Saturday, I went with my dad and my nephew to the NYC Musical Saw Festival where they were part of an attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest Musical Saw ensemble.
No, really, I’m not making this up.
The previous record was set in Poland with 27 saw players, or sawists. In Astoria, this weekend they had 53 musical saw players on the stage to play Ave Maria.
Now, before you listen to this, I want you to understand something. To find the note, the saw needs to be ringing slightly or you have to slide into the right note. With that many players, finding the starting pitch quietly wasn’t going to happen, so the first note…well, it’s a doozy. Dad says that the conductor rocked back on his heels like he’d been hit by a basket of lemons.
And as a palette cleanser, here is my Dad playing “Wayfaring Stranger.”
After the initial concert and Guinness attempt, many of the saw players had solos. I sat through Four and A Half HOURS of musical saw. The fascinating thing was the wide, wide range of techniques. Many of these folks had been playing for decades and were really, really good. Not as a novelty mind, but demonstrating genuine musicality and talent.
Peter got in safely. He and Dad spent the morning practising for the saw festival. The only hitch was that Peter had been learning the wrong Ave Maria so he and Dad sat down to work out on the Bach version.
Afterwards we went out to lunch and then Peter and I trotted down to pick up some pirate regalia for him. He’s an adherant of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He has a good hat and a pair of boots now. The boots should work with non-pirate gear, but the hat is definitely piratical.
The three of us went to see “The Norman Conquest: Table Manners” tonight which I loved. Very funny and also smart.
Well, no, actually that’s not quite true. My dad is up here to get in the Guiness Book of World Records, visiting us is a side benefit. My nephew is coming up tomorrow to join in the attempt.
What are they trying to do? The annual Musical Saw Festival is this weekend and they are breaking the record for the most sawists playing together at the same time. Yeah, you got that right. My dad and my nephew both play the musical saw.
Today was hands down the most fun I’ve had with Peter so far. We stopped to get bagels and he walked me up to the theater. It was a short day for me as I just needed to finish the angel wings and get them primed.
After that, we headed down to the theater to see Avenue Q. The seats were in the very, very last row of the theater, but it’s such a small house that it didn’t feel that far away. It’s been a couple of year since I’ve seen the show, but it was as fun as I remembered it.
The bonus came afterwards. My friend, Jen Barnhart, is an original cast member of Avenue Q and gave us a backstage tour afterwards. Amoung the other characters, she’s the girl Bad Idea Bear and was totally game for photos with Peter.
We were both sort of bouncy after the show so walked home from the theater. We stopped halfway for a late dinner and then just kept walking because the night was so pleasant. Peter was belting out songs from the show, although I suggested that “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” might not be the best choice at 11:00 on a NYC street. I was surprised that he has the songs mostly memorized.
Oh! The other highlight of the evening. At one point he said something which prompted me to say, “I find your rationale dubious.”
Peter said, “Why do adults think teens always have to have a reason for doing things? We don’t. We’re totally random and just do stuff. There’s no reason, we’re teenagers.”
Today was long, but very good. I got the ARCs for Scenting the Dark in the mail, which was pretty darn exciting. I wasn’t looking for them to arrive, so I hauled them up to my production meeting although I did not actually give in and show them off. Here they are, next to the signature sheets.
From there I swung by the apartment to collect Peter and we went to see August: Osage County. Rob was supposed to join us, but then couldn’t so I gave his ticket to an old puppeteer friend who I hadn’t spent time with in ages. It was great catching up although I think that bored Peter. He reports that the play was good. I’m pleased, I must say, by the fact that my nephew wasn’t put off by being taken to a pretty heavy bit of theater. Bleakly funny though it is.
We went out for Italian for dinner and then came back to the apartment so I could get some work done. He’s used to having his xbox 360 so is a little restless in the apartment. We wound up going for a walk around 9:00, up to the Hungarian Pastry shop and then around the Columbia campus, just shooting the breeze.
It was a good day. If only I didn’t still have work to do.
My nephew is coming to visit and somewhat to my surprise has a fondness for musicals. We’re going to see Avenue Q for certain. He likes Les Mis and Man of La Mancha. I’m trying to restrict myself to tickets available through TDF but I’m a little out of touch with what’s happening on Broadway now.
So, I’m looking for suggestions on what to take him to.
My new AMC column is up and this week we look at teens in Fantasy.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the growing process lately, as we’re getting ready for my fifteen-year old nephew to come visit. The task of finding things that will be fun for him to do in New York is an interesting one, because it requires me to actively remember what it was like to be a teenager. So, I thought that this week, we would take a look at the unique ways fantasy can shed light on the desires and conflicts of growing up.
In a moment of personal triumph, I’ve just managed to get my 14 year old nephew to give me a story critique ala OSC’s wise reader model.
He went through my revision of “American Changeling” and let me know what he found dull, unbelievable, or didn’t get. And which bits he thought were cool.
Granted, it was not a particularly detailed response, but it was his first critique and I’m pleased as Punch that he did it. Even better, he liked the ending and told me why. I am a very happy aunt right now.
â€œomg! i have a bad imagination. so i have hired a few zombies to come and take out your brains! they will be here in a hour. then they will give your brain to me so i will have a great imagination! hahahahaha!â€.
Remember me showing you that article about my nephew’s friend? We just got word that he’s had a successful lung transplant. He’s still not out of the woods, but at least he’s got a path to get there now.
According to my nephew, the Hasby Goon inn on Mars has a library filled with books that are written in a Chinese-Martian hybrid. He says that despite speaking a little Chinese, it’s too hard to read the books because you have to translate two languages at once. The spoken language is easier because they speak British. He says that’s still confusing.
(Tor Books – July 14 2020) Mary Robinette Kowal continues her Hugo and Nebula award-winning Lady Astronaut series, following The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, with The Relentless Moon. The Earth is coming to the boiling point as the climate disaster of the Meteor strike becomes more and more clear, but the political situation is already overheated. Riots and […]