starlady: Orihime in Hueco Mundo: "damned to be one of us, girl" (damned)
Today we tried to send my sister on her way to Austria. I say tried because she's not leaving until Friday. More on that later.

We'd had grand plans of hitting the mall for a few last things before we left, but what with one thing and another we didn't leave the house until 26 minutes before we were supposed to meet our dad at his work so he and my sister could say goodbye. But Dad works in Satan country, aka Pennsylvania, and it turns out that there are TWO DIFFERENT OFFICE BUILDINGS WITH THE SAME ADDRESS there. So we were in the bumblefuck nowhere of the Tinicum wildlife refuge and then we had to burn rubber back in the opposite direction, so we didn't get there until about eight minutes before his meeting. He did that on the phone on the way to Rite-Aid so we could get tape for my sister. Then we went back to his work and then drove to a Wawa so we could get gas because the gas light was on and also food because we had no lunch. I had to pump my own gas in the freezing cold because PENNSYLVANIA, and then when I tried to turn the car on after we got a sandwich and a pretzel…nothing.

By this point it was ten minutes to three and my sister's flight was at 4:30, so I called my dad to come back and get her and take her to the airport. While we were waiting we inhaled our food, and I got bright yellow mustard on my blue coat. I was planning to get it dry-cleaned anyway, but. So my dad showed up and we transferred my sister and her stuff to his car and I sat in the car at the Wawa and called AmEx roadside assistance, who very helpfully showed up 25 minutes later. It was not in fact the battery, but rather the starter, which was solved after two firm taps with a metal mallet, for which I paid $45. I was driving back to the highway when I got a call from my sister, whose flight had been cancelled because of the cold weather and who was standing in the rebooking line. It took me three times around the airport to finally find the entrance to the short-term parking, and then when I finally got there, the ticket machine was broken, so I had to go to another one. My sister wound up in the line for almost two hours--apparently in Toronto, where she was supposed to transfer, it's too cold for the aircraft people to work outside, and the rumor was that the fuel was freezing in Philadelphia. We left the airport at ten after five with my sister on the first flight out, on Friday evening. Then we got to the Toyota dealership after the technicians had gone home and had to wait in the dealership lounge for our dad to come get us, since he wanted us to leave the car to get it serviced asap. And we didn't eat dinner until an hour later.

My flight, scheduled for 09:00 tomorrow, is still saying it's on time. We shall see.
starlady: Remy from the movie Ratatouille sniffing herbs for a stew (cooking)
Damn it, I missed posting this on the actual 27th!

[personal profile] inkstone asked for my top three favorite restaurants.

One of my favorite restaurants in the world is Kyoto Gogyô, the ramen restaurant in Kyoto I have raved about before. It's not especially fancy, and the food is delicious. If you go, make sure to get the tempura that's on special, and the shio ramen. It's just--really nice.

A bit closer to home, another of my favorite restaurants is the Longfellow Grill in Minneapolis, which is also the Highland Grill in St. Paul. I've been going to these restaurants (there's a third one somewhere out in the suburbs) since my freshman year of college, when my roommate and her family introduced me--they're New American, I guess, but New American diner/bar food, but really, really good. At this point I've eaten a significant chunk of the menu. The beer-battered green beans with plum sauce are amazing, and I think my favorite entree is the Peter's Burger with sweet potato fries, but the tuna melt is also really good, and they have great local beer. It's all just really good.

Believe it or not, it's actually hard to pick a number three. I could say it's the tonkatsu place in Kyoto--it's a chain of several restaurants, one in Kyoto station and two downtown--where you grind your own sesame for the tonkatsu sauce and they give you endless refills on cabbage and it's all amazingly delicious. That place is really good. I could say it's Revival in Berkeley, which has some of the best food and drinks I've had for the price anywhere; when I went to Chez Panisse on Halloween I found myself thinking that it wasn't shockingly better than Revival, which it wasn't. In New York I wind up at the Hampton Chutney Company quite a lot; they have really good dosas. There are a number of places in Philly that I like, but in the past few years I've been away so much that I'm reluctant to name any one. I have to put in a plug for Capogiro gelato in Philly--best gelato on this continent--and I do like Raw, the sushi place in the gayborhood, as it's called. (I also really like Steven Starr's Mexican place there, El Vez; not so much the one out on Chestnut.)

