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([personal profile] oracne Sep. 21st, 2017 08:55 am)
Hurrah for hermiting!

Things I could have done on Wednesday: lunchtime free Zumba class, free Bach Collegium concert.

Things I did do on Wednesday: went straight home, ate, showered, crawled into bed with fanfiction, went to sleep early, sleeeeeeeeeeept.

I feel much better today, in the sense that fewer things hurt physically. And I realized this morning that nothing was stopping me from taking a day off tomorrow. That would mean I can sleep in after "Elizabeth Cree" tonight, and go to bed early before my crack of dawn train to NYC on Saturday morning.

What a removal of mental weight. A day off. How glorious. It will be much easier to enjoy my day in NY with a reasonable amount of sleep beforehand.
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([personal profile] oracne Sep. 20th, 2017 08:19 am)
Recent reading included Champions Vol. 1: Change the World by Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos, which featured a new superhero team headed up by Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) and including the Miles Morales Spiderman, Nova (Sam Alexander), the Amadeus Cho Hulk, Viv Vision (Vision's daughter), and teenage Cyclops from an alternate reality. It's clear this is meant as a showcase for updated versions of old characters, but I really enjoyed it anyway, mainly because it felt like it had a good heart. They're trying to do good and respect people and not kill anyone. It's attempting to be a politically responsible comic, which is why I am really worried about reading the crossover with the awful Secret Empire storyline...still debating if I will read it. Is anyone else farther along in this series?

I also finally finished the fourth and last volume of the original Runaways comic by Brian K. Vaughan, which alas ends in a cliffhanger. I liked a lot of things about this series, particularly that the teenagers acted like teenagers, sometimes making good decisions and sometimes making stupid ones. Towards the end, though, I felt like the writer was struggling to have enough plot for all of the characters, particularly the two newer ones, and I was getting annoyed with Chase and his angry angst, true-to-life as it was. I think actual teenagers might like this series.

I'm not doing a lot of reading this week beyond magazines and some scattered fanfiction because it's All Opera, All the Time.
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([personal profile] oracne Sep. 19th, 2017 10:46 am)
Last night, I visited the Wilma Theater for the first time to see the world premiere opera "We Shall Not Be Moved," which focuses on the violence that comes of racism, poverty, guns, and bigotry. It was intense, as you might imagine. It did not end well for anyone, though the ending is not entirely without hope. If you squint. I did not feel depressed afterward, perhaps because I had experienced all this as really good art and art uplifts. That sounds weird, but it's true.

Those of you in NYC, the show is going to be at the Apollo, and tickets go on sale next week, I believe.

There are two primary, opposing points of view: a Latina cop, and a group of teenagers on the run, looking for solutions through cryptic messages from the past (dancers in white sweats, notes dropped on the floor of an abandoned house). There are shootings. There's a school closing. There's a plot twist which I guessed pretty quickly but was still dramatically effective. There was a lot of really good singing and dancing, but not as much spoken word as I'd expected.

I'm not sure how I feel about a male countertenor (John Holiday) playing a trans boy, but damn was he a good singer. The bass (Aubrey Allicock) was also particularly fine, I felt (I have a weakness for basses, so caveat emptor). The bass did most of his second act singing while lying on the floor or propped in someone's arms, which was impressive.

I most loved the choral singing by the entire cast, as you might expect if you know me. My favorite solo was at the end, sung by one of the female dancers - I want to hear that piece again, several times; it was mesmerizing.

Music by Daniel Bernard Roumain, libretto by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, choreography by Raphael Xavier and Bill T. Jones, directed by Bill T. Jones.

Presskit.

PhillyVoice article.

I got home about 11:30 pm, then had to shower and wind down, so I am pretty draggy at dayjob today. Our first choir rehearsal of the season is tonight, 7-9 pm. *blinks*
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([personal profile] oracne Sep. 18th, 2017 08:44 am)
Silent movies are my jam. So I really, really loved the production of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" I saw Friday night.

The stage background is plain white with doors at two levels. The upper doors open to reveal small platforms and/or stools, on which the singers stand (yes, they had safety belts). Animation was projected onto the background, and the singers interacted with it. Everything was in a very 1920s style, with touches of steampunk. The singers wore white silent film-style makeup. Spoken lines were replaced with intertitles (in the appropriate font, even!).

The best part was The Queen of the Night. The singer wore a tall headdress and makeup with a plain shift that concealed the rest of her body. Projections made her appear as a giant spider, the size of the entire background, prone to stabbing at Tamino with her stabby legs while he dashed out of reach. I also loved Papageno's animated black cat.

One update I really appreciated was that Monostatos, molestor of Pamina and chief of the slaves (this enlightened country has slaves?) was originally described as "a blackamoor." In this production, the tenor is instead costumed as Nosferatu, who leads a pack of wolves. Not only was it less skeevy, but it fit the theme.

A great start to my experience of the O17 festival, and the only non-premiere I'm attending. Tonight is "We Shall Not Be Moved," which will be very, very different from the Mozart.

Review at Bachtrack.

Broad Street Review.

