Re-burning my CD collection to iTunes has been a great opportunity to rediscover some long neglected artists. I just reached the "O"'s and stumbled into Beth Orton. I think I saw and heard her at Lilith Fair 1999 in Portland - maybe not. But however I came across her, I was captivated by her haunting voice and lyrics and the interesting electric drive underneath many of her songs. She never has really broken out, but it appears after a hiatus to have a baby and a label change that she is ready to release a new record in 2011. So this is quite timely. Here's Stolen Car from Central Reservation:
So Saturday would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday, which means he was born roughly 15 years before me. I was just a bit too young to be a true first gen Beatles fan, and I was never that much of a fan of them growing up anyway.
Only in retrospect did I get to appreciate the better stuff they produced. It seemed to me that Lennon and McCartney balanced each other well - Lennon dragged McCartney away from the sappy pop that he wrote on his own, and McCartney balanced the self-indulgent twaddle that Lennon was prone to. Never was that latter more evident than in his mega-hit Imagine. It's probably the most self-indulgent, full of itself pretentious crap ever written.
But hey, happy birthday John, you even get a custom birthday Google logo.
With all the excitement of fall comes a new ballet season. As I've been checking popular posts from the past on the blog one that has been popular via search engines for three years is the Twyla Tharp In The Upper Room ballet post from Nov 2007. That was a remarkable piece, made brilliant by a combination of music, choreography and costume. I would love to see it come back (and many pieces much less worthy have been repeated in less time) but sadly it hasn't happened yet.
However, the new season opens tonight with Director's Choice. There are four pieces, one of them is Glasspieces, with music by Philip Glass and choreography by Jerome Robbins. The music for the two pieces (Rubric and Facades) is very reminiscent of the score for In The Upper Room (adapted for that ballet I suppose) so at least one of the elements for this program will be similar. With his broadway background, Robbins' take on the Glass music will be interesting. Here's a look behind the scenes in rehearsal, courtesy of the Pacific Northwest ballet's youtube channel:
Two of the other pieces have been done very recently by PNB - Petite Mort and Jardi Tancat, while Six Dances is a PNB premiere.
In any season there are some classic ballets that are good, but well understood and predictable. The Director's Choice programs are where artistic director Peter Boal will take a few more risks. Not everything pays off, but when something does it's usually spectacular - like In The Upper Room. Wel worth the risk of checkng out the program this weekend and next.
Once in a while you hear a song that just floors you.
The latest to get me is one that has been doing the rounds of the adult contemporary stations for the last couple of months. As always, it's incredibly hard to figure out what the song is or the artist because radio stations either never tell you or they tell you while you're paying attention to your driving (I pretty much only listen to the radio in the car.)
So it appears that the following song - Where I Stood by Missy Higgins - who just happens to be Australia's favorite bisexual singer songwriter (not that there's anything wrong with that.) The song has been featured in the TV series Smallville and has started to develop a following for the artist in the US and UK.