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When I was teaching private piano instruction

Hola a todos. I taught private piano instruction for many years. My classes were the same type of individual training that piano majors receive in a Conservatory of Music, if that’s what the student came to me for, in part, because that’s my training. I was a piano major with a double minor in voice and pipe organ at the Conservatory of Music where I trained.

After interviewing a prospective student and understanding the goals of each student, we proceeded on with classes. Most students who came to me — regardless of their skill level — were not interested in the intense, very-disciplined Conservatory-style setting of piano training, although some thought they were until they experienced it.

After I began the first class with beginner students and the student learning the notes on the music scale and where the corresponding notes were on the piano, that’s often when a student would bail/quit with the usual reason/excuse being, “I had no idea it was going to be this hard.” This hard? We had just begun! We hadn’t even covered the basics.

Students quickly began to realise how difficult music training is and that they would not be able to play instantly or immediately as they had erroneously thought would be the case. Most students did not want to work. They expected music training to be “fun and easy,” (sounds like retail/sales language doesn’t it?) and I got the sense that most students thought they would be able to learn to play the piano in a matter of a couple of weeks. One student told me, “In a couple of weeks when I’m playing everything in this book…” WTF? Well, music training does not work that way. Music training is hard work, it works the brain, and most piano teachers will not tell a student what I’m writing here and what I’m writing here I did not tell students until they’d been with me for some time and they already knew how difficult it was. So I was just reaffirming what they had come to already know. And what I’m writing here is “in house” stuff based on my teaching experience. The reality is that the “fun” part in piano study comes from hearing one’s progress and ultimately being able to play a piece to completion with hopefully some level of refinement. Although usually with beginner students there’s no polish or refinement. Just playing the notes correctly, having the timing correct, having the note and rest values correct, and having the piece sound somewhat musical (one hopes) and getting through it is quite an accomplishment at that stage. Unless one is working with a child prodigy, but I didn’t teach any child prodigies. I didn’t teach children. I only taught adults.

When a student first came to me and when they began sight-reading or playing a piece, they would ask if they could start over every time they made a mistake and they would absolutely hate it when I said, “No, keep going.” Students stopped asking “Can I start over?” after about 2-3 classes because they realised it was futile to ask. I generally would not allow a student to start over because that gets into a very bad habit. One can’t “start over” in a performance if there are a couple of wrong notes at the beginning. Just keep going and forget about the mistakes as best one can. One should strive for accuracy but “the fingers have a mind of their own” especially in a performance setting — one can make mistakes in a live performance that one has never made before! — and there may be one or more wrong notes no matter how well drilled/studied a piece is. With the more advanced students, I was not so much concerned about wrong notes as long as I knew that the student knew what the correct notes were. Also, nearly every new(er) student would open up the score to the beginning of the piece. So I’d then pick up the score off of the piano’s music rack and open it up to the back or ending of the piece and that’s because we usually started at the end and worked backwards. This initially annoyed students until they understood the reason for it and came to appreciate this approach. Starting at the end and working backwards — which requires discipline to do — assures that the piece is learned more evenly (as well as in sections) so the ending of the piece is not neglected, which can be the case if one always starts at the beginning. After a few classes with me, a student would leave their score on the music rack unopened and wait for me to open it or give instructions on where to start. I’ve attended performances by some local pianists where I could tell that s/he had spent more time working on the beginning of the piece than the latter half. The piece started to deteriorate in quality about half-way through the closer the pianist got to the end. Did s/he always start at the beginning?

Students commented on how patient I was, but to me an near-endless amount of patience is required in teaching because each student is different and has different learning abilities and talent, or lack of. And when teaching, I explained things in various ways to help the student understand what we were working on. There was not one way that worked for all students because, again, everyone is different. The only time my patience ran out and I sometimes blew a fuse — although may not have shown it — was when I felt a student was taking advance of me and trying to disrespect the training. Such as constantly being late for their class. With these students, I would look out my door and I could see them sitting in their vehicle glued to their electronic leash/their phone. Their phone was more important to them than their piano class and their phone had priority over piano. Week after week, I would look out my door and see them sitting in their vehicle embedded in their phone. In the student’s mind “my teacher will wait for me” and they expected me to do so. When they arrived for their class (usually 15-20 minutes late), each week I would hear, “I’m sorry I’m late” and/or “I’m sorry I’m late, the traffic was terrible.” After weeks of hearing that lie, I stopped responding to the “I’m sorry” excuse and gave the student a cold silence. I felt like saying the following (but never did):

“Well no, you’re not sorry at all that you’re late because you do this every week, and if you were sincerely sorry, you would change your behaviour. Also, I look out my door each week at class time and you’re sitting in your vehicle playing with your phone because that electronic data-mining/surveillance-state leash you’re addicted to is much more important to you than piano. This has nothing to do with being late and terrible traffic because you were here on time. It’s just that you spent the first 15-20 minutes of your class time sitting in your vehicle fucking with that phone. And you see absolutely nothing wrong with being 15-20 minutes and disrespecting me and my time. You enjoy practising your phone more than you enjoy practising the piano, which you rarely do. I can teach ‘phone’ if you’d like and “baby sit” you with ‘phone’ for an hour, but I can assure you I won’t run overtime with ‘phone’ as I sometimes do with teaching piano.” This scenario happened on a regular basis with some students, but I never told them that.

Another piano instructor reading this might be thinking: “You needed a Studio Policy. That works well for me in dealing with disrespectful/bad student behaviour.” I had a Studio Policy. And it’s wonderful that yours works for you. Good to hear it. But mine didn’t work for me. Probably because you and I live in two very different places, I suspect, where things are different. I once had a know-it-all teacher who lives in the redneck suburbs of the Bay Area try to instruct me on what I needed to do to attract more quality students. She was an abrasive and lecturing piece of work who came with this omnipotent superiority complex. She was very patronising; she talked down to me as if she thought she were superior to me. (I can’t stand basura like that!) I think her advanced degree — she had a PhD and not a DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) — had gone to her big head. I tried her suggestions but they didn’t work and I knew they wouldn’t work before I tried them because we live in two very different communities. She taught children where the parents were responsible for the child’s behaviour and punctuality. I taught adults who were only casually interested in learning the piano. She was teaching out in the sticks and I was teaching in a major US city. As I said, I had a Studio Policy but most students disrespected that too. And if a Studio Policy works for you then clearly different people are coming to you than came to me. As I said, I taught only adults and most of them were scattered adults with no serious interest in piano. So one can shove a Studio Policy at them and they will say they agree to it and sign it, but I found that most did not take it seriously — except for the first week or two after signing the policy — and they didn’t expect me to adhere to it either. I think they considered a Studio Policy a joke. After a couple of weeks, the student’s behaviour returned to the usual, “I’m late, and my teacher can wait for me” way of thinking. To them, my Studio Policy was nothing but a formality. With one of my flaky student, after she signed the Studio Policy she couldn’t believe it when her “nice teacher” (as she described me) charged her for a class that she skipped and failed to cancel or make any contact with me about. I called her, “Ms. Considerate” [sarcasm intended]. She saw nothing at all wrong with me sitting around waiting for her for an hour and did not expect any consequences. This happened several times with this particular student. I was very lenient with students, in part, because I had talked with a couple of other very nice local piano teachers at the local music store at that time on one occasion and their experiences were similar to mine. They both told me, “The stories I could tell you!…hell, you have it easy.” So it wasn’t just me. Many of us local teachers advertised on the same site, and I could tell by the way teachers were writing their ads, and rewriting their ads, and adjusting the wording in their ads (reading between the lines), that their experience was similar to mine.

One student came to me after being rejected by the Keyboard Department of a School of Music at one of the local universities. That student thought that things would be different with me. They weren’t. She didn’t want to believe what they had told her at the university which was “you have no career in music.” The unspoken part was: Because you don’t possess the talent required nor do you possess a good ear for music. In the end, after teaching her for a few months I agreed with the decision of the Keyboard Department at the local university since she just did not posses the talent or the intelligence to do what she said she wanted to do at the piano. She wanted to be a concert artist, and there was no way in this life that was going to happen for her. Period. Nada.

I had one unusual situation during my teaching experience. It was a time where the competition between local teachers was rather intense. Another local teacher came to me pretending to be a beginner student as her way of “checking me out” to see what I was doing (differently than her?) in my piano studio. During my interview with her, I caught on to what she was doing after awhile since she wasn’t the best actor, but I never let on that I knew she was another local teacher, or I suspected she was. She stayed very quiet during our initial interview presumably so I wouldn’t suspect anything. But she gave himself away when I asked her to pretend to play a little bit to get a feel for the keyboard. She put her right hand on the keyboard and miraculously already had what’s known as the natural hand position. I said to her, “Oh, you already have the natural hand position, so we won’t have to work on that.” LOL. I thought but didn’t say, “Wonder how that happened?” No other new student had ever done that before because the natural hand position has to be taught/learned. At that point, I realised I was under surveillance by my competition. She left saying she would think about it and schedule a class time, but of course that was all a lie and she wasn’t fooling anyone here. I was on to her!

Most of the students who came to me, again for some mysterious reason, were under the impression that just by sitting down with me they would be able to play just like me. Loco. I have no idea where one acquires such thinking. They expected to play Rachmaninov and Scriabin just by sitting down with me without any training. Insane. After awhile, I concluded that this thinking on their part was because we live in a very instant gratification society. They want it now!!! They wanted to play now and expected to play now even though they’d never studied piano before and did not know how to read music. But of course, one can play the Rachmaninov Etudes-Tableaux instantly just like one’s new teacher even though the student has never seen a score from Rachmaninov’s piano repertoire ever. Yes that’s realistic! [sarcasm intended]. I think some of these students may have seen some infomercials on television where “you can play instantly” — with the index finger and following numbers rather than reading music — and they therefore concluded that this is how serious piano instruction works. Apparently they had not ever watched any performances of piano artists to observe that’s not how well-trained pianists play.

With each student, I tried to get the student to play as quickly as possible, if one knows what I mean by that. Some teachers will hold a student back for the teacher’s financial interest. I didn’t do that. I wanted students to progress as quickly as possible — and the piano repertoire is enormous so there’s no shortage of pieces to work on/play — and I offered them very thorough training, if they were receptive to that.

For the more advanced flaky students, we worked on sight-reading a lot which was extremely beneficial (if one is a good sight-reader one can play/read pretty much anything), some music theory, and selected repertoire and sometimes scales and arpeggios. I wasn’t big on technique (such as Brahms’s Exercises, for example) because I’m of the opinion that one can pretty much get one’s technique from one’s pieces. So for example, we would work on a scale/arpeggio that was part of one’s piece, rather than something completely unrelated. Another example, if you’re working on the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2, you don’t need to be “drilling” Brahms’s Exercises because they’re too much alike. Does the reader know what I mean by that? Instead, drill/work on what you’ll actually be playing in the Rachmaninov as your “technique.” There’s plenty of “technique” in Rachmaninov piano works (especially in his concerti or the Etudes-Tableaux, or the more difficult piano repertoire of Chopin, for example).

Occasionally, a student wanted to work on music from the “pop music” genre, so I would research the piece and try to find the best transcription/arrangement closest to the original, or to what the student had heard and what inspired him or her to want to work on the piece. That sometimes turned out to be a disappointment for students because they expected what they played in a very simple form in their piano arrangement to sound nearly-identical to the recording they had heard, which is just not the case because often the original is recorded with an orchestra or at least a few other instruments as well as a singer. Or if I knew the piece they wanted to play, I’d play my own transcription of the piece “by ear” — to show the student how an arrangement/transcription can be done — and the student would often say, “Wow, I want to play that. That was great.” I’d say: Well gracias, but what I just played was “by ear” so my transcription/arrangement/improvisation is not on paper anywhere, and I don’t feel like going through the effort of writing it down, even if I remembered what I just played! Also, my transcription was far more advanced than what the student was able to play. Also, none of my students played “by ear” and they found it amazing that someone could do that. As I told them when talking about improvisation, Roman Catholic — such as at my favourite La cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris — and Anglican church organists are required to improvise all the time, especially in the High Church). It’s part of their job to be able to improvise.

Then there were the students who wanted to work on Beethoven’s Bagatelle No. 25 in a minor, more commonly known as Für Elise (which most people mispronounce). I would think: Oh yes why not! Let’s drag that out! Well it’s a very nice piece if it weren’t so over-performed. Whenever a student asked for that piece I would think (but not say), “Oh, not that. I know where that’s going to go.” With a piece such as Für Elise, the student only wanted to learn the familiar part — which I think is only 2 pages (and it repeats), if I’m remembering correctly — and the student had absolutely no interest in playing the rest of the piece. I would encourage the student to work on the rest of the piece by saying: Well, if you decide you would like to programme this piece at some point you can’t just play part of it. You have to play all of it. It’s tacky to play just part of it or a movement from something, in fact, it’s usually frowned upon. I compared it to going to hear a performance of Georg F. Händel’s over-performed and ubiquitous Messiah every holiday season and all that they performed was the Hallelujah Chorus. The student usually agreed and “we” worked on the rest of it until I realised that it was futile for me to keep pushing the student to learn the rest of the piece because s/he only wanted to play the well-known part.

A song has to be sung. A piano piece is not a song.

Piano music is not a “song.” Flute music is not a “song.” Violin music is not a “song.” And so forth. With most new students, they called every new piece, “a song” which is just ignorance and many non-musicians refer to all music as “songs.” I quickly corrected that mistake (usually at the first class) — and my students rarely made that mistake again and if they did I corrected them again — because a song has to be sung and there’s no vocal parts for piano works. A piano concerto is not a “song.” It’s a piano concerto. Yet many ignorant people on YouTube will say about a piano concerto, “I love this song.” Ugh. It’s not a “song,” idiot. Who do you hear singing in that piano concerto? No one. No one is singing. So that piano concerto you love is called a work or a piece or a concerto for piano and orchestra. I’ve noticed that even some trained musicians make this mistake of referring to all music as “songs.” WTF? Where did they train? Some podunk school?

I’ve previously written a lot about the lobotomised, elitist and wealthy Millennial tech zombies in their black-gray uniforms who have ruined San Francisco. Los pendejos live under the illusion they are the “gift to the world” with their tech coding skills and tech engineering background. I’ve also written about how well-trained classical musicians spend decades on their art yet most of them don’t strut around with their nose in the air and with an ugly superiority complex like the tech basura do. Arrogance and/or a superiority complex are a sign of an insecure person. Over the years, I taught a few techies. Two of them turned out to be los pendejos. One techie was a really nice guy and therefore he got out of tech. I also taught a dentist. The dentist told me that music training is far more difficult than his training in dentistry and that there’s really no art to dentistry other than some colour matching for tooth shading. Dental procedures are pretty straight forward; there’s a standard way for doing root canals, for example. After they had been with me for some time, I asked the techies to compare music training with the training they received for their tech job. Nearly everyone said that music training is far more difficult than the training they received for tech. They said it’s very different also because artistry and talent are involved in music. Many things are not black and white in music, such as one’s interpretation of a piece. One’s performance of a piece should not sound like that of another pianist even though both pianists are playing the same notes (hopefully) and observing all the composer’s markings in the score.

Also, when I was teaching, whenever possible I used the best editions available (Urtext, authentic performance editions). I did that in part because I always use the best editions available and I wanted to instill that in my students. Should the student be so inspired and decide to pursue their music at a more serious level, s/he would already have the finest scores and not have to replace previously-purchased inferior editions. Not all scores (Editions) are the same — it depends upon what editors do to them including changing the key of a piece in some instances (bad!) — and one should not choose an Edition because it has a “pretty cover” (roll eyes) as I observed amateurish people doing in the local music store on occasion. That’s also why I acquired all the scores for my students rather than leaving it up to them to get their scores to avoid them walking in with the wrong edition.

Also, another advantage with using Urtext, authentic/performance edition scores is that they come with minimal fingering already indicated (such as with Editions G. Henle Verlag, for example). Good fingering is critically important in good piano playing and it’s to the pianist’s advantage to take the time to work out the best fingering — because it helps one play the piece smoothly and fluently — and everyone’s hands are different and a different size, and the fingering that works best for one person does not necessarily work the best for someone else. The superb Henle editors usually only put in obvious fingering, so their scores are very minimal with fingering which allows the pianist/student to write in what works best for him or her. During the years that I taught, I think there was only one instance where a student wanted to change the fingering in one place in a Henle edition to fingering that worked best for him.

I did a lot of “baby-sitting” when I taught. Most of my students didn’t really have the interest in piano. Only a part of the person had an interest in music training. It was clear to me that a part of their person wanted to study piano but another part of them did not, so I think they had this struggle going on within them. One student even shared their psychological issues with me and confided in them that they were studying piano with me because their mother opposed music training when the student was a child and even though the person’s mother was dead, studying piano with me was this student’s way of “dissing” the mother with resentment for the years that the mother would not allow the student to study piano. The student also said that they chose me because I allowed them to progress at their chosen rate of speed. There are all kinds of psychological issues going on with students.

Most students lacked the discipline to practise and I always knew when they hadn’t practised so we practised during their class time with me. That way they got quality, disciplined practise time. Many students preferred it that way and they slowly accomplished playing the pieces they wanted to play. I didn’t select all the repertoire. If a student said they wanted to work on a piece they had heard somewhere I would order the score for them and we’d begin focusing on that piece, even if I knew the piece was way beyond the student’s skill level at that time. I usually didn’t tell the student that a piece was way beyond them. I would allow them to realise that for themselves after s/he began working on it. I would say on occasion when the student told me they wanted to work on something, “Oh that’s quite difficult. We can call that your challenge piece.” Some students had one or more challenge pieces. Many of my students stayed with me for years, often cancelling or going through a period of weeks where they would show up for class but would say, “I haven’t had much time to practise.” Nothing new there.

With most students, I and the student saw their progress despite it being slow-going. If they had practised on a regular basis most students could have accomplished a lot more and I occasionally gently said that/gave them that nudge in a subtle way. Some of my students went from playing very remedial music to playing rather advanced pieces such as a Rachmaninov Prelude or a Chopin Ballade. It took much longer than it would for a serious student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, for example, but again, a part of the student was interested.

I don’t miss teaching today. Although, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching — the few students who were serious students — and I do miss teaching students like that, but usually students like that study at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music or a School of Music at one of the local universities or colleges. It was more work for me and a bit boring and frustrating teaching students who were not serious. With them, I was more “babysitting” than teaching. It was not work teaching students who were serious about it. That was a pleasure and I often went overtime getting so involved in watching and hearing the student’s progress.

But these days, how many people listen to piano music or have a serious interest in piano music? Not many. Other than shallow pop culture type stuff. Unfortunately, music education is not at all valued or respected by our shallow and stupid-is-in US culture. And as of this writing, El Hombre Naranja plans to eliminate funding for The National Endowment For The Arts. There’s always plenty of dinero/money to throw at, waste on the bottomless pit called the Military Industrial Complex Killing MachineTM but because of fucked-up priorities and septic politicians, we supposedly don’t have dinero for music and art programmes. That’s an indicator of a very a sick society.

When I started studying piano — I started playing “by ear” at age 5 and started studying the piano at age 8 — we had excellent music education programmes in the public schools, which had a major musical influence on me. In elementary school, I always looked forward to our music class. On the days that our music teacher had the day off, the teachers asked me to play for the students. I played “by ear” the same music she was teaching us to sing. I thoroughly enjoyed that. Another major musical influence on me included my excellent high school choral director whom I credit as directly responsible — along with my superb piano instructor who prepared me pianistically for my Conservatory audition — for inspiring me to pursue a degree in music. During that era, some people had a piano in their home. That’s not at all the case today. In fact, I have a sad but true story to tell about that. Mi amigo/My friend used to work in construction and whenever he went to the dump he came back telling me about all the pianos he saw at the dump, including grand pianos. He said some of them looked perfectly fine. Some looked like new pianos. (shaking my head in disgust). Only a very sick and septic society with no respect for music and music education throws pianos to the dump. It’s really disgusting what the US has become, which is why some of us accurately refer to Los Estados Unidos/the US as “The Cesspool” and it’s quickly being made even worse so by the insane, bloviating, bullying lunatic I refer to as El Hombre Naranja/The Orange Man and the basura around him. Chau.—el barrio rosa

It’s not called Trump Foreign Golf Club ?

Hola a todos. I’m shocked! (Not really). How could that happen? How could it happen that the literally-insane, out-of-control, chaotic, and bullying occupant of la casa blanca/the white house named his golf club:

“Trump International Golf Club ?”

And not: “Trump Foreign Golf Club.”

Yes, El Hombre Naranja/The Orange Man named his golf club “Trump International Golf Club” and it’s located in West Palm Beach. It’s where he’s spending his weekends these days. But it is amazing he didn’t name it “Trump Foreign Golf Club” considering the obsession with the word “foreign” these days as we go into Dark Ages II.

Nearly everywhere, I read the word “foreign” used these days. Some examples:

Nearly everybody mindlessly writes and speaks about a country’s “foreign policy.” Why don’t they call it a country’s “international policy?”

Nearly everybody mindlessly writes and speaks about a “foreign country.” Why don’t they call it an “international country,” or just “another country” without smearing it with the pejorative word “foreign.”

Nearly everybody mindlessly speaks and writes pejoratively about “foreigners,” which they often pronounce as “ferrrrrners.” Why don’t they refer to such people as internationals?

In the age of the internet where there’s a plethora of information about the people of el mundo/the world and their countries, what is “foreign” about them? Foreign implies a (willfull-)ignorance of something. A “foreign country” implies an ignorance of and about said country. It’s easy to look up information about a country so there’s no reason for one to be ignorant about it.

Another example of what I’m talking about is this article below where they used the word “Foreign” in the title, but used the word “international” throughout the article. At least they did that, but why didn’t they keep the title consistent with the language in the article by using the word “International” in the title? So I’ll change it to the way it should read:

Amid ‘Trump Effect’ Fear, 40% of Colleges See Dip in Foreign International Applicants

Dear reader: It’s time to replace the outdated, derogatory and pejorative word “foreign” with the word international. But I live under no illusion that anyone is about to do that because I realise that most people will likely disagree with me. Some/many people would disagree, in part, because using the words international(s) would require them to change their behaviour and the way they think.

Not. Likely. To. Happen. In. My. Lifetime.

In fact, we’re headed in the exact opposite direction — backwards towards the 1940s-1950s, where I read this language constantly:

“Foreign countries.”
“Foreign leaders.”
“Foreign Minister.”
“Foreign policy.”
“Foreign exchange rates.”
And other “foreign” language rhetoric.

The word “foreign” and “foreigner” originates from a time where people had limited access to information about internationals — people around the world — and their countries.

Even some international governments still have a department they call “The Foreign Office” instead of The International Office which deals with foreign other countries and their people around el mundo.

But this is 2017 — or is it the 1940s-50 as some people would like it to be? — so why are people and the so-called “liberal” (yeah right!) corporate media still using these outdated words, which speak of the ignorance of past generations?

As an adult, I’ve never liked the word “foreign” because it’s most often used as a pejorative which I assume is the reason why many — what used to be called — “Foreign Exchange Student Programmes” have changed their name to “International Exchange Student Programmes,” likely because of the derogatory implications with the word “foreign” and “foreigner.” The name “International Exchange Student Programmes” and their schools make a lot more sense because students attending these schools come from internationally, meaning from around the world.

I’ve noticed that some political websites have these categories:

Energy & Environment
National Security

But despite the “International” category you see up above, the same sites constantly use the word “foreign” in their articles instead of the word “international” for which they have a category. Sigh. It’s hopeless. That’s why I don’t expect anyone to change their language.

Well, I and the people I know will continue to use the words international(s). But other than the few of us, I’m afraid nothing is going to change in this regard. Most people won’t/don’t give a fuck and/or they will go out of their way to justify and support the continued use of the word “foreign.”

If the reader decides to begin using the words international(s) on a permanent basis, muchas gracias to you. Chau.—el barrio rosa

P.S. Oh and by the way this came to mind: From what I’m seeing, sexist/chauvinistic language has also made a very strong comeback. In political comments I never see anyone using the word congressperson anymore. I see the sexist word congressmen used. One gets the impression that the entire US congress consists of white men. I wonder how Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters, as four examples, feel about being called congressmen? Then there are the commenters with the word “progressive” in their screen name who refer to “congressmen and senators.” Sigh. Oh here we go again with that sloppy language, or do these fake-”progressive” people writing this stuff not know that the senate is part of congress and not a separate/outside body? What they should be writing is Representatives (as in The House of Representatives) and Senators (as in The Senate) because both Representatives and Senators (the House and Senate) are all congresspersons. Again, for the thick people, Senators are congresspersons. But this is a common mistake I frequently see. I’m also seeing nothing but “mankind,” “man-made” and other “man-based sexist words. The nonsexist word Humankind used for decades is no longer used by most people. And it’s best not to correct the sexist morons using this language because they don’t give a fuck about this either. If they did, they wouldn’t be using this language. They will rush to defend their sexism and attack the person correcting them using the decades-old “Attack The Messenger” Card/routine. I’m only writing about it here on mi diario/my diary because that’s what one writes in one’s diary. One often vents and writes about things that one would not write anywhere else in one’s diary, living under no illusion that anything is about to change for the positive.

Rachmaninov – Piano Concerto No. 4 in g minor, Op. 40 – Pianist Yuri Favorin

Hola a todos. In the mood for some Rachmaninov? Music for piano and orchestra?

Below is an excellent performance of Sergei Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in g, Op. 40. Here are the performance details:

Академический симфонический оркестр Московской филармонии
Солист – Yuri Favorin
Дирижер – Dimitris Botinis

Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Moscow Philharmonic
Piano Soloist – Yuri Favorin
Conductor – Dimitris Botinis

Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 4 is neglected, compared to his Second and Third concertos, which are the most often performed.

The Three Versions: 1926, 1928, 1941

Readers might find it interesting to know that there are three versions of this concerto. There’s the original 1926 manuscript, which was not well received when it premiered. At that point, Rachmaninov decided to make some cuts in the concerto and other changes in the writing and he published that version in 1928. Well, that version was not well received either. So apparently fed up with the whole thing at that point, Rachmaninov decided to shelve it. But fortunately for el mundo/the world, he eventually got around to working on it again and revised it. He published that final version in 1941, and that’s the version performed in the video below and the most often performed version today. I’ve heard a performance of the original manuscript and I liked it, but think I prefer the 1941 version. I read that pianist/conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy prefers the 1926 version having conducted it twice and performed it once as pianist.

Rachmaninov made cuts and/or revisions to some of his pieces because he wasn’t pleased with them and/or they were not well-received. In some instances he made cuts to his music because some people complained that his pieces were too long. He also made cuts to his pieces just to get them performed. He made cuts in the Third Piano Concerto. I’ve heard a recording of a cut Rachmaninov Third and I didn’t like it because I knew sections were missing. I’ve played the Third in its original form — although not with an orchestra; concerto opportunities don’t come around that often unless one has an agent and works as an international concert artist or takes part in piano competitions — so I knew that not all of the piece was there. I’m of the opinion that if one is going to perform his music, perform it as he originally wrote it, or in its final version in the case of the Piano Concerto No. 4.

This performance in the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall by Yuri Favorin and the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Moscow Philharmonic is rather unusual in that I don’t see how it could be improved upon. Yuri plays beautifully. Listen at how he rattles off those (well-drilled) runs of the third movement. Very clean playing; never an overuse of pedal. And Rachmaninov barely gives the pianist any break in the third movement. Yuri is constantly busy. Superb playing. The orchestra is one of the finest — a really superb string section — as is the conductor. The conductor, Dimitris Botinis, is very laid-back and I enjoyed watching him conduct and his interaction with the pianist and orchestra. I also enjoyed the interaction between the leader/concertmaster and the second chair violinist at the beginning of the third movement where they were counting waiting to come in. After a quick head jerk from the leader, which caused the second chair violinist to smile, the leader then had another head movement as part of his counting. The second chair noticed and they smiled at each other.

I found this performance very enjoyable and it’s well recorded.

Yuri’s encore was Rachmaninov’s Etudes-Tableaux Op. 39, No. 3. I’ve played that one. Mi amigo/My friend was watching this with me and when it came to the encore he said, “Oh that one (from having heard me play it). That’s a good encore. That’s one of my favourite ones.” I said: It’s quite difficult in its own way, especially those random run passages, although not as difficult as some of the others in Op. 39. He said: It looks difficult.

From my personal experience, the thing about Rachmaninov is that if one plays mostly Rachmaninov and/or Scriabin, it makes other pieces feel rather easy to play by comparison. Chau.—el barrio rosa

New Chorus Director for the Tanglewood Festival Chorus

Hola a todos. I told mi amigo/my friend that I was writing about the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. He asked: “Why are you writing about some squeal-y Chorus?” (smile). I knew what he meant by that since we had talked about the problems with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus sometime ago. I said to him: Well, they have a new Chorus Director. That’s why I’m writing about them and maybe he will make positive changes to the Chorus because of his own high choral standards.

If you’ve read mi diario personal/my personal diary (pink barrio) for sometime, you may have noticed that I haven’t written favorably about Boston’s Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the official Chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO). And that’s because they’re not as good as they used to be, in my opinion, like so many other things these days.

But maybe that will change now that the BSO has hired James Burton from the UK to be the Chorus Director of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus as well as the BSO’s Choral Director. That latter title is curious. The BSO created that new title (“BSO Choral Director”) for James Burton and I’m not sure what that means since the Tanglewood Festival Chorus (TFC) is the only Chorus that performs with the BSO. So it would seem to me that by default Burton is automatically the “BSO’s Choral Director” as Chorus Director of the TFC, no? But then after thinking about it, just like with TFC’s founder and former Chorus Director, John Oliver, I assume Burton will be working at Tanglewood as a choral expert/specialist — and working with other guest choral ensembles at Tanglewood — in his role as the BSO’s Choral Director, and not in his role as Chorus Director of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus or anything having to do with them.

For those who don’t know, Tanglewood (which is in Lenox Massachusetts) is the second/Summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra — and they perform there when they’re not in Boston’s Symphony Hall — and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus was formed by John Oliver to serve as the Chorus for the Tanglewood Music Festival. Oliver retired as TFC’s Chorus Director in 2014.

A little history: Before the TFC was founded, the New England Conservatory Chorus (Lorna Cooke de Varon, Chorus Director) performed with the BSO. They had quite a legacy with the BSO — similar to the superb University of Maryland Chorus and the National Symphony Orchestra in the Kennedy Center — and the BSO and the New England Conservatory Chorus made many recording together of their performances. Later, BSO conductor, Seiji Ozawa, asked John Oliver to form the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and they became the Official Chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I bet it made their day when Lorna Cooke de Varon and the New England Conservatory Chorus learned they would no longer be performing with the BSO.

TFC was one of my favourite Orchestra Choruses at that time. But hearing them in recent years, something changed with them. Or did John Oliver’s hearing give out in recent years? Something happened. Maybe they were doing too much opera repertoire? Which would be better left for Opera Choruses to do, rather than a Symphony Chorus. In the last couple of years or so I heard them perform and could not listen to their shrill-sounding soprano section with that god-awful wobbling, fluttering, almost-nervous-sounding vibrato they sing with. Jesus, who likes that sound? (People with no ear for the finest of choral excellence). And at the end of their Beethoven’s Ninth performance at the Tanglewood Music Festival a couple of years ago, the audience screamed with approval and applause. Apparently their audience can’t tell the difference between screaming and singing (choral excellence). Or was most of the audience drunk from sipping wine for hours on the lawn, so anything sounds good to them?! In that performance, the soprano section sounded unrefined and like they were cackling especially on the highest notes of the Beethoven. It sounded awful. I thought while listening to them: What’s happened to the Tanglewood Festival Chorus? It made me wonder that perhaps some of the sopranos shouldn’t be in the Chorus — vocally past their prime? — and it made me wonder if those choristers are all that John Oliver could get these days considering the commitment required for chorister membership in the TFC. Again, the soprano section did not have a smooth, refined sound like the rest of the Chorus which I found very odd because the soprano section did not “match” the rest of the Chorus, if you know what I mean by that. As I remember, the altos had a similar problem but they were not nearly as annoying/bad as the sopranos. The tenors and basses did not sing with vibrato at all. Their strong tenor section was mostly excellent. I say “mostly” because with them I heard some straining and cracking voices in their upper register of the Beethoven. Not good, and not what one expects to hear from a superb, well-trained Orchestra Chorus.

With the Orchestra Choruses I had the privilege of singing with (Choral Arts Society of Washington (National Symphony Orchestra/Kennedy Center Concert Hall), University of Maryland Chorus (NSO/Kennedy Center Concert Hall) and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus (Davies Symphony Hall)), all sections of the Chorus “matched.” I’ve never been a chorister in any Chorus where the sections did not “match.” That’s unheard of from my choral experience. We had no section (SATB) that had some fluttery/wobbling annoying vibrato as if they’re trying to be an Opera Chorus and not what they are: a Symphony Chorus. The Symphonic Choruses I sang with were of the same caliber as Margaret Hillis’s Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Robert Shaw’s Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Hillis and Shaw had no vibrato with any of their sections. All sections of both the Chicago and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Choruses had a very smooth, polished and refined warm choral sound (and impeccable diction). And there was absolutely no cracking voices or straining for notes. The same was true for Simon Halsey’s CBSO Chorus (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Chorus) in the UK when I was paying close attention to them. All of their sections matched. The same with Stephen Hill’s BBC Symphony Chorus.

I don’t understand the thinking of some Chorus Directors these days where they have three sections of their Chorus (it’s usually the altos, tenors and basses) singing without vibrato and one section (the sopranos) singing with vibrato. WTF is up with that? Is this something new? It’s not how I was trained.

I’m beginning to wonder if this annoying vibrato with sopranos and altos is a “Boston thing,” because the Boston University Symphony Chorus has the same problem. Or are they trying to emulate unrefined Tanglewood? If so, don’t, por favor. Not a good idea. I couldn’t listen to the Boston University Symphony Chorus’ recent performance of the Fauré Requiem because of, again, the annoying fluttering vibrato from their soprano section and some from the altos. But their tenors and basses fortunately had absolutely no vibrato whatsoever. They sounded beautiful, very smooth, polished and refined. But unfortunately, the women of the BU Symphony Chorus certainly did not sound refined. They had this unpleasant “rough”/non-smooth sound to them. It was as if they (men and women) were prepared by two different Chorus Directors with two very different perspectives/preferences: Vibrato for women. No vibrato for men. Loco./Crazy. And what they ended up with for the final performance was a non-homogeneous-sounding Chorus with a smooth/refined-sounding men’s section and a rough/unrefined-sounding women’s section. Damn odd and unpleasant to listen to, at least for me and mi amigo.

So maybe James Burton will correct these things. The Chorus he prepared for the BBC Proms did not sing with vibrato. They had what I call a “British sound.” A very bright sound with no vibrato. You can hear them here in Felix Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang (which the ignorant BBC Radio 3 announcer didn’t know how to pronounce correctly. Sigh. They don’t have a German consulate in London that he could call to check the pronunciation with, or does he enjoy sounding ignorant on the air? Others commented on this as well). Again, none of the SATB sections of the combined Hallé choral forces sang with vibrato in this performance below, so maybe James will use the same standards in Boston, hopefully. I would give him a least a year to make changes. It usually takes awhile for new people to make changes. Here’s their performance from the BBC Proms:

The Hallé Choir
The Hallé Youth Choir
The Hallé Orchestra
Sir Mark Elder, Conductor

Maybe James will also end that silly tradition that the TFC has of performing without their vocal scores. Who were they trying to impress by not using their scores? There’s something about a large group of people (150-200+ voices) not using their scores all staring straight ahead looking at the conductor which makes them look like a motionless bank of lobotomised robots regurgitating on cue what’s been drilled into them. That’s how the Tanglewood Festival Chorus under John Oliver looked to me and mi amigo/my friend. He’s noticed it too. To me, a Symphony Chorus that performs with their scores looks much better. It looks like they’re actively engaged in reading music and interpreting the score. They don’t look like mindless robots, and the score does not get in the way of seeing the faces of the choristers. I’ve had no problem seeing the faces of the Boston University Symphony Chorus. They use their scores (good) as they did in this Rachmaninov performance. I give other examples of problems with the TFC in the article at this link. Also, in this Rachmaninov performance (link immediately above) no section of the BU Symphony Chorus had annoying fluttery vibrato. That’s why it’s most curious and unfortunate that they used vibrato (as I said earlier) in their more recent Fauré Requiem performance. That performance was conducted by Scott Jarrett. Does he like that wobbling sound, or did another Chorus Director prepare the women and he didn’t feel comfortable asking them to turn off that tacky and annoying vibrato? Fluttery vibrato was also used some years ago (again) by the women when the BU Symphony Chorus performed Mendelssohn’s Elias at Symphony Hall with the BU Symphony Orchestra. That performance was conducted by Ann Howard Jones formerly of Robert Shaw’s Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus.

James Burton has an excellent background. I’m familiar with him as former Choral Director at the Hallé Orchestra, and music Director of the Hallé Youth Choir. You can read about him at that link above.

Mi amigo asked me: Why did the UK let James Burton get away to come to Boston? Well, I suspect the answer to that is: dinero/money and the salary the BSO offered him, which may have included paying all expenses to move him from the UK to The Cesspool as well as arranging for his work Visa. Although, one wonders why he would want to live in the US, especially under El Hombre Naranja/The Orange Man who’s now in power in the District of Columbia.

It’s telling that the BSO felt they must go to the UK to get a qualified Chorus Director, isn’t it? This also speaks to the dismal state of things here in The Cesspool/los Estados Unidos and the dying-state of classical music here and the complete lack of respect and interest in music education in the US. As of this writing, The National Endowment For The Arts as well as The National Endowment For The Humanities are being completely eliminated from the US federal budget proposed by El Hombre Naranja. El hombre has no respect for culture or the arts — both are way over his enormous head and beyond him since all he thinks about is dinero/money — and the same goes for the rabid proudly-ignorant (redneck) trash that worship him and serve as his devout boot-licking cult-mentality followers. A really pathetic situation. Contrast the US to Britain, where they have a superb National Youth Orchestra and National Youth Choir and they’re so outstanding that they perform every Summer for the BBC Proms. We have nothing like that here in The Cesspool. Nor do we have anything like the Proms, nor will we at the rate things are going. Chau.—el barrio rosa

UPDATE: After publishing this article, someone identifying himself as a chorister from the Tanglewood Festival Chorus disagreed with my article down in the comment section. He wrote:

“Conductors loved the memorized TFC (Seiji Ozawa’s original idea)…

Awhile back I read an article about the TFC and according to that article (which you can read here), it was John Oliver’s idea as I stated in the article. This is from that interview:

“Michael: Was the standard of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus from the very beginning to sing without a score?

John: That came later. The first time we sang without a score was Tosca, in the mid ‘80s. The lights were out for a lot of the time on a staged piece the Boston Symphony Orchestra was performing, so the chorus had to memorize the piece. The same thing happened the next season with Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arch au bûcher, so that, too, had to be memorized. I said to myself, if those two pieces can be memorized, why not Symphony No. 9? They sing it every year. So I asked them to do that. I don’t remember exactly how it evolved, but there were objections from a certain segment of the chorus. It was a lot of work, God knows, but on the other hand, the people who were proud of it gradually outnumbered the naysayers.”

I read another article awhile back about the TFC wherein John Oliver talked about this again and how the TFC usually perform from memory. In that article, I got the impression it was his idea — and not Seiji Ozawa’s idea — as Oliver talked about how one needs to see the faces of the choristers (as if their scores hinder that), and that’s why I addressed that in this article. It doesn’t really matter whose idea it was — I still don’t like it for the reasons I stated in the article — but if it were Seiji Ozawa’s idea, Ozawa didn’t have the same memorisation standard in this performance of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy for Piano, Orchestra and Chorus he conducted in Nihon/Japan where this excellent Japanese Chorus (their name is not listed) perform with their vocal scores. They also sing without vibrato. In this performance, everyone uses his/her score except Ozawa. Pleased to see Argerich using her score. I think more pianists should be using their scores:

Do you use Firefox?

Hola a todos. I use Firefox. Maybe you do too. Something I’ve noticed many times on their search page is their begging for donations, such as this language that appeared on el 14 de marzo de 2017/the 14th of March 2017:

“Celebrate Pi Day with some pie. Then burn off those calories with a donation to Mozilla. We’re pretty sure giving to keep the Internet awesome totally burns calories.”

They had about five donation buttons of various amounts for one to choose to make a donation, or one could check this box to choose to make a monthly donation.

