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Anticipation mounts.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Just hours lie between Itzhak Perlman's performance with the MSO. If I wasn't excited enough already, as I dashed up the stairs to my morning violin lesson, Enen was practicing the solo for the rehearsal where she will be a stand in for Mr. Perlman.

It was so amazing. I've heard the Beethoven Violin Concerto dozens of times, and as she finished up the first movement, I could hear the orchestra in my brain accenting all of her .flourishes. I wanted to cancel my lesson and sit there all day long.

Before tuning, I asked: "What's that noise, in the third movement..." I started to hum the bars.

"Noise?" Enen asked, thinking I meant something unpleasant.

"The whistle, I mean," I laughed. She quickly played the measure.

"Just grace note," she said, and then tightened her face. "Not noise." She asked me about my interview, and I explained that it was cancelled, and pouted. I'm slowly, slowly, getting over it.

I had a horrible lesson, but left with a smile on my face.

I found sheet music to the theme from the concerto, (pictured above) and I have been playing it with glee.

posted by A.
6:54 PM

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'Cinderella' coming soon...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A very cool part of the year is arriving! Next weekend is Mobile Ballet's production of "Cinderella" one of my all time favorite ballets. Mobile Ballet never fails to turn it into a spectacle-- i.e., lots of on stage explosions, expensive falling glitter, live foliage, impeccable costumes, etc.

Of course, armed with my new camera, I promise to post 'round the clock coverage of everything but the cast party.

As you can see, I am beyond excited, and I hope to get many, many good shots for my readers!

posted by A.
11:36 AM

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...and sometimes posts disappear...

Monday, February 26, 2007

It's been a maddening few days. I was able to catch up on posts yesterday, and I wrote one that I deleted this morning. It was just a tired rant, produced in a tired state of mind. I had to remind myself that this is not what this blog is for!

Amidst my recent failures (not getting to interview Mr. Perlman, and others) I've dealt with much self-evaluation and comparison. As I wrote in the deleted entry, I'm trying, each day to make my life more like that of a normal 22-year-old, so that I don't miss out on my youth.

My sisters life is much more glamorous compared to mine. She spends her weekends out at clubs and bars, being invited on stages by all of the coolest local rock stars, where glitter is dumped on her. She dates so many men, and has so many friends that her life seems like a spinning feature film. Sometimes I stay up late waiting for her return, to hear stories from her exciting evenings out.

Me? Let's just say that I have desired my life to be different for a very long time.

I say to myself, "Ariel, let's work on that 'making new friends thing,'" but like everything else, it gets buried under newspaper deadlines and homework and writing reviews.

posted by A.
10:41 PM

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The oasis.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Downtown Mobile is just...wonderful. Everytime I'm down there I feel like I'm in paradise. Here are more shots from Saturday.

Facing Government Street. Isn't it quaint?

Dione laughs as the Cathedral looms behind her.

Alan and Dione walking on Dauphin Street toward Bienville Square.

posted by A.
8:33 PM

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Last night

I always tend to be apathetic about things that excite normal culture. I hate movies, going to the movies, renting movies, or anything movie related. I don't “get” team sports, unless someone I know is playing, and all this recent activity surrounding “the biggest night in Hollywood” that I think is called the “Oscars?” Snore.

I suppose I'm a hypocrite. I'm always telling everyone else to try something new whenever they get the chance, yet I won't see a new movie to save my life. I reminded myself of this last night, with a pair of free tickets in my hand to see the “Whirling Dervishes.” At first I was quite reluctant, but decided, “what the hey!” I called up my friend Michelle, to find that she was tied up with a “date night” with her husband.

A few minutes later she called to say that she could come, so I met her at her house at 7 p.m., and we made it to the Saenger Theatre around 7:30.

I was actually quite surprised by the performance, or er, ritual. It opened with live Sufi music and closed with the Dervishes, who whirled across the stage under colored lights. At intermission, Michelle and I chatted and walked the gorgeous lobbies of the Saenger, while she sipped on vodka and cranberry juice.

I couldn't help but let thoughts of Itzhak Perlman's Thursday night concert consume my brain.

“It's only days away and I'll be back here,” I told myself. Just days away.
At the end of the show, everyone asked each other, “Are you dizzy?” An old man and his wife linked arms, and the wife said, “Don't you dare try that when we get home!”

posted by A.
8:04 PM

2 comments links to this post  

A walk in the park...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

High five between Alan and Dione.

