Thursday, December 14, 2017

“Just You and I”: Performance, Nostalgia, and Narrative Space in The Return

By Katherine M. Reed

Part 13 of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks: The Return approached its close, as had become expected, with a performance at the Roadhouse. As the opening guitar riff began, though, a collective groan rose among Twin Peaks fans. Creator David Lynch, in his perversity, had brought back one of the most mocked musical moments of the original series: James Hurley’s heartfelt throwback, “Just You.”

This musical performance was just one of many gigs at the Twin Peaks hotspot in The Return. Most episodes were marked by a final performance on the stage of the Roadhouse; most of these came from bands who exist in our own world, not just the fictitious narrative of the show. These Roadhouse scenes received a fair amount of fan attention<1>: did these vignettes have secret meanings? Just what was going on at the Twin Peaks Roadhouse?

Though this string of musical performances is diverse and resists easy interpretation, we can see each of them as serving an important narrative purpose. Here, with “Just You,” Lynch and Frost open up the world of Twin Peaks, questioning our nostalgic view of the town and the show, and bringing it much closer to our own world. Lynch is tapping into a favorite trope throughout his oeuvre: the performance of a familiar song by characters within the diegesis.<2> Typically providing us with an onscreen surrogate through whom to understand the performance, Lynch plays with our connections to the selected pre-existing music while giving us a lens through which to make sense of the scene and to enter more deeply into the narrative world of the work.<3> As Kathryn Kalinak has noted of the original Twin Peaks, the series’ music “gains its power by activating powerful conventions embodied in these models [film and television] and then both transgressing and reconstructing them.”<4> The Return plays with the expectations set by the original series, drawing on twofold nostalgia (for the song and the era it represents, and for the show itself) to complicate our experience.

Of course, The Return can be watched and enjoyed without previous knowledge of the show’s original run. I would argue, though, that Lynch and Frost seem to have conceived of this revival as existing in dialogue with their earlier work. In visual allusions, character interactions, and reused footage, The Return makes itself very difficult to watch without reference to the 1990-91 episodes. Twin Peaks has long been concerned with the passage of time (“I’ll see you again in 25 years”<5>), and this focus continues through Mark Frost’s summation of the show’s history to this point in The Final Dossier.<6> Given this, I approach this scene from the position of a repeat viewer of the show, drawing connections among episodes, though I acknowledge that this is not the sole possible spectator position.

The original “Just You” is sung in the second season of Twin Peaks by James, Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle), and Maddie Ferguson (Sheryl Lee). Singing in the Hayward living room, the three perform for no audience but each other. The song is presented as a simple (if melodramatic) expression of teenage love, and its musical expression is built to match. “Just You” begins with a simple guitar riff that will serve as the counter-melody for James’ repetitive vocal line in the first verse. At the end of the verse, a bass line and spare drum set accompaniment enter, though neither instrument is present in the scene. The girls also join with echoing vocal interjections that flesh out a bit of sparse harmony. The sound of the song is unnatural, with vocal echoes on James’ line and phantom instruments. It intentionally sounds like a transmission from the past in its doo-wop style.<7> In line with the song’s lyrical content, the scene shows the growing feelings Donna has for James, brought to the fore by James’ love song. As Michel Chion notes, James and Donna are both characters whose legibility as types allows them to “enable identification” for the audience and draw us deeper into their drama.<8> Lynch’s careful use of reaction shots<9> (see chart below) accomplishes much the same.

In The Return, the song operates differently, both evoking and challenging its original presentation, though the sound itself remains exactly the same. We witness “Just You” through the eyes of an underdeveloped character, Renee (Jessica Szohr), whose backstory is unknown. Given the lack of information about the character, we are unable to identify with her engagement in the performance. Rather, we can see her reaction as a reflection of Donna’s, and the performance as an echo of the original. The end result is that, rather than being drawn deeper into the insular diegesis of the show, we are forced to confront these performances as existing in our own world. At the Roadhouse, we as audience members are witnessing performances of songs we may know, by their original performers, in a space which seems to transgress the boundaries of Twin Peaks’ narrative as we have come to know it. Lynch embraces the idea of the Roadhouse as a liminal space, but here it is a space between the reality of The Return and our own reality.

