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Posts Tagged ‘magic’

Photo: Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff
A stage in the back of a U-Haul (paid for in part by Fresh Sound Foundation) allows the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet to perform anywhere.

Classical musicians who believe their music will bring a blessing to whoever hears it have been presenting in offbeat locales in the Greater Boston area. Tomorrow, too. Malcolm Gay has the story at the Boston Globe.

“The 17-foot U-Haul truck sat parked in an empty field, ringed by trees. With the touch of a button, a roof-mounted winch whirred into action, unspooling cable as a fan-shaped stage lowered like a drawbridge from the rear. The U-Haul’s modified rear doors acted as a band shell, flanking the stage to project sound, and a custom-made sail, supported by deep-sea fishing rods, projected as a visor from above.

“Fifteen minutes later and the vehicle, dubbed the Music Haul, was a fully functioning stage — a 21st-century gypsy caravan that will bring live performances to the streets and schools of Greater Boston, Sunday through Tuesday.

“ ‘It really is more boat than truck,’ said Catherine Stephan, executive director of the Yellow Barn music center. ‘We got to know RV dealerships really well.’ …

“ ‘It’s supposed to be as close to magic as possible,’ said architect John Rossi, one of the traveling venue’s principal designers. …

“Its creators say the Music Haul’s main mission is to bring world-class concert performances to the most unlikely of places: schools, underserved neighborhoods, hospitals, perhaps even prisons.

” ‘We exist in the world as musicians that is in a way so finely controlled and tuned,’ said Yellow Barn’s artistic director, Seth Knopp. ‘Music Haul removes some of the ceremony, which can be a barrier for people who are not often exposed to that world. There’s an element of taking something out of its accustomed place and allowing it to take people by surprise.’ ”

What a good thought! Reminds me how you can suddenly start seeing the pictures on your walls again if you move them to a new location in the house.

Read more about this enchanting initiative here.

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You never know what you will pick up from twitter. I started following Ferguson Library tweets after the death of Michael Brown. The library has wonderful tidbits about books, among other topics.

A tweeted tidbit on the antiquity of fairy tales is from Science magazine.

David Shultz writes, “A new study, which treats these fables like an evolving species, finds that some may have originated as long as 6000 years ago.

“The basis for the new study, published in Royal Society Open Science, is a massive online repository of more than 2000 distinct tales from different Indo-European cultures known as the Aarne–Thompson–Uther Index, which was compiled in 2004. Although not all researchers agree on the specifics, all modern Indo-European cultures (encompassing all of Europe and much of Asia) descended from the Proto-Indo-European people who lived during the Neolithic Period (10,200 B.C.E.–2000 B.C.E.) in Eastern Europe. Much of the world’s modern language is thought to have evolved from them.

“To conduct the study, Jamshid Tehrani, an anthropologist at Durham University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues scanned the repository. They limited their analysis to tales that contained magic and supernatural elements because this category contained nearly all the famous tales people are familiar with. This narrowed the sample size to 275 stories, including classics such as Hansel and Gretel and Beauty and the Beast. …

“Tehrani says that the successful fairy tales may persist because they’re ‘minimally counterintuitive narratives.’ That means they all contain some cognitively dissonant elements—like fantastic creatures or magic—but are mostly easy to comprehend.

“Beauty and the Beast, for example contains a man who has been magically transformed into a hideous creature, but it also tells a simple story about family, romance, and not judging people based on appearance. The fantasy makes these tales stand out, but the ordinary elements make them easy to understand and remember. This combination of strange, but not too strange, Tehrani says, may be the key to their persistence across millennia.”

More.

(from a Ferguson Library tweet)

An illustration of Beauty and the Beast from 1913.

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In a Wired story titled “eBay Bans Sales of Spells, Curses, Advice and Other ‘Intangibles,’ ” Liat Clark writes:

“The online auction house announced the changes as part of a routine cleanup that will also see recipe and dieting-advice lots stricken from the site.

“The decision, it says, is down to ‘a large number of misclassified items and eBay policy violations’ that often lead to ‘issues that can be difficult to resolve.’

“Presumably a few angry customers unable to get a love spell working have caused eBay strife over the years. …

“Among the items that will be taken down and prohibited from August 30, 2012, are ‘advice; spells; curses; hexing; conjuring; magic; prayers; blessing services; magic potions; healing sessions; work from home businesses and information; wholesale lists, and drop shop lists.’ ”

Where will the magicians go now? Seems a shame to lose something so quixotic, but business is business, and when you can’t serve a customer, you need to rethink matters.

I especially empathized with the line about “issues that can be difficult to resolve.” The company behind this blog, Luna & Stella, always resolves issues cheerfully but is careful not to offer spells — or even dieting advice.

More here.

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For an artsy, literary treat, take a look at the Project Gutenberg version of painter Marsden Hartley‘s out-of-print book, Adventures in the Arts: Informal Chapters on Painters, Vaudeville, and Poets, dedicated to Alfred Stieglitz.

Hard to resist an introduction like this:

“Sometimes I think myself one of the unique children among children. I never read a fairy story in my childhood. I always had the feeling as a child, that fairy stories were for grown-ups and were best understood by them, and for that reason I think it must have been that I postponed them. I found them, even at sixteen, too involved and mystifying to take them in with quite the simple gullibility that is necessary. But that was because I was left alone with the incredibly magical reality from morning until nightfall …

“I was constantly confronted with the magic of reality itself, wondering why one thing was built of exquisite curves and another of harmonic angles. It was not a scientific passion in me, it was merely my sensing of the world of visible beauty around me, pressing in on me with the vehemence of splendor, on every side. …

“It is because I love the idea of life better than anything else that I believe most of all in the magic of existence.”

(Thank you, Ellen Levy, for sending me the link.)

Art:  Marsden Hartley

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