Last Friday night was the final SF Opera performance of Virgil Thomson's and Gertrude Stein's The Mother of Us All, a rarely performed opera about Susan B. Anthony and the women suffrage struggle. (That's just the beginning of what it's about. It is hallucinatory and amazing.) I had despaired of getting to see it in this dreadful economic environment but then Jim Carr, the new bass player in my band, stepped in and offered me a ticket!
It was wonderful. I am positive I will never be able to afford an orchestra seat at the War Memorial Opera House again. :) I also got to meet Blake More, a poet with whom Jim is collaborating in the Oakland East Bay Symphony's Words and Music project. She is very cool.
The sixth annual Woodstockhausen festival was this past Saturday. It was my first time as a performer and I'm happy to report that the event is well run by very nice people who are on the ball. It had really nice energy. I met a lot of interesting people and heard a lot of fascinating music. Luke Dahl's piece was very good, as was the piece by Twilight. Rick Walker did a new improv looping piece based solely on his voice. I heard that OVO was very good although I was waiting backstage at the time and didn't hear what they were doing very clearly. I liked Mitch Finegold's piece a lot and Amy X. Neuburg rocked also.
But Nathan Levine and his co-conspirators really stick in my mind after delivering a hysterically funny send-up of experimental musicians and their deadly serious improvisation sessions. All three of them explored the comic boundaries of the clarinet, water bowl, and trombone -- and themselves -- in rocking fashion. :) Backstage I retaliated by hitting each one of them with imaginary flute blowdarts and subjecting them to my obligatory voice and flute Darth Vader imitation. :) I wish they weren't from Seattle and other points far away. I would so like to hang with them some more.
I also ran into Justine Kragen and Steve McDonald, who are in one of my favorite bands, Vermouth. If you are in the Santa Cruz area, you really need to check them out, since they are thinking about moving to Los Angeles in the near future!