Thursday, April 25, 2013

April 25. Wagner.

I had a chance to see a dress rehearsal of Wagner's The Flying Dutchman yesterday.  The production had stunning scenery, lighting and quite astonishing musically.  The rest of it was ok.

However, the whole time I could not shake this weird feeling of musical deja vu.  I am not very familiar with Wagner, but as the female chorus filed on to deliver the Spinning Song, I realized I was watching every collective farm chorus from every 1930s Soviet Collective Farm musical comedy.  There are at least a dozen films, scored by Isaac Dunayevsky, which quite freely borrow from the sweeping, picturesque tunes of Richard Wagner and (a bit later) Richard Strauss.  They all celebrate the achievement of the collective farm workers of different ilk - harvesters, milk maidens - in expansive, marching and quite catchy tunes.

And while I've been unable to find the exact female chorus I was reminded of, I present a Chorus from 1937's The Wealthy Bride.

1940's The Bright Way - note that these are modern spinners...feel free to skip to 1:00 mark, the song doesn't start until then.  This film stars Lubov Orlova, who has been long held as the most beautiful and most sonorous star of all of Soviet cinematography.

Now I'm all nostalgic.  Damn.

Monday, April 22, 2013

April 22

Today is the birthday of Vladimir Lenin.  And Vladimir Nabokov.  And probably thousands other people, but those two always stick in my mind for April 22.  It was a holiday of sorts at school when I was growing up, Communism and all.  I always think of April 22 as when spring REALLY starts.

I needed some normalcy after this past week.  So I shopped for a patio set.  Now, I'm on a serious budget, and I have some seriously limited space to work with.  Have you ever bought patio furniture?  If not, I refer you to this Apartment Therapy post I just saw - Small Space Outdoors.  While it shows some absolutely pretty bistro sets, they range in price from $200 to $2,400.

I was hoping for something modern, and closer to $100.  I succeeded, but it involved trips to 3 stores and some spray paint.  Behold, my new deck:

I am looking forward to at least 5 months of breakfasts and dinners as this table.