Monday, March 04, 2013

I've not written a post to this old blog for many years...
I'm home from my trip and happy to be home in sf.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I Have To Go Again


Amazing performance of the SF Symphony.

Last night I went to the Symphony, a program of Beethoven's 4th, Barber's Andromache's Farewell and R. Strauss: Four Last Songs with Deborah Voigt, soprano.  AMAZING.  In fact, I got another ticket right away and am going tonight again.  The ensemble between Deborah Voigt and the symphony's first violin made the 3rd song an emotional dialog I want to hear again and again.

The Four Last are some of final songs that Strauss composed, written between 1946 and 1948.  His wife was a celebrated soprano and he wrote many pieces for that voice.   Three of the four songs are set to poems by Hermann Hesse.  The most hauntingly beautiful one was Beim Schlafengehen (Going to Sleep).  I don't have a recording of last night's performance, but you can hear a performance of it by Gundula Janowitz by clicking here. You have to hear it! Here is the libretto:

Now that the day wearies me,
My yearning desire,
will receive more kindly,
like a tired child, the starry night

Hence, leave off your deeds
mind, forget all thoughts;
All of my forces
yearn only to sink into sleep.

And my soul, unguarded,
would soar on widespread wings,
to live in a night's magical sphere
More profoundly, more variously.

-- Hermann Hesse

Friday, December 01, 2006

Machine Guns, Messiahs and Mohamed

DAY: 127 CITY:23 Country:6
March 23, 2006
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - יְרוּשָׁלַיִם
I was overwhelmed by Jerusalem. The beauty was surprising, the spirit overwhelming and the history was...well, biblical.

Having recently spent more than a month in the Islamic Kingdom of Morocco and the predominately Sunni Republic of Egypt, Israel was both familiar and new.  It definitely feels and looks like an Arab nation, but it mixes the most fervent followers of Christ, Moses and Mohamed in a small space that forces an uneasy intimacy. Walking though the souk (market) you can cross through the Jewish, Muslim and Christian quarters all in less than five minutes.  In my first quick walk around the area of my hotel I found myself on the purported path that Jesus walked as he carried his cross to his crucifixion, then turned a corner and saw the entrance to the Dome of the Rock مسجد قبة الصخرة, the third most holy site for Muslims after Mecca and Medina. This same place is considered the Holy of Holies for Jews, their second most sacred spot where Abraham was tested by G d, placed his son on the altar and was prepared to stab him to death.  For Jews it's called the Temple Mount. The Muslims say this is the spot were Mohamed flew to heaven on a winged horse.

Tales of a G-d testing blind obedience or of  horses flying to heaven aside - the Mount is powerful and awe-inspiring.  Finally, a few minutes later, I arrived at the Western Wall, or The Wailing Wall, the most scared place for Jews in all the world. This entire walk took ten minutes.
The Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall both have security, with Jews guarding and controlling the Wall and Muslims in charge of the Dome.  At every turn is some phenomenal mark of history, and at every turn, a soldier or guard with a machine gun.

I called it an early night as I heard the now familiar call to prayer emanating from the 
nearby mosques. This was the day's third "call", and my cue to place my head not of the ground, but on my pillow. Tomorrow I visit the Western Wall and get up close, then Yad Veshem יד ושם - the Holocaust Museum.


Shalom, Assalamu alaikum, Peace be with you, and ALOHA!
-Wyatt

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My last trip

DAY: 377 CITY:85 Country:19
Here is the wrap-up of the trip. I visited 85 cities, in 19 countries, over 377 days.
Any city that is linked has a blog posting - just click on that city to read the entry.
City Country Start End
Days






San Francisco California, 17-Nov 26-Nov
10
New York New York, 27-Nov 7-Dec
11
Charlotte N. Carolina, 7-Dec 14-Dec
8
Providence Rhode Island, 14-Dec 28-Dec
14
Barcelona Spain 29-Dec 8-Jan
11
Bilboa Spain 9-Jan 12-Jan
3
Salamanca Spain 13-Jan 15-Jan
3
Madrid Spain 16-Jan 23-Jan
7
Cordoba Spain 23-Jan 25-Jan
3
Seville Spain 25-Jan 1-Feb
7
Santa Maria Spain 1-Feb 9-Feb
8
Tarifa Spain 10-Feb 11-Feb
2
Marrakech Morocco 11-Feb 17-Feb
6
Casablanca Morocco 18-Feb 20-Feb
2
Asilah Morocco 20-Feb 22-Feb
2
Tarifa Spain 23-Feb 25-Feb
3
Santa Maria Spain 26-Feb 9-Mar
11
Madrid Spain 9-Mar 12-Mar
2
Luxor Egypt 12-Mar 16-Mar
4
Aswan Egypt 16-Mar 20-Mar
4
Cairo Egypt 20-Mar 22-Mar
2
Tel Aviv Israel 23-Mar 24-Mar
2
Jerusalem Israel 25-Mar 27-Mar
3
Eilat Israel 28-Mar 28-Mar
1
Petra Jordan 29-Mar 30-Mar
2
Wadi Rum Jordan 30-Mar 30-Mar
1
Sharm El Sheikh Egypt 31-Mar 3-Apr
3
Cairo Egypt 3-Apr 3-Apr
0
Madrid Spain 3-Apr 3-Apr
0
Santa Maria Spain 3-Apr 3-May
30
Figueres Spain 4-May 4-May
1
Aix-en-Provence France 5-May 5-May
1
Damanhur Italy 6-May 7-May
2
Sacile Italy 8-May 8-May
1
Vienna Austria 9-May 13-May
4
Prague Czech Republic 13-May 22-May
9
Český Krumlov Czech Republic 22-May 23-May
2
Bratislava Slovak Republic 24-May 25-May
1
Budapest Hungary 26-May 31-May
5
Eger Hungary 1-Jun 2-Jun
2
Tatra Mountains Slovak Republic 2-Jun 9-Jun
7
Kraków Poland 9-Jun 14-Jun
5
Salt Mines Poland 15-Jun 15-Jun
1
Auschwitz Poland 16-Jun 16-Jun
1
Zakopane Poland 17-Jun 19-Jun
3
Wrocław Poland 20-Jun 21-Jun
2
Dresden Germany 22-Jun 9-Jul
19
Leipzig Germany 9-Jul 12-Jul
3
Berlin Germany 13-Jul 30-Jul
17
Hamburg Germany 30-Jul 31-Jul
2
Stockholm Sweden 1-Aug 9-Aug
9
Hamburg Germany 9-Aug 20-Aug
11
Groningen Netherlands 20-Aug 23-Aug
3
Amsterdam Netherlands 22-Aug 31-Aug
9
Rotterdam Netherlands 1-Sep 1-Sep
1
De Hoge Veluwe Netherlands 2-Sep 2-Sep
1
Antwerp Belgium 3-Sep 3-Sep
1
Reims France 4-Sep 4-Sep
1
Paris France 4-Sep 16-Sep
12
St. Evroult - Normandy France 16-Sep 17-Sep
1
Caen Normandy France 17-Sep 17-Sep
1
Mt St. Michel France 18-Sep 18-Sep
1
Beaches of Normandy France 19-Sep 19-Sep
1
Giverny, Normandy France 20-Sep 20-Sep
0.5
Chartes, Normandy France 20-Sep 20-Sep
0.5
Blois, Loire France 21-Sep 21-Sep
0.5
Chambord, Loire France 21-Sep 21-Sep
0.5
Tours, Loire France 22-Sep 23-Sep
2
Bussy St. George France 24-Sep 24-Sep
1
Colmar France 25-Sep 27-Sep
3
Egishem? France 28-Sep 28-Sep
1
Zürich Switzerland 29-Sep 9-Oct
11
Colmar France 10-Oct 10-Oct
1
Luzern Switzerland 11-Oct 12-Oct
2
Berner Oberland Switzerland 12-Oct 13-Oct
2
Lucarno Switzerland 14-Oct 14-Oct
0
Lugano Switzerland 14-Oct 15-Oct
2
Venice Italy 16-Oct 17-Oct
2
Florence Italy 18-Oct 20-Oct
3
Zoagli/Portofino Italy 21-Oct 21-Oct
1
Torino Italy 22-Oct 22-Oct
1
Damanhur Italy 23-Oct 25-Oct
3
Dogliani Piedmont Italy 26-Oct 30-Oct
5
Alba Italy 1-Nov 1-Nov
1
Milan Italy 2-Nov 3-Nov
5
Alba Italy 3-Nov 3-Nov
1
Dogliani Italy 4-Nov 4-Nov
1
Alesso/Riviera Italy 5-Nov 5-Nov
1
Imperia/Riviera Italy 6-Nov 6-Nov
1
nice France 7-Nov 15-Nov
8
Avignon France 16-Nov 16-Nov
1
Dijon France 17-Nov 17-Nov
1
Beune France 18-Nov 19-Nov
2
Lyon France 20-Nov 21-Nov
2
Paris France 22-Nov 24-Nov
3
San Francisco California 25-Nov 28-Nov
3





85 Cities 19 Countries
377
days

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Driving over the Alps at 7,000 feet

DAY: 330 CITY:62 Country:19
THE SWISS ALPS


Here's a video Debbie made while we were driving over the Alps at 7,000 ft with no guard rails. She was FREAKED, it's cute to watch and the scenery is awesome. We went to Interlaken, a region in CH that sits between two lakes. Ahh, CH is the EU code for Switzerland CH=Confederation Helvitica. Yea, they have their own typeface. The Interlaken region is amazingly beautiful, rugged, and clean. Tall mountains sheer down to a beatuful lake and there are cows everywhere; really pretty, well-groomed, cared for cows with giant bells. After topping the mountain we drove on towards Lugano, a Swiss Italian border town with another lake. The video is the drive between the two, and I just love Deb's reaction to it all.