It was an overcast day today, but despite the threat of rain, I was able to walk the manicured topiaries of Spanish Plaza park. It's one of my most favorite spots in Mobile, perhaps because you can see the theatre from where you stand. It reminds me of stunning afternoons with mother, when I was only 14. Just walking along the small paths makes me feel as though I walk an English garden.

Afterwards, I met my friend Alan and my sister Dione at Spot of Tea for brunch. We went on a photo expidition around the streets, giggling and laughing and taking pictures of everything. It was a fun day that was definitely needed at the end of a busy week.

posted by A.
10:40 PM

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One week left!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

In the middle of all this craziness, I forgot to begin my countdown! In in less than five minutes, it will be one week until Itzhak Perlman plays with the Mobile Symphony!

I'm so excited.

posted by A.
11:55 PM

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Today. After the fact.

After the bad news of the day I wasn't given much time to...recover. With tears still wetting my eyes, I left for school.

Weather wise it's been a gloomy day. Showers fell in the morning, and continued to fall on my almost-daily trek across campus. Classes were still in session, and for the duration of my walk, I was all alone. Just me and my umbrella, a few wilted flowers, and birds. Such a somber, lonely walk. I found myself humming Dustin O'Halloran.

I had a long stretch of time before class. I picked up a Vanguard and a New York Times. I cringed reading my succinct review of "Kindertransport" and the University Chorale. I wished I could been so much better. I opened to Times to happily see two of Mrs. Midgette's articles: a profile and a theatre review.

"Now, I wish I could do that," I said to myself, wishing I could make more use of the space like she does. I'm too verbose.

Following class the sun came out. On the drive home I slipped out Tchaikovsky's complete "Sleeping Beauty" and slipped Arvo Part in my CD player.

I felt for a moment that all was fine, until I slid into the driveway as "Spigel im Spigel" began to play. The drifting melody and lyrical violin caught my very heart so much that I burst into tears. I sat for a moment there, with the engine off, crying.

I know not what of.

posted by A.
5:09 PM

3 comments links to this post  

After all those crossed fingers and toes...

I recieved the e-mail less than five minutes ago.

Hi Ariel,
Mr. Perlman has unfortunately told us that he doesn't feel able to do any interviews for this date.

It's a sad conclusion to a six month tale.

posted by A.
11:37 AM

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More test shots.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Dione in her pucci scarf that was a birthday present from moi.

I've been taking pictures like crazy with my new Olympus camera. As you can see, Dione has been serving as my model.

posted by A.
8:12 PM

2 comments links to this post  


Morale is low. The continuing saga continues. I spoke with Mr. Perlman's publicist yet again, but things still look highly improbable.

Between worrying about that, worrying about my Senior Reporting Seminar class has kept me nervous. Math grades aren't sparkling, sleep is hard, I get frequent headaches, and beyond that, lonliness manages to slip in at the most difficult times. I've got a test Thursday, an article due Thursday, the usual slew of writing for Monday's paper, a scholarship application due next Thursday and sometime between then I must, must, must finish my application to Opera News magazine!

When things get stressful, I sit down with a blank word document and ask myself, "What would I rather be doing?" And write at length about it. The exersize is not only a good to cure minor writers block, it also soothing to imagine another place and time.

If I could be anywhere right now, I'd be sitting in a window seat, looking down on some lovely city, like Paris or New York out of my window. In my lap would sit a plate of petit fours a glass of rose brut and from a far away place I'd hear "Au Claire de Lune."

posted by A.
7:08 PM

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This might be a tragedy.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Last week, what began as a triumphant story slipped down a hill into semi-tragedy. Friday passed without a word from the people on Itzhak Perlman's side of the river.

I was persistent. I sent a polite e-mail on Wednesday, and chose my words carefully to supress my somewhat frantic disposition. What if it didn't happen at all? Sure, I had considered that, but took so many great pains to secure my interview six months in advance, that I began to think it improbable.

By Saturday, I still heard no news from his "people." I sighed and wandered about the house with a sour look across my face. What was to happen? When would this story conclude itself?

Today I felt as though I reached the end of my rope. I e-mailed Mr. Harrison of the Mobile Press-Register in haste, hoping that my wise mentor's calm words would assuage my growing anxiety.

But his story was exactly the same. He e-mailed them six months ago, and then again a few weeks previously to get one e-mail and nothing else.

And after that?

"Radio silence," Mr. Harrison wrote.

