Friday, September 1, 2017


(Carolina Crown 2014 champs)

Dear Drum Corps International,

First may I say the DCI has become ridiculous. The above photo proves it.  This is bad theater by confused hipsters.  I do not see how this figures in to drum corps? Mellophones as props?  That's 14 years old now (Bartok, Indiana, etc?).

When there is a YouTube video entitled "SEXIEST MOMENTS IN DCI" you have swam too far out and too far FROM the "core" of the whole 35 year old concept.  I am not interested in saving you - just judging you. You will right yourself at some point. 

Now look:
(1977 BRIDGEMEN, suspended for theatrics)

I grew up on drum corps.  And I remember when the Bridgemen were suspended for having a disco dance on the field in 1978 - that was progressive and ballsy. They were gone the following year- they showed up and did it again and walked off the field no? That's more than ballsy.  It's cool.  And they broke some ground but as is usually the case, league-style events get progressively more dangerous, the rules bend...wait a minute..that's NFL, not DCI.  Is DCI a league now?  A bush league perhaps. ,


1993 STAR OF INDIANA, above, is the yardstick by which great drum corps is and should be measured:  marching to Bartok without change to time, keeping up with accelerando that no one has done since and using their bodies as instruments in the presentation was breakthrough.  Game changer.  Putting your horns down and breaking into 5 different groups moving without an instrument:  that was dance in the style of Nijinsky, 1913 causing a "riot" in Paris to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.  Star didn't cause a riot, but a stir and they left as a misunderstood and under-appreciated - moment in history.  

The next year, every corps did the same stuff right down to the askew formations and optical illusions.  I think I saw Santa Clara do it this year still but maybe not, I was distracted weeding through the dance girls in pancake makeup popping their eyes like silent film stars trying to tell a story that should be told on the field not on a stage in the center of that field and for the love of all living things...


The Blue Devils called it the "Re-Rite" and won.  "Re-Rite" = 2/4, 4/4, 3/4 fuck/4.

I seldom swear, Forgive me. But my dear Drum Corps are becoming a terrible joke.  I feel denied, ignored?  What happened to you?  Did you not realize that you were already your own "artform"? 

I feel embarrassed for you and disappointed for many.


Most people

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Have You Read Fatova Lately? She Sucks.

Yeah.  I have.  She is writing on this site  Lackademik.  

But she is totally unrecognizable.  Alright, this third person shit is for the NFL and every drama on BET. 

I am losing my voice.  My sarcastic, caustic, rude tone is drowning in the correctness one must adopt when teetering between the gracious company of their previous targets and their quickly-thinning target audience.

Let it rip, let it rip. 

beatriz rodriguez (orig from Oct 2010

About a year ago someone wrote me here and asked if I knew anything about Beatriz Rodriguez, the Joffrey dancer who had the first honor of dancing the role of the The Chosen One in the 70 year-in-the-making reconstruction of Vaslav Nijinsky's choreography to Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" or Le Sacre du Printemps - considered by many to be the single greatest musical work ever. I'm on board with that of course. 

Rodriguez debuted the ballet to the world in fact when The Joffrey Ballet televised the performance out of San Francisco in what we all know today as the 1987 debut of "the reconstruction" and I hate that.  I refer to it as the recovery of Nijinsky's ballet and soul and he was at last recognized thank you Millicent.  Big stuff. 

I like to compare the reaction of the Chosens when they are ..chosen!  All are unique.  But here...I look at B-Rod's face and you see her surpsise AT the other girls.  As if the schoolyard bullies stopped yelling and hit her but they have selected her to die, something she knows might befall her but when it happens... 

Her face registers that "how could you!" and from there she is in no state of graceful ballet.  She spins in that circle in confusion.  And this stuff is not lost on the kids/people watching the 87 Joffrey on my YouTube channel. 

This little 10 second piece shows what I mean .  She registers the emotional shock and I think she conveys the libretto with such frightening drama that she holds people in those minutes.  It's so barbaric and she is terrified.  

Some kid wrote:  "see how she runs to each side of the circle?  I think she is trying to escape."

This is not some pedestrian observation.  It is the huge spiritual aspect of Le Sacre which is why I am shuffling over here to Lackademik

So there were rumors that she was not "light enough" for the role. That is, she is ethnically not perfect. Thank goodness she wasn't dancing for Mary Wigman in France in '38.  She would have been on a freight train in no time - yes, Wigman DID hand her Jewish friends over.  Genius - nope. Nazi - yes.

I digress.  It's possibly true for that time though it;s foggy and I can't get a real grip on it. I read an article today where B-Rod hints at this in '95 with the Chicago Trib.

So, I was asked - when I first wrote this piece in 2010 - if I knew anything more on Rodriguez because Inquiring Minds Want To Know. And a year later, I have this site with 3 pages of Herbert Migdoll  slides from Joffrey performances of days gone by featuring Beatriz but not as a Chosen One.  What you do find is black and white shots and my God she was TINY! 

So who knows?  Beatriz and the company and so to you who have asked, I know as much as you. Sorry I lost track of you. It's been a terrible year. 

