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Posts posted by Quiggin

  1. What a fascinating list! Somewhat like the annual top tens that Sight & Sound and Film Comment used to publish – though Rossellini, Ophuls, Vigo, and Keaton are no longer in the upper ten or fiften. And only four women directors: Jane Campion for Janet Frame's An Angel at My Table, Claire Denis (with Agnes Godard's camerawork) for Beau Travail, Barbara Loden for Wanda, and Agnes Varda for Cleo from Five to Seven.

    It's a director's directors list and so most of the films are solidly constructed, with few false passages. And being made before the introduction of Steadicam photography meant that each tracking shot, which involved physically laying tracks and clearing the right of way (as in the beginning shot of Contempt), had to be carefully considered and dramatically justified.  Robert Bresson used only one in Les Femmes du Bois de Bologne, when when the main characters are introduced to each other in the park, and it's quite startling in effect.

    Top thirty:

    Sunrise – Murnau
    Vertigo – Hitchcock
    Tokyo Story – Ozu
    Rules of the Game (still highly rated) – Jean Renoir
    400 Blows – Truffaut
    Night of the Hunter – Charles Laughton (James Agee screenplay)
    2001 – Kubrick
    Taxi Driver – Scorsese
    Citizen Kane – Welles 
    Ugetsu – Mizoguchi
    Ordet – Dreyer
    Barry Lyndon (out of circulation?) – Kubrick 
    8 1/2 – Fellini (Ennio Flaiano screenplay)
    The Mother and the Whore – Eustache
    Pickpocket – Robert Bresson (I believe there was an American version with Richard Gere)
    Close-up – Kiarostami
    Au hasard Balthazar – Robert Bresson
    A Woman under the Influence – Cassavetes
    Playtime – Jacques Tati
    Andre Roublev – Tarkovksi
    Touch of Evil – Welles
    Singing in the Rain ("Cantons sous la pluie") – Donen
    L'argent – Robert Bresson
    The Searchers – John Ford
    Contempt – Jean Luc Godard
    The Leopard – Visconti
    La Dolce Vita – Fellini (Flaiano screenplay)
    The Conversation – Coppola
    M – Fritz Lang
    Godfather part 2 – Coppola

    shortcut to full unnumbered list (100?):



  2. Thank you, Sebastian, for your detailed response, especially for the note about Carabosse being integrated back into the social order in the 1890 production.

    The reason I referred to anti-Seminism in Russia and Paris is that I've recently been reading about the New Odessa Colony, an important commune in Oregon that was set up by some of the many Russian Jews who emigrated during the 1880s. One of the projects of the New Odessans was to build ships that would enable them to rescue prisoners in Siberia – maybe a subject for a Shostakovich opera!

    I was attracted to Lopukhov's writings because they were indeed cranky and colorful, and while in parts they may be unrealistic, should they be totally disregarded as the review you linked suggests? Wiley is quite dismissive and spends many pages undoing Lopukhov when one page would seem to do. Sally Banes and Elizabeth Souritz on the other hand give him a quite respectful hearing. Lopukhov's observation that the reduction of music to two violins impacted Tchaikovsky's music to a much greater degree than it did that of composers like Minkus or Pugni who wrote simpler musical lines that were later orchestrated doesn't sound unreasonable. And his opinions on The Sleeping Beauty cuts are interesting. After all Lopukhov was born in 1886 and grew up in the St Petersburg world of theater and ballet, and so, while a kind of "unreliable narrator," he was a witness to the "hum" of the time. Apparently he was an important influence on Balanchine (you can see similar choreographic lines in The Four Temperaments to those in The Magnificence of the Universe) and a colleague of Fokine. Perhaps his writings should be treated like Kandinsky's or Paul Klee's on art? 

    Thanks too for the link to the Tchaikovsky page. It was fun reading the other side of the Chekhov correspondence – and the ranking of Tolstoy/Tchaikovsky/Repin.

  3. Quote

    Might Sleeping Beauty be an allegory of a possible restoration of the French monarchy, to be performed on the centenary of the Revolution?