Today's word of the day is: KAISER WETTER.
We've had amazing weather and some friendly locals explained that we are having Kaiser Wetter - "weather for a king" Ya, Das s kaiser wetter!

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Space Between

DAY: 279 CITY:47 Country:16
GRONINGEN, THE NETHERLANDS

groninger_cross

I visited the Groniger Museum today in the Northern Dutch city of Groningen. One of the architects of this building was the Frenchman Phillipe Stark.
Downstairs they had a display of sacred altar pieces in sliver and gold. The crucifix above really caught me with great detail in the metal work - all silver, very shiny. Hey - this is like a Homer Simpson review of art huh? Mmmmm shiny... silvery....crossey.
There was an amazing exhibit of sculpture by Marc Quinn, a well established, well collected contemporary artist from the UK.
Quinn is now famous for his marble sculptures of handicapped people, or more specifically, people born with birth defects. It's a geometrically and visual intense group of sculptures, and all together it's a very thought provoking exhibit.

Marc Quinn Sculpture
Here is a statue he did of super-model Kate Moss doing a yoga pose.
Followed by one of a pregnant women who lives with no arms and has tiny legs and feet.
Marc Quinn Sculpture

What is beauty? What is Women?
Is her ability to create life and mirror the divine what our culture worships? or is it her heroin induced runway waifness?
Visit his website when you have a moment.
And visit my Flickr page to see more of Quinn and more of the Groningen museum.
Quinn is the first artist I have found that explicitly remarks on the power of the moments "in-between". He made a self portrait out of 5 liters of his own blood - frozen into a mold of his face.
When is the blood no longer him? When it's in a syringe? In a beaker? Is it no longer really a part of him as soon as it leaves his body?
Frozen in a replica mold of his stern face it is a direct and visceral representation that asks - is this stuff a part of him any longer?
These in-between moments fascinate me.
Birth... the moment of birth...
He did a piece using the placenta and a clay sculpture of the same baby's face. The placenta is the part of the birth process that is not the baby and not the mother, it's in-between the two - both mother and child created it as a bridge. If you had to think of it as part of one of them, who would it end up with? It's odd to see it turned into the baby's sculpted form.
It's an awesome body of work and the whole idea of finding the powerful and magical moments that exist in-between is something I've been obsessed with for a several years - in my head, in my photos, certainly in my music.
That sacred moment between night and day, the sound of the piano before I let up on the sustain pedal after switching between two disharmonic keys - it's a cool sound. That micro-second of eternity just before orgasm, the strange other-world moment between being asleep and awake, that moment when the second glass of wine gives you the first tingle of a buzz, when spring delivers the first bloom, kills winter, and you first realize your getting more hours of sunshine in the day, when your and my lips almost touch, that buzzing energy between our lips before they connect. A dear friend wrote me recently and talked about her new passion - skydiving. Can you imagine the moment just before you jump out of the plane? These are the times and places where magic resides and we are transformed when we find ourselves fully in the moment. And now, just now, right here, is the end of this post.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Please send gas

DAY: 278 CITY:47 Country:16

Highway A7, THE NETHERLANDS


Liquid Gold, plus tax

So, you think $3.00 a gallon is expensive for gas?
I just filled up again here in Holland.

After spending more than six months in most all of Europe - it's pretty much all the same price: €1.49 per liter.
1 liter = .26 gallons
€1.00 = $1.28USD

That's $7.34 per gallon!

Oddly enough, I never see a Prius. But boy are there bicycles everywhere and great Metro systems, trams and trains of course. Oh yea, people walk, that's free.

I've not once seen a Hummer, Escalade or Navigator.

If you're wondering - my Ford whatchamacallit gets 24MPG.
I'm too scared to figure out how much it costs me for every kilometer I drive.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The $120,000 Piano - and some of my music

DAY: 273 CITY:46 Country:15

HAMBURG, GERMANY

IMG_1637
It was a rainy day in Hamburg, a perfect time to spend all day
playing Steinways.


