Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Igor

From host John Clare:
Sometime last winter, I was invited on Facebook to attend a "listening party" for Stravinsky's 127th birthday!
There are around 100 confirmed guests, a few who said maybe, and even a few more who declined...

I was way impressed this morning to find that Google is celebrating Stravinsky's birthday as well, with a Google logo:

I also thought I would share this from a friend and former colleague:

Stravinsky's Tavern
by Dick Strawser
It was a dark and stormy night but then almost every night was dark and stormy in this godforsaken little mining town, stuck in the coal region of Eastern Pennsylvania like a wart on the back of an old sow. It was always the economy, stupid - meaning no disrespect, of course. Once the mines had closed and the factories shut down, there was no place to go, nothing to do. The sidewalks, even on weekends, rolled up not long after sundown. The young people moved away as soon as they could, whether or not they finished school, promising to send money back to their families once they struck it rich in the big cities. Either they forgot or they just never struck it rich because once they left, no one ever heard from them again. It was a pity, what was happening to the young people of Coalton - they were just disappearing.
Oh, not that way, not through any violence or anything supernatural – that anyone knew of at any rate. It was the town itself that drove them away, the bleak houses and mangey streets of a town where many thought their problems were the result of some ancient curse. You could feel it in the air. You could taste it in the water. You could also scrape it off the bottom of your shoes, but that was a more modern curse. Still, it stuck to your sole.
Years ago, they had changed the name of the town, thinking it might help. Not even the most nostalgic old-timers really remembered the original name any more, something Indian, probably from the Delaware tribe (or were they from New Jersey), that meant “Land Where Beavers Come From Miles Around to Pee” or was it something about a trailer park? No one was quite sure.
Everything in town was gray. Yes, this was an improvement over earlier decades when everything was basically black from all the coal dust in the air. As the mines gave way, the factories in the region closed and as coal itself became a thing of the past, slowly but surely the grime started to wear off. But the annual spring rains and the occasional flood when Skunk Run overflowed its banks didn’t really help. It took time, and time was what the citizens of Coalton had plenty of.
The Winter Doldrums which usually began in mid-October eventually gave way, with the advent of milder weather, to the Spring Doldrums. By the time summer rolled around, everybody was so numb, nobody cared what season it was until it started getting cooler and darker earlier and earlier, then everybody wondered where the summer went. Half the time, kids were so bored they sat around counting the days until school began. And before long, the snow would start again. It was gray, too.
With names on the map like Coal Street, Slag Avenue and Collier Park connecting neighborhoods called Canary Row, Methane Manor and the relatively posh suburb of Anthracite Circle, the whole town literally lived and breathed coal. Coal dust, they joked, flowed in their veins. The kids might leave, their elders said, but they carried the legacy of the Coalton mines with them, regardless.
One person who did not seem to mind any of this was, by some standards, a relative new-comer, arriving in the midst of World War II, having given up on the fame and fortune in cosmopolitan Europe and on a brilliant musical career, as well. Coalton may be drab compared to Paris with its light or his native St. Petersburg with its pastel colors, but Igor Stravinsky liked the town though he could never really explain why.
In order to make ends meet, he and his wife opened a bar on Coal Street near the center of town. They called it – what else? – “Stravinsky’s Tavern.”
You can continue to read more of it here.

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