Anyway. I really like food.
starlady: (agent of chaos)
Let the Fire Burn. Dir. Jason Osder, 2013.

I went to see this documentary, about the 1985 MOVE bombing in Philadelphia, because I'm from the Philadelphia area (I went to high school in the city, in point of fact) and because the MOVE bombing is undeservedly forgotten--so much so, in fact, that when I was explaining the incident to someone while explaining the documentary ("the city police bombed a house where a radical group was holed up"), they said, "What do you mean, 'bombed'?" There's only one definition of that word that applies here. As someone from the area, it was somewhat interesting to see figures I can remember from childhood, such as the Channel 6 newsheads and Ed Rendell, who became mayor in 1992, in their younger days. From the documentary you can see why Rendell in particular had such a successful political career (in 2003 he became governor of Pennsylvania)--even as you know his hands aren't clean, you watch him say the right things in a charming and mollifying way, and you don't think as badly of him as you do of other players in the tragedy.

I knew about the MOVE bombing because the only novel I know of about it, John Edgar Wideman's Philadelphia Fire, was the summer reading book my freshman year of high school. (If you've read that book, its assignment will tell you a lot about my high school.) The book focuses on the child survivor, Michael Moses Ward alias Birdie Africa, but it also focuses on the person who allegedly, rather than try to escape the house to safety, turned and went back into the fire.

The documentary mostly takes a cinema verite approach, meaning that it's largely constructed out of archival footage, principally news video, photographs, the deposition of Michael Moses Ward, one of the only two survivors of the bombing, and the public commission hearings held in October 1985, five months after the bombing, that attempted to investigate what happened.

What happened is largely predictable, until it wasn't )
starlady: (run)
I was lazy this break and didn't get to any of my intended destinations in Old City--I did stop by my old orchestra and see some people, and I saw my friend J for lunch in between her interviews at the APA conference, and I also wound up hanging out with[personal profile] shveta_writes and [personal profile] solanine at the launch party for K.M. Walton's novel Cracked in Chester. I couldn't even tell you the last time I've been that far down the Blue Route; it has to be high school, when we played away field hockey games at Westtown.

But I did go to the best gelato place in the States, Capogiro, and my friend M and I had sushi at Raw, which I really like, dodging Mummers straggling back from the parade all day, and I did see snow flurries in between getting a $76 parking ticket (thank you, Philadelphia). I'm still not sure what the best coffee shop in Philly might be--I like Old City Coffee and La Colombe a lot, but I'm also a fan of Ultimo Coffee down in South Philly. I finally got down to the place in South Jersey on the espresso map, Crescent Moon Coffee and Tea Company, for a writing date with [personal profile] shveta_writes. I haven't been to Mullica Hill since elementary school, so of course I thought, oh, the indie coffee shop will be in one of these lovely converted Victorian homes on Main Street! No, it being South Jersey, the excellent indie coffee shop is in the strip mall a mile outside of town. Let that be a lesson to you, young Jedi.

You can't find a whole head of lettuce in supermarkets in Jersey in winter to save your life, but it's home.
starlady: Elizabeth from PotC cross-dressing (nice hat)
Lightning update while I should be finishing/rewriting the ending of my Holmes story, go!

# My allergies have been terrible lately--grass pollen, apparently, and I thought the tree pollen was bad! I literally could not get my contacts in my eyes yesterday despite the fact that I am on three separate forms of allergy medication (four if I take benadryl), two of which are prescription (samples--working in a doctor's office FTW). And I woke up unable to breathe properly yesterday morning, which again, never happens. Bleh.

# My writing group is awesome! I am so, so sad that I only have two more meetings until I leave for California ([personal profile] shveta_writes and two other people whose LJ names I don't know, for the record). (Maybe I can come back on the breaks?) We met tonight, and though I didn't workshop anything, I definitely get tons out of it. I did workshop the first two chapters of the pirate novel last month, and got a metric tonne of really good feedback and concrit. (More about that on the writing filter in the near future.)

