Monday, December 29, 2008

Passings this year...Bobby Fischer, musicians in the New York Times...

Michael Paterniti has written an engaging piece on Bobby Fischer in the New York Times. It begins:

"Before he was secretly buried on a dark winter morning in a lonely Icelandic churchyard at the age of 64 (there were only four people in attendance at the hastily arranged funeral) . . . before his last ailing days of bad kidneys and rotting teeth (he had all of his fillings removed, convinced that U.S. and Russian agents would otherwise send radio signals to his brain) . . . before the long hours whiled away at a Reykjavik bookstore, a place that vaguely reminded him of one from his Brooklyn youth (in both, he read comic books and studied chess) . . . and before his decades of ghostly peregrinations through the world, like a profane monk or an idiot savant searching for perfect exile (from Pasadena to Hungary to the Philippines, where he supposedly had a child, and on to Japan, where he supposedly married and was arrested and imprisoned for a passport violation) . . . before his bizarre eruptions (he applauded the events of 9/11 as “wonderful news” and believed, among other defamations, that the Jews wanted to eradicate the African elephant because its trunk was a reminder of an uncircumcised penis) . . . and before the spectacle of meeting his one-time nemesis, the former world-champion chess player Boris Spassky, for an anticlimactic 1992 rematch in war-torn Yugoslavia despite U.N. sanctions against it (in front of whirring cameras, he spat on the U.S. order forbidding him to play) . . . even way back before their original 1972 meeting, called the Match of the Century, when the eyes of the world were riveted on him as a shining emblem of American will, innovation and brilliance (the match in which he took on the Soviet chess machine and single-handedly crushed it, but not before the fabled call from Henry Kissinger, urging him to put aside his jumbled demands and just play) . . . even before his brazen, almost obnoxious deconstruction of a cavalcade of grandmasters who stood in his path to Spassky (he won 20 games in a row, the longest winning streak in modern chess) . . . before he traded the rags of his youth for his new wardrobe of expensive suits . . . before his mind slowly unhinged and he became a walking paradox (the anti-Semitic Jew; the anti-American national hero, the wastrel-wizard of his craft) . . . yes, before the whole circus of his life unfolded, he was a 13-year-old kid in the first flush of the thing he most loved in the world: chess."

The whole story is here.

...And Hans Fjellestad pointed me to this lovely musical collage of great musicians that passed this year, from Odetta to Yma Sumac, Cachao to Jimmy Carl Black.....

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Duo with Cooper Baker in Eugene, Oregon

Last night Cooper Baker and I performed at DIVA in Eugene, Oregon. It is a nice gallery, with a low-key performance space that I love to play at. The awesome Don Haugen (Warning Broken Machine) hooked up the gig, he did a very short set (computer stopped working), and Sabrina Siegel followed us with a nice set. It was the first time Cooper and I played duo with electronics...and I thought it went really well. Unfortunately, no recording...

It was nice to meet some of the local artists that came out to hear us. We went to Horsehead afterwards, but then ended up at the local Rogue public house (Old Crustacean on tap!) and had a nice hang with Roger and Heather. Roger is also known as "chefkirk," an artist (and fellow vegan) who makes music with no input mixer...some very engaging music, I enjoyed the following video of one of his performances:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Pause for Pinter...

Having done incidental music/sounds for several of his plays, this saddened me, Harold Pinter was such a great playwright.

But the Pinter Pause will live on. Or will it? (Read the link.)

From the AP:
Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter dies at 78

By PAISLEY DODDS – 1 hour ago

LONDON (AP) — British Nobel laureate Harold Pinter — who produced some of his generation's most influential dramas and later became a staunch critic of the U.S.-led war in Iraq — has died, his widow said Thursday. He was 78.

Pinter died Wednesday after a long battle with cancer, according to his second wife Antonia Fraser.

In recent years he had seized the platform offered by his 2005 Nobel Literature prize to denounce President George W. Bush, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the war in Iraq.

But he was best known for exposing the complexities of the emotional battlefield.

His writing featured cool, menacing pauses in dialogue that reflected his characters' deep emotional struggles and spawned a new adjective found in several dictionaries: "Pinter-esque."

