"It's really a very simple story. What happened was this: I met this girl and did a very stupid thing. I fell in love. Hard. I know that to some people that makes me an idiot and a loser. What can I say? They're right. I did some extremely foolish things; I'm the first to say it. And they've left me in jail and alone."
So begins one of the most compelling, emotionally charged, and affecting novels you are likely to read this year.
To stay positive, I've been working hard and taking mega-doses of music. Here's what I've been aurally self-medicating with:
TOSCA at the Los Angeles Opera
Tosca isn't my favorite opera. It's not even my favorite Puccini opera. (I prefer La Boheme and Madame Butterfly.) But I've listened to the legendary Maria Callas/ Giuseppe di Stefano/Tito Gobbi recording about a million times, and this was a chance to see Sondra Radvanofsky, currently the top American soprano and one of our favorite singers, in a role that's perfect for her. In fact, we saw her in this very production in 2013.
The Tiny Goddess and I have seen Sondra four times: as Leonora in "Il Trovatore," her signature role ... a stunning Suor Angelica in Puccini's one-acter, directed brilliantly by William Friedkin ... ... in recital ... and as Tosca. Each time, she has delivered "Golden Age" thrills to my ears, and this time was no different.
Conducted by LA Opera's musical director James Conlon (leading, by his reckoning, his 69th performance of TOSCA – more than any other opera) and directed by John Caird (co-director of the Royal Shakespeare Company's stupendous NICHOLAS NICKLEBY and other things including a knockout Siegfried and Roy show we saw with the kids in Las Vegas many years ago), this was a straight-ahead TOSCA with few surprises but many blessings. First of all, it was very well-sung and well-conducted. Conlon and Radvanofsky have obviously studied the Callas/ recording and made perceptive choices, deviating from the "perfect" line created by conductor Victor de Sabata for interesting dramatic purpose.
Watch my award-winning short film Lunch With Louie
everyday THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, and THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ... a nice long biography of ELIZABETH I ... the new New Yorker and the new New York Review of Books
Deezer! ...Howard Stern and Thom Hartmann always... lots of COSI, lots of KEITH JARRETT ... ... too much Pandora (lots of Chopin) ... and tons of Van the Man ... and Sturgill Simpsonand Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch!
As much news as I can stomach ... Rick Steves' Europe and SEINFELD(comfort watching) ... Turner Classic Movies... and the struggles of the Lakers and Clippers