Can someone tell me why this huge corporation (Mozilla) need donations when they have millions of dollars, based on their financial information:

Type of Company: Private
Founded: August 3, 2005; 11 years ago
Headquarters: Mountain View, California, US
Products: Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird, more…

Revenue: $329.5 million (2014, last year available)

Number of employees: 1000+
Parent: Mozilla Foundation

Then there’s their relationship with Google which you can read about here.

There’s also this, although current figures not available:

Combined income of Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation
2011 $163.5 million (proportion derived from Google) 85%

Here’s their 2013 Tax Return Form

Question: Why are people so gullible to donate dinero/money to people who don’t need it? How many people take the bait given by Firefox? Because of their begging with their donation scheme language, before I researched them I had the impression they were this struggling, poor, barely-making-it, non-profit type of organisation. In reality, they’re a private company with millions of dollars.

Why would the average person donate to a private corporation that has or makes millions of dollars? That makes no sense to me. If one is not a millionaire why would one donate to millionaires? To me that’s loco. That’s as ludicrous as donating to a millionaire corporate politician in one of the two parasitic corporate parties in The Cesspool (Democrat and Republican). Is this more of that far “right-wing” math where the low and middle-income people are supposed to fund and support millionaires and their corporations? I just wonder how many gullible people fall for this scheme? I think they’re typically called suckers. Chau.—el barrio rosa

“Why don’t immigrants learn English before coming to the US?”

Hola a todos. That ignorant question in the title above was asked recently by some of the Orange Man’s cultists in the US state of Iowa in an interview with them. They said they thought that their Orange Man’s deportation of undocumented immigrants would tank Iowa’s economy. The people interviewed were not hating on immigrants, per se. One person asked: “Why don’t immigrants learn English before coming to the US?” (roll eyes) I’ll presume the person was referring to Los Latinos, Los Hispanos, Los mexicanos immigrants as opposed to Asians, for example. Many Latinos, Hispanos, mexicanos immigrants already know some English. Others are fluent in English. One of my acquaintances from Buenos Aires is bilingual. He’s fluent en español and inglés/English because he learned both languages in Argentina, and his English is perfect.

How many people in Iowa speak a language other than US-English? Their ignorance is noted however. Here’s why: Many undocumented immigrants fleeing the civil wars and many problems of their native country leave their country very quickly. When one is struggling financially and in other ways in one’s native country, one usually does not have the luxury of learning another language or even thinks about another language. Learning a language takes a long time and it takes dinero/money (schooling). Learning another language is the last thing on one’s mind when one’s country is in the midst of a conflict and/or civil war because of barbaric policies affecting that country (and sometimes the entire region) because of, in part, the terrible and exploiting policies of the barbaric and bullying Cesspool known as los Estados Unidos/the US. (To me, what I’m writing here seems like a given but there are a lot of stupid people out there who apparently don’t know any of this). So that’s why many immigrants arrive in The Cesspool/the US without knowing much or any English. Then after they arrive here, they understandably feel they must live in hiding so they won’t be rounded-up and deported. When one is trying to keep a low profile, one usually doesn’t enroll in a language school, unless perhaps one is living in a “Sanctuary City” and even then it can be risky. One can turn on an English-language corporate network but that will be very slow-going learning English that way. One needs to compare what one is learning in English with one’s first/native language to have a full understanding of the new language and how the two languages compare. When one is dead-tired from working a grueling and often back-breaking job every day as an undocumented immigrant and just trying to survive, learning US-English is understandably not a top priority, and where does one get the $$$$$$/dinero to do so? The Orange Man’s cultists/haters of undocumented immigrants should try doing the job that these extremely hard-working undocumented immigrants do — most of whom are very good people — and see how long they last in the same job. I suspect they would not last long. Also, when one is living among people of one’s own ethnicity and language, there is less incentive to learn the most commonly spoken and in some cases “official language” of a country. That’s the case with some Asians in San Francisco’s Chinatown, for example, who don’t speak much or any US-English, but I don’t hate on them for that. And one really has to have a genuine, sincere interest in something and the drive to learn it in order to learn it well, versus something being forced on one to learn. Some people simply have no interest in languages, and they only know the language they speak because they learned it from childhood up, and they probably don’t remember much about learning that language. If white people who only speak (or rather mangle) US-English were to move to a non-English speaking European country, for example, and lived among other white people who also only speak English, they too would likely be slow to learn the dominant or “official language” of that country because they would likely say, “I don’t have much need or use for it since most of the people I’m around already speak my (English) language.” I should point out that there is no “official language” in The Cesspool.

I suggest that the people of Iowa learn español. If they’re that frustrated by not understanding Latino or Hispano undocumented immigrants, Iowans could remedy that by learning their language, since I think español is the second major foreign international language spoken in The Cesspool at this time. Learning español will likely be as slow-going for Iowans as learning US-English is for Los Latinos/Hispanos. But unfortunately, most (redneck) US’ans fear other foreign international languages and want nothing to do with them which is the opposite approach taken in the rest of the world where international languages are embraced and encouraged, particularly in business. Yet another example of the Backwards USTM. As I’ve written before, classical musicians, for example, work with a variety of languages on a regular bases depending on the repertoire they’re playing. Yet many US’ans can’t even speak their one language correctly: US-English, as opposed to British English and its varieties/accents including Queen’s English. It’s as if the embarrassing and bullying Orange Man and his appallingly ignorant cult members don’t seem to have made it to 5th grade. Seriously. I mean, look at how el hombre/the man talks, if you can stand to! His ignorant cultists have all kinds of problems with US-English and spelling from reading their comments on message forums, while they lecture non-English speakers about: “LEARN ENGLISH!” They should take their own suggestion, los pendejos, since their English sucks.

Other than the music, one thing I’ve enjoyed about watching the Liturgies from La Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris is that I’m very slowly learning another foreign international language, français/French. Their High Church Messe is in Latin (the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, and so forth) as well as in français (the readings and Homily, for example). I especially enjoy listening to the readings during the Liturgy. The readers speak very clearly and I gradually pick up some words. I would like to learn français. One cannot learn enough foreign international languages as far as I’m concerned. It just takes a lot of concentrated time and effort. Learning another language is not as nearly as easy as the ignorant “English only” basura like to make out while they flippantly scream at immigrants, “LEARN ENGLISH!” as if one can learn a new language practically overnight, or in a matter of weeks or months and become fluent. It can take years to become fluent. I know some people are not language people — mi amigo/my friend is not a language person; he has trouble with languages because of his dyslexia, so I understand that — but people should stop fearing immigrants and international languages. Because in the US, we are all immigrants — except for the native/indigenous peoples — whether one was born here or not. I hope this helps some people better understand why some immigrants don’t learn English before coming to The Cesspool. Chau.—el barrio rosa

The Closeted Queer Community (2017)

Why I no longer write about Queer topics, and why am I now using the word “Queer?” Well that’s because there’s no hierarchy or politics involved in the word “Queer,” as opposed to the hierarchy of that “LGBT” nonsense that’s saturated all over the internet. Also, Queers (and the word Queer) make breeders nervous and we enjoy every minute of it. (smile)

Hola a todos. Some readers have asked me via e-mail: Why are you no longer writing about Queer topics? That’s because I don’t see any reason to. Why should I bother? I’ve written about Queer topics for years and it didn’t do any good. Nothing changed for the positive. There’s nothing else to say about it. Only a few people seem to care in the big scheme of things. As with some other topics I used to write about, I seem to be “fighting an uphill battle” or “a lost cause.” That’s how it feels to me. Several examples that come to mind explaining this and some of which overlap:

I’ve become disgusted with what the Queer community has become, and I’d rather write about things that don’t annoy or disgust me. It’s healthier/less stressful for me to do that. Today, the Queer community is mostly DISCREET (translation: closeted), conservative, pro-corporatist, pro-Establishment, DISCREET, mainstream, DISCREET, non-alternative, DISCREET, non-proudly radical, sanitised, DISCREET, shallow sheeple trying to be like the boring and often conservative mainstream breeders. Queers today are the DISCREET opposite of who they were during the decades of the (now-dead) NON-DISCREET and proudly-radical Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement. Some examples:

