About Me

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Split personality. Liking the arts, especially opera, and hockey and Los Toros. I know, I know THAT one is non pc currently. But I can't help it saw some in Spain and got hooked, but good. But on the other hand right now opera and hockey are in the forefront!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Puzzling Out "Headgames"--- and other subjects

"Headgames"  is the newest novel published by Erika Rummel, Author of "Playing Naomi"(reviewed in artandhockey 12/17/2011) and other publications

And it IS a puzzler with pieces, at times, neatly slotted together, a times splintered.
Gossamer threats are spun with impeccable and literate prose;
drawing into their web a multitude of psychological, even supernatural issues.

Yes, I could go on and give my chers readers a synopsis of the story. 
And that IS the problem. 
A plot so multifaceted while covering that many different aspects may just take almost as much time to explain as reading the novel itself. 

SO go ahead, dive into it. 
You will not be disappointed. 
Although the connecting knots are not so easily unraveled on a first read through.
This slim volume with its ambitious goals truly asks for a second,
maybe even a third read.

The author touches on familiar, and less so, social, psychological, even economic issues.
How they are related only become clearer as the novel approaches the end of this almost surreal description of a young 'modern' woman's search of ...what exactly?

Definitely NOT light summer reading.

While I have you spellbound (tee hee) let me tell you about Le Grand Macabre
Yes, THAT opera by Gyoergy Ligeti (1923-2006) which Better Half and I saw, nay, experienced at the Komische Opera Berlin last month.
Komische Oper Facade

And - believe me - that is the right word -experienced!
It delivered visceral punch after visceral punch... manically, visually, musically, 
and ah, well, even disgustingly. 
Did I really have to see an overflowing toilet? 
Just one example of ...what?? 
The dissolution and degradation of the world?  
Well, ok, most of us think  the world IS going down the drain .... in an overflowing toilet?
So, ok, the director went wayyyy over the top with an, oh, so apropos "interpretation" :-), right!
Right?  Ok, I think I got it. 
Ligeti wanted to critique rotten politics, wanted to protest against the shallowness of modern life? Maybe even the trend to 'modern life' operas... did he anticipate: "Anna Nicole" and "Jerry Springer", 
or twitter operas?
Ligeti was born in Transylvania (yes, that Transylvania - home to Vlad ,The Impaler- did this influence his sense of death and the macabre ;-)?), later moved to Hungary to end in Austria, that imperial melting pot of  old).
Well, whatever he wanted, this piece most certainly delivered. 
Final scene a stunning end to a 2hrs-without-intermission opera:
I found it rather interesting, albeit a bit hard on ears more attuned to Mozart and Verdi and Puccini and Rossini :-). But certainly worth the visit.. at least ONE visit. 
Now I truly never need nor want to  again.  

On the other hand the early Verdi Opera "Oberto",
seen at la Scala before that, was more to my taste.
The plot has its limitations, but then what opera plot doesn't?
The voices were quiet impressive, staging a mix of sumptuous (sets) and contemporary (costumes), which IMO did not work that well. 
 BUT  La Scala's
acoustics deserve all the kudos heaped on it. 
The cast inlcuded :Ganassi (very good), Sartori (good), Pertusi as Oberto (excellent), Lo Monaco (not too impressed), with Frizza conducting.
And a last bit about Hockey for the season. 
.As most know the Chicago Blackhawks triumphed over the Boston Bruins with a 3-2 score within the last 17 seconds of game 6. And so carried off the venerated Stanley Cup
Better Half and I kinda rooted for Bruins. But sadly it was not to be. The series in the fight for the cup was overall rather nail biting. 
So many wins in overtime, so many injuries we only NOW hear about in detail. So many players battling through game after game with injuries. Props to Bergeron - more here. Until fall... playing hockey is "on ice" LOL

Thursday, June 6, 2013

One, who travels can tell tall tales ;).

Yes, we have returned from the 2 months long 'trip of a lifetime' :-).
Sealegs are finally gone.
But I do miss that feeling of being rocked to sleep in a cradle :-)!