    Might it also be tweeked to be an awakening to something other than a repressive regime?  Both France and Russia had in common anti-semitic campaigns going on in the 1880s and 1890s. What was happening in the streets impacts in some way what is happening on stage, so "The Sleeping Beauty" may have been a dream of a return to a past where complicated social questions disappeared.


    So began an exceptionally dynamic collaboration between the three of them, who met in St Petersburg at Petipa’s house and also Vsevolozhsky’s, where Tchaikovsky played through scenes as he composed them.

    Fyodor Lopukhov in the "Ballet Master and the Score" criticizes some of the cuts Petipa made to Tchaikovsky's score for "The Sleeping Beauty," as if he were a lesser composer like Minkus or Pugni. And that for rehearsals Petipa was relying on a reduction for two violins which emphasized the melody but none of the full dynamic compexity of the score.


    It was utterly improper to ask Tchaikovsky to write a new variation fo Aurora in Act II, but he agreed even to that. Only when one looks at the original version does it become obvious that the first variation is far more consistent with the spirit of the act as a whole. How it must have pained Tchaikovsky to relinquish it! It is easy to see why all the added musical numbers and variations, such as Cinderella’s scene in the last act, seem so different from the rest of "The Sleeping Beauty." Indeed, Tchaikovsky himself honestly admitted that he was following orders for which he had little enthusiasm.

    On a happier though off-topic note (which is often the case with happiness these days), I recently came across this letter of Anton Chekhov:


    Moscow, October 14, 1889

    To P I Tchaikovsky

    I am very, very touched, dear Pyotr Ilych, and thank you infinitely. I am sending you both photograph and book, and would send you even the sun, if it belonged to me.

    You left your cigarette case at my place. I am sending it on to you. It is three cigarettes short: they were smoked by a violincellist, a flautist, and a pedagogue.

    Thank you once more and permit me to remain                  

    Cordially and faithfully yours ...

    According to the letters' editor, Avrahm Yarmolinksy, Chekhov and Tchaikovsky were planning to collaborate on an opera version of "A Hero of Our Time." In a subsequent letter Chekhov tells Modest Tchaikovsky that he is dedicating his latest book to his brother titled, characteristically, "Gloomy People."

  4. On 7/6/2020 at 12:46 PM, Jack Reed said:

    May I recommend the discussion going on here in 2007 about Mozartiana's heavenliness and complexity?  Like other great art, Mozartiana is inexhaustible.

    Thanks, Jack, it's concise and has some good observations, such as about the three-voiced writing for the Gigue. Also about Andersen's beats off his Bounonville drum-stick legs. I see that AG has just amended the "sunny version" Franklin/Davilova pas turtorial from the Balanchine Foundation to it.

  5. Another factor that I don't see being discussed much is how effective a vaccine will be. The CDC says that initially it should be 50%. From the Washington Post –


    The 50 percent requirement for approval of a covid-19 vaccine got mixed reviews. Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert at the Baylor College of Medicine, said that the 50 percent figure was “a realistic goal but not a very high bar.” He said it probably reflected the FDA’s realization that the first vaccines likely to emerge “will be, at best, partially effective.”

    He anticipated that better vaccines are likely to follow. “Our first vaccine won’t be our best,” he said.

    Offit said he hoped an approved vaccine would be close to 70 or 75 percent effectiveness. “I would hope we could do better than 50 percent,” he said.


  6. Mozart, in turn, based his variations on some phrases from Gluck's "The Pilgrims of Mekka," traces of which can be heard here:


    The Mozartiana I know is Kyra Nichols'. She succeed Farrell in the role, partnered first by Ib Andersen and later by Damian Woetzel. In interview here in San Francisco she said that she had to strip away all of Farrell's ornamentation and start from scratch. Her interpretation as I remember it had fewer of Farrell's startling transitions and upbeats and was clearer, yet seemed as complex. Croce says of Farrell’s varied timings that it looked like a tape of herself run backwards – which doesn’t necessarily sound bad, but maybe that's something of what Nichols meant.

    Fascinating to watch this and try to figure out its structure. Its "heavenlyness" is very complex. With respect to Croce’s comment, sometimes it seems as if it's both weaving and unweaving itself, writing and unwriting itself at the same time. Farrell and Andersen do such curious and clunky and "thingy" movements, on the verge of not being within the ballet vocabulary. They scratch the floor and pop up off it, tip like pitchers and straighten up, quote each other and the Castelli character as well. And everyone is dressed in black as if out of a Manet painting.

  7. Wasn't there a big influx of Cuban ballet dancers into US and Canadian companies 10 or 20 years ago? It seemed as if Cuba produced a brilliant generation of dancers all at once, a legacy of the government's support of ballet and ballet schools after 1957. The ballet here had a little "parliament" of them for a while. 

    San Francisco did do some interesting afternoon school programs in the 70s in the Lower Potrero Hill area which were very successful but then they ran out of federal funds. If reparations are finally made, African American school and after-school programs would seem to be a great place to invest them in. If SF Ballet had opened its doors to something like afternoon programs for kids in the nearby Fillmore District – maybe combination basketball clinics and ballet classes (there was for a while a connection between Taras Domitro and Steph Curry), there might have been an exciting pool of black dancers to chose from now. Silas Farley on why he feels he can leave City Ballet with a good conscience:  


    I can lay it down because [the City Ballet dancers] Chris Grant is coming up after me and Kennard Henson is coming up after me and LaJeromeny Brown is coming up after me and Victor Abreu and Preston Chamblee.

    Holland Carter in today's Times, in an excellent piece on the removal of statues, says "We’re at an inflection point in this country, potentially the most significant one in generations. Black Lives Matter brought us here." The art world is reexamining many of its practices. Ballet might do so too. I somehow don't think that the old combinations of programs and players are going to work anymore.  

  8. It's funny because just outside the War Memorial Opera House the African American community of the Fillmore District begins. San Francisco Ballet would only have to open its doors non-metaphorically to have classes of black students in attendance. There could be drop-in classes in the public courtyard and garden off the north entrance. Villella and other male dancers have said that seeing running and jumping of exercises of ballet are what attracted him to ballet and so something like that could be a draw.

    San Francisco's African American community is currently 5%, down from 15% only a few years ago. A "negro removal" program in the Fillmore in 1960s, overseen by Justin Herman, who filled a kind of Robert Moses role here for many years, is part of the reason. There were also other African-American communities in South Park and Dogpatch, which have vanished due to various combinations of gentrifying pressures. But also a reluctance on the part of San Francisco as a whole to embrace its cultural diversity and reflect it in its workforce compared to New York, a city San Francisco has traditionally has compared itself to. To me, a native of the city, it seems in part due to an outsized nostalgia for its white Edwardian past (which its Nutcracker totally reflects) and its devotion to kind of spotless perfectionism. 

    I would love to see ballet finally integrated. And I think it would remove an anxiety all of us feel, if only on a subconscious level. For me there's too much of a fortress mentality about ballet, about being a refuge from the world rather than a participant in it. Balanchine's works constantly refer to real world activities, from his early Soviet experients and 1920 jazz references and so on throughout his whole career.


    The "race game" seems like a rather loaded term to me however you use it. It seems associated somewhere with "the race card."


  9. The Wendy Perron tribute that California referred to above has a link to a fascinating conversion between Sally Banes and Yvonne Rainer covering the early days of Judson Dance. Rainer says that the Judson dancers were reacting against their earlier Cunningham training, and that they had become "children of John" Cage, not Merce (Cunningham's curt words), which greatly amuses Banes. Talk took place at the Walker Art Center in 2001.




  10. I didn't find any of the comments suggesting the use of more productive hashtags abrasive. I clicked through to the Instagram home pages of the commenters and they seemed to be fairly charming, low-keyed and attractive individuals. 

    4 hours ago, Drew said:

    it's to be hoped some 3-D changes can still happen...

    I'm hoping for that too. And I do feel this time around there is more across-the-board solidarity and that something good might come out of what's happening, now that we all seem to be in the same boat regarding our finances, health issues and painful awareness of social inequity.

