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Member since: Sat Nov 30, 2013, 04:06 AM
Number of posts: 1,554

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The Young Turks: Conservatives Pout About Obamacare Ruling

May 29, 1913, Paris: first performance of Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring"

Ballet performed by Diaghilev's Ballet Russes, choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky.

From Richard Buckle's "Diaghilev":

"At the very beginning of the introduction there was a woodwind solo so weird that even the music critics could not agree between them what instrument it was playing. ... The snatches of melody, Russian, Oriental or chorale-like, and the steady rhythmic passages, for which it was easiest for Nijinsky to arrange dances, were interrupted by terrifying arpeggios, squawks, shrieks and glissandos, intended to represent spurts of growth, vegetable birth-pangs, convulsions of nature or the explosion of sap, and I doubt whether Nijinsky tried to find a parallel for those in human movement. Of course, there were young people -- artists, students and 'fans' -- who were prepared to align themselves with Diaghilev on his boldest charges into battle against the old guard. Counting on their support, he had given them free tickets -- standing passes. it was the presence of these bloodthirsty enthusiasts in the middle of the elegant occupants of the boxes which was partly responsible for the battle which took place in the theatre on 29 May. ... The smart audience in tails and tulle, diamonds and ospreys, was interspersed with the suits and bandeaux of the aesthetic crowd. The latter would applaud novelty simply to show their contempt for the people in the boxes. ... Innumerable shades of snobbery, super-snobbery and inverted snobbery were represented.

"The theatre seemed to be shaken by an earthquake. It seemed to shudder. People shouted insults, howled and whistled, drowning the music. There was slapping and even punching. ... Diaghilev had ordained a pause between the two scenes; during this the lights were turned up and police were called in to eject the most violent demonstrators; but no sooner had the curtain risen on the trembling group of girls in Part II, with their in-pointed toes, their bent knees and their right fists supporting their sideways-bent heads, than a voice called out, 'Un docteur!' then another, 'Un dentiste!', followed by a third with 'Deux dentistes!' A lady slapped the face face of a man in a neighboring box, gentlemen challenged each other to duels, Comtesse Rene de Pourtales declared that she was sixty years old and that nobody had dared to try to make a fool of her before, ... and Carl van Vechten, the Paris music critic of the New York Times, became conscious that a young man standing behind him was, out of excitement, drumming with his fists on top of his head.

Stravinsky: "After the performance we were excited, angry, disgusted, and ... happy. I went with Diaghilev and Nijinsky to a restaurant. So far from weeping and reciting Pushkin in the Bois de Boulogne as the legend is (spread by Cocteau), Diaghilev's only comment was: 'Exactly what I wanted.' He certainly looked contented. No one could have been quicker to understand the publicity value and he immediately understood the good thing that had happened in that respect. Quite probably he had already thought about the possibility of such a scandal when I first played him the score, months before, in the east ground room of the Grand Hotel in Venice."

I'm haunted by a lullaby in the movie I saw yesterday, "The Night of the Hunter" (1955)

A dark Depression-era story. The river scenes after the children run away from the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing-pycho-killer, their parents and the other adults of the town too foolish or weak to help them, they journey out into the wide world as orphans. Floating down the river under the stars, the river shimmering with moonlight, the sounds of night animals in the darkness, it reminds me of an illustration from a children's book of fairy tales. The little girl sings and we know her family members are the flies in the lullaby:

Once upon a time there was a pretty fly,
He had a pretty wife, this pretty fly.
But one day she flew away, flew away.
She had two pretty children,
But one night these two pretty children flew away, flew away,
Into the sky,
Into the moon.

Has anyone else seen something haunting lately?

It's 2:46 pm in Japan, a moment of silence: Tohoku earthquake hit at this time 3/11/11

And then came the terrible tsunamis.

A documentary I like, "Japan's Tsunami Caught on Camera."

Love and chocolate capitalism: Smash Valentine's Day rally in Tokyo.

A specter is haunting Japan -- the specter of chocolate.

"Japanese men decry 'love capitalism' during 'Smash Valentine's Day' rally in Tokyo." ("Japanese men" means a handful of dudes.)


"Members of 'Kakuhido,' which translates as the Revolutionary Alliance of Men that Women Find Unattractive and claims on its website that 'public smooching is terrorism,' walked through the busy Shibuya district waving banners with slogans demanding an end to Valentine's Day. ... 'The blood-soaked conspiracy of Valentine's Day, driven by the oppressive chocolate capitalists, has arrived once again.'

"Valentine's Day is a huge money-spinner for the confectionery business as women are traditionally expected to buy chocolates for the men in their lives -- from partners to work colleagues and bosses. ... Kakuhido was founded in 2006 by Katsuhiro Furusawa, who began reading The Communist Manifesto after being dumped by his girlfriend and came to the conclusion that being unpopular with the opposite sex was a class issue, fueling his anti-Valentine message."

Too bad for the chocolate capitalists that chocolate-giving isn't nearly as popular in Japan as it once was. People of all countries who are unpopular and do not care for public smooching -- UNITE!