Impressions after 20 years absence from Europe:
Jeans and tights rule fashion world.. moulding any and all bulges that a person may, proudly or not, sport :-)! The fashion scene on the streets of Europe just looks like the scenes in any US city! Except for those scarves, those really did dominate!

Men and women wound them around necks or slung them off shoulders!
Colors, florals, geometrics in skintight fabrics are preferred, with flip flops (even as it was chilly and rainy) or boots on bare legs.

Wall to wall tourists... haven't they heard of this recession?
Lined up at doors to musea, attractions and more,
even BEFORE opening hours.
Even in the rain.
The blossoming of umbrellas.
And rain gear.

Bikes, Vespas and Scooters -
no not those we used as kids, these are used by adults...a lot..and often glimpsed Smartcars for Two-two per parking space :-)!
Everywhere veritable cycle parking lots.  Fortunately NOT covered in snow in May! Especially near M, S and U-bahn-, Tram- and Bus stations.
Space is made on trams, trains etc. for baby buggies (anyone sitting in those seats better get up quickly!) and bikes/scooters.

DOGS are GODS (in Europe-so it seemed to us).
Everyone has dogs, usually quite big ones, too. And do take them everywhere, onto trams, U-S-and Metro, even bus.   Must be muzzled and leashed. But I WAS amazed at how well behaved they (mostly) were! Just a few incidents of yippy - snarly ones.. and those were the tiny critters! The big ones were calm and good despite looking ferocious! Tja, live and learn.
On the other hand-pedestrians really must take much care whilst strolling, ambling or power walking  - bikers have the right of way (or so it seemed)!
Aaand beware of ubiquitous dog poop.... despite a law (?) pooper scooping was apparently NOT in fashion!
So, until the official street cleaners, uniformed and armed with broom and dust pan had at it, negotiating sidewalks was hazardous to your shoes :-)!
While the cleaners did that, they also pulled weeds from between cobblestones and picked up the rare bit of litter.
Quite so, litter bins were placed everywhere AND used religiously. Except for tourists, maybe!!
Even household trash has to be sorted before  depositing it in diverse bins on streets. Alas, those we saw were not as pristine as the ones in the photo.
But yes, sadly butts and poop did litter streets.
Over there smokers still a majority.
But train stations, trains and other public conveyances were ruled to be smoke free environments most restaurants had 'smoke free sections' but cheek by jowl to the smokers.. it did NOT feel smoke free :-).

Outside cafes, restaurants were brimming with people, rain to shine!
In rain huddled under umbrellas, in shine greedily soaking up sun rays!
Best to sit outside, even on cool windy days-wind dispersed the smoke, and the ubiquitous scarves and parkas kept one warm anyway, (sort of).

Eating while walking...
hey, why waste time sitting down to a meal, when street  vendors offered everything from sandwiches to giros, to Danish, to slices of pizza, sausage on an bun, Schnitzel on a bun....gelato and so much more.
Now, me, I do love an ice cream cone, but not on a cold and drizzly day,
which - alas- were more frequent on this trip than sunny ones.
So I had just 3... on a sunny day in Florence (yumm)-THE best gelato!
a sunny day in Vienna (one of the 3) and on the half sunny one in Prague.
And there was one more sunny Sunday - in Berlin and Potsdam/Sans Souci!
But of that on another blog!

And lastly
Graffiti... Graffiti.. so much graffiti...  on walls, trains, monuments... everywhere -some quite colorful and ....maybe....artistic? You tell me cher reader!

Hockey news:
To the great sorrow of many The Wild pulled Aeros form Houston and smacked them down in DesMoines, IO as " Iowa Wild" perhaps?

Meanwhile we were able (what does one do when it pours abroad?) watch the World Championship games broadcast from Helsinki or Stockholm... and surprise, surprise.. who was in goal for the USA team? None other than BB BB.... the 'Big Bend' Ben Bishop...yes, he of the backwards bend-stretch that so excited many fans when he stood in goal versus the Aeros!!!! :-)! What excitement that caused, eh?

Now to opera: 
3 seen on this trip,
and one superb recital!
But of that,
in another blog!