I was relieved that I wasn't the only one struggling and wringing my hands. However, I was curious. Too curious.

Forgetting that it was lunch hour in New York and President's Day, I called up Mr. JE's office to recieve his voice mail.

"I'm so sorry I know you are so tired of hearing from me..." I began. I left my number and prepared for school.

The whole day my fate circles my head. I think I shall call just one more time tomorrow, and then perhaps call it quits.

So there. It might be a tragedy after all.

posted by A.
6:16 PM

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Mardi Gras

Sunday, February 18, 2007

My sister told me Thursday that she saw a guy in one of her classes reading my column from this week, which turned out to be a complete Mardi Gras bash.

It's Mardi Gras weekend here in Mobile. We're given Tuesday off from school, and tomorrow my 8 a.m. class is cancelled. I don't mind the days off but I feel like a prisoner being kept from downtown Mobile as all the parades pass by.

Last year, I had to explain to a friend from Michigan, that most cities along the Gulf Coast have Mardi Gras and that it is definitely not a "New Orleans only" holiday. In fact, Mobile has the second largest Mardi Gras celebration in the U.S. and it is where the holiday was founded.

I may hate the holiday with a passion, but I definitely don't like New Orleans taking all the credit for it either.

posted by A.
3:40 PM

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Test shots.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

My new Olympus Camedia Digial SLR camera came in yesterday, and I've already begun doing test shots to learn about all the different features it has.

Already I'm in love with how fast it takes pictures--no more pressing, pressing harder, waiting, waiting for three flashes, and then pausing to see the photograph come up on the LCD screen. The pictures are taken as soon as my finger lightly taps shutter. I love it.

I've been playing around with different apature and shutter speeds. I took the photograph above while messing around with it, and was able to get a "Two Faced" shot of Dione, looking in two directions. If only I could recall how I got those photos...

posted by A.
3:39 PM

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MSO next season.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I found this while slipping around the Mobile Symphony Orchestra website. They posted next seasons schedule, and a few cool things jump out at me.

First, Ogla Kern is coming back. You know, the tall pianist who played Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with an out of this world tempo last season? Yeah, her! And she's playing Rachmoninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, a work I play at least four times a month beacuse I'm just that in love with it.

Another return is Pip Clarke, the violinist, and my favorite composers in residence, namely, Mr. Kenji Bunch.

The most interesting thing of note on the new schedule is that the MSO is offering more dual performances, instead of just single night concerts. Two dates for Beethoven in Blue Jeans, (of course) the Holiday Pops, and the Disney pops. I suppose this is a good thing, their ticket sales must be going up enough for two shows per concert.

posted by A.
10:55 PM

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My favorite short film. (With link!)

Around Valentines Day, I always start thinking about my favorite short film, "I'll Wait for the Next One."

I saw it a couple of years ago, and despite it's size, it never fails to move me. I found myself tonight, searching the internet for a clip of it, and found one!

I wanted to share it with you, but it's not on YouTube so I couldn't embed it in the entry, but you can watch it in full here in Quicktime (if you have it). It's definitely the type of film that you have to wait until the end to understand.

posted by A.
10:43 PM

2 comments links to this post  

Everything to do and nothing to blog about.

I hate that I don't have much to blog about, besides being beyond busy. None of my staff writers wanted assignments this week, with the exception of one. So I'm stuck with six articles to write, plus my weekly column. I've been juggling interviews, e-mails and phone calls all week with nightly shows to attend to write reviews.

I've got to hit the theatre on Friday night, yesterday I slipped inside the Mobile Arts Council to view a show, and conducted a dual interview around lunchtime. Tonight I've got a phone interview at 10 p.m., (which isn't unusual, I've had a few scheduled for 11 p.m. before), and sometime between then I must generate an idea for this weeks column.

All this work has me feeling like a journalist, but I could do this for the rest of my life. Just yesterday, as I drove home, I realized how long I've been on this beat—almost four years—and how I'm still not tired. In fact, I don't think I'll ever get tired.

On the flip side, writing reviews is getting easier. The hardest shows and concerts to review are usually recitals, because it's one performer and a slew of similar works. I thought the same would be true for Tuesday nights Chorale concert, because it was one composer, one massive work, and one ensemble. It was going to be a huge challenge, I thought, but it was the opposite. I left, with my notebook tucked under my arm, walked out past the fountain and said to myself, “This is going to be an easy one.”

