Friday, January 06, 2006

Do I Have to Go Back to School?

The carpet bombing approach to cold management was once again successful. Monday was only slightly sniffly and by Tuesday it was all over, freeing me to be a very busy and non-productive Katze this week. I had intended to watch ER reruns every day this week, especially since I knew that they had recently cycled back to the first season, but I never managed to make it out of bed in time. Instead, I spent several lazy mornings drinking coffee and reading with Ash. There was shopping and cleaning, a little unpacking,and so on. But the best part of hte whole week was not having to follow a schedule. I didn't set an alarm clock or wear a watch. It was wonderful.

Wednesday night, we saw Munich. I lived at the edge of the Olympic Village while doing thesis research in Munich and passed the very building where the attacks took place every single day. In fact, I often cut through the parking garage at Connellystraße on my way to or from the grocery. That summer, the documentary about the 1972 attacks aired on German television. I watched it together with my host sister in her dorm room. At dinner with our family at the weekend, we were talking about it and my host father casually mentioned that he had been at Fürstenfeldbrück as a rookie police officer. Given all of this, I was eager to see this movie as soon as I heard about it.

I was not disappointed. It was beautifully made and acted. There are a few points at which it veers ever so slightly into almost-mawkish territory, but those moments are brief and soon forgotten. I was particularly fond of a shot of the main character leaning over a balcony at a hotel where they are about to carry out one of the assassinations. It is framed in such a way that it matched up to the famous photograph of one of the terrorists. The camera lingered just long enough to drive home the point without dwelling on it as if to shout "HEY! QUESTION THE MORALITY OF THEIR ACTIONS!!".

Thursday night, the lovely Miss Tink was kind enough to give me her ticket to see the touring company of The Phantom of the Opera. It was, in a word, horrible. I've seen high school drama departments with higher production values than were evident Thursday night. The staging has been changed, it seems so that it re-creates some of the visuals of the movie. At several points, the actors roam aimlessly in circles around the stage-- literally!!-- then strike a pose, arms flung out. It seemed to have been directed by a high school senior with his acceptance letter to study drama at State U in his back pocket.

There are also numerous and significant changes to the lyrics. I wouldn't necessarily object to that if they were improvements, but frankly, it takes some of the more complex imagery from the show and utterly eviscerates the first aria. And that's all before we get to the actual performers who, again, could be outsung by most any high school drama department. It was actually quite appalling, all the more so when you realize how much tickets to see this drivel cost. There were a few lovely moments, but they were few and far between. There should be an appreciable difference in quality and tone between Carlotta and Christine, but instead, Christine was just as much of an overblown diva. Her voice was far too dark and nasal for the role and she slammed the notes at the end of "The Phantom of the Opera" like a pole vaulter straining to beat her last jump, not a hint of grace or loveliness about it. The Phantom had two voices: a lyrical tenor and a "scary voice" that involved some strange roaring, grunting method of singing. He vacilated between the two with no rhyme or reason. I suspect he thought it was "dramatic". He also failed to enunciate almost the entire way through the show, relying on the audience's familiarity with the show to carry the story. Lord knows, if you didn't know the story, you would have missed several important points in the garble. This was also a problem in the several scenes where numerous characters sing at once. Thank god I didn't pay for the tickets.

Then I met Ash for 80s night at a local club. I changed into my new 80s duds, and we danced for hours. It was so totally rad. It's been ages since I've been to a loud, smoky club. The music was excellent, too: not necessarily all of the cliche songs you hear on the local radio station, but all stuff that you recognize, stuff that makes you say to your friends "Oh, man, I LOVE this song!". In one funny moment, a guy hit on me right in front of Ash, but it was all good natured and I actually admired his guts.

Today has been utterly and completely lazy. I haven't accomplished anything, not even doing the dishes. At some point, I suppose I'll have to do something besides watch TV and blog today. Well, actually, I did work on the pile of paperwork that has been accumulating for the past month, so I guess that means I wasn't entirely unproductive after all. Oh, and I did a small job setting up some documents for anonymous evaluation by another group.

My books have not come yet, so it looks very unlikely that I will have my reading assignments done for Monday. Way to start the new semester!


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