Sunday, April 5, 2009


A habit I picked up years ago from Ed Toomey, formerly of Neef, who picked up every playing card he saw on the ground - a surprisingly common find - compels me to scan the terrain for interesting bits of detritus. I no longer carry them home to fill filing cabinets and adorn the walls; I merely scrutinize and inspect and leave undisturbed. But recently I came across one of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries' screeds on a New York city street, and was reminded of my colleague Barry Drogin's opera named after the selfsame amusing and intolerant religious leader.

In the current missive, Alamo is persecuted, like all good Xtian martyrs, but in his case again by the anti-Christ, who has taken the form of the US government, now accusing him transporting minors across state lines for immoral purposes. In Barry's opera, Alamo's persecutor du jour is the Cult Awareness Network, and a particularly poignant moment occurs when Alamo's polemical rant against the Catholic Church suddenly becomes personal, and we suddenly see through a window to his soul, consumed by a deep and pervasive sadness, a frantic desperation of a man trapped and scared and alone, wondering why God has forsaken him. Barry has put up a section of the score and recording, linked to above and here below, respectively.

Update: Barry has informed me that, and I have apologized for:

As per its full title, "Alamo! a scena for a cappella voice and Bible (King James version)," calling "Alamo!" an "opera" is an error in scale - kind of like calling a one-act play a full-length play, or, say, any orchestral piece in one movement a symphony.

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