Is It Surprising – Game Music

Surprised to find myself enjoying Ionesco’s seriously existentialist novel, Le Solitaire, (Viking 1973), in that it mirrors current thoughts of my imminently transitory existence. As if I am the 21st century’s incarnation of a 19th century Franco-Russian Jew, who, doing nothing particularly well, except, perhaps, putting down in words, the absurd context, for lack of a better explanation, we call, life. In Ionesco’s Hermit, I experience a recognizable emptiness I find familiar, which actually brings me peace, knowing that, as painful as it sometimes is, life is not to be missed.

Deep Space Part 1 (Awakening) & Part 2 (Morning Song)

Deep Space, Part 1: Awakening

I took it upon myself to create, with others, a hybrid web structure by means of which residents of any community can take responsibility for anything they complain about. An innovative feature allows any resident to bring an issue into a general forum and conduct a poll in accordance with civil guidelines and depending on the outcome of this poll, an elected council is required to address and resolve the issue.

Since some issues affect various areas in the community differently, we described eleven geographic districts, each with an elected representative. Voting for representatives can be done on a cell phone, online or on paper at a public library by showing evidence of residence. The website will be fully launched in the Spring of 2018, however, there is information at now that can answer many questions.

For this innovative marriage of emerging technology with democratic principles to work requires broad participation and the objective is to empower constituencies with the expectation that, with direct input into legislative processes, priorities of government will be better aligned with their needs.

If all goes as currently planned, the online functions will be fully paid for, ready and able to be used by anyone who wants to conduct a poll and get something done.

When enough people participate by electing town council members, we will have accomplished what we set out to do and I may spend more time composing which will make people I love happy.”

*with God’s grace.

Part 2. Morning Sun

Part 3. Mars

Part 4. Images

Part 5. Alcestis

Alcestis volunteers to die to save her husband, who was condemned by Artemis for failing to sacrifice to that Goddess after winning the heart of Alcestis. Apollo had helped her husband in this quest, pleads his case on Mt. Olympus and Hades returns Alcestis to life.

Song, All Too Human

This song is “All Too Human”, for which I will now write lyrics. It’s a duet for two baritones, later reprised with two baritones and a soprano, and eventually a quartet adding a contralto.

(Photo; Arthur Schopenhauer 1854, public domain.)

Part 6. Ubermenschen

Part 7. The Dance

Interlude. Lamentation

Democracy Version 3.0

Last May, we got the idea that since we have no easy way to make a difference about the lack of infrastructure and increasing density, we could create a new model for a town council, designed to make participation easy and even fun. We became a formation committee to incorporate Point Loma Town Council with a mandate to hold an election in the Fall of 2018, to elect members of a town council to represent residents. It’s like a conventional town council but integrated with an online app that will allow every resident with a smart phone or internet connection to inform and poll their community. Poll results can trigger consideration by the elected town council, empowered by our bylaws to take appropriate action. Kinds of action are common to town councils, running the gamut from education and communication to litigation.

Any member that is a resident of our Peninsula can launch a district-wide poll about anything they believe impacts their ability to flourish. The Peninsula is divided into districts of less than 5,000 households, c. 9000 voters, about the number of people in Del Mar. A priority of our app is relationship-building: it promotes civil discussion and is a source of trustworthy information and a forum for conflict resolution.

A possible outcome of this experiment in democracy is that it reduces dependence on mass media in election campaigns.

Yesterday, I heard an NPR interview with John Cox, a wealthy lawyer in Rancho Santa Fe, who previously unsuccessfully ran for president and congressional races in other places. He has been a Trump-flavored Republican and has now announced he would be governor of California, another venture capitalist out to “drain the swamp”. The interesting thing is that he’s mentioned a strategy for revamping representation based on dividing the entire state into 10,000 person districts. sounded similar to the design we came up with for PLTC, however the top-down plan that he suggests, though it works in theory is politically impossible, while it has great potential as a community-based project.

The difficulty, however, is in enrolling participation in the beginning. Unlike Mr. Cox’s suggestion, doesn’t require changes to election law, and it’s independent of partisan, economic or cultural issues. Mr. Cox’s program requires us to rewrite parts of the State constitution. Perhaps, a good idea but for greed, economic interests, resistance from the California League of Cities and so on.

We all know that local representative government is skewed in favor of priorities of those who fund campaigns. As Mr. Cox has noticed, democracy works best in small, homogenous populations, where there’s more chance that constituents know each other and share values, whether or not they actually like each other. This means our democracy is based on 18th century populations and uses 19th century technology.

