Commission Music

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Friday, 28 November 2003

Thanksgiving in Paris

Air France is a much nicer airline than US airlines. Rmemeber the old days before everyone was terrified that the person next to them had a shoe bomb and you could stand up and stretch without being eyed nervously and people did crazy things like walk around and stand in line for the bathrooms? Air France is like that and the stewards are polite. Downsides were that they kept waking me up for things like food or to warn me that airturbulence might break my neck is I sleep with me head pitched forward on my tray table. I've never heard of that before. Is it because US-based airlines don't care if I break my neck? Is it a special feature of french airplanes?

Arrived v. tired in Paris. Took a nap. then went out to see the world Priemere of a LaMont Young piece. I don't know the name of the piece. Christi insisited that we arrive one hour early to listen to the talk. The talk was in French, of course, so I didn't understand a word of it. "Blah blah blah John Cage blah blah serialism blah blah." Well, I got a few words. I didn't mind because I know Christi has extensive experience listenign to and understanding lectures in French about music. But then she slipped out and went to a bar without telling anyone, while I and her mom (who also doesn't understand French) stood respectfully and listened to the lecture.

The piece was three hours long and seemed to involve a few different tuning schemes, but I couldn't tell you more than that, as I didn't understand the lecture. There were drony MAX-based electronic sounds, I think samples of cello and a solo cello player with a couple of pedals. The auditorium was about 90 degrees Farenheit (I come to France and I can't speak the language and I don't do metric...) and there was inscence burning and just-intoned drone-y sounds. I fell asleep twice in the first twenty minutes. then was awake for a while, then out for about 40 minutes where I had a dream that I was on an airplane and instead of the big TV screen at the front of the cabin, they had a solo cello performer. There was a while where I had my eyes closed but was not alseep. Eventually, the cellist was playing fast rythms in the sort of the same mode as the piece started out in. The same kinds of gestures were being made, but they were all ornamented with fast notes, also in the same sort of gesture. It was sort of fractal that way. It was exciting, but then it was drony again and I'm afraid I dozed off again. Finally, the peice was over and the cellist just sat at the front and looked stressed and beat. He didn't do the full relaxing thing that's a clue that the piece is over. There were tentative claps here and there. People waited. Clapped quietly once, sort of testing if anyone else would join in. For four or five minutes.

Spent yesterday working on SuperCollider project. It crashes the server. Christi and her momed cooked and I coded. Now they're out doing something interesting and I'm working on my Joan of Arc paper (and updating my blog, of course). Two French folks that Christi is friends with came over for Thanksgiving dinner. They were dubious about the holiday and about American food. But all went well. Christi ran out to get extra tomatoes (ah the convience of celebrating a holiday in a country that doesn't recognize it) and found a computer out at the curb which has a DVD player and a CD burner, so she dragged upstairs.

I must get back to work

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