Thursday, March 30, 2006

I worked all morning today in the scene shop in the theater department at Sacramento City College. I know the head of technical theater there... Steve Jones. He used to be the stage manager for Best of Broadway. Posted by Picasa
This is a book on eyebrows: Alles over wenkbrauwen, by Irma Hulscher. I think it's in Dutch. She used my unibrow cartoon on page 39.

Yesterday I tuned Stan's piano. I also blew out the dust (which included taking the action out on the porch) and voiced the hammers (which I'm doing in this picture.) I didn't have my camera with me, but Stan took a lot of pictures and posted them on his website.
When I poked the hammer felt with a needle, Stan remarked that he does the same thing with the felt on his timpani mallets. No picture --- sorry.
Later he showed me some of his Web tricks. In addition to his own site, he maintains the sites for the Musicians Union local and the MacNexus users group.
The MacNexus site, especially, is beautiful and has won awards.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

On a blighted part of the K Street mall, there is a former Tower Records that closed years ago. No business has replaced it, and the murals above the entrance remain. Posted by Picasa
When I did the Chick Corea tuning, the stage manager was so pleased that in addition to the usual compensation, he offered me two tickets to any show during the rest of the season. I chose the Russian National Orchestra, because they were playing Scheherezade, one of Jennifer's favorites.
When we got to the theater on the night of the concert, we discovered to our delight that we were sitting in the boxes at the side of the balcony. We had never sat in a box at a concert. You can put your chair wherever you like; you have infinite room for your legs; no one's head is in your way.
When I saw the Cleveland Orchestra, I was amazed by their ensemble. It was as if they had one brain. The RNO had fine ensemble, but they also set off plenty of individual sparks. They were a team of superstars.
The concertmaster was a woman looking to be in her early 20s, totally lovely, and a genius on her instrument. She tore up the solos in Scheherezade, all the time keeping perfect posture. She never once touched her back to the back of the chair.
They also played some ballet pieces by Shostakovich which were light, fast, and funny. Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 27, 2006

Another street-style image for my library. I was actually trying to draw the other duck in my sketchbook but it accidentally came out very severe and monkish. Rachel saw it and suggested that I do a finished version the same way. She liked the severity of the beak and the way the unibrow looks like a monk's haircut.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Rachel loves this painting so much that she insisted that she take it with her back to Irvine and "tell people that she did it." Posted by Picasa
I added my street self-portrait to my "Love Radius" painting. Nothing like a face to grab your attention. Posted by Picasa
I said to Jennifer, "I'm so lucky to have married a woman who can make borscht." She said, "But I couldn't produce a child who likes it." I said, "Given the choice between borscht and a child who likes borscht, I'll take the borscht." Posted by Picasa
Using the piano as a tripod. The generous reverb in the building is very kind to the high strings. Posted by Picasa
Here's Tom Derthick warming up before the concert with the fantastic new altar of the cathedral behind him.
Just before the concert started, I was practicing the introduction to "Ave Maria" and Ionut Zanfir, the Rumanian cellist, turned to me and said, "Good approach. Very far away," and then turned away.
I wondered, is he giving an honest (but incomprehensible) opinion, or messing with my head? I decided to not think about it. Jennifer thinks he was mad that he happened to be sitting right next to the piano.
When Stan was the contractor, he stopped hiring Ionut after he failed to show up for a concert, and then was mad that he wasn't getting paid. (Ionut was late for both rehearsals for the cathedral concert.) Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 24, 2006

Today we ate at Sakura Bana, a Japanese restaurant that has the world's smallest gift shop. Posted by Picasa
We had another rehearsal in the stunningly renovated cathedral today. Posted by Picasa
While walking barefoot in my office I kicked a chair leg and got this nasty bruise on my little toe. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 23, 2006

This Santa is in the home of one of my customers. It is motion sensitive and it talks. Posted by Picasa

