Sunday, November 16, 2008

But Aside from That, Mrs. Lennon. . .

This full-page ad for a local Realtor is currently running in the San Francisco Opera's program book. I caught it at this afternoon's Bohème opening and just about lost my lunch.

Aside from the ineptitude on display just from an advertising perspective — what is the message here, that she's selling condos in the Dakota? — it's inconceivable to me how a piece of fetid necrophilia like this could have got loose into the world. Even if we assume, very very generously, that not one person in the entire production chain recognized one of the most iconic photographic images of the last quarter-century, or grasped the obvious tastelessness of using it in this fashion, that still leaves someone at the start of the process who actually had the idea and then said to himself, "Yeah, that'll work." Seems to me that guy's got a little explaining to do.

Unless — and here I'm maxing out on my capacity for generous invention — he's on the phone in a panic at this very moment saying, "Wait — dude — you thought I was serious?"

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Carnac in the House!

As the political blogger Atrios likes to say, nobody could have predicted that Gerard Mortier's tenure at the New York City opera would be brief and ill-starred.

Except, you know, me.

Just like the last time around, I remark on this latest development with regret rather than pleasure. Nothing would have pleased me more than to see Mortier's bold and lavish plans for an artistically revivified company come to fruition — unless it were a plan calling for free ponies and ice cream for everyone.

But come on. I can't claim to have foreseen a year and a half ago the precise way this would all shake out — I sort of figured Mortier's programming would actually find its way to the stage, where it would be a succès d'estime and a fiscal catastrophe — but it was obvious even from a continent away that this was never going to work. There was way too much magical pixie dust built into the blueprints.