The Laidlaw PAC, where the concert was, is perhaps the equivalent of a New York critics Lincoln Center. I'm there twice a week sometimes, early enough to get my favorite seat in the house (in the back, so that the sound can filter, I have enough leg room, I'm not confronted with any angry performers from my last reviews, and I can survey the crowd to write down how many people attended). The PAC even has it's own cute little fountain, my own version of the miniature plaza at Lincoln Center.

Tuesday night, as I passed, I also thought, “You have to crawl before you walk right?” and I smirked, cause I feel like I'll be crawling around for 10 more years.

posted by A.
10:44 AM

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Happy Valentines Day!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines day to my readers!

I'm in a good mood, not because it's Valentines day, but because I've fully recovered from my illness on Monday. Now I can partake in my usual Valentines Day activities, which entail playing Russian Roulette with a box of chocolates, praying that I don't get molasses chew.
The picture I posted is from Mobile Ballet's production of "Giselle" that I took during one of their rehearsals, of Maia Wilkins as "Giselle" and Michael Levine as "Albrect."

The town seems really enthusiastic about Valentines day this year. All over my neighborhood were homemade posters that said, "Hey Beautiful," and "Ashley Starr is mine!"

In every car I passed on the way to my morning violin lesson, I saw pink and red balloons in the back seat. Most of the girls in my math class arrived with balloons and large pink gift bags and teddy bears. A girl wore a tiara to class.

Despite the displays of love and affection, I'm surprisingly not bitter. I even sat through a love themed concert to write a review last night, and didn't frown once as the couple seated in front of me canoodled to Brahms. I guess these past few weeks have been so much fun and excitement, who has time to be bitter?

posted by A.
11:07 AM

4 comments links to this post  

Sickness and good news.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Nicotine (cigarettes)
Fatty foods

What do these foods have in common? They are all foods I CAN NOT eat since I was diagnosed with a hiatus hernia in December. Its sad because I love all those foods, except nicotine.

Last night, while bored, I ended up eating everything on that list, and woke up this morning sick as all get out. Now I have to suffer in bed, groaning as mild pains jolt my stomach and esophagus. Not fun.

This sets me back a work day, but I was able to get a few phone calls in while hunched over at the home-office..and...

Good news!

Mr. Perlman's publicist is shooting for me to chat with him THIS WEEK!

After hearing that, I jumped up out of my chair, being momentarily cured of my ailment, and hobbled around trying to dance to Jamaraquai's "Canned Heat."

Let the nervousness begin.

posted by A.
10:54 AM

4 comments links to this post  

A mess. Many messes.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

It's been such a busy, depressing past few days. I spent Friday night and Saturday morning buried in copy, and third drafts. I even missed the Friday downtown Art Walk, which I usually attend for work and pleasure, but I needed a break.

Saturday, I raced to the Mobile Museum of Art (MMOA) to review a show. It was the only thing I could think of to fill the space last minute, one of my article ideas fell through.

A few years ago, when I was just a staff writer (and had a lot more time) I'd spend all my free weekends walking the empty halls at MMOA. Back then, I'd be the only person there; I had the whole glass gallery and permanent collections all to myself.

I used to sit alone in front of their Renoir for hours.

It was such a nice, solitary retreat. I didn't have many friends back then, and I still don't. I liked that I had found something to do that I could do alone.

Saturday, the museum was brimming with people, and I was little disappointed that I couldn't have a transcendent experience while pushing past the crowds to see the work. Mother came with me, and we toured the entire thing before heading back home.

I spent Saturday night, again, buried under work. I penned drafts well until eleven o'clock, before jumping in the bed and waking at eight.

Sunday is supposed to me my cleaning day. The only day I have time to survey the room and make adjustments. My whole floor is covered in New York Times newspapers. Receipts from New York--Bloomingdales, Uno Pizzeria, Barnes and Noble--are grouped by my music stand, I refuse to throw them away. A Vogue magazine is peeking out from under the bed, a Max Mara postcard is on the desk, and a press release lays by the door.

It's a mess. My mess. But right now I have no time to breathe, no time to do anything, let alone clean. I have to make up a test this week, call Mr. Perlman's publicist again, attend a concert on Thursday for a review, grumble briefly on Wednesday because it's Valentine's Day, and await my camera.

posted by A.
8:13 PM

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Pictures of Nutcracker '06! (David, Rachel and Dione!)

