Brünnhilde wearing the fabled helmet, breastplate, spiked bracelets, wolfskin, and white skirt, and red cape. Her arms are both extended to to the sides but bent at the elbows. Her right hand is extended and left hand his limp. There is a glow behind her.

Ring Cycle Mythology

Every year, All over the world, Opera companies produce and perform Richard Wagner’s monumental four-opera series The Ring Cycle. Even more companies will include one of the Ring operas on their season. It’s awesome. The music envelops you. The take-aways from the plot are as pertinent and relevant as ever. Lots of people who don’t think they’ll like it end up loving it. The Ring Cycle is based on Norse Mythology, the same stuff J.R.R. Tolkein drew from to write his epic Lord of the Rings. And the idea is similar. There … Continue Reading

A black labradoodle jumps over a white and green pole, like a track and field jump. On the left, you see a vertical, green beam it rests on. Green grass and a brick wall are underneath and behind the dog.

A Moment of Catharsis

Six weeks ago, I took an audition for a summer orchestra. I didn’t win. You know who else didn’t win? My “inner critic.” The source of that stigma I discussed two months ago. And damn, that felt good. I know not everyone who reads this blog makes music (directly) with his/her respiratory system. But it seems I sparked some interest in the subject of managing the Valsalva Maneuver, regardless of the instrument the reader plays. Or whether s/he is a performer at all. So I thought I’d follow up on what I … Continue Reading

The US Department of Labor Century of Service Honor Roll of American Labor Organizations in the lobby of the Francis Perkins Building. Marble wall with the seals of every pertinent labor union.

12 Months of Love and Labor

U.S. Dept. of Labor Century of Service Honor Roll of American Labor Organizations Top Row, 2nd from the Left: The American Federation of Musicians Happy Labor Day! On this day one year ago, I embarked on my “Labor of Love” Challenge. Every month from then until now, I attended two events. One, a cultural event where classical music wasn’t the only art-form involved. The other, a labor event that didn’t exclusively involve the musicians union, the American Federation of Musicians. The purpose and spirit of this challenge was Solidarity. Solidarity with those … Continue Reading

The cover of the program for "An Octoroon" by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Two African American women on either side of an African American man who has a paint brush in his hand with white paint on it, which has just put a streak down his face. The ticket for the performance is below the program.

Month 11: Books and Books

Cultural Event: An Octoroon Last month, I paid my first visit to the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company. Truth be told, it wasn’t until I got to the theater and started reading my program that I learned the word “octoroon” is a derogatory term for someone who is 1/8th African American. An Octoroon is Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s adaptation of the1859 work The Octoroon by the Irish author Dion Boucicault. The original play, an adaptation of yet a different work, is an expression of Boucicault’s life experience being 1/8th minority in his time. Jacobs-Jenkins has made changes … Continue Reading

A pug laying on his left side against a white bathub with his tongue out. Under him is a blue, beige, and brown rug on top of beige and brown tile. There's a small what trash can on its side by the pug's feet. The pug is faun.

Maneuvering Away from Stigma

I have a secret. Well, it’s a secret to most people. Maybe you know this secret, or maybe you don’t. I used to be ashamed of it. I used to be afraid you’d find out. I didn’t tell anybody about it for a long time. But eventually, I found some people who I could confide in. I trusted their discretion, and I was grateful for their advice. As time went on, I learned there’s a good chance I’d have this forever. I’m talking about the Valsalva Maneuver. “Oh no, the Valslva Maneuver!” … Continue Reading

Send this to a friend