...on Facebook. I deactivated my Facebook account about a year ago. I was a little annoyed by the perception that it was substituting for real social life, plus I can't really use the site on my home computer. Well, various groups and friends who I support are on Facebook now, so I am, too. I simply logged in from my "other computer" at the library, and everything was there, including my original 16 friends. Thanks to a certain opera director and a music blogger for adding to that number, and a certain soprano who sings for AOT has contacted me via Facebook also. On the chance that she is reading here, I'll confirm you as friend as soon as I can get to my other computer. I can log into Facebook and look at the main pages at home, but I can't edit or use anything that involves a hot button. One day, soon I hope, I'll get around to upgrading my home computer.
My Facebook badge and link are down in the right margin of this blog. Yes, I'm shamelessly exploiting my cat's super-cute visage as my profile picture on Facebook, too.
Weill, Wagner und Strauss: I'm going to get a ticket to this Sunday's concert performance of Wagner's "Gotterdammerung" at Washington National Opera. I listened to some of the classic Solti set on Decca last night and was mesmerized once again by Wagner's music....I wasn't sure about going to American Opera Theater's current Weill show, "Songspiel", but finding Tim Smith's review on Clef Notes has drawn me to going this Friday evening. I was not aware that original plans to stage a complete work by Weill had to be scrapped for a reason beyond the company's control, but Smith explains what happened....I'll have to miss going a second time to WNO's Ariadne as I was tempted after seeing opening night.
Later: Tickets ordered. I'm going to Sunday's performance of Gotterdammerung, and I just bought a ticket for Friday night's Songspiel seconds before AOT Director Timothy Nelson posted his comment here.
Another ramble about movies: I've heard about a couple of new movies in the theaters now that I might go see. Until then, here are some that I've seen recently at home which I feel compelled to mention. Two German movies from recent years explore aspects of Germany's 20th century history -- THE LIVES OF OTHERS and NOWHERE IN AFRICA. Both are excellent and thought-provoking, but I was enthralled by the epic sprawl of "Nowhere in Africa", based on a true story about a Jewish family that escaped from Nazi Germany just in time and set up a new home in Kenya. What happens when the war ends and they have to debate returning to Germany is as interesting as the main part of the story....I watched ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN for my first time. I was about 11 or 12 years old and living on Homestead Air Force Base in Florida when those events took place, and now it's odd to pass by the Watergate every time I go to the Kennedy Center. Why the movie excited me might require a separate essay, but it also alerted me to the work of a singular cinematographer, Gordon Willis, a.k.a. the Prince of Darkness. I immediately sought out a DVD of KLUTE, another movie that had never interested me previously. Well, it has a dark subject, suitably framed by Willis's darksome camera work. In some scenes, almost 90 percent of the screen is blacked out. The pace of the action is deliberately slow, yet "Klute" remains a compelling thriller. Donald Sutherland and Jane Fonda are the stars.
Two more, if I may: Underrated but well worth watching are THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS and THUNDERHEART. Both coincidentally feature Val Kilmer. In its initial theater release, I found Ghost to be particularly interesting for its cinematography also. The camera work was supervised by Vilmos Zsigmond, a name I recall seeing in the credits of many an old movie. Ghost is a sort of "Jaws in the Jungle", but it's based on a true story and apparently far superior to an older movie on the same subject, "Bwana Devil". And "Thunderheart": I found this one for about 5 or 6 dollars in the bargain bin at the Columbia Borders. I remember watching it soon after its original release, and it definitely deserves wider circulation. A crime thriller, it's also a serious look at events that took place on American Indian reservations in the 1970's. There are several powerful performances here, but I especially love Graham Greene's laid-back tribal cop who so confidently straddles the fence between traditional Sioux culture and modern life.
There -- that's enough from me. I have some reading I want to do in "The Grove Book of Operas", and Ollie the Wonder Cat wants some attention. Thanks for reading!