My old ballet teacher, and prinicpal dancer at Mobile Ballet's husband took some awesome shots at this years performance of "The Nutcracker." He got some ones of David Hallberg and Rachel Rutherford, and some really pretty ones of my sister!

Unfortunately I couldn't link seperate pictures, but just the index to the photos:
At the bottom left is is the photo of David. And another here on the bottom left again. Man his feet are amazing! On the same page, bottom right, is one of my sister in "Snow!"

And one more of David and Rachel is on the top row, middle picture. They are all so gorgeous, I think I might purchase a few.

posted by A.
4:05 PM

3 comments links to this post  

Finally. A better method.

For a couple of years, I've been dissatisfied with the way my dance photos have come out. Their focus is muddled, and the "noise" is horrible. Of course, this was to be expected, I was working with a lot of different low-grade digital cameras, longing one day to purchase something nicer.

So this week, to combat stress, I found myself shopping for Digital Professional SLR cameras, and purchased a nice Olympus Camedia E10 camera! It comes in some time this week, and I'm so excited about running around getting clear shots of the city and of my sisters upcoming performance of "Cinderella."

posted by A.
3:43 PM

3 comments links to this post  

Rumor mill....

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Dione, my Mobile Ballet informant (and principal dancer at MB) told me today that the season schedule was out for next year.

In October, the company is presenting a "Gala" which is just a variety of short pieces by semi-famous and famous dancers compiled into one show.

Rumor has it that it's going to be an all New York City Ballet cast. (Yes!) And that even more on the down-low, is that Tiler Peck's name keeps circulating at the studio as one of the guest artists. Which is even cooler.

When Dione divulged all these secrets, I was jumping for joy. An all NYCB show! Now I'm super excited. (I wonder if Kristen at The Winger knows anything about this...)

And of course, when (and if) NYCB descends upon Mobile, I'll post dozens of pictures.

posted by A.
8:59 PM

4 comments links to this post  

Thoughts on Debussy.

When I tell people that I'm probably the youngest living expert on Tchaikovsky, they laugh. But it's the truth, I spend all my free time, weekends, and holidays, reading great volumes of Tchaikovsky related literature. I own two Tchaikovsky books, but have read around four or five. Or more. Some of them twice.

Tonight I was able to catch “Classical Music Alive” a radio show that dissects music, offering historical anecdotes to accompany the selections. I'm always at home when it airs, but when I do catch it, I'm so happy. I could listen to people talk about music all day long.

The episode that aired tonight was about Claude Debussy. A composer I don't ever get to hear enough of. They played his “Danse Profane,” which is gorgeous and airy. On the drive to my destination, my mind was full of Debussy, in particular an anecdote I read in my Tchaikovsky research.

It was written, that Tchaikovsky's benefactor, Madame Nadezha von Meck, the wealthy Russian widow, had Debussy as an accompanist. Supposedly, because of her accent, she called him her little 'Bussy. She traveled frequently, and I think when she was in either Italy, or France, if I'm remembering correctly, they played two hand piano pieces.

She wrote to Tchaikovsky that he played with lots of expression, and pleaded for him to write a trio for them. (He declined of course, he said that trio's were two lovely instruments and one horrible raking instrument trying to sound good—I think he meant the violin. He did later create a trio, he wrote, when the mood struck him for it. von Meck begged him so tirelessly...oh dear, that's a story for another time...)

If I am remembering well, young Debussy was in love with von Meck's daughter, Julia. It is written that when he approached von Meck to ask for her hand in marriage, she said no (probably very rudely, she was always commenting in her letters about being formidable).

At this, Debussy wept.

This story remains so fresh in my memory because it was so illustrative. It seems like something he would do, because his music is so soft, so sensitive.

After reading the story over, I wanted to say, “The poor dear!” Of course, I'm sure he recovered. Of course he recovered, he wrote some of the most lovely music and became world famous.

Earlier in the show they played his opera, “Pelleas et Melisande.” Which reminds me of another story. Over the summer, I connected with a composer up north, who was seeking a librettist. I jumped at the chance, following in the footsteps of my dear friend Foley, who recently wrote lyrics for a choral piece.

As we began our initial talks, I asked what he favored in plot lines and specifically, in the different styles. “Do you like conversational libretti, or do you like the kind that spend minutes on arias repeating a single idea, the ones that pause the action?” I asked him in an e-mail.

“Study 'Pellas et Melisande'” he wrote back.

So I did.