“Just You” illustrates this liminality perfectly. First, the sound of the song: The Return uses the same recording from Season Two, as many online commenters immediately noticed. Indeed, James Marshall himself was surprised at Lynch’s reuse of the recording without any editing. Just as Mark Mazullo has described in the original iteration, this recording again makes its remove from live performance felt very clearly. In this new performance, there’s yet another remove: the presence of our memory of the original, and this performance’s very direct doubling of it.

That doubling is not only musical, but also visual. Accompanying James on stage are two young brunette singers, dressed in cardigans and strikingly reminiscent of Donna and Maddie. More than that, though, Lynch frames this sequence to subvert our expectations, built from our repeated experience of the original.

As the chart below shows, Lynch shoots the opening of the performance similarly: showing James performing, and his love interest responding. It’s in the second verse, though, that The Return forces us to confront the falseness of our nostalgic reading. Lynch gives a wide shot of the entire stage, revealing the Maddie and Donna dopplegängers. We’re confronted with an image of James, aged more than 25 years since the original, as we hear his voice from the 1990 recording and see the reflection of his former youthfulness in the female singers. It’s here that Lynch inserts wide shots of the audience, dark and anonymous, further shattering the illusion that we could somehow witness the return of the childlike, intimate original performance. In conjunction with Renee’s incongruously intense crying, we are unable to enter the scene by identifying with her and are instead left to grapple with the distance from which we, and The Return, regard the memory of Twin Peaks.

It’s fitting that this performance comes in this particular episode. Though The Return was deeply concerned with nostalgia and the passage of time, Episode 13 in particular reminds us, in each storyline, of the disruption caused to our memory of Twin Peaks by the passage of time. A stultified Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) shows a glimmer of recognition at the smell of coffee and the sight of cherry pie – but that glimmer is soon snuffed. Big Ed Hurley (Everett McGill) and Norma (Peggy Lipton) appear to have finally found a way to be together when we see them at the Double R Diner—but it quickly becomes apparent that they’re still just friends. Even the Double R’s legendary cherry pie isn’t safe from the ravages of time, as Norma’s new business partner tells her it’s simply not profitable anymore. Throughout The Return, Lynch and Frost shatter our nostalgic view of the original Twin Peaks, but it is in this Roadhouse performance that the passage of time, in Twin Peaks as in the real world, is most clearly communicated, and our nostalgia for the Twin Peaks of our memory is questioned.
<1>For more on the Twin Peaks online fan community, see Henry Jenkins, “’Do You Enjoy Making the Rest of Us Feel Stupid?’:, the Trickster Author, and Viewer Mastery,” in Fans, Gamers, and Bloggers: Exploring Participatory Culture (New York: New York University Press, 2006), 115-133.
<2>Gene Willet has discussed Lynch’s use of popular music as a catalyst for the shift into Lacanian fantasy. See, for example, Gene Willet, “Popular Music as Fantasy in David Lynch,” in Popular Music and the New Auteur: Visionary Filmmakers After MTV, ed. Arved Ashby (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 87-108.
<3>For more on this practice in Lynch’s films, see Katherine Reed, “’We Cannot Content Ourselves with Remaining Spectators’: Musical Performance, Audience Interaction, and Nostalgia in the Films of David Lynch,” Music and the Moving Image 9, no. 1 (Spring 2016): 3-22.
<4>Kathryn Kalinak, “’Disturbing the Guests With This Racket’: Music and Twin Peaks,” in Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks, ed. David Lavery (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1995), 83.
<5>Link to clip from season 2 finale:
<6>See, for example, Mark Frost, Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier (New York: Flatiron Books, 2017), “Interoffice Memorandum, September 7, 2017.”
<7>James Marshall notes that the song was essentially composed on set as a collaboration between Angelo Badalamenti, David Lynch, and himself. See Pieter Dom, “How David Lynch, Angelo Badalamenti, and James Marshall Wrote James Hurley’s ‘Just You,’” Welcome to Twin Peaks, August 13, 2017. Accessed October 21, 2017.
<8>Michel Chion, David Lynch, translated by Robert Julian (London: BFI Publishing, 2006), 101.
<9>For more on Lynch’s manipulation of reaction shots, see Chion, David Lynch, 177-179.
Katherine Reed is an assistant professor of musicology at California State University, Fullerton. Her research interests include musical semiotics, the use of pre-existing music in film, and British popular music, particularly David Bowie’s works of the 1970s. Reed’s work has appeared in Music and the Moving Image, The Avid Listener, and the Society for American Music’s Digital Lectures series. Her current book project, Hooked to the Silver Screen: David Bowie and the Moving Image, is supported by a research fellowship at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame library and archive.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

