Friday, August 12, 2016


Leftover from before my trip, because it went up on the web while I was gone, is my review of the Redwood Symphony Mahler 8. This, Joshua Kosman, is how you review a good performance of a work you strongly dislike.

(I subsequently learned that the choir mikes were not set properly during the first part, though they were fixed at intermission. That may have contributed to the acoustic problems, but I'm convinced there was more to the acoustic difficulties than that.)

Wednesday, after returning, I went up to the City - another obscure venue in the Mission district - for a talk, because I'd gotten an invitation for it. John Dickerson, whom I gather is something or other on television, but I know him for his writings on Slate (which issued the invitation, because I subscribe), would be telling stories from his new book Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History, and a copy of the book was included in the price. I thought I'd like the book, and the talk sounded entertaining, so I went.

It was indeed entertaining. Dickerson gave his stories with witty relish, making even obscure scandals of the 19th century come alive, and he began with a tale with local flavor: the 1964 Republican convention. As he described the venue, the Cow Palace, as "an aging concrete Quonset-like structure outside San Francisco," those of us who've been there nodded sagely. Then he told the story of Nelson Rockefeller getting booed there, and didn't neglect to draw the parallels with Ted Cruz getting the same treatment from the same party this year.

After an hour of talk and half an hour of answering questions, there was an opportunity to stand in a long line to get the book signed, but I skipped out on that and trudged back to the BART station, dipping into the thoroughly non-chronological book on the ride home.

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