Sunday, January 08, 2006

An Independent Hell

This evening I'm blogging from a train. Amtrak to Washinton, D.c. Ah, the glories of modern transportation. At each stop, I do a sweep of the wifi connections from the train. If this gets posted during the evening, I've been succesful finding a hotspot. Otherwise, I've uploaded from somewhere in DC. Why train? Because the bastards at Independence Air let me buy a ticket last Friday, only to announce that they are going under on Monday. Somewhere there's a room in hell waiting for these people: the soundtrack-Hummell Bassoon Concerto; interior design-Tammy Faye Baker; company-Bill O'Reilly; room service-Amtrak "Cafe" car. Oh, you'll suffer...even your stomach lining will suffer.

On the train I've been watching on my laptop a Korean movie, "Introducing My Girlfriend/Windstruck." It's a bit of a modern fairytale with love, love lost, and love regained (but with a not-dead love this time...). Strangely enough, the soundtrack seems to be all classic American tunes. In fact, much of it seems to be drawn from the same soundtrack as "Dirty Dancing." What does it say about the saturation of American media/music that our classic pop is used in a Korean movie to invoke nostalgia? (I know for a fact that Korea had a pretty popular pop scene back in the day. I've heard the tunes at noraebang.) Of course, sap that I am, I got all verklempt exactly when the movie makers intended. I wonder if Koreans have the same reaction?

Been reading Renee Fleming's "The Inner Voice: The Making of a Singer" for the past few days. Of course, the book has the occasional story of life on the road to keep the average reader interested. The meat and potatoes of the book seems for me to be a frank discussion of the trials and tribulations of staying viable as an artist. Fleming so far seems to attribute her constant growth to trying to be a good student. Occasionally I see slight hints of Diva, but that's to be expected from someone in her position. What lightens my mood and gives me some hope for singers and opera stars in particular is a constant drive to do better. By better, I don't mean the next high-falootin' gig, whether it be The Met or in front of a recital audience. Instead, she's looking for her own artistic evolution.

You're goddamned right. I'd like to throw this book as violently as possible at every public school music teacher in the land. Are you stagnating as you are honored with the responsibility of teaching the unsullied minds under your care? When was the last time you went to a concert? Last time you brought a musician into your school? Not just classical musicians: What about a Korean Komungo player? That shit would blow someone's mind definitely. Where's the money, you ask? There's plenty out there...Ask your local supermarket or bank what their educational grants are all about. It's a tax writeoff and advertising for them...

My shameful admission for the day: After a while of it sitting in my mental inbox, I'm finally making my way through Green Day's "American Idiot" this evening. This is a wonderful album, not the least for the title track. Try "Homecoming". These guys have certainly heard The Who and culled what they can use. These are just two tracks out of more than a handful of winners. These guys are obviously fans of 50's rock...Caught a hint of "Leader of the Pack" in "Jesus of Suburbia." See folks, there's good music coming from those cranked amplifiers...occasionally...

Alright...sleep beckons...Or perhaps another movie...or the Double-Chocolate muffin hidden away in a bag somewhere.