1. Monitoring television programming: one would think that the entire world consists of breeders. One gets the impression there’s not one openly Queer person en el mundo/in the world other than that heteronormative, corporatist, pro-Establishment, Obamabot and god Ellen daily promoting silly, dumbed-down and “stupid-is-in” and making millions: Ellen DeGeneres Receives Weekly Salary of $1.2 Million doing so. $1.2 Million a week? Outrageous. For being stupid? Whenever I see her in YouTube promotions of her show she’s wearing all black or black/gray or all white. Ms Conformist. La mujer/The woman didn’t care how many immigrants the Deporter-in-Chief Obama had deported or how many breeders and Queers Mr Nobel Peace Prize had droned or killed in other parts of the world in his 8 wars as she gushed over Obama at every opportunity. Or is she oblivious to all that? And I know Anderson Cooper is an openly-Queer boy, but I’m making a point here. Most of the (closeted) Queer people before network cameras pretend to be breeders. They refuse to come out of the closet and announce that they’re Queer. There are a lot of Queer people out there, but the public is led to believe those people are breeders because they refuse to come out of the closet. Despite some advances that have been made for Queers over the decades, those advances are not reflected in the overwhelming majority of corporate network television programming. And with the insane Orange Man at the controls, expect those advances to be eroded or disappear altogether. He’s already begun eroding Transgender rights. All the programming on the español language networks I monitor is breeder-based. I am so tired of seeing him fawning over her, him making out with her, him holding needy-her’s hand, him holding her chin, him playing with her hair, her running over to him for more attention with one foot up in the back (she’s perched on one foot) desperate for more attention, and him doing other things with her when it’s more than obvious to me and my reliable Queerdar that “him” is really a closeted Queer boy pretending to be a breeder. Such as the breeder-based dating programme that started on TV Azteca en CDMX recently in the afternoons. According to my Queerdar, I’ve seen one closet case Queer boy after the other on there wanting to date a female. (roll eyes). Is this stuff for real or is it staged just to create a programme? Do they ever have real dates on there? I don’t know. Mi amigo/My Queer friend says the same about the closet cases on television. In all of the Latino/Hispano/mexicano community, I only know of TWO (2) Queer boys that are out of the closet. Just TWO. That’s it. Those two are Ricky Martín (Enrique Martín Morales) and Christian Chávez (José Christian Chávez Garza). All the others are closet cases despite the public being fed the wishful-thinking lie that “gay is now mainstream.” Yeah sure it is. That’s why I constantly read anti-Queer comments on political message forums and YouTube videos and everywhere else. “Gay is so mainstream” that Queers are saturated all over my television. NOT!

I don’t watch the English-language networks but I would guess that they’re no different. I suspect 99% of the programming on those networks is breeder-based too. In the last few months I’ve read about one or two of those corporate networks planning to do a “gay programme” or bring back one they did in the past. At which point, some shallow, corporatist Queer organisation jumped up and down in celebration about this. Get. A. Grip. As some of us see it, it’s nothing but a “flash in the pan” in the big scheme of things and nothing to get excited about. Too often with these rare “gay programmes,” or when they feature a person who is supposedly Queer, they merely show stereotypical Queer guys and lesbians to continue outdated stereotypes. I’ll get excited when corporate networks change their programming to where a large segment of their programming is Queer-based. But I’m not holding my breathe for that to happen. These little “token” gay programmes are meaningless — and usually shallow — in the big scheme of things as far as some of us are concerned.

2. The public — including Queers — use that cookie-cutter/corporatist “LGBT” acronym nonsense because that’s what’s been drilled into them by them seeing that all over the internet. Even the anti-Queer far-right use “LGBT.” Some of us can’t stand the “LGBT” nonsense for several reasons:

1) to begin with, it leaves out Queers entirely since there is no “Q” on the end…whatever nutball dreamed it up was prejudice against Queers. Some of us are surprised that the “T” is still there and that they haven’t chopped that off yet considering the hate for Transgender individuals.

2) “LGBT” is the hijacking of the original Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement by lesbians when they were not the dominant group of the moment so why are they getting “top-billing?” and

3) I saw a few people recently asking: “What’s wrong with you gay guys? Why are you giving “top billing” to lesbians? Why are you allowing that when you did most of the work during the Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement?” Agreed. Yes, I fail to understand why lesbians get top billing. That makes no sense to me. Also recently, I read that the “L” was put first by one of those corporatist gay media organisations because lesbians were feeling neglected. (roll eyes) Oh the poor things. It grieves me so to hear that. [sarcasm intended] Well if their ass had done more during the Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement they wouldn’t feel neglected. They deserve what they get, which is second billing as in GLBTQ, if one must use any acronym. That’s the way it should be written: GLBTQ. But personally, I’m starting to use the word Queer instead of any letters at all since this topic and acronyms feel like a lost cause to me.

3. The Queer community to me and other Queers now seems dead and closeted, hence the title of this article. The Queer community has gone from proudly-radical and “out and proud” to proudly discreet which means either you’re closeted and/or cheating on somebody.

As I’ve written many times before, looking at men-for-men personal sex ads on the site I call ClosetList, most Queers (guys) describe themselves as “discreet” (translation: closeted and/or cheating on someone). Most Queers also describe themselves as “bi” when they’re really gay. Why do I say that? Because human sexuality does not change so drastically and so quickly to where thousands and thousands of guys worldwide go from being Queer to bi. That just doesn’t happen. But these fake-”bi” guys with their internalised homophobia seem to think that “bi” makes them sound more like a breeder, more masculine, more manly, more macho, and more obnoxious-jock even though these guys have no interest at all in females. But in today’s world, lying and deception are in especially in personal sex ads where hardly anything is real about those. Again, for the thick people, calling oneself “bi” when one is really gay is a form of internalised homophobia because one is ashamed of the word “gay.” To be clear, I’m not talking about the guys who are genuinely bisexual. I’m talking about the “bi” frauds. Didn’t most Queers work through this years ago during the decades of the Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement? Apparently not. And some of us see a major rise in internalised homophobia in the Queer community today. It’s really pathetic what the Queer community has turned into. Mi amigo said the other day: “I get the impression that most Queer people are back in the closet.” Uh huh. That’s the impression I get too in the former Gay Mecca of San Francisco.

4. Just like with the breeders, most Queers today are wearing all-black or black and gray. What happened to the pretty Rainbow Flag colours, Queer boys? You’re now ashamed of those because the breeders don’t wear them? Why are you so adamantly trying to be like the breeders? Again, internalised homophobia? Just because some misguided los pendejos in some corporate Queer (media) organisation(s) told you to “assimilate” after gay marriage became legal in The Cesspool/the US? Today, it seems that most Queers consider the Rainbow Flag to be “too gay.” Yet another example of what I mean by going back in the closet with internalised homophobia. It’s as if Queers consider wearing colour an indicator that they’re Queer rather than a breeder, and we can’t have that! No, the breeders are wearing all-black and/or black and gray and looking like white nationalists and/or depressed zombies, so the conformist Queers apparently think they must do the same to “fit in” and “assimilate” with/be like the boring and conservative breeders. Translation: Going back in the closet.

5. In tech-zombie San Francisco, no one cruises anyone any longer. One’s phone addiction has replaced all cruising. Mi amigo (a Queer boy) has told me repeatedly about how he has made the mistake of fleetingly glancing at another guy on the sidewalk who apparently turns out to be a breeder and the guy gives mi amigo a very disapproving, snarling angry look as if he’s about to say, “don’t you look at me you faggot.” Sigh. This anti-Queer behaviour did not happen often in the former San Francisco of the expired Gay Mecca. This behaviour is happening in the new Breeder and Baby Stroller Mecca and here which has taken over and replaced the former Gay Mecca. I should point out that people who are secure with themselves and their sexuality would not respond the way these breeder basura respond just because another guy happens to fleetingly look at them. Los pendejos.

