Archive for the ‘the life’ Category

Soprano Rhoslyn Jones’ Official Website Launched!

Enjoy the newest in my “Diva Website Series” (that’s tongue-in-cheek…well, perhaps it shouldn’t be?):

www.rhoslynjones.com just went LIVE!


Visit this new website to keep up and connect with San Francisco Opera Merola & Adler alumni, “The delicious diva,” soprano Rhoslyn Jones. Experience her amazing artistry, musings, repertoire, acclaim, and don’t miss out on her upcoming performances!

Your clicks will also help her site more swiftly climb to the top of the search engine results…so, thanks for clicking around!!!

(I designed and built it on the squarespace.com platform.)

Enjoy!

A Manifesto: To iPhone or Not to iPhone?

I share here a recent solicited (and edited) opinion from a friend on my impending new phone purchase. The 7-year old Samsung Clamshell that came free with my Sprint plan finally kicked the bucket. His manifesto is chock-full of ruminations on the perks and disadvantages of both options. Perhaps it will also help inform you, as it did me with an upcoming purchase!

Do You ❤ iPhone?

I think iPhone users have to say they love their phone, but I’m ambivalent about mine. I like the smartphone concept but I’m not a real “power user” of anything it offers, except email when I’m on the train. I’m also not an iPod user, except SOMETIMES when I fly, and I don’t take tons of photos and want to upload them instantly to FB.

You, on the other hand, are more techy and much more connected via texting, phone, email, Facebook, etc. You can get the same via a nice phone from Sprint (HTC?) with an unlimited data and text plan, but it won’t have the Apple cachet.

I do think that one should not have to dial numbers or look them up. If you have someone in your contacts, you should just be able to tell the phone to dial. That was not on the first iPhone but was part of my previous Samsung phones’ package for at least 8 years.

AT&T vs. Sprint

iPhone and AT&T will be more expensive initially and monthly than Sprint. It’s hard to do an apples to apples comparison because the plans are different, but it is significant. Not a plane ticket to New York each year. But maybe two very nice dinners with wine a year.

Coverage

You can log into the AT&T Coverage Viewer web page and input your zip code to see your coverage. Mine, for instance, does show as lower quality. I’m not sure about your neighborhood, but I do remember when I called you on the way to meet you at the DeYoung Museum last week, I tried to use the 3G service to get Google Maps and it was worthless. Typical. I get good service at home on my Wi-Fi where I don’t need a map, but when I’m lost and away from my home Wi-Fi connection, AT&T sometimes fails me. All networks will probably have problems somewhere.

I do have much slower connection times (from the time I dial to the time it starts ringing) with AT&T than I did with SprintMore dropped calls. Has been totally awful? No. Do I like my phone? Yes. Could I live with another phone from another network? Yes.

Consumer Guide Weighs-In

Consumer Guide just came out with a pretty big statement that they cannot recommend the iPhone (4). But only because they feel that Apple is putting too much of a burden on consumers to ASK for a case to bypass the antenna problem that Consumer Guide says is a design flaw that Apple needs to fix. I agree that it’s bad that Apple initially spent tons ‘o money to send cases to current iPhone 4 users who bought the phone before it was a known issue. But now they seem to have the attitude, like…well, people should know about it by now, so why should we fix it?

Just Like Barbie & Ken

On a lighter note, if you do get an iPhone, before you know it, you’ll be playing with it in bed until the battery goes dead. And, then you’ll totally be accessorizing it like a Barbie or Ken doll. Everyone does, you know. :)

It Can Be Undone

Whatever you do, it can be undone. You simply have to pay some money to cancel a contract (which I believe depreciates over time) or you just hold on for 2 years. There will be more advances by then and you WILL NOT hold on to the same phone for 7 years like you did the last. It will be like wearing the same costume to Trannyshack 2 years in a row! Just telling you, because a new wave is coming and you’re going to ride it.

Play with phones in both places AFTER you know the price differences. Then, go with your informed gut. Remember that none of the marketing or bells and whistles they have on the phone is geared towards what we actually NEED. They will be pushing all your buttons to get you to focus on what you WANT — or, what the world makes you WANT.

What do you WANT? That is the only question you need to answer. Then just buy it — whatever it is.