# I have off work tomorrow…to go to a funeral. One of the front desk people who worked with the doctor for nearly twenty years died of cancer on Monday. I only met her once, but she was incredibly nice, and incredibly strong, and we did talk on the phone when she would call up the office. I would feel obligated to go just for that, but add to that the fact that everyone in the office except one of the night shift people who didn't know her at all is going and I would feel weirdly left out if I didn't go. I don't begrudge it at all; funerals are about showing respect for the dead and supporting the living, I think. And I still get to sleep in two hours tomorrow. Which is good because I'm working Saturday, which means getting up at six.

# I went to El Rey, the new Stephen Starr restaurant, on Saturday, and actually went to Buddakan with my dad and sister a few weeks ago. Both are really good, and the thing about Stephen Starr restaurants is that they never make you feel unwelcome no matter what you're wearing, which I appreciate because it's definitely not the case in every upscale restaurant. I also finally got to The Gold Standard in West Philly, which is also pretty good.

# I forget. Back to writing, omg, why are there not 25 hours in the day.

starlady: (crew)
starlady: (justice)
So much to say, so much to do, as always.

If you read one post on DW this week, make it [personal profile] synecdochic's incendiary post on modesty. She is so, so, so right. [ profile] karenhealey's post today is also relevant.

This morning I was listening to NPR's coverage of President Obama's visit to Louisiana this weekend; the president noted that Americans are "frustrated and upset." No, Mr. President; speaking for myself, we are enraged. We are enraged that it took the government and BP more than a week to respond to the scale of the spill; we are enraged that BP was allowed to drill that deep at all without knowing how to fucking turn the well off if necessary; we are enraged that BP had the gall to ask the government to help pay for cleaning up its fucking mess; and we are enraged that BP has teams of lawyers in Alabama trying to pressure people into waiving their right to sue for a measly $5000, proving once again that there's no cheapskate like a rich bastard. And speaking as someone whose state's coastal waters were opened to oil exploration last month, I can say, we need more offshore oil drilling like we need a matched set of holes in the head. Authorize some damn wind farms instead, Mr. President! 

I mentioned the Lower Merion webcam controversy before; the district is set to report the results of its $550,000 and counting investigation tonight, but I was intrigued by this article noting that in 2008 a district student sent the chief technology officer an email saying that the webcam software was a potentially serious violation of privacy. The CTO replied that the student should take a breath and relax; she was interviewed by The Inquirer this weekend and says that she "just didn't think about privacy" and that anyway her staff would never violate anyone's privacy, so why should she have worried? Lady, you're either grossly incompetent at your job or criminally negligent, and you should be on administrative leave along with your two techies. And that student ought to have your job instead, because I'm sure they could do better at it.
starlady: (revisionist historian)
This is a post about Philly and New Jersey, or more precisely, about how they're all going to hell in a handbasket.

The news this evening that The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Daily News have been sold to their creditors in bankruptcy auction is, quite frankly, a huge blow to the region--The Inquirer has 180 years of history in the area, and The Daily News is actually doing okay despite print journalism's woes, but none of those will matter a damn to the creditors and hedge funds in on the deal. I can't pretend that I actually really read The Inquirer anymore, because it's gone to hell in the last 10 years and only recently started getting better under Brian Tierney and company, and I've never really been in The Daily News demographics, but it seems a very real possibility that the region could lose one or both papers--and if The Inquirer goes, south Jersey will be entirely bereft of a paper even halfway deserving of the name. Both papers perform important investigative and public watchdog functions, and civil society will suffer without them.

This is a policy rant. )
starlady: headphones on top of colorful buttons (music (makes the people))
Last night I went on what was originally an impulse to see Owen Pallett, formerly known as Final Fantasy, play the sanctuary at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia.

Short version: Holy shit Owen Pallett is AMAZING. He is still on tour, if you like avant-classical and/or avant-pop music, you owe it to yourself to go.

