Friday, June 30, 2006

The Girl From the North Country

So here I sit, in a cozy house high in the hills of Berkeley, overlooking all the ever-lovin' famous bridges in the Bay area (through some gigantic windows in the living room of Daphne's friend Leila). Drove up here today with the wife and kid. Thandie was pretty amazing about the whole thing. A six hour drive, a punch-you-in-the-face kind of heat, and barely a word of complaint. Sometimes I find it hard to believe she's really two. (Other times, that fact is all too clear.)

Today was my last official day at the IML (so I need to change that fucking blogspot bio, eh?), and last night I got pleasantly drunk (as opposed to the sort of soul-sucking drunk that has been my wont lately) with some good friends from that ill-fated Institution. Reflecting on the brilliance of these folks, and the many and varied ways in which said brilliance has been mercilessly squelched by the bureaucratic machinery of the IML (and, by extension, by academia at large), I was put in mind of my favorite Shakespeare sonnet -- number 66, as it turns out:

Tired with all these, for restful death I cry,
As to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And gilded honour shamefully misplac'd,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgrac'd,
And strength by limping sway disabled
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill,
And simple truth miscall'd simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill:
Tir'd with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my love alone

Speaking of death -- it's been a week since I saw the Zappa Plays Zappa show at the Wiltern. That was kind of depressing too, despite the exceedingly high level of musicianship on display during the performance. I suspect they're right in billing it as the best live show on the planet right now (though in the context of 2006, that's not saying much), but it's the question of "authenticity" that gets me. Like somehow the only valid performance is one that replicates more or less exactly the shows that Zappa was doing when he was still alive. Isn't that sort of the same rut that organized religion -- one of the very things Zappa fought so hard to undermine -- gets into?

What the fuck do I know? And what does all this have to do with the title of this post? Hmmm. I've gone north. I'm surrounded by girls. I like Bob Dylan's music. So sue me.


Matt said...

I agree with you on the "authenticity" issue. The promotion of the ZPZ tour (and the recent Relix interview with Gail Zappa) seems to be a snide brush-off to great musicians such as Ed Palermo, Project/Object, Bogus Pomp, and all others who have been keeping Frank's music alive.

Andrew said...

Yeah. Ed Palermo is one of my favorites, and he strays a bit from the Ur-Text (which is what I like about him). Another good one is Ensemble Ambrosius (Zappa done with baroque chamber music instrumentation). There's also a wind quintet from France (whose name I forget at the moment): I dig them.