Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Few Words on Ohio

I came to Columbus for Thanksgiving.

I am knocking on Winter's door. The snows seem not too far off. It is definitely long-sleeved t-shirt weather and although yesterday the skies were blue, today they are a smear of grey. My brother and I took advantage of the blue-sky day yesterday and drove to Kirtland: my first ever travels to an Eastern U.S. Mormon history site. I was surprised at how hilly the area around Kirtland was. The temple there is a beautiful building, and we had a very good tour guide. Afterward, we went to the Johnson home where Joseph Smith lived for about a year.

Well. Columbus has a great Italian food scene. Last night we got takeout from Carfagna's Kitchen. Homemade pastas, great sauces. I got the Carfagna's combination - lasagne, gnocchi, a meat raviolo and a cheese canolo. I was in heaven. I got their creamy pomodoro sauce instead of the regular marinara, and I could not believe how wonderful it was. So today we went to the original Carfagna's, an Italian grocery. It was so much fun. They had so much wonderful stuff - if I lived in Columbus, it would not be hard to live una bella vita all'italiana, except for the whole not-sure-I-could-find-a-job-teaching-Italian-here thing. I came out with snacks for my brother's afternoon watching football (Brigham Young v. Utah State) - a box of breadsticks and some prosciutto di San Daniele, some Genoa salame, and some cheese: principe, a pecorino from Sardegna, and smoked scamorza, which was my favorite cheese when I lived in Italy. (My all-time favorite cheese now is vento d'estate, which is cured in hay and tastes like the summer wind it is named for.) I also picked up some gelato from a company in Cincinnati: burnt sugar and star anise. Wow.

Columbus also has a pretty good radio station: CD101 which used to be on 101.1 but now is on 102.5, just because. So I have heard some good music here. Most notably, Mumford & Sons. I'll post some below. Mumford & Sons wowed me with the inclusion of a banjo in the lineup.

Mumford & Sons - The Cave

Mumford & Sons - White Blank Page

My brother is down in the basement watching the game. In spite of the fact that I am listening to music on my headphones, I can tell how the game is going from his shouting and screaming at the TV. I just don't get football. Anyway, after the football game, it's to Target to replace the MP3 player that has died (I'll need it for the return trip) and then Harry Potter. Funny to think that 10 years ago, I was at the midnight showing of the first movie, and now here I am lollygagging more than a week after the release of the latest show in going to see it.

Well, here is a big thumbs up to Columbus. I must admit that despite having never wanted to visit the Midwest when I was growing up, I have been most impressed with my travels in Ohio and Indiana. It is a lovely stretch of the country, homey and cosmopolitan all mixed together. Very nice, indeed.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain

Yeah, not exactly. You see, mine is more of a destino meraviglioso or something like that. Even though I have no idea yet what the destino is. But life the past little while has had a decidedly wonderful cast to it and the world, though not supersaturated in color, has been beautiful. They predicted that because of drought conditions over the summer the fall would not be as colorful as usual, but let me say the trees have not disappointed, nor have the skies ceased to be varicolored, nor have long-sleeved T-shirts been any less cozy to wear.

Tonight I went to a program of American opera arias and scenes. Almost all of the program was music I hadn't heard before. One was strikingly beautiful - here it is on YouTube, although the woman playing Marianne (the crying one) is very hard to understand as recorded here. (I must say, too, that I think the singing, acting, and staging were better in the production I saw tonight- especially the girl who sang Dorine - the maid - who was the outstanding performer of the evening).

No More, Pale Moon - from Tartuffe, by Kirke Mechem

Also very powerful this evening was a scene from The Consul. Here is what I can find of what they performed tonight, pieced together.

The thing is that these are just the first half of Act 1 scene 2. The second half was incredible. So you know I am on the verge of buying a DVD of this opera so I can see the entire performance.

Anyway. So that's how it goes. Who knew American opera had such possibility?

One more as a send off. "What a movie!" from Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A link worth posting

Dear friends, click on this link and see a 3-year-old reciting poetry. Sadly, it won't let me embed it.

Yeah. That was good.