Archive for July, 2006

Sea-D shoot

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

…listen
…info about the music

Tonight I was delighted that my flute quartet, “Bioplasm,” opened the Los Angeles classical music station KUSC-FM’s program, “Modern Masterpieces.” Here’s a clip.

Yesterday, late afternoon on the beach here at Paradise Cove. A wonderful photographer pal was shooting pictures for my next CD (oh, what a weird thing it is to endure these sessions), and I was momentarily distracted by a graceful squadron of pelicans passing by overhead.

The very best shots are always the ones you’re not expecting. Much like life in general. The main pic on my website is an example of that; it’s not a particularly pretty photo, but I love it because the camera happened to catch my eye just as I turned around, while the wind crudely whipped my hair. Truth, realness, honesty– that’s what I seek in my music, and that’s what I seek in all aspects of my life, right down to my vanity.

By the time this one was snapped, beachgoers had left the sand along with the sun that fled behind the cliffs. But for some earlier shots we had to position ourselves in the last remaining yards of direct light, right in front of the sunbathers and resting surfers. There was no choice but to incur this audience; needing the sea as a backdrop meant that I would be the unexpected, uh… entertainment… for those gazing across the horizon in their thongs and beach chairs. It was awkward enough that I had all these damn clothes on (I’m a big fan of the “sex sells” attitude, but gee, for some odd reason I opted against a cover shot of me in a skimpy bikini much as I’ve resisted the urge to spell my website address as alexxxshapiro.org: the disappointment of the expectant consumer would be overwhelming). But to have to walk slowly and “work” the camera while onlookers no doubt wondered “Who the heck is she? Wait, isn’t she on that TV show? No way, she doesn’t look cool enough to be famous!”… well, that was nothing short of delightfully humiliating. Of course, remember: this is Malibu, and hey, aren’t all the residents celebrities?

I prefer my regular work environment: tucked away like a little mushroom in a dark studio, with no one but the cats staring at me. And what with those thick coats, they’re always wearing much more than I am.

Sea static

Friday, July 28th, 2006

…listen
…info about the music

A tune called “Rain Walk,” which I should perhaps wishingly retitle “Rain Dance.”

It’s so hot, even the fish are sweating.
Happy, humid, Friday to you all.
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Dock security

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

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…info about the music

The main title to a little film I scored years ago about some tough guys, called “The Last Job.”.

Following up on the current avian theme, here’s a recent pic of one of our harbor regulars: a Great Blue Heron. Standing guard on the dock like a privately hired security detail, he stands nearly four feet tall; only a mere foot and a half higher, when I come upon these great birds, I pay my respects. But as much as they’re used to being around humans, these fellows are pretty timid: you can slowly walk toward them to within a couple of yards, then with a huge flap and a loud, indignant squaaaaawwwwk they make sure that you know just how much you’ve inconvenienced them. Taking sudden flight, they lope along through the sky just long enough to land on a dock a finger or two over. No doubt, the same dance with another oncoming sailor will soon be repeated.1st time home owner loan100 loans equitygroup loans student accessloans percent for financing 100 mortgageloan a improvement homefor accounting commitments loanwith no credit check $5000 loanphone 7 24 loan Map

Reflecting on past egrets

Friday, July 21st, 2006

…listen
…info about the music

Appropriately enough, the title of this movement is, “Reflect.”

Ok, one more bucolic frame from that afternoon at the lagoon. This was too pretty not to post.

I’ve been reflecting in my own pond of thought these days, about the concept of regret. Or, more accurately, how to avoid having regrets. I’ve seem ‘em follow some of my friends around like a stuck shadow, and I’ve always promised myself I’d do my damnedest to make good decisions and move forward in life, not backward. But who truly has the perch perspective of these snowy egrets? No one I know. Even when we listen to our gut instincts, we can be misled. Or unforseen events can appear. Or we simply change: that which once suited us perfectly now suddenly sags, or is too tight.
And I suppose all of this is called, unremarkably, being human.

I’ve been having an astoundingly happy life for many years and not an instant of it has gone unappreciated. And now I’m giving thought to what the next phase of this life might look and feel like. The beautiful constants are music and Charles. And cats. And sea-based nature. And of course, my valued friendships. Other elements, such as where else on the planet the above might happily coexist, are entertaining daydreams. My view of myself is like its reflection on the water: somewhat recognizable, yet blurred and fluid in its shape. Hmmmmm.

Watering hole

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

Cross Creek Bridge and the Santa Monicas

…listen
…info about the music

A little of my “Intermezzo” for the afternoon’s intermezzo.

After lunch in mid-Malibu with a friend who lives inland, we began heading back to our respective vehicles in the parking lot. It was a beautiful day, and I turned to her and suggested that before parting and continuing our work, we stroll directly across the street to the Malibu Lagoon. This is where Malibu Creek finds its way out to the Pacific down from the Santa Monica mountains, and it’s home to thousands of shore birds. I spend so much of my time on beaches to the north, that it had actually been a few years since I’d enjoyed this particular collection of driftwood, dried kelp, sand and squawks.

