This is a command.

GO NOW to the San Francisco Symphony’s website and buy tickets for Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 for tonight or tomorrow. Now. That’s a command. I heard it last night and it was phenomenal. The symphony isn’t always that good, but they’re getting quite a reputation for their Mahler cycle, and what we heard last night was art and artistry at its best. It’s a beautiful and interesting symphony and it ends in a great crashing choral finale. If nothing else, go to hear mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson sing the fourth movement (“Urlicht”). I can’t describe it exactly, but it was like seeing the face of God, honestly. Or, if that’s not enough for you, go to hear soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, who was on the Lord of the Rings soundtrack, sing in the final movement. Just go! And don’t tell me you’re not a symphony kind of person, because if you’re only going to hear one concert in your life, this is a good one.

Some notes: There is no intermission, so pee beforehand.
There is a good review here but ignore what it says about it playing for two more weeks. This review was written last week.
And, you’ll have to be quiet. They’re recording these performances for CD. Ooh yes! You can be on a SFS CD!

So if you can’t go, you should get the CD (or borrow it from us, since Erik and I intend to get it), but you really really really should go. There was so much in this performance–even more than in most performances–that will be lost on CD.

In an ideal world, there are no wars, there is no hunger, no disease, no prejudice, just peace, love, and harmony. In my personal ideal world, there’s all that, and I can do backflips and sing like an angel.

I used to dream of good looks and a tall, slender figure. I wanted to look like Gwyneth Paltrow. These days, my aesthetic has changed, but so has my philosophy on what I want and what I deserve. If I could look like anyone I wanted, just by snapping my fingers, I wouldn’t change a thing. If I could have anything I wanted, by rubbing a lamp, I wouldn’t know what to wish for–except maybe for free education for me and my sisters, to take the burden off my parents. Good looks and skinniness–those are lazy wishes. We can’t make world peace by wishing, and if we could, we wouldn’t be deserving of it.

That’s why, when I think about my personal ideal world, I don’t think I’m really describing what I want in my life. I have a good life. I enjoy it. And I try to help other people enjoy theirs, both directly, by being a presence in their lives, and indirectly, by trying to make the world at large a better place. I think my ideal world is really more like my concept of heaven, the world I would wish upon myself if I die at eighty-five and find myself deserving of a good hereafter. Knowing that life is filled with suffering and tribulation, it’s fun to imagine that just maybe, after we’ve tired ourselves out trying to fight the bad stuff, in some parallel existence lies the place we’d have made if we could have kept up the fight. On a large scale, that’s where all the peace and love and harmony comes in. On a more personal level, that means all the things you can approximate, but will never achieve, in this lifetime. And for me that means backflips and a beautiful singing voice.

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]