Beethoven's ninth symphony, a holiday tradition in Japan -- Ode to Joy

Best performance ever. 2011. Dedicated to the victims of the tsunami in March that year. 10,000 of the living sing to the dead.
James Joyce, "The Dead": "His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."

A cache of Nutcracker Ballets to crack open and enjoy.

The San Francisco Ballet, 2008.

The Mariinsky Ballet, 2007.

The Royal Ballet, 2008.

The American Ballet Theater, 1977 (Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland).

Nutcracker: The Motion Picture, 1986 (most notable for the costumes and sets by Maurice Sendak).

Does anyone have any beef stew secrets?

I want to make a rich, strongly umami stew, but most recipes seem so dull. The key is a great stock, I assume, but I have to make my own. I don't have beef bones or whatever it is restaurants use to make stock. Should I roast vegetables first to make stock? Should I use wine, or stout beer? Dried mushrooms, soy sauce or miso should deepen flavor. Garlic or no garlic? Tomato sauce? How to make sure the beef isn't tough? Thyme, clove and bay leaves seem essential, but anything else? Does anyone add unsweetened dried fruit like cherries, maybe along with a little balsamic vinegar (when made with red wine)? Any beef stew advice would be appreciated.

Edited to add: I can't use store-bought stock or bouillon cubes and the like because of salt issues and as I live in Japan I have to special order the good organic stuff and I'm all out.

The Ethics of Halloween Jokes by Garrison Keillor

Hometown Ghost Stories for Halloween -- does your town have a haunted history?

There are two famously haunted buildings in Steilacoom, Washington: the E. R. Rodgers mansion, built in 1891 and sold by Rodgers after the Panic of 1893 to become a hotel/boarding house called the Waverly House, and the Bair Drug & Hardware, built in 1895 by W.L. Bair.

In the early 20th century Steilacoom was a popular resort town because of its beaches and beautiful views of Puget Sound and the distant Olympic Mountains. Bair's was the end of the electric trolly line from the city. He put in a soda fountain in 1906, the first in town to have electricity, the post office was there. It closed in the late '50s. Kids peeked through the windows at the dusty old drugstore junk, a time capsule. In the late '70s the Bair family donated it to the town and it reopened as a cafe/soda fountain/museum, but somebody didn't care for this disturbance of the peace.

From "Ghost Stories of the Pacific Northwest": 'Most peculiar is the behavior of a new product Kreger hopes to sell, a 'Secret Salmon Sauce.' ... One patron swears she saw a bottle of the sauce leap from the top rear shelf of a display, fly five feet sideways through the air, and crash to the plank flooring. ... A waitress who had seen it happen agreed. 'That salmon sauce flew off. It flew!' ... Kreger ... calls the bothersome apparition Cub Bair, the nickname of the store's founder W.L. Bair. 'He worked here the longest, and is finicky about changes.' ... 'It's nothing bad, it just doesn't like new stuff. Any type of new machine, it just goes wild.' And it seems like that goes for trendy 'Secret Salmon Sauce' too."

W.L. Bair's wife Hattie was famous for her chicken dinners, clam pie, and oyster stew and ran Waverly House from 1920 until her death in the late '40s. The Rodgers mansion was vacant from then until the sixties. As a kid I remember being invited inside by the old man who ran the place, again a boarding house. There was a small museum featuring rocks and minerals, but it was dark and creepy and I'd only go inside if my brother was with me.

E.R. Rodgers became a restaurant, and stories of strange happenings at night were well known. The alarm system and lights went on or off by themselves, appliances malfunctioned. The attic was used as storage space and things would move around, staff smelled strong perfume, a patron at the bar below the attic saw a foot descend through the floor one night. I knew someone who worked there who didn't believe any of those stories until one night after closing she and another waiter returned some wine to the basement cellar and the lights went out one by one. Nobody wanted to go to the attic or basement alone.

The apparition of an old man in a rocking chair looking north is supposed to one of the ghosts, the other is in the attic. People think she's either Hattie Bair or E.R. Rodgers' wife or daughter, but that's not the story I heard. I was told that a woman staying at the Waverly Hotel went up to the attic every day to look north for her man to return by a ship that never came. Maybe he went to Alaska to find gold in the late 1890s. Maybe he went off to sea, maybe to war. Maybe she worked in one of the saloons. Nobody wants to talk about how many women came to the Pacific Northwest to work in those places. Both apparitions were very interested in looking north.

Unfortunately the ghosts seem to have retired. E.R. Rodgers now houses a law firm, obviously no fun to haunt. Bair is probably another trendy overpriced restaurant. There used to be a Ghost Walk in Steilacoom, but I think the ghosts are long gone. When I was growing up the town was like Sleepy Hollow, old houses full of old people and old things. Now those old renovated houses sell for millions and the trees are gone because they blocked the view and there's no more grocery store or library or school. I don't blame the ghosts for giving up the ghost.

Here's a video someone took of the Rodgers and Bair buildings. The guy's voice is horrible, I can't watch all the way through.

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