a week with no update is like ... last week, actually

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I can't believe I haven't updated this thing in a week-plus. Hmmmm. I think I got hung up on books or concerts or something (poor me!) - so I'll just get on with it.

Sunday 8/14 - Pink Martini at the Zoo - this was such a different zoo concert experience from Chris Isaak*. We went with M and CR - they were in line ahead of us and got a good spot on the lawn! Huzzah! Not only that, the people all around us were not Magnitude 1 Yuppie Asshats (hooray) which went a long way to making the show even better. In short, Pink Martini is a swinging fun time and if you have the opportunity to see them, you probably should. Although I will have to respectfully disagree with Thomas Lauderdale that Sneakin' Out is the best band in Portland. Vigorously disagree. a lot. But that was more than made up for by Pink Martini itself (vibraphone!!!) - they're a 12/13 piece band and really together, if that makes any sense. I like that China Forbes (the fabulous singer) is a functioning member of the band and not just some showcase hothouse flower that floats in front of the rest of them when singing and floats away when she's not. She goes back by the percussion, or grabs the tambourine, or does something when she's not singing. I also loved that the Japanese Consul General for Portland was a very special guest (he played flute on Hang On, Little Tomato). Not just a special guest, but one that TL, at least, was excited to have on stage. In the same category (well, she's really in a category all her own) was Mrs. Doris Bloom, who is 84 and used to sing with Bing Crosby. She stole the show with her spangly black top, hot-pink satin pants, and a stirring rendition of Copacabana. But despite all of the fun special guests, the fact that the peacock flew into the tree again (it must be his bedtime), it is Pink Martini themselves that make it all happen. They are definitely the soundtrack to the imaginary. sophisticated starts-in -the-afternoon-but-goes-all-night party in my head.
In short - Pink Martini = 2 thumbs up, in every language they sing in (unless 2 thumbs up is rude in that language). They are the sort of band that when touring Europe would definitely stop in Hav after Istanbul but before Vladivostock.

Chasing Shakesepares by Sarah Smith #29

All the blurbs, all the reviews compare this book to Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time and A.S. Byatt's Possession. For once, the blurbs don't lie! I liked both of those other books, and I really liked this one. I've read her other excellent series - well, it's kind of a series - starting with The Vanished Child, followed by The Knowledge of Water (both of which I LOVED), and rounded out by A Citizen of the Country, which I just couldn't get into for whatever reason.

Anyway - just like Daughter of Time, Smith takes an idea that is largely dismissed as being ridiculous (in this instance that Shakespeare of Stratford isn't really Shakespeare who wrote the plays - that the writer was really the Earl of Oxford), and dammit if she doesn't make me all tingly with the possibility of it all by the end. It was thrilling in the way that scholarly research can be thrilling - following an idea down a rabbit hole and seeing where it goes. Although in this instance all I had to do was turn the pages. And they just kept turning and turning. I had some, well, they're not really issues, but more questions about some character-driven things, but over all I really loved this book.

* I just want to note that the CI concert was fantastic, where we had the bad luck to put our chairs was not. It was a great show, nonetheless.
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