More revisionist Queer history: Designer of Rainbow Flag dies

Hola a todos. You may have heard that Gilbert Baker, the designer of the Rainbow Flag, died on 30 marzo/March de 2017 of heart disease. He was 65.

Every headline I saw about his death that used an acronym referred to the “LGBT Rainbow Flag.” WTF?

You know, this is becoming very tiresome. This is yet another example of revisionist Queer history that one is seeing more and more of in these dishonest, lying days. When Gilbert designed the Rainbow Flag, the movement was called the Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement. I know because I was there. So it should be “GLBTQ.” The movement was not called the “Lesbian and Gay Rights’ Movement.” That’s something relatively new dreamed up by heteronormative corporatists to give lesbians an honorary position in the acronym. As I’ve pointed out repeatedly, Lesbians were not the dominant group of the Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement, as “LGBT” falsely implies.

Repeating what I’ve written before, I’ve read various reasons for why presumably one or more of the corporatists busy-bodied US national Queer media organisations decided that the “L” should be moved to first place. (Are they run by lesbians?) From my research:

One reason given for this change to “LGBT” was to put “Ladies first” as in a “Ladies should go first” way of thinking. Well that is blatantly misogynist, chauvinistic and reminiscent of a 1940-50s way of thinking. Has no one thought of that? I could see lesbians getting “top billing” in the acronym if they had done most of the work during the movement, but they didn’t. Overall, gay men did the majority of the work of the movement.

Another reason I’ve read for why dishonest people began putting the “L” first is the heteronormative thinking that lesbians are thought to be “more acceptable” to breeders than gay guys. So to cater to and accommodate anti-gay breeders who feel more comfortable with lesbians than with gay guys, that’s the reason the “L” was moved to first place, and gay guys (“G”) had to take second place. It’s always good to cater to breeders’ prejudices, isn’t it? [sarcasm intended]. That does seem to be the thinking of heteronormative Queers. (roll eyes).

Another reason I’ve read for this is that the Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement and the Women’s Rights Movement were going at the same time, and lesbians were feeling they were being neglected in the Gay Rights’ Movement. Oh poor babies. Well, again, if they had done the majority of work in the movement they would deserve top billing, but that was not the reality. It seems that the now-dead Women’s Movement is trying to ride on the coat tails of and has already hijacked the Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement to give lesbians first place attention that they don’t rightly deserve. And in case one hasn’t noticed, the Feminist Movement is absolutely dead. One can confirm that by observing the young and mostly white him-tall and dominant/her-short and submissive breeder couples in San Francisco today and their misogynist and chauvinistic 1940s-50s style behaviour. (Some examples: Needy her always requiring her hand to be held or his arm around her. Needy her needs constant attention. She needs her chair to be pulled out for her in restaurants – Ms Helpless can’t pull out a chair? jesus!) and she requires her car door to be opened for needy her. Is he required to fasten her seat belt for her too? Does he have to go open the bathroom door for her too? Ugh. La mujer/The woman has never heard the word “feminist” ever!)

Another reason I’ve read for this “LGBT” nonsense is to show that Queers support women’s rights. Duh. Well isn’t that a given? Using that lame rationale, we also support Transgender rights, so why isn’t the T first? Do you see how ludicrous this is? Clearly, whatever morons dreamed up “LGBT,” they were dismally lacking in critical thinking skills.

I’d like to point out that transgender individuals and gay guys lit the pilot light for the Queer Rights’ Movement with the riot at Cooper’s Donuts in Los Ángeles in 1959 and then the riot at Compton’s Cafeteria in 1966 in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.

I want the reader to understand me and what I’m saying. I’m not trying to minimise anyone’s participation in the Queer Rights’ Movement, but I see no reason whatsoever to grant an honorary position (top billing) to lesbians just to make them feel better about their minimal participation (minimal compared to gay guys) in our Queer Rights’ Movement.

