Friday, December 24, 2010

Dream a Dream of New

Ashton Dreams

As we slumber sweetly into the New Year, let us dream like my sweet sleeping Nephew. For him, all is New. So I have a New Thought, a New Dream, flying from my Mind into Time, creating a New Year. Happy Holidays everyone!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kronos Quartet: String Theory

David Harrington during a performance of
"Aheym (Homeward)" by Bryce Dessner

While String Theory attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity, so the Kronos Quartet attempts to reconcile sound and humanity through string.

I had the privilege of hearing them play at Le Poisson Rouge early last month. I have been a fan since college, and I'm continuously amazed at their diversity of sound and openness of mind through stringed instruments. No culture, time, or artistic movement is out of their reach.

John Sherba plucking and playing his violin

Le Poisson Rouge is not a large space, so during a performance it becomes a box of sound. In the dark, sultry room the quartet is highlighted by spots of blue and yellow beams of light. When the sound is at it's height, the only way to find the music's source is through these little illuminated beacons on the stage.

Jeffrey Zeigler's gentle intensity with the cello

As cords of instruments are plucked and stroked, so are the threads of nervous systems. You tense and relax on each new wave, never knowing what is around each corner of sound.

Hank Dutt on his viola during "Harp and Altar" by Missy Mazzoli

Sweet tender cords joined them that night, through the Young People's Chorus of New York City. Their merged voices became the fifth instrument of the evening.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Midsummer Swing, Haiti, and Some Big Hair

The other night I went to reportage another dance at the Midsummer Night Swing at Lincoln Center. On this occasion, Orchestre Septentrional d'Haiti was performing. They are a Haitian Jazz (jazz means band in Haiti) group that has been around for 50+ years (members alternate). I was so excited to see a band from Haiti. They were amazing - great Konpa Music that evoked vibrant colors. Unfortunately I could only see one drummer from my vantage point, so I mostly watched the crowd. And there I found the other main attraction - HAIR.

That's right. There were some of the most incredible coifs there that night. Hair that looked like it had not been out of the closet since the Cuban Revolution!

My friends, April and Jennifer, are witnesses to this. What you are about to see is a true account of HAIR AT LINCOLN CENTER!

I'm sure some major contra ban hairspray was liberally applied to achieve such heights. Marie Antoinette would have swooned!

My friend April and I were particularly baffled by the complexity of one “do”. There was the now expected frontal bouffant, but amazingly to the side and back there was a quick cut to the cerebellum. Now highlighting this area of the brain may have been an attempt to send a message. Like “I have good motor control”. This knowledge could be useful to future dance partners. Or maybe she ran out of hairspray and turned to hair-flattening gel. Quite the mystery!

The more I thought of this hairstyle, the more it seemed like a solid physical structure. Let’s break this down, shall we?

(Click on illustration to enlarge)

And when these ladies hit the dance floor the true genius of coif engineering was in action. Everything was moving but the hair. Like a mini earthquake, but none of the buildings fell.

Vibrant music. Personalities galore. Just what a Midsummer dance is for.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


This week begins the MidSummer Night Swing at Lincoln Center. I went on Tango night with my friend Nathaniel for a little reportage.

Tango has always seemed a bit intimidating to me. The intensity and attitude of professional dancers makes it look like some secret dance with it's own special language. But tonight helped to lift the veil (or should I say the foot?) on this sultry dance.

Before the dance was a practice session. This was really a joy to watch. Couples giggled as they pulled each other close. Feet were steeped upon, the left and right foot was discovered. Amazingly these same people were able to create a beautiful flow of movement after only one hour of awkwardness.

You could recognize the gal that was seriously there to Tango. She would have a spaghetti-strap dress, usually red, some black, and one was green. The green dress looked great doing the "Sandwich". The "Sandwich" is a classic Argentinean Tango step that is composed of half ocho (eight) backwards, the beginning of a leading of feet without doing it, and a resolution by the ocho forward. I love the fact that it's based on eight. Such a sexy number!

For some reason there was allot of very short men with very tall women. The men were really into it and seemed to know the steps. The woman just looked a bit perplexed.

By the end of the night there were mucho ochos all over the dance floor. And a little romance.