There’s Always Music in the Air: Sound Design in Twin Peaks: The Return

By Brooke McCorkle

David Lynch has always walked the fine line between painter and cinema director, and I believe we can attribute another title to his name: sound artist. Lynch, who has recorded two studio albums of his own, regularly participates in development and placement of sound in his films. For example, in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (FWWM) he personally calibrated sound levels when mixing the music. As explained in a New York Times interview, Lynch’s involvement with sound design continued with the unexpected and welcome extension of the Twin Peaks story in 2017’s The Return. Throughout the season’s eighteen episodes, ostensibly diegetic sounds are hyper-rendered; that is, they are not faithful reproductions of realistic sound.  Instead, sounds are manipulated (rendered) to evoke the desired feelings, emotions, and affects of the given situation. Hyper-rendering itself is not an uncommon technique; it is a staple of horror films and avant-garde cinema. Twin Peaks: The Return fuses these genres in terms of sound as much as narrative, a combination Lynch rehearsed in previous works ranging from Eraserhead (1977) to Mulholland Drive (2001).

Yet the sound design in The Return stands apart from the previous two seasons of Twin Peaks. Most notably, the specificity of the sound rendering marks effects as playing a significant aural role relevant to the narrative. That is, these sounds are hyper-rendered not just for an ephemeral “jump scare” moment, but rather are in service of the story and/or the overarching aesthetic of the Twin Peaks world. Lynch paints his apocalyptic portrait as much in sound (and in music, as Reba will discuss) as he does in visuals and in dialogue (a kind of sound object as well, especially when treated by Lynch). The hyper-rendering endows sound with an element of viscerality; it feels real, tangible, plastic. Sounds such as the buzz of electricity, the repetition of a bit of dialogue on television, the rumble of an atomic bomb all, despite being just vibrations in the air, certainly have tangible effects on the human bodies of auditor-spectators. The viscerality of these hyper-rendered sounds thus reinforce the corporeality of the audience as well as the characters. The people of Twin Peaks feel more real to us because the sounds feel more real. And perhaps none are more real than Laura, the tortured sweetheart, the dark woman, the damned daughter. The unnatural sounds of a distorted diegesis as exemplified in the many Black Lodge scenes are the very incarnation of the wrongness of Laura’s life and death. Hints of this slip into the real world of Twin Peaks in the form of everyday sounds like near-omnipresent electric humming. If we don’t listen, these seem fine, common, normal. But attending to them reveals a twisting of the real world into something surreal.

Lynch and his team’s creative use of mixing works to musicalize sound effects, allowing them to enter the “fantastical gap” as outlined by Robynn Stilwell.<1>  The blurring between the real and the fantastic is a Lynchian aesthetic prominent in many of his works, including The Return. In other words, sound punctures the boundary between the “real” sound of the diegetic world and the “fantastic” sound of the non-diegetic realm. For the remainder of this essay, I want to focus on one specific sound effect that illustrates this porosity: Electricity.

Why electricity? It is an effect that fascinates Lynch, as evidenced by his response to a fan at a Cambridge, MA screening of Inland Empire. Electricity is a striking effect in FWWM, and works in a sense to bring the film’s aesthetic into the televisual episodes of The Return. It is an effect that permeates the overall soundscape regardless of the location—the Great Northern Hotel, small-town trailer parks, Las Vegas, suburban homes, diners, bars, morgues, and middle-of-nowhere roads. The aural effect is ever-present, yet rarely is the source of it completely revealed. Almost anything can produce the sound of electric buzzes, whether it is a low humming or whiny whirr; thus, the sound is suggested but  unlocatable. That is, there are many possible sources, but in the many instances where the effect is present not one definitive source can be singled out. By hyper-rendering the sound of electricity, Lynch compels auditor-spectators to question the electrical sources. We may search for the sound source, but our hunt is as hopeless as Ben and Beverly’s similar pursuit for the source of a mysterious sound in the Great Northern hotel.

