This last week saw several Cycling '74 folks leaving behind their solitary monastic cells and journeying to the great city of N'awlins [New Orleans, to the rest of you] for the 2006 ICMC computer music conference and festival. Although no words will suffice to describe what remains after Katrina's passing, the dignity and pride of the inhabitants or the Big Easy, or the warm welcome from Tae Hong Park and the fine folks at Tulane, here's a modest report on what we saw and heard (and ate).
As many of you know, the c74 headquarters is in San Francisco and we are, like many around here, utterly food-obsessed. It is a constant source of entertainment as well as an obvious source of fuel. Everyone has their opinions on the best places to go -- whether it's a hole-in-the-wall or the ueber-pricey. We tend toward the former and dream of the latter. Our dreams are likely better than the actual experience anyway. So we have put together a list in case you're ever in the neighborhood.
I'm reading at the moment, since there's not a lot of listening I can do. An ear infection I thought I'd whipped earlier returned in a pretty ferocious manner (it even set my ENT to clucking sympathetically and peering sympathetically), with the result being that my right ear is totally non-working (except for being a completely workable source of pain)...
So I thought I'd mention what's been the office ambience during this hiatus. As a critic, I'm never certain about how to listen to new work... do you drop it on the iPod and cycle around lake Monona on a crisp fall day? Do you drop it into the N-disk changer (where N < 10) and play it to death for days? Do you sit down with a nice bottle of Mourvedre and listen to the thing intently in a dark room? Beats me. I probably did all three. So your mileage may vary greatly here, okay? In honor of the conventions of Carnatic Music, I'll assign them contexts/times of day.
In a similar vein, here is a fascinating article on recent developments surrounding the interpretation of Shari'a, the Islamic legal code. Having reading like this (and this available to us is a great antidote to a lot of the ignorance that characterizes current discourse. Let us bless all those who light the candle rather than cursing in the darkness.