Monday, June 07, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

Long Day 

Yesterday was a really really long day. I performed in the annual Summer concert for the Bach family of choirs. It was the 20th Anniversary this year so it was more special than in all the previous years. Usually it's held in the Old Auditorium (built in the 1920's and probably hasn't been updated since) which always fills me with a sense of "Man, if I hit that high note really well, this thing just might fall down on my head". This year it was held in the Chan Centre for the performing Arts. This venue is right up there with the Sydney Opera Hall in terms of places to perform. It's quite a bit younger which is why it's not all that well known yet. Interesting fact about the Chan: You can tune the building. (Another interesting fact about the Chan, I've actually performed a solo in it!) For yesterday's concert, Bruce Pullan had them tune it such that the acoustics were the hardest the building could manage. That was really something else. If you even whispered on stage, the people in the farthest seats could hear you. You can imagine that the children's choirs were quite fun because of it. (Especially when they started marching while they sang the Beatles' 'Yellow Submarine').

On a sidetrack about the Beatles, I think it's really cool that Paul McCartney is finally admitting that some of their songs are really about drugs. Hrmphf, here I was really believing John Lennon's story about Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds being about some artwork that his son completed in Kindergarten featuring his class' teacher. Folks, gig is up, it's really about LSD, like everyone else since the song was released has been saying it was. Bah.

The concert was a bit of a drag for me, I left my glasses in Jim's car. (I was wearing my prescription sunglasses when he dropped me off so it wasn't as obvious as you might think it was also really bright out) I had to go the whole concert not even being able to read my music much less see the expression on my conductor's face. For the in-between portions while the other choirs were singing, I put on my sunglasses just so that I could see what was going on on stage. I had to explain myself more times than I really cared to but it was worth it for the most part. There was the most amazing soloist from our Alumni choir doing things with her voice that I've never heard anyone else do, and I've heard many talented, professional singers. With my sunglasses on I was able to see what was going on with her diaphragm, her throat, posture and her mouth (passive and active articulators). It was quite an experience. Pity I couldn't catch her name (oddly enough it wasn't on the program) because she's supposed to be a successful opera singer. I would very much like to get my hands on some of her recordings. I'm pretty sure that it wouldn't be too difficult to find out who she was.

After the concert, we went to watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I wasn't expecting too much from it because the last two movies were lifeless money making machines. From watching the first two, I really didn't get a sense of the book. Compare it to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The LOTR movies were clearly a labour of love. Especially the extended versions on the special edition DVD sets. You can see the care that Peter Jackson put into the making of the movies, in the cinematography, in the characters, in every detail that was painstakingly eked out for the three movies. In contrast, you see Chris Columbus merely taking the movie through its paces. The characters were stock and things were arbitrarily removed from the plot just so that the movie could fit into the average American's attention spans.

Not so for the latest installment. Credit has to be given to Alfonso Cuarón for completely turning around this set of movies. If he keeps it up, it could well be the most amazing series (of course after Jackson's LOTR) ever made. Cuarón also directed the soft porn flick 'Y Tu Mamá También' which has been described as a foreign 'American Pie' but I will have to disagree. I would still recommend the movie, but I have to warn you that it's not a comedy..and in many places it is much more explicit. Still a nice film. My bets are on that in the final movie, once all the actors are "of age", as Rowling so succintly puts it in the fifth book, Hermione will take it all off and blow both Ron and Harry in the Gryffindor common room. Just a thought.

I digress. The latest Harry Potter movie is amazing. I really really enjoyed it. It transposes the timeline in the book so that events such as the Christmas celebration and the Halloween feast are not in the movie. Despite that, however, all the major plot points are addressed, the characters are fleshed-out (unlike how they were two dimensional in the first two movies) and there are some parts in the movie that are hilarious! (Just like in the book!) I disagree with some of the casting choices that were made. For example, I think that Joseph Fiennes is the only actor that should even be allowed near the role of Sirius Black. Not that there was anything really wrong with Gary Oldman's portrayal of Black. It's just that he didn't look like Black... Also, Lupin was played by David Thewlis who is rather skinny. You would think that someone who is a werewolf, while he -would- be haggard and wasted looking would be rather stockily built. Again, nothing really wrong with his portrayal, just doesn't look like someone who would be a werewolf. The description of Lupin in the book also pegs him as someone who looks slightly grizzeled and older than he is (which means that he will look older than the people with whom he went to school i.e. Sirius and Snape) but in the movie he looks to be about the same age.

After the movie we thought that we would take advantage of the "Buy on entreé and get the second one free" coupon that Jim cut out of Friday's newspaper for Kam's Singapore Restaurant. First off, I was suspicious of any Singapore restaurant which doesn't serve Char Kway Teow. I was made more suspicious by the fact that both waitresses had no idea what Char Kway Teow is. Compounding the matter was that Nasi Lemak, Rojak and Chendol were also missing from the menu. Jim decided to order Nasi Goreng and I Laksa. Their Laksa was nothing more than a clear broth with bee hoon, chicken, prawns and broccoli. Broccoli?! The broth obviously had some kind of curry powder in it and I suspect it's the same red curry powder that Singaporeans use to cook Chicken Curry. Jim's Nasi Goreng was nothing more than fried rice. Not bad fried rice, but hell, I could cook better. It was a disappointing but cheap meal. I was really hoping to find a place where I could eat authentic Singaporean Cusine. I'm really starting to miss the food and Joel isn't helping...bloody, he's been writing about Singapore food in all of his last week's blog entries. I think it's time that I start breaking out the canned Laksa gravy and start taking matters into my own hands.

After dinner, we took a walk so that Jim could smoke his birthday cigar (and that was all there is to it. I should not be hearing sniggering). I took a few puffs without inhaling the smoke and I find that it's something that I don't mind doing. I would go so far as to say that I enjoy the flavour. I just think that as a singer, it's just irresponsible to even be thinking about these things. Besides, it's not like Jim smokes more than twice a year (Christmas and his birthday) so I wouldn't really have the opportunity to take more than one or two puffs off that cigar. It was a nice cap to a long day (we shared a creamsicle!!) and finally meandered through our door at about midnight. We were so pooped from all the events that neither of us woke up until 8am this morning. Jim usually has to punch in at work half an hour away at 7:30am. Instead of going late, he decided to call in sick, which oddly enough does reflect better on you. Didn't get anything done today that can with some excuses be avoided on weekends but should be accomplished on weekdays. We did manage to get our recycling in though and I think we got about $10 for it.

posted by Joie! at 4:41 p.m.


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