    I was around in that unfinished year of 1968 of which 2020 is beginning to seem like a reprise. On this day, June 4, as a member of a small student film crew, I was filming Robert Kennedy making his way through crowds of cheering young African Americans in Watts, just as the week before he was standing on the platform of a slowly moving train going through the San Joaquin Valley, waving to dozens and dozens of young Latinos running behind the car and shouting out. So I'm somehow hoping for a fulfillment of those old 1968 inclusionary promises.

    And perhaps the ballet world could in some way make use of some of the revitalizing energy going on on the outside right now – it might offer a way forward. Many of the City Ballet Instagram comments called for a roster of dancers that reflected the current demographics in the US (San Francisco Ballet seems to have made greater strides that way). Perhaps fewer Justin Peck ballets about boy meets girl at the high school dance or Balanchine trifles and more serious things like The Four Temperaments or even Serenade or works by Cunningham (who kept a keen eye on what Balanchine was doing). Doesn't seem to be the time to retreat into perfect worlds while everyone is suffering so much.

    Now realize that this should have been in another thread but one thing following another ...

  11. Just watched the New York Theatre Ballet Jardin aux Lilas which is very impressive but a very strange flavor of ballet. Everything happens when no one is looking, in the shadow of a glance away. Little revelations seem to be signaled by doubled movements. Christopher Caines wrote an appreciation of the ballet in Robert Gottlieb's Reading Dance and says that dancing seldom represents dancing in Tudor, rather it visualizes dialogue and interior monologue.

    I wonder if Balanchine was somewhere thinking of Lilac Garden when he composed Liebeslieder (and the additional ending to Emeralds). And I wonder if Tudor as a young man was influenced by Balanchine's Gods Go a-Begging. He apparently programmed Gods for Jacob's Pillow with Hugh Laing and Nora Kaye (whom atm711 mentions above as being fortunate to have seen In Tudor's Romeo and Juliet). Laing first danced the part in the 1930s.

    Theatre Ballet's Jardin aux Lilas, staged by Sallie Wilson, 2008:


    Gods Go a-Begging with Nora Kaye and Hugh Laing, June 1951:


    National Ballet of Canada, short Jardin clip, August 1953:



  12. Lots of interesting behind-the-scenes glimpses of preparing and showing a collection. Dresses named after the Alain-Fournier novel, a cantaloupe, and one after Picasso that seemed especially unstable. Also the sweetly self-conscious looks of the models, self-conscious in a different way than now (sometimes as if they were trying to locate something fleeting behind the camera). Nice lunch scene at a little table squeezed in among all the pattern making worktops.

    With one dress Dior honors his mentor Christian Bérard, who helped steer Dior towards the "New Look." Bérard did the great sets and costumes for the first version of "Mozartiana" and had some choice observations about Balanchine's character that he shared with Kirstein when Kirstein was still at sea with what to do with his life.

    Thanks for posting that.

  13. I do remember one dancer leaving San Francisco Ballet for the Dutch National Ballet about seven or eight years ago with her partner, one of the reasons being that she wasn't permitted to dance in galas and events outside the company. One of her parents was ill and she wanted to help raise money for his medical bills working elsewhere else off season. I was told that that was a strict rule most of the time. Other dancers such as Ulrick Birkkjaer, who was already organizing events outside the company, may have signed onto SFB under a special contract that allowed some flexibility as far as dancing at the Joyce, etc. The logic for SFB not allowing performing in galas might be in what Ana Sophia Scheller says – that's where you meet other dancers, see how you work with them, and mull over the possibility of working with them on a permanent basis. I tend to believe that she was telling it as it was and acting in good faith.

  14. 11 hours ago, dirac said:

    Watching video of dances made for the theater will always be, as Suzanne Farrell said, "ghosts of ballets."  ... Still, recordings are as a rule very much better than nothing, and I'm grateful for what we have and the opportunity to see ballets and dancers I may never get to see live.

    They are and they are a different thing. Time and presence exchanged for a different kind of immediacy. 

    5 hours ago, nanushka said:

    True, but that's also true of virtually any source of knowledge transmission, not only video, and not only when the subject is dance. No single source of knowledge — primary, secondary or tertiary — should be assumed to be infallible.

