Monday, December 7, 2009

December 7 - Sex and the Snow Shadows

Write up some Sex and the Bible press material for Aaron at Theatre Bay Area's Call Board Magazine, as as he is interested in doing a "best picks" article for their Feburary issue.


Archbishop Ussher thought that God's creation of Adam and Eve took place on October 28, 4004 BC, but contemporary theorists such as Thomas Cavalier Smith trace the origins of sexuality back more than 850 million years. So it is no surprise that matters of the spiritual and physical -- clear commonalities of ancient and modern human experience -- often collide.

That central religious text of Judaism and Christianity, the Tanakh or Old Testament of the Bible, is rife with tales of such collisions. Even in the first Book of Genesis, scarcely a page goes by without some racy story, from the Temptation in the Garden of Eden through the attempted rape of Joseph by Potiphar's Wife.

Indeed the stories often seem so contemporary that San Francisco Cabaret Opera composer-director Mark Alburger and Artistic Director Harriet March Page have retooled these Biblical scenarios into a contemporary Sin City of strip clubs and brothels, featuring Heavenly Emcees and a cast of familiar Satanic Lounge Lizards, suspicious Godfather Patriarchs, alluring Femmes Fatales, and Trailer Trash Hangers-On.

From the Stonewall Ashes of Sodom and Gomorrah through the Action Hero wife-swapping of Jacob, other allusions are brought into the mix, via Alburger's eclectic, postminimal, style-appropriating score and Page's creative vision in this premiere production at Flux 53 Theatre in Oakland (March 5-7, 12-14, and 19-21 -- Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm) featuring sextets of a mostly-female, gender-bending cast, reflecting the iconography of millennia (from Ancient Pompei through porno).

The 80-minute Sex in the Bible: The Opera (Part I), derived from Alburger's 8-hour+ work-in-progress The Bible, includes excerpts from

The Creation Quartet for the Beginning of Time: Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel Babel Noah's Flood Abraham and Isaac (Lot in Life) Israel in Trouble Amazing Joseph

and features those verses-you-rarely-hear-in-synagogues-churches-and-mosques, including The Nakedness of Noah, Abraham passing off his wife as his sister to interested royal suitors (twice! - and Isaac doing the same, to boot), Lot's incestous liasons with his daughters, The Rape of Dinah, Onan's coitus interruptus, and Judah's accidental impregnation of his daughter-in-law-turned-prosititute.

Alburger's work is troped (after medieval musical practices) on F.J. Haydn's Creation; Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time; Igor Stravinsky's Babel, The Flood, and Abraham and Isaac; Benjamin Britten's Noye's Fludde; Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 15, Op. 28; G.F. Handel's Israel in Egypt; and Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.


South towards

Martinez and

Diablo Valley to discover its namesake and the inner section of the Concord Range bespangled with more snow than previously seen in recent times.

Taylor and Bernie at the tutorial helm for Theory, followed by a number of fine compositions, then off to Berkeley, beyond the

frigid precipitate

extending at through the Las Trampas highlands, to have more copies of SATB printed up,

returning home through through the half light of Albany,


Refinery Hills and


the Carquinez Bridges,

Vallejo Cliffs,

St. John Mountain Ranch,

U.S. 40 Today Trees,

Sentinel Hill,

Wooded Canyon,

a squall around Twin Sisters, Napa Junction Quarry, and Rockville Hills,

plus Water Tank and

Three Tree


After the Lagoon Valley Santa and

more ominous clouds in the

Vaca Mountains, there's a run to Davis under the cover of darkness to consult Irving Berlin's Get Thee Behind Me, Satan, and then the orchestration of The Gospel According to St. Matthew: XXXVIII. The Prophecy and Rebuke (Get Thee Behind Me, Satan), with inspiration from Philip Glass's Akhnaten: Act II.