In the last couple of months, I’ve read a few comments on websites questioning this ubiquitous “LGBT” nonsense — which to some of us looks like a corporatist brand — that one sees spammed all over the internet like a virus. One guy wrote: “What is wrong with you gay guys? Why are you letting lesbians have top billing and hijack your Gay Rights’ Movement when you did most of the work?” Uh huh. That’s the same question I’ve asked. At least he hasn’t gotten in “LGBT lockstep” without questioning our rich history being revised by corporatist basura. One guy who described himself as “a conservative” wrote: “I’m not LGBT. I don’t identify with that. I’m Queer.” Yes, same here. He made it quite clear that he strongly resented this corporatist branding of our movement.

I told mi amigo/my friend that Gilbert had died. He said: “Yeah I saw that.” I said, “But once again, all the headlines I’ve seen about it read ‘LGBT’.” He said, “Time for another article from you about Queer revisionist history.” I said, “Yes, I plan to hammer this home. I’m sick of it.” So is he.

The dishonest corporate Queer tra$h (and that’s exactly how I feel about them) at the US national corporate Queer organi$ations — with their exorbitant executive $alarie$ and who serve as self-appointed authorities on all Queer matters — are lying about our Queer history. And get this: They or someone have even gone back into Queer archival historical online documents and changed the language there too to reflect this “LGBT” revisionist history, trying to imply it was “LGBT” from the very beginning, which is a lie. These people are basura. I can’t stand them. They need to be called out on it, and that’s what I’m doing. I and the people I know are sick of them. These heteronormative corporatist basura don’t speak for us. I was on one of their websites recently and I saw nothing but corporate logos as their funders at the bottom of their front page. They don’t seem to have any standards whatsoever on what corporations they will accept dinero/money from, including W*lls Fa*go.

Speaking of the toxic corporate culture, one of these corporatist Queer national organisations recently honoured a techie billionaire (Dahling) at their bougi annual dinner which came with an outrageous price-per-plate (I think it was $500.00 if I remember correctly), while there were (very likely Queer) homeless people with nothing to eat sleeping on the sidewalk in the same area of this lah-tee-dah dinner in San Francisco. But these Queer corporatist organisations don’t care about our Queer homeless people and the many problems that need to be addressed with them. These Queer corporatist basura only care about people just like themselves in the same income bracket of course to continue to give them dinero/money. I presume that these Queer media organisations — whom I obviously have no respect for — arrogantly decided to speak for the entire Queer community and sent out a memo to every (media) organisation on the planet that, “whenever you write about Gay and Lesbian topics on your site, make sure you use only the “LGBT” acronym (with the unspoken part being: to give lesbians an honorary place/a top place in our heteronormative acronym so that they can feel included in a movement where they were not the dominate group).”

Some of us Queers have no use for these corporati$t Queer groups whatsoever. In fact, one of them threw Transgender people “under the bus” some years ago.

I and a few others are no longer using any of these silly acronyms. I’m using the word Queer and that includes everybody (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer et al). I especially like the word Queer because it makes the breeder basura squirm and feel most uncomfortable.

The Rainbow Flag here in 2017

The sense that some of us have is that with this new very conservative, “discreet and down-low” closeted Queer community in San Francisco and other major cities, the Rainbow Flag is now seen as “too gay” or even passé with the delusional and erroneous thinking being that “all has been accomplished for Queers and there’s nothing left to do; the obnoxious breeders love us and we have reached utopia, so now it’s time to party and live embedded in one’s phone 24-hours a day.” Other than the Rainbow Flags on utility poles in The Castro (the new Breeder Mecca) and the large Rainbow Flag that’s still up at Harvey Milk Plaza (which some of us call Breeder Make-out Central) for tourist purposes, Rainbow Flags have all but disappeared from San Francisco. I used to see them on bumper stickers but not anymore. In fact, it’s rare to see any bumper stickers in this new sanitised City anymore. In the Upper Market area, I only know of 3-4 Rainbow Flags that are displayed outside homes or apartments. Some of the businesses in The Castro and Upper Market have taken down their Rainbow flags presumably to sanitise so as not to offend the precious breeders who apparently get priority and who may feel uncomfortable in an establishment with Rainbow Flags flying. The closet-case supposedly “gay” sports bar on Market Street only flies the Rainbow Flag on corporatist “Pride” Sunday to exploit tourists. They make sure that flag goes back in the closet at closing time that night. They fly corporate sports team flags every day outside that obnoxious bar but not the Rainbow Flag, as if they are ashamed of the flag and think it’s “too gay” as they grunt at flat screens and try to act like breeder, phony wannabe-jocks/bros. The bar across the street took down their Rainbow Flag a few months ago since that bar seems to be mostly frequented by young breeders.

