Saturday, August 16, 2008
Totenreich 3: Mirkarimi Art Party
The title for these trio of musings on death, "Totenreich," is taken from an aria in my favorite Richard Strauss opera, "Ariadne auf Naxos."
The main action is an opera-within-an-opera about Ariadne being abandoned on the island of Naxos by her lover Theseus, where she sings gorgeously and gloomily in German about how she longs for death. "Es gibt ein Reich, wo alles rein ist:/Es hat auch einen Namen: Totenreich" which translates as "There is a realm where all is pure;/it has a name, too, Realm of Death."
This opera is supposedly being premiered at a wealthy Viennese aristocrats' party, and their fancy dinner has gone on too long, so the opera premiere and an Italian harlequin troupe are ordered to work out some kind of arrangement where they can perform at the same time. So, after Ariadne's invocation to the Gods of Death, Zerbinetta and her clan amble onstage and tell her that she is "too much inclined to yield to misery of mind...Singing and dancing are useful to banish tears."
Zerbinetta also tells Ariadne that she's had plenty of unsuccessful love affairs, but there is always another God around the corner, and she's right, because Bacchus comes down from heaven and takes Ariadne away as his lover.
On Friday evening, I went to Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi's art party which the Green Party supervisor hosts in City Hall every month.
The show was called "Triangulation," curated by Nick Santori, featuring "green techniques" for printing by the artist Jeanne Lorenz, above (click here for her website), in some cases collaborating with Billy Sprague and Parker Ito.
It wasn't all death-infused art, though those were my favorite pieces.
John Caldera, the Veteran for Peace, was playing host at the wine bar...
...and Bob Brigham along with other politicos were discussing how to get the Clean Energy Act Proposition H passed on this November's local ballot.
Though there was no "singing and dancing," the party felt like a happy antidote to the grim reaper.