The Big Short (the movie): Review
January 21, 2016, 07:43 am posted by Maria Choban

Jealousy -- that negative emotion we throw at those who achieve in a big way something we're striving for. I saw The Big Short (TBS) last night. Go! (in case you read no further).

If you can wrap your head around a movie that combines David Mamet dialogue (think Glengarry Glen Ross), Steven Soderbergh scene juggling (think Traffic), breathless fast ensemble magic (think early West Wing) and your College Economics textbook, you may skip seeing the movie.

For the rest of us, it's riveting new ground.

Furthermore -

If you can then graft onto your above imagined the detective thriller Day of the Jackal (original 1973) where you're rooting for the bad guy, with the adrenaline rush of a flick like Speed SIT DOWN, I'M NOT DONE! with absurdist Dada comedy which actually feels fresh rather than hipster retro - slap-sticked in to relieve the unbearable tension of watching the Wall Street ticker tape Not Move (I am NOT being facetious! I was High Noon anxious) then for fuck's sake, quit your day job and go join the ranks of those who created TBS!

If, instead, you give me grief about the film being too simplistic, too wrong, too something, I will call you jealous and suggest you read this -- a clever article, clearly opinionated (as was TBS - as is any great entertainment/art because TRUTH IS SUBJECTIVE! SO GROW UP!!!).

I don't care how wrong you think it might be, I care that I was transfixed, NEVER BORED! A one-two gut punch followed by brain concussion that made me feel and then think and think and think.

Distressingly, I've seen way more meh created shit petted and stroked by critics until everyone purrs. Why? Because more people can turn out meh foul ball tips than outside the park home runs. I think we insulate and protect our tribe of meh, preferring to ostracize the astounding achieving outliers because we cannot face that we haven't or can't or won't reach that level.

The Book of Mormon (the musical): Review
January 15, 2016, 10:49 am posted by Maria Choban

Which of These Things is Not Like the Others?

A. The Book of Mormon (the musical)

B. Miss Saigon

C. Tiffany

D. Unforgettable

January 12, 2016, 12:03 pm posted by Maria Choban

We celebrated my sweetie, Brett's birthday at The Steep and Thorny Way To Heaven. And by this I do not mean we got married. Planned as the anchor of our evening, Myrrh Larsen's rock opera, Grey Gold, premiered last weekend at this funky underground performance space with an acronym longer than pi.

But our celebration started hours before as we warmed up with a meandering walk down the park blocks and into the Northwest. We mistook the custom house building for the Pacific Northwest College of Art, walking all around it trying to find a way in, marveling at the architecture and Portland's commitment to saving these buildings for public, community use.

Custom House

We found the PNCA a couple blocks further north, taking in the last day of the Riot Grrrl! exhibit Alien She they hosted half of (the other half at the Museum of Contemporary Craft).


Frankly, winter is a difficult time for me. I'd bitch about my partner's birthday occurring at the apex of my Persephonic depression, but then my sister's birthday falls on Valentine's day when her husband's family's rose business has its busiest day. Unclenching me from my fetal position in bed from about November on is best left only to the cat.

Now that I'm out and about, enjoying the waning lumens with a full and delightful evening ahead, my memory of my bed pixelates and I'm smiling with contentment.

Hunger drove us to our reserved table at Zaatar nearly one hour early! The place was open but too empty. We killed 45 minutes at Powell's. I've eaten at Zaatar several times. I have never had dessert. DO NOT MISS their butter soaked bread crumb encrusted melted mozzarella with ricotta dessert, drizzled with rosewater syrup. I am not a dessert person. I would go back for just this! a solid 10.0

What could be better than a Lebanese meal for my Lebanese birthday guy? Greek live music by the performers....wait for it..................Brett and Maria! I am not kidding!!! Brett Pitner and Maria George assisted by David Reihs (presenter of Zaatar music nights) on doumbek provided mostly live entertainment (with backing tracks) from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Pitner's one of the nimblest Bouzouki players I've heard and George is definitely one of the funnest, sexiest performers I've had the pleasure of watching; and a smoky voice she cultivates every hour or so with a cigarette break.

