I attended last year's local edition of the Women's March, so I saw no reason not to attend this year's as well. B. was also physically up to attending, and signed up as a volunteer. She was stationed in the park at the end of the march, where she spent most of her time trying to keep the crowds from trampling through the bushes (where the grapes of wrath are stored, no doubt).
Whether this year's march was bigger than last year's was hard to tell from ground level, though I think it was. There were certainly more pussy hats, given more time to knit them. Many of the same signs made a re-appearance. Of the new signs, I most liked the puns:
TWEET WOMEN WITH RESPECT
NO FRACKING WAY
WE SHALL OVERCOMB
ELECTILE DYSFUNCTION IS WHY WE RISE
PUBLIC CERVIX ANNOUNCEMENT: HANDS OFF
IT'S TIME TO OVARY-ACT
(another sign read WE ARE NOT OVARY-ACTING. What's the message here?)
There were also a strange number of misspellings that don't seem to have been intended as puns:
NO WALL, NO DRILLING: HANS OFF CALIFORNIA ("hans," really?)
IF YOU ARE NOT ANGERY, YOU'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION (which made me want one reading SO ANGERY I CAN'T SPELL)
However, despite the need for remedial English, the march was better organized than last year. It commenced on time, instead of an hour late (possibly because it adopted the clever technique of designating last year's actual starting time as this year's intended starting time), and took a different, rather longer path to a much larger park, where long lines of port-a-potties, informational booths, and a few food trucks awaited. Last year's speakers were mostly local politicians who bloviated; this year's were more community organizers who burbled. After a bit I started hobbling slowly back towards the starting area, where we'd parked and where I could rest up for a bit in the city library.
After reuniting by cell phone and via car with B. and her fellow-volunteer friend to whom we'd given a ride, whom I hadn't seen for 6 hours since the organizers whisked them away at the staging area two hours before starting time, we drove back and then I left again for a conveniently-scheduled birthday party for my 3-year-old nephew.
The kids played in one room under the eyes of their mothers while I sat in another, which my sister-in-law had festively decorated with balloons and letter-shaped cookies (the latter spelling out the boy's name), listening to a group of men my brother's age have a wide-ranging conversation touching on military service, computer programming, sports, and other topics I know nothing about, culminating with them mock-bragging to each other about how little Tagalog they know, underlining that what they and my brother have in common is that they're all white guys who've married Filipina women. That's the social group here. I and our only local cousin, with whom I had a more productive conversation, were the odd ones out.
But I had to leave early from that too, to get back closer to home for a concert. Chamber Music Silicon Valley, a small but scrappy local group, was putting on a mini-marathon concert, what they boldly hope will be the first annual rendition, of all six Brandenburg Concertos by J.S. Bach.
I've heard such a program before, under the sedate gaze of the Carmel Bach Festival. This one was livelier.The Brandenburgs may be played as chamber pieces, but the varied instrumentations mean you still have to gather a lot of players, so putting this together was a big job. One important role went unfilled, alas, and the clarino trumpet part in No. 2 was played by one of the French horns recruited for No. 1. May I say that this substitution did not work.
Other than that, though, from the dissonant village-band style of the massive No. 1 through the parts in Nos. 4 and 5 where the ensemble coordination threatened to, and in one place actually did, come totally unstuck, it was fun and a bit edgy. The six were played in the order 6, 3, 4, 1, 5, 2, which connoisseurs will observe is approximately the order of increasing instrumental color. It was a good show, even at the end of a tiring day.