Saturday, July 20, 2019

a week

A steady, or possibly steadily increasing, amount of my time has been devoted to dealing with planning for Mythcon. Which is in two weeks. Getting the schedule ready, which is still not quite done because some tweaks need to be made because of late changes, and dealing with making sure the site is set up properly. This is frustrating, and more so for the chair, who's on the spot in San Diego, than for me, because while the site conference people are friendly and informative, they sometimes inform you of things only considerably after it would have been helpful to know it, and they don't always respond to e-mail or phone calls or get ready things that they'd promised.

It's almost enough to make us think fondly of our other finalist site, which was a resort hotel. But the facilities they'd offered us were no more than adequate, and they did tell us there'd be some construction going on during the time of the con. It didn't sound like too much, but we drove past the site on my last visit down less than two weeks ago, and the place was no longer recognizable. It looked like a war zone.

That renovations, this time un-previously announced, is part of what's causing difficulties where we are is merely ironic.

Meanwhile, is anything else getting done? Only the essentials. My car needs servicing before we go; I need to meet with my broker to arrange funds to pay some bills that will be due as soon as we get back; but my library job is getting put on hold until then; so are some other big planning tasks; and most of what I need to do for the memorial for B's sister is taken care of, except that I need to phone them and find out which is true, that the city will open the building on the day or that I need to pick up keys the day before, both of which are stated on paperwork I have. Otherwise I only have to worry about the day itself, during which I will probably have to keep patrolling to ensure that none of the guests, most of whom I won't know, are neither smoking nor drinking, both of which are strictly prohibited.

In the meantime, it's Menlo Festival time, a busy season at my other job. I have to miss most of it this year due to Mythcon, and what I've got isn't the choicest end of the program. I've reviewed one concert so far, a rather dutiful violin-and-piano recital of bristling early 20C music, and I've gotten to one talk, Escher Quartet violinist Aaron Boyd on early recordings and what they tell us of historical performance practice, and how we should respond to this. This is exactly the topic of all the Stanford symposiums I've been attending over the last decade, so there was not much new about that, though Boyd's observations that pupils don't always sound much like their teachers, and his conclusion that players should find their own styles, were welcome. Though perhaps addressing the last admonition to the teenage students who formed the main part of the audience might be premature, as at their age they should still be learning how to express themselves at all. Finding their personal styles can come later. Boyd, as he pointed out, is 40: old enough to have his style be his selling point.

Non-Menlo, I was sent to test out the premiere classical series at Stanford's refurbished Frost Amphitheater, so I reviewed the venue as much as the concert. It wasn't as horrifying getting in as at the Hollywood Bowl, but it was grinding enough. And then I get one of those inane comments to the effect that only other professional musicians can judge, this time not even about a criticism. Of course I can tell if the singers sound like they're enjoying themselves! How could I not be able to tell that?

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