Mr. Miles and the Boston Lyric Opera

John Miles is one of my heroes. This is a comment I wrote after reading a great spread in the Daily Texan of Mr. Miles speaking to a group of UT student athletes. They were also impressed. He's the real deal. I need to find the original article and put it up so it makes sense. Mr. Miles was a star player in the National Negro Baseball League during the 40's and 50's, and shares his stories about the times to promote awareness of the league. The Firing Line - Opinion

But not tonight. I spent several hours crafting a piece on the Boston Lyric Opera production of "Madama Butterfly" that my daughter took me to see while I was in Boston. I lost it. Extreme frustration. Doncha hate that? It was such a special event on so many levels I can't let it get away. E and I were involved in the Opera Festival of New Jersey production of Butterfly several years ago so we knew it from top to bottom, including costume changes and the particular Brescia version both companies used. Our enjoyment was heightened by the shared experience and knowledge.

Exquisite production. Costumes were breathtaking, and the singing sublime. The stage director employed a Kabuki Theater style of acting which was perfect for the work. The chorus was magnificent in geisha costume on-stage, and sublimely rendered the fiendishly difficult "Humming Song," sung off-stage. I had a view of the pit monitor that allows the out of sight chorus to watch the conductor for cues. It was a very special evening.

I promise you'll get the details, but don't hold your breath...


Halloween in Boston

Boston couldn't be more different than Austin. Even holidays have a different feel. A Boston Halloween is chilly, with an early darkness, a slightly more sinister feel. Maybe because Salem is just up the road. Last year's Boston trip took in Salem, Lexington, Concord, filled in some gaps in Revolutionary history left from living in Princeton and learning about that part of our heritage. Including learning more about the Salem witches and the hysteria gripping the fledgling country during that very brief period of time.

Kinda reminds me of what our current administration is trying to do in frightening voters with lies and distortions to stay in power. I voted early before leaving for New England. Let's hope that no evil spirits try to hack the election...it's sad that the brave folks who carried the word at Lexington over two hundred years ago and stood up to the British on that small green fought so courageously and with such complete commitment for the very rights that are being butchered right and left today. I'm quite sure they would be terribly disappointed in all of us.

It's a sad state of affairs when the people of a nation are more afraid of their leaders than of foreign entities. And even sadder when those leaders use that fear to erode and diminish what our country has stood for since its breathtakingly brave inception.

What do the Grand Canyon and the Rolling Stones have in common?

The Grand Canyon and the Rolling Stones? Twice now I've had slightly askew experiences with each one. I've been to the Grand Canyon twice--in the middle of the night. Back in the day with the compulsive/impulsive ex, we drove the northern route from Texas to California. The sign pointing to the G.C. was too much for him to resist, even though we were more than 100 miles south both times, and it was already sunset or later. Result? I've seen the vasty deeps pretty much in pitch dark.

The Stones at least I heard. First time in Sydney, Australia, '96. We lived on Harris Street, down the cliffside from Edgecliff, at the top of a tiny canyon that spread out to a small park and cricket pitch. The Sydney Cricket Grounds were less than a mile away, and the night the Stones played there the sound funneled right up the canyon. Sat on the deck and reminisced.

The Stones were at Zilker Park in Austin a couple of weeks ago, and since I live two blocks from the park, I heard them from a similar distance. This concert was shorter and slower. Can't believe it was ten years ago their sounds filled the air in Australia.

So what's the significance? Must be something happening to have been in proximity to two such major forces of nature and to have had at least one sense muffled or missing from all four experiences. I grudgingly admit to enjoying the G.C. after dark, and fully get behind listening to the Stones without paying obscene ticket prices to either concert.

Maybe it's the ability to be able to feel mostly satisfied with a less than "perfect" experience. But only with forces of nature, I want more from life in general...