Weekend Fun

Space Wale Space Whale

The past two weekends were a lot of fun.

  • The Royal Technical College's orchestra and several combined student choirs from Sweden and Finland performed Giuseppe Verdi's 1874 Requiem, an intricate and operatic farewell to fellow composer Gioachino Rossini and poet Alessandro Manzoni.
    Hallwyl House: carving in the doorway between the ladies' drawing room and the Golden Salon. Hallwyl House: carving in the doorway between the ladies' drawing room and the Golden Salon.
  • Gig with King Khan and the Shrines. Imagine a tall, psychedelic, semi-nude, portly, Canadian Wilson Pickett of Indian extraction belting out soul rock with a band consisting of extremely enthusiastic Germans. First time I've seen a horn section playing to a microphone stuck down the front of the lead singer's hot pants.
  • Played Elfenland and Plato 3000.
  • Watched the 1955 Brando-Simmons-Sinatra-Blaine movie version of the 1950 musical Guys and Dolls. Impressed by Brando, didn't know he could sing. Ugly sets and boring dialogue though. The reason that we watched it was that Jrette is playing Nicely-Nicely Johnson in an upcoming school production. Made me want to read some Damon Runyon.
  • Gig organised by Undergången with three unsigned Swedish psych acts. Space Whale are four very young and very strong musicians with excellent songs. They really blew me away! Besvärjelsen are a heavier and more metal-oriented quintet that I would really like to hear studio work from. And the Magic Jove trio are basically Cream. Extremely proficient musicians!
  • Hallwyl House: Swedish logging magnate's daughter marries Swiss count and has some of 1890s Stockholm's best architects and artists build them a town palace, no expenses spared, which she proceeds to fill with Early Modern art and craft objects. All of this remains in place and is now a museum, large parts of which is free of charge, and which is located a short walk from the Central Station.
King Khan King Khan

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Actually, Brando cannot sing, I saw an interview where they asked him why he hadn't done any other musical and he said that on Guys and Dolls his songs were edited. he only sang a little bit at a time and the sound editors pasted it all together at the end. And that if you watch closely, he never breathes during his songs

None of the songs in G&D 1955 are sung on camera. Everybody lip synchs. Sound editors at the time didn't have autotune, so they couldn't correct for people singing out of tune. Brando's songs are of course put together from the best parts of several takes. But he could sing.

Hallwyl House sounds like the Swedish version of the "cottages" that rich New Yorkers of that era had constructed at Newport, Rhode Island. I put "cottages" in quotes because that's what their owners called them (they were primarily for summer use), but by any reasonable standards they would be considered mansions. I toured one of them, which was built out of marble for a cost of ~$10M (in 1890 dollars; it would be much more expensive in nominal dollars today). It wasn't quite finished before the couple in question divorced, and the unfinished bits remain unfinished to this day.

Alas, no weekend fun for me for the next few weeks. It's early spring in the northeastern US, the time that homeowners have to clear the yard of winter's debris and prepare for any spring landscaping work. Over the last several years I have been replacing bits of lawn (especially the hard-to-maintain portions on steep slopes or directly next to the house) with more attractive ornamentals, and this year I am hoping to add another tree on the front (south) side of my house. This winter the sidewalk plow took out a fair amount of grass that I would have eventually removed anyway, so I am accelerating my plans for that part of the yard. And a couple of last year's plants didn't make it, so I need to replace them with something that fares better in the clay soil I have to work with.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 29 Mar 2016 #permalink

Birger@5: As long as resources are plentiful, people tend not to fight wars. The Jomon, from what I hear, have the distinction of being the only people to develop pottery without first developing agriculture--an indication that resources in Jomon Japan were indeed quite plentiful. Then the Yayoy farmers crossed over from Korea.

IIRC the consensus is that the Jomon are the ancestors of today's Ainu, but I'm not sure it has been definitively proven. It is almost certain that the Yayoy are the ancestors of the modern Japanese. After years of debate, linguists have concluded that Japanese and Korean are in the same language family--those languages are about as distantly related as English and Hindi, and I am not aware of any other modern languages in that family. At one time Korean was thought to be a Turkic or even Altaic language (the latter group includes Finnish and Hungarian).

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 30 Mar 2016 #permalink

"The Jomon, from what I hear, have the distinction of being the only people to develop pottery without first developing agriculture"

Not true, Eric. There have been finds of pottery made by hunter gatherers in China. IIRC, some were dated to about 20,000 years ago.

By John Massey (not verified) on 30 Mar 2016 #permalink