Long version: I first became aware of Final Fantasy as the guy who does the string arrangements for (and plays in, I think) The Arcade Fire--as a matter of fact, one of his most famous songs, "This is the Dream of Win & Regine" is about The Arcade Fire. The recorded versions of his songs are awesome, but they just can't compare to what he does live, which is real-time looping of himself on his violin layered on top of other loops, with him continually singing and playing at the center of the sound, kind of like listening inside an egg, if you take my meaning. Now, this would be awesome live in and of itself, because Pallett really is a good live player; he puts in energies and sounds that just aren't on the studio versions. But aside from being an awesome composer he is also a phenomenal, phenomenal violin player. What he does with col legno bowing in particular is jaw-dropping, but that's just one of the many arrows in his technical quiver (and his violin is clearly a beautiful instrument; it even sounds great when he's shouting into the soundbox). Pallett could have had the classical world at his feet, but instead he is playing geeky music about video games and failed love affairs and modern life in churches. Musically speaking he deserves to have the world at his feet; the musicianship involved in many of his songs, which have insanely complicated syncopated rhythms, is just incredible. I can play the violin decently, but damn I barely have the mental power to answer yes or no questions while I'm doing it, but Pallett lays down loops and coordinates them while playing difficult finger passages and singing. It really is incredible. At the end we gave him a standing ovation, or at least, those of us with classical music backgrounds did.

Concert-going peeves )
starlady: the philosopher's garden (obligatory china icon)
So I went with [ profile] kwviola to see the Opera Company of Philadelphia put on Tan Dun's Tea: A Mirror of Soul at the Academy of Music on Sunday. It was…hmm. On one level, I really liked it. On another, it was unlike any other opera I've seen in ways both great and strange. K talked about it (including the story of the percussionists trying out their drums--clay pots--in Home Depot during the snowstorm) here at her journal.

Tea was commissioned for the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, where it premiered in 2002. It tells the story of Prince Seikyo of Japan, who asks for the hand of Princess Lan of China and who must journey with her in search of the 茶經/茶经/Chajing/Book of Tea in order to prove the prince her brother's claim to possess the book a lie.

As one can hopefully guess from even this brief summary, the plot is a rich melange of Chinese and Japanese history, actual cultural artifacts (the Chajing really was written by a monk named Lu Yu in the eighth century CE), opera tropes, and literary quotations, principally from The Journey to the West. Needless to say I enjoyed very much that Seikyo narrates the story from a temple in Kyoto, and for the most part I was able to let the willful anachronism of mixing high Tang in China with the rise of the culture of tea and of Zen in Japan, which didn't really take off until the medieval period (sidenote: most of what's commonly called "traditional" Japanese culture is medieval in origin; the Heian period is doubly distant from the contemporary era), slide. (Needless to say, [ profile] kwviola and I kept up a running string of Saiyuki jokes during the pre-performance opera talk.)

After this tea, home.  )

Afterward we had sushi at Raw and gelato at Capogiro. I can't recommend Capogiro highly enough. And I really want to see Chinese opera--particularly Peking opera, though there are many other regional styles.

If anyone has an extra ticket for the OCP/Curtis production of Barber's Antony and Cleopatra this month, talk to me.
starlady: headphones on top of colorful buttons (music (makes the people))
I am posting this now before it gets any older.

I went to a.k.a. music on Valentine's Day (seriously, a.k.a. is one of the best music stores I've encountered, particularly given its size, and it has a great location too--right between The Book Trader and Brave New Worlds comics) and they had both of the CDs I had been lusting after.

The first is Infernal Machines by Darcy James Argue and Secret Society! I have two words: steampunk jazz. Yes, you read that right, and let me just say, damn is this some fine music. I don't know very much about jazz at all, which frustrates me quite a lot, but this is excellent music, and the thematic content makes it even better.

The second is People Are Soft by The Swimmers, a local Philly band. I bought this CD for the single "Hundred Hearts", and the whole album is really good. Style-wise I would say they are somewhere between The New Pornographers and...crap, the comparison just went out of my head. I will add it back in if I think of it. 

Franz Ferdinand has a new song, "The Lobster Quadrille", for the Alice in Wonderland soundtrack. I like the song, and as a sidenote, I am completely psyched for the movie. Did everyone see the shots of Alice on the battlefield in armor? Yes? Okay, then you know why.

Can we have fanfic about these cat herders now? Please?

Speaking of Holmes (no, okay, I wasn't, but whatever), I really want this shirt. T-shirts with classic book cover art, the purchase of which provides books to communities in need? That sounds like a win-win scenario to me.
starlady: the cover from Shaun Tan's The Arrival, showing an aquanaut in suburbia (i'm a stranger here myself)
One of my ongoing personal hangups is the fact that the ancient world was not like our modern world (and I'm using "modern" here with extreme intent); subjectivity and the relations between polities were completely different, and our projections back onto the past don't match that past. (This is part of what Prasenjit Duara means when he talks about rescuing history from modernity.) Ancient societies had far more in common with each other than we might think (and they were also far more diverse than we might think); they also had more in common with us than we might think, though in different respects.

So I was delighted to learn that further analysis has revealed that the Ivory Bangle lady of York, a wealthy resident of the Roman town there in the 3rd century, was of North African extraction.

I'm sure most people have heard by now of the magnitude 8.8 earthquake that occurred off the coast of Chile early this morning. Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy has some striking geological analysis and visual tsunami projections. I hope for the best in Chile, and that people around the Pacific, particularly in Hawai'i, are able to heed the warnings in time.

Actually this might go in the category "speaking ill of the dead," which is something to which I don't have intrinsic objections, especially for public figures. [ profile] doonesburyc has a darkly funny roundup of classic cartoons related to the late Alexander Haig.

I'm surprised that the Lower Merion school webcam fracas hasn't been getting more press in the media. [personal profile] naraht has a post quoting some bloggers here; local public radio station WHYY has the best coverage I've heard/seen in the area. Essentially, the Lower Merion school district (allegedly) used the webcams installed on the laptops it distributed to students to spy on them in their homes and then attempted to use the pictures it obtained to discipline students in school. As I said to [personal profile] naraht, I can't decide whether the part that boggles me most is the parents who aren't concerned or the parents who are concerned--that the lawsuits being brought against the school district will cost them money in taxes.

And finally, on a musical note, the Philadelphia Orchestra musicians have accepted a pay cut and a hiring freeze. I was headed off at the pass, as it were, at the start of my "Philadelphia Orchestra & its woes" rant to [personal profile] naraht by the subway schedule last Sunday, and I'm only slowly converting it into a post, but suffice it to say that this is potentially both good and bad. And if it doesn't bring in the $$ it will be very, very, bad.

Do I need a history tag?  
starlady: Kermit the Frog, at Yuletide (yuletide)
My tally for Yuletide: my story for my requester and two three stories off the unfilled prompts list, one two for Madness and one that became a Treat.

Yuletide writer(s), my internet connection will be intermittent for the next four days. I may not respond to your story immediately, but it's not because I don't love it, it's because I've been kidnapped by my relatives. Or something else festive.

For Yuletide Madness purposes, once again, here is my Yuletide letter.

And hey, Yuletide Madness starts soon! [community profile] dark_agenda is collecting eligible chromatic prompts. This year Madness is open to anyone with an AO3 account: go forth and write, ye writers! 

Also, the CLAMP 20th Anniversary Fanbook is now available in PDF! Download link is here; the book will be available to purchase after the holidays.

As an editor for the whole book, I've seen the draft copy, and let me tell you, fellow fans, we did an awesome thing, and each and every one of us who contributed in any way should feel proud.

I met up with my awesome friend K in Philly this afternoon and we had a great time wandering around, to the Liberty Bell, to Ben Franklin's grave, and to New World Comics. Then the staff at Korma, where we ate, gave us dessert on the house! It was rice pudding and it was delicious.

So on that note of kindness, very happy holidays to one and all; Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus, Happy Yule, from the bottom of my heart. Have a good weekend, at the least.
starlady: (heaven's day)
Friends, readers--

What have I been doing again? What haven't I been doing? I seriously have not been this busy, except for one notable week in June 2008, since I graduated from college. Before I forget, holiday card exchange post

# Getting my hair chopped! Yup, went to The Chop Shop in Philly last Wednesday and got it bobbed, since I realized a) that this was probably my last chance before Christmas and b) my first haircut since the middle of June. Which is too long. It was slightly too short immediately afterwards, but now is just perfect, and quite cute. And at $43 with tax and tip, it's the least I've paid for a haircut in at least eight years. Yes, I know.

# Applying to graduate school! I just turned in another app tonight, as well as finished up the last fiddly bits for one of last week's schools (again), and am probably going to do next Tuesday's this weekend, then finish up two of the final three after my credit card statement closes but before the actual deadline. Leaving only a certain Canadian university, of course.

# Christmas shopping! I am now essentially finished. And I only paid full price for two items! How did this happen, again? 

# Going to Minnesota! Yup, I cashed in some frequent flyer miles and had a weekend with friends for $5 roundtrip. Hah. Restaurant shout-outs for this trip are Zumbro in Linden Hills, and Blackbird in south Minneapolis. I really, really love Blackbird (I've been there before)--it's simple but not simplistic, and the food and atmosphere are equally perfect. I actually went for my alma mater's Christmas Fest, which as usual is an orgy of Christmas and top-notch musical performances, though I don't think this year's version was quite as awesome, program-wise, as some of the other four I've seen. But I did get to Goodbye Blue Monday, one of my favorite coffee shops, and get some of my favorite coffee. Yay. Going to Minneapolis always feels like a homecoming, probably because it is my home away from home.

# Watching the Twilight movie, against my will (forced by my friends, which shows that they really are friends). The only scene with any sexual tension is when Dr. Carlisle Cullen bites human!Edward on his pale white neck. Who says dying of influenza isn't sexy? 

# Writing! I finished a draft of my Yuletide story on the plane home last night. Now I just have to revise.

# Working! Started a different temp job today. I can wear jeans and it's full-time, so really, I have absolutely nothing to complain about.

And now that I'm done those grad school apps, I can get back to my to-do list, at the top of which is translating DTB 12. Among other things. On that note...
starlady: (we're all mad here)
So my dad and I went to the soon-to-be-demolished Spectrum to see Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band last night. They were just, well, incredibly awesome.

Well it ain't no sin to be glad you're alive )

We took SEPTA there and back, and on PATCO back into Jersey we heard thanks to our cell phones that the Phillies had pulled it out in the bottom of the ninth, 5-4 over the Dodgers, and the entire train car broke out cheering. So really, how could it have been any better? 
starlady: (bang)
So this weekend I went down to Baltimore and for the first time in four years attended Otakon, the convention of the otaku generation. It was, all in all, an excellent time, and I have to give my friend Alex Leavitt, blogger and aspiring anime academic, thanks and acknowledgment for organizing the hotel room in which I and three of his friends crashed, and especially for getting me on the "Anime and Manga in Academia" panel.

Otaku unite! )

All in all, Otakon continues to be a paragon of a well-run con, and it's managed to retain, if not amp up, its fannish vibe, which makes it appealingly different from AX. The things I really disagreed with were statements made by attendees themselves, such as the bizarrely sexist statement that fujoshi are otaku (particularly out of the mouth of an older white man) and recurrent ableist language of the "that's so lame" variety (and let me just give a shout out to [personal profile] coffeeandink for raising my consciousness on that one). Fujoshi are fans, but as a group they insist strenuously that they are different from and are not otaku, and for many reasons I think there's no reason not to accept their self-definition at face value. Certainly comparative studies of otaku and fujoshi would yield rich results, since they are both highly gendered paradigms of highly involved fandoms, but saying that fujoshi are otaku and they're in denial is just more of "those silly wimmen don't know what they're doin" crap. Some guy also tried to take pictures up Rachel's skirt (she was cosplaying some schoolgirl character or other), which proves that there's always a couple of bad apples, even if the crowds were remarkably well-behaved and polite on the whole.

At the start of her panel Trish Ledoux described how she initially got into anime, in the dark ages of the 80s when "Japanimation" had one room at any given science fiction convention and you watched a hodgepodge of whatever you had, since it was copied from copies of copies of whatever servicemen could tape off the TVs in Japan. In 1991 the first exclusively anime convention was held, the sff people having gotten nervous about "that stuff" not really being scif, and I can't help but think that this Great Divorce may have been a forward echo of the death knell of sff as it was and as we know it. It's no accident that most sff con crowds are majority graying, white, and male; their natural successors have largely gone into anime and media fandoms, since that's where they feel comfortable, for obvious reasons (side note: demographics are also why the Hugo shortlists are mediocre). WorldCon has been around since 1931, but after only 16 years Otakon's annual attendance is larger by a factor of three (and that's with a dropoff this year due to the Great Recession), even though I'm sure there are far more sff fans in the world than anime fans. The San Diego Comic Con, which doesn't actively discriminate against manga and anime afaik, regularly draws more than 100K people. What about these facts does not constitute the writing on the wall, and why are the organizers of sff cons persistently illiterate?

No thanks to the Greyhound bus company, I made it back to Philly in time to meet my sister to head to the TLA to see one of our favorite bands, VNV Nation. The concert was amazing--Spike and I wound up roughly one person back from the barricade in front of the stage, and we shook both Ronan and Mark's hands at the end of the concert! We as a crowd also were video'd for possible inclusion in the video for their new single, which is ironic considering that we weren't even sure if they were touring in support of a new album until we walked in past the merch booth and saw it for sale. They played three or four tracks off the new album, "Of Faith, Power, And Glory", and it seems to promise a possible synthesis between the slightly mellower sound of their previous two albums and their older, somewhat harder-edged approach--certainly the concert itself delivered that, beginning with the first song of the set, "Joy," which was so loud that my arm hairs vibrated, and the lyrics of which Ronan delivered in a more melodic style than is heard on the actual album cut. I'd like to get their new CD/DVD set, it has a live CD with some of their best songs on it, and probably records the new approach. Bands at smaller shows regularly cite Philly crowds as some of the best they play for, and sure enough we brought Ronan to tears at least twice, and even managed to help the band recover from a girl fainting onto the stage during "Darkangel." As they've been doing since the "Matter + Form" tour, which was the first time I saw them (this was my second; I don't know why I didn't see them on the "Judgment" tour, but my sister did), they ended with "Perpetual," and it was amazing.

I liked the first opening band, Ayria, a Canadian industrial group with a female vocalist--definitely more on the mellow/melodic end of the industrial spectrum, but I've been looking to expand my horizons in the genre, and female vocalist! The second band, War Tapes, sounded like a cross between J-rock and The Editors--it seemed fitting that their guitarists were an Asian dude and a white woman even before they said they were from L.A., which explained everything. They should tour Japan, they'd make a mint. Side note to the dude selling the VNV merch: I am not unsympathetic to student loan debt, as it is the only way to get an education these days and I certainly have my own financial cross to bear, but if you have $110K in student loan debt for a degree that prepared you to work the merch booth at an industrial concert, I question your decisions.
starlady: (run)
I went to Philly today to see my old orchestra, Philadelphia Sinfonia, play its Bon Voyage concert of the season--they are off to tour Argentina on Tuesday. The concert was (of course) quite good; it included two classical pieces I hadn't heard before, Mozart's Overture to "The Abduction from the Seraglio" and Beethoven's First. I'd never heard the First before, and it is appealingly stuck between classicism and romanticism musically (classicism in the "Mozart was the first Romantic" sense, I should say). I was shanghaied into helping put back the chairs after the concert--Reverend Flood is still unbelievably OCD about their proper arrangement ten years after I first met him. It's good to know some things never change.

Then I had Capogiro gelato, La Colombe coffee, and Maoz falafels. It is impossible to bear the world a grudge when the sun is shining and one is eating these things.

I was reading Fullmetal Alchemist vol. 8, on the train (Wizard World escapees making noise on the way back), and let me just say, for the record, I love Arakawa Hiromu. FMA is just so good. Her pacing, her plotting, her knack for expressions/physical might be my favorite manga, ever.

It's the solstice. There is rioting in Tehran and self-rule in Greenland.


starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)

March 2019



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