Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter, Basketball, Bottesini & Boys

Bald Eagle in Flight, Alaska

Happy Easter to those who observe the holiday and Happy Sunday to the rest of you.  I have been trying to ignore the fact that it is Easter as this was one of those 'required' holidays where one must appear, dressed appropriately for the holiday and bearing gifts if required by custom or decorum according to madre mine.  I understand the religious significance of the holiday but I have never figured out where the Easter bunny fits into that scenario although he seemed to make regular appearances at our house before we had to head off to church.  We were allowed a little chocolate before hand  but no more then until after 3 hours of church and then lunch.  Then there is the fashion event created by those darn capitalists who are never slow to take advantage of a good thing or a cheap gimmick.  It is the fashion equivalent of Christmas come springtime as far as fashion sales are concerned.  Much to the dismay of many a husband, father or son who is forced to participate in the farce.  

I was reminded of all of this by my good buddy's visit earlier today.  Steeler Joe is of a fan of the second most odious of all the Dallas Cowboys rivals behind the Washington Redskins, the Pittsburgh Steelers, yet we remain the best of friends oddly enough.  SJ came over to avoid the Catholic version of the Easter show at a Cathedral near you (as opposed to the Southern Baptist show I grew up with).  He and I are both sports fans and that is where we have much in common as well as other social activities.  In our conversation he mentioned the basketball playoffs.  I don't follow basketball for a number of reasons, most of them surrounding my experiences in the Spring of 1964 during my one required semester of Physical Education.  In the fall, I was in marching band, but come springtime I had to pay my penance with a semester of P. E.

For a short,  slightly chubby, asthmatic who could not run, budding gay boy with body issues, it was equivalent to a semester in hell.  Not only were you forced to participate in things you did not yet understand and perform physical acts that were...shall we say, just not gonna fucking happen, you had to do so willingly and well for any boy points at all.  One of those things was basketball which for some reason was a required activity and was always played with a shirts vs skins format.  For that same unknown reason, I usually ended up on the skins team no matter into which group I was thrust.  I could barely see the backboard much less hit it, could not run, pass or even dribble the ball.  Hoping to get something through the net was a pipe dream which shall forever remain unfulfilled.

Then there was the required shower afterward.  I had not yet begun to grow down there as  it seemed almost everyone else had, some magnificently so.  I was embarrassed by my physical condition and body development and humiliated time and again on the court or playing field and in the gym.  Yet despite the terror of being caught looking, all I wanted to do was gawk at the nakedness in all its many forms surrounding me.  It was demoralizing and fascinating at the same time and I still bear the scars it left on me.  It is not an experience I want to repeat although unbelievably I am in better shape now than I was then, mentally and physically.  As one of the results of that experience, today I do not follow nor do I care to follow much of anything having to do with basketball.  However, shower rooms full of naked men no longer terrorize me but they do remain fascinating.

SJ still had to attend the family picnic slash Easter Egg hunt with a smile after 3 o'clock.  This while being surrounded by every rug rat in the family whether he liked them or not.  Lucky for me I am no longer required to do any such thing.  It is probably better that I am not necessary to make my presence known at family functions any longer.  I certainly do not miss the stress of those days.  Subconscious memories and a hectic week have played hell with my nerves and my blood pressure this week.  Will says I have been 'cranky' and I probably have, but he is trying not to be too much of a nuisance.  He is also getting better at understanding what I need in times like this. That is progress for both of us, and I think I will stop on that positive note for today.  I will continue with My Life next week.


If, like many, you have not thought of the Contrabasso (Double Bass) as a solo instrument, then I want to introduce you to someone who might just change your mind. Enter one Giovanni Bottesini, a 19th Century Italian Virtuoso de Contrabasso and Composer. Today's play list will beautifully demonstrate just how versatile the Contrabasso di Bottesini really is. We begin with a brief, tender piece for double bass and piano, the Elegy Number 1 in D performed by Double bass Joel Quarrington and Piano: Andrew Burashko.; followed by the Adagio Melanconico ed Appassionato performed by the same duo. Noiw we will get into some of Bottesini's longer pieces starting with the Capriccio di Bravura with Thomas Martin as the Soloist. The play list continues with the Carnevale di Venezia with and interpretation by Rinat Ibragimov, Principal Double Bass of the LSO from whom we shall here more of later in the program. Things get a bit more exciting and dramatic with the Reverie and Tanantella with a performance by Gary Karr & Harmon Lewis in a Recital sponsored by GDA at Lisbon National Conservatory.. The excitement continues with the Grand Allegro alla Mendohlsson with a performance by Matthew McDonald, double bass and Tomoko Takahashi piano. The music grows even grander with Rinat Ibragimov performing Bottesini's Concerto for Double Bass No 2 in B Minor on an original 3 stringed period instrument by Antonio Gagliano. Then we have the Royal Concertgebouw Kamerorkest, Vesko Eschkenazy, violin and Dominic Seldis, double bass in a live performance of the Gran duo concertante for Violin and Double Bass. We close today's concert with an intimate live  recording as Edicson Ruiz plays the Concertino in C minor for double bass & strings recorded live in October 2015, at the Michaelkirchplatz, Berlin accompanied by Marina Chiche, Laura Soria, violin; Alicia Garcia Barrientos,, viola; Anton Peisakhov, violoncello; and Samuel Ortega, double bass.


Finally for today, I have a series of wonderful photographic pieces of art I had originally selected for a Wet Wednesday post before I took my sabbatical.  I know it is not Wednesday, but I think you will let that go as you view these magnificent men splish splashing there way around the world.  Thanks for the visit, do come again.  I know you are because you are bringing your friends as my stats reveal.  I am most grateful for that.  So Happy Day to you all and as always, Enjoy!


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