I've just returned from the positively glorious Walt Disney Concert Hall, where I've seen the absolutely staggering Esa-Pekka Salonen conduct fragments from Berlioz's Lélio, and the Symphonie Fantastique in a joint performance with avant garde theater group Complicite, called Strange Poetry - Berlioz and the Chemistry of Dreams, and quite frankly, I feel a little weak in the knees, because it was incredibly beautiful. The building, the music, the performance - everything about it was as if it had been lowered down to earth on pulleys, directly from heaven.
Esa-Pekka Salonen's performance, in particular, absolutely cracked me - his combination of fluid grace and forceful mastery is almost more than I can bear, and I swear to you all, I nearly died of it. Berlioz wrote that to properly render these pieces requires "a combination of extreme precision and irresistable verve, a regulated vehemence, a dreamy tenderness, and an almost morbid melancholy..."; which could really just be a review of this performance. Absolutely brilliant. I was wishing it would never end.
I know this sounds melodramatic, but seriously: it gives me hope to see something like that. Human beings are capable of so much perfection.
Here's an un-fooled-with picture of the sky over my street in Hollywood with the smoke and ash from all the wildfires turning the sun red and the skies a dirty orange. Starting at about 1pm today the city had that crazy glow of the magic hour until the sun went down.
There's a 55 or 60 year old man who's had a facelift so that the skin on his face is smooth, tight and pale, but his neck is loose, wrinkled and sunworn. A frowsy older woman, densely fat, champagne blonde, with black kohl all around her eyes, and wearing a dishwater white cotton cardigan is dipping her raspberry pastry into her paper coffee cup. An almost matched pair of brash Israeli women completely clad in Dolce & Gabbana, with big 70's style fade-lense sunglasses talk loudly in Hebrew. Coming and going: trim girls in gym clothes with bare, tanned bellies and perfectly arranged casual hairstyles, some with docile boyfriends trailing behind them like dull-plummaged birds behind their showy mates. The barrista is a large lesbian with closely-cropped bright kelly green hair under her black Starbuck's baseball cap. She's got silver facial piercings, pocked skin, and over-plucked chola eyebrows.