19.10.13

popular man recommends silence


my housemate/one of my dearest friends/boss has been out of action with bad case of (well, perporated) appendix- after couple days in ICU, he's finally home and starting to resemble a normal man.  expected recovery time is anywhere between two to four weeks. we'll see how it goes.

ive been filling in for his work; some tasks are familiar (ex. recording and editing), some are brand new (ex. live PA work).  it is daunting to get into a new task with your mentor far away. and that everyone questions whether you can manage:

he's not here? who's doing it?
you?!?  (they start to sweat)
but you move chairs! are you sure?

i understand the concern- mainly from two points:

1. that everyone's projects are very important to each individual and they do not want to take any chances.
2. they are used to seeing me moving chairs. so me doing complicated tech work does not compute.
so it makes them nervous. 

perhaps it wouldve been the best to find someone, then school couldve hired them. that couldve calmed the clients, as they would not have pre-context to bring in to the situation.

but i am drawn to challenges. so this wk, i learned to do live PA work in fifteen minutes and ran two shows with no problems.  the second show was for indigo event rental for the writer chuck palahniuk, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Palahniuk, running multiple channels and multiple sources.  yes. the chance of feed-back was imminent.

but event went fine. the tech staff and event staff were happy. i was happy. boss was happy that everything worked without any glitch.

before the event, i was called into the green room, as mr. palahniuk wanted to discuss 'lighting' effect for the talk.  then he and i sat in the green room for a bit. being a generous person (thats the sense i got from his talk), i wondered if he was giving me time, should/if i wanted to express my fan-ness (as event was full of his devote followers).  i do like his works and ive read them. i remember them. i wanted to say something. but i realized that he mustve been surrounded by his nutsy fans for all these days- everyone wanting a piece of him. i did.

then i decided that the best option is to leave him for a bit of silence (before i came, green rm was closed, with his staff congregating by the door- obviously he wanted some space), before he has to be an extrovert on a stage, people hungry to consume his gift, energy and wanting love (from him, as they love him).

'sir, i appreciate your work- especially the way you mix the grotesque and humour. but i am also aware that you are on a talk tour.  i wont take more of your time- i got the cues for lighting change, have a great show. looking forward.'

he looked up and with a smile, said thanks.

the audience were encouraged to ask him questions. one of the questions were: what would your advice be, for a newborn baby?

he thought for a bit. i dont think it was a dramatic pause. it felt genuine.

then he said: 
dont be afraid to offer the baby some silence.

the world is full of things pushing into your life- television, the internet, (we) are now in the attention deficit disorder generation... without silence, things cannot take place. we worry about silence. but if we can be conditioned to be comfortable, and to employ silence as part of our lives, it would be a good thing.

this probably was my favorite thing i heard this week.

walking back after the show, i bowed to self to give myself some silence. silence from media. silence from opinions and freely offered advices. silence from self/others' criticism. silence from the insane jealousy and unhappiness that comes from discourse of life.

im not very good. but may be i can be. when you run a mixer with live sound, and when the speaker feeds the microphone, we get some real nasty noise- feedback.  that screeching insanity that reverberates in people's head.  and being too acutely aware of external inputs into one's life (especially when they are given without personal considerations), and feeding the unhelpful ones to one's psyche, no wonder, a nasty feedback will happen. and it does. it wears me out. makes me sad. angry. frustrated.

but i am going to practice. to give self some silence. 

here's to hope.

12.10.13

if i was a better listener...


peter is away from home today.  the house is now really quiet- usually, we are snickering over the series of night time shows-  jon stewart, jay reno, jimmy fallon then to craig ferguson. he would be on the futon, easing into sleep and i would be writing emails and emails and more emails...

we've been friends for good 14 years or so. during those years, we grew together and apart, simultaneously. we often argue- like one little dog (me) biting the ankle of much larger dog (peter).  in one argument, i ran all the way down from 32nd floor to the first floor, then walked back up, just to let the steam out.  but there's no argument that he's one of the dearest people in my life.

though we may disagree and make all kinda silly accusations, he can have anything that i have. and he is incredibly generous with me- time and efforts, especially. the way he tries to meet my musing standards- like rolled socks in the hamper means death screeching to follow, i am quite touched, even if i have to unroll those socks once in awhile.

yesterday, he started to feel unwell. by the night, around jay reno, he was quite poorly. but he's often ill (low immunity), so we thought may be we should stay away from the hospital (where ill people go with infections!).  but in the early morning, he went to st. mike's hospital- only to let me know later that they are gonna do a small butchery! *appendicitis

may be we couldve sent him earlier if i was a better listener.
may be i am crazy. i dont know.
i do know that i feel badly that i didnt realize that it was serious any earlier...