Today I arrived for my scheduled tour of the Steinway factory. One of the goals of my trip is to tour the world's finest piano makers, and I've done pretty well. First was Faziolli, in Northern Italy, then my favorite, Blüthner in Leipzig, and then today was Steinway, in Hamburg.

Faziolli 10 ft Piano
Wyatt at the Faziolli Piano Factory in Italy - click to see a larger version

I got to spend a few hours playing different models, although they didn't have a single Model D in house, they we're all on tour. The D is the largest - the 9 ft grand. I fell in love with the Model A, their smallest full concert grand at about 6ft and only $65,000 or so. I think the Model D is $120K now. Faziolli - the Ferrari of pianos has their 10'2" grand for $200,000! It the largest in the world. They let me play several models for about an hour and afterward I met and chatted with Mr. Fazzioli. To put that experience in perspective, it's like being a car nut and getting to test drive Ferraris all day and then having lunch with Enzo.

I've had a few people ask to hear some of my piano compositions, so I've posted a file of me playing a piece I'm currently working on, which I recorded today while at the Steinway factory.

Listen to me try out a Steinway Model A and play a composition that is still in progress.
STEINWAY
left click to listen, right click and choose save to download

One of my favorite compositions that I recorded on Maui, Hawaii two years ago is posted here.
It's a very short 2 minute meditative work meant to totally relax and chill you out.
EXPLORE
left click to listen, right click and choose save to download

Aloha,
Wyatt

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Friendliest Man in the World



neighbor
Originally uploaded by jsharpley.
DAY:266 CITY:46 COUNTRY: 15
HAMBURG, GERMANY
I'm in Hamburg today. I found a free spot to park the car and I was going through my stuff, and cleaning the car. I noticed a man across the street watching me from his second story window. I started to wrap a birthday present I had gotten for Joe, his birthday is on the 13th. So this guy starts screaming at me in German. I think quickly, are there rules here against wrapping in the street? There are lots of rules here in Germany, although I think it’s fine or even encouraged that you smoke in a kindergarten class or hospital. So the guy screaming at me had string in his hands, and from what I could tell was saying here is some twine if you need it for that package you’re wrapping. I pulled out the green matching ribbon I had dutifully picked out earlier (exercising my innate Martha gene). Nein Danke! I said, I got ribbon. But I was really touched by his generosity. A few moments later I heard his wife yelling at him about something... he returned to the window with two beautiful white lilies, perfect ones, just blooming. He thought they would match the wrapping and add to the presentation of the gift! He was two floors up and had to be 70 plus. This guy had good taste as well as great vision! The lilies were perfect, but alas, I was just now wrapping the present again with brown paper for mailing. This one was a bit harder to explain to my new friend, but he soon understood that the present was going "post" die post! And the petals would not survive.

I've never had such a good time wrapping a present and rapping with a perfect stranger in a language I knew so little of.

As I finished organizing my stuff and cleaning the car, the guy comes out of his apt. He gives me a metal thermos that looked like it was from GDR times, it was full of fresh hot coffee. "For my travels" he explained taking a Marcel Marceau sip and then putting his hands on an imaginary steering wheel.
I surmised this guy was well retired, but must be accustomed to being very involved and busy. He must drive his wife insane now. He left back to his high perch and I had a nice cup of strong German coffee while I finished the packing. Finally, he tossed out a local phone book to me! Telling me this is good, with maps of the town and stuff I needed to know about Hamburg. I think this man had already showed me everything I needed to know. His outrageous hospitality was Aloha on steroids, but in truth, not at all uncommon here. I think the Germans travel a great deal and perhaps this is why they are so amazingly generous and kind to strangers. When sending notes on Couchsurfing.com, every German replied back, either wanting to host me, find a host, or expressing real disappointment that they are unable to host (usually because they are away on travel). Although I usually find myself in a thick cloud of cigarette smoke wherever I go in Germany, these folks are always happy to pause between drags to say willkommen.

This man will never see this post and I will never see him again.  We never know what effect we have on those around us.  He will never know how touched I was, or that I've shared this story.  From this experience, I am reminded that each time we open our hearts, share with others, take the time to be loving and kind...we will never know what it might mean to someone, how touched they might be.  Our actions have meaning, and perhaps immense effect that we will never know.  

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Cafe in Sodermalm


Cafe in Sodermalm, Stockholm, Sweden
I'm just catching up on email today, hanging out at a cafe in Sodermalm, Stockholm.
A friend stopped by and took a few pictures of me and I posted one just now.

Stockholm reminds me very much of SF. The air is cool, it's surrounded by water, it's very liberal and hip, not too big, not too small. They had a gay pride parade a few days ago. I'll post pics from that soon so check back.

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