From there we hopped on the streetcar to Myrrh Larsen's rock opera. Here's a fun review about that show I wrote for Oregon Arts Watch. Enjoy!

And just when we thought our evening was over, further entertainment escorted us from our street car ride back to our car parked at PSU.

Leaning against a light pole, taking notes, waiting for the streetcar at Hawthorne and Grand, a guy with twinkly eyes walks past me muttering loudly: "Touching makes people crazy! It all started with cell phones. People had to touch their cell phones. Man, it got crazy..."

Scarily, I totally follow his logic and agree!

On the streetcar, a new passenger joins us across the aisle. He too has twinkly eyes.

him: I just got $100 from a guy who thought he was giving me a dollar bill! I bought 3 videos and a dirty mag. I'm going home to watch porn!

me: good for you!

him: but it's lonely. got any hot asian friends who'll give me a blow job?

me: can't help you.

him: got $5?

me: I'm a musician. can YOU lend ME $5?

I love his artless honesty!

Off the streetcar and only blocks from our car we encounter a threesome...all with twinkly eyes.

guy #1 points to guy #2 and says to us proudly: "He just won PowerBall!"

My sweetie responds: "Can you spare a dime?"

I know it was Brett's day to celebrate, but I felt like I was the one who got the greatest gifts. I was shouting at the night "I LOVE MY LIFE!" amnesia kicking in, forgetting my bed, my cat, my Persephonic depression.

Happy Birthday!

What I Learned from 4Chan
December 14, 2015, 09:40 am posted by Maria Choban

One of today's many posts with actual responses following:


Anonymous 12/14/15(Mon)11:37:37 No.61032657
why is Led Zeppelin king of dadrock?

How to Fight Stupid:

Anonymous 12/14/15(Mon)11:41:58 No.61032748 ▶
>Page: Goat
>Plant: Goat
>Bonham: Goat
>John Paul Jones: Most underrated unappreciated musician in history, absolute madman

And their discography is incredible

How to Fight pdx-nice'n'Fair

Anonymous 12/14/15(Mon)11:38:49 No.61032683 ▶
lotta cohesive and consistent material

How to Fight Funny

Anonymous 12/14/15(Mon)11:42:42 No.61032760▶
they sang about spooky witchcraft and tolkien and americans thought it was really cool for some reason

How to Kill a Stupid Thread faster and deader than Richard Taruskin

Anonymous 12/14/15(Mon)11:46:26 No.61032826▶
>>61032657 (OP)
just different enough to draw attention and generic enough to keep that attention for about half a century now

Chaos rains/reigns on/at 4Chan. I still visit out of fondness and I encourage anyone who wants to comment on Oregon Arts Watch/Music or Alitisa to participate in a 4Chan classical music debate. They too abound! But first, "Lurk Moar."

Tristan Bliss! Reggie White! Tristan Bliss!
December 12, 2015, 08:44 am posted by Maria Choban

I cannot help but hope that Pitchfork after 10 years of take-no-prisoners reviews, and 4chan's music-board after 12 years of rants has bullied the corporate pop machine (with its insipid songwriting and traditional formulas) back into it's parents' basement where it belongs. I cannot help but to hope that this cleared the way for gutty poetry like The Hills (#5 on BillBoard this week) by The Weeknd

and Here (#8 on BB) by Alessia Cara.

Of course, I'm wrong and next week I'll be disillusioned by business as usual on the BillBoard charts, but for now I thank the Pantheon for the
Tristan Blisses of pop.

I have a soft spot for the hard hitters.

The Mousai in Concert ??
November 10, 2015, 12:41 pm posted by Maria Choban

I'm tired of concerts, you're tired of concerts, The Mousai are itching to bust this genre wide open!

If you're afraid of Tarantino dominatrixes or debauched raucous New Orleans funeral parades,

The rest of you, bring Dramamine. It's going to be a wild ride.