    The problem is that we live in a culture where the secondary and tertiary versions are given significant precedence over the primary.  Where the actress or actor who plays the role is studied and revered over the person she or he plays. At best it's a kind of screwball comedy script where the original is left out and sulking at the side of the scene. There's a Nabokov story where a Rimbaud-like poet, old and disheveled, shows up years later to accept an award, but no one will believe him because he doesn't fit the image they have of him.

  15. 24 minutes ago, pherank said:

    There's now a couple of articles that address people's concern about exercising in the open during the pandemic, and the likelihood of transition via packages and the like...

    Thanks, pherank, those are helpful. The Clothes/Shoes/Hair/Newspaper article helps set up a sensible hierachy of concerns. Taking off your shoes in the entry has always been a good idea anyway with all the dogs and spit and stormwater/drain runoff out there. I tend to have a dedicated pair of trousers by the door for outdoor excursions and bicycling but not for short trips to the mailbox or to the rooftop.

    The findings on jogging were good too, with rules of thumb for passing others. (In the old days, actually not so long ago, bicyclists would give a gentle warning, "passing on your left," before coming up alongside you.)


    The implication of these findings, Dr. Blocken says, is that to keep social distance, runners and walkers should swing well wide when passing other people and not cut back sharply in front of them after passing.

    “Be nice and wait awhile before you move back in front of anyone,” Dr. Blocken told me, preferably spacing yourself at least 15 feet or more in front.


  16. 17 hours ago, lmspear said:

    My Ballet Russe reading is stuck in my long term memory.  Tamara Karsavina was the first Firebird.  Alicia Markova was the title bird in The Nightingale and Maria Tallchief was Balanchine's first Firebird.  Didn't von Aroldingen also dance Firebird after Kirkland?

    Yes, I've mixed up my -birds! Thanks, Imspear, for the correction. Markova did dance Firebird for Dance Theatre but that was in 1945. 

    Tallchief did the Balanchine version in 1949: "The long variation contained a succession of turned-in movements that reflected the music and suggested a frightened bird in flight and had to be executed quickly and effortlessly ... for two minutes all I did was jump."

    All in all, it seems like to tough role to resume one's dancing career with.

    Tallchief/Firebird/JacobsPillow –


  17. 17 minutes ago, trixiebeaumont said:

    \Who says that dancers must only be a specific size in order to dance well? 

    Not well but maybe certain parts like the Firebird may indeed have size requirements – Alicia Markova who originated the role was tiny, a hummingbird firebird. Not sure if this is the exact part Kathryn Morgan was doing. I remember hearing that only the small men would play Franz in Danilova/Balanchine Coppelia in San Francisco several years ago (Boada, Luiz, Domitro), because of the quickness and lightness, pas de chats, etc, the part demanded – and don't small men do Tarantella? Roberto Bolle looks as though there are certain parts that he wouldn't play well but romantic and langorous ones he would be dreamy in. In basketball, teams are said to be strategically playing the smalls – going small – or playing big (Steph Curry at 6' 3" is a small).

  18. Two years ago in California N95 masks were in high demand due to the California wildfires, and sold out in all the hardware stores. That should have been a warning to 3M and the Federal Government.

    States and federal responsibilies are not that complicated. One of that duties of the Feds is to mantain strategic reserves of oil and rubber, grain and medical supplies for an emergency. That's what got us through WWII. They also can buy in large quantities to keep the prices down, rather as now having the states to bid against each other, making a 95c mask cost $4.00 as it did for the State of New York. Then each state can distribute them the way it sees fit. I think this fits in with Drew's point.

    The War Powers Act also helps enhance this. (Factoid: During WWII Ralph K Davies, whose wife's name, Louise M. Davies, graces our symphony hall here in San Francisco, coordinated all the oil companies' production.)

    It was FDR's genius to bring everyone together, local and national interests, and to tamp down all the little natural strifes people have and not amplify them, and do that for three or four years.

    Anyway making masks, like Victory Gardening, seems something we can all do for everyday use in the newish normal ahead.

