dailybell: 6/15/08 - 6/22/08

Saturday, June 21, 2008

2008 Summer Solstice AM and PM

Low Key Sunrise
Early this morning it was still hot- left over from yesterday – and so unusual for San Francisco. Late last night the house was too hot. It felt like we had left the heat turned on by mistake, and this morning it was still warm. All of the windows in every room were open to cool off the house. So this morning when I woke up, the scarf that stands in for a curtain was moving very softly back and forth by the window. There was no need to leave the house as the outside had already taken over. This summer solstice was warm and very bright already. So we rang the bells in he bed. Even Malcolm was more curious than sleepy for a change.

MultiKey Sunset
The bell ringing this evening at the Chapel of the Chimes was really beautiful. While the video captures only a sliver of the indoor/outdoor experience, the audio recording captures the sound and spirit of the event much better. Because of its length (11 minutes), the audio recording is highly compressed so that it would fit on the ftp site.

This evening’s event was magical and once begun, it was hard to stop. There were close to 100 people ringing bells, jingling their keys, singing, crashing cymbals and continuing to perform their own music through the sunset bell ringing observance. I walked around 2 adjacent spaces with the recorder and captured the local sound. However, people incorporated the observance into their sets and Norman went outside and rang the loud bell in the back of the car. The exuberance of this experience reminded me of the evening sunset celebrations in India. I would love for this to happen everyday.

One scheduled performer withdrew from participating this year. He objected to the bell ringing on the grounds that it would be bad luck. From what I understand, this bad luck is somehow related to Vampires and is based in Chinese thought. I certainly do not wish to invoke or cause any harm with this activity and would like to know more about it. Does anyone have any information or insight into this?

Interested in a review?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Accordion Sun Crossings

Here’s the approach and departure to and from the summer Solstice this year.
In San Francisco, the sun rose at 5:47 AM everyday this week (June 9 – 16). The sunset, however, continued to creep a little bit later each day. Imagine a ball tossed into the air as it reaches the top of the arc. This is how I think of the rate of change in sunlight at the end of the day. As the sun rounds the far end of it’s ellipse, the rate of change slows down. The sunrise has reached its earliest point for the year while the sunset is edging to it’s latest point. The latest time that the sun sets is 8:36PM and it continues to set at that time from June 23- July 2.
Solstice Info

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Chapel of the Chimes- Solstice Ringing

INVITATION- BYOB (that's - bring your own bells)

Anyone in the Bay Area, don't miss this year's summer solstice celebration at Chapel of the Chimes. The sun sets at 8:34 PM in Oakland on the summer solstice this year. I realize that many people may already be gone by then, and that's OK. But I'd like to invite whoever is still around- performers and public - to ring bells wherever they happen to be.
Usually the bell ringing is not associated with anything other than the sunrise or sunset. However this is such a special place and time, I would like to dedicate this evening's observance to remembering. We could call it "In Memory Of..." and people could elect to ring in memory of someone or not. I will have a few bells on hand, but if you have your own bells or other little noisemakers, please bring them."
Chapel of the Chimes is an annual event created by Sarah Cahill which takes place in the Garden of Memory at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, California.. It is a walk-through concert at the Julia Morgan-designed Chapel of the Chimes wherein audience members move through the environment with new music ensembles performing simultaneously throughout the spaces. Here is some more specific information about time, location and price.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Second Week of June

6/9 AM Coney Island
Liz and I headed for the subway at 4:00 this morning. We were determined to go to Coney Island to see the sun rise over the ocean. It was dark when we left and by the time we emerged from underground after waiting forever for the trains, it was beginning to be light. Once I realized that we were not going to get to the beach by 5:25, I just took movies of our journey. We were alone most of the time except when it was time to ring the bells. There was one other person in our subway car and he was minding his own business a few seats away. At 5:24, I propped the camera on the edge of a seat and rang the bells as we watched the sky through the scratched up windows. When I asked the man if he wanted to ring in the sunrise with us, he said OK and as soon as he finished, he put on his orange MTA vest and got off at the next stop. Before he left, he wanted to know where we were from since he figured we must be from out of town. I know if I told he I was living here, he would have thought there might be something wrong with me. So we told him we were from San Francisco. By the time we got to the beach the sun had already risen. However, it did not come up over the water. Coney Island faces southeast. Even if we had made it on time, we wouldn’t have seen what we were looking for.

6/9/PM Hot and Loud
This is Liz’s last night here in Brooklyn. We went out back and rang the cowbells in the still 95º heat.

6/10 AM On Ceremony
Since it’s so much quieter out front, I brought the two cymbal bells out there and did a more ceremonious ringing this morning. After I finished ringing, I draped the rope with the cymbals over my shoulder and then bent down to turn off the recorder. Wham. One of those heavy little brass disks swung around and bashed me in the nose. So much for ceremony.

