Wednesday, October 29, 2014

World Series Game 7 in Civic Center

Wednesday's crowd in Civic Center Plaza waiting for a public broadcast of World Series Game 7 was oddly mellower than Game 6 the night before.

It felt less like gangbangers who wanted to get drunk in public and break stuff up, and more like serious fans wanting to root their team on with fellow fans.

Through a comedy of errors I ended up at a Merola Opera trivia night at the Sugar bar on Hayes Street which had been commandeered by a mixture of Giants fans and Phish fans who were getting drunk before a concert at Bill Graham auditorium across the street from the World Series extravaganza in Civic Center. Though Sugar is two blocks from my apartment, I had never been in the bar, but it turned out to be an absolutely perfect place to watch the Giants win their third World Series in five years, not too crowded, plenty of TVs, and an exuberant crowd.

The real magician of the Giants team, I decided long ago, is catcher Buster Posey above. Watching him play baseball in his down-low way has been an illuminating religious exercise. He's god and tries to make sure no one knows it, but he keeps leaving clues to his divinity for those who are paying attention.

World Series Game 6 in Civic Center Plaza

At 5:15 PM Pacific Standard Time, it was standing room only in Civic Center Plaza on Tuesday...

...with the sun shining in half the crowd's eyes as they peered towards the temporary screen.

The conjunction of World Series fever and Halloween related madness makes for a strange atmosphere... after watching the first inning, we walked two blocks home before disaster in the form of the Kansas City Royals struck with a vengeance.

Tonight's seventh game should be nuts.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mobile Series 1

This is the beginning of a new art photo adventure, documenting mobile device usage in public places. The two gentlemen above were in the backyard of the Eagle Saloon on a Saturday afternoon.

I asked the Tennessee bear on the right if he was addicted to his mobile device, and he readily confessed that was the case as he showed off a new digital wonder to his friend.

The couple above on a 47 Van Ness bus talked to each other in between spells of checking their mobile devices. It felt like a Noel Coward one-act for the 21st century.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Center for New Music's Second Anniversary Party

The Center for New Music celebrated their second anniversary last weekend with a fundraising concert and party to help pay for the tuning of their three pianos, which are currently situated in a rehearsal room, in the small concert hall, and in the front room of the thriving space for new and experimental music.

The place has attracted an unusually broad mixture of old and young and everything in between, both as composers/performers and appreciative audiences, including Patricia Bourne above...

...and artist Elena-María Bey and Pinna Records producer Roger Rohrbach.

Brent Miller above and Adam Fong opened the Center with an interesting model, where Center members such as Pamela Z below can perform concerts and try out material with little financial risk.

In fact, the artists and performers keep 100% of the box office receipts for each concert, while the Center ekes out a living with grants from arts groups and local government, membership fees, and sharing office space with other San Francisco arts nonprofits. There's probably nothing else like it in the world right now, at least not at this level of talent and experimentation.

The Center's location currently requires a bit of courage to attend as it sits on Taylor Street in the Tenderloin near the Golden Gate Theatre. The Center signed a fifteen-year lease so they have some safety for when the burgeoning gentrification of the neighborhood goes into hyperdrive, which looks to be finally happening within the next couple of years. (Photo above is of filmmaker and Center Board President Peter Osmonde.)

Sunday's concert featured four pianists, starting with East Bay composer Chris Brown who played his fascinating 2001 composition Branches for pianist and interactive percussive computer score. "How much of that piece was notated and how much improvised?" I asked Brown at intermission, and he responded that it was about 50/50. "Think Thelonius Monk."

Sarah Cahill, with Joseph M. Colombo as page-turner, played Naturali Periclitati, a three-movement piece about "endangered natures" by composer John Kennedy that was as graceful as every other piece I have heard by him, with Cahill giving a persuasive performance.

I had to leave before the second half, which was devoted to a conceptual piece that included video about Greg Louganis by composer Luciano Chessa (not pictured, though the above guys seemed to be his posse). There was also a piece written and performed by Joseph M. Colombo.

However, the event was inspiring enough that I threatened to become a member myself, but composer and Membership Manager Luis Escareño advised me to return with a check rather than incur credit card fees. This means I can produce a concert of my own in the coming year, though it's going to be difficult topping the upcoming November 12th concert, FRIENDLY GALAXIES: AN EVENING OF CELEBRATING SUN RA AT 100.