Commission Music

Commission Music
Bespoke Noise!!

Monday, 15 September 2003

christi is here

Which is really nice for many reasons. yay christi. i have a bad cold though. but i'm reading a book about Lou Harrison and it's making me homesick. he was an east bay kind of guy, even after he moved to aptos, he regularly commuted to Mills. there's a chart in the book about the tuning syetm on the Mills gamelan (which he designed). and apparently, he wrote the graduation processional played by the mills gamelan at graduations. they played that at my graduation, but i can't remember it.

Mills was quite the happening place in the 30's. they did these summer session where they had up-and-coming artists, musicians, dancers, etc come and teach short classes. Lou wrote a score for a Mills Drama dept production. It was commissioned. these days there isn't even a drama department and certainly no money for a summer session. The college president then understood that such events added to the presitge of the school and thus paid for themselves eventually. Mills is still banking on the the afterglow of what it did in the 30s. But what is it doing now? Alas, mills is a shadow of her former self. If only we could bring Rheinhardt back from the grave and re-install her as college president.

But i have a new school affiliation now and new academic politics to bemoan. it's against the rules to write messages in chalk on campus. this is the biggest political issue. this was a stroke of genious on the part of the admin. every other student issue is subsumed by the chalking debate. they've stopped all other criticism. it's brilliant.

I was checking my home email account and i didn't unsubscribe from all my lists, so I got email from the Berkeley Socialists about an upcoming event where they will explain why revolution is necessary. and the annual Anarchist vs. Communist soccer match is looking for a pep band. and things seem to be still going well on the left coast. the brass liberation orchestra is continuing it's debate on politics vs. muscianship. on the right coast, well, we're worrying about whether or not it would get you in trouble to chalk "i love wesleyan" or "i love president bennet" in front of the president's house. duh. yeah. and you can't buy beer on sunday. for real. i went to the supermarket and tried to buy beer today. you can't buy beer after 8:00 either. people here think of californians as backwards wackos, but at least we can go into a store and buy beer at normal times.

somebody told me that somebody tunred the us on it's side and shook it and all the oddballs rattled down to california. great. i don't disagree entirely with this assesment. everyone running for governor should return to their home state. anyway.

so i'm not doing anything political but reading Chomsky books and getting email from the Kucinich campaign. they mesh well together. chomsky says that if there's a progressive candidate (like a real progressive, not backed-by-buisiness Dean) on a major ballot, then progressives have already won. the Kucinich meetups are during my Gamelan class though. And i might skip class to go sit in or protest something, but i'm not skipping class to discuss fundraising strategies. sure, i'll got hit up impoverished grad students for donations. the undergrads actually have cash, but i think they should organize themselves to fundraise it. i don't want to have a Kucinich house party to get cash out of undergrads, for example. the power balance seems wrong.

anyway, lou harrison was the quintissential california composer. he was highly political and fought the good fight. he built his own instruments (ca people do that. somebody once attributed it to the weather). the east coast and he did not get along. so he returned to relatively rural isolation, but was still connected to a university-type community. east coasters didn't take ca-types seriously. ca composers had to go to the east if they were "serious." people tried to get famous enough to new york. then, if they were famous there, they could come back and THEN the bay area would take them seriously, but not before. yeah, things have sure changed in the last 60 years...

weather here: 85 degrees F and humid enough to rain rain rain. i can't wait till i get famous enough to move back home. i'm starting a band with a clarinetist, angela, and my housemate aaron, who plays drums and is from nyc and heck, maybe we'll get some gigs.

No comments: