Diamanda Galas quote of the day

Posted in Dancing about architecture on May 11th, 2016 by bill

Diamanda Galás is an American avant-garde composer, vocalist, pianist, organist, performance artist, and painter. Galás has been described as ‘capable of the most unnerving vocal terror.’ –Wikipedia

Like latter-day Scott Walker, Diamanda Galas is one of those artists who I respect tremendously without really wanting to listen to. She has been pursuing her harrowing vision of what constitutes music for something like 40 years now, and deserves credit for being a singular artist who does not compromise. It’s not anything I need in my regular rotation, but more power to her.

She was profiled in The New York Times this week in advance of her first live performance there in several years, and one of her pronouncements on the state of music, and art in general, struck me in its HST-like incisiveness. As Steve Martin said, some people just have a way with words.

“To be an artist is to be equal to the present. Because mediocrity is so largely rewarded and broadcast ubiquitously, like a swarm of mosquitoes, by obese and tone-deaf accountants, the public is unable to learn about, let alone hear, see and digest the art of the present.”

Round 2, Game 4: Warriors 132, Blazers 125

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 10th, 2016 by bill

Early yesterday word came down that Stephen Curry was going to be named MVP of the NBA for the second straight year, surprising absolutely no one. Quoth the Draymond: “I felt kind of bad today, because I didn’t tell him congratulations. Because I felt like I knew since December.”

Turns out not only did he win the award, he was the first unanimous MVP in the history of the league, garnering 131 first-place votes versus zero for everybody else combined.

But that’s not the crazy part.
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Round 2, Game 3: Blazers 120, Warriors 108

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 8th, 2016 by bill

I think the Blazers won because of this guy.

It was a rough night for the W’s in Portland last night; they were off their game and the opposition Portland Trail Blazers were en fuego, with Damian Lillard (40 pts) being his dangerous self. Also the Warriors game plan apparently called for not guarding small forward Al-Farouq Aminu, who hit his first 8 shots without a miss. The Dubs didn’t quit, with Draymond Green hitting five 3s in the 3rd quarter to single-handedly keep them in the game; but in the end they ran out of gas and took the L.

It’s funny, I’ve brought so many people onto the bandwagon that whenever the Warriors lose a game, I am compelled to offer an explanation. In this case I feel like it’s pretty simple: The Blazers played great, the Warriors did not. The Blazers were in front of their home crowd, energized and inspired. The Warriors were not. It happens like that sometimes. Fortunately there’s another game tomorrow, and Steph Curry (remember him?) may or may not play in it. There’s not much more to say at this point. Keep calm and carry on.

His name was Prince, and he was funky

Posted in Dancing about architecture on May 5th, 2016 by bill

Correspondent Runnin Buddha writes, “I know the Warrior fixation is strong, but I anxiously await your Prince post.” And he’s right, Mr. Nelson deserves more of an epitaph than the two words “Prince died.” I must admit that his passing did not affect me personally the way Bowie’s did, but he was a titan of an artist, a talent of so many facets that it’s hard to know where to start.

Like Bowie, Prince was more than just a musician — though he was one hell of a musician. He was known for playing all the parts on many of his albums, and though he could apparently play any instrument, some of his most remarkable work was on the guitar. Check out this clip from the 2004 Rock’n”Roll Hall of Fame Inductions:

It takes purple brass balls to even think about competing with Eric Clapton’s famous solo on this song, but Prince kills it. I’m not sure what’s my favorite part: the bit where he tips over and gets pushed back up; the look of sheer amazed bliss on Dhani Harrison’s face; or the moment at the end where he throws the guitar into the air and it never comes down. The man just had style.
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Round 2, Game 2: Warriors 110, Blazers 99

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 4th, 2016 by bill

Let's dance.

Until about 9:15 PDT yesterday, it really did not look like the Warriors’ night. For three quarters everything the Portland Trail Blazers threw at the rim had been going in, while the Warriors uncharacteristically struggled to find good shots, with Klay Thompson in particular launching some ill-advised prayers. The referees had not been helping, making a number of highly questionable calls both ways, but mostly against my team.

As usual I had a couple text threads going and certain people, I’m not going to name any names here, were freaking out a little bit. I’d like to say that my belief never wavered, but for a while there I was resigned to the W’s surrendering this one. They are after all playing without their best player, who is also the best player on the planet right now.

But it turned out there was nothing to fear. In the 4th quarter the Warriors calmly and methodically turned it up a notch, then another, then a final half a notch or so. They ended up outscoring the Blazers 34-12 in the quarter and winning the game going away. The final score makes it look like just another day at the office for the champs, which it was not. There was a desperate feel to the 3rd quarter, where the Dubs mounted repeated charges and the Blazers met every one with a run of their own.

Damian Lillard is a dangerous dude, and when he gets it going there’s not much anyone can do about it; he can pull up from just about anywhere and launch a shot. The irony is that in this game, while Lillard and backcourt mate C.J. McCollum were dominating from the perimeter, the Warriors were pounding it inside. They outscored the Blazers 56-28 in the paint, with Festus Ezeli contributing some huge minutes down the stretch.

