If you’re in the DC area, you may have heard about the Intersections festival going on at the Atlas. If you haven’t, or for some reason haven’t gone by, you’re missing out. Thus far I’ve attended two ‘cafe concerts,’ a performance of Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha by the Washington Savoyards, Christyles Bacon’s autobiographical “hip-opera” entitled ‘In Pursuit of Me,’ and a dance concert by DCypher- followed by a dance party with the performers.
Quick review of the various events I’ve seen:

Cafe Concert #1, Og Ceol:
The musicians may be young, but they clearly know what they’re doing. Og Ceol is an Irish Flute and fiddle duet that, when I came to listen, was accompanied by a guitarist and drummer. Not only did they have an excellent program, but they took requests. I had them play my personal favorite tune, Morisson’s Jig, but they also played My Darling Asleep and a few others by request. They played John Ryan’s, also known as the ‘Dum Dum’ polka on their own initiative, and it was the hit of the evening.

Cafe Concert #2, Lulu Fall:
While a solid vocal performer (accompanied by an acoustic guitar), Lulu came second to Og Ceol in my mind. Then again, I may be biased- I prefer Irish tunes to… well, a great number of things. None the less, Lulu’s rendition of India Arie’s ‘Good Man’ tugged at my heart strings. That may have been more due to the content of the song, which I had never heard before but have since acquired, than the merits of the performance, but there’s no way to be sure and I’m more than happy to give Lulu the credit.

I certainly would like to see both sets of performers at more gigs around town. If I learn that either of them is performing at an even halfway decent restaurant, I’ll probably try to make my way there for dinner. Hint, hint, restaurateurs.

The performance was solid. This is to be expected. I’ve seen the Washington Savoyards in other productions, most notably Pirates of Penzance, and they’ve been impressive to say the least.
The script of Treemonisha, however, was about as subtle as an operatic brick to the head. Scott Joplin had to pay for it to be published, and there was never a performance of it during his lifetime. Well, there was a reason for that. The best summary of the dialogue is this verbatim quote, “Do not do wrong, because it is wrong.” Opera is rarely subtle, but Treemonisha crosses the line. No troupe can do much with that material.

I only saw half of “In Pursuit of Me” due to embarrassing personal mishaps such as my physical inability to herald a cab. What I saw was impressive. More impressive than the show itself, however, was the fact that when the crowd began singing ‘happy birthday’ to Christyles after the show, he came back out for an encore that was so brilliantly improvised that I have my doubts that it was improvised at all. But how could he have known that the crowd would start singing? In any case, it tied up a loose end from the show and was brilliant in all ways. If it was actually improvised, my mind is blown. If it wasn’t improvised, it was brilliantly staged, and my mind is blown in any case.

DCypher Concert:
Anyone who follows me on Twitter (@lucidlunatic) knows that I’ve recently become enamored of this video of the Korean-Chinese pop group Super Junior-M performing their hit song, ‘Supergirl.’ The choreography is impressive. Or so I thought right up until I watched DCypher, who put the Asiatic boy band to shame. There were a number of pieces performed during the concert, including some guest artists. Some of them were less engaging than others, and one was fascinating and downright weird (but made me look up ‘Agent Zero Comes for Logan’ when I got home), but the best was when all the members of DCypher just came out on stage and got down.

At the end of the concert they invited the audience to come out and dance with them. So I did, thoroughly embarrassing those in the audience who knew me. That segue took us right into the dance party that was, if anything, better than the performance. There’s nothing quite like watching performers show off for each other. I witnessed at least one standing back flip.

Forget Youtube, I’m spending more time watching live performances. The nearly five million viewers of ‘Super Girl’ clearly don’t know what they’re missing. Well, except for this one. Then again, most of them are probably on the wrong continent.

For those of you who reside in or near D.C., Intersections isn’t over yet! There is more to see all today and tomorrow. I might stop by Sunday to see another Joy of Motion (DCypher is associated with them) group perform. Or Tom Chapin. Whatever hits me.


Idea #16: Metro Delivery Service

A group of children operates a swift delivery service via the city’s subway system. The group is divided in to two castes- those who stay inside the subway, and those who execute the final delivery on the outside. The kids on the outside run in order to deliver their packages rather than using the buses in the vast majority of circumstances. The only cost incurred would be getting the ‘Worms’ in to the subway system. Rather large profits, then, for whoever organized the children. All they have to do is pay the kids and give them just enough money for a single ride on the subway. This is because the ‘Crickets,’ those on the outside, wait by turnstiles and the packages are handed over.

Where do these kids come from? Good question. During the summer they could be anyone. During the school year ambitious individuals might make a few runs during lunch breaks and after school, but clearly there will be a lack of service during the day unless kids skip school. I suspect that there are a number who skip school, but not enough. Or are there? How many schools are there within range of a given stop on the subway? If there are five kids within range of a given station who do this work, only one of them would need to skip on any given day to act as Cricket. The Worms can be found anywhere on the system. There needn’t be terribly many Worms, depending on the size of the system as a whole. They can even carry multiple packages at once. But you need a Cricket at every stop, or within range of every stop if there’s some way of communicating which of two nearby stations a Cricket needs to be present at to receive a package.

Do they have pagers, cell phones, anything to allow for this? More costs, less profit if they do. Perhaps they are only allowed to use them on weekdays during the school year, when the crew is understaffed. During the summer there would be excess kids, no need to have flexibility.

The packages are anything that needs to be delivered fast. Money, in many cases. Small things. Things accidentally left at home, or at the office. Drugs, conceivably. Keys. Books (really fast inter-library loans). Stolen goods, anything.

How are the kids tracked? How are the kids paid? Who runs this? I need to figure all of that out. Better yet, this an idea I can integrate into my current project, ‘Dog.’ From now on all ideas which can be used in this project will be in the Dog WIP category.