Monday, June 05, 2006

More proof that our local PBS station sucks: It was so busy with their intrusive begathon that it didn't have time to air the Live From the Met broadcast tonight, so it was left up to our valiant City Colleges of Chicago 2nd tier PBS station to do it, and may I just note that nothing ever sounded tinnier coming out of my crappy TV speakers. But it was still fun. It was the farewell tribute to Joseph Volpe, and I had forgotten much of his history: that he started as a carpenter (how biblical) at the old Met, that he had kind of found (the opera) god under the stage while listening to Nilsson & Corelli sing Turandot, and I want to say, WHO WOULDN'T. Lots of singers dragged out for the tribute, including Mirella Freni, who sounds like she *just* got off the boat when she speaks English--hilariously parodic--think she actually used the phrase "how you say." Funny--I just don't think she's as beloved here as she is at the Met, even though her late husband was a real Chicago regular. Dunno. Rene Pape wonderful...Dmitri Hvorostovsky his usual slightly quiet (in that context) and beautiful self. I love the name of the Volpe autobiography: it *is* the toughtest show on earth.

The thing that struck me watching the program for some reason was this little trope that I had forgotten I heard a lot in my childhood--the way that people say, "the Met," then quickly add "the OLD Met," when they're talking about the old building. That was a big distinction people made when they were talking about my greatgrandfather, who apparently subsidised his love of opera by being a spearcarrier when not in the standing room seats AT THE OLD MET (was always the addendum). The old Met with the curtain. It had this fairytale ring, and was intimately connected somehow to the idea of the old country and struggle--like that was the church, the temple of opera that the recent immigrants got for their new years in this country, where they brought their love of it. The OLD Met. Heard a lot of people saying that on the Volpe tribute. I guess it's just that I forgot I had a relative who liked opera that much, and on that side of the family (never met him, obviously)--there are more loud music lovers on the other side. I'd like to know more--always did. To me as a kid, standing room and being a spearcarrier sounded incredibly glamorous.

I have had very specific dreams about donating huge amounts of money to the 2nd and 3rd tier PBS stations in Chicago and leaving the big one out in the cold. I just can't figure out what they do with all their money--doesn't show up on what's on screen.

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There are an army of women populating my late-night TV: punching, kicking, abdominalmuscley, yelling, smiling, sweating, hyper, amenorrheic(-looking), devotees of whatever--Tae Bo, Yoga Booty Ballet, whatever. These exercising Californian women who often look like they literally are part of an army with all the olive green. I'm tired of them. They all have too-young girly hairdos and clothes slung low on their hips and are getting very tedious. I think they would be better-served fighting for something else.

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