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LOG - 14

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16 Nov 2002 - I catch the Japanese speedcore (is there such a word?) band, Melt Banana, doing their thing at the Ottobar in Baltimore on a rainy night. The weather is similar to what I left in Germany -- chilly and wet.
Playing on drums is a white American, Dave Witte. He's with the New Jersey grind-core band, Burnt by the Sun, and played with MB in their recent European tour.

27 Nov - I checked out the Studio 360 radio show website archive for the piece run last weekend on pianist and PhD., Vijay Iyer. It was pretty interesting.

9 Dec - I saw part of a rerun on the Salt Lake City PBS station, KUED, of "Empire of the Air". It was about the pioneers of radio (Lee De Forrest, Edwin Armstrong, and David Sarnoff) and their relationships with each other.
I currently find myself in Tooele, Utah. (The correct pronunciation of the town is "too-illuh".)

19 Dec - At a record store in Torrance, California, I picked up various free music magazines. One of them, "Campus Circle", contains an interview of Bic Runga, a New Zealand singer/songwriter. She says that this month and next, she's renting a house in L.A. and planning to write some songs. Runga is truly API; she's part Chinese and part Maori.

20 Dec - I went to the Pacifica radio station in North Hollywood (KPFK, near Universal Studios entertainment park) after midnight to check out the new API show. "Aziatik Rhythms" airs from 1am to 3am. It's a wonder that anyone may be awake to listen to the show, but the phone lines were ringing with people wanting to kick it with on-air guest writers/performers and staff, who were discussing sexism and related stuff.

11 Jan - At the Red Room in Baltimore, I saw cellist Audrey Chen start off a night of improv. It was evident she had much classical training with the instrument.
Next to her, she'd suspended a pillow-like object. Upon it was projected the face of a man wearing Chinese opera make-up as the mythic Monkey character. After a while, I ignored it. No added value to the performance. Chen's performance was engrossing enough.

12 Jan - Listened to an interview of singer/songwriter Vienna Teng on National Public Radio. She was interviewed by Lianne Hanson on "Weekend Edition / Sunday".
I found myself somewhat bothered by her response to the question, whether she considers herself an "Asian American" musician. "No," she replied, "an American musician." (For heavens sake! The labels needn't be considered mutually exclusive... I guess she was concerned about alienating some of the white audience.)

20 Jan - Saw Vienna Teng on CBS tv's "Late Night with David Letterman". She performed her "Gravity" song, with backing from the show's band. I thought she was okay, but would've preferred the stronger presence of an Emm Gryner or the music of Jenny Choi and her band.

18 Feb - I heard on the radio (the CBC's "As It Happens") that today is Yoko Ono's 70th birthday. I found a 2nd-hand quote of her's in the current issue of Bitch magazine. She's referring to those John Lennon fans who felt that she broke up the Beatles and "controlled" Lennon:

In a 1997 Paper interview, she told bell hooks, "I think some people were annoyed by the fact that a woman of color was sitting next to this white hero, but then they got used to me in a way. And then the next time they saw a woman of color, they would have a different context... I feel like maybe that's what I was used for in a way. In the big picture, I feel almost [like] that was my fate."

22 Feb - Checked out the Ying Quartet at a concert in Columbia, Maryland. They played pieces by Samuel Barber, Ned Rorem, Chen Yi, and Ludwig van Beethoven (in that order).
Their sound was porous; it seemed to breathe. Nothing overpowering. (That reminds me of an interview I did years ago with a cousin who plays in a string quartet. I'd asked him about having 2 violins. He said that one he used for playing with orchestras. I guess he needed something that could shine above the other instruments. His other violin he used for chamber music.)...

26 Feb - I have seen the future! Cybernetic tai chi! That's how I'd label Pikapika, Tomie Hahn's female character based on anime', martial arts, traditional Japanese dance. And what makes it cyber are the sensors and speakers that Hahn wears to create an improvised sonic movement across the auditorium and onto the stage. And once on stage, she steps between the video projector and a screen, immersing herself in the flow of rasterized photons. And now her movements not only create and control sounds, but also alter the video. Sometimes with an outstretching of her arms, she will fractionate the picture into countless miniature pictures.
This, and more, was performed tonight at UMBC (university of maryland, baltimore county).


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