"Pinter restored theater to its basic elements: an enclosed space and unpredictable dialogue, where people are at the mercy of each other and pretense crumbles," the Nobel Academy said. "With a minimum of plot, drama emerges from the power struggle and hide-and-seek of interlocution."

His characters' internal fears and longings, their guilt and difficult sexual drives were set against the neat lives they constructed in order to try to survive. Usually enclosed in one room, the acts usually illustrated the characters' lives as a sort of grim game with actions that often contradicted words. Gradually, the layers were peeled back.

"How can you write a happy play?" he once said. "Drama is about conflict and degrees of perturbation, disarray. I've never been able to write a happy play, but I've been able to enjoy a happy life."

Pinter wrote 32 plays; one novel, "The Dwarfs," in 1990; and put his hand to 22 screenplays.

The working-class milieu of his first dramas reflected his early life as the son of a Jewish tailor from London's East End.

Born Oct. 30, 1930, in the London neighborhood of Hackney, he was forced along with other children during World War II to evacuate to rural Cornwall in 1939. He was 14 before he returned. By then, he was entranced with Franz Kafka and Ernest Hemingway.

By 1950, Pinter had begun to publish poetry and appeared on stage as an actor. Pinter began to write for the stage, and published "The Room" in 1957.

A year later, his first major play, "The Birthday Party" was produced in the West End.

In it, intruders enter the retreat of Stanley, a young man who is hiding from childhood guilt. He becomes violent, telling them, "You stink of sin, you contaminate womankind."

The play closed after just one week to disastrous reviews, but Pinter continued to write and was most prolific between 1957 and 1965.

"With his earliest work, he stood alone in British theater up against the bewilderment and incomprehension of critics, the audience and writers, too," British playwright Tom Stoppard said when the Nobel Prize was announced.

"I find critics on the whole a pretty unnecessary bunch of people," Pinter once said.

In "The Caretaker," (1959) a manipulative old man threatens the relationship of two brothers, while "The Homecoming" (1964) explores the hidden rage and confused sexuality of an all-male household by inserting a woman.

In "Silence" and "Landscape," (1967 and 1968) Pinter moved from exploring the underbelly of human life to showing the simultaneous levels of fantasy and reality that occupy the individual.

"The speech we hear is an indication of that which we don't hear," Pinter once said. "It is a necessary avoidance, a violent, sly, and anguished or mocking smoke screen which keeps the other in its true place. When true silence falls we are left with echo but are nearer nakedness."

"Betrayal" (1978) was reportedly based on the disintegration of his marriage to actress Vivien Merchant, who appeared in many of his first plays.

Their marriage ended in 1980 after Pinter's long affair with BBC presenter Joan Bakewell. He then married Fraser. Merchant died shortly afterward of alcoholism-related disease.

During the late 1980s, his work became more overtly political; he said he had a responsibility to pursue his role as "a citizen of the world in which I live, (and) insist upon taking responsibility."

In the 1980s, Pinter's only stage plays were one-acts: "A Kind of Alaska" (1982), "One for the Road" (1984) and the 20-minute "Mountain Language" (1988).

Off-stage he was also highly political: Pinter turned down former Prime Minister John Major's offer of a knighthood and strongly attacked Blair when NATO bombed Serbia. He later referred to Blair a "deluded idiot" for supporting Bush's war in Iraq.

He said he deeply regretted having voting for Margaret Thatcher in 1979 and Tony Blair in 1997.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Pinter a "great playwright and lucid, agitated and uncompromising humanist."

He called the Nobel "a belated consecration of his immense work, but also an homage to a man's courage and commitment against all forms of barbarism."

The prize gave Pinter a global platform, from which he frequently and bitterly decried the Iraq war.

"The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law," Pinter said in his Nobel lecture, which he recorded rather than traveling to the Swedish capital of Stockholm.

"How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand?" he asked, in a hoarse voice.

Though he had been looking forward to giving the Nobel lecture — calling it "the longest speech I will ever have made" — he canceled his attendance at the award ceremony, and then announced he would skip the lecture as well on his doctor's advice.

In March 2005, Pinter announced his retirement as a playwright to concentrate on politics. But he created a radio play, "Voices," that was broadcast on BBC radio to mark his 75th birthday.

