Thursday, July 31, 2008

Serendipitous summer

Minneapolis, Minnesota

After a late-winter and spring filled to over-flowing with attendance at dance performances, my summer diversions have shifted to various kinds of choral music – lots of it! – particularly in films.

One must not miss Meryl Stree
p's lead role of Donna in MAMMA MIA! The film, shot in London and Greece, also features Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Amanda Seyfried, and Dominic Cooper. A pure and entertaining delight!

I finally caught Young at Heart, a documentary of sorts about the Young@Heart Chorus. It is a thoroughly charming, poignant, and inspiring story of senior citizens in Northampton, Massachusetts, who perform contemporary and classic rock and pop songs in concerts around the world. A DVD will be issued in mid-September.

Then, there was The Singing Revolution, starring the people and music of Estonia in the story of their enduring work toward freedom.

Finally, of course, I attended nine days of awesome music in Miami performed by 5,000 members of GALA Choruses.

... Baseball: The consistent inconsistency of this year's Minnesota Twins baseball team remains a subject of some puzzlement. Given the opportunity, they simply cannot dislodge the Chicago White Sox from first place in the American League Central! The Twins took the first two games in this week's homestand against the Sox, pulling within a half-game of first before losing last night. Regardless of the outcome of tonight's game at the Metrodome, Chicago will leave town with its lead intact.

... Politics: Who cares if Obama has a rock star persona? McCain's latest ad attacking Barack for being a celebrity is a fabulous waste of money and a strong argument against financing campaigns with tax dollars. It is great that the U.S. is regaining a positive image in the world. For the next 90+ days, I want to see and hear both candidates in their best ground game mixing it up with voters – up close and personal – about real issues. Throw in a convention and a few mass rallies on both sides, and keep the airwaves free of paid insults to voters's intelligence.

... Arts and culture: While catching up with, I came across The Arts and a Generation of Whiners, a blog entry. This post reports on a survey by the Pew Research Center that says the 76 million baby boomers are the most pessimistic, disappointed, and self-entitled generation of the 20th century. That survey would seem to echo a report on social trends from the University of Chicago, also cited in the blog. That report says boomers have never been happy. Overall, we don't collaborate but we confront with an attitude of conflict not compromise, and we do it from a position of ideology and not pragmatism. My musing: We did not necessarily need surveys to tell us this. Could this explain the ascendance of talking heads on Fox, CNN, MSNBC, and talk radio as our generational spokespeople? Are they the priests and priestesses who intercede with the gods of our discontent?

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