Behind us, a wide stretch of shoreline on which those Gidget films of the 50’s were filmed (the real Gidget, 65 year young Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, still lives nearby and surfs occasionally). And in front of us, a lovely grouping of egrets you see here, both Snowy and Great, who were just wrapping up their own lunch date. Each year they build a nest in a tree above the parking lot across the street by the restaurant. Errands to Radio Shack or the shoe repair fellow are accompanied by a magical flutter of white in the high branches. I guess we all enjoy crossing to the other side of the road once in a while.

From one neck to another

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

…listen
…info about the music

Reflect, with “Reflect.”

From time to time I discover special objects washed up with the tides. The biggest mysteries are always those that come in the form of an ex-being: a part of some creature that defies identification from this uneducated viewer.

When I came upon this particular remnant of someone’s recent existence on this earth, I stared carefully at the beautiful, lace-like holes in the bones and marveled at the cartilage that aligned and connected each piece. I was convinced that it was a section of someone’s upper spine. But whose?

I had read somewhere that the bones of birds are hollow and very light, aiding them in flight. I went online and tried to find information about the skeletons of seagulls or other shore birds. But, no luck. Every neck I had a look at had bones shaped far differently than these perfect round lozenges. The discs, each with a centered hole through which I imagined a spinal column of nerves threading, remain a mystery.

I enjoy making necklaces as an occasional hobby; sometimes from beads and pendants I come across, other times from a special rock with a hole in just the right place. This time was precious: I like the concept of such a creature continuing on, as it travels five and a half feet above the earth, dangling from an unexpected set of [at least for now] living vertebrae.

More sea dogggies

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

…listen
…info about the music

To keep the pups from sinking, here’s a little from the Ascendit Deus movement of my Evensong Suite.

Two different Paradise Cove dogs from the one below, taken a few minutes later as they chased tennis balls a full 50 yards off shore. I’d say they have their human very well trained; notice how he heels, even while swimming? Good boy!24 personal hours loanloan 60 home yearloan account bank nofixed a loan4 loan inc financialcash company loans advancepay loan day advanceday loan pay advanced Map

Sea Dawg

Sunday, July 9th, 2006

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…info about the music

A tune for the puppy.

In keeping with the current “domesticated animals at sea” theme, I hereby present to you a not uncommon and always amusing sight: a surfing dog. There are quite a number of these fellas who have figured out how to have a great time hanging twenty while getting their owners to do all the paddling work. I see them not only on surf boards, but in kayaks and dinghys and pretty much any water craft that won’t sink with the extra kibble-toting weight. Today was a great one for taking… paws to reflect.loan term advance cashloan advance loan payday casheasy com loan payday 1000cent airplane loans bank 5loan rates member aaa carsmall loan start $15,000 up businessdefault help after loaninformation african american farmers loancash $1000 loan coloradoemergency loan 401k

Friday cat docking

Friday, July 7th, 2006

…listen
…info about the music

The dulcet tones of Carolyn Beck’s bassoon seem appropriate today.

Wistful, he gazed over the bow of his waiting skiff and pondered the journey across the sea to the Isle of Catnip.

Ka-boom o’er the boom

Wednesday, July 5th, 2006

…listen
…info about the music

You can listen to the independently wacky scherzo from my Sonata for Piano.

For a number of years the city of Santa Barbara has hosted a wonderful fireworks display in the skies between Stearns Wharf and the harbor. Those of us lucky enough to have boats make the most of it, inviting friends and turning the marina into a big block party… or, dock party. Here’s the view from our cockpit last night; you can just make out the tips of our neighbors’ masts.

May we all seek, discover and retain the independence we deserve!

Not quite the Boston Tea Party

Tuesday, July 4th, 2006

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…info about the music

A percussive sonic fireworks opening from “At the Abyss.”

Strolling along the beach at Paradise Cove, I came across this most civilized outlay of warm beverage decorum.
The little girl just outside of the frame was as cute as the tea cups. And nearly as tiny.

So here you have it, my July Fourth offering, harking back to the infamous Boston Tea Party, one of the more, uh, colorful events leading directly to the American Revolution.

Boom. Bang.
Napkin, please.

Upon the isle of bouncing salt

Saturday, July 1st, 2006

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…info about the music

One of my jazz sketches, appropriately titled, “Longing for You.”

Welcome to Saltspring Island. Or Salt Spring Island, if your space bar works well. It’s spelled both ways. Just one example of the open-mindedness of the nice folks who live there.

Two of the island’s newest residents are our friends Luanne and Ken, and the photo above is the… um… stunnning… view from their guest quarters. Overlooking the mouth of Fulford Harbor, the view gazes out to moorings at Russell Island, and to other larger islands. In the background above it all loom the magnificent Mt. Baker and the Cascades to its right, in all their snow-capped beauty.
Ahhhhh.
I don’t think I have anything more to add right now; this picture says it all.