunrise". The albums were recorded about eight years apart, which may account for some of it.

As Hildy in "On the Town" would say, at least I'm getting my culture...
hildy89: (mygirl2)
It's July in DC. Nuff said. The humidity is enough to drive me out of the apartment to send me in search of some cool quiet corner to write in. Unfortunately everyone else has the same idea. I couldn't find a seat at the library. I could however find Nathan Gunn's "American Anthem" and the "X-men: Last Stand" dvd. I should feel guilty for nabbing the Young Adult copy and then I remember it's "Last Stand" and then I don't feel so guilty. I'm mostly watching it for a few scenes and the extras. After that, it goes back, never to be spoken of again. (And can I say it's just as bad as I remembered? And the deleted/extra scenes are nothing to write home about. Surprise, surprise. So ignoring X3 in my universe...)
hildy89: (accolade)
So I came across Nathan Gunn's cd "Just Before Sunrise" yesterday. He also has an album of Americana songs as well. This one reminds me a little of Audra McDonald's approach to her cds, picking mostly lesser known songs and songwriters. The two songs I knew were Billy Joel's "And So It Goes" and the standard "Polkadots & Moonbeams". He has a cute little duet with Kristin Chenoweth in "Feels Like Home". I think my favorite track is the painful but beautiful "Say Anything". Gene Scheer also wrote the title track and one other song. His work has also appeared on a pair of Denyce Graves albums. Much as I love Gunn's voice (and god, he has one of those "phone books" type voices), I do wish I could hear him sing in his real element in opera. Of course if he wants to record "If Ever I would leave you", I wouldn't object.
hildy89: (accolade)
Loreena McKennitt sent out another of her newsletter updates. Besides touring Europe again, she has a new tour DVD Moving Musical Feast and she's going back into the studio for a new seasonal album Midwinter Night's Dream with five new songs and eight inspired by seasonal favorites. The five song Winter Garden, however, will be deleted from the main catalog, so presumably you won't find it in the regular stores anymore.

And she's providing the main theme for Disney's Tinker Bell movie.
hildy89: (my canadian cowboy)
Just a programming note: "Nashville Star" returns for its sixth season on NBC tonight at 9. Yes, it's the country music's version of "American Idol" and only fairly successful. The best known alumni are Buddy Jewell, Miranda Lambert and if you're a Canadian George Canyon. (see icon *grins*) I've been watching since year one and blogging it since the second year over at [livejournal.com profile] unionstation. The contestants are usually pretty good. Some have established careers and others are "new" on the scene. Some are better instrumentalists than singers and there's always a "original song" night. Feel free to friend if you're interested.
hildy89: (journalist)
This afternoon I went off to the National Academies of Science for a lovely free concert by Quartetto Gelato. I'm glad I checked the address beforehand. Otherwise I would have wound up on the wrong side of town. This location was a solid four or five blocks walk from the Foggy Bottom Metro near the State Department building. You could see the side of the Lincoln Memorial and the top part of Washington Monument and a near straight shot to the Kennedy Center from there.

Quartetto Gelato )
hildy89: (cherry blossoms)
So remember when I went out to Georgetown for a Quartetto Gelato concert? They're baaack! And performing this weekend for free at the National Academies downtown. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon, taking the slow train to Istanbul. They've changed their lineup again with a new clarinetist and new cellist. *sighs*

Good thing I checked their website, mostly to remember where they performed before. Mediaeval Baebes was actually asking their US/Canadian fans for venue suggestions, so I thought of that church, since as lovely as it is, I don't know how practical the National Cathedral would be.

Wordplay

Oct. 30th, 2007 03:27 pm
hildy89: (journalist)
Every Sunday morning my father would trot out to get the newspapers, the Post and NY Times. The news was important, yes, and I adored going through the big Arts & Leisure section so I could see what was playing, but what was important to Dad was the puzzle. He even bought the NY Times online puzzle subscription so he could do them every day. I don't know how fast he does them though. I doubt there's as fast as the crowd on "Wordplay".

