I have noted before that I don’t really understand modern dance well enough to write about it. I realized that the problem I have describing these pieces is that they are largely about emotion, not narrative. The most interesting was the third piece, Lissajous, which was commissioned by Drexel University’s School of Engineering with music by Jordan Alexander Key titled To Say Pi. The development of this involved putting sensors on dancers to collect accelerometer data. The connection to Lissajous figures (which have to do with the intersection of sinusoidal curves) wasn’t really clear. The relation of the music to pi was clarified in the talkback, with the composer explaining his use of time signatures that had approximations to pi, e.g. 22/7. As a mechanical engineer by training, this appealed to my nerdiest instincts.
JGSJW Trip to Philadelphia: The Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington organized a trip to Philadelphia on Sunday. I decided to take the train up the day before, because I like Philadelphia. The weather was gorgeous and I spent a few hours walking around the city center. Philly has the same advantages and disadvantages as D.C. – a rich cultural life and a walkable urban core but too far inland for my tastes. My original plans fell apart but I was able to get together with another friend for dinner at Hershel’s at the Reading Terminal Market. Their matzoh ball soup was excellent – not too salty and no dill. Their chopped liver was okay, but a bit bland. They appear to have only half-sour pickles, while I prefer full sours.
I stayed ate Philadelphia 201 Hotel, which, I believe, used to be the Sheraton. I was just about to go to bed when the fire alarm went off. The PA told people not to evacuate yet, so it was just an annoying 20 minutes or so of repeated announcements until they cleared the alarm.
Anyway, the JGSGW event included a (too short) tour of the National Museum of American Jewish History. I need to go back and spend an entire day there. We went across to Mikve Israel Synagogue for lunch and talks. The food was pretty good. The first talk was by the rabbi, about the history of the synagogue and was reasonably entertaining. The other speakers were from the Historical Society and from the Special Collections Library at Drexel University, so were more directly genealogy related. But the real thrill was that I got to meet a cousin who I have corresponded with sporadically for ages (and who is a facebook friend). She had pictures of my great-grandmother and one of my ggm’s sisters. And we had lots of interesting conversation. All in all, it was a worthwhile, though lengthy, day.
Speaking of Genealogy: I gave a talk to the genealogy club at work on Tuesday afternoon about my trip to Lithuania (and Latvia and Belarus) last summer. About half of it had to do with research I did beforehand, while the rest was about what I found out during the trip. Overall, I think it went well and I got a couple of nice emails afterwards.
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