6/10 PM Nights of the Happy Countenance or (Whole Lotta Shaking Goin' On...)
I went with my friends Taylor and Sue to hear Caroline Bergvall and Mario Diaz de León perform together at a series produced by DIA at The Hispanic Society of America this evening. Three quarters of the way through the concert, the sun was due to set and I had to go outside. There were some parents and their restless children already standing outside.
It was beautiful and very hot out there among the statuary and unused fountain. As we stood in front of the “Knight of the Woeful Countenance” and sampled the assorted bells, some of the other people came over to see what was going on. One of the dad’s was Kenny G, and he and his son joined us in ringing down the sun. Then we returned to the performance for the last 3 pieces. It was a wonderful evening.

6/11 AM Good Morning, again
The rapid transitions between the 95º outdoors heat and the freezing cold buses finally caught up with me. My voice has gained an octave on the lower end, and I can hardly breathe through my defeated sinuses. Anyway, I woke up and went out back again for the morning ringing and recording. Maybe I am beginning to enjoy this a tiny bit. It was relatively peaceful out there in spite of the traffic and I was grateful that I was awake at that hour- even if only for a moment.

6/11 Central Park Sunset
I met with my friend, Ginger and her friend, Lisa in Central Park this evening. Every field was full of ball players when we arrived. Summer in full swing.

6/12 AM Trash Train
Lethargic. Me. The trash train.

6/12 PM Do Not Enter
After dinner, my dad and I went down to the Delaware River to see what it's like at sundown. My dad had a particular place in mind, but when we got there, the entrance to the dock was boarded up. We were running out of time before the sun set so we decided to walk down as close as we could get to the gate and ring from there. Lo and behold, it was a trick! And a good one. We almost didn't go there.

6/13 AM Plastic Playland
As many times as I have seen that big plastic structure in the playground across the street, it hardly registered in my mind as anything other than a collection of color. This morning it seemed like the only place to go. So my dad and I walked over to the schoolyard and toured the plastic playland as we rang in the sunrise.

6/13 PM Another Sunset on the J Train
Again, I almost made it. "Excuse me ladies and gentlemen..." I hate hearing that phrase on the train and even more than hearing it; I cringe just contemplating saying it myself. However, tonight as soon as I realized I would have to ring the bells on the train, I thought about saying to the completely full subway car "Excuse me ladies and gentlemen, but let me draw your attention to the sun which will be setting in one minute..." I would like to do that one of these days, but not this evening. I just wanted to get home. I did, however, have a fantastic view out the back of the train.

6/14 AM Waking up On Broadway
I am still sick. My friend Stephan was going to join me for this morning’s ringing, but when he wasn’t there in time, I did it by myself. Just as I was finishing, a man walking by the front door stopped and studied my microphone and recorder setup on the stoop. As he bent over to examine (or remove) my equipment, I ran across the street yelling to him that it was my stuff, and he looked at me and left. As I was packing up, a car pulled in front of the building, and I thought maybe it was Stephan. However, the driver shut off the engine, dropped the seat back and settled in for a little nap.

6/14 PM Grounded. Sunset in the JFK Terminal. Again.
Gigantic Thunderstorm .Torrential rains pouring through the roadways from he bridge onto the street below. Water rushing over the curbs like a stream rushing over rocks. Little water falls. All the way to the airport. Once there, we waited and waited for the storm to pass. However, because the airlines are understaffed and overbooked what used to be a minor delay has now turned into a routine marathon. While we waited inside the terminal for the thunderstorm to pass, planes full of people waited on the tarmac to deplane or to take off. Many hours after our scheduled departure, we were finally in line to take off. Then we told that there were eighty planes in front of us. So that meant another two hours inside the closed and sealed plane waiting to take off. (One good thing I’ve noticed is that my claustrophobia is fading away). When we finally arrived into San Francisco, it was 4:30 AM, and we were asked to wait a little longer for the baggage handlers to arrive for work. It was then that I realized that at some point our departure time must be determined based on our expected travel and arrival time. If our plane had left earlier than it did, we would have arrived in San Francisco at a time that was too early for the airport support personnel. I wonder if we were held in New York for a few extra hours just so that we would arrive in the morning and not the middle of the night. I imagine that there must be timetables for the latest departure and earliest departure allowed in order to coordinate with the destination airport. Has anyone else experienced this?

6/15 AM Early to Bed. Late to Rise.

It’s my birthday today. Because the plane arrived at such an early hour this morning, the timing was perfect for the sunrise ringing. As soon as we got home, Norman and I unpacked the bells, rang them and then went to sleep for a few hours.

6/15 PM Not Quite Wedding Bells

While in New York, I had missed seeing the sun actually cross the horizon. So when it was time this evening, we went down to the beach. When we arrived, we encountered a couple who had just become engaged and were there taking pictures. I had forgotten how windy and cold it is by the ocean here compared to the 90º heat of New York summer. But it is still pretty romantic.