"I have written 29 plays, and I think that's really enough," Pinter said. "I think the world has had enough of my plays."

Pinter's influence was felt in the United States in the plays of Sam Shepard and David Mamet.

Friend and biographer Michael Billington said Pinter "was a political figure, a polemicist and carried on fierce battles against American foreign policy and often British foreign policy, but in private he was the most incredibly loyal of friends and generous of human beings."

"He was a great man as well actually as a great playwright," Billington said.

Pinter is survived by his son, Daniel, from his marriage to Merchant.

Nothing says Christmas better than a dead squirrel!

A merry roadkill Christmas to everyone.

I have a history of strange encounters with dachshunds...

My parents wiener dog got into the Christmas spirit this morning, bringing us a pre-gift-opening delicacy:

(Click photo to enlarge.)

Mmmm....dead squirrel! Probably roadkill...which reminded me of a few roadkill links that you might enjoy this happy day:

A roadkill artist.

Roadkill recipes: Pan-Braised Squirrel.
(I wonder if you can substitute soy product?)

Generic roadkill recipes.
(Includes Moose-and-Squirrel Meat Balls.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hey! I'm a published photographer...

I took this photo of some wild elk...the local paper (Cottage Grove Sentinel) publishes local photos, so, I sent them a copy...and they published it. I am now ready to receive my Pulitzer in photography... (Click the photograph to enlarge.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

India Cooke and Joelle Leandre at ISIM 2008

Photos I took of India Cooke (violin) and Joelle Leandre (contrabass). They put in a terrific set as special guests this year. It was a pleasure to meet and hear them. This set took on special meaning, as Joelle's father had just passed away the same week. She flew in from France to do the performance, and was flying back to be with her family the next morning.

(Click on any photo to enlarge it.)

Vinny Golia at ISIM 2008

Photos I took of Vinny's solo set at ISIM 2008 in Denver, CO. A powerful performance. Seeing John Rapson at the conference made me realize: I've known Vinny for 25 years now...!

(Click on any photo to enlarge it.)


















International Society for Improvised Music (ISIM) 2008


(To enlarge any photo, just click it)

I'm writing to you from the snow covered house of my parents overlooking the beautiful Cottage Grove Lake in central Oregon. It is awesome here! After picking me up, my parents took me to the Wandering Goat for, as I've said before, the best espresso I've ever had. Now I'm just kicking back here recovering from the 28 units I took last quarter...

Last weekend, David Borgo and I (KaiBorg) played at the International Society for Improvised Music (ISIM) 2008 Conference held this year at University of Denver, Colorado Lamont School of Music. The facilities, and the hosts, were wonderful. The performance facilities are a few years old and in fantastic upkeep with nice sound equipment. Another big congratulations to Ed Sarath and ISIM executive director Sarah Weaver for a great conference.

KaiBorg getting ready to play in Denver.

John Rapson, myself

The man who introduced me to the world of creative music, Professor John Rapson. In the early 80s he introduced me to a wide variety of musics while I was a student at Westmont, and also introduced me to my now friends and compatriots Vinny Golia, Wayne Peet, Alex Cline, Nels Cline, John Fumo and more. In conversation with my PhD committee chair (David Borgo) Rapson said he "started me on the descent," and Borgo said with a smile, "Yes, and I'll finish it..."


Bottesini: Paul Riola, Michael Vlatkovich, Doug Anderson, Antwon Owens, Glenn Taylor, James Hoskins, Vinny Golia


Paul and Michael


Doug, Antwon, Glenn


Doug, Antwon, Glenn, James, Vinny


David Borgo, Susie Allen, Roman Stolyar (from Siberia!) sitting in the balcony...


Susie and I snuck in whisky...




I can't remember the name of this trio, but they were quite excellent.


LaDonna Smith and Misha Feigin



Clay Chaplin, Lewis Keller


and two other members of TAG put on an AWESOME performance.


Brunch with Borgo and Vlatkovich at Watercourse, the most wonderful Denver vegetarian restaurant.


I had the pan friend seitan with mashed potatoes, gravy and mixed vegetables! Wonderful stuff...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Marine Jet, more...

This is going to be the last I write about this for a while.