When I went to life drawing on Wednesday night, I saw this art car parked in front of Michelangelo's.
Karen O'Haire went for the first time that night and really enjoyed it. She'll be back.
I had a rehearsal today at the newly renovated Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. I played the piano and sat next to my old friend Tom Derthick. It's so beautiful inside! I forgot my camera, but tomorrow I'll have pictures.
This is Stan's one-terabyte external hard drive that he uses to back up his network. It has a glowing blue light that reminds me of the glowing red light of HAL in the movie 2001.
This is where I live --- Happy Way and Inspiration Lane.
I tuned the Yamaha in the hallway at Sierra II for the Light Opera Theater of Sacramento's production of Pirates of Penzance. I have many memories of that company, because I played keyboard for them from 1988 to 1994. If not for them, I never would have played with Music Circus. This may be the last show for LOTS, because Mike and Debbie Baad, the founders of the company, are retiring and moving to Oregon.
Two of Mike's kids have gone into show business. Charlie Baad studied voice at the New England Conservatory, and Katie, after graduating from UC Davis, is doing an apprenticeship in stage management at Julliard.
At the Finale Users Group meeting on Monday, Alex showed me her hurdy-gurdy. It's not what I expected. It's a mechanical violin. You turn a crank, and a rosined wheel rubs against four strings. Two of them are drones, and the other two are stopped by a series of keys that you press to play a melody. It's a very old instrument, dating from around 1000 A.D.
Jennifer went to IKEA for the first time and got a beautiful teapot with a chicken head for a whistle. Just like St. Chicken Head!

Monday, March 20, 2006

On Friday night I went to a Peace Corps dinner at an Afghan restaurant. Brenda has often bragged about her dancing daughter Renee, and I finally got to meet her (above right). The guy is Renee's friend Ramon, who also dances. I started talking about Music Circus, and Ramon decided that he would go to the auditions the next day. Last I heard, he made it all the way through the auditions and got called back.
I also met a guy my age who had just gotten back from two years in Mali.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Today was my last day playing Chicago. It's quite a difficult show... I noticed that the band was still making little mistakes, even though they had been playing it for almost two weeks! That is quite unusual for this very talented group.
I read that Wayne Brady is going to be playing Billy Flynn on Broadway starting in September. That would be so fun to see!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Toyroom is Sacramento's version of Los Angeles' Luz de Jesus gallery and store. It's much smaller, but it has all the same stuff. I looked at a wonderful book about Robert Williams, who is in some ways the godfather of this type of art. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Today I got a last-minute call to tune at the Mondavi Center for the Chick Corea concert. I had been to one concert there but had never been backstage. It's huge! The green room is also the biggest I've ever been in. There was catering from Cafe Bernardo's, plus lots of fruit, coffee, soda, bottled water, chocolate, nuts, granola bars... after the sound check I tuned the Steinway which sounded lovely in the hall. Some halls give you a nasty slap-back echo when you play a note loudly; at the Mondavi the sound blooms. I had a happy time tuning and it turned out great. Afterwards in the green room I had a nice talk with Gary Vercelli from KXPR. I talked to him about Antonio and Matias Bombal and also suggested that he interview Wendell Yuponce.
After that, I talked to Chick for about five minutes about the piano.
I also finally found Nina Weiss' website. She's done quite well with her art! Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 13, 2006

Finally, a picture of Rachel. I'm hoping that she will use this to impress her friends.
This sculpture is outside a really quite amazing installation at the Greg Kondos Gallery at Sacramento City College. The artist is Dave Lane, who makes big assemblages from discarded farm equipment. By day he analyzes aerial photographs for the State Water Resources Board, and often deals with the farmers from whom he gets his raw materials. Posted by Picasa
And here's my very manga-looking portrait of Jennifer, which I'll soon be sticking up on telephone poles all over town.

A new street-art style self-portrait, which I am using as my email signature.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Long lost

A couple of days ago I got a text message from Nina Weiss-Kane (who I knew in college as Nina Weiss). I haven't talked to her in at least twenty-five years. I've sent her about twenty text messages back, but she's never online. If you are reading this, Nina, please email me and end this game of text tag.
Yesterday we had lunch at the Sushi Cafe and after I was almost completely done with my teriyaki box, I noticed the front half of a little grasshopper in my salad. I wasn't upset... after all, I know people who were in the Peace Corps in Africa and ate lots of grasshoppers. Like shrimp, I imagine. When we showed the waitress, she was upset and ultimately the manager gave us our lunches for free.
Later on we had more fun when we went shopping at Raley's. I noticed that the shopping cart said, "If you take this cart beyond the yellow line, the wheel will lock." So of course I had to try it. (But not until after loading the car with our groceries!) When I crossed the yellow line, a little yellow boot came down over one wheel and locked in in place. The wheel catecorner from it also has a frame around it so you can't then push the cart on two side wheels... you have to roll it on one wheel, which I did back to the cart return area. Sorry, Raley's!

Friday, March 10, 2006

The back of the Chicago set. It functions as risers for the band, but it also has changing rooms in the back and has an entrance in the middle for actors to go through. It's like a jungle gym. Posted by Picasa
This is a toy that Jennifer bought. You load it with candy and when you wind it up, it "lays" the candy as it walks. Posted by Picasa