    In that spirit, yesterday I went through all the fabrics i've collected for various projects and evaluated for their masking efficiency and their "coolness," or at least so I don't look like a bandit from an old movie! Interesting the old percale pillow case that my grandmother embroidered has an amazingly tight weave structure, but I couldn't bear to tear it up. Old soft chinos from the great 1980s J Crew catalogues were also quite good but too difficult to breathe through. Third best were some soft Indonesian batik cloth which I'll probably, festively, use.

  19. This Ballo della Regina performance should be the cheerful video of the day! How inexhaustibly witty. Sometimes it seems as if Balanchine is a comic poet, toying with syntax and rhyme structures, stops and starts, and reimagining everything on a blue guitar of his own.

    The notes say that Merrill Ashley and Stacy Caddell staged this performance which means it comes from the gods themselves. It almost trumps Ashley's own PBS performance in that there are no confusing background sets, so you really can see the complete contour of every phrase. 

    Balanchine somewhere says that he learned a lot from Verdi – from, if I can recall correctly, something like the structure of the choral parts or the transitional music between the big scenes. Also it looks as though Ballo was choreographed just a few years after Balanchine did the Act III Coppelia divertissments which Ashley also performed in, so maybe one influenced the other.

  20. Lee Konitz has died. He was one of the last links to Charlie Parker and Lennie Tristano. He developed a delicate and lean, scribble-like, written and overwritten sound. In the 1980s you could hear him play in a little club near Columbia University with only a beer or two minimum cover. 

    Lee Konitz with Warne Marsh, and Billy Bauer on guitar, "I can't get started" –



    His first big break came in 1947 when he joined the Claude Thornhill orchestra, whose soft sound and pastel colors meshed well with his playing style. A subsequent stint with the more dynamic and aggressive Stan Kenton ensemble proved an uneasy musical mix but helped spread his name in the jazz world.

    The recordings that did the most to establish Mr. Konitz’s reputation were made in the late 1940s and early ’50s, after he had moved to New York, under the leadership of two of the most distinctive artists in modern jazz: the pianist and composer Lennie Tristano, with whom he studied for several years and whose unorthodox approach to improvisation helped shape his own; and the trumpeter Miles Davis, whose short-lived but influential nine-piece band sought to adapt the ethereal Thornhill sound to a bebop context.


  21. I have an N95 left over from the wildfire period which I use with a clean bandana when I bicycle to Ft Mason. It's a little bit of a hindrance but not bad. The joggers on Polk Street, a small-scaled commercial corridor, are really disrespectful to pederstrians, many of them in their 60s and 70s  – when they could just as well jog on Larkin or Hyde, Francisco or Chestnut. You hear them breathing hard when they pass you and if you look at the Times animation I posted above, it's on the border of being safe and not being safe. Any mask is helpful to keep water droplets from being dispersed and the fewer in the air there are the better for everyone.

    After much deliberation we regretfully closed our community garden at Ft Mason, the only such garden in the Parks system, to visitors because they were not observing any of the proticols, and were endgandering the health of the gardeners. This unfortunately included the birdwatchers who always followed the rules. Other parks were probably also presented with the same dilemma.

    Free will – a sometimes dubious concept even in normal times – might be reined in a bit during these increasingly tragic ones. According to Angela Merkel, one-size-fits-all works. so let us all be fools in masks driving alone in cars for a while.

    With AIDS we lost our bird-doggers, the ones knew the latest things, who pulled the best ideas out of the air before anyone else had them. It greatly impacted the visual arts and dance worlds. With Covid19 we're losing the ones with long memories and talents ("cultural capital") who still have a lot to teach and reflect on things that take that kind of longview: book reviewers and literary critics, architectural essayists (Michael Sorkin), our senior dance teachers, etc. 

    Regarding "herd immunity," I believe it depends on a vaccine already being available. From the Oxford Vaccination Project website:


    When a high percentage of the population is vaccinated, it is difficult for infectious diseases to spread, because there are not many people who can be infected. For example, if someone with measles is surrounded by people who are vaccinated against measles, the disease cannot easily be passed on to anyone, and it will quickly disappear again. This is called ‘herd immunity’, 'community immunity' or 'herd protection', and it gives protection to vulnerable people such as newborn babies, elderly people and those who are too sick to be vaccinated.


