I’m not usually one to share my dreams on the Internet, but this one was especially memorable, and maybe shows what happens to your mind when you work at a radio station.
In my dream, I’d summoned friends and family to a basement rec room—I’m not sure whose, I didn’t recognize it—where I would perform a concert of songs by…who? The audience had gathered, but I’d forgotten whose songs I was supposed to be singing: Richard Thompson’s, or Matthew Friedberger’s.
I was bantering with the crowd to kill time when I noticed a middle-aged black man in the back row and thought, that’s him! I was still trying to remember who “him” was, but this guy seemed closer to Richard Thompson, so I announced that I was honored to have the subject of my tribute concert in the house, and introduced this guy as “Richard Thompson.” He didn’t correct me.
It was time for a song, so I just made something up, in part because I was still paralyzed with uncertainty as to whether I was supposed to be singing a Richard Thompson song or something by Fiery Furnaces. “Richard” gamely tried to sing along, then I told everyone to hold on for a minute while I made a call.
I ran upstairs to call my sister Jenny, because I’d just remembered that I was supposed to hang out with her and her family—though maybe I was confusing her with Eleanor Friedberger. I apologized for scheduling a concert that afternoon and said I’d be a half-hour late, but Jenny said that her youngest son Will would have to take a nap soon so I’d better hurry.
I ran back down to the rec room to find “Richard” on guitar, entertaining the audience. I interrupted him to announce that I was sorry, but the concert was over. Everyone started to file out, but I thought I’d better sing one final number, so I jumped on a table and started to bellow “Wall of Death,” which I knew was a Richard Thompson song and which I knew most of the words to. (For one verse, I just sang, “food, food, I think this is a verse about food…”)
By the end, only a few people were left, though they seemed to be into it, laughing and clapping. I’d realized that it was all a dream, and I quickly woke up.
'In handling a musket in battle,' a comrade recalled, '[Civil War Union soldier Albert D.J. Cashire] was the equal of any in the company.' Cashire also 'seemed specially adept at those tasks so despised by the infantrymen,' such as sewing and washing clothes. Cashire fought in forty skirmishes and battles and became active in veterans' affairs, marching in parades for decades after the War.
Then, in 1911, while working as a handyman in Illinois, Cashire was hit by an automobile and taken to the hospital with a leg broken close to the hip. The doctor who examined Cashire discovered what the Illinois veteran had so long concealed; Cashire was a woman, an Irish immigrant née Jennie Hodgers. Hodgers was eventually sent to an insane asylum and forced to wear women’s clothing until her death in 1915.
What would you ask the "Sherlock" music composers?
Classical MPR contributor Garrett Tiedemann has interviewed the composers of music for Breaking Bad, Gravity, and Hannibal; his next interview is with Michael Price and David Arnold, music composers for the BBC’s Sherlock.
Garrett will have some questions of his own, but we’d also like to include some questions from our audience. What do you want to know about the music for this international hit show? Answer here with your questions for Price and Arnold, or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“No, it makes more sense for you to come here than for me to go there. Why? Because it’s cold as hell, and everyone’s trying to get the fuck out of Minnesota right now!”—Phone conversation overheard on the bus
In a sense it’s unfair to rank everything—every play, every movie, every concert—I reviewed this year in one big undifferentiated list, but in another sense it’s perfectly fair. Every artist who puts a project forth for public consumption is asking you to trust him or her with your money and—more importantly—your time. You can go see a play, a movie, or a concert on a Saturday night, but you probably can’t do all three. In that sense, all these things were competing for the same attention.
Creating a list like this forces you to really think about what you ask and expect from art. The first nine entries on this list were somehow transcendent: went above and beyond what I expected and left me with unforgettable experiences that somehow changed how I think about art. My favorite play of the year was Four Humors’ Lolita, a production starring only three actors—all adult men. Gravity was the best film of the year, in close competition with the instantly iconic Spring Breakers and the superbly crafted Catching Fire. The concert of the year was the L.A. Philharmonic’s dildo-laden production of Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels.
Entries 10-32 were largely extremely well-made examples of their respective genres. Zorongo Flamenco’s Sol y Luna was a benchmark as I compiled this list: a flamenco show that didn’t change the way I think about flamenco, but clearly and consistently demonstrated the enduring power of that dance tradition.
Entries 33-53 were all good, but were also all problematic or disappointing in some significant respect. Entries 54-75 were not that great, but each had something meaningful to recommend it. (For Man of Steel, at the bottom of this bracket, it was the flying scenes.) Below 75, we’re in the realm of experiences I really could have skipped—or, in some cases, wish I had. The last several entries were all pretty dicey, but Oz the Great and Powerful is really in a category of its own as an experience it was genuinely unpleasant to endure. Uff da.