Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cecil be Groutchy...

It's the winter solstice. That's why I'm so slow and sleepy. And grouchy. Has nothing to do with the bottles of Fat Tire I consumed last night or staying up too late watching Charlie Rose.

I think I could do a better job than Charlie Rose. It rarely seems he knows what he's talking about. I don't like the man. But he gets great guests and it's not about soundbites. Hard to find elsewhere...

Tonight is performance 5 of 8 of "Welcome Yule" with Chicago Symphony Orchestra. By the 4th show, I think we had worked the bugs out of the curtain call. The conductor's mother died a few nights ago over our "weekend", but he'll be on the podium tonight. Such a trooper. I had a rehearsal with the cover conductor a couple of days ago - just in case. He's fairly young as far as conductor's go : I guess early 30's. He was excited at the prospect of conducting the world renowned CSO. I had no idea the CSO was SUCH a big deal. I guess because I'm not a citizen of the musician world. I am CSO's official fool, I suppose. Looks like I'll be back again next year. It's truly a great gig.

Tomorrow will be my last day of work for a couple of weeks. I'll be home with young Max as he's out of school for the winter break.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Zwarte Piet

Hey man, What's up?

In Holland, the Santa figure arrives on a ship from Spain with the Dutch version of elves called Zwarte Piets (Black Petes) which are actually hundreds of little blonde haired, blue eyed
white kids in black face (no shit), dressed as Moors.

A few years ago I was in Rotterdam visiting an old friend and we stopped in some National History Crap Museum or some such. They had an exhibit on all the slavery the Netherlands was responsible for. So we start talking about it and the way black people are in Holland vs. how they are in the US. Then I bring up Zwarte Piet and how if just ONE little white kid (let alone hundreds) showed up in public wearing black-face in the US, there would be rioting. And my friend Josse Popma (no shit) says, "Ja, dat IS fucked up!"

For the next 3 days, our mission was clear. We designed a small sticker (if you've been to Holland, you'll notice stickers everywhere promoting clubs, djs, bands, websites, etc.) which read "Bevrieden Zwarte Piet", which is Ye Olde Tyme Dutch way of saying "Free Black Pete". And on the bottom in a wee little font, we put an email address set-up to catch what we thought would be an onslaught of socially awakened Dutchies ready to riot against the blatant racism which has been accepted there for so long. Even looked forward to by little kids on Dec. 6th. We stuck those stickers wherever they would stick. All over town.

Unfortunately, we've yet to recieve a single response.

It is interesting to note that if a child is bad during the year, the tradition mandates that Zwarte Piet puts the kid in a sack, takes him back to Spain on the ship with Sinta Klaus (or is it Saint Nikolas? I forget.) where he is enslaved and presumably becomes one of the walking black petes himself. or herself.

Fun, huh? If you're bad, you'll turn black, you little bastard!

Merry xmas.