Monday, May 25, 2009
Birthday at the Mercury Lounge
The third in the "Davies After Hours" series of post-symphony parties at Davies Hall took place Friday night, and I pretended that the entire affair was being put on specifically to celebrate my birthday.
Louisa Spier and all the people in the San Francisco Symphony P.R. department played along, even presenting a cool birthday present and card.
This was an embarrassingly welcome gesture since I had spent the day clinically depressed, wondering why the world didn't stop in its tracks to worship me, a pathology probably brought on by a fifth year birthday party which was so spectacular that everything since has been a profound disappointment.
As Beth Spotswood wrote, "I have a bunch of friends who aren't wild about their birthdays. I don't get it. You know me. I love my birthday. It's like Christmas and I'm Jesus." Beth is proactive about being worshiped on her special day, however, while I lean towards major self-pity.
The party itself, billed as "Mercury Lounge," was a wonderful success with some of the most interesting music I've heard in Davies Hall.
It was a mixture of Benjamin Schwartz, the soon to depart leader of the Youth Orchestra...
...conducting live music by Luciano Berio ("Call"), John Luther Adams ("The Light Within"), and Steve Reich ("Eight Lines")...
...and composer Mason Bates playing DJ between musical sets.
Though I'm not a big fan of techno music, the ambient sound was perfect for a party, and the live performances were superb.
The secret to enjoying these parties, I was told and it was true, is to go somewhere else for the first thirty minutes and then join the party on the upper terrace when the crowd thins out and you can hang out with beautiful hipsters in comfort.