Incredibly sad, four members of a family gone.

"Two witnesses who spoke to the pilot said the aircraft lost one engine over the ocean, and the other failed over the neighborhood. The jet crashed less than a quarter-mile from University City High School and two miles west of the Miramar runway."

Somewhere the decision was made to return the crippled jet by flying over a residential neighborhood and high school.

Notes on the behavior of some humans: a neighbor said there were "souvenir" hunters (talking about eBay) that they chased out of the backyard...horrible. That, and the tv/camera people in our backyard all afternoon, added to make the day even more surreal.

Also: Cheers to the emergency services (fire and police). They were there very quickly, going into a deadly and toxic scene.

The quote above and story below are from the local paper, The San Diego Tribune.

3 killed as fighter jet crashes in San Diego

Pilot ejects seconds before impact; child missing, presumed dead
By Steve Liewer,
Tony Manolatos
and Debbi Baker

A military jet crashed around noon Monday in a University City neighborhood.
A mother, her young child and the child's grandmother died at 4416 Cather Ave. when the disabled F/A-18D Hornet crashed into the house in a fiery explosion, authorities said.

A second child was missing and presumed dead before the search was suspended at 6 p.m. because of darkness, said Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. Authorities plan to resume the search this morning.

The county medical examiner has not released the victims' names. The children's father, a businessman who was at work, could not be reached for comment.

Next door at 4371 Huggins St., Robert Johnson sat in the living room with his daughter, Heather Certain, and her 2-year-old son, Nicholas, when they heard the explosion outside. Then a huge fireball filled the picture window looking out at the front yard.

“The house shook like an earthquake,” said Johnson, 56, who was about to leave for his job as a volunteer guide at the USS Midway Museum. “I saw the flames right there in front of my house.”

All three fled out the back door.

The jet pilot had ejected safely and was in good condition at San Diego Naval Medical Center as of 9 p.m., said a hospital spokeswoman.

Also last night, the senior pastor and some congregants at the victims'church, the Korean United Methodist Church of San Diego in Clairemont, told the TV station KNSD 7/39 that a 36-year-old mother was in the home with her two sons – a 2-month-old and 1-year-old. The mother worked as a nurse at a hospital.

The woman's mother also was in the house.

The family recently moved into the house because they needed more space after the baby's birth, the church members said, and the grandmother flew over from Korea shortly afterward.

“Just like any other immigrants, they tried so hard to take a root in this new community,” the Rev. Daniel Shin, senior pastor of the church, told the TV station.

The crash destroyed two houses and damaged three others near the intersection of Cather and Huggins. Inky smoke billowed from the ruined houses for most of the afternoon. Administrators at nearby University City High School kept students indoors until their regular dismissal time.

A pilot from Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station flew the two-seat aircraft, said base spokesman Maj. Jay Delarosa.

The unidentified student pilot was en route from the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, which has been operating in the Pacific Ocean off San Diego for several days while aviators practice day and night carrier-landing drills.

Two witnesses who spoke to the pilot said the aircraft lost one engine over the ocean, and the other failed over the neighborhood. The jet crashed less than a quarter-mile from University City High School and two miles west of the Miramar runway.

A firefighter on Huggins Street inspected the wreckage from yesterday's crash of a military jet. The Marine Corps is expected to lead an investigation into the crash.

A man witnesses described as the pilot of the crashed fighter jet sat on the lawn of a house in University City after he ejected safely yesterday.
“(The pilot) was talking to air traffic control,” said Col. Christopher O'Connor, the commanding officer at Miramar. “He said he had a problem.”

Dennis Connor, 50, said he was on a hill in the neighborhood when he saw the plane approaching at a 45-degree angle.

He said the jet hit the pavement on Cather Avenue near Huggins Street, just short of Interstate 805 and open space in Rose Canyon. The impact sent debris flying between two houses and set three on fire.

Connor said the plane, which had clipped treetops, was just seconds from the ground when the pilot ejected. It was smashed into pieces, with a turbine from an engine being the only part that Connor could distinguish.

“Everything was just mangled aluminum,” he said.

Steve Diamond, a retired naval aviator from Tierrasanta, found the pilot in a tree behind a house just east of University City High School. He helped the man, whom he described as a lieutenant in his 20s, down from the tree.

