Sunday, January 24, 2010

F-holes and the Women Who Love Them

I clicked on a photo feature in the Telegraph about high fashion clothing made from chocolate.  One picture attracted my attention because the model is wearing a the dark chocolate nude torso breastplate adorned with f-holes and strings.  And breasts.  The hat seems to be milk chocolate. 

model wearing chocolate breastplate

Of course, this is a reference to the famous photo by Man Ray which is possibly the first ever public association of the similar shapes of women and stringed instruments.

Man Ray - naked woman with f-holes on her back

I looked for other pictures of women, preferably naked, with f-holes on their bodies. They weren't too hard to find.  Here are a few:

body painting - woman with cello painted on her back

fashion model wearing shirt with f-holes and the words PLAY CELLO

woman with f-hole tattoos

woman with f-hole tattoos

Want more?  There's an entire gallery of (mostly) women showing off their f-hole tattoos at a site called BMEZINE. 

The other pictures came from here and here and here and here.

You can buy f-hole merchandise here.

Want to read another MM post from 2006 where high fashion and musical esoterica are combined? Try Magazine for Renaissance Brass Players.  But it's mostly about a tune called Popcorn.  And Crazy Frog.

Also of possible interest: Charlotte Moorman, Topless Cellist

F-hole Tags: . . . . . .

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Placido Domingo: High Culture Meets Pop Culture

I watched The Simpsons last night, an episode entitled Homer of Seville.  In one scene Homer is in the locker room of the Springfield Opera House talking to tenor Placido Domingo:
"You know of the three tenors, you're my second favorite. No wait, I forgot about that other guy, sorry you're third."

Click this player to hear Homer say it himself:

You're third sound biteTry here if the player doesn't work.

While other artistic organizations are led by Presidents or CEOs, opera companies tend to have "General Directors".  Placido is General Director of both the L.A.Opera and the Washington National Opera.   In other words he's the very top dog of these two large opera companies.  These two major American cities have entrusted him with their most elite, most European, most sacred, most expensive art form.  At the moment neither city has raised enough cash to support it. 

Here's a recent L.A.Weekly article about financial problems at L.A.Opera.

Here's a recent Washington Post article about financial problems at the Washington National Opera. which, surprisingly quotes Domingo saying: 
"My big dream was always to have American opera."
Here's a recent New York Times article about Placido's too-busy schedule. 

I wonder who Placido hires to do his public relations work.

In 2007 Domingo placed fifty-eighth on a list of "Top 100 Living Geniuses" tying with Paul McCartney and Stephen King. (Matt Groening was #3. Dolly Parton was #94.)

The Fly is an American opera for which we have Placido to thank. Here's the NYT review. Here's the LA Times review entitled "Fly commits insecticide"

Placido Domingo and John Denver sing a love duet at The Met:

Bonus video: Placido Domingo sings Carlos Santana

Somewhat related Mixed Meters posts:
The Simpsons and Samuel Barber
Mayor Resigns, Will Move to Italy to Pursue Opera Career 
Queen of the Night Lubricant
Prince of the Night
Can Sex Sell the Classics? (The Bill O'Reilly Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Opera)

Click here for all MM posts labeled "Opera".

Pop Opera Tags: . . . . . . . . .

Friday, January 08, 2010

Monday Evening Concerts: Mostly Californian

Last May Sequenza21, a New York music blog, wrote about the retirement of Randy Coleman, a professor of music composition at Oberlin. He described a concert from Oberlin's "glory days" (maybe the late sixties?):
" enter you needed to take a sugar pill with a dot on it...and you rolled the dice, cause 1/3 of the dots were LSD..."
I had never heard of Coleman before, but this description made my jaw drop just enough to bookmark the reference.

Today I ran across a YouTube video of composer Clint McCallum, that's him on the gun. Some of the things he said made my jaw drop just enough to want to share them here on Mixed Meters. Turns out that McCallum is a student of Randy Coleman. Now I've heard of Randy Coleman twice.

McCallum, clad in black cowboy hat and black t-shirt with the word "Death" on it, is describing his composition for soprano saxophone and piano. The piece is called "In a Hall of Mirrors Waiting to Die." (ah, the t-shirt does make sense) and it will be performed Monday night, January 11, 2010, at the venerable Monday Evening Concerts, a Los Angeles institution which has somehow survived until its seventieth season or so.

Here are Mr. McCallum's words:
I come from a tradition of avant garde academic composition and so a lot of techniques and a lot of ideas that have inspired me are very heady, very philosophical and very technical. But, there's also a side of my music that's just plain stupid.

He has to hold the same note which is very high at the very top of the range and very loud for a very long time. That adds a whole sense of anticipation for the whole piece. For one, you're wondering, okay, how long can this guy possibly hold this. You see his face get red, he seems to be in pain. On top of that, you're sort of in pain. I mean, it's loud and it's incessant and it won't stop.

By the time things change in the piece, we as listeners kind of are half deafened by this note.

My music, and particularly this piece, I think this is a good example of this, takes tropes of art music. I mean it's written for a concert hall, it's written for a concert audience, and that situation. The way it's written and the way it's performed, over the course of the piece, takes it outside of that. And gets to something that is more visceral but also just more physical and seems maybe not so much concert music anymore. I'm not going to say it's rock music, but there's something there that is breaking down that third wall.

It's not important to me whether the audience enjoys my music or not. But that is purely for the reason that as a listener I have found the most meaning in music comes from music that has challenged me, that has challenged my sense of self and my self of aesthetics. And if musicians had worried too much about whether I was going to enjoy the music they were playing for me, I never would have had these experiences where music literally changed me, where it literally changed my life.

So I have to approach music the same way because I do want my music to change lives.

This particular MEC concert is called Mostly Californian. The title perplexes me because three out of the five composers are very recent transplants to California, while the others, Anton Webern and Milton Babbitt, have no known relationship to the Pacific coast. Still, MEC is to be commended for even this small attempt at showcasing local talent.

Clint McCallum's home page. When he talks about the "third wall", I suspect he means this. The picture of him on the gun barrel comes from his MySpace page. The picture of the baby on the gun barrel sculpture comes from here via here.

Other MM references to MEC:
In Which David Says Good Riddance to Bad Acoustics
30 Second Spots - The Medallion (sorry, the mp3 of The Medallion is not available. If anyone cares, I'd be happy to repost it. This post prompted my Musical Manifesto)

MEC Tags: . . . . . .

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Andy Warhol's Essential Elements of Gracious Living

Fine music:

Andy Warhol doesn't play second base for the Chicago Cubs
Fine dining:

Fine art:

Cash for your Warhol 617-480-2994 Cash for your house 617-461-1027

All items found here.

Here's the text of the first picture:
Andy Warhol doesn't play second base for the Chicago Cubs.

He doesn't even know who does. But he's a man of many talents and interests - art, music, movies, literature - in fact, everything that's exciting in the world around us today.

You know him for his Campbell's soup can ... camp ... the Velvet Underground ... Heat ... Lou Reed. He knows which high fidelity system does the best job in the world of perfect sound reproduction. That's why Andy owns Pioneer.
Philip Glass enjoys a Cutty Sark

Andy Tags: . . . . . . . . .