Here's the list composers - music:

George Gianopoulos - City Vignettes for flute and piano 2014 (based on the poetry of Sara Teasdale):
Rain at Night

Jazz influenced

Antonio Celaya - Chongos Morongos for piano 2013** ("I just keep getting started, and then started again")
Tarantino/Dominatrix influenced

Thomas DeNicola - Memories for flute, oboe, clarinet, piano 2015*
Haunting, poignant, with gut-wrenching, grieving dissonances and sentimental consonance.

Scott Pender - Variations for oboe and piano 2010
The Hollywood genre

Daniel Schlosberg - Two Remarks for flute, oboe, clarinet, piano 2015*
First Movement - Debauched, raucous New Orleans funeral march.
Second Movement - Spare, unsentimental, modal shock

Bill Douglas - Quartet (2009) substituting 2nd movement from Trio (2015)*
for flute, oboe, clarinet, piano and added percussion
Jazz outer movements, modal mid-East and Spanish inner movements
Guest percussionist: Kaleb Davies, recent High School Graduate phenom!

* commissioned by or for The Mousai

**re-claimed by Choban when Celaya was going to throw it out and start all over!

I'll leak the rest little by little over the weeks leading up to December 4, 7:30pm at Portland State University - Lincoln Hall 75.

By donation only! Pay after the show and only what you think it was worth or what you can afford.

It was a Dark and Stormy Night...
November 04, 2015, 08:17 am posted by Maria Choban

I could not have said it better...
October 04, 2015, 07:41 am posted by Maria Choban

"[Steve] Jobs was often perceived as a harsh manager, but [Jony] Ive said that he was simply "beautifully focused," with little time for "behavioral niceties.

This trait was in full force during one design critique [Jony] Ive recounted, in which the late Apple C.E.O. [Steve Jobs] wasn't exactly complimentary toward Ive and his team. After the meeting, Ive asked Jobs why he had been so brutal.

"We had been putting our heart and soul into this," Ive said he told Jobs, telling his boss that he cared about "the team." Jobs responded candidly: "No, Jony, you're just really vain. You just want people to like you."

Ive admitted the comment made him "really cross," but only because Jobs had hit a nerve."

FROM Vanity Fair: Jonathan Ive Shares 3 Lessons He Learned from Steve Jobs

(bolded italics mine)

The Gravy Train
October 03, 2015, 04:23 am posted by Maria Choban

What's wrong with $25 to $35 to infinity concert tickets to a classical music niche event when you have a core audience and can assure a 2/3 house?

Nothing...if you're not subsidized.

What this godforsaken genre needs more than anything is fresh young blood (and lots of it) in the audience. I'm talking teenagers not conservatory students. I'm talking smart, curious, everyday soccer and video game playing, texting, angsting, teenagers. What they and their parents need is a break in ticket prices. Not just $10 per student but FREE! Not $25 to $35 to infinity for the parents but $10! And stop this fucking insanity of funding mid-century Dutch or Finnish or Mongolian Modernists who will draw a new audience of exactly 4.

And while we're at this shared desire to build a young fresh audience which has no aural connection to Modernists or any inside-your-own-head composition, let's think about practicing and rehearsing so that the content is engaging. THEN, let's go at least one step further and think about the entire experience, from walking onto the stage for the first number to walking off after the encore. We want them back don't we???

I am so fucking tired of hearing from the uninitiated "I didn't really get it, I know it's because I just don't have the background." I now preempt all queries, telling people what to see and especially what NOT to attend (and why). This is about survival and I will be fucking DAMNED if I'm going to sit by quietly and say nothing when I see over and over this fucking narcissistic tendency to program shit because "I Like It!" I promise to never program an hour of Rebetika for classical music concerts even though it's my very favorite genre. I know y'all will think it's whiny shit. I also promise to think about and put into practice arcing a show the way the classical music role-models in Portland do: ARCO and Dianne Davies and increasingly Cascadia Composers and surprisingly, the new, curated CRPDX shows.

Do we really want to grow the audience or do we just want a bigger audience for our own show-and-tell privilege???

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