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([personal profile] oracne Sep. 15th, 2017 08:42 am)
Time for the O17 Festival! I am not going to everything, but I'm going to a lot.

Tonight: The Magic Flute - The innovative production from Komische Oper Berlin presents Mozart's The Magic Flute in a style that evokes a meeting between 1920s silent movies and David Lynch, with the singers performing amidst fanciful animated projections. Also, the women in the chorus get to be in drag for part of it, complete with top hats and beards, which I know because all my buddies were posting pictures of their makeup on The Book of Faces.

Monday, 9/18: We Shall Not Be Moved, world premiere - Acclaimed composer Daniel Bernard Roumain and librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph team up with legendary director Bill T. Jones to present the World Premiere of We Shall Not Be Moved, a genre-defying chamber opera combining spoken word, contemporary movement, video projection, classical, R&B and jazz singing, and a brooding, often joyful score filled with place, purpose, and possibility. This is the one related to the In/Sung event I went to last Saturday.

Thursday, 9/21: Elizabeth Cree, world premiere - Composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell, the team behind 2012’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night, return to Opera Philadelphia for the World Premiere of a chamber opera based on Peter Ackroyd’s novel, The Trial of Elizabeth Cree. One of my choir friends has a small named part.

Sunday, 9/24: Wake World, world premiere - Opera Philadelphia Composer in Residence David Hertzberg transforms the renowned Barnes Foundation with the World Premiere of The Wake World, a site-specific, one-act opera inspired by Dr. Albert C. Barnes’s famed collection and the works of mystical 19th century British poet Aleister Crowley. This one has a lot of cool chorus work.

I also slide in a Saturday day trip to NYC to see the premiere of Brown Girl Begins, a movie from the first part of Nalo Hopkinson's Brown Girl in the Ring.

See you all on the other side.
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([personal profile] oracne Sep. 14th, 2017 02:25 pm)
1. No gym on Friday, because I'm going to see "The Magic Flute," so I made sure to do both weight-bearing and cardio last night.

For weight-bearing, I did sets of twelve pushups and lunges and tried a new thing for my back muscles, which was pulling myself on a mat using my forearms. I did some ab stuff as well, though not as much as I'd planned. For cardio, I did intervals on a bike as well as trying out the new "Jacob's Ladder" climber machine; I didn't go very fast or very long, but twice got my heart rate up high. I plan to try that machine again.

2. Today, I got a flu shot, and my arm already hurts.

3. I paid my choir dues. Rehearsals start on Tuesday.

4. I bought four concert tickets for Tempesta di Mare, all for 2018.

5. I got a haircut.
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([personal profile] oracne Sep. 13th, 2017 08:41 am)
A chunk of last week's reading time was taken up by my review book, but I also have some fanfiction recs!

Beyond Belief by thingswithwings crosses over Agent Carter with Wonder Woman, and there is action, and lesbian shenanigans, and heading off into the sunset together. More like this, please.

Season Tickets by shuofthewind is an X-Files AU in which Darcy Lewis is Mulder and Matt Murdock/Daredevil is Scully from S.H.I.E.L.D..

The Other Man out of Time by sara_holmes features Clint Barton traveling in time and meeting Bucky Barnes and falling in love. It's also AU Age of Ultron. Happy ending.

The Course of Honour by Avoliot is original m/m romance fiction on AO3 - features arranged marriages, treaties, gaslighting (in the past), and political intrigue.
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([personal profile] oracne Sep. 11th, 2017 08:26 am)
I did better this weekend while staying off social media and Doing Things so I sometimes forgot that the world is apocalyptic (it is always apocalyptic, isn't it?).

I figured out one of the things that makes me so tense about social media. It's that when people are freaking out about events, or commenting about events, it all feels like I am Wrong for not feeling/commenting/doing what they are doing. It's worse when there are several Events going at once, like hurricanes/flooding/earthquake/immigrants/white supremacists.... I can't act on all those things, not all at once, not to the degree needed. There is only so much one person can do. It is very, very important to remember that, so you're able to do at least some things instead of melting into an anxious, ineffective puddle.

Another thing is that anxious/angry tweets/posts/whatevers can feel like personal attacks. Why aren't you fixing this?! You, right there?! It can feel this way even when you, the reader, know that those posts are coming from places of terrible dread and fear. Again, there's only so much one person can do, and sometimes to be able to do anything, you have to protect yourself.

So, things I actually did this weekend:

1. Hung out with a friend to give her support - we did brunch and, later, dinner followed by rolled ice cream. Green tea ice cream with an oreo ("The Hulk") is bliss.
2. Attended a film and spoken-word and song event about the 1985 police atrocity against the MOVE organization and the 2012 Philadelphia school crisis, showing support for this kind of event, and appreciation and support for the performers, some of whom were kids.
3. Wrote a book review, supporting Art.
4. Hung out with Ms. 9; talked about why some kids might not like school (she is not one of them), admired her growing acrobatic strength, and cuddled her on the couch while watching Teen Titans Go!
5. Culturally enlightened Ms. 13 and her bestie about Rainbow Goths.

These were good things, and I did them.
.

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