I have taken part in the first of my Three Known Nerd Events of the Summer: I saw and loved Star Trek. For extra Nerd Karma bonus points I saw it the day before it opened officially, with a crowd of approving Believers. I always like to see a movie I know I want to see as soon as I can see it, see? Before the reviews come out. I like to read reviews but they always spoil too much. Suffice it to say that nothing about the movie failed to satisfy. Kirk fights, humps an alien (female), and hangs from three different cliffs. Spock says "Fascinating" and talks to himself. All the old "Star Trek" TV sound effects are heard again. There are thrills, laughs, and mind-numbing plot twists. WARNING: time travel and parallel universes are involved, so set your logic on "stun." I saw it a second time with the family. Maggie loves Kirk (Chris Pine)! She was surprised to learn that WILLIAM SHATNER played him on TV!
This weekend: my final G&S performances of the summer (and second Nerd Event): NYGASP's The Pirates of Penzance at The Filene Center, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Arts, Vienna, VA. Our FIFTEENTH consecutive appearance at this Tanglewood-type outdoor amphitheater. May 29 & 30 at 8. "Pirates" is my favorite of the NYGASP stagings - no topical gags (except "Department of Homeland Security"), only three quick encores, the chorus is encouraged to act and is therefore extremely funny, the choreography looks somewhat professional and fun, limited buttinski stuff from the pit. The infallible Michele McConnell is a great Mabel, Colm Fitzmaurice is a rugged-looking, completely charming Frederick, and David Macaluso as Samuel, the speaking pirate who isn't the Pirate King, usually hits his interpolated high G#. I am still enjoying playing the Major-General, which is still not yet an age-appropriate role for me. The principals wear body mics - a lovely thing. Only a real sourpuss wouldn't enjoy our Pirates of Penzance.
Event of the Nerd the Third: June 3 & 4 I will be attending two days of the annual International Horn Symposium in Macomb (near Chicago), IL. Every year, in a different international location, several hundred hornplayers from EVERYWHERE get together for a week of concerts, lectures, exhibits and geeky socializing! I have done full weeks of this thing in the distant past but will only be attending Wednesday and Thursday because two days are cheaper. People who don't know me, and/or have never clicked on "ABOUT ," in the upper left of this page, may not know that I spent several years of my professional life, such as it is, as a hornplayer in and around New York and on tour in various ensembles. This part of my life got phased out due to imposed physical limitations and my simultaneous success as a thespian. But I have found - I am surprised it took me this long - that I can still play extremely well on a lighter instrument. There are all types of configurations of French horns, using more or less tubing, though the standard full double F/Bb horn is OVERWHELMINGLY the most popular on this continent. I am switching to a single Bb horn.
As you can see, the double horn has lots more metal, and certain advantages for which I think I can compensate. A couple of weeks ago I played my first horn solo in about TEN YEARS, at a NYGASP function. "Over the Rainbow," on Al Bergeret's old double horn. It went very well - like one nicked note, and I was not overcome with nerves, as used to be the norm. Professional-quality single horns are rare in America, but the Symposium is an international event, and manufacturers will have them on exhibit and ready to be sampled and possibly bought.
The NYGASP thing for which I played was the annual Asimov Awardee concert, this year presented by winner Michael Galante. Next Spring I have to give you warning about this concert. NYGASP singers who aren't often heard in solo roles with the company - like CHRIS-IAN SANCHEZ - get to present themselves, and "stalwarts" like me get to do something different. The concert is free and a regular riot!
Also, my brother Doug will, at a time yet to be announced, come out with THE BIG GAY ICE CREAM TRUCK! Click on it! And stand by circa this site!