I listened and read, and researched and studied the work. I was so excited that I day dreamed all day about curtain calls, and furious angry letters between us, concluding in a masterpiece.

After my work, I was politely “let go” (ha) for someone more qualified. After all that study, I still can't remember a note of the opera. But it's on my list of those to see. Definitely.

posted by A.
8:57 PM

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While working last night.

Last night I attended a faculty recital poised to write a review. As I waited for the show to began, I twiddled a Parker pen in my hand. A group of girls in the row before mine, who accidentally hit me with a pack of gum (which made me laugh), looked at me, then at my pen, turned and began to whisper.

I heard them saying something about “that girl we threw the gum at...” but I couldn't hear the rest. I had reviewed a show that all of them were in last semester, but couldn't recall if I had written something good or bad, which would determine what they were saying.

I was surprised that they recognized my face. It's only been published in The Vanguard once or twice at the beginning of each semester. Beyond that, I hadn't met any of them in person, though I've probably interviewed one or two of them on the phone.

For the first time, I realized that being a critic also requires being brave. I can't hide behind my faceless by line forever, hoping that no one knows what I look like so they won't feel the need to pummel me.

After the show I returned home to lounge at the TV, making sense of my illegible notes that I took during the show. I finished the skeleton of a review before hitting the bed.

I've been so busy lately, that the days feel like long weeks. I had to remind myself that today is only Wednesday. My deadline for my review is Friday, this is the first time I've ever been given such a long deadline for a review. I must remember to edit it daily, so the thoughts stay fresh in my mind.

posted by A.
8:34 PM

2 comments links to this post  

The night is young.

Monday, February 05, 2007

I should be asleep. Especially this week, which is already crowded.

Tomorrow night I head to a Faculty Recital to review for The Vanguard. Sometime later this week I chat with the community director at the arts council, possibly visit a theatre rehearsal to accompany my staff writer who's doing a few interviews, and generate an idea for next weeks column. My column idea well has gotten dry.

So I should be asleep. It's late. I keep saying it, but I don't budge. Mother and my sister Dione are up, chatting. They are hardly ever awake or home when I'm home, and I miss them. So instead, I suppose, I'll go and talk to them, and dance around in the living room (the first variation from the "Swan Lake" "Pas de trois") and fight sleep for another hour or so.

If my blogging is sporadic I apologize, it's the busy week keeping me away from the computer!

posted by A.
10:43 PM

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It's official, this is the best week ever.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

As if getting an e-mail and shout out from ABT's David Hallberg this morning wasn't enough to make me happy for three months--something else happened.

Sometimes I'm a little late catching up with the comments on my blog. So this evening I used my free time look over the recent posts for any new ones.

On the post I made earlier this week about being invited to a show by the ensembles conductor, Anne Midgette (THE Anne Midgette!) left me a comment! She wrote:

I'd say that this degree of editing and self-questioning are signs of a good critic - one who takes her role and responsibility seriously. (It doesn't get any easier, either.)

The next step after being solicited for your opinion is for you to decide whether or not you think this ensemble is worthy of your attention -- and that of your readers.

Keep up the good work!

For lack of a better way to say it: I seriously flipped out and jumped out of my seat and ran into the living room, where mother was lounging on the couch. I told her the whole story and was so excited. I mean, I read the New York Times three times a week, and always pay attention to her work.

The internet has a way of connecting people--I never would of imagined ever hearing from Mrs. Midgette, and she had such complimentary things to say! I've been scouring the net all night looking for her e-mail address, I've got to thank her!

posted by A.
7:13 PM

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First performance

I meant to send this to The Winger writing contest, but I never made the deadline, so I decided to post it anyway...We were supposed to write about our first performance...
The picture is of me and my two friends, backstage at the ballet circa 1995. We are wearing our "Waltz of the Flowers" costumes. I'm the one on the far right.
When my parents discuss my first performance at the age of four, the story is always followed by lots of laughter. Back then, we lived in a town town in South Florida, about 30 minutes outside of Ft. Myers.

The town was so tiny that the end of the year recitals were held at the local elementary school auditorium and our backstage was a janitors closet. The audience sat on hard folding chairs. Not an ideal venue, but the only thing I remember.

I was so young then that my first performance is not in my memory, although my parents always told me what it was like, and we have lots of videos.

