Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Impoverished Snob

Laurie and I are in the habit of hitting the library on Wednesdays. We usually get two movies and very often trade around the books we are borrowing. Of course if you get a clunker, you have paid nothing for it and can simply trade it out for something better (or worse.) Libraries trump bookstores for the adventurous reader.
You may ask why a couple with over 6,000 books in stock in their used book business borrow from the library... But I'm not sure I have a clear answer to that aside from right at the moment we do not own copies of A Wolf At The Table by Augusten Burroughs or The World Without Us by Alan Weisman and I found that I must read those immediately. Something to do with the remnants of our instant gratification culture to a couple which can afford next to nothing.
Which brings me to my second point.
If I had the unending supply of money I would be one of those freaks who travels the world to attend Wagner's Ring Cycles like they were Grateful Dead concerts. I would turn to the people next to me and say "yes, this is my 36th Ring Cycle and we already have tickets for Bayreuth next year."
The Chico Public Library has a collection of operas by Richard Wagner. I don't know why. As far as we can tell, they don't have any other operas. They aren't all the same company or put out by the same label. But I'm not complaining or looking that gift horse in the mouth mind you. We saw Die Meistersinger with Donald MacIntyre as Hans Sachs. He was fantastic. The film production was very good (they pretty much just filmed the opera.) The supporting cast was merely adequate.
We just watched Der fliegende Holländer which was wonderful and we enjoyed (with few misgivings) quite a bit more. I think it's a much stronger work. The entire cast was amazing. It was really quite wonderful except for one thing that almost completely destroyed any enjoyment. The filming was horrid. They kept superimposing waves over the action. They would replay the same close up of a character over and over while they were actually singing onstage (which, call me crazy, might be something the audience might be interested in seeing.) Sometimes they would cut completely from the main action to show reaction shots of other characters, which is fine when done properly. This was not that kind of production. As a side note to long time friends and supporters, this is exactly why I did not allow filming of my one-man show.
And, of course, no one gets to see these productions live anymore so it's kind of like finding a treasure chest in the attic.
They also have the complete works of Shakespeare from the BBC from I'm thinking the 1980s. We saw John Cleese in The Taming of the Shrew. We also watched a strangely extremely homo-erotic production of The Tempest. We are now watching Hamlet with Derek Jacobi and Patrick Stewart. Win.
There is the perrennial problem that the characters from La Boheme would not be able to afford to go and see a production of La Boheme.
Go to your library. These are times when the arts suffer, but there are so many resources out there that one need not go without. There are podcasts. There is a wealth of resources available to anyone.
If I end up having a podcast at some point, I will probably do one along the lines of what I'm talking about here.

Continuing the awkward move into this blog, I posted a Glenn Gould sort of tie-in with this post on the other blog:

1 comment:

  1. the library is a treat for me. I only go when I am on school break and then I check out way to many books and usually keep them past their due date and rack up a $5 fine. I justify this by saying that I am supporting the library financially :)