As for this dishonest heteronormative corporatist attempt to rewrite Queer history, let me assure the corporatist basura responsible for this that they are running into some opposition. Some of us are not falling for your lying, revisionist history stunt and we reject it. Chau.—el barrio rosa

All the Queer boys and their wives

Mi amigo/My friend said to me recently: “It feels as if the entire Queer community has gone back in the closet.”

Yes it does.

Hola a todos. Living in San Francisco during the Gay Mecca days, I had the impression that, “everyone was out of the closet.” That’s the way it seemed at that time.

Not anymore. Here in 2017, I get the impression that most Queers regardless of where they live are now in the closet and pretending to be breeders.

Mi amigo/My friend (a Queer boy) watches videos on a regular basis in his specialised field of study. He’s frequently telling me about the closet case guys he sees in the videos he watches. He shows them to me. I agree. According to my reliable Queerdar, these guys look and act Queer to me too. Yet these guys make a point of showing their wife in the video — is that to let us all know that he’s a breeder so that no viewer will possibly think that he’s Queer ? — and sometimes he includes their children in the videos. A couple of times the guy’s esposa/wife looks more like a lesbian to me. Are there two closet cases there?

The other day we were watching a classical pianist and there was no doubt in our mind he’s a Queer boy. I was doing a little bit of research on him as a pianist and there was this picture of him standing close to a female. I thought: Well who’s she? They’re standing awfully close to be just amigos/friends. The caption under the image read: “(Pianists name) and his wife.” (roll eyes). Sigh. Yet another closet case, I suspect. And why is that? Because our society worldwide has been brainwashed with the heteronormative thinking that a guy must be with a female. He must be in a relationship with a woman to be “normal.” Ugh. Who wants to be “normal?” (Whatever “normal” means. “Normal” is boring.) And when that thinking is constantly drilled into one by our septic society, one accordingly sees lots of (insecure) Queer boys with issues with females.

Mi amigo has told me about his experience with breeder guys, most recently at his gym: Although the supposed breeder guys in the videos I mentioned earlier don’t act like the breeder guys at his gym. At the gym, the breeder guys act real hard-ass, macho, they put on this tough-guy act, some talk loudly with each other about fucking pussy (are they trying to prove their manhood to each other and everyone here in the Breeder Mecca that they are a breeder and not a Queer boy? We couldn’t have that!). These inconsiderate, obnoxious breeder guys at the gym drop weights to make as much noise as possible to let everyone in the gym know that Mr Macho has arrived. The breeder guys at the gym go out of their way to not act like Queer boys. The hard-assed breeder guy even walks differently than the perceived Queer boys at the gym. Their walk can best be described as sorta bow-legged and “super-hard-ass.” Mi amigo said that with the few Queers boys still at his gym (or at least he thinks they’re Queer boys), they act the opposite of these macho breeder pendejos who try so desperately hard to prove their masculinity. People like that are extremely insecure as well as obnoxious. People who are secure with themselves and their sexuality don’t behave like these pendejos. Mi amigo says that the few remaining Queer boys at the gym don’t act tough-guy, macho or obnoxious.