Occasionally, however, electricity does seem to be emitted by specific sources. Pole number 6 is an example of this. It appears in FWWM as well as in Episode 6, after a little boy’s death in a hit and run. The pole also appears in the final episode, in front of the house of Carrie (Laura Palmer’s alternate-reality twin) in Odessa, Texas. And while there are numerous theories about the relationship between these appearances of pole number 6, there are no definitive answers to its location nor to why its sound is so prominent, so loud in the mix. Electricity in a sense is transitory, as it is rooted in energy. It can travel distances, even planes of existence in Lynch’s world. This quality links it to the evil of the dark lodge, Bob, and Judy. Like electricity, the evil is transitory, or to put it better, transmigratory. Bob is a metempsychotic spirit, as is (I suspect) Judy.

But good can also be linked to electricity and mobility as much as evil. In Episodes 15-16, Agent Cooper finally returns thanks to a jolt of electricity brought on by his (alter-ego/former-future tulpa) Dougie Jones sticking a fork into an electrical socket. In this scene, maybe we can better understand the sound of electricity as a characteristic of this invisible ether, an amoral tool for spirits beyond the tangible world. Indeed, electricity is something a bit magical. We observe its effects in lights, appliances, and such, but we never see the thing itself. To touch it is to invite pain and even death. Perhaps by emphasizing the hyper-rendered sound effect of electricity, Lynch is asking us listeners to consider how invisible forces act upon us humans in the reality of our existence.

In Episode 14, Lynch’s character Gordon Cole recalls his dream with Monica Belluci, “We are like the dreamer who dreams, and then lives inside the dream...But who is the dreamer?” The sound design is what puts us as auditor-spectators inside the dream of the Twin Peaks world; if we listen, we can hear sound as both real and fantastic, and we become both the dreamer and the resident of dreams. Sound is the vehicle for slippage between reality and dreams in Twin Peaks. And the hyper-rendering of effects like electricity, with the affect of anxiety, lingers long after we leave our screens for the mundane. As Lynch proves, an uneasy dream slipping into reality is still better than no dream at all.

<1>Robynn Stilwell, “The Fantastical Gap Between Diegetic and Nondiegetic,” in Beyond the Soundtrack: Representing Music in Cinema, edited by Daniel Goldmark, Lawrence Kramer, and Richard Leppert (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 184–202.

Brooke McCorkle is an opera and film music scholar. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Musicology at SUNY-Geneseo. Her published and forthcoming works address topics as varied as Star Trek Concerts, Wagner reception in Japan, and ecological critiques in monster cinema. Please see here for more information.

Quick Takes on Twin Peaks

Musicology Now is delighted to offer a series of Quick Takes on  music and sound in the reboot of David Lynch's Twin Peaks.  Featuring posts by Brooke McCorkle, Katherine Reed, Frank Lehman, and Reba Wissner, the series takes us into the holiday season with an ear to the often uncanny music and sound design of Dean Hurley and David Lynch.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Holding Don Giovanni Accountable

By Kristi Brown-Montesano
Now am I allowed to say rapist.” — Rose McGowan tweet, 10 Oct. 2017

No one took Rose McGowan’s claims seriously. Now everyone is listening. ”— Headline in the Los Angeles Times, 13 Oct. 2017

At the end of summer 2016, just before the fall semester started, I received a commission from the Bilbao Opera to write a program note on the women of Don Giovanni. The requested subject was not a surprise. I finished my dissertation on the female characters of Don Giovanni and Die Zauberflöte in 1997; ten years later, in 2007, my book came out, expanding the coverage to Le nozze di Figaro and Così fan tutte. While I subsequently stepped away from Mozart studies, I have never tired of coming back to these characters who still have a lot to say to us.

My editor at Bilbao, Willem de Waal, took a rather gutsy stance: he encouraged me to illuminate readers about ethical criticism and to address seriously the elements of sexual assault and coercion that are central to the Don Juan stories and Don Giovanni in particular. Contemporary relevance was obvious. Willem mentioned the recent arrest of Spanish porn-film producer “Torbe” who was charged with selling child pornography, abusing female minors, and sex trafficking; there were separate accusations of forcing girls to have sex with famous footballers. Here in the US, Bill Cosby has been ordered to stand trial, charged with three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault against women. A mistrial followed when the jury deadlocked. A few weeks after I submitted my piece to Bilbao, the Access Hollywood tapes of Donald Trump surfaced: “You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. This girl—beautiful, young, flirty—I met her on the street; I came up to her, took her hand; she tried to escape…

