31 December 2017

Haiku 2017/365

Wander off the path.
Follow the distant bird-song.
Shadows are waiting.

30 December 2017

Haiku 2017/364

last Christmas tree left
on the whole block of houses
blinking in the dark

29 December 2017

Haiku 2017/363

the lakeside trees wave
at their rippling reflections
waving back and forth

Friday photo 2017/52

Christmas garland festooning Disney's California Adventure park, November 2017

28 December 2017

Haiku 2017/362

Shadows come quickly.
Clear skies, winter afternoon.
It's warm in the sun.

27 December 2017

Haiku 2017/361

smudged grey winter light
shadows of crooked branches
songs of unseen birds

26 December 2017

fun stuff I may or may not get to: January 2018

ACT presents Pinter's The Birthday Party, directed by Carey Perloff, from 10 January to 4 February.

The Aurora Theatre presents Shaw's Widowers' Houses, directed by Joy Carlin, from 26 January to 25 February.

The San Francisco Symphony presents Bernstein's Candide from 18 to 21 January, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas.

Cal Performances presents the Peking Acrobats for three performances on 27 - 28 January.

Early / Baroque Music
The San Francisco Early Music Society presents a concert to ring in the new year with Vajra Voices, joined by Shira Kammen on vielle and harp and Kit Higginson on recorder and psaltery, playing music they describe as luscious and florid – sounds like a delightful way to fend off the winter chills, assuming we actually get some by then. You can hear the program on 5 January at First Presbyterian in Palo Alto, 6 January at St John's Presbyterian in Berkeley, and 7 January at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco.

Modern / Contemporary Music
Lieder Alive! presents new works by Kurt Erickson, Luna Pearl Woolf, and Mark Carlson, performed by soprano Heidi Moss Erickson, mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich, and pianists Ronny Michael Greenberg and Kurt Erickson, on 14 January at the Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players present works by Don Byron, Ryan Brown, Vivian Fung, Meredith Monk, Frederic Rzewski, and John Zorn, and the great Meredith Monk will be there in person, both to perform and to discuss her works. The concert takes place 19 January at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; at 4:00 there is a rehearsal of Fung's piece, followed by a conversation among Fung and Brown facilitated by incoming Artistic Director Eric Dudley. That part is free and open to the public. For ticket buyers there is a 6:30 conversation among Dudley and the players, followed by the concert (the conversation with Monk is part of the concert) and a post-concert reception.

Meredith Monk will also be conducting an afternoon workshop and lecture at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 18 January.

On 20 January the Center for New Music hosts a concert in honor of composer Libby Larsen, featuring pianist Paul Dab, soprano Anne Hepburn Smith, violist Justine Preston, and clarinetist James Pytko. As always, check out the Center's calendar, as new events are frequently added.

On 27 January at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music the ZOFO Duet (pianists Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi) performs a new Pictures at an Exhibition, featuring music by Samuel Carl Adams, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Sahba Aminikia, Avner Dorman, Cécile Marti, Lei Liang, Pawel Mykietyn, Kenji Oh, Keyla Orozco, Pablo Ortiz, Gabriel Prokofiev, Jonathan Russell, Gilles Silvestrini, Carl Vine, and I Wayan Gde Yudane. Each composer has chosen a painting as the basis of his or her piece, and the painting will be projected while the piece is played during the concert.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music presents a Faculty Centennial Concert, featuring works by Elinor Armer, Shinji Eshima, David Garner, and Conrad Sousa, on 28 January; the concert is free and does not require reservations or tickets.

Trumpeter Chris Botti appears at the SF Jazz Center from 9 to 14 January.

Vijay Iyer has a four-night residency (18 - 21 January) at the SF Jazz Center.

Michael Tilson Thomas leads the San Francisco Symphony in performances of Beethoven's Leonore 3, Mozart's Piano Concerto 14, Schoenberg's Piano Concerto (Emanuel Ax is the soloist for both the Mozart and the Schoenberg), and Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, and that's 11 - 13 January at Davies Hall.

New Century Chamber Orchestra celebrates Mozart's birthday with an all-Mozart program, with concert master Daniel Hope as the violin soloist and pianists Menahem Pressler (only on 27 January, which is the actual birthday) and Sebastian Knauer (all the other dates); you can hear them on 25 January at First Congregational in Berkeley, 26 January at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto, 27 January at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and 28 January at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center.

The San Francisco Symphony presents the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in two programs, both conducted by Charles Dutoit: OK, Dutoit has been relieved of his position due to allegations of sexual misconduct, and as of today (26 December) although his name has been scrubbed from the SF Symphony's website, no replacement has been announced. Oddly the Symphony appears to be continuing with its year-long celebration of Leonard Bernstein, about whom substantial allegations, as well as rumors, also flew. Anyway, on 28 January someone will be leading the RPO as they play Debussy's Petite Suite (arranged by Büsser), Haydn's Cello Concerto 1 (with soloist Gautier Capuçon), and Stravinsky's Firebird; then on 29 January someone, possibly the same person, will lead them as they play Respighi's Fountains of Rome, the Liszt Piano Concerto 2 (with soloist Jean-Yves Thibaudet), and Stravinsky's Petrushka.

