A Couple of Big Announcements

I promised this in the last post, but missed my “couple weeks” deadline, sorry about that!

In any case, here is announcement #1: I was cast as The Baronness in The Grand Duke by The Pittsburgh Savoyards. This is double cast, so keep an eye on the site for which days I’ll be performing this role. But also know I am cast with someone who is absolutely super phenomenal, so you can’t go wrong seeing her as well! I am really excited for this role because I get to play someone very different from any previous roles; and someone who is entirely unlike me. It’ll be a challenge! But I am performing with an amazing cast of great people too.

As for announcement #2: Cryptic Canticles will be putting on The Medium next year. We’re still undergoing the early planning for this, but we have decided this should be done finally. It’s going to be a major undertaking putting together an opera ourselves!

More on these later, but I am now very excited for what is to come in 2018.

Two shows, TWO SHOWS!

So the first week of rehearsals for both the shows I’m in is underway, and so far it’s very challenging, but fun. Challenging because there are a lot of new things here!

The challenge of Eugene Onegin is that I have to learn an entirely new set of pronunciations for the Russian, and then use them while learning the notes. But once I learn them, the music is just beautiful. And the people I’m singing with in this are some of the best, so I am feeling daunted by the company. I hope I can live up to singing beside them!

The challenge of Patience is the words. The particularly and especially grandiloquent words. The overbearingly flowery words of magniloquent nature. The archaic words that were not oft-seen even for the times. Basically: the words of many, many syllables that I have never seen before, and now need to memorize. But it’s good to be back among the people who are like family to me. And both casts are great and will make you laugh.

Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin will be at Bellefield Hall in Oakland, one night only: Friday February 17th. This is not staged, but with orchestra and in the original Russian. I am cast as Larina, mother of Tatiana. Tickets in advance: $20

Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience will be at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall of Carnegie, PA the first two weekends of March. I am cast as Lady Jane, singing on alternate nights as that role, the other nights as ensemble. Tickets in advance: $15



Orlando, and the reactions

I woke up this morning and checked the Twitterverse, and found something very striking. Of those posting about the attack in Orlando, my LGBT friends were all posting about how to support the LGBT community, but my straight friends were all posting about gun control.

I’m going to break a moment, and point out that I am very strongly pro-gun, and that may color how I viewed this. However, I have not chosen the guns’ rights issue as one of my fighting issues, and so I largely stay out of that battle. I understand why people have trouble with it, but my reasons are my own and they are private. I say this now so that you know my bias going in.

In any case, I thought this was an odd delineation of the groups, and while I thought both were valid responses, it still made me wonder why the delineation was so strong. A mention of this on the Twittersphere indicated that others saw the same delineation, but there were those who did not see this strong separation. Others also pointed out that they’re seeing strong anti-Islam sentiment in this as well, something I’m fortunately devoid of in my feed. So, this is all very unscientific and perhaps unrepresentative, but it did make me think today about the ramifications of this, and implications.

And then I realized what it was that made me feel so squishy.

Those that are posting about the community are because the LGBT community sees violence on their friends, their lovers, and often themselves frequently. It may be gunfire, but more often it is fists. There is a constant threat to people who are openly gay, trans, or queer, because there is so much hatred out there. Those who are in the community are asking for support because they feel very vulnerable this week.

Meanwhile, those that are posting about how guns are the cause are usually doing so without admitting that this is a hate crime. It’s almost a political statement, let’s remove guns from our world! That message supersedes the violence that is perpetrated on victims of hate every day. I know that’s not the intention, but when it’s the only message I see from straight folks, it starts to feel like someone has appropriated this heinous act for their political agenda.

Mind you, I don’t want to say, “Don’t hate guns,” because I do understand why you do (even if I don’t agree). But please, don’t let that guns were involved be the only thing you discuss in this. This is a hate crime, and if we don’t address the hate involved, we won’t address the many who are victims in similar (but less news-worthingly large) attacks every day. I do understand that guns exacerbate the hate, and escalates its outcome, but remember that the hate is the real cause here.

And then those that hate on Islam for this? You know what, I’m not even going to discuss that. It’s answering hate with hate, and that’s not going to solve any problems, K?

The LGBT community really does need our love and support this week. Remember that they are hurting because friends and loved ones were victims of this event. And friends and loved ones have been and will be victims of other hate-related violence.

Being a girl in STEM

When I was 5 years old, my dad (a Geophysicist with an affinity for computer devices) would let me play “Hunt the Wumpus” on his calculator. His calculator was a very primitive version of the later graphics calculators, which eventually became PDAs, which eventually evolved into what is now a Smartphone. But back then, in the late 70’s, what I got was a digital display that could (revolutionary!) scroll text across block windows that made 8 look like two squares, so I’ll leave it to you to imagine what the font looked like for alphanumeric text that is scrolling. Programs were stored on a small magnetic strip that you pushed through a slot — I knew exactly how to get the “Hunt the Wumpus” strip, feed it through the reader, and then play a text based game that had me hunting around an imaginary maze trying to use the clues to figure out where the monster was before he ate me.

When I was 8, my dad decided that his children should learn how to use computers, because he very wisely foresaw that these were the way of the future. He got us a TI99/4a, and taught us how to program in BASIC on it. Also, how to touch type. I started writing my own programs right away — I wanted to make programs that were like my old favorite, “Hunt the Wumpus”. So I very quickly graduated from the “HELLO WORLD” program (though, at 8, it was probably more like, “HELLO BOOGER FACE”) to figuring out if/then statements. I remember the joy I had when I discovered how to use the GOTO statement to create a loop that could cycle me through the if/then statements until it came to the conclusion desired.

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Why I hate news rumour mongering

On April 20th, 1999 I ran the local goth website for Pittsburgh (I still own the domain, though it is dead: pghgoth.com). On that particular day, I was hanging out in my living room with a bunch of other goths trying to figure out where we were going for dinner that night when I got a phone call that went roughly like this (15 year old memory here):

caller: Hello, I’m a reporter with [some local news channel], is this Gwendolyn R. Schmidt?

me: Yes?

reporter: Do you run pghgoth.com?

me: Yes….

reporter: Are you a self-described “Goth”?

me: Yes…………….

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