It is said (by Tip O’Neill when he was speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, “All politics is local”. With our mobile population, rapid urban growth and diversity that was unimaginable in 19th century America and most of the 20th century, constituents are powerless about governmental decisions that create conditions that impact enjoyment of life. Since local media makes this powerlessness clear in the way it discusses every issue, and those who are new to San Diego, get the impression this is a place where lip service is paid to problems like climate change and growing congestion and it’s not cool and extremely hard for people to engage in political action.

We realize that land use and economic decisions in Houston, Puerto Rico, Fukushima, Santa Rosa, Las Vegas made these places vulnerable, not to mention the ease with which Russia influenced the voting of hundreds of millions of Americans in the last election.

Rape is coercion, desire is never wrong.

At times, I felt humiliated by moments that neuroscientists are now attributing to owning a brain that is in some respects typical of those who’ve been diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, Autism and Dyslexia. Sometimes, when attractive women flattered me, thinking perhaps that I might be useful to their agenda, or even mistaking me because I look “important”. It was helpful to understand their behavior as unrelated to me personally. And, in that sense, I understand the opportunity of those men that actually have some status. Given the number and range of character of men I’ve seen caught in this trap, I feel the community might take a closer look, with more useful purpose than denouncement of one particular man or another.

Actresses reporting bad experiences with Harvey Weinstein in 2017

One day in 1970, when we were playing chess at his home in The Palisades, Dizzy Gillespie offered to introduce me to the Weinsteins about an idea I had for a documentary. He said Weinstein loves jazz. I’m not sure which of the two brothers he meant. Later, I went on a tour with Dizzy and his colleagues in Sweden.

I’m amazed by the musical minds of Monk, Coltrane, Debussy and Mingus, I lose interest with a lot of popular jazz and most popular music but I listen to works of Dolphy, Debussy, Monk, Messiaen, Bach, Barber, Berg, Stravinsky, etc., over and over. I absorb Dolphy and Ellington.

So I didn’t call Weinstein as Diz suggested. I left the opportunity to make a documentary about music of the West African diaspora to some other genius, since at the time, I could only cover this in the context of the nature of all music for my knowledge of music wasn’t prepared for the task then.

But for this lack of confidence, I would probably have come to know Harvey and either spun into the same web of narcissistic behaviors or maybe advised him that women may sometimes like to pretend coercion, but even then, it’s risky. So many men and women apparently owe their careers to his support yet did not support him. It’s likely I talked to him at some time but usually that kind of man feels threatened by someone with an unpredictable brain like mine that speaks its mind intuitively, calls a spade, a spaid.

In view of complicit complacent compliance, not wanting to lose a job by rocking the boat, though knowing that Harvey was doing this kind of thing, I hope he will be ok. Money talks and he has plenty of that.

It interests me that the damage from his behavior wasn’t the product of his desire, but he had no respect for the vulnerability of others, not uncommon among those born with brain differences that we call, Autism and ADD. After eight lawsuits, I’m surprised someone didn’t advise him to get evaluated for a pathological brain difference, it would help.

Flute & Clarinet, Sonata Form, (v5l-Score) October 16, 2017 ©

Housing Affordability: A Syllogism

Wooded Area, Point Loma, California

In Point Loma, the incomes of many households are falling behind the rising price of rental and for-sale homes. In some cases, households are priced out of neighborhoods in which their families have lived for generations. We call this a crisis in housing affordability.

Builders and real estate investors are saying the solution to this crisis is to build more housing but prices of newly developed housing are less affordable? Housing affordability isn’t the builders’ or bankers’ concern; it’s the community’s problem.

For the real estate industry, the solution to housing affordability is for households that can’t afford increasing rents and home prices to move elsewhere. The problem with the building industry’s solution is that a community like Point Loma is its population, not its buildings. So, when households are priced out of Point Loma, the unique expression of community moves away and is replaced by a population who lack a background of common relation to the history, traditional culture and values of this unique place. For Point Loma, a community of strangers is the crisis we are calling, “housing affordability”.

In Point Loma, the affordability crisis is exacerbated by real estate investors, who are now taking advantage of a decades-old zoning ordinance to acquire and build affordable multifamily apartments and converting them to expensive condominiums. Stability in housing cost certainly requires attention, a policy to prevent conversions of multifamily apartments to condominium ownership would preserve existing apartments and, with other measures help maintain affordability in Point Loma.

