AndyHat (andyhat) wrote,

Chicago 2

I had a delightful week in Chicago, even if I did have to work on Sunday. Wednesday night I went to the Martin Theatre at Ravinia for the "Chamber Music Extravaganza," a fabulous jam-packed 2.5 hour concert. The concert opened with the world premier of a wonderful piano quartet by Ned Rorem (entitled Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow). The premier by Lewis Spratlan (Streaming, also a piano quartet) had some interesting bits, but went on too long. The two Dvorak sets (Bagatelles for Two Violins, Cello and Harmonium, and the Terzetto for Two Violins and Viola) were both given superb readings by Miriam Fried, Paul Biss, Paula Kosower, Gilbert Kalish, and Atar Arad. The only disappointment was the substitution of piano for harmonium in the Bagatelles because they were unable to locate a suitable harmonium in Chicagoland to use for the performance. The program closed with a magnificent performance of the Brahms Second Piano Quartet by Miriam Fried, Paul Biss, Gary Hoffman, and Leon Fleisher.

Friday night was my boss's wedding reception, which was both fun and interesting. He's a fairly conservative Shia Moslem, so men and women had to sit on opposite sides of the banquet hall (there were even separate buffet lines when the food was served), and the reception opened with two fifteen minute readings from the Koran, in Arabic (and this was just the reception; the actual wedding ceremony had been the day before). Obviously, no dancing, no music, and no alcohol, which makes for a surprisingly somber atmosphere for a wedding reception. But there was delicious Indian food and several friends were there that I hadn't seen for a while, so I enjoyed myself.

Saturday night, I returned to Highland Park for Apple Tree Theatre's production of A Man of No Importance, a musical about a Dublin coachman who attempts to put on a performance of Salome with his amateur troupe. The music isn't particularly memorable, but the story and lyrics are good, and the performance was excellent. Ross Lehman, in the lead role, was just perfect for the part.

On Sunday, I got to the airport way too early; when I'd arrived in Chicago last week, I had to wait 45 minutes for Thrifty's shuttle (and having had 45 minutes to count rental car company shuttles at the terminal, I have now learned that if you're ever renting a car at O'Hare, go with Avis or Hertz; they're the only ones with enough shuttles to maintain regular pickups even if traffic is bad), so I wanted to allow plenty of time for them to get me to the terminal. Of course, this time I got lucky and the shuttle was leaving Thrifty's lot 5 minutes after I turned in the car. So, with slightly over 2 hours to kill at the airport, I cashed in frequent flier miles for an Admiral's Club membership. I have to say, it was entirely worth it just to have access to the comfy chairs in the "quiet room". Finally, a place I can go read at the airport, undistracted by cell phone users and televisions.

And now I'm home until tomorrow night, where I am being much shed upon by Sadie.

Tonight I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 at the Carolina Theatre in Durham. It was better than I expected; nothing that was at all new to me (as a regular reader of sites like, Rational Review News Digest, and Freedom News Daily, I'd read articles about all of the movie's major points long ago), but it was put together in a nice package and if enough people see it, perhaps I won't get so many blank stares when I start rambling on about how terrible the Bush response to 9/11 has been. My biggest complaint with the film is the Moore has trashed his own credibility in the last few months with his idiotic publicity stunts (when a company gives you $6 million to make a film but tells you that need to find somebody else to distribute it, whining a year later that they gave you $6 million but expect you to find another distributor makes you look like an inept moron. And when you make a film that includes the F-word and gruesome scenes of war injuries, whining about the MPAA giving the film an R rating makes you look like a freak (especially when you can just release the film unrated, as Moore did (which I also think was a bad decision; if I were a parent, this is a film I would want to see with my kids, not one I'd want them seeing alone)). All of which means that pro-Bush conservatives—the ones who most need to see this film—will skip it because Moore has given them so many excuses to write him off as just another big fat idiot.

In an entirely unrelated final point, I noticed just now that there is a frog on the screen outside my window. What is a frog doing outside a second story window?

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