  22. Here are some excerpts from Chancellor Merkel's comments showing how her thinking goes – so level-headed and at odds with ours currently in the US. From today's Times



    “What we’ve achieved is an interim success — no more, no less. And I stress that it is a fragile interim success.”


    “We can’t have a wrongheaded push forward, even when the best intentions are behind it,” Ms. Merkel said. “We need to understand that we need to live with this virus as long as there is no vaccine and no treatment.” ...


    Among the first shops allowed to reopen are bookstores, bike stores and car dealers. But they all have to ensure that the number of customers inside is limited while also avoiding long lines from forming outside.
    Restaurants and bars will have to wait longer, and large events like soccer matches remain banned until Aug. 31. Religious services won’t resume until places of worship have put in place measures to ensure the required distance between worshipers. ...

    A key variable the government was looking at, she said, is the so-called reproduction factor of the virus — the number of people an infected person passes the virus on to.

    That factor currently stands at about 1, she said, meaning that one person gets infected by every newly infected person. If that factor rose even to 1.1, the German health care system would reach capacity by October, she said.

    If it were allowed to rise to 1.2 — so out of five infected people one infects not one but two additional people — that limit is reached by July.

    “With 1.3,” Ms. Merkel continued, “we have reached the limit of our health care system by June.”

    “So you can see how small our leeway is,” she said, “the entire development rests on having a number of infections that we can keep track of and trace.”


    This animation linked below shows various scenarios of transmission. The last panel of a breathing, not coughing, person suggests how effective a mask, any mask and not necessarily an N95, could be. "An infected person talking for five minutes in a poorly ventilated space can produce as many viral droplets as one infectious cough."

    Regarding the resumption of performances, on one hand passing out N95s would be like the days when they festively passed out 3–D glasses in movie theaters.

    But on the other hand I think of the unnatural amount of coughing that goes on 1/2 hour after people are seated in a classical performance or ballet, especially during the quiet movement, as if one's body is protesting at not being up on stage with the musicals or dancers.

    I don't know ...  I just don't know. Maybe it should start off small-scaled and well-spaced in 400 seat auditoriums, downtown style, more Phillip Glass and John Cage than Mozart, with the big companies beginning again in small venues.


    PS – I am surprised about the compliance and non compliance with the mask rule in San Francisco. In the mornings in my mid-Polk neighborhood virtually everyone wears them as they go about their shopping. You see fewer in the afternoon, fewest in late afternoons, none on the joggers who run along the commercial street instead of the side streets, but a fair number on bicyclists. You also see classic leftist/libertarian couples, one with a mask, one without.


  23. 5 hours ago, nanushka said:

    I don’t think any of that really matters terribly much if one is viewing dance recordings (as I, personally, tend to) primarily as tools for gaining knowledge (of a piece, of its forms and structures, of its design elements, etc.)

    Yes, that's sensible. I was thinking of its use as the master record of a ballet or as a primary teaching tool, rather than the role flowing directly from teacher to student. I think Gene Kelly's warning in the Magic Factory (not Fantasy Factory as I cited above) re American in Paris, about the differences in time on screen and on stage is something to keep in mind. I believe he said he had to shorten the same routine for film for it to have the equivalent effect it did on stage.

    My ideal director for Midsummer Night's Dream would have been Kenji Mizoguchi of the long criss-crossing tracking shots. Or even Alexander Sokurov of the Russian Ark

  24. 9 minutes ago, pherank said:

    Thanks for bringing up the orchestra -  the conducting for a dance performance is important, to be sure. Interestingly, the Bolshoi's Valery Ovsyanikov was the conductor that night.

    Thanks, I didn't realize that. But the orchestra sounded more French than Russian to my ears. The little ways of playing instruments are passed down over the years by each generation to the other and it would be difficult to mitigate that – although Esa Pekka Salonen does get a slightly different sound from San Francisco Symphony than Michael Tilson Thomas, more in a lovely layering of sound in Ravel and Stravinsky.

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