Monday, December 03, 2007


Okay, I've failed on posting every day in December, already. But here's what happened: I had a gig all weekend, and it snowed and snowed with 35 mph gusts of wind slicing our faces as we tromped up the main street to get some pizza. These kinds of things leave you with only enough energy to order "Superbad" from Movies! On! Demand! and tool out in the hotel room. The movie was totally worth the $12 tacked onto my hotel bill.

Then the other thing I've been doing is rereading Watership Down, in a lovely soft old paperback that migrated over here from England and used to belong to someone called Fiona. So I have been thinking about rabbits a lot. And life lessons.

It was a good weekend, full of great conversations and high-quality relaxing. And the music, mustn't forget that--that was pretty good too. It's been ages since I've heard a performance of The Messiah, so the piece has remained pretty fresh for me. It's also incredibly exhilarating to be onstage when everyone stands up for the Hallelujah chorus. There are lots of pieces in the classical canon that have been overused and abused in many ways and have become a total cliche, but I tell you what, this abuse does not rob the music of its power. I like to think, par example, about being in the theater the first time anyone ever played that Ride of the Valkyries bit from Die Walküre. I mean wouldn't you have lost your shit? Shock AND awe. Beethoven 9 is like that too. The orchestra conductor at my undergrad institution was so worked up for her first rehearsal of Beethoven 9 that she stabbed herself up the nose with her baton on the first upbeat (for non-musicians: that is the very first cue before anyone has even played a note and everyone is waiting with bated breath for things to start). "I seem to have injured myself," she said, and went off to the bathroom. (I am pleased to report that this anecdote is still funny to me, over 10 years later.)

So anyway, there I was, buoyed up by the collective energy of about 1500 people, which was really nice.

It snowed here too and today I found that I had made the mental shift to winter, shloooop, just like that. One day you're a mittened pansy moaning about 40 degrees and the next day you're slopping hatless through a parking lot with big boots on and your cold face is just par for the course. There's still a bunch of shoveling to do and I'm going to put it off for 8 or 9 hours so I can read some more about rabbits.

Oh, and guess what, I can even tie this entry up neatly thanks to my selectively photographic memory: one year when I was in highschool, there was a commercial for a local energy company (I think) that featured the classic fat horned opera lady busting into your house and singing "Welcome to winter / In Minnesota / Here is your FUEL bill / Ha ha ha HAAAAAA!" to the tune of Ride of the Valkyries. I think of that still. How sad for the more important concepts that evade me.


  1. Just thinking about the Hallelujah Chorus gives me chills. In a good way. And I'll be singing it at midnight this Saturday at my friend's 30-somethingth annual Christmas party surrounded by about 40 gay men.

    My husband felt that way about singing "Ode to Joy" in college chorale with the Buffalo Phil.

  2. The Messiah always gives me chills no matter how many times I've heard it. And same goes for the Ninth, which I really believe is the most perfect piece of music ever composed (all four movements, not just the first). How I love it.

    Great post today; it made me laugh multiple times, which in my current state of mind is noteworthy.

  3. You also made me laugh multiple times today -- especially at the little tune at the end. Sad for me that I wasn't yet in Minnesota. Bloody brilliant, and I'll be singing those lyrics all day.

  4. By the way, I've never read Watership Down. Should I?