As one of my friends recently stated with such elegance: where the hell did the year go?!
One day I’m celebrating my birthday in January (hint, hint), and the next day they’re putting up Christmas lights in the parking lots at local strip malls. I mean, I like to sleep in as much as the next guy, but this is ridiculous.
Washington Week in Review
I made my first post-certification dive this week. Eron and I spent an hour at 40 feet exploring Shaw’s Cove in Laguna Beach. The visibility was only 15 feet or so, but that was fine by me. You’ve gotta get up close to see anything anyway.
I was pretty impressed with my air management. Eron has made something like 300 dives, compared to my three. But when we came up I had 500 psi compared to his 700. Not bad. I’m also getting a lot better at using breathing to go over and under obstacles.
It’s that time of year again! No, not the holidays. Grad school application time! This year I’m applying to Yale, American Repertory, UC Irvine, UCSD, UCLA, New York University, the Old Globe, University of Washington, ACT, CalArts, University of Missouri, and others. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers.
I received a contract to sing in La Boheme with Opera Pacific. This is especially cool because now I’ll have done the ABC’s of opera: Aida, Boheme, and Carmen. The bad news is that rehearsals are right on top of the holidays. Oh well.
I was cast in a production of David Ives’ All in the Timing, but for scheduling reasons I couldn’t accept the role. Why is it always feast or famine with these things? Anyway, I am still going to be working on the show, as music director. Part of the show is an a capella take-off on the Philip Glass opera Einstein on the Beach.
Speaking of La Boheme. Funny story. Well, actually not funny at all. But one day I’ll be able to look back on it and laugh. I had tickets to see Rent last week at the Ahmanson. I left Irvine at 6:30 pm which would normally give me plenty of time to make the 45 minute trip. Well, an hour and a half later when the curtain went up, I was still 35 miles away stewing in traffic. Needless to say, $140 in tickets went to waste that night. Doh!
The Museum of Tolerance
Last week I went to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, which I highly recommend if you’ve never been. And if you have, go again. The museum focuses on the history of racism in America and also on the Holocaust. It’s amazing to listen, in person, to testimony of an actual Holocaust survivor. Not a videotape, but someone who was really there answering your questions about it all.
I also found a reminder, in their computer system, of a guy named Raoul Wallenberg. Have you ever heard of him? You’ve probably seen Schindler’s List or read Kenally’s book. Schindler saved a only thousand people, plus he was a German and profited from the war. Wallenberg on the other hand was a low-level Swedish diplomat who personally saved over 100,000 people, mainly Jews. He would literally walk into train depots or holding areas, gather up the people, and walk out with them under the noses of and in complete defiance of the Nazi soldiers. He did this time and time again. He used his drafting skills to create a formal looking “Swedish passport” for Jews, and went around claiming that they had been granted provisional Swedish citizenship and were therefore not deportable to the death camps. He went head-to-head several times with Eichmann, who tried to have Wallenberg killed.
After the Soviets captured Eastern Europe, Wallenberg wanted to try and establish reparations for the Jews. The Russians put him on a train to Moscow, but not as a diplomat. On arriving in the Soviet Union he was imprisoned. No government, not even Israel, ever took any significant action to get him out, and he was never heard from again.
This story always saddens me. How could someone like that be forgotten? I recommend a book called The Wiesenthal Files by Alan Levy, ISBN 0-8028-3772-7. It chronicles Wallenberg’s amazing heroics. Someone should write a stage play or screenplay about him. Who knows, maybe they have.
That’s all for this week. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!