Honestly, in the big scheme of things, one gets the impression that very little was accomplished during the decades of the now-dead Gay Rights’ Movement considering all the Queer boys staying in the closet or having gone back in the closet here in 2017. Rather pathetic really. I think of all the people that never come out to have full enjoyment of their true sexuality. Here in 2017, gay camp has disappeared, “waking up with a dick in the mouth” stories have disappeared as Queers try desperately to be like the breeders. And one rarely ever sees any Drag Queens anymore. Just on the rare occasion. That’s how much things have been so very sanitised in the Queer “community,” if one can call it a community. There’s really no feel of community anymore. It feels more like lobotomised zombies walking around in all black hunched over embedded in their phones. Decades ago, if someone had told me that this is where we would be in 2017, because of my inexperience at the time I would have said: How could that be? How could we go backwards after going forwards? How could we go back in time to a place of where Queers are now very conservative and so obsessed with describing themselves as “discreet” and “down low” and other closeted language in the name of “Assimilation with the Breeders,” (ugh) after decades of being “Out and Proud.” Chau.—el barrio rosa

The Third Sunday of Lent 2017 – La Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

Hola a todos. The choral music was particularly good for the Third Sunday of Lent (2017) at La Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris (Roman Catholic). They don’t often have a Cathedral Choir at Notre-Dame, but rather a small group of mic’d choristers. What they do works well, but it would be nice to have a full Cathedral Choir (which they once had) as there are descants and more elaborate settings of the service music they usually use when they have a full Choir which adds more to their superb High Church Liturgies.

For this Liturgy, there was a Quartet of well-selected, blended voices that provided the service music and anthem selections. The two women’s voices matched perfectly and fortunately no one sang with vibrato, which is not always the case at Notre-Dame. The Quartet sang mostly Early Music/Renaissance and it was lovely. It worked especially nice in that medieval Roman setting of their Liturgy.

This is a High Church Liturgy — the best I’ve seen anywhere, and they have the most splendidly trained acolytes and thurifers who are also very devout — which is the reason I and mi amigo/my friend watch it. And the priests are most respectful of and serious about their Liturgy including the use of incense (we love the incense!), unlike another cathedral church I used to write about. We find Notre-Dame very enjoyable, relaxing and calming.

If you’re Anglican, for Lent you might notice that the crucifix in the procession at Notre-Dame is not shrouded in purple cloth as Anglicans do. The Roman Catholics don’t do that. Also, at Notre-Dame de Paris they sing all parts of the Messe/Mass setting in Latin. The rest of the Liturgy is in Français. The Romans bless themselves when the processional crucifix passes in the procession instead of bowing as devout Anglicans do, although I do see some people in the congregation bowing on occasion, but most don’t. They bless themselves instead. They also bless themselves when Cardinal André Vingt-Trois (or the priest celebrating Messe that particular day) blesses them in the processional and recessional.

They have two organists for their Domingo/Sunday Messe/Mass. There’s the superb Titulaire organist (there are 3 of those: Vincent Dubois, Olivier Latry and Philippe Lefebvre) who alternate throughout the year playing the Grand Orgue high up in the back of the Nave, roughly up on the third-fourth story of the Cathedral I guess one could say. There’s also the Choir organists (there are 3 of those too) who alternate playing the Choir Orgue and he accompanies the choristers. The two organists for each Messe/Mass alternate in their playing during the Messe. By that, I mean that the Grand Orgue accompanies the congregation and the Choir Orgue accompanies the choristers so one organist plays one part and the other organist plays another all in the same piece of music. And if you didn’t know any better you’d think it was all one organ playing because the two organs are so well matched and the organists are so talented that they play seamlessly together (so to speak), one playing and then the other. The Nave is always full for their High Church Messe on Domingo/Sunday. One Cathedral Church that I have in mind could learn from them. Here’s the Liturgy:

And speaking of the Titulaire organist, pay special attention to his improvisation during the recessional. For this Messe, Vincent Dubois, played the Grand Orgue. He also serves as General Director of the Strasbourg National and Superior Conservatory of Music in France. I and others who watch the Messe from Notre-Dame do not understand why KTO TV, the Roman Catholic Television Network, which records the Liturgies disrespect the organists by turning off the camera before the Organ Sortie is completed, as if they don’t consider it important. Several people have complained about this but nothing is done about it. They also don’t turn on the cameras early enough at the very beginning when the organists starts his organ improvisation. Again, as if they don’t consider it important. But you know, something tells me that if a priest began the Messe by speaking, that camera would start recording from the moment he began speaking. I have found that it’s most typical of camera crews in this context to disrespect the music regardless of which church it is. Also, I’ve wondered why there isn’t a stationary or hand-held camera at the organ console of the Grand Orgue so viewers can watch the organist? But upon reflection, why should I expect that when KTO TV’s production crew doesn’t seem to fully respect the music as I’ve already pointed out? Chau.—el barrio rosa