(A parte: Oh, wait: that last bit was the Don, not The Donald.)<1>

Let me backtrack. About 25 years ago, I read The Operas of Mozart (Oxford, 1977) by William Mann, one-time principal music critic of The Times of London. The book had been listed on the Metropolitan Opera’s recommended reading for Don Giovanni in 1991, the bicentennial of Mozart’s death and the same year I decided to do a dissertation on Mozart opera. Covering the complete stage works, Mann offers historical background and lightly analytical descriptions of the musical numbers, all seemingly aimed—much like Mozart’s music—to engage both the opera connoisseur and newbie amateur. His prose is eloquent, his humor mostly English, clever and dry. But in the middle of his discussion of Don Giovanni, Mann suddenly goes into the red zone, excoriating Donna Anna, the first woman character we meet in the opera and the only one who consistently denounces Don Giovanni:

Anna is an upper-class Spanish lady who has etiquette where her feelings and brains should reside. Duty and honour are her watchword. Towards all her fellow-creatures she presents a coldly correct personality. If she loves her father it is because the Bible told her so. Her censorious anger against others is a juvenile trait. All men, to her, are beasts, and it would be beneficial to her personal growing-up if she had been pleasantly raped by Don Juan.
Pleasantly raped by Don Juan. I have never forgotten these words or stopped objecting to what they represent: deceptive and toxic misogyny masked as authoritative criticism. Mann’s oxymoronic formula relies on one of the oldest and most pernicious excuses for rape: she really wanted/needed it. And while his wording might be the most egregious, Mann’s basic position is widely echoed in the critical reception of Don Giovanni, which skews heavily in favor of the libertine aristocrat, recalling what Sunday Times book critic Raymond Mortimer wrote about James Bond in 1963: What every man would like to be, and what every woman would like between her sheets<2> . Commentators and directors have idealized Mozart’s willful, seductive, and violent protagonist, crediting him with virtues (unflagging bravery, triumphant self-determination, revolutionary resistance to oppressive societal power, and sensual idealism) that are, at best, only equivocally suggested in the original libretto.

The female characters, in turn, are judged largely in terms of charm and receptiveness to the Don’s don’t-say-no sexual advances. Resistance to him is understood as a flaw—or a lie. In the words of Kierkegaard’s fictional Mr. A, “a foolish girl it would be who would not choose to be unhappy for the sake of having once been happy with Don Juan.” Fast forward 170 years later and you find conductor James Conlon rhapsodizing that all three female characters have experienced a sexual metamorphosis, compliments of Don Giovanni: “their erotic impulses awakened, magnified and irrevocably changed by their encounter with this mythical seducer.”<3>

Yes, Don Giovanni comes from a different time. But this is a poor  excuse for partitioning opera/art from contemporary ethical values,  forever justifying behavior that—in any age—is predatory and exploitive. Does the work benefit from this protection? Do we?
The original libretto repeatedly points to abuse of power and sexual trespass, beginning with this exchange between master and servant:

Bravo! Two pretty deeds!
Force the daughter, then murdered the father!

He asked for it: his own fault.

And Donna Anna, what did she ask for?

Shut up, and stop annoying me. Come with me,
unless you’re asking for something, too.

Leporello tellingly uses the word sforzare to characterize Don Giovanni’s treatment of Donna Anna, corroborating the young woman’s own statement: “He came up on me silently and tried to embrace me; I tried to break free, he held on even more tightly; I screamed; no one came. He held a hand over my mouth to silence me, and gripped me so tightly with the other hand, I thought I was beaten.” Two other incidences of what we would categorize as sexual assault make Donna Anna’s testimony more compelling: Zerlina shrieking for help at Don Giovanni’s ball after he drags her to an antechamber, and the libertine’s own account of physical intimacy with a woman using false pretenses (she mistakes him for her boyfriend, Leporello). The woman starts yelling when she recognizes her mistake, and the nobleman has to escape over a wall. 

Erotic impulses awakened, my ass.

This season, like all seasons, Don Giovanni is being staged in cities all over the world—cities in which dead-serious conversations about sexual assault are also taking place. Here in the US, the bravura rage arias sung by Rose McGowan and other victims who would not be silenced finally unmasked the scellerato Harvey Weinstein. Like Donna Anna, the original “assalitrice d’assalita,” McGowan is outspoken and resolute. If she doesn’t conform to public expectations of a victim, this should not make her accusation less forceful, her willingness to go public less courageous, her pain less profound. We should know better.<4>

So what do we do with Don Giovanni now that the work’s headliner brand of masculinity is finally facing the heat of full-coverage public denunciation in the real world? We could chuck the whole thing, of course, but I’d like to think there are more creative ways to deal with the challenge of canonic opera’s pervasive misogyny. As a staged art form, opera offers a unique opportunity to engage thoughtfully with the racial, class, and sexual politics that old operas dramatize for new audiences. Along these lines, Adrienne Rich offers a pointedly feminist perspective, addressed to women for the deliverance of women:

“Re-vision—the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction—is for [women] more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival. Until we can understand the assumptions in which we are drenched we cannot know ourselves. And this drive to self-knowledge, for woman, is more than a search for identity: it is part of her refusal of the self-destructiveness of male-dominated society.”