i dropped by in the afternoon, then had to run back to school to cover his shift. by the time all things were done, it was already 9pm as i was leaving the school.  i half-ran to the hospital with his daily meds and small things, however, he's still in the recovery room (an ICU) and i would have to wait till tomorrow to talk to him.

i wish i was nicer to him yesterday when he was feeling ill. i wish him to get better soon and come home. the recovery may take  a bit and that makes me sad, sitting all alone in the little nest on 32nd floor downtown building.  i can see st. mike's from here- sleep well, peter.  i am all ears trying to hear you snoring off the night..

i miss you.
get better soon!

6.10.13

week of resonance and light


slightly ( ! ) music-filled week this was: peter grimes dress run @ canadian opera company, then nine inch nails show @ air canada centre, playing in nuit blanche 2013 @ canadian music centre, now working backstage for string quartet/octet concert at the univ...!

peter grimes was a heartbreaker and i am strongly encouraging everyone to go see it- the idea of ostracism is both old and new; along with the dry, acerbic music of britten,  

the nine inch nails show was fantastic- a big proper stadium show, with massive amount of electronic gears, moving screens and agitating rhythmic beats that disturbs calm and peace- it's quite nice to be provoked and feel the rising energy of the audience with the band.  makes me wonder how we could emulate that kind of general acceptance and love for 'classical' music.  yes, im envious! the band always touches very sensitive, if dark part of being an individual- and for me, it's always felt genuine.  hurts, because it's real.  and what a satisfaction to hear them close the show with 'hurt':

...beneath the stains of time
the feelings disappear
you are someone else
i am still right here...

then came nuit blanche- i was part of the canadian music centre's installation project that involved lights that interacted with sound, concept and execution by LeuWebb project:

what is nuit blanche? different peo'ple will tell you different things, though the general idea is about breaking the 'ordinary,' to invite, provide (objects of possible interests), provoke an interpretation- hence turning the night into an 'artistic' experience.

i always feel uncertain whenever i communicate regarding the definition/context of 'arts,' as ai weiwei (and may others) said, anything can be art... and one's preference, which overrules the objective meanings of events and things, is the essential part of 'artifying.' once we acknowledge that, the world is an endless oceans of choices and preferences, with absence of hope for the 'definitive.'

last night, as musicians took chairs at cmc, people rolled in and out. they listend, they saw. they talked and may be they even created memories.  what would it (the experience) become later? i wistfully wonder- as life fades memories fast, and though we hold onto it with great zeal, it's not of the present...

it was great playing some new music (i learned some new rep for the show, hooray), have the pretty lights to look at and enjoy the company of many interesting people.  was it artistic? i have no clue. all i can say is i appreciate everyone's efforts and care that went into it- especially the staff of the centre, composers (living and dead), peers and the great tradition of western classical music that i am part of, and of the people who took risks to spend the time with the installation...

with a small snippet from last night, i bid you all an artistic day.  let us transcend above the mundane

3.10.13

warmth in my cradled and tear-stained hands

on way back from canadian opera company's production of peter grimes, one of my favorite operas, i walked by a bird on ground.

then i walked back to see if i saw it right- birds dont usually stay on ground this time of the night in busy streets?

alas, it mustve hit the eaton centre building (the end closer to city hall and the court building)...

i understand that many birds do die crashing in to the building. ive seen a few. except, this little wee one, was still moving a bit, breathing hard and slow, wings twitching.

bunch of teenagers passed by, ah so sad. whatever, it's probably fine. gross, is it dead?

i picked it up and i didnt know what to say- im sorry, little bird, im no soothsayer, im stuck. i dont even know what i could offer you.  i dont even know what to do with you-

in the opera, peter grimes, at the end, takes his boat out and sinks it. there's no mention of what happened to him.  and when people saw that boat was sinking, there was only a small speculation about the 'boat,' but not of peter grimes.

somehow, the bird was also leaving this world, quietly, without any acknowledgement from the watching public.

i broke in tears. i walked with it slowly fading away in my cradled hands.  and by the time i was near home, it was no longer moving. still warm.

i found some weekly newspaper box. found a clean-ish page and wrapped it and decided to leave it in the lidded garbage receptacle- so that other animals wont chew on it.  of course, it must be part of the cycle, however, while i had watched it leave, i couldnt leave it out.

what a fragile world we live in. oh heartbreaks.
http://youtu.be/3SKutCY_Gyc