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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Two radio interviews Thursday

By chance, I am on two radio shows tomorrow and they're both on 91.7 listener-supported public radio KALW.

The first show, Artery ("cultural coverage that pumps blood to your brain"), airs about ten minutes before the 9 a.m. Terry Gross. It's a terrific piece, I think, with nicely integrated clips from Albert Fuller, Ana Matronic, Marga Gomez, and Harold Bloom. (Here's the mp3 if you missed it on the air.) I could nitpick at a few things - I didn't describe Christianity per se as repulsive, but its martyrdom art. And for my taste the introduction's use of the terms "liberal" and "conservative" - not to mention "bigotry" to characterize Messiaen's religion - is far too reductive. As always, you miss some things that wound up on the cutting room floor along with your stuttering, malapropisms and retractions, and on this issue of Messiaen's amalgam of theological orthodoxy and musical radicalism, I argued in a missing part of the conversation that some of Messiaen's theology - especially concerning the manifestation of God's voice in birdsong, and the unvarnished eroticism of his love of Christ - hardly qualifies as reactionary. Still, the reporter, Nathanael Johnson, got to the heart of things - he illuminated meaningful themes about belief and aesthetic bliss that I wanted the film to sound. It was gratifying to listen to his synthesis.

Bonus: on the Web page, Artery bestows upon OH MY GOD its first quotable criticism (actually the first thing pretty much anybody has said about it beyond "cool idea"):
"a beautiful and insightful book."
FYI - the text-only edition (no pictures, and only $15 as opposed to $40 for the fully illustrated version) is now available.

The second radio show I'm on tomorrow is Out In The Bay. It airs at today at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday April 13th at 2:00 p.m., with simultaneous streams at After that, you have 3 months to get the podcast or on-demand version out of the archive.

Nine days until 4/18! Between now and then I have to get through two fundraisers, a number of rehearsals, a panel discussion at Grace Cathedral Sunday the 13th at 9:30 a.m. and several thousand more logistical details that need to be resolved by next week.

Also, if anyone knows how to get the print media to return my calls, let me buy you a beer

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About Me

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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.