Thursday, February 26, 2009

Off to Japan

The day after the waltz, I'm heading off to Japan for the Tokyo Performing Arts Market to hook up with some of my artist colleagues across the pond - the other pond in this instance. My agent Kyoko Yoshida has done a lovely job of translating up a brochure and writing some kind things about me along the way.

I'm also visiting my Japanese friends at Yamaha who have now risen to exalted heights: the Chairman of the Board, the Deputy General Manager of the Semiconductor Division, etc. Makes me feel that somehow I didn't quite reach my potential in the corporate world. But I have the music to keep me warm at night, so I suppose that's something.

name-dropping postscript: I'm still working with a group of the Yamaha Music Technology engineers: Thom Blum, a founder of the ICMC, Doug Keislar, now editor of the Computer Music Journal, Jim Wheaton. And some of the others have gone on to some greatness as well: Guy Garnett, Xavier Serra, Michael Czeiszperger, John Strawn.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wenn ich Kultur höre ... entsichere ich meinen Browning

A popular and oft-parodied line from the play Schlageter by Hanns Johst, where the soon-to-be-martyred and immortalized Albert Leo Schlageter is exhorted by his comrade Friedrich Thiemann to fight:

I know all about that garbage from 1918 ... brotherhood, equality, and freedom ... Beauty and worthiness! Then, right in the middle of it, they say Hands Up! You're disarmed ... you're the voting swine of the Republic! -- No to hell with this whole ideological smorgasboard ... I shoot with live ammo! When I hear the word culture ... I release the safety on my Browning!

The last line is a good one, and Herr Schlageter did derail some trains and was executed by the French Occupation Forces between the wars and was taken up as a hero by the Nazis, who built many memorials all over Germany including the one pictured, shown as part of a Hitler Youth field trip. Some were destroyed and some erased as part of the Allied Denazification of Germany after the war.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The International

Went to see the thriller The International a few days ago.  Caught a glimpse of my old friend Thomas Morris playing Chief Inspector Reinhard Schmidt. Here he is above as the fulcrum, the Angel of Death (or something to that effect) in Jon Jost's The Bed You Sleep In, stealing the scene, backed by my favorite music from the film.

Monday, February 9, 2009

der barney klingelt

I have been sent two important missives, in video form, from a deep-cover operative and thus, I present them here.

Episode 2? There’s another one of these out there?

And while we’re at it: Heil Honey I’m Home.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Die Welle

Once again Ron Jones's Third Wave experiment at Cubberly High School in Palo Alto has been dramatized, this time by the German director Dennis Gansel. There are some questions about the original story's veracity, as the main source is Ron Jones himself, but it is highly believable: that a few simple step-by-step manipulations of a group young people leads to their wholehearted acceptance of brutal authoritarianism: sitting in attention postures, starting all sentences with 'Mr. Jones,' answering all questions in three words or less, learning a simple salute. All the results included the usual harbingers of disaster: unquestioning adherence to the rules, xenophobia, the ratting out those who didn't measure up. But he also found improvements in academic skills and an excitement and motivation he had not seen before. Although some pro-fascists would focus on the latter as a justification of the former, I prefer to think that it's best to accept a little less perfection and a little more anarchy and more chaos and a little more joy.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

They Are There

Kyle Gann has been blogging the Ives Vocal Marathon at Wesleyan. where I just was a month and a half ago, bad timing, but at least I have Kyle's inspiring and uplifting infectious excitement about the whole deal to thrill me from afar. Happened across the above and must share. Don't watch, just listen.
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