Wilson at the Taft, Jeni at the Brew, Schuette at the Emery

What a glorious day.
Got up early (Saturday early, i.e. 8:00), ground up my really bad first-batch of pan-roasted coffee, and managed to drink some. I'll do better next time. Read Jonah, my long-standing favorite book o' the Bible. Rolled out to help move a hot tub from one friend's house to another's. Hot tubs are heavy, of course. But now I know for certain. I wore denim on denim, all blue tonal. Even my boots were blue. I can't decide if that's fantastic or not, but the fact that it was unintentional and purely practical absolves me from any judgement. The fact that I have thought about it as much as I have, an decided to write about it probably brings twofold judgement down upon me. ...Then I ate really good food and drank potable coffee at the "another's" house.

The next stop was the Taft Museum with B to hear Michael Wilson, an old friend and mentor (freintor is the word, I believe) talk about his photos, which I love, and Steichen's photos, which I respect but remain largely indifferent to. Michael is a successful, gracious and humble artist with a disarming way of forgetting to finish sentences. Michael also put together a Disfarmer show at the Emery Theater, which I got to see later in the day, and which is really really really swell! I want to be Michael. Artifact from the taft:
We both had some time to kill between engagements and decided to track down a local coffee shop that stocks Jeni's ice cream. It seems strange sometimes to have thoughtful and meaningful conversation without trying. Effortless, comfortable discussion about subjects far deeper than the weather or how-much-your-boss-is-an-idiot still takes me by surprise; it's nice to know people who also want to really talk. Talking, talking, talking, until coffee was gone, ice cream was gone, time was gone. Beethoven's 9th and music friends beckoned her. Oh look, hot air balloons across the river in Eden Park! So I decided to head over there. I saw this sunset on the way (I think pictorialist-era Steichen would have liked cell phone cameras if he'd lived 100 years later):
Turns out it was time for the annual Balluminaria, which is actually a real thing, but the hot air ballons never leave the ground... they just look pretty, reflected in Mirror Lake. The internet told me that Santa also visits Eden Park, so bring the whole family. What's the point of a hot air balloon if it doesn't fly? DUMB.Final event for the night was CCM DMA candidate Paul Schuette's installations and performances at the Emery Theater. Most of what was going on exists on another level of experience and intellect that I can't tap into, but I can sure enjoy his work on a purely visceral level. I swiped my old debit card in a tangle of wires and speakers just inside the front doors, and all sorts of beeps and other noises happened. Somebody speaking Korean and laughing tried her library card, which made far better noises, and we both smiled a lot about that. Then I drank some really good wine. In another room speakers and stuff dangled from the ceiling, producing noises I believe were related to the motor that slowly spun the piece back and forth. Mobiles and installations were scattered throughout the theater, including backstage. There was a map to find them. There was a jar full of pink jelly beans, but that wasn't on the map. I drank more really good wine. Here's a man enjoying one of the more interactive mobiles very much:
After a while, we all sat down. Schuette's opening statements included a remark that they "don't give a damn about Ohio state law [at the Emery]; there are no exits. In the case of emergency, we will all stay here and burn alive." Then he sat down at a computer on stage as a tuba joined him, and from there on out it was just great electronically-augmented acoustic noises and Schuette's light-hearted explanations for 1.5 hours. Highlight of the night: A set of five etudes Schuette composed for oscillators of his own design. Four musicians controlled a total of 16 oscillators, each musicians' square-wave noises routed through a speaker at one of the four corners of the audience. It was explained beforehand that the etude form was chosen to convince both the audience and the composer that the oscillators are legitimate instruments, to put them through their paces. The etudes progressed, at first chaotic noise, unconvincingly musical and disorderly, but by the fifth etude all four musician's eight hands controlled the sixteen oscillators precisely and beautifully in a tightly rhythmic, toothy, rumble-bass and squiggly-treble glorysplosion. There were also some improv pieces. Here's Erica Dicker improvising on a prepared baritone violin being modified in real-time by Schuette at the laptop. Her violent motion starkly contrasted his emotionless, rigid form at the computer, both intellects churning away inside. The digital processing we hear in music all day long––but never see––was suddenly revealed as part of the performance. It was really dark; I couldn't tell my "detail" of the violin looks like butt cheeks. What a glorious day.

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