“Let us rescue the innocent!” exclaim Donna Anna, Donna Elvira, and Don Ottavio at the end of Act 1, rushing to defend the honor of a common girl, a country bumpkin, a “no one” in their class-conscious world. Soon the whole crowd will confront il dissoluto revealed. No one buys his cover story, the attempt to shift the blame to Leporello. Aristocrats and peasants alike join in condemnation: “Tremble, scoundrel, the whole world will know of your black, horrendous misdeeds, of your cruel arrogance.”

This is the moment that the women of Don Giovanni have been waiting for: the seducer-predator unmasked, judged, and found guilty. Too bad the work couldn’t just end with this scene, the three sopranos united in musical line and dramatic purpose. (How often does that happen in canonic opera?) Instead, tradition dictates that Don Giovanni meet his match in the form of a supernatural patriarch, complete with hellfire and terrific scoring.

In real-life sexual assault cases, of course, there are no vindicating Stone Guests—just a rocky judicial process that stirs to life only when victims are brave enough to tell their story and take the stand. Likewise there are no “mythical seducers” who “pleasantly rape,” only men who won’t take no for an answer<5> . Powerful, educated, creative men like Matt Lauer, John Lasseter, Mark Halperin, Charlie Rose. Like Don Giovanni.

Many of the acclaimed men who are now facing serious consequences for sexual harassment and assault have long operated in a culture that preferred to look the other way, not least because corporate employers and board members saw these men as too big to fail. Their brand was more important than the rights of alleged victims. The classical music world is no less implicated in this gentleman’s agreement. There have long been rumors and “open secrets” around conductors and applied teachers, who are often gatekeepers to major career opportunities. And few such secrets have been more open than those around James Levine, operating at the very heart of opera culture in this country. The self-interested and institutional protections around these men are finally--finally--toppling under the broad societal pressure for serious investigation.

Don Giovanni falls into a parallel category: an art product whose aesthetic value and guaranteed box-office receipts have deflected critical charges against the main character. My program note for Bilbao drew a hard line: the only way to make Don Giovanni worthy of our time, if indeed that is possible at all, is to listen more closely to the women. And if we really care about opera’s continued relevance, then everyone who loves the art form—directors, conductors, singers, critics, educators, audiences—must acknowledge the connection between what we applaud on stage and what we permit in the workplace, school, home. Because Donna Elvira could tell you, the “Catalogue Aria” is not so funny when your name, or the name of someone you love, is on the list.


<1>On 28 November 2017, the New York Times reported that Donald Trump is now denying the authenticity of these tapes, allegedly suggesting that the voice in the tape was not his.
<2>Often misattributed to Raymond Chandler.
<4>And yet this just in: the presiding judge in the recent “wolf pack” rape trial in Spain decided to allow evidence about the alleged victim’s personal life and character into court, but barred the prosecutor from presenting texted conversations between the accused which apparently made plans to rape women.


Chair of the music-history faculty at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, Kristi Brown-Montesano received her Ph.D. in musicology from UC Berkeley, combining her strong interest in both musical performance and scholarly research.
Her book The Women of Mozart’s Operas (University of California Press, 2007) offers a detailed study of the female characters in the Da Ponte operas and The Magic Flute. Dr. Brown-Montesano has presented and published essays on music in contemporary film, opera, trends in marketing classical music, and musical culture in late 19th-century England.
In 2014-15, she was honored to participate in the UCLA Musicology Department’s Distinguished Lecture Series. An active “public musicologist,” she has been engaged by numerous organizations in Los Angeles, including the LA Opera (“Opera for Educators”), the Opera League of Los Angeles, the Mason House Concerts, and the Colburn Orchestra. She is especially thrilled to join the LA Phil’s “Upbeat Live” faculty this concert season.