[The following paragraph was added after I posted the article to respond to some e-mails enquiries I received.]: One may be asking: Who is directly responsible for this (new) closeted behaviour? Well, other than the Queer community itself, in large part I and other Queers lay this directly on those Queer US corporatist (media) organisations with their bloated executive $alarie$ who serve as self-appointed omnipotent authorities on all matters related to wealthy(ier) Queers. Some of them are the same basura who threw the Transgender community “under the bus” some years ago. These national corporatist Queer organisations (who shall remain nameless) worship the wealthy and that’s who they serve. Basura. In fact, one of those corporatist Queer organisations recently honoured a billionaire tech company owner here in San Francisco at their annual bougi lah-ti-dah dinner. This dinner came with an outrageous price tag per plate while some homeless people — some of them Queer homeless people? — with nothing to eat were lying on the streets within the vicinity of this elitist event. These class-ist Queer organisations couldn’t care less about poor Queers. These Queer corporatist organisations are the same corporatist trash that served as shills and hacks for their messiah Obama for 8 years and the thoroughly corrupt and imperialistic Democratic Party. These one-issue organisations served as cheer-leaders for their messiah Obama even when he was expanding the heinous policies of the illegitimate Bush/Cheney regime — or were los pendejos of these Queer organisations oblivious of that? — and when Obama was killing Queers and breeders in other parts of the world in his 8 wars. Mr Nobel Peace Prize Obama left office with 8 wars in progress or did these corporatists Queers not know that either? Or did they justify and excuse his wars because with partisan Democrats war is only bad when there’s a Republican in office? Hypocrites! (I can’t stand partisans). From what I and other Queers gather, these Queer organisations are the same corporatist basura who dreamed up that “LGBT” nonsense which is spammed all over the internet. I and the Queers that I know have no use for any of these well-known, disciples-of-the-wealthy national corporatist Queer organisations for many reasons, including the reasons I’ve listed. We Queers get the impression that one or more of these Queer corporatist organisations sent out a memo or some communication to all media and news organisations ordering them from henceforth and forever more to use “LGBT” whenever they write anything having to do with Queer topics. Also, some if not all of these Queer organisations told/ordered Queers to “assimilate” with the breeders when Queer marriage became legal in The Cesspool/Los Estados Unidos/The US. That’s the worst thing they could have done because many, if not most, Queers misinterpreted “assimilate” to mean go back in the closet. And I say that because that is what has happened. There was some direct correlation between Queers going back in the closet and Queer marriage becoming legal, which is damn odd and very ironic. As some of us Queers see it, it’s as if Queer marriage/same-gender marriage has backfired. Rather than remaining the proudly-radical and activist Queers that they were of the now-dead Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement, since that US Supreme Court ruling most Queers have tried their best to become the opposite of who they were, as if ashamed of and apologetic for their past. They have become more like the mainstream/conservative breeder sheeple, as if the breeders are to be modeled after and to be set on a pedestal as an example to be followed. Screw that! Why should the breeders be modeled after considering their dysfunctional relationships, their dysfunctional behavior and their constant arguing as can be seen in San Francisco’s Castro, and their over 50% divorce rate in the US? As history has shown, when Queers are in the minority among the majority (and in many cases anti-Queer) breeders, many Queers go back in the closet not feeling comfortable being themselves among the majority breeders, as is now the case today in The Breeder and Baby Stroller Mecca of San Francisco, formerly known as the Queer Mecca.

So in conclusion, to me this all seems like “an uphill battle” led by one person (me) and supported by a few other concerned people. But no one else seems to give a fuck. I’m tired of it and tired of wasting my time writing about it when clearly things continue to keep going backwards towards the 1940s. (Related: Gay “Assimilation:” Back to the 1950s). I do have one other Queer article I’ve written and already posted. It’s about mi amigo/my friend and his experience with the fake-Queer Trump supporters. You can read that at that link.

From our experience, all we see are breeders making out, or Queers (both guys and females) trying to pretend to be breeders and heteronormative so that no one will possibly think that they are Queer because we know how awful that is, right? More internalised homophobia. I was in a store the other night and this guy ahead of me in line had to lean down and give this female he was with a lengthy kiss at the register. I thought: Oh here we go. He had to let us all know they are breeders. I told mi amigo about it and he said: “Well, the female always needs attention and that’s probably what he was doing. He was just doing his obligation otherwise he’d never hear the end of it!” In today’s San Francisco’s Castro, I now do a double-take when I see two guys kissing or making out because it is so rare to see that. I even stop to watch briefly and appreciate them because it’s such a rare sight to see these days here in The Breeder and Baby Stroller Mecca. (Have these breeders never heard of birth control of any kind?) These days, when I see two people from a distance, I expect them to be breeders kissing or making out or nearly uncontrollably having sex on the sidewalk (as if they just met) in The Castro.

San Francisco’s Castro has been ruined. The Castro today is nothing like it was when I moved here during the height of the Gay Mecca days. Get this: Can you believe that a group of Queers a year or so ago started a project to Queer The Castro? It hasn’t worked and it’s not about to, but that’s how bad it’s gotten here with prudish and in some cases anti-Queer breeders taking over The Castro. And the local conservative Queers have served as their accomplices and enablers. The local conservative Queers clearly prefer living with other breeders rather than with other Queers. More internalised homophobia?

In the Old City of the Gay Mecca, it used to be that Queer boys and Queer couples walked by my window talking. Now it’s breeders with loud and/or screaming children walking by my window talking. Or more baby strollers going by. And it seems to be a requirement with breeders that he has to be 3-4 feet taller than she — from my research that’s her ridiculous requirement — and she has to be submissive to him as if she’s living in the Victorian era where females are supposed to be dainty, submissive and subservient to guys (in order to get his attention that needy and high-maintenance her constantly demands from him).

Our little group of non-closeted and proudly-rad Queers have been discussing among ourselves whether the majority of Queers will have to have their rights eroded or removed completely to get them out of the closet again and off their electronic leashes and to return to the vigilance and activism of the decades of the former Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement? But from what I see of the apathetic and closeted Queer community today, I’m not holding my breathe that any of that is about to happen anytime soon. Because the attitude of most Queers today seems to be, “I’m like whatever like” and “I got the most hysterical text message just now…where’s the next party?” And the most overused word in The Castro today is the ubiquitous word “like.” Most people have completely ruined their speech to integrate the word “like” throughout their speaking in order to “fit in” and be accepted by the stupid-is-in majority. The most stupid-sounding people live here now. It’s extremely rare to hear any intelligent or intellectual conversations at all. Intellectual is out. Stupid is in.

As of this writing, one of the US corporate media networks is doing a mini-series — some of us consider it another “flash in the pan” — being billed as a LGBT Queer (my word choice) mini-series. Will they be interviewing the heteronormative, self-appointed corporatist authorities that dreamed up that “LGBT” crap? Mi amigo and I don’t plan to watch it. I think the thing is probably a superficial programme about the now-dead Gay Rights’ Movement, and they’ll likely give the false impression that the Movement is still going. Yes of course it is [sarcasm intended], that’s why Queers are “discreet” and back in the closet, or at least behaving that way. It doesn’t really matter what this mini-series is about as far as some of us are concerned. As soon as I read “LGBT” in the headline for it, I clicked off. I’ve had it up to here with that. When they use that, you know it’s going to be corporate and especially considering it’s on a corporate network. No gracias. Frankly, I don’t care what this mini-series is about considering who’s doing it. I’m so disgusted with it all. I’ve seen a couple of billboards for this programme in San Francisco’s Castro. Apparently clueless advertisers don’t know that The Castro is now the Breeder and Baby Stroller Mecca and no longer the Queer Mecca. I wouldn’t think there would be much, if any, interest in this programme in today’s “discreet,” conservative and heteronormative Castro. When it airs, they’ll probably have media crews in The Breeder and Baby Stroller Mecca talking with some of the remaining Queers still living here to “get their take” on this mini-series. Before their cameras will likely appear the usual “celebrities” that are dragged out on cue and seen as “authorities” on all Queer matters. Some of whom consider themselves to be “progressives” — even though they vote just like Establishment Democrats at election time — and they also use the conformist/pro-Establishment non-progressive/corporatist “LGBT” acronym in their writings and speaking.

I remember when “Milk” (the story of Harvey Milk) was filmed here and all the hate the producers received from conservative locals (including conservative Queers), and the many merchants who would not cooperate with the producers. I and the people I know were disgusted and embarrassed by the behaviour of The Castro during the filming of Milk. And Milk was filmed during the Gay Mecca years. That experience was very revealing to some of us Old City people. It told us how The Castro was becoming very conservative and was clearly losing itself and heading in a negative direction, and has led us to the sanitised, cold/unfriendly, fake, lobotomised and very conservative Castro of today despite all the Rainbow Flags around here solely for tourist/marketing purposes to give the illusion that The Castro is still a Queer Mecca. Chau.—el barrio rosa