Sunday, May 31, 2015

End of May updates

Sneaking one last post in under the wire for May (I could write more Sunday evening, but think I'll be too busy).

Generally the move to the new place is going well, but I'm having real trouble getting a contractor to come out and take a look at some minor things that need fixing.  I think I'll end up with someone more responsive.  And I may need an electrician, and that may be a completely different company.  I'm also very unhappy that the Behr paint is sometimes peeling right off the wall when I painted too much on the tape.  I don't think I'll get Behr again in the future.  So I do have a bit of further cleaning up to do, mostly in my daughter's room (so I had to make a couple of trips to Home Depot for various supplies).

But otherwise things are on track.  Most of the basement is packed up.  I should get the last CD rack emptied out and the CDs boxed up tonight.  I had hoped I could downsize to 1 filing cabinet, but I still have about 6 drawers of random papers, which is more like 1.5 cabinets.  Still, I may just keep one and give one away and leave the rest in banker boxes to force me to really sort through this stuff and scan what I need and recycle the rest.  (At one point in my life I had 3 file cabinets that were almost totally full!)  While it may just be pushing it too much, I am getting nervous about having so much stuff over at the new place while we are not there, so I think I'll move up moving day to June 21.  Also, I think we'll have slightly less competition to get movers on that day compared to the 26th or 27th.

Now in order to make this work, I have to basically empty out the boxes in the living room and get this stuff on the shelves in the back office, even though it hasn't been braced (in the basement).  I'll just have to start with the lighter stuff tomorrow.  That will also allow me to bring back a bunch of empty boxes for the art books upstairs.  I also have to move a lot of stuff into the basement just to ensure there is room to move the furniture in.  Still, I don't have all the much going on in June (event-wise at least), so I think it will be ok.  We'll have about a month to get settled in the new place before the wife and kids decamp to Chicago for a while.

I've seen quite a bit of theatre and some great concerts lately.  Friday I saw Yo Yo Ma play Elgar's Cello Concerto, and then the TSO did Holst's The Planets.  I thought it was good, but my problem with The Planets is that sections 5 through 7 are way more restrained and eerie than the earlier movements, and I really was struggling to stay awake.  I probably heard most of it.  I've seen Ma more frequently doing his Silk Road concerts, so it was nice to see him doing one of the masterworks of the cello repertoire.

The weekend before that, I took my son to the concert where TorQ and the Toy Piano Composers were collaborating.  He was definitely the youngest there, and it was definitely not a children's concert (though they have done one of these in the past).  I truly thought they would be playing a toy piano at some point (like this) and was a bit disappointed that the name is just a gimmick.  Anyway, they premiered 6 new compositions, of which my son and I liked 3 or 3.5.  We both agreed that our favourite was "Runaway" by Daniel Morphy, who is actually a TorQ member as well.  They are slowly putting up videos from their various shows, and if this piece gets posted, I will link to it.  I know both groups have some exciting things coming up next season, so I'll make sure to add those to my longer-term cultural activities page.

That same weekend, I made a last minute decision to see a concert at Koerner Hall where the first half was Don Byron with the Gryphon Trio, which was quite nice, and the second was the Ensemble contemporain de MontrĂ©al (ECM), which I thought was very boring and not well done at all.  I doubt whether I will ever go see ECM again.  I was glad to overhear in the Tim Horton's (a pit stop before heading home) that some of the other young music students had a similar reaction.

I'm going to hold off posting about the trip to the Emily Carr exhibit with the kids for a separate post, but it's certainly worth checking out if one is already at the AGO.

I saw some incredible theatre in May, with the Video Cabaret shows focused on Trudeau being the highlights, but I also liked the Bollywood-infused As You Like It and the two George F. Walker plays focused on urban education (and its pitfalls).  I wasn't crazy about Robert LePage's Needles and Opium, as it was almost all spectacle and not a very compelling story.  Though as pure spectacle, it was pretty good.  I didn't realize that one of the more interesting scenes was directly inspired by an actual photo shoot of Jean Cocteau as Hindu god or something.  Not sure whether that makes me more or less impressed with LePage's vision.  The staging was well-done, though there were only two pairs of arms, not three.

I'm still sort of mulling over the Macbeth that I just saw this evening.  The beginning felt a little rushed and some of the initial steps seemed missing for Macbeth to be quite so susceptible to his wife's bloody plot.  But it settled in pretty well after that.  I guess I would have been a bit more drawn into the play had they done a bit less doubling of parts and had even one or two actors over 25 to play the older roles like King Duncan and Northumberland.  It did feel a bit like a theatre school production where the overarching concept plays a bit too prominent a role.  But it was still entertaining.  Now if the theatre just hadn't been so sweltering!  I can't even imagine how hot it must have been for the cast to do all that jumping around and sword fighting.

On the reading side, it has sort of been the reverse where I just haven't liked too much that I have read recently (not even the book I am reading now -- The Burn) with the exception of Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai.  I have to be honest that I am running out of steam.  If I decide I really need to wrote more about these books, I'll circle back around later.  Ciao.

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