here's the link to the playlist itself — see thread below for content notes if those are things you want/need!
i'm in full-color print! i wrote about #LGBTQ representation in the US #orchestra world for Symphony Magazine, and the PDF of the article is up on their website now! Give it a read: https://www.americanorchestras.org/images/stories/symphony_magazine/summer_2019/Come-Out-and-Play.pdf
"Is it possible to make a formal rigorous study of conspiracy theories? The task seems self-punishing, like trying to housebreak a chicken"
— Elizabeth Kolbert, "That's What You Think", The New Yorker (22 April, 2019), p 29
"Neil Armstrong was one of the few [men who walked on the moon] who had a mostly steady, unremarkable post-moonwalk life. He moved to a dairy farm and became a professor at the University of Cincinnati. Nearly a decade after his trip to the moon, he wrote a poem called 'My Vacation':
Nine Summers ago, I went for a visit.
To see if the moon was green cheese.
When we arrived, people on earth asked: 'Is it?'
We answered: 'No cheese, no bees, no trees.'
There were rocks and hills and a remarkable view
Of the beautiful earth that you know.
It's a nice place to visit, and I'm certain that you
Will enjoy it when you get to go."
— Rivka Galchen, "The Eighth Continent", The New Yorker (6 May, 2019), p 53
Neil Armstrong: confirmed adorkable
"In many respects, Godzilla is hard to distinguish from Elton John. Terrible temper? Check. Professional longevity? Check. Tireless vocal vigor? Check. They even share a fondness for baseball parks as suitable arenas for their skills"
Anthony Lane, "Heavenly Creatures", The New Yorker (Jun 10+17, 2019), p 93
selfie (eye contact) Afficher plus
me all June: i mean like sure the rainbow backgrounds are cool but like, am i doing anything for Pride? idk if i'm rlly feeling it, u kno?
me today: hello can i interest you in the destruction of coercive gender and also carnal relations of a DELICIOUSLY homosexual nature?
(boosts and flirting both OK)
selfies Afficher plus
some people have expressed DOUBTS in my ability to do this, to which i say: BEHOLD
food, therapy Afficher plus
what i told my therapist i would do for self care today: eat an entire wheel of camembert
what i actually did for self care today: just fckn totally butchered the last movement of the Maslanka bassoon sonata
long post abt transphobia & music journalism where i ask for money Afficher plus
some of you may know that this was originally intended for publication in a mainstream outlet. (those of you who know or think you know, i would ask that you refrain from revealing which outlet it was.) they decided not to run it because i am a composer. the editor was worried that the fact that i, myself, have written operas with trans characters for trans actors opens me up to the charge that i'm only criticizing STONEWALL out of jealousy or as a way to promote my own work. i can see the logic, tho i don't share it
obviously, there's no way i can conclusively prove that my motivation is as pure as driven snow, but i don't think it actually matters, in the long run. if your *only* counter to what i've written here is that i'm being motivated in my reasoning, you're ceding all my points. ultimately, these arguments stand or fall on their own merits. i believe that this production encourages people to misgender Bouk, and i believe that even if you resist that encouragement, this casting gives life to the lie that trans women are merely men in dresses. i have laid out my evidence to the best of my ability. read it for yourself and judge the strength of my case. if you think my motivation taints me, ask yourself how you would respond to these words written by someone else. a strong argumement is strong regradless of who makes it
i stand by my decision to mention my works in this piece. not including them would only open me to charges of trying to cover up my activities to avoid a charge of having a conflict of interest. it is factually true that i have written trans operas; there's no point hiding it
i also stand by my position that being a composer does not disqualify me from critiquing other composers' work in print. composers already sit in judgement of other composers all the time! composers sit on the faculty of music schools and make admissions decisions. composers sit on the juries of composition prizes and decide who wins. composers run venues and ensembles and decide who to program and commission. in the current setup of contemporary classical music, i would argue that all these things have FAR more impact on a composer's career than anything in a review. if we consistently take the position that it is improper for a composer to weigh in on another composer's work for fear of conflicts of interest, the entire field of contemporary composition collapses
objectivity is a myth. all reasoning is motivated. we all have assumptions and beliefs, preferences and prior commitments, conclusions that we try to find arguments to support so that we can escape the bad feeling that comes with being wrong. uncovering someone's motivation may explain *why* they are making an argument, but it does not, in and of itself, *rebut* that argument. rebuttal still takes engagement with the argument itself, regardless of the motivations of the person making it
and it's not like non-composer journalists don't have biases & agendas too! we all know critics who are biased towards or against tonality, who have composers they really root for and composers they think are overrated, who look at music thru one specific political lens or other
indeed, i would argue that *not* being an opera composer has been a massive hindrance to the music journalists that have covered this show so far. not being active participants in the field, predecessors to STONEWALL haven't been on their radar, and nor have trans ppl's complaints
the claim that my having written trans operas disqualifies me from critiquing trans operas because i have a ~personal stake~ is awful close to the claim that my being trans disqualifies me from talking abt trans issues because i have a ~personal stake~: it's a shitty take
because here's the thing, folks: ultimately you're just going to have to start listening to trans people about trans issues, even when we are not the perfect epitome of disinterested observer. you're going to have to listen to us even when we're messy. you just have to. every single cis journalist who has covered this show has missed this story. every. single. one. that's *embarrassing*. (it also, imo, reflects a ~bias~ towards seeing all trans people as a monolithic, interchangeable Other!) but it's also extremely unsurprising
i wish i could trust cis ppl in this field to be allies, but obviously i can't. the reviews of this show have shown pretty amply that cis critics simply do not know enough about transphobia to cover these issues. i *genuinely* wish that they did! i would love to sit this one out! but no, i can't. i am, to my knowledge, the only regularly published professional transfeminine classical music critic currently active. if i don't speak out about this, no one will. the press for this show has been mixed, aesthetically, but everyone who discusses the trans casting has praised it. and that is *profoundly* dispiriting to see. i am worried that a narrative is coalescing that this show has done trans casting Right, that people will look to it as a model for how to write future works. and i'm worried that, if critiques of it become mainstream years down the line, people will point to these reviews and say "this is a case of anachronistic standards; at the time everyone thought it was fine!"
it is not fine. it is not a model to emulate. and people are saying that *now*, as it is happening, if only you will listen. this casting is a travesty, and it should be a *scandal* that no cis journalist has been trans-savvy enough to pick up on that
anyway, the fact that this is on my blog means it won't get the signal boost it would from being published by a Major Outlet; i would appreciate it if you shared it far and wide. this also means i will not be getting paid for this. my finances aren't dire, but if you think it's important to have a transfeminine journalist covering this, it would mean a lot to have your financial support:
thank you for your support; this has been a tough slog drawn out over the course of many months <3
are we going to claim Hildegard as a "proto-lesbian"? mmmmmmaybe. are we going to say that her map of the universe is *extremely* vaginal? ABSOLUTELY. i had a lovely time talking with two of the founders of #ChamberQUEER and wrote up our conversation for #TheLogJournal: https://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/2019/06/19/chamberqueer-identity-inclusiveness-and-audience-participation/
someone linked me to something that linked me to this recently and it reminded me how much i fuckn love extravagant arrangements of the Rite of Spring. in that spirit, please link me to your favorite gonzo arrangements of this Timeless Orchestral Classique™ (esp ones that stick the ending! this one, like the original, doesn't quite manage it imo)
I'm a writer, composer, and bassoonist with feet in both the classical and musical theatre worlds. In my free time, I am very gay. (they/them)
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