I didn't have much form them, and hardly pointed my toes. We wore bright pink sparkley leotards, and miniature tutus. My parents say that when the other dancers waited for their teachers cue to take their partners hands and skip in a circle, that I yanked my partners hands and led her around, telling the other dancers when it was our cue. My parents aid that I had memorized the dance that this was an early sign of being “talented.”

I always tell them that it meant that I was bossy.

The only other thing beside the auditorium that I remember was a bouquet of flowers my parents gave me, and the music, a waltz by Strauss.

I remember my performance in a full length ballet more vividly. When I was accepted into the mobile Ballet company at 11, I had never seen a ballet, and didn't even know what it mean to be a company member.

During our first theatre rehearsals I was so nervous and timid I skipped all of the company classes. Back then, the artistic director seemed so frightening and the older dancers so intimidating. I obsessed about making it in the wings for all of my cues in “The Waltz of the Flowers.”

In the end, I loved the whole process of putting on a show so much that I cried the whole night when it was over. I can still hear my fathers voice, "If you're going to cry after every show then I'm taking you out of ballet," he threatened. So I never cried again after a show, but as the curtains closed on our final performances, I used to do it on the inside.

posted by A.
12:01 PM

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New York and I? We go way back.

Every little thing I do reminds me of the city. On Friday, my good friend Ginnah and I sat down at Ruby Tuesdays, and the second I bit into a crab cake burger, I could hear the clink of tea cups against their saucers, car horns, chatter in a foreign language, and see the wooden interior of the Brasserie cafe on 3rd Avenue.

As I drove back to the university after lunch, my brain reverted back to the issue. New York, or Mobile. Mobile, undoubtedly has my heart. I love the memories, the quaint buildings, the fountains, the parks, the uniqueness of it all. I hate the traffic, the accent I have acquired, hurricanes and unreliable weather.

Part of me is afraid that if I do decide to move to New York that I'll hate it, and regret giving up Mobile, a place that I'm already comfortable with.

I hate parables, but every once in awhile I come across one that's true, and in this case, is a bird in the hand worth two in the bush? Is it worth letting go of Mobile to take a risk and move to Manhattan?

I ask myself that question every single day, and all the debating is making me tired. Even mother is in on it, at dinner and breakfast and lunch, we sit and talk about the possibility of living in the city.

"You'd have to get a heavier coat," she says. "You'll have to learn to do the laundry and how to put coins into one at the laundromat. We'll need to sell your car." She says.

But graduation looms before me, and with that, is when I must make my choice.

posted by A.
11:10 AM

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Thanks David!

I had been having a grumpy week, for reasons I'm sure I'll spout off about later. I woke up this morning around 9, which was already late, seeing as I had to drag myself back to the office to work more on next weeks paper.

I was about to start whining, when I signed onto my blog tracking site. The number of visitors, in just one day, spiked dramatically. "What happened?" I said to myself. Why were so many people reading? Most of the traffic was coming from The Winger.

I jumped onto their site, and was completely surprised to see that David Hallberg had given me a shout out! I think I've told everyone that breathes this, but just in case you didn't know, I got to meet David in December, and he said he would try to give me a shout out on the Winger.

Now my seemingly sour day is quite celebratory! Thank you David!

posted by A.
9:14 AM

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Introducing Sibelius

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I had such a lovely lesson Wednesday. My teacher said my performance of a watered down Paganini "Sonatina" was very smooth. If only I could reproduce my performance! But that's the thing about music, it's here and then suddenly it disappears.

A few of my musician friends told me that they named their instruments. So the moment I got my violin in 2003, I named it after the composer Jean Sibelius. At the time was hardly familiar with his works, but later as I heard more from him, I grew to love his music, and found it a fitting name. He's pictured here with some of my Hrimaly scales. I loathe scales, especially since I haven't learned them properly, but I feel very musical when I study them. Every musician has at one time, too.

posted by A.
9:04 PM

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They're finally here!

My nap yesterday was interupted when mother came into my room with the mail.
"You have something from the Mobile Symphony," she said.
I knew exactly what it was, and excitedly ripped open my envelope. Just as I expected, two large, glossy tickets slipped out for the March 1st Itzhak Perlman concert.
I'm so excited, I could of done a jig.
No one this big has ever come to Mobile before, except Yo-Yo Ma a few years ago.
The jury is still out on our possible chat--but I'm continuing to be positive about it.
It wouldn't be the end of the world if an interview I've been preparing 7 months for doesn't happen. At least I'll see him live.

posted by A.
8:55 PM

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