TI, “Whatever You Like” (2007)
Bruno Mars, “That’s What I Like” (2016)
Desire is front and center in both of these songs. TI and Mars paint alluring pictures of social status-driven fantasies—“Oh, what a jealousy-inducing life we’ll lead!”—designed to tempt and charm their female conversation partners, as if they had no other desire than to fulfill the women’s every wish.
I am completely convinced of the necessity of arts appreciation in a college education.
This semester, I’ve been teaching at two different campuses, SUNY Purchase and CUNY Queensborough Community College. The student bodies are quite different, so this has been an interesting experiment in essentially teaching the same course to three different classes of students. I’ll reflect on this properly at the end of the term, but this week there was a presidential election.
Earlier this month, I attended the Resonant Bodies Festival at Merkin Hall to hear fantastic singers present compelling 20th and 21st century music that moved them. This year, the festival is kind of a big deal, and all three women headlining the well-attended opening night were unquestionably a big “get,” and the audience seemed to know it. I found the music to be lovely and the singing to be exceptional, and I was especially captivated by the exactitude and charisma of Tony Arnold’s opening set. Most reviewers gushed about the entire program, understandably.
Last night, I graduated from the CUNY Graduate Center (family in town, the hooding ceremony, all the official pomp!), and it was such a mix of sensations: trying not to dis/encourage my wildly waving brother in the audience too much, awe at the range of impressive dissertations by the new doctors from all the disciplines (Doctor of Audiology! Doctor of Urban Education! Doctor of Criminal Justice! oh, and the PhDs, too), the concentrated endurance of focusing as nearly 250 graduates were named and hooded on stage, and nerves.
The story-of-the-week in music-no-one-has-heard is that of Jonas Tarm's unceremoniously-cancelled Carnegie premiere with the New York Youth Symphony (Klinghoffer, anyone?). A friend of mine posted a link to the NPR story on my facebook wall with the added question: "Should he have to disclose his intent?" My immediate TL;DR reaction was "no," followed by a TL version I've pasted here. (There's also a passionately persuasive plea in the New York Times for the necessity of just letting the damn thing be played).
Is it possible to want something without wanting to have to work to get it?
This past Thursday, I went to a performance at the Kaplan Penthouse of visiting German musicians presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The program closed with a piece for two cellos by Thomas Demenga, performed with his brother Patrick, that was an extended rumination on the cello: what is it; what sounds can it make; why must it be played thus? There was an 11-note chromatic jazz line, allusions to birds in an Australian rainforest, fingers on the cello body, bowing on the peg, audible breathing that forced me to be aware of the human agency in performing the music, cellos turned sideways and played like dulcimers...
On the insistence of Mike Walker, I finally watched Somm. The pressure! The heartbreak! Oh, the lovely, luscious, enigmatic wines they tasted!