Ordinations sacerdotales à La Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

Hola a todos. Below is a Liturgy from 2013 of a nearly three-hour ordination of six Roman Catholic priests at La Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. It was a beautiful Liturgy, a major production and among the finest Liturgies I’ve seen from Notre-Dame.

Mi amigo/My friend often says about Notre-Dame, “They do put on a good show there,” and that’s meant respectfully. I had not seen a Roman Catholic Ordination Liturgy before and we found it very interesting. It’s a most elegant Liturgy, very High Church and very medieval Roman. It’s also quite spiritual, which is unusual for organised religion where many denominations just “go through the motions.”

The music for this Liturgy is excellent and this Liturgy is full of music. The Chorus consisted of choristers from Notre-Dame (they’re in the pretty blue robes) as well as a guest Chorus. There’s no way to see the service leaflet unfortunately so I have no information about them. Maybe they were a fine Choir from one of the Roman Catholic parishes in Paris. I thought I saw choral conductor, Lionel Sow, conducting the Chorus. He conducted the choristers at Notre-Dame back in 2013. He was then and still is (I think) Chorus Director for the Paris Philharmonic Chorus.

The Chorus for this Liturgy was quite good throughout and they led the music along with the very busy and superb Titulaire organist playing the Grand Orgue high up in the back of the Nave, as well as the Choir organist. Yes, they usually have two organists for their Messe/Mass Liturgies. The Choir organist accompanies the cantor and/or choristers and one of their three Titulaire organists playing the Grand Orgue accompanies the congregation and also improvises during the Messe and improvises for the procession as well as the Organ Sortie during the recessional.

Some of our favourite parts of this Liturgy:

The chanting during the ordaining of the priests where they were lying face-down in the Sanctuary area. The chanting begins at approximately 1.03.55 (it begins with the chanting of the names of the saints). It’s a very relaxing choral chanting. Mi amigo said: “It feels like one is getting a massage, it’s so relaxing.” He said this each time we’ve watched this. It is very relaxing and calming. This is one place where the organist has to be “spot on” because of the key modulations in the chant and they have to be correct because the Chorus responds to the excellent two male cantors.

Then before that — earlier in the Liturgy — was the very grand and glorious procession with incense for the reading of The Gospel which took place outside the cathedral (to make the congregation sitting outdoors feel a part of the Liturgy). That begins at 30.53 in the video. I heard a hint of Saint-Saëns’s Symphony No. 3 (“Organ Symphony”) in the organ improvisation as the acolytes were coming out of the cathedral.

This Liturgy required some major production skills because from what I can tell the congregation outside the cathedral was able to hear the cathedral organ easily outside without there being any delay in the sound. Notre-Dame puts on a superb Liturgy. It’s the best High Church Liturgies I’ve ever seen. Frankly, they put a cathedral that I used to write about — and which shall remain nameless — to shame.

There are other ordination Liturgies available from Notre-Dame, but from the ones I’ve seen they’re all a little different. Although the soothing chanting I mentioned earlier where the priests are lying down in the Sanctuary area is part of each one, but the quality of the chanting varies. From a choral perspective, this Liturgy (in the video below) is the best of the ordination Liturgies that I’ve seen.

On another topic, this is currently Lent 2017. I immediately noticed one difference between the Roman Catholics and the Anglicans during Lent. Lent is typically subdued and “toned-down” in the Anglican church. The Romans don’t shroud the processional crucifix during Lent the way the Anglicans do by covering it in a purple cloth for the 40 days until Pascua de Resurrección/Easter. Another difference is that during Lent at Notre-Dame, I’ve noticed that there’s also not been an over-saturation of organ music of J.S. Bach as there was (and I assume still is) at another cathedral church I used to write about of the Anglican Communion where it was predictable that the cathedral organist would be playing mostly Bach during Lent, which was a bit much and got a bit monotonous. I like some Bach organ works but don’t care to hear them nearly every Domingo/Sunday for the Organ Prelude and then again for the Organ Voluntary just because it’s Lent. There’s been a little bit of Bach or an improvisation or two in Bach-style at Notre-Dame but I wouldn’t say that the Titulaire Organists playing the Grand Orgue high up in the back of the Nave have toned-down their improvisations for Lent. No, not at all fortunately. Other than one Domingo/Sunday, where a small group of excellent choristers sang mostly Renaissance music, Lent hasn’t really been any different musically or liturgically speaking than any other season of the church year at Notre-Dame (that I’ve noticed), other than the colour of the robes that the priests have worn have changed according to the colours appointed for various Sundays of Lent.

For those wondering about the differences between the Anglican and Roman Catholic Liturgies, I can only speak about Notre-Dame de Paris, which I sense may be unique to Roman Catholics. Generally speaking, for the Messe/Mass on Domingo/Sunday at Notre-Dame that KTO TV provides, they don’t usually sing hymns at Notre-Dame, which I find refreshing. One of my complaints with the Anglican cathedral I was writing about was that they seem to sing the same hymns all the time (some of the most boring hymns) and they were usually the hymns I didn’t enjoy playing when I served as an Anglican organist/choirmaster. At Notre-Dame, they used The Doxology for a processional hymn on one occasion. That worked well. Over the time I’ve been watching their Liturgies, on two other occasions they used two Anglican hymns. At Notre-Dame, instead of hymns, they focus on the Mass setting (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, and so forth which is chanted in Latin) and instead chant the movements of the Mass setting using various musical setting with a cantor and the congregation alternating. And it’s so much nicer, musical and better to hear the Credo chanted than to hear Anglicans stand and mumble The Nicene Creed. At Notre-Dame, the exchange of peace is just before Communion whereas in the Anglican church the exchange of peace is before the announcements. At Notre-Dame, the announcements are at the end of the Messe which is a much better place for announcements. Their way of doing it, the Liturgy and the mood is not interrupted with irrelevant stuff not at all related to the Messe. At the Anglican cathedral I used to write about, their announcements were given in this rather formal but “happy” and smiling marketing-style about “the cathedral community.” Translation: Join us but don’t think that your opinion will matter and give us your dinero/money was the bottom line. Then they returned to the previous (and interrupted) mood of the Liturgy by saying, “Walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself as a sacrifice…” At Notre-Dame, the Gospel is carried in the recessional (Anglicans don’t do that; the Gospel is only carried in the processional), the choristers may or may not be part of the procession (Anglicans usually have the choristers in the procession and recessional) and there’s no incense in the recessional at Notre-Dame, it’s only used in the processional. Anglican have incense in the recessional on the rare occasion they use incense at all, but at the cathedral I used to write about they rarely put anything in the thurible so there was rarely any smoke coming out of it. Their use of the thurible was mostly for show at that Anglican cathedral and most of the priests seemed completely disinterested in it almost as if incense was a bother for them. Most of their priests nearly jogged around the free-standing altar when censing the altar as if they wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. I often wondered if they were in the wrong Christian denomination/the wrong church. At Notre-Dame, the priests are very respectful of the incense. They take their time with it. Notre-Dame de Paris is a much better cathedral and Messe Liturgy. Chau.—el barrio rosa

Related:

The Roman Catholic Atheist (formerly titled The Anglican Atheist)

Is the GLBT Historical Society misogynistic?

Hola a todos. The local Queer museum, officially known as the GLBT Historical Society, archives and museum, here in San Francisco’s Castro barrio/neighbourhood is relocating to a larger space in San Francisco, but for awhile they will also keep their current location near 18th and Castro.

In honouring our Queer history, the GLBT Historical Society has always used the “GLBT” acronym, and on their sidewalk sign they have the word Queer.

In the article I read about their move to their new location, someone mentioned that “The Castro is changing,” which seemed to be one of the reasons given for the museum’s move. I guess some people think a Queer museum is now inappropriate and does not belong in The Breeder Mecca known as today’s thoroughly-sanitised Castro, the former Gay Mecca.

I would like to point out that the tense of that statement, “The Castro is changing” is incorrect. It should read: “The Castro has changed.” Past tense. But I’ve heard, “The Castro is changing” repeatedly — which is code language because no one ever gives examples of what they mean by it — and other than myself (this is not intended as boasting), it seems that no one has the cojones to tell it like it is because it seems that most heteronormative and closeted Queers today don’t want to come across as offending the precious, in-your-face breeders who Queers today seem to love to emulate. Frankly, I don’t care how much they are offended. The reality is that The Castro has already become The Breeder Mecca with fleets of baby strollers.

I don’t have the patience to read the comments/juvenile filth on most sites these days, so I cautiously scanned the comments below the article I read about the Queer museum’s move. Someone was complaining that the museum doesn’t use “LGBT” that “everyone else uses” he wrote. I’m glad the museum doesn’t use that sheeple/conformist and revisionist-history “LGBT” corporate branding which is spammed all over the internet and that now looks more like a corporate logo than anything else. I guess it offends that commenter that the museum is not part of the “LGBT” conformist herd. The commenter accused the museum of being misogynistic because they don’t put the “L” first.

I would like to respond to that commenter here because what I have to say would probably not be posted in a comment on that site:

It is misogynistic to put the “L” first. It implies “Ladies go first,” which is reminiscent of a 1950s mentality. That in itself is misogynistic. Why should women automatically be first? Your desire to have the “L” first is misogynistic and chauvinistic. It’s also very heteronormative because breeders are constantly taught that women/”girls” must go first. (The Feminist Movement is dead, in case one hasn’t noticed). And that commenter needs some education on Queer history apparently because Lesbians were not the dominant group of the Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement. Gay guys were. That’s why the movement was originally called “The Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement.” That’s why the “G” should be first as it was originally — if one must use any acronym — before Lesbians hijacked the Queer movement as part of this more recent corporate revisionist history for Lesbians to get “top billing” for a movement in which they were not the dominant/lead group.

These days, I’m using the word Queer and not these silly acronyms, in part, because the word Queer makes the breeders very uncomfortable.

Rather than being misogynistic, the GLBT Historical Society is being true to our Queer history by retaining the original order of the letters (GLBTQ) in the acrynym, rather than following the heteronormative (“Ladies go first”) revisionist and corporatist “Brand LGBT” conformist sheeple.

Finally, does the reader remember this caca that gullible, naïve, wishful-thinking and delusional people in the Queer community have been spewing in recent years about, “Gay people can live anywhere” and “Gay is now mainstream?” And “there is no need for gay meccas because gay people can live anywhere now.” Remember that utopian nonsense? I and other San Francisco locals remember that some of the major conservative Castro merchants around here were spewing that bunk many years ago. It was around the time that the same merchant basura — think the owner of that once-popular mostly Queer café at Noé and Market Streets — led the campaign for our anti-homeless sit-lie law). I’d like for el pendejo and others like him to read this:

Once Again, Texas Republicans Are Pushing An ‘Avalanche’ Of Anti-LGBTQ Queer Bills

Yes indeed. “Gay people can live anywhere and gay is now mainstream.” Only a wishful-thinking person not fully grounded in reality would have fallen for that and still believes that, and frankly there seems to be no shortage of people like that in the now-conservative Queer community. It seems their reliable and excellent BS detectors — that they had all during the original Gay and Lesbian Rights’ Movement — had an expiration date. Either that, or it went back in the closet with them. 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.”
“Foreigners.”
“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:

Defense
Energy & Environment
Finance
Healthcare
Technology
International
Transportation
Cybersecurity
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.

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