5 years later

UPDATE::  Along with a wild Hungarian dancer named Andrea Ladanyi, some SERIOUS progress has been made.  Thank you to the "heavy hitters" who have gotten involved.

Beatriz is a mythical creature to the thousands of viewers/commenters on the YouTube video.  They want to know more.  And they hate dance.  They swear and say stupid things and insightful things and then...they come back.  And they have learned more.  Just like I did in my beginning.

Tonight when I heard from one of the THREE ORIGINALS of the 87 Joffrey - Gates, Rodriguez and  Carole Valleskey  I was over the moon.  Took 7 years but I may actually communicate with her and you know what?  It needed to take 7 years.  In that time, that peformance on YouTube has transfixed and transformed so many people.   She has a curtain call left.  With us.

Carole Valleskey...BLESS YOU for sharing this which will be shared and so excitedly received.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Nobody Likes Robert Craft (ode to Stravinsky)

(we have all seen the left edge of this photo with Rimsky-Korsakov but his parents & 
Catherine were also there.  Thank you Maria Stravinsky for your generosity.)

Robert Craft is an asshole. He was the vulture who ingratiated himself into the Maestro's later life and to watch it on video it is nothing short of predatory. 

BOOM.  Yeah, thought I would just come out with it.

In 2009 I tried to download The Firebird as a ringtone from TMobile - the composer was Robert Craft.

There are lots of little interview clips on YouTube with the Maestro in his older years, the ever present Buzzard, interjecting here, interjecting there, making fun of him in the booth in the Darvas film and actually speaking FOR Stravinsky in places.  Then in 2013 - against him.

In 2013 Craft came out with the tales of Stravinsky having homosexual lovers.  Really.  Have you not made enough money off of him?  Must you pick the bones of the skeleton?  You had to make public something that was - if true - kept quiet for a reason.  He is an ASSHOLE.

I was going to write about Craft and the rights he took from Stravinsky and the literal re-writing of history in that Coco and Igor nonsense by refusing the Nijinsky choreography and using one from 2 years LATE and the division he caused with the Maestro's children...but I think I would rather write about Stravinsky.

 OH...the Coco and Igor movie:  yes there was an affair in 1913-ish with Coco Chanel and Stravinsky brought his wife and kids along for it, which took place in Coco's house, something the Stravinsky's were in dire need of as the Maestro was seriously strapped at the time.I will say no more because Craft had his filthy fingers in that movie and it was inaccurate. Melodrama. Dick.

It is a known thing that he loved his first wife Catherine and respected her artistically - he would  consult with her on everything he wrote and would not play it until she approved as she had a deep understanding of the young musician's work.

 (Igor and Catherine, circa 1906)

Fifteen years later Stravinsky would meet Vera de Bosset , feel the same way and expect Catherine to acquiesce  to this relationship as well and even have a friendship with her.  She did and when she died it was all very nice I suppose. Craft conspicuously made little to no reference about Catherine in his Stravinsky bio - how well DID he know the man? Family and Foundation preserved letters between them confirm this intimacy.   When you watch video of the Igor and Vera, they are very much in love and it is quite sweet.  Oh and you will see Robert Craft right up his arse:

Where Stravinsky disliked Nijinsky - actually he was indifferent - he would later go on to compliment his choreography in 1960 (in the Russian way which is barely at all). Men tend to soften as they age, artists become humble, the hopelessly arrogant usually die early.

And Stravinsky was arrogant as a young genius!! The accolades came fast and furious but in 1914 and he was too young and Russian to show humility.  As he aged he became very approachable, self-effacing, welcoming...happy.  In Darvas' documentary, Stravinsky having a scotch out of one glass in a dump apartment with Nabakov (not that one) is too endearing. You love him.

Janos Darvas' documentary is a must steal.  It is emotional and funny and the end is, of course,  set to the finale of The Firebird.  You can go watch the film if you like - it is on my channel in a couple of pieces.  I am cautious.

The pas de deux in Scenes de ballet is one of my favorite pieces.  It actually brings me to tears.  So I made a little clip piece of Stravinsky set against it. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Forrest Through the Trees ?

Carolyn Carlson's "Don't Look Back" for Pietragalla was stunning, really.  It doesn't get old, I never tire of it and Pietra - though young - was peppering her own signatures all over the performance AND IT WORKED. the end I like the part where she shoves her fist in her mouth. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

stuck in the middle

Too many projects and I will finish none.  

Here is a photo of Beatriz Rodriguez in "Taming of the Shrew", Joffrey, I don't know what year.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

An Unkind Time

There would be a price to pay.  There usually is when you take a wild chance like Nijinsky did with 1913's "Le Sacre du Printemps". 

I don't think he knew the price would be his life.  And if he did, would he have changed anything?

We all love the story of "The Rite". We all love the reconstruction!   It is all very dramatic and stunning....more than was expected, I believe.

But in our joy to have Nijinsky's work recovered, I think we forget the price he paid and the length of time he waited....and waited...

1987 was as important as 1913.  Nijinsky was alive and rejected, Nijinsky was dead and lauded and everything he may have believed was finally understood. 

Life was unkind to Nijinsky.