Chamber Music
Anthony McGill, chief clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic, joins the touring Musicians from Marlboro – violinists Emilie-Anne Gendron and David McCarroll, violist Daniel Kim, and cellist Marcy Rosen – in a program featuring works by Beethoven, Penderecki, and Brahms, presented by Cal Performances on 28 January in Hertz Hall.

Mezzo-soprano Ilana Walder-Biesanz and pianist Daniel Alley give a recital titled Trousers and Tragediennes, which covers a lot of the mezzo repertory, at the Center for New Music on 27 January.

San Francisco Performances presents Stephen Hough playing Debussy, Schumann, and Beethoven at Herbst Theater on 18 January.

San Francisco Performances has two pianists in their PIVOT series: Sarah Cahill, along with Kate Stenberg, the Alexander String Quartet, and the William Winant Percussion Group, will perform works by Lou Harrison on 24 January at the Strand Theater; and on 26 January, also at the Strand, composer/pianist Timo Andres will play music by himself, Caroline Shaw, Christopher Cerrone, and Eric Shanfield. Please note that, for some reason beyond my understanding, the PIVOT concerts don't start until 8:30 PM and the seating is general admission, so be warned before you buy tickets.

The Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive presents a film series, running from 17 January to 25 April, exploring Sergei Eisenstein in the context of his contemporaries.

Savion Glover appears at the SF Jazz Center with drummer Marcus Gilmore (4 - 5 January) and drummer Jack DeJohnette (6 - 7 January).

San Francisco Performances has two dance group in their PIVOT series: LA Dance Project at the Strand Theater on 23 January and the Joe Goode Performance Group, also at the Strand, on 27 January. Unfortunately and inexplicably, as with all the PIVOT performances the start time is 8:30 PM, even on work nights, and the seating is general admission, so bear that in mind before buying tickets.

The San Francisco Ballet opens its season with The Sleeping Beauty (music by Tchaikovsky and choreography by Helgi Tomasson after Marius Petipa), which runs at the Opera House from 23 January to 4 February.

Haiku 2017/359 - 360

2017/360 (26 December 2017)
the lights are turned low
we go about our business
silent empty rooms


2017/359 (25 December 2017)
so neatly raked up
on a cold winter morning:
a pile of brown leaves

25 December 2017

Museum Monday #15

detail of The Nativity with the Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel by Duccio di Buoninsegna in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

24 December 2017

Haiku 2017/358

shattered glass glitters
haloed around the wrecked car
no one is about

23 December 2017

Haiku 2017/357

those leaves are still green,
still clinging to their home branch:
what does winter mean

22 December 2017

21 December 2017

Haiku 2017/355

plates of tempura
rays of afternoon sunlight
little piles of gold

20 December 2017

Haiku 2017/354

little maple leaves
curled and red on the green lawn:
shoals of tiny crabs

19 December 2017

Haiku 2017/353

overnight rainclouds
under cover of darkness
we wake to damp dawns

18 December 2017

17 December 2017

Haiku 2017/351

darkness descending
colored Christmas lights twinkle
like streets full of stars

16 December 2017

Haiku 2017/350

too sick for haiku
but perceptions keep coming
just not in right measures

15 December 2017

14 December 2017

Haiku 2017/348

flopping like a fish
day sinks beneath the waters
such pretty moonshine

13 December 2017

Haiku 2017/347

eating fried chicken
watching little birds fly by
life sure is funny

12 December 2017

Haiku 2017/346

little golden leaves
dropping as the rain would drop
if it ever rained

11 December 2017

10 December 2017

Haiku 2017/344

high office windows
the cars look like little toys
the people like ants

09 December 2017

Haiku 2017/343

a car rattles past
the streets are empty again
cold stars, and silence

08 December 2017

Haiku 2017/342

against the low light
grey cats in the grey shadows
are they really there

Friday Photo 2017/49

the Washington Monument from the entry to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, October 2017

07 December 2017

Haiku 2017/341

lone bird on the lake –
now I see there's a whole flock! –
melting in the dark

06 December 2017

Haiku 2017/340

fallen from the tree
a branch, thick and mostly dead
shattered into twigs

05 December 2017

Haiku 2017/339

garbage night again
cats curling up on the bins
until the trucks come

04 December 2017

Haiku 2017/338

strong winds blow outside
their messages lost to me
as I lie inside

Museum Monday #12

coffin in the shape of a Nokia cell phone, by Samuel Narh Nartey of Ghana, in the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC; coffins shaped like items important to the deceased were popularized in the mid-1950s by Ghanaian artist Kane Kwei

03 December 2017

Haiku 2017/337

austerely spiny
plumped by occasional rains
cactus in winter

Haiku 2017/336

red velvet curtains
pulled slowly back in the dark
we begin dreaming

01 December 2017

Haiku 2017/335

wrapped in newspaper
anxiously clutched in his hand:
a gentle bouquet

Friday photo 2017/48

roller coaster reflection at Disney's California Adventure park, November 2017