Monday, March 17, 2008

Live blogging my ASTA proposal

As if anyone would be interested:

8:59 PM Proposals for presentations at the 2009 American String Teachers Association annual conference are due tonight by 11:59 PM. That gives me three hours.

I had more than that. So far, I have taken my daughter to her dance class (instead of letting my son driver her), done grocery shopping, answered email, read other people's blogs, corrected the misspellings in my last post, renewed my ASTA membership so I'm officially a member when I submit the online proposal, and moved from the dining room table to the living room couch for more back support. I don't have cable, due to my channel-surfing addiction; I went cold turkey a few months ago. So I put on an old Hitchcok movie (Jamaica Inn) from a box set borrowed from my parents. But my son and a friend just came in, and with my blessing they've switched to Shoot 'Em Up, a bad-but-fun flick with Clive Owen (mmmm) and Paul Giamatti. But what the hell is Paul Giamatti doing in an action movie?

9:08 PM OK, now I've wasted time by blogging. What to propose? Should be something to do with improvisation. Now the last time I went to an ASTA conference, someone else did a presentation on basic Music for People techniques, so there may be competition for that.

9:10 PM "Fuck you, you fucking fuckers." Clive Owen just said that line into the camera. This movie really sucks.

9:11 PM Well, last time I went to an ASTA conference no one did anything on ornamentation or Baroque performance practice. (Of course, this was several years ago. Maybe everyone's doing it now.) But I have taught a course on improvisation in the history of Western art music, and I actually know something about Baroque ornamentation.

9:14 PM The other thing I'm into is using multiple looping pedals when improvising. That could be cool, too.

9:15 PM Clive had another line. "Fuck off." Brilliant writing! And now he's on his bus taking his shoe off.

"You know why a gun is better than a wife?" Paul Giamatti asks his flunky. "Because you can put a silencer on a gun."

I always thought Clive Owen wold make a great James Bond. Daniel Craig was great (and ultra hot), but I still would have picked Clive. Paul Giamatti just shot another woman. "Fuck me sideways." Wow.

9:18 Maybe the technology stuff would be useful. But also a pain in the ass to drag to Atlanta and around the convention location.

9:23 PM But I love playing with all those looping pedals and whatnot.

9:25 PM Clive Just shot Paul. Why would anyone run straight at a guy with a gun pointed at him? Oh, turns out Paul was wearing a bullet-proof vest. He's recovered enough to take a cell-phone call from his wife. (The one you can't put a silencer on.)

9:28 PM Need to come up with some titles. Argh. I don't feel like thinking or creating right now. Suppose that will be easier if I figure out what the presentation is.

9:33 I could do something on improvisation in the history of classical string playing. And the other thing that's really interesting to me right now is using improvisation to become more comfortable with one's instrument and to practice composed pieces.

9:36 Holding a baby, which for some reason Paul is after, Clive is in the process of shooting 20 or 30 bad guys to death. Bad line, certain to include the word "fuck" is sure to come once they are all dead.

9:38 Paul got the awful line. "We really suck, or is this guy really that good?" Geez, they both must have needed money. Or somehow thought this would be another Kill Bill.

9:42 PM Two hours and seventeen minutes to go.

9:44 PM Clive just killed a guy by sticking a carrot in his eye. He really should have been James Bond. I mean, if you can do that, you should be licensed to kill.

9:50 PM Bad guys find Clive making love to the beautiful woman. While staying, er, coupled, rolling around the floor, and eventually standing, Clive kills each of them while bringing the girl to, um, well, you know. Once the last guy is dead, Clive makes the Bondian quip, "talk about shooting your load."

9:55 PM Of course, I could propose the title I usually use, and have used for years when doing a guest improv workshop: "Expressing Yourself Through Sound: Improvisation for Everyone." But I am sort of sick of that title. Two hours and three minutes to go. (What's that Johnny Cash song?)

10:10 PM I'm not much further along. But the movie is getting Bondier, and just featured a skydiving chase.. My son says, "well, he didn't get to be James Bond so he made his own Bond movie." Giamatti does make a good Bond villain. If only he had better lines.

It occurs to me that maybe this live-blogging of my own writing process and a bad movie at the same time isn't such a good way to write a proposal after all.

11:53 PM Got the thing submitted, just in the nick of time. Actually six minutes to spare--pretty good. Who says I'm a procrastinator? "Improvisation as a Mode of Learning: Developing Instrumental Comfort, Musical Vocabulary, and Creatively Practicing Classical Music." Somewhat of an awkward title, but I think the abstract is pretty good and with all the improv workshops and classical experience I have under my belt, I think I have a good shot.

Speaking of shots, Clive, despite the fact that Paul had broken each of his fingers, still managed to kill the rest of the bad guys and shoot Paul through the chest. Earlier, he had shot the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, who had set up a baby farm to grow candidates for a bone-marrow donor, which is why Paul was after the baby.

Wonder if he's seeing anyone?


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Jennifer said...

I believe the Johnny Cash song you're looking for is "25 Minutes to Go"

I would totally take your class, improvising Baroque music on a loop pedal machine....awesome!

Matt Albert said...

great post! It's post-modern, -classical, and very meta all in one. Plus it made me laugh many times. I hope you get to give the presentation. xox