Thursday, November 29, 2007

An Evening With the Symphony

Jessica and I got a phone call this evening from Mom and Kate asking if we wanted to go to the symphony. I was pretty tired, and didn't really want to leave the house, but Kate had the tickets and I didn't want to let them go to waste. So I changed out of my jeans into nicer clothes, and we drove down to the house. The Utah Symphony was playing at the Browning Center at the WSU campus, but we had to pick Katie up.

Once we had grabbed Kate we went out to dinner at Denny's. Hot chocolate sounded good, and it was right on the way. Katie updated us about her life at school and all her friends, and we just enjoyed being sisters and chatting. It was nice.

The concert was wonderful. I haven't been to the symphony in ages, and my soul needed it. The first number was Mendelssohn's Symphony no. 3 in A minor, op. 56 (I got all that from the program). I can't say I'm the biggest Mendelssohn fan, but there were some beautiful moments in the piece, and I was quite entertained by the maestro's silk shirt bouncing around. He wasn't wearing the traditional tux, just slacks and a silk shirt, and every time he waved his arms around his shirt put on a little dance.

The second number was Lois Spohr's Violin Concerto No. 8 in A minor, with the solo part by guest violinist Ralph Matson. I haven't really heard much from Spohr before, so it was interesting to get acquainted with his music. The violinist was pretty good--no Itzhak Perlman, but good in his own way. I enjoyed the piece.

But the real highlight of the evening for me, was the final number: Ottorino Respighi's Pini de Roma (Pines of Rome). I love, love, love this piece, but this was the first I've heard it played live, and man oh man did it send chills up and down my spine. The opening movement made me smile with its delightful chaos, and the second movement (Pines near a Catacomb) had such brilliant brass parts it almost made me cry. The third movement almost had a touch of Debussy in it, and the solo clarinet line ... I can still hear it in my mind and each note was so graceful and perfect. The final movement is spectacular with its military fanfares, and again brilliant performances from the brass section. This final movement lifts you up on wave after wave of sound and you want to just float away in it. This was truly one of those concert moments that you know you will remember forever and ever.

What this all comes down to is that I miss making music--making music with an ensemble. I was never a very good musician, but I loved being in rehearsal or on stage or even on the football field with my bands and making music with all of them. There is something so transcendent about a moment like that: when a several dozen people (or a couple hundred in the case of my marching band) become one musical ensemble. I miss that. And I miss having music in my life on a daily basis. There's not much I can do about it at this point. I just miss it is all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Speechless Campaign

A number of A-list actors have joined with members of the WGA to produce a series of short videos as part of a new campaign called Speechless. This is my favorite so far.

Check out to watch the rest of them.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Picture didn't work

For some reason Jessica's picture isn't working. I'll try to fix it later.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sister's Photography

Here's one of Jessica's photographs. I think it's my favorite so far. Just thought I'd share.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Yet another reason why you should support the WGA

OK, this one really got to me. Check out this woman's blog posting about her husband's experience getting residuals for a show he wrote, and the way it affected their family.

WGA Father

This is what residuals are used for--to take care of families. This is what studios want to do away with to fund their own bloated lifestyles.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Insane Studio Executives

More WGA strike stuff. Check out this video. It's funny, and gets the point across that these executives are raving lunatics. I mean, you'd have to be to so blatantly and hypocrytically screw people over. Either that or insanely greedy. Take your pick.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Writers Guild of America Strike

OK friends and family, here's the deal. I don't know how much you all have been following the writers' strike which started early this week, but I'm asking you stand by and support all of the writers.

Why, you ask? First of all, because it's the right thing to do. Despite what you may have heard or read, this isn't a money grab, it isn't quibbling over a bonus, or anything like that. Yes, I believe the entertainment industry is generally bloated beyond all reason, but what the writers are asking for is that they be compensated fairly when their creative materials are rebroadcast--no matter what the media form of that broadcast is--because they live off of those residual checks. Here's a short video that explains it better than I ever could--and it's entertaining to boot!

The second reason why this is so important is because it sets the precedent for other industry guilds whose contracts will be up for negotiation soon. (The Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild will all be facing similar issues in the near future.) You might be wondering, "Don't they all make enough money already?" Well, sure maybe some do, but all of these guilds include middle-class nothings who depend on residuals to pay the bills. And besides, the issue isn't about money. It's the principle that if you work to create something you have a stake in it, and should get compensated fairly. (Yes, I know I keep saying that over and over again, but it's the best way to describe what the writers want: fair compensation.)

My final reason for supporting the writers is out of solidarity. Even though I don't plan on writing for the big screen or for television, I do plan on being a writer in some form or another. And who knows? Maybe one day I will end up writing a hit movie ;) The point is, the thought that a writer could create something and then not be compensated fairly for it, while corporate yahoos make billions, is particularly repugnant to me. I would hate to see anything like that ever happen to any of my writing.

So here's what you can do.

First, sign this online petition: It might not exactly force the AMPTP to give in to the writers' demands, but it is a place where you can voice your support for the writers--and they need it.

Second, write to studio execs and tell them that you appreciate and support scripted television. With the writers going on strike, most networks are going to increase the number of reality shows they produce and broadcast. While there are plenty of awful scripted shows out there, reality television is particularly thoughtless and ... well, skanky. Tell the network execs that you're not a mindless viewer, and you support the writers. Tell them to stop all their corporate spin and stop trying to give writers the shaft. Here are a few addresses to get you started:

Jeff Zucker
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

Universal Studios
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal Studios, CA 91608

NBC Studios
3000 W. Alameda Ave.
Burbank, CA 91523

OK, that's it from me for now, but expect to hear more on this in the not-too-distant future!