Dinosaurs of a Feather

My last evolution-themed post was inexplicably super-popular, so I thought I’d try it again, especially since fellow science nerd Randall Munroe of xkcd is also getting in on the game:

Birds / Dinosaurs Evolution from xkcd

Copyright Randall Munroe

Dino-fan Dina from David Willis’ Dumbing of Age was a bird-as-dinosaur advocate even earlier though:

Birds / Dinosaurs Evolution Dumbing of Age comic

Copyright David Willis

Admittedly, it takes some mental reconfiguration to think of birds as dinosaurs, but then I see a sparrow hopping around on it’s scaly little legs, and I guess I can see it.  But there’s a certain TV nerd who’s been aware of the secret dinosaurs in our midst for even longer…

Also, check out Tuesday’s post for a one-act opera about Darwin by Justine F. Chen, who’s new opera about Turing is being performed tonight as part of the InsightALT festival of new opera.  It’ll be live-streamed here, at 7pm tonight.

Romanian Opera Power Couple

pictures of Angela Gheorghiu & Cezar Ouatu

Angela Gheorghiu & Cezar Ouatu

Remember when I ironically posted about EuroVision and their crazy Romanian vampire countertenor?  Well joke’s on me, cuz Florin Cezar Ouatu (aka Cezar the Voice) has entrenched himself into the operatic world by somehow becoming Mr. Gheorghiu.  Yeah, that Gheorghiu.

Internationally renowned, diva-tastic Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu has apparently been a champion of Cezar‘s since the start, introducing him on Romanian TV back in December of 2012:

And now that they’re the out & proud new Romanian opera power couple, they went back on Romanian TV to sing La Barcarolle, famous duet from Offenbach‘s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, with the traditionally mezzo part taken on by Cezar.

Hats off to you Cezar, you’re really set for life now.

Chen’s Sci-Operas

Continuing with this week’s InsightALT festival for new opera, first comes the news that all events, starting with tonight’s master-class with soprano Catherine Malfitano, will be live-streamed here, by Opera Music Broadcast.  Not sure what the relation between the two is, but American Lyric Theater‘s YouTube channel does have lots of full video of past events, so guess it’s legit!  On the other hand, you can still buy tickets here!

Anyway, the first opera performed this week is by Justine F. Chen, on Thursday at 7pm (PS: happy last week of APAHM!).  Her opera is The Turing Project, about computer science pioneer Alan Turing.  Any operatic depiction of science should be interesting, and Justine has actually gone to that well before for American Lyric Theater, as evidenced by this one-act opera, “On the Origin”, about Darwin:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycabM18s5lQ&w=350&h=300]

This was created as part of American Lyric Theater‘s Composer Librettist Development Program, pairing composers with writers for a pretty fun-sounding curriculum on the words & music collaboration…  If any of my readers are interested though, you’ll have to wait until next year to apply  : P

To prepare for Thursday, you can also visit Chen’s site for some audio samples of past works, including operas, monodramas, and songs.

46th meeting June 3 at 7pm

Tomorrow’s NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium on the late Silver Age cartoonist Carmine Infantino should be a good introduction for those like me who need to catch up on some of those 1960s comics…

New York Comics &Picture-story Symposium

The forty-sixth meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Monday, June 3, 2013 at 7:00 PM at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public. Live Streamed here. Facilitator: Nick Sousanis.

Scheduled Presentation: Carmine Infantino: a VisuaLecture by Arlen Schumer.  This presentation will be Live Streamed click here for connection.
In this retrospective/eulogy for legendary comic book artist Carmine Infantino (1925-2013), comic book historian Arlen Schumer (The Silver Age of Comic Book Art) presents an overview of the artist’s work, spotlighting Infantino’s definitive versions of DC Comics’ superheroes The Flash, Adam Strange and Batman.

INFANTINO invite 72dpi

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AltOpera Fest, now actually accurate…

Next week is InsightALT, American Lyric Theater‘s mini-fest of new opera.  The centerpiece of the event are three concert readings of new operas, running the thematic gamut of Alan Turing, war vets returning home, and a Mexican drug “queenpin”.  Click here for full descriptions, and a special code for $5 off single tickets!

The composers being featured are Jeremy Howard Beck, Justine Chen, and Jorge Sosa (triple J’s, nice), a pretty diverse crew, which is nice to see in the world of opera.  Today I’ll start with Jeremy Howard Beck.

MASSIVE EDIT: Turns out there are two composers named “Jeremy Beck” and the one in InsightALT is Jeremy Howard Beck.  I feel like an idiot, but seriously, what are the odds!  Well as it turns out, they’re pretty high…  Anyway, here’s my revised post:

Based on the memoir of the same name by Brian Castner, former Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit member in Iraq, The Long Walk is about veterans’ struggles on adjusting to life back home after returning from war.  Should be interesting stuff…

Here’s a performance of Beck‘s 2009 piece Awakening, by it’s commissioners, trombone quartet The Guidonian Hand.  A trombonist himself, Beck says the piece was inspired by the then-recent passing of Proposition 8 in California (overturning the legalization of gay marriage there) and its concurrence with the Jewish high holidays, with their use of the shofar horn.

And here’s the InsightALT trailer, reproducing an interview with Castner by BBC.  Their YouTube channel, has features from past events too, so good way to get a feel for InsightALT generally.

Happy Bicentennial Birthday Wagner!

Today is the 200th birthday of everyone’s favorite German marathon opera composer, Richard Wagner.  I know I’m kind of ready to move on after all the Wagner-festivities of the past season…  To celebrate his first centennial, in 1913, German film pioneer Carl Froelich directed this silent autobiographical movie:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_9PzkzsQxc&w=350&h=300]

Interestingly, to avoid royalty fees for using Wagner’s music, they instead commissioned Italian-born, German-based composer Giuseppe Becce to create the original, Wagnerian-ish score.  As if that wasn’t enough, Becce even played the title role!  Such an auspicious omen for an aspiring composer, literally stepping into the role of a great predecessor, but doesn’t seem to have rubbed off too much onto Becce.

MoCCA Fest Award Winners

Ghost Hotel by Kim Ku

Ghost Hotel, copyright Kim Ku, 2013 MoCCA Fest Award winner

If you remember as far back as this year’s MoCCA Fest (the first under the new leadership of the Society of Illustrators), you’ll remember one of their new additions was a juried award for exhibitors.  Well, the lucky 7 winners are the subject of a new exhibit at the Society opening today, but partiers-in-the-know will wait for the free reception tomorrow night, from 6 to 10.

I sadly missed some really neat sounding exhibits at the Society in the mad dash that was the end of last semester, so I’m ready to get back in the swing of things… And coincidentally, I know someone in my library science program who knows one of the winners!  So looking forward to blending my library and comic museum worlds in one night…

And since I’ve been slacking on the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month front, here’s Kim Ku, one of this year’s MoCCA Fest Award winners!  As a future librarian, I find this cardigan zine very compelling…

Ghost Cardigan zine by Kim Ku

Ghost Cardigan zine, copyright Kim Ku

It’s also neat to see that her silkscreened books have been collected by the Brooklyn Museum Library and Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library; those are some cool librarians!