"Wordplay" is a documentary, showcasing the joys and traumas of working the crossword puzzle, specifically the New York Times one. We met Will Shortz, the editor, and even puzzle designers, and the whole design process of whether something was a Tuesday puzzle or a Friday one. We also went to the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament and met several of the competitors and went through the 2005 finals. They interviewed crossword puzzle solvers of every stripe, including a bunch of celebrities from Ken Burns and Mike Mussina to Jon Stewart and Bill Clinton.

Hearing the letters though, I found myself reminded of poor Leo McGarry in the pilot for "West Wing": "Seventeen across is wrong... You're spelling his name wrong.... What's my name? My name doesn't matter. I'm just an ordinary citizen, who relies on the Times crossword for stimulation. And I'm telling you that I've met the man twice and I've recommended a pre-emptive Exocet missile strike against his air force, so I think I know how..."

Now I feel all guilty for doing my regular sudoku, rather than the noble crossword puzzle...

Aside to myself: next time you hear a song in the BN, just ask which cd is playing, rather than assuming the display is correct. I heard a snatch of something today. I swore it was a woman singing, but there was a marvelous turn of phrase about a typewriter. The front cd on display was the Diana Krall greatest hits, but most of the songs are fairly familiar old standards. And yet, there was a jazzy piano solo afterwards so, maybe it was it. Knowing my luck, it'll be one of those misheard lyrics...

ETA: Well, that figures. Marvelous turn of phrase= Joni Mitchell. The song was "Edith & the Kingpin" about "the victims of typewriters". The album appears to be Herbie Hancock's Joni tribute album "River: Joni Letters" with vocals by none other than Tina Turner. *sighs* I sometimes think I should have been a reference librarian.
hildy89: (accolade)
For those who didn't get to her concert or missed the PBS airings, Loreena McKennitt's "Nights of the Alhambra" concert is being released to the general public on August 28th as a dvd/cd set. The artwork & packaging is different for the commercial release, but the material is otherwise the same.
hildy89: (cherry blossoms)
[livejournal.com profile] audiography's new topic is Washington DC. For all that I've lived in this area all my life, I'm having a hard time thinking of related songs, aside from Tori Amos' "Gold Dust" and the couple of Arlington songs. Pity none of my Hexagon stuff is on cd, so I could share political satire.

Still having a lot of sinus issues, mostly hanging around my ears. I have a feeling if I could get them unclogged the rest of my sinuses would follow.

After a trip to the Falls Church needlework & comics store over the weekend, I randomly have a new needlework project. I haven't done cross stitch in awhile. I managed to get a copy of the David Tennant pattern from the UK Cross Stitcher magazine, so I've started on it. The pattern isn't the greatest, just a very basic side face shot, no back stitching involved with about seven or eight colors. I fussed over choosing the fabrics forever at the store, finally enlisting some help from the shop owner. I really didn't want to use white. I'm not wild about the natural linen shades either, but I thought it gave it a little more zing. Only to discover there were unstitched parts of the pattern, so we'll see how it works as a background. Yes, I will post updates eventually when there's enough progress. Cross Stitcher has already posted a picture of someone's completed version to show how it'd look finished and in white. And a British fan adds her finished version in antique white aida.
hildy89: (accolade)
Last night was the Loreena McKennitt concert at DAR Constitution Hall. Like I mentioned before, I tend to dress quite casually at work these days, especially shoe wise, because it's more comfortable. My coworkers were surprised but complimentary to see me in a black pant suit and dress shoes. I really regretted the latter choice with the amount of walking I wound up doing. DAR is a solid five or six blocks from the nearest Metro.

The only real annoyance was the lack of restaurants nearby. Back near the Metro, there were tons of places, but I was strapped for time, so I wound up availing myself of the noble DC hot dog stand. One of the larger ones, so it was slightly more upscale, but probably not what people picture when you say pre-concert dinner. But I shouldn't complain too much. Because if I had stayed around the venue, I wouldn't have had my little moment of irony.

Loreena McKennitt at DAR Constitution Hall )

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