Tipped via WQXR, beautiful photos of empty opera houses by David Leventi, but brightly lit and expectant–a few moments before the house doors open and the audience floods in?
I’ve been to only a few of these (winking to Andrea, who has probably been to every single one, lucky dog). The most memorable was Paris’ Garnier, where I went on an extensive tour specifically for people who worked in opera. It is an extraordinary building. If opera is the 19th century in music, then the Palais Garnier is the 19th century in stone.
The photos also evoke those haunting pictures of movie house screens by Hiroshi Sugimoto. Those have the added mystery that comes from his having left the shutter open for the entire film, resulting in a blank screen.
Since these empty spaces might seem a bit gloomy, here’s a famous picture of the old Metropolitan Opera House (39th and Broadway) filled to rafters for the final gala performance in 1966, before it moved uptown to its present site. The exciting “new” singer at the gala was Renata Tebaldi, but the singer people went crazy for was Zinka Milanov, who owned the old Met in Verdi. (I have this on good authority, namely my opera-loving uncle, who was there.) She connected to a style of singing that went back to the golden age (or ages), heard in many of the houses above once.
Washington Post Copyeditor extraordinaire and proprietor of the http://www.theslot.com/, a blog for copy editors, (check out the advice for caption writers under “Sharp Points”) has written a new book.
Looks like fun. A few bits:
“Anal-retentive: As a matter of fact, it does have a hyphen. Thank you for your interest.”
“Shephard: To shephard a plan is to take it on a fifteen minute suborbital flight while sporting a jaunty crew cut. You probably mean shepherd.”
“Armed gunmen: They’re the worst kind.”
“Without further ado: It’s a ridiculous cliché. Even when you don’t make the mistake of spelling it adieu.”
Another in the series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” with this great line from Jerry.
“I’ve figured out that the non-event is the best part of life.”
A rundown of all the Mac news from yesterday (when I was busy looking under the bed for my civil liberties, and asking Verizon to restore emails I lost in 1995),
Most striking thing to me was the look of the new Mac Pros, in Brian Lam’s description:
It’s shaped like a cylinder and it’s black. The entire rig is built around a triangular “thermal core” which everything hot is mounted to. The air sucks up from the bottom and spits out the top, like a dustbuster combined with a hairdryer.
I don’t know enough to assess the worry about whether Apple needs to get its groove back or not, but doubt that the word dustbuster is one they are eager to see associated with their brand.
Tipped by Leiter Reports, some nice bits from a Kindle Commonplace book on philosophy:
”Mind is classified by the US Post Office as Second Class Matter”–From the front cover of Mind
”Philosophy is to the real world as masturbation is to sex.” –Marx
”I like to do all the talking. It saves times and prevents arguments.” –Oscar Wilde
Heidegger has been mistranslated. His major work is really “Being on Time.”
The University of Alabama was desegregated. Ed Kilgore has a good post,
“But that evening, having won this important battle, John F. Kennedy surprised his own staff by requesting network television time, and made the speech that forever identified the 35th president of the with the civil rights movement.”
Education leaders are so freaked out these days about educating a STEM workforce adequately and worrying about whether MOOCs will put them out of business that they don’t often talk about the social justice mission of education, the guiding ethos of most of my (mostly public) schooling in the 60s and 70s.
U.S. News has a rundown as well, with historical reporting and opinion, a fascinating time capsule.
Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly has provocative reflections about Edward Snowden, the now famous Booz-Allen contractor and source for the NSA story.
What’s my own gut reaction to the hundreds of images of Edward Snowden all over the Internet and television today? Not immediately positive, I must admit. For a putative martyr, Snowden’s had a pretty cushy existence, it seems, and yeah, there’s pretty clearly a narcissism problem when someone in his 20s decides to give Barack Obama a chance to “keep his promises” before leaking what he knew about PRISM.
The Guardian calls him a “brave whistleblower.“
And the New Republic asks if he’s more Aaron Swartz than Bradley Manning?
Only two things seem like safe bets: the story will keep unfolding, possibly until it reaches, god help us, the Cincinnati IRS office somehow, and it was one tough day at Booz Allen Hamilton. We outsource wars, we out source security, we let banks outsource bank failure (to the public). Scandal, so far, seems non-out sourceable, although I suppose Booz could be calling up McKinsey for crisis management right about now…