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2Day in the SCV: March 7, 2010

Posted: March 6, 2010 11:23 p.m.
Updated: March 7, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Welcome to's "2day in the SCV," a compendium of today's events and a quick journey through the past, present and future.

SC Master Chorale’s Midwinter Madrigal Feast
: Santa Clarita Master Chorale 
What: Saturday Night Live meets Shakespeare in this night of feasting, live music, and a play. This is the Santa Clarita Master Chorale’s largest fundraiser of the year. Tickets $100.
When: 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Where: Hyatt Valencia, 24500 Town Center Drive, Valencia, CA 91355  
Contact: (661) 254-8886;

2day in history
Today is Sunday, March 7, the 66th day of 2010. There are 299 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History: On March 7, 1850, in a three-hour speech to the U.S. Senate, Daniel Webster of Massachusetts endorsed the Compromise of 1850 as a means of preserving the Union. (Critics bitterly denounced Webster for endorsing a compromise which included a provision for returning runaway slaves to their owners.)

Ten years ago: Texas Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore were the big winners in Super Tuesday primaries.

Five years ago: President George W. Bush nominated John Bolton to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, an appointment which ran into Democratic opposition.

2day’s Birthdays
TV personality Willard Scott is 76.  Actor Daniel J. Travanti is 70. Former Walt Disney Co. CEO Michael Eisner is 68. Rock musician Chris White (The Zombies) is 67. Rock musician Matthew Fisher (Procol Harum) is 64. Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Franco Harris is 60. Pro and College Football Hall-of-Famer Lynn Swann is 58. Tennis Hall-of-Famer Ivan Lendl is 50. Comedian Wanda Sykes is 46.  Actor Peter Sarsgaard is 39. Actress Rachel Weisz is 39.

AP odd news
Leading by the ‘Nose’
NEW YORK (AP) — Dmitri Shostakovich composed his first opera, “The Nose,” more than 80 years ago and based it on a short story written nearly a century before that.

Yet few works in the repertory seem more modern or musically challenging than this absurdist masterpiece that came to the Metropolitan Opera for the first time Friday night.

Written when the composer was just 22, the opera is adapted from a story by Nikolai Gogol about a bureaucrat in St. Petersburg named Kovalyov who wakes up to discover his nose is missing. With the logic of a nightmare, he pursues it through the town, allowing Gogol — and Shostakovich — to satirize just about every institution of Russian life: the bureaucracy, the church, the press, the police, the medical profession.

At one point, the nose takes human form and appears as a bureaucrat who outranks the befuddled Kovalyov and haughtily snubs him.
Shostakovