2007 October at John Mackey's Blog



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  • How I Spent My Teen Years
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  • UTWE Tour : Shenzhen
  • Wine-Dark Sea – the video
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  • October 26, 2007

    Recording of Sax Concerto premiere posted

    The recording of the world premiere performance of the “Concerto for Soprano Sax and Wind Ensemble” is now available for download. It’s nearly 25 minutes long, so I posted full MP3 files, not streaming files. There is some digital noise throughout the recording, primarily (and most unfortunately) in “Metal,” the concerto’s slow movement. I am hoping that the original master recording is clean. If so, I’ll re-post as soon as I receive it.

    Okay, I completely goofed. The Dallas Wind Symphony is a professional union group, and as such, I can’t just go posting recordings of their performances without permission. While I expect permission to be granted, until it is, I took down the recording. It’ll probably be just a few days…

    Here’s a shot of Jerry Junkin, rehearsing the Dallas Wind Symphony.

    And just because, here’s a post-rehearsal martini.

    I’ll post the full premiere debrief soon…


    October 19, 2007

    Turbine at Ohio State

    This entry is largely for my Ohio-based friends and family… On Tuesday the 23rd at 8pm, the Ohio State Wind Symphony is performing “Turbine” at Weigel Auditorium. That’s the same night and time as the premiere of the sax concerto in Dallas, so I’ll be in Dallas (see the previous blog entry), but Friend-of-the-Blog Jonathan Newman will be in attendance for the concert at OSU, as the program also features his beautiful piece, “As the Scent of Spring Rain.” (The program ALSO includes Steve Bryant‘s fantastic piece, “Radiant Joy” — with all three pieces back-to-back, taking up the entire second half!)

    So if you’re in the Columbus area on Tuesday, please go in my absence, and clap really loud for Newman and give him a big ol’ Buckeye welcome.
    OSU program


    Sax Concerto Premiere

    I’m heading to Dallas tomorrow for rehearsals and the world premiere performance of my Concerto for Soprano Sax and Wind Ensemble. The performance with the Dallas Wind Symphony will be Tuesday night at 8pm at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas (home of both the Dallas Wind Symphony and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra — both of which have performed “Redline Tango.” Weird.). Jerry Junkin will conduct, and Don Fabian will be the sax soloist. The program also includes my cowboy piece, “Sasparilla.” If you are anywhere near Dallas on Tuesday night, I hope you’ll come check out the concert.

    Last night was the way-too-soon season finale of “Mad Men,” hands-down the best show on TV this year, and in the past several years. If you didn’t watch (it’s on AMC, who, after this original programming debut, could be the next HBO), be sure to get the DVDs as soon as they’re released. The scene where Don pitched to the Kodak executives gave me chills. Thinking about it now chokes me up all over again. This show has the best writing, best acting, and best design on TV.

    When we were in NY a few weeks ago, we took a little walk through Central Park. Lots of musicians to see in Central Park, from sax players…

    … to erhu players…

    … to trombone players…

    … to… WTF?

    I’m off to pack for Dallas. See you there!


    October 18, 2007

    LA County Fair (again)

    A few weeks ago, AEJ and I spent a day at the LA County Fair.

    We hadn’t been there since two years ago.  The highlight from the prior visit (in case you don’t want to click that full link):  We tried to see the Family Talent Show, thinking an LA talent show would be a hoot, but we got there a few minutes too late. In the same building, though, was a very weird “Time Machine” — a series of incredibly inaccurate displays for each decade. Here’s the “Time Warp Diner.” You’ll see that it’s quite authentic for the 1950s, complete with stainless steel appliances and, um, a compact microwave oven. Just like they had at Al’s on Happy Days.

    The American 1960’s: The only decade that lasted 20 years.

    But back to this visit.  It took us a few minutes to get our bearings — the fair (on a piece of property called, appropriately enough, The Fairflex) is enormous — but once we did, we decided to start with the petting zoo. Only a $3 surcharge (animal feed not included). (For the camera people, most of these pictures are from my new Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS lens, which replaced the 100-400mm lens. I never used the 100-400, but think the 70-200 will be a much better size — and speed. I’ll be using it for concert photography — wherever I can sneak in my 3+ pound, 9-inch monster. If you know what I mean.) But back to the petting zoo…

    Goats are funny. They seem to enjoy food, so I guess we have that in common. If you are silly enough to buy some of the animal feed, the goats sense it, and won’t leave you alone.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been in a petting zoo with deer.

    The goat has deduced from this sign that you can, in fact, feed the goats, so he waits patiently.

    The wallaby was pretty cute — if not a little sad. Cheer up, Mr. Wallaby!

    AEJ loved the wallaby, so she took some pictures of her own. (Moments later, she was assaulted by a goat and knocked to the ground, an innocent bystander in a tussle between said goat and a baby pig.)

    Not all of the petting zoo animals are cute.

    I kept making yawning faces at this guy, and being suggestible as he was, he kept yawning right back at me. (How many of you just yawned? I know AEJ did.)

    Like I said, they’re not all cute.

    Are you like me? Are you hungry? Then let’s find some food! Hmm… Where to begin?

    There was always this option: Totally Fried. Yes, everything is fried. Corn on the cob: fried. Twinkies: fried. Oreos: fried. (Hmm, I wonder if they use Crisco.) Um, what’s Deep-Fried Coke?

    That seemed a little hard core, so we went light and healthy with the fresh-cut potato chips with “cheese” and jalapenos. Doesn’t that look healthier?

    The fair also has several buildings of vendor booths. There’s plenty to see! One of my favorite booths was this one. Wow! Great fun!

    Some of the people at the vendor booths were a little weird about cameras. I think part of it is the size of my equipment (ha!), and it looks like I’m doing something much more serious than taking pictures for a blog. People somehow think I’m there doing re-con for my own lame-ass fair booth. We tried taking pictures of some little clay critters, but the vendor was like, “no pictures. I’ve had too many designs ripped off in China.” While I don’t deny that there are extreme copyright and licensing issues in China, I assure you that nobody was stealing the guy’s Play-doh Christmas ornament.

    Or this booth, with all cat stuff. I’m unlikely to try to duplicate any of this stuff to sell it myself — although I might be tempted to buy one of those cat watches. And I know that sometimes it seems like I live in a Cat-astophy zone! Ha ha ha, LOL, etc.

    Being LA, where it never seems like winter anyway, there was an excessively out-of-season Winter Wonderland building, complete with skating rink.

    They even made it snow. How cheery is LA?!

    I love this guy. Totally looks like he could kick some serious ass, but there he is — blowtorch in hand — making a cute little wooden bear. But he’s a bad-ass cute little wooden bear.

    Sorry, kids. You must be at least this tall to log saw. ‘Cause really, height is what determines safety when log sawing. (And what’s with that graphic?)

    Look! More animals! Here’s a bunny with eyeliner.

    I’m thinking that maybe the best place in the whole fair to put a sink is next to the Goat Rendezvous. (I personally passed on the opportunity for a goat rendezvous.)

    It started getting dark, which made things get awfully pretty.

    I was using my newest camera body — the Canon 40D — and still trying to figure it out, and I ended up botching this picture and completely overexposing it. I dig the result. It was pretty dark, but this blown-out exposure picked up all of the food vendor smoke, and made it appear that a bomb had just hit. A Fun Bomb, but a bomb.

    Let’s eat again! How about funnel cake? Can’t visit the fair and not eat funnel cake!

    Or maybe you’d prefer a big sausage the size of your forearm? (I’m half expecting Fosco to make an inappropriate joke here.)

    I was somewhat disturbed by the wall of slaughtered Elmos.

    So we played skeeball, and I won one for AEJ.

    Then we played again — and I won another. Here they are, back at our house, rather excited about discovering their own feet.

    Slow shutter speeds are fun.

    It was an excellent day, and we left exhausted and stuffed. The fair is fun for everybody!

    Well, almost…


    October 13, 2007


    Saw “Michael Clayton” at The Arclight cinemas tonight. Good movie. Henry Winkler — ie, The Fonz (or Barry Zuckerkorn, the attorney from Arrested Development, if you prefer 2005 rather than 1975) — was sitting a few rows in front of us. That was kind of a cool sighting.  I wanted to show him the Fonzie “aaaayyyy” thumbs-up, but thought better of it.

    And does this look anything like Henry Winkler? Who the hell is this supposed to be? Maybe it’s not licensed, since it doesn’t mention Happy Days — only “star of TV.”

    Tomorrow’s big agenda : the Rose Bowl Flea Market. Maybe I’ll find something awesome — like a rip-off Fonzie toy of my very own.