Diamond said the pilot told him that after he lost power in the first engine, a decision was made to get the jet to Miramar on the remaining engine.

“He was making motions with his hand, like he was trying to throttle up, and he said there was no power,” said Matthew Gorsuch, a former helicopter door gunner in the Navy who lives near the crash site. “He said he was trying to find a clearing, but he ran out of time.”

Through it all, Gorsuch said, the pilot had just one concern. “The only thing he cared about was where his plane had landed. That was the only thing he asked about. That was all he had on his mind.”

In October, the Navy and Marine Corps temporarily grounded 636 older Hornets after a routine inspection revealed cracks in several of them.

But the aircraft, a workhorse of the Navy and Marine Corps fleet, has generally performed well in more than two decades of service, said John Pike at the defense-oriented

“It is not a widow-maker,” Pike said.

The Marine Corps is expected to lead an investigation into yesterday's crash. A naval official said flight exercises from the Abraham Lincoln won't be affected by the incident.

F/A-18s routinely fly out of Miramar, a once-rural base now hemmed in by development.

Nora Bhes, who lives a block from the crash site, said she has been concerned about possible crashes because of low-flying military jets.

“They come so close that you can't even talk,” she said, breathing through a scarf because of the acrid smoke yesterday afternoon.

Others in the area marveled over their narrow escapes.

Postal carrier Bill Dusting had delivered mail – a Korean-language newspaper – to the victims' home a few minutes before the crash. He heard a “pop-pop” sound from the sky. That was the sound of the pilot ejecting.

“I looked up and saw the plane,” said Dusting, an 18-year veteran of the U.S. Postal Service. “It was unreal, except this was real.”

Dusting ran to his right and was still running and staring over his shoulder when the jet slammed into the house at 4416 Cather Ave.

After Johnson, his daughter and his grandson scrambled out the back door with the family dog close behind, they made their way to Huggins Street.

They saw flames in front of their house and Johnson's Oldsmobile ablaze in the driveway. The jet's fuselage was in the street surrounded by smoke and flames, and a parachute was descending above the crash scene.

Johnson came back for his mother-in-law, who lived across the street, and saw her trying to put out the flames with a garden hose. He escorted her to safety.

The victims spoke little English, Johnson said. They worked in their yard frequently and always smiled. It haunted Johnson to think of the close call that took their lives – and spared his.

“We all live at the edge of mortality,” he said. “It could have been us just as well.”

Staff writers Keith Darcé, Lisa Deaderick, Sharon Heilbrunn, Robert Krier, Angelica Martinez, Rick Rogers, Peter Rowe and librarian Merrie Monteagudo contributed to this report.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Correction: Marine Jet

It was a two-seat F/A-18 Hornet. Both pilots ejected safely.
[The news changed this, now says there was only one pilot. Which makes sense, my neighbor saw only one parachute.]

San Diego Tribune article

Jet Explosion (part 2)

This is awful, who knows how many people are dead. Several house engulfed in flame. The pilot ejected, my neighbor saw him/her. This is so terrible. They fly over here all the time, and it feels like they are coming into the houses sometimes. This time they did. Thankfully, not mine, but this is so terrible, I hope people weren't there. I was in the shower, and I hit the ground when several explosions happened. Louder than guns or backfire, I had no idea, I thought I was dead. I hear the whining noise, metal grinding, rattling, scattered explosions. And then it hit. Screams from the street and the high school nearby. Several house were visible in flames from my front door/balcony.

Photos I've taken here.
[Taken from my balcony.]

Air force jet explodes right over my house...

I'm not kidding. I don't know how many people on the ground are dead. I will post photos in a bit. We are ok here.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Anyone notice....?

Gas is cheaper, but most airlines are still charging for the first checked bag.

This is kind of like a "punish the musician" fee...or maybe a musician tax?

I'm off to Denver, CO (Lamont School of Music, University of Denver, Colorado USA) to perform at the International Society for Improvised Music Third Annual Conference with David Borgo in KaiBorg...should be fun, a great lineup, including Michael Vlatkovich and Vinny Golia...I think Vinny might've drove his car...imagine checking that many horns.

Monday, December 01, 2008