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Sunday, August 12, 2007

diary: day (two) of the blog

I know that with my sprawling posts I am violating blog decorum but I enjoyed yesterday's prolix experiments so much and was up until three in the morning monkeying with them. Part of being up until three in the morning was ending my monthlong abstinence from alcohol and caffeine and getting further amperage from the cataclysmic electrical storm that blew through last night. The sky was constantly flickering at the horizons and then, after midnight, it was exploding with light. While it was still at a distance--we had stars overhead--I threw a blanket down on the lawn and blasted Holst's Planets: Mars, the Bringer of War, from the colony sound system, which with the clouds at the periphery of the valley lighting up as if under bombardment was the ideal accompaniment. One of my great experiences as an orchestra musician was playing first fiddle in that piece with Paul Zukofsky conducting the Juilliard Orchestra. He took it twice slower and drier than anyone I've ever heard and the resulting sense of menace was devastating. Zukofsky understood the Planets intuitively--as the violist in my quartet observed, the suite is a sort of "Ma Vlast" for him.

I have five hours left in my studio and have only blogging ambitions. Lots of photos to go through and edit and post, and also I owe the blog a piece of literary criticism promised near the launch.

I will try to keep my entries short.

But first a word about alcohol and caffeine--the latter came exclusively from a bittersweet chocolate souffle with Earl Grey custard sauce that I made for the group because everyone was ending their residency with a massive egg surplus. Even though I had to substitute soy milk for cow's, the dessert was a big success--especially the sauce. Here's the recipe, which is by far the most basic I've used for souffle.

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Paul Festa’s first film, Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006, 51 min), captures the responses of 31 artists to the apocalyptic music of Olivier Messiaen (with Justin Bond, John Cameron Mitchell, Harold Bloom; screenings: Grace Cathedral, Barbican Centre, Library of Congress; “Remarkable”The New Yorker; “Stunning”Chicago Sun-Times; “Sublime”Globe & Mail; numerous awards). Festa performs the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, opposite members of the San Francisco Ballet and The Cockettes, in his award-winning second film, The Glitter Emergency (2010, 20 min), a silent-film drag ballet comedy (“Enormous visual and musical inventiveness…full of pleasure and joy...Festa gives a bravura performance."—Film Threat). He produced, wrote and edited, with director Austin Forbord, and was chief archivist, for the Emmy-nominated documentary Stage Left: A Story of Theater in San Francisco (2010, 80 min: with Robin Williams, Bill Irwin, Peter Coyote; screenings: Geary Theater, KQED; “Intriguing...entertaining...a valuable record”—Variety). Performances as violinist and actor: ODC Theater, Center for Performance Research, Kunst-Stoff, TheatreFIRST, North Bay Shakespeare, Albert Fuller's Helicon Ensemble (Merkin Hall, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall). US, Boston, NYC, SF, LA and DC (Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress on the “Betts” Stradivarius) premieres of Messiaen’s Fantaisie for violin and piano. He is the author of OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, based on Apparition of the Eternal Church, and several anthologized essays, and has written for The Daily Beast, Salon, Nerve, and The New York Times Book Review. Current projects include a novel and Tie It Into My Hand (2014, ca. 80 min), a documentary feature that has screened as a work in progress at the Cannes film market and at ODC Theater in San Francisco (with Alan Cumming, Gary Graffman, Peter Coyote, Mink Stole, Robert Pinsky; "A fascinating exploration of the artistic life, as rollickingly entertaining as it is insightful and stirring."San Francisco Bay Guardian). Education: Yale (B.A.; prizes, honors, distinction), Juilliard (Cert., Adv. Cert., scholarships). Residencies: Yaddo, MacDowell, ODC Theater, Centre des R├ęcollets.

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