Steph Curry may or may not be back for Game 3 on Saturday. It would be nice to have him, but the team is wisely going to be very cautious about his return. I like our chances either way; the heart the Stephless Wonders showed last night speaks volumes about them, and while I don’t generally wear a hat, consider it tipped.

Round 2, Game 1: Warriors 118, Blazers 106

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 2nd, 2016 by bill

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s...the Warriors’ second-best player. (Or is it third?)

Even in this age of technology, you just get stuck sometimes. Yesterday my beloved and I were en route home from the Bay Area, on a tight schedule, and so were in the car for the duration of Dubs/Blazers Game 1. At first we had good radio reception, but gradually that went away. Then we fell back on streaming NBA League Pass Audio (which now sadly costs money), but the coverage got spottier until all we could get was the text play-by-play. Finally the we hit the dead spots on 101 and even that went away; complete media silence.

Fortunately the Warriors were rolling from the get-go, and there was never much drama in the game. The closest it got after the Warriors took a 20-point lead in the 1st quarter was 9, and that was only for a minute. The Stephless Wonders continued to play efficient offense and smothering defense, keeping the dangerous Damian Lillard in check. A lot of that was thanks to Klay Thompson, who also scored 37 points, continuing his impressive play in Curry’s absence. Meanwhile Draymond Green had another ho-hum 23/13/11 triple-double.

In truth, it’s hard to see how things could be going better for the Warriors, who are continuing to win handily while Steph gets the rest he didn’t get while they chased 73 wins. He’s been saying that he thinks he’ll be ready for Game 3, but at this point there’s absolutely no reason to rush him back. Take a spa day, Steph; you’ve earned it.

Draymond Green quote of the day

Posted in Golden (State) Years on April 29th, 2016 by bill

Day-Day on Steph Curry, agreeing that he is better when Steph plays:

“If he doesn’t make you better, YOU suck.”

Round 1, Game 5: Warriors 114, Rockets 81

Posted in Golden (State) Years on April 28th, 2016 by bill

Klay Thompson discusses his postgame plans with the media.

What a relief. After two days of Steph-Curry’s-right-knee-related angst, it was nice to have an actual basketball game to focus on. And the Stephless Wonders (by using that term twice now, I believe I have trademarked it) did not disappoint, putting in a nearly flawless performance to pummel the hapless Rockets, 114–81. The passing, the shooting, the defense were all clicking on all cylinders, and you shudder to think how lopsided it would have been with Steph involved.

About the only thing that worried me was when Klay Thompson went on a Curryesque flurry of long threes in the third quarter and Steph himself, resplendant in a tan blazer on the sideline, celebrated by bodily hefting guard Ian Clark into the air. Stephen, please, no — no heavy lifting while you’re on the mend.

This is no time to break out any champagne, but we W’s fans certainly have to feel good about the way they’ve performed since losing the MVP. In 6 quarters they outscored the Rockets 179–116. Admittedly, the Rockets are a pathetic excuse for a basketball team; throughout Game 5 their body language said that they were ready to go on vacation. But still, it’s a pretty good sign.

Up next, most likely, is the Blazers. After struggling early they pulled away from the shorthanded Clippers last night. They lead the series 3–2, and the odds of this version of the Clips rallying to take the series is roughly a gazillion to one. The Blazers are a young team with a lot of energy and a dynamic backcourt led by the formidable Damian Lillard. Nothing to be sneezed at, but still I like our chances.

Keep calm and Curry on

Posted in Golden (State) Years on April 27th, 2016 by bill

It’s been a complicated couple days for Warriors fans, with news coming down that first Chris Paul and then Blake Griffin – the despised LA Clippers’ two best players – had sustained season-ending injuries. The first emotion I experienced was reflexive glee. Then I started doing the math and realized that this is not necessarily good news. For one thing it means that – assuming for the sake of argument a defeat of the Houston Rockets, which still must be earned – the W’s will have to play the Portland Trail Blazers, who are young and fast and gave us trouble a couple times this season. For another it decreases the likelihood that the Clippers/Blazers series will go 7 games, giving Steph Curry the maximum number of recuperation days before the next series begins. Again assuming blah blah blah etc.

Steph would not be ready for the start of a second-round series, and it remains an open question whether he might be able to play in it at all. I personally choose to remain cautiously optimistic, which is almost always a good way to go. If things break the right way, the W’s could get to the Conference Finals able to say that they’ve overcome some real adversity, throwing another dart in the haters’ eyes. If they don’t break the right way…then they don’t. That’s life, and it will go on regardless.

These are the times that try men’s souls

Posted in Golden (State) Years on April 25th, 2016 by bill

The Nation is freaking out right now about the news that Steph Curry has a sprained medial collateral ligament and is expected to be out for two weeks. And while this is not good news, exactly, it could be worse; all day long I’ve been bracing myself to hear the dreaded words “season-ending.”

Best-case scenario, the Dubs finish off the Rockets Wednesday and the Blazers/Clippers series goes 7 games. Maybe Steph gets back halfway through the second round; maybe the Stephless Wonders play like they did in the second half of Game 4, in which case they’ll beat everybody anyway. And then we get a well-rested #30 back for the Conference Finals against the Spurs.

Too sunshiny an outlook? Maybe. Want to bet against it?