Friday, December 31, 2010

Connect For Real

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another - and ourselves." ~ Jack Kornfield, Ph.D. (Theravada Buddhist scholar and teacher)

I own a small business focused on digital communications. I love this space. I love its nearly miraculous ability to connect and reconnect. The great minds of W3C bring the promise of a future (and even current) amalgamation of digital content shared over the Internet to solve problems--with "1s" and "0s" as part of the make up of some of the problems and their solutions. This, the extensibility of the "channel" that is now called "social media," and much more, has connected us in ways previously unimaginable. This is remarkable... and beautiful.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In Memorium: Bruce Lee the Greatest on the 70th Anniversary of His Birth

There were and are great martial artists. There were and are great action stars of world cinema. Then, there was the one and only, Bruce Lee (李小龍). Unmatched.

He was born in San Francisco, California, 70 years ago (on November 27, 1940) as Lee Jun-fan/Li Zhen-fan (李振藩), to parents of Chinese and Chinese/German heritage. I won't provide a bio or filmography in this post--there are more than enough out there written by experts and commentators with far more experience and insight than me. The temporal world lost him on July 20, 1973, when I was soon to turn 9 years old. Too soon. (A gross understatement.) Despite his only 32 years in this life, we lost him after his nearly life-long career on screen--though he only made seven major films, he was in countless films in cameo parts since he was a child, and appeared in numerous television programs.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sir Run Run Shaw Happy 103rd Birthday

A very happy birthday to living legend, Sir Run Run Shaw (邵逸夫), co-founder (with his brothers) of the Shaw Brothers Studios, and of TVB. The official date of his birthday, November 23 (the auspicious date of the 14th day of the 10th month of the Chinese calendar in 2007) may or may not be exact, but this remarkable man's birth year is confirmed by all sources as having taken place in 1907.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dame Gwyneth Jones Happy 74th Birthday

A very Happy Birthday to Dame Gwyneth Jones (born November 7, 1936), one of the greatest ladies of opera and one of my all-time favorite singers. This beautiful, elegant Welsh soprano had, in the heyday of her career, one of the largest hochdramatisch voices in memory. Out of this slim and lovely woman came sounds so huge that she could capsize the world's largest aircraft carrier! Yet, in roles like the Marschallin in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, she could be tender and gentle.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Don't Forget to Vote November 2

I want to remind everyone to get out and vote tomorrow, Tuesday, November 4. I often express that, imho, votes don't count; that we are not really part of the political process because everything is theater. However, I will always qualify that by saying that there are some candidates for office who are not just bad for the country, but horrible for specific personal liberties. One of the many of them is running for Governor of New York (my lifelong home state). That person's name will not be used here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cesare Siepi 1923 to 2010 - The KING Is Gone

I just learned about the passing yesterday, in Atlanta, of the opera singer who many called the greatest of them all in the post-WWII era, Grande Italian Basso Cantante, Cesare Siepi.

I never had the privilege of hearing this legend live. On recordings, I have heard his approximate equal of eras past (and just a small handful of singers of later days), but never anyone to surpass him. The range, the smoothness, the elegance, the gorgeous color, the power,  and the idiomatic style of the voice in Verdi, Mozart, Puccini, French Grand Opera and more, was absolute perfection.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Grande Maestro Muti Begins With the CSO

The one-and-only grande Maestro Riccardo Muti begins in the 2010-2011 season as Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I wish this titanic, highly-progressive musical talent the very greatest of years with this magnificent orchestra. Bravo Maestro!

See the awesome commercial for Maestro Muti's first season with the CSO! (from YouTube):

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Giulietta Simionato the Greatest 1910 - 2010 Rest-In-Peace

In March, with the 100th birthday of the great Italian soprano, Magda Olivero, knowing that the birthday of another of the greatest of all operatic voices, Giulietta Simionato, the majestic Italian mezzo-soprano, was alive, also born in 1910, with her centennial in May, I had so hoped this year for a celebratory "duet." Not a literal duet between these true operatic LEGENDS -- that term is used for many, but these two women are/were textbook definitions of musical legnds -- but a near-concurrent fete of their long lives.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy Advance 100th Magda Olivero March 25

This has been a big week for centennial celebrations of the birth of not just great, but the finest of world artists. Another of the creative personalities who has been among the most influential to me in my appreciation of art is the one-and-only, Magda Olivero. Remarkably, this great Italian soprano -- who defied classification as a lyric, spinto, etc. -- is not being honored in memory, she is still with us at age 100! (Her birthday will take place tomorrow, March 25.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Centennial Tribute to My Favorite Director Kurosawa Akira

I am swamped with work and cannot write a fitting tribute to the master of world cinema, Kurosawa Akira (黒澤 明, or 黒沢 明), in my opinion the greatest film director of all time, who would have turned 100 today (23 March).

I almost can't describe in words the impact that all of the films in his canon that I've seen have made on me. I'll elaborate further when I have a moment to write again. In the meantime, 生日おめでとうございます Otanjobi omedeto gozaimasu, maestro. I hope you are still making great films in Heaven.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Alessandra Marc Returns to New York - 2/6 Carnegie Hall Weill Recital Hall

Alessandra Marc, one of the greatest singers of this generation -- and my favorite soprano -- is returning to the New York stage next week--to Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall on Saturday, February 6, 2010, at 8:30pm. If you know about and love this long-underappreciated, grand artist, please don't miss this concert event!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

More Great Music from Iwashiro Taro

Another wonderful example of the music of the great Japanese cinema and classical composer Iwashiro Taro (岩代 太郎), who scored John Woo (吳宇森, Wu Yu-Sen)'s epic, RED CLIFF. This, from Japanese TV's Aoi Tokugawa Sandai (葵 徳川三代)--as I understand it, conducted by the one-and-only Charles Dutoit!!!: