I’m no engineer, but I just don’t trust that BP can successfully execute their next hairbrain scheme to stop the Gulf oil gusher they caused. They are going sheer off a pipe and cap it. They could even drop a dome over the goddamn thing, how are they going to precision pipe fit it with oil gushing out? They are like an out of control drunk driver, they are not going to be stopped from causing more damage until someone stops them. Hearing those solemn officials from BP sound like little boys trying to avoid detention. I don’t for a minute think these oil men care anything about the people and eco-system of the gulf past their own profits.
The Philadelphia Orchestra fresh off of their three-week Asian tour was back in Verizon Hall this week sounding supple and electric. Globetrotting seems to energize them. Charles Dutoit was engaged and warm for this intriguing end-season programming, when a lot of orchestras can start to sound tired. Dutoit’s essayed the joyous Mozart sym. no 39. with well-tempered musicality. A crisp prologue to wake the brain and emotions. Then came a challenging contemporary vocal & orchestral work by Chinese composer Bright Sheng called The Phoenix, who was in the audience. Soprano Shana Blake Hill sang about the flight of the phoenix with passion and pristine vocal artistry. But it was pianist Nikolai Lugansky playing Rachmaninoff’s concerto no. 3 that brought the house down. Rolling it out with no flash, Lugansky, playing by memory, kept a keen eye on Dutoit and built this piece past its virtuosic requirements, into a living, breathing masterpiece. Lugansky’s accents and phrasing are completely interlocked with the fab Phils for this. At the end the entire audience lept to its feet and Nikolai took five curtains to a very appreciative crowd. It was great to see a lot of younger people there.
Can’t watch the live feed from the bottom of the Gulf and listen to more lies from BP. Also complete pissed at the conditional (wait for those reports from the showers fellas) repeal on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Gay soldiers are sacrificing for their country every day, dealing with three and four deployments in these endless wars. Congress is continuing to ‘study’ what effect the repeal would have on the military. Every day DADT is in place is a day of injustice.
All the other NATO nations let gay soldiers serve openly, with across the board reports that it strengthens units. But the reality on the ground in the US is trumped in 2010 by an apparently continuing loop of a 50s McCarthy psa about sex addicted homos. Those small dirty little minds who ignite myths about ‘unit cohesion’ that just prop up gay hate win the day. Again.
anyway, sorry to ramble all a lead in to escape to the world of dance and theater. ta, Lew
Opening night at the Wilma Theater’s US premiere of Leaving by Vaclav Havel was particularly joyous. Havel, whose career as a playwright stopped when he became president of the Czech Republic, was in the Wilma audience, along with other dignitaries including Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The play is receiving an elaborately designed production with Wilma’s Jiri Zizka directing a cast of fifteen.
David Strathairn stars in his fourth collaboration with the Wilma, including the ambitious Tom Stoppard play Every Good Boy Does Favor, performed with the full Philadelphia Orchestra in Verizon Hall.
President Havel and his wife were here and Secretary Albright, who is Czech and old friends with the Havels. They presented the cast with flowers onstage which is a Czech stage tradition. After the performance dancing broke out in the lobby and the broached one (an elegant replica of Castle Prague) was seen dancing with a Czech bodyguard along side of the Havels.
BDer hasn’t drilled into the environmental catastrophe engineered by the greedy assholes at BP, because the consequences of their actions is so fucking depressing. It is now the largest oil leak ever, which BP was trying to cover up. Who knows the longterm problems this gusher is creating. Wildlife, plant and sea life has already been dramatically affected.
As we wait for the next desperate attempt to contain this thing doesn’t inspire much confidence, the blame game is in full political gear. The right of course wants government to do more, that would be the same people who want government out of the business of business as usual. the hypocrisy, like the polluters, reek.
Meanwhile, this wasn’t President Obama’s Katrina in the initial days of the response, it is now. He did put the weight of his agencies in play but they obviously didn’t have contingencies plans, he has kept pressure on BP, but that obviously has not been enough. This mess points up the ongoing deficiencies to protect Louisiana coastline, that were supposed to be addressed post Katrina. Why aren’t weren’t the barriers built up?
President Obama is caught in the middle, because if he steps in then it exonerates BP from complete responsibility. But this seems to be the only choice as they just seem to be guessing at what to do next. The President needs to do whatever is necessary.
One way would be to mobilize environmental scientists and engineers to brainstorm a short and long-term solution. He should be using the full weight of the government involving the Coast Guard, Gulf industry workers and federal and local officials to coordinate an ongoing cleanup and coastal protection plans.
Maureen Dowd in her column in yesterday’s NYTs, lays out the sedition of BP executives and the US government who deregulated failsafe measures and allowed risky unprecedented engineering of the oil rig operating at that depth. Most damning are reports that they ignored and it seems covered up warnings that mechanisms on the rig weren’t failsafe enough.
Maybe the only silver lining in this is that Obama has set in motion measures to prevent another ecological disaster like this.
Gustavo Dudamel made his first appearance in Verizon Hall in Philadelphia in 2008 with the Israeli Philharmonic, in a triumphant performance. He returned this week with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as part of a two-week US tour for an intriguing program of John Adams ‘City Noir’ and that most beaten warhorse, Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique.
Dudamel was all business when he bounded onstage to a warm ovation and launched into the Adams commission that inaugurated his tenure as chief conductor for LAP last year. It is based on writings about the horrific ‘Black Dahlia’ murder of the late forties, the same era he musically dealt with in his opera ‘Dr. Atomic’ Like that work, Noir grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. Its musical relentlessness is perfectly suited to Dudamel’s symphonic approach. The piece evokes a matrix of light, shadow and clamorous humanity. It is a diorama of a tarnished tinsel town of busted up dreams.
Adams floods it with atmospherics. The tumultuous undercurrents build to hair-trigger chaotic orchestral overlays that Dudamel clearly articulates. The instrumentation is downright glamorous featuring swooping fanfares, squirrelly woodwinds, percussive recesses, moody sound effect and a lusty vibe and horn pas de deux.
Cinematic on the symphonic surface, Adams goes for more than stylizations with the work’s wily jazz spine. Keeping a sweaty, smoky after hours jam percolated were Timothy Mcallister’s volcanic sax, Christopher Hanulik’s strung-out bass and Kenneth McGrath‘s testy drum line. Adams jazz voicing are aggressive and left marvelously raw under Dudumel. On the symphonic side ‘Noir’ is an orchestral thriller, with all sections weighing in handily, and in violist Carrie Dennis‘s case, passionately.
Momix bloomed Botanica at the Annenberg this week and dancefans and the dance community swarmed to the design wizardry of choreographer Moses Pendleton’s colorful garden beasts, botany and flora. The phantasmagoria included Centaur mating dance. These were Dolce&Gabbana creatures with sleek brown velvet flanks and gleaming torsos. The pink fandango marigolds being menaced by a warrior dance of tweaked out male insects in the throes of death, the sunflower fandance that would have sent Busby Berkeley sulking on his boom, a fabric & strobe tempest, the dervish dancer with a crystal beaded headdress that she spun, at mach speed into an after shower cobweb, the virtually nude ensemble in a group sculpture that just swayed with the delicate balance.
Barack Obama started his presidency the day in 2008 when his Republican rival, John McCain ‘suspended’ his campaign (such a drama queen, I’ve heard more convincing dialogue from Palmer on All My Children) to save Wall Street. McCain was too stupid to realize he was an idiot, as Obama took the meeting away not only from him, but Bush and the leaders of both parties. Obama was leading before he was the leader.
During the Bush – Obama transition, an observer said (its) “begun with Kumbaya and ended with the music from Jaws.” This theme is the refrain in The Promise by Newsweek senior editor Jonathan Alter‘s play by play of the first year of the Obama administration.
Alter is aware of all of the lies being floated about Obama the man and his 1st year in office and he wants some of the record corrected. The telling subtext of The Promise is the ugly portrait of those who want, at all costs, to make Obama fail.
The book’s very insider accounts of already famous incidents connected to the Obama presidency are fully chronicled. Ted Kennedy‘s meltdown with Bill Clinton over Ted’s crucial endorsement of Obama. Candidate Obama taking advantage of McCain’s desperate campaign tactics. Rahm Emanuel dealing straight with the radioactive hack Rod Blagojevich, who tried to sell Obama’s Illinois Senate seat- just to name a few.
New details about Obama’s reacting with ’cold fury’ over conflicting statements by Gen. Stanley McCyrstal, Adm. Mike Mullen and David Petrarus over leaks and war strategy in Afghanistan. Alter reports that he dressed them down in the Oval Office in a manner between a President and the military not seen since Truman sacked MacArthur.
Rahm ‘begging’ the President not to take on health care reform in the first year because of the political cost to the president. Obama knowing early on that his political capital was draining fast as he pushed for more and more legislative measures to save the economy from collapse while pushing his own agendas.
This is a profile of Obama’s explosive dominance on the political landscape and the President’s mostly Zen master approach to solving the country‘s problems.
Alter is an authoritative political writer, and sometimes too meticulous, sometimes weighing down the book. He itemizes and wonks through seemingly every thought Obama had as he was putting his cabinet together. An appendixes for this detailing would serve the book better.
The story really picks up steam when he dissects what went into convincing his recent rival, Hillary Clinton, to accept his offer to be Secretary of State.
Under direct attack by obstructionist Republicans fanning the politics around the financial disaster and the cultural backlash of health care legislation show Obama’s MO of cool under fire on the front political line.