mundane and mysterious

I spent most of yesterday hanging out with Abby, who was in from out of town. We went to the Castro and up Noe Valley to catch some of the crazy hilly street views and work up an appetite for the ultra cheap sushi at Yokoso Nippon (15th and Church). Nothing like $5 for a 7 piece nigiri combo, although now it’s more like $6 since they raised their prices. We pretty much ate ourselves silly, drank all the tea, and probably overstayed our welcome. One of these days I will learn to eat octopus nigiri in one bite. It was nice to catch up over a meal, and it felt very comfortable, even though we hadn’t talked in months really.

Then we cruised up to the Haight and checked out the unbeatable Amoeba records, where I got the new Cantata Singer’s CD of John Harbison’s Four Psalms and Emerson. I was an extra singer on Four Psalms, so of course the first thing I checked for was my name in the liner notes. Listening to the recording of our concert brought back a flood of memories — taking the T out to Brookline for rehearsals, what parts were especially difficult — the process of working on new music. In some sense Bach is easier because it’s clear as to how it should sounds, but new music is very different. The strongest vision was being crammed at the back of the stage of Jordan Hall behind the largest orchestra I’ve ever sung with, the bow tie on my tux feeling uncomfortably tight, convinced that my cufflinks were cutting off circulation to my hands, and all my knowledge of Hebrew pronunciation leaking out of my brain. And then we started singing and I lost myself in the texture of orchestra. I only wish we could have performed it more times.

I also splurged and bought the boxed set of 69 Love Songs by the Magnetic Fields. Pretty much a must-own.

Tere organized a trip for the evening to see some theater. I drove Abby, Tere, and Tandra into the city via the wonderful carpool lane. We got in on the waiting list at Intersection for the Arts to see the world premiere of Sacrament!, the new play by Campo Santo and David Eggers. My friend Zhenya from high school set new records for urban running to snag the last seat in the theater. I will not write much about the play now except that it is well worth seeing and the acting was superb. All art that Campo Santo touches turns to gold, I think. The play made me want to read the book, although Eggers is careful to say that it is not a play based on the book but that they come from the same artistic impulse. Abby suggested that we have wild passionate sex afterwards, but the Mission is a bit sketchy for that.

Afterwards we had pupusas at Panchitas #2, a Salvadorean place on 16th and Valencia, and then hiked up to the Zeitgeist for a beer in the garden before heading on home at 1:30 in the morning.

I think everyone needs a day like this once in a while — a good time with good friends in a good city. Good theater, good food, good conversation. Its allllll good.

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