1. I have been listening to Pink Martini's new album Hang on Little Tomato on repeat. People have been waiting for this album for ten years. You can listen to the entire thing, as well as their first album, on their website (Here's a good photo of the band) China sings songs in Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Croatian, French, and English too. Her voice is as sensuous as ever, evoking the feeling of a dark French cabaret, patrons swirling their drinks and contemplating love affairs that have vanished.
I last saw them live here in San Francisco in 2001. Its the first time I had seen Thomas (the bandleader and pianist) since college. When I knew him, he and I were both going through difficult times, trying to find our way in the world (yes, it was college, but it was more than that)He has a lot of passion and when he sits down in front of a piano, you can hear him release it: light but transcendent, aware of tragedy yet choosing to revel in the joyousness of the moment.
I only saw him briefly backstage. I introduced him to my girlfriend at the time. He and I hugged each other like old friends but had little to say, little that could be formed into words.
2. I was at the bookstore yesterday and since Edgar Allan Poe was on my mind I picked up an old copy of Poe's Tales of Mystery and Imagination. I also happened to pick up a copy of Paul Auster's New York Trilogy. Later, flipping idly back and forth between the books, I noticed something strangely odd, strangely parallel beteen the two. From the very first page of Auster:
"...Who he was, where he came from, and what he did are of no great importance...we know that he wrote mystery novels. These works were written under the name of William Wilson..."
Now, from the very first line of my Poe book:
"Let me call myself, for the present, William Wilson. The fair page now lying before me need not be sullied with my real appellation."
The former is obviously an allusion to the latter. But this is what happens when allusions are left out there like silky threads for others like myself to stumble into.