— Guest Ghost Blogger

[jcm footnote: Just in case you’re wondering, I DID purchase my first iPhone, a 3GS, and am just breaking it in! As a web designer, I couldn’t pass up on the amazing and intuitive interface, despite these stated disadvantages. I can’t believe I waited this long. I also opted for the warm grey, metallic Incase.]

“When Harry Met Salvatore”

A gay take on a great scene from one of my favorite movies, and arguably one of the best romantic comedies of all time (which I just gladly rewatched).

❤       ❤       ❤       ❤       ❤       ❤

Harry: You realize of course that we could never be friends.

Sal: Why not?

Harry: What I’m saying is — and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form — is that gay men can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.

Sal: That’s not true. I have a number of gay male friends and there is no sex involved.

Harry: No you don’t.

Sal: Yes I do.

Harry: You only think you do.

Sal: You say I’m having sex with them without my knowledge?

Harry: No, what I’m saying is they all WANT to have sex with you.

Sal: They do not.

Harry: Do too.

Sal: How do you know?

Harry: Because no gay man can be friends with a man that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with him.

Sal: So, you’re saying that a gay man can be friends with a man he finds unattractive?

Harry: No. You pretty much want to nail ’em too.

Sal: What if THEY don’t want to have sex with YOU?

Harry: Doesn’t matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.

Sal: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then.

Harry: I guess not.

Sal: That’s too bad. You were the only person I knew in San Francisco.

But, at least Harry doesn’t have to worry about Sal faking an orgasm (ala Meg Ryan)!

❤       ❤       ❤       ❤       ❤       ❤

Dramatic Soprano Heidi Melton’s Official Website Launched!

I’m ecstatic to announce the launching of Heidi Melton’s Official NEW Website!

Click on the image or link below to visit her site. Once there, review her upcoming performances (book your flights!), sample her incredible artistry (via multimedia), read her blog musings, and more! She’s taking the opera world by storm. GO HEIDI!

I designed and built the site from start to finish (using the SquareSpace platform). It’s an honor be her friend, FANatic, AND web designer.

www.heidimeltonsoprano.com

A Koken’s “Butterfly”: Chapter 2

The Adventures of…


“Look! Up on the stage! It’s a samisan, it’s a parasol, it’s SUPER-KOKEN!
Slower than a drifting glacier, more stealthy than a leopard on the hunt.
Able to spin the turntable in a single hook.”

Further Feats: 40 minutes of standing in a demi-plié, 6 child’s poses, 30 minutes in a forward yoga lay, 16 turntable rotations, 1 death-defying silk drop catch, and more!

But, don’t all superheroes have baggage? Thus, I deliver my diagnosis of the Koken: In need of treatment for OCD and chronic inefficiency. These Kabuki-inspired characters in San Francisco Opera’s Madama Butterfly (of which I am 1 of 6) unfailingly offer up perfectly aligned prop placement and table settings, and impossibly measured, controlled movement. SICK!

From a serious perspective, I love exploring and learning different kinds of movement (and dance). Ours requires us to be very in sync, and move nearly as one, in an energized, yet internalized way (like the Tai Chi we trained in). It’s been the best workout I’ve gotten in ages (boy, those pliés are GREAT for the inner thighs!). I’m also savoring the meditative, spiritual practice I’m experiencing through the incredible presence this technique requires.

Given that our all-black costumes are very much like those of a ninja, our presence lends an air of intrigue and gravitas to the unfolding of the proceedings.

 

From left: Yvette Rosedale, Ronna Alexander, Joan Dickson, Paul Ziller, Eliza Fox, Sherman Lee, (Not pictured: Helen Lew; Photo by Betsy Kershner)

 

Demystifying Illusion & Stagecraft (WARNING: SPOILERS)


I’m amazed at how transforming the art of illusion and stagecraft are, when used so masterfully. Up-close and unlit, the set shows its almost 30 years, and doesn’t really “sing”…BUT, when lit, and from the house, it emerges full bloom into a seemingly living and breathing world. The fiber board panels with overlapping green carpet look like REAL stone and earth. The perforated metal panels that up-close look too thick and heavy-handed, appear exactly like paper screens. GENIUS!

The technological trick that enables the crew to rotate the turntable a calculated amount each time is a crafty system that includes UV painted numbers on the TT rim, that when black-lit from the side are visible only to the offstage crew. This ensures exact placements every time. WOW! Yes, the cat’s outta the bag, the Koken only pantomime the TT rotation, but it’s still a workout to make it look real, with right degree of physical tension.

Continue Experiencing a Koken’s Butterfly —>

“Toi Toi Toi” on SFO “Butterfly” Opening Night!

Inspired by a comment from La Cieca on one of my recent facebook statuses…here is the opening of my greeting to all my fellow Koken, cast, and creative staff tonight, on Opening Night of San Francisco Opera’s Madama Butterfly:

NorCal (Less Tragic) Parterre Gathering: Part the Second

Casta Divas

The City* might have been fogbound and frigid, and parterre.com may continue to offer up the occasional chill (via the Comments’ peanut gallery…aka The Real Housewives of Parterre?), but there was plenty of warm sunshine and good cheer still to be found in Petaluma.

On Oct. 2nd, Batty Masetto and Frank hosted an intimate, operatic-themed sit-down early dinner on their veranda, beneath a glorious specimen of a redwood…with Norma conceivably worshipping Irminsul just a mistletoe sprig away. Emanating from their home were live Callas selections…but, of course! jumping clapping man sang along with his best Callasian coloratura runs and disembodied high notes, from Ophélie’s Mad Scene to Abigaille’s “Anch’io dischiuso.”

 

The masterful Cassata alla Melba, a multi-layered ice-cream dream.

 

Cher Public Shares

An attempt to urge a garden-side duet (“Mira, o Norma;” “Sous le dôme épais;” or at least the Barcarolle) from Ching (an operaphile and sometime Parterrian) was unsuccessful. Meanwhile SF Guy shared details of the treasures in his extensive video library (dvds cleverly transferred from dusty Beta videos), including the original mounting of the Hal Prince Butterfly that I’m opening in next Tuesday at SFO! It was televised via Great Performances, with Anna Tomowa-Sintow and Peter Dvorsky.

The food would have made Alice Waters salivate, and the English garden turned Ina Garten green with envy. It was fresh, divine, AND oh so very operatic! Kudos to our hosts for their inventiveness, culinary skills and generosity!

* referring to San Francisco, NOT NY, however difficult that may be for a New Yorker to swallow.


Menu

Preludio:

Trittico di antipasti:
• Il Signor Bruschetta
• Ciliegine alla Martina (“Madama Butterballs”)
• Carciofi alla Callas (vinegar and honey)

Atto primo:

• Spaghetti alla Norma

Atto secondo:

• Bracioline di maiale alla “Scotto”-dito
(based on a traditional Scottadito, meaning “finger-blistering” or “burnt fingers,” and meant to be eaten hot, with the fingers)

• Finocchio al parmigiano (fennel)

Finale:

• Cassata alla Melba


Genius, Batty, Genius!!! (Batty conveys his apologies to the Italian language.)

Our first meeting was Parterrians @ the Pagoda, this time Parterrians in Petaluma. There were whisperings of the next gathering being in Oakland. That’ll need some alliterative help. Wanna be on the guest list? Drop me a line. Until next time…

“Turn the clock to zero…”

I have no idea which interpretation of this Sting song will hold true for me on this most important of days, but it inspires me to start anew, continue looking and building forward, and choosing love and truth:

“I’m thinking in a brand new way…
The river’s wide, (I’ll) swim across.
We’re starting up a brand new day.”

Thanks Sting!

(Here are the complete song lyrics.)

The Buddhist “Middle Way” & Balance

“The Buddha said, ‘I’ve discovered a new way to go,
and it’s not the path of asceticism,
and it’s not the path of sensory indulgence.
It’s the Middle Way…everything needs to be balanced.”

— Mark Epstein, psychiatrist

“Fair goes the dancing when the Sitar is tuned.

Tune us the Sitar neither high nor low,
And we will dance away the hearts of men.

But the string too tight breaks, and the music dies.

The string too slack has no sound, and the music dies.

There is a middle way.

Tune us the Sitar neither low nor high.
And we will dance away the hearts of men.”

— An ancient song that inspired The Buddha

Wisdoms on Nirvana

“There is no where else than here.

The only gate is now.

The only doorway is your own body and mind.

There’s nowhere to go…there’s nothing else to be.

There’s no destination.


It’s not something to aim for in the afterlife.

It’s simply the quality of this moment.

Just this…this room where (you) are.

Pay attention to that…

Pay attention.”

— Poets Jane Hirshfeld & W.S. Merwin

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