Apr. 29th, 2015

hedda62: (tea whisk)
Things that have happened lately:

1) Saw Vienna Teng perform on Saturday night! Just so lovely and perfect. I got the tickets way back in December, ended up asking a MG friend to come along because I thought she'd like the music, and indeed she loved it, so that's good; the venue (the Hamilton in DC) was very nice (table seating, with food), even if a slightly late arrival meant that we basically couldn't see Vienna's face for most of the show. But she sang one after another of my favorites, everything from the generally appealing "City Hall," "Landsailor," "Whatever You Want," "Grandmother Song" (to close, which was great), to the personal WoT soundtrack items like "Eric's Song" and "Augustine," and so much more. I'd expected more emphasis on "Aims," but I guess she did that tour already, and it was wonderful to hear her reaching far back into her catalog.

It was a solo show (she had a NZ duo, the Bollands, opening for her on the tour, and they were pretty entertaining, but none of her usual backup group), so pretty much just Vienna, a piano, and technology. The last of which was a fascinating addition - probably old hat for those who go to a lot of live shows, but for me it's all happening mysteriously in the background usually, so it was fun to see her setting up tracks and letting them play in parallel. I'd seen the magical voice-splitting thing for "Hymn of Acxiom" on video before, but it's cool in person.

The between-song patter was interesting, too, with some details about where the songs came from and what she's doing (real corporate job now, which apparently she was working from the passenger seat of the van on tour, conference calls and spreadsheets and the like). She didn't have a set list, and was taking requests; the funniest moment was when some deep-voiced guys at the bar called out "Lullabye for a Stormy Night!" and she turned and said, "Are you from Boston?" (because apparently either they or someone just like them had come to both her Massachusetts shows and shouted the same thing).

Anyway - wonderful wonderful, made my week. More details on request.

2) And then we got up early the next morning (I got almost no sleep, due to mistimed insomnia, if it's ever timed right) and drove up to Allentown. Awards ceremony (P. got a prize for history) and then "Romeo and Juliet" that evening, which was done as a tribute to Ferguson et al. with the Capulets being rich (for inner city) black and the Montagues poor white, and lots of police barriers (marked VPD) and Catholic schools and dirty streets and Mercutio in full punk mode. It was very well done, even if the story doesn't quite map right to the theme (family rivalry doesn't tidily broaden to state oppression and societal prejudice, if you stick with the text instead of going all "West Side Story"), but I give them full credit for trying. For saying something. (And P.'s girlfriend E. did a lovely job in the small roles of Lady Montague and the Apothecary (as legless Vietnam vet drug pusher).)

Interestingly, Chesapeake Shakespeare in Baltimore is also doing R&J right now, with apparently the same casting decisions (just going by the website photos), and has had to cancel several shows due to the unrest.

3) I keep meaning to do a catchup post for book and TV consumption (I have read all the way through Lev Grossman's "Magicians" trilogy, finally, for one thing), but for now I'll just say, wow, "Person of Interest," good job ramping the tension up at the end of the season. I am wondering about the timing of this "Correction" on May 6, which is the day after the finale airs next week, but not at all congruent with the snow they were (literally) digging through in last night's episode. Are we going to skip through time, or are they just going to prevent (or perhaps not prevent!) something that's scheduled for months in the future? Anyway, very curious to see how they're going to pull all the plot threads together, if they do; I think the season's theme of separation is still pretty relevant, and the two teams (of villains and heroes and ambiguous figures) that have been making distinct circles all season still seem to be doing so. Though there are some points where they touch, so maybe that'll be important. The Machine is playing some very big game (and talking!).

I need to take care of plants now. Have a good day!

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