December 6, 2011 |
Cutting-edge music declared too difficult to perform was, in the past, sent to Leopold Stokowski, who didn't need to understand pieces to conduct them convincingly. Now, conservatory students such as the Curtis 20/21 ensemble pioneer the unperformable, in this case Siddhartha's Dream by David Shapiro. From the Perelman Theater stage Sunday, the composer claimed this ensemble was among the few that could hope to handle it. Meditation music, it's not. Commissioned for the concert and presented in a laudable partnership with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the piece attempts to portray the Buddha's ability to see all of mankind at once - all seven billion of us. The piece circled the world in 18 minutes, each orchestral section having a sliver of a showcase, all from different harmonic universes that have only their anarchy in common, ending with a wild piano cadenza suggesting Stravinsky on crack.
November 20, 2011
A Novel By Julian Barnes Alfred A. Knopf. 163 pp. $23.95 Reviewed by Glenn C. Altschuler The Sense of An Ending , Julian Barnes' 14th novel, begins innocently enough. Anthony Webster, the narrator, recounts a few incidents from his school days, which were marked by his relationship with three chums and a girlfriend named Veronica Mary Elizabeth Ford. Skipping past career, marriage, fatherhood, and divorce, Anthony reveals that he had settled, fairly comfortably, into his "more emptied" retired life in London, never indulging what-ifs, when he was confronted by his past, in the form of a bequest of 500 pounds - an apology of sorts - and two documents, left to him by Veronica's mother, Susan, whom he had met once, at a weekend in Chislehurst.
November 16, 2011 |
"SONIC DREAM space": That's what this 12-by-6-foot room is supposed to be. But at first glance it's just a small rectangular room, painted white, with a chair against the back wall. As the lights go down, and the music comes up, the room begins to live up to its name. The room, located in Jeweler's Row, is the home of the Sound Resolution Center. Equal parts meditation space and art project, the center specializes in 25-minute sound sessions meant to plunge a participant in a room filled with ambient music and changing lights.
October 28, 2011 |
In The How and the Why , two women meet, discover they are both (of all things) evolutionary biologists - at the opposite ends of their careers - and enter into a dialogue that reveals as much about their present identities as it does about their pasts. The How and the Why , robust and real in performances by Janis Dardaris and Victoria Frings, opened Wednesday night in a production by InterAct Theatre Company. The play, a two-scene piece with an intermission, was originally staged earlier this year at Princeton's McCarter Theatre and is written by Sarah Treem, the writer and producer of HBO's In Treatment . It's a smart look - the dialogue is especially taut and revealing - at these two women, one with a stellar career on bright automatic pilot, the other with a career that may become stellar if she doesn't snuff out the pilot light she needs to illuminate her talent.
June 27, 2011 |
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Brandon Heinz, an eighth grader in the Bristol Township School District, told occupational therapist Charles E. Gallagher that he had been asked to sit still "millions of times. " The problem is that it's not always easy. For Brandon, 14, and his classmates - students with autism, attention-deficit disorders, or other special needs - controlling signs of anxiety is often a struggle. So Gallagher made a suggestion: Breathe. "In through your nose, and out through your mouth," he instructed.
May 22, 2011
Here's something to meditate on - a travel alarm clock that wakes you with a chime instead of a beep. And we're not talking about a recorded chime, but an authentic long-resonating acoustic chime set in a hardwood case. The Digital Zen Alarm Clock , which runs on two AA batteries, can be used as a standard alarm clock or set to chime at selected intervals - on the hour or as a countdown or meditation timer. The lighted display and control buttons are on the inner face of the hinged lid, so they're protected during transport.
May 6, 2011 |
Theatre Exile's Saturn Returns , by Noah Haidle, is a short play about a very long emotion - grief. It's about a man who cannot forget his dead wife and dead daughter, and we watch him endlessly remembering, decade after decade, ruefully, lovingly, angrily, and so, so sadly. Saturn Returns is about memory and time and endless waiting for the remembering to end. The title refers to the cycle of the planet's revolution. According to astrologers, when Saturn returns to the position it was in when you were born, your life will undergo important changes; the cycle takes 30 years.
April 28, 2011 |
The murderer, the drug dealer, and a dozen other convicted criminals close their eyes and concentrate on the words. "Breathe in . . . and slowly breathe out. Nice and slow and easy," instructor Marie Jackson intones, pleasantly and firmly. "Inhale the beautiful light of your intention for this class today, and then exhale it. Share the light of your intention with the room. Share the light of who you are. " With this brief session of guided meditation, another "Living the Power" workshop gets under way at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Union Township, Hunterdon County.
April 21, 2011
AH, THE GIFT of meditation. I admit, I initially struggled with it. Perhaps because I am a fidgety person by nature, or just resistant, or skeptical - or maybe all three. I was formally introduced to meditation last year when I studied classical yoga at the YogaLife Institute in Devon. Frankly, I was a little put off when I realized classical yoga was not just about mastery of the asanas. My internal dialogue was something like, "I don't need meditation; I need to master these postures . . . why are we wasting time with this crap?"
April 8, 2011
The economy seems to be finally creating jobs - not a lot, but a good, solid number. That's great for those who are getting jobs, but many are not. In fact, the percentage of long-term unemployed is increasing, as is the average length of unemployment, the U.S. Labor Department reported last week. All the good news about job creation isn't doing much, for example, for Luis Rosado, 31, of Stroudsburg, Pa., a Marine veteran who drove to Philadelphia to attend a job fair for veterans at Lincoln Financial Center on March 31. Unemployment among veterans is higher than that of the population as a whole, and it is particularly tough on "Gulf War II" vets such as Rosado, people who have served in the military since September 2001.