Climate Change v2h (Arranged for Piano, Hammond B3, Flute, Clarinet, Horn in F, Trumpet in C, Guitar & Bass Viol 10/13/2017

How did we become a nation of hiders in a world of global information?

People who don’t practice a creative art, unlike those who do, may not correctly understand how art expresses and excites feelings.

Current thinking in the field of cognition views our emotions as a non-rational form of cognition. Feelings are cognitive assessments of things we encounter or imagine before we comprehend them rationally. We act based on feelings in many situations in which hesitation could be fatal. The rational assessment that follows may be a justification of action in response to our feelings. We cannot rationally decide to fall in love or to be afraid or to feel compassionate. Such cognitive assessments are informed by everything we feel in the moment and how we each may feel about anything is uniquely informed by our dna and all past experience.

When engaged in an activity that compels constant and alert attention; as, when I’m driving in traffic at high speeds, my action is guided by intuition that includes rapid integration of rational principles, constant recalculations as vectors of inertia change, and also incorporating knowledge of current performance characteristics of my body, mind and vehicle, and not only about the state of observable moving and stationary objects around me, but also, probabilities regarding a myriad objects and possibilities that are not observable by eyes or ears and also physical pressure sensed in relation to gravity, and all in a context in which inattention has a potential for catastrophic consequences. And often there are others riding in my car.

Writing and composing music is far less demanding than accommodating the un-anticipatable qualities of personalities getting into and out of my car: some with social or anti-social agendi, some who are young and curious, some arrogant and presumptuous, some with deep unfilled emotional needs, some frightened in an unfamiliar environment, some intoxicated, stoned or otherwise medicated–they all bring their unique emotional state to the milieu, and then are gone.

Sonata Form Duet for Flute & Clarinet (v5i) October 13, 2017

You Can’t Fix What Aint Broke

Inertia is addressed in solving every problem.

Strategies for over-coming inertia often have nothing to do with circumstances of the problem.

Congested vehicular traffic on freeways is a problem for drivers today but it’s a predictable result of a design yesterday, which had in mind moving the cost of the transportation infrastructure into the future.

Inertia now keeps this traffic congestion problem in place.

You can’t “fix” a system when it’s actually producing the result it was designed to produce. To get different results, you must replace the system with a system that produces results that you want.

Trio – Bass Viol, Digitally-enhanced Concert Guitar, Piano

Quartet – Hammond B3, Piano, Bass Viol, Guitar

Arranged for Piano, Hammond B3, Guitar, Chamber Orchestral Quartet

Where music anticipates the action and v v:


In the morning after I’d heard a performance of the Barber Violin Concerto performed by San Diego Youth Symphony, I began to create In Consideration of Samuel Barber’s Opus 14; It’s a condensed concerto in sonata form featuring a solo violin, a piano and an orchestral chamber quartet. These links show the progression of the piece.

Version 1a is the first sketch of In Consideration:

Version 2A moves in the opposite direction from 1a, into an arrangement that views the symphony as an “orchestral instrument” in the manner of Wagner, Ives and Messiaen, incorporating a Brahmsish lyricism, but maintaining a metallic independence from conventional harmony…like a Rodin miniature…enjoyably complex.


Version 2C returns to the chamber concerto.

Version 3A adds a vamp to the introduction:

Version 3B is the culminating work for scoring.

Marriage of sound and visual imagery in cinema intends to add something that is not verisimilitude and music’s often a bullshit flag, as if in apology for a gap in the viewer’s following, during which the dream we call, reality,  flickers behind a transparent screen. An enchanting musical narrative is another matter.  The literal story suspends as music transfixes experience beneath rational cognition, as, when approaching a Turner painting, you feel awakened, aware:

JMW Turner – The Slave Ship (1840) Boston Art Museum


I know no greater bliss than following a good story. Immersion in a story feels as good to me as swimming laps. I like reading stories. Music is a narrative language; the following link is to a composition I composed for a ballet based on the story by Irish novelist, James Joyce.

Gunther Grass, Venice Beach, CA 1967

I had a dog–a German Shepherd named, Gunther, after Gunther Grass, who wrote Dog Years The Tin Drum and Flounder and other things I’ve liked.

We were tight, Gunther and I, and he was tight with anyone I trusted, which was cool, since we only hang out with people we trust and strangers of all species are sometimes astonishing examples of living energy. Anne, Larry and I moved to Canada during the Nixon years, into a very old country home in an idyllic country village called, Whitevale, a place like I imagine, Turgenev living, in the country near Petersburg, with a human culture like Lowick, a venue like Elliott’s Middlemarch.

Gunther and I walked everyday in an unkempt old oak forest surrounding,the tiny village  of farm houses clustered around a mill race produced by a little concrete dam on a small creek. While I snapped pictures for imagined tales, Gunther hunted birds and rodents. We’d learned to do this first on Venice Beach, before we left to make the first film in Puerto Rico, then in woods on the Hudson near Peekskill, then by Lake Simcoe in Barrie, Ontario, where Anne conceived our daughter, Liberty. We moved about the forest in sync, using that sense humans communicate with other species (and sometimes humans, too, if we’re listening).

One day, Larry, said  he wanted a cat. I was dubious. When he was a puppy, Gunther had been attacked by a cat. Larry said cats, like people, are individuals. Anne voted for the cat. The next day, a kitten arrived (music cue). Gunther’s eyebrows standing like soldiers.

On my knees on the forgivingly deep, dark green carpeting in our living room in Whitevale: rich dark cherry paneled walls and ceiling joined with moldings in the fashion of Victorian Europe, we formed a little triangle before a nearly lifesize photographic print of a giraffe on the South African Velt that covered the North wall, Gunther, the kitten, reluctantly trusting my judgment and I we having a straight conversation. Looking into Gunther’s alert, darkly attentive eyes, I said, “this is our cat, Gunther. He lives here, don’t mess with him. Got it? He’s our brother.” Gunther looked once at the cat, then at me and I distinctly heard, “Got it. Our cat. Trust me.” Gunther and the cat walked out the front door to dominate the village and got into trouble with some stupid ducks our neighbor kept.

Dimples, Del Mar, 1990

Composing is a persistent mistress. Anything by Debussy will work with media, if the media is worth the time to watch. Media follows the narrative of the music, as  the editor adjusts continuity in  complimentary and conflicting tempi and timbre. Visual editing is analogous to composing. There are only 16mm film versions of some of my films that I need to digitize to post here.

Gunther was single-minded in his desire. We spent a winter in a small house in the Tudor style in the village of Crompond, which had been designed in the early 1900s as an intentional community near Peekskill, in Westchester County, New York, which is located about an hour north of NYC by car along the Taconic Parkway.

In accordance with the philosophy of the Crompond founders, fences are not permitted since this division of property isn’t consistent with the philosophy of shared public space. The visual impact is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. However, Gunther fell in love with a neighbor’s champion Collie.  Twice each day, when the neighbor and the collie walked between our houses, Gunther stood by the window over-looking the snow blanketed commons, and sang a cappella, his full-throated desire.

Anne, Larry and I went into the city (NY) for a concert on evening, leaving Gunther at home and  when we returned a few hours later, we found Gunther outside the house. HIs right wrist was injured. Inside, the house was freezing. We found one of the windows in a bedroom on the second story had been open. When we learned the next day from our neighbor that Gunther had mounted their collie, we realized that Gunther has opened the window and leaped out while the neighbor was walking that evening. Our offer of paternal responsibility was unimportant to the neighbor, who was deeply offended, not by the outrage but as if the coupling was a stain on her thoroughbred status, like Zeus discovering Poseidon’s rape of Aphrodite.

Bear, Del Mar, 1994

Other than this sexual impetuosity, Gunther was by every other standard, perfect. When we lived in Venice and Barrie, children came by to “borrow” him for games of ball and tug of war. When he died, I dug a hole for Gunther’s earthly remains in Auge Tau Andersen’s backyard (pronounced, oh-wuh). It was a symbolic ritual since Auge told me he planned a pond where I dug the grave. I couldn’t explain. Auge handed me a shovel and from time to time, came out with a glass of iced tea, while the pit and I descended, deeper and deeper, until, at last, peering down into the hole, he said, “don’t you think this is deep enough, Michael?”

Many years passed before I was willing to expose myself to this kind of vulnerability. I was living in a little house near the beach in Del Mar and I acquired a Pomeranian that grew and grew and grew and grew some more to be all of twenty-five strapping pounds, a bundle of reddish fur with a blond mane. When I had a similar conversation with Bear about another cat I admired, Bear rolled  his upper lip above his nose, glared at me and snarled, “not on my watch, dude.” So we worked it out Bear’s way. I learned humility from Bear.

Waltz time.