Friday, July 22, 2011

Columbia Borders Twilight

I must have been in that store almost weekly, sometimes more than that, while it was here. My visit to the Columbia Borders last night might be my last one. The cafe and the restrooms are closed, both blocked off from access. It was so weird browsing the magazines and not having the usual crowd and activity of the cafe next to that section. The sign outside the restrooms that prohibits taking merchandise into them had been modified to read, "People may not be taken into the restrooms," so some humor seems to prevail among the employees. They seemed to be generally in good spirits yesterday, and we hope for the best for them.

Borders Express was still operating in the Columbia Mall a couple of days ago when I was there.

It's a vicious circle: The Towson Borders forced the wonderful independent An die Musik to close up shop there, but luckily for the arts scene in Baltimore, An die Musik found a niche as a CD store and performance space in the Mount Vernon neighborhood. Later, Borders left Towson after Barnes and Noble moved in nearby.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A favorite Columbia haunt going away?

I heard rumor today, and Howard County blogger Frank Hecker has the story about Borders and the Columbia branch.

I've known the Columbia Borders since it was in its old location at Snowden Square. (It has been at Columbia Crossing for a few years now. Daedalus Books Outlet in Columbia has the old CD bins from Borders' former Snowden location.) Many of the CDs, books and DVDs in my library were purchased at the Columbia Borders. I was there last week, and it still looked like business as usual. Honest, I would have checked there first for the opera album featured in my last post before going to Amazon. I'm still very much a hands-on shopper, but I could see a certain trend at Borders. A sign of the times: When I went looking for "Mamontov's Private Opera", recently quoted here, Borders only offered it as a download for an e-reader device. To get the hardcopy book, I had to order it online from Amazon!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bumble Bees in Their Hydrangea Arbor

Bumble bee passion. They were giving a new twist to the phrase, "mate for life", on an oak leaf hydrangea. (Brookside Gardens, Montgomery County, Maryland, last month.)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Choose Chamber Music

My post title adapts a little slogan that's been going around Howard County these days -- Choose Civility. Chamber music is pretty civil most of the time, but it can get wild, too.

My preceding post has the roster of performers at Candlelight Concerts for 2011-2012. The other big chamber series in Columbia, Sundays At Three, has performers and programs lined up on its site.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Candlelight Concerts 2011-2012

The Candlelight Concert Society here in Columbia has posted the roster of performers for the upcoming chamber series:

October 1 Ying Quartet

November 19 Jason Vieaux, guitarist, & Escher String Quartet

December 3 Pacifica Quartet

January 14 HAHN-BIN, violinist

January 28 American & Ariel String Quartets

February 18 Gryphon Trio - violin, cello, piano

March 17 Soyeon Lee, pianist

April 14 Borciani International String Quartet Competition Winner

Sunday, July 10, 2011

An Opera Cat's Summer: Artscape ~ Bassoon Week ~ Local Opera Scene Links


Artscape 2011 starts on Friday and runs through Sunday next weekend, July 15-17, in Baltimore. Here's the opera schedule with links to other performance genres, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Notice the hot buttons next to each performance for getting the free tickets in advance via MissionTix. Did they have that feature last year?

Latest issue of local free magazine Urbanite has this article on Opera Vivente and the new Aida Opera of DC at Artscape. (The composer's name is Hoiby, not Houby.)

Excuse the bad press: While the performances at Artscape are free, if you drive into the city, expect fees to be increased for the weekend at some (all?) nearby pay parking lots. I've paid as much as $20 at one lot where I normally pay about $11 on the weekend.

Peabody Conservatory's Bassoon Week begins on the tail of Artscape on July 17. That event is aimed at students and teachers of the instrument, but it begins with a free recital at 5pm in Peabody's beautiful Griswold Hall, upstairs from the main Friedberg Hall. There is now a program of works in that link which wasn't there before.

The Washingtonian magazine has this overview of the local 2011-2012 opera season.

Bard Summerscape 2011 has begun in the Hudson Valley already. I'll be there in August for Richard Strauss' "Die Liebe der Danae" and Noel Coward's "Bitter Sweet".

After getting back from Bard, I hope I can make it to Wolf Trap Opera Company for their last production of the summer. I would love to see WTOC's treatment of Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffmann" in the Barns at Wolf Trap.

Monday, July 4, 2011

blanketworks (and take care with pets during the fireworks)

I snapped these photos of Columbia's Lakefront on July 4th a couple of years ago. The scene will be repeated today as people stake out prime viewing spots for this evening's fireworks.

Reconsider taking pets to the fireworks! Some dogs get severely stressed by the noise, and I know of two cases in my neighborhood last year. My house is close to the Lakefront, and my own cat will hide under the bed during the display. I prefer to stay around the house and reassure him until it's over, but I can watch a good part of it from here.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Opera Vivente and Artscape Then and Now

I'm anticipating Artscape 2011 in Baltimore this month and preparing another edition of An Opera Cat's Calendar. While researching, I came across this old post by Opera Vivente's John Bowen as he and his company finished their first appearance at Artscape in 2007. A previous post on this old blog contains an interesting description of the Brown Center, where opera happens at Artscape.

This year, OV plans to perform Lee Hoiby's "Bon Appetit", based on the career of Julia Child.

Some blogineering: I rearranged links in my margin and moved opera companies to the top of the links block. I hope that gives them a little more visibility at least here, and if I slow down in posting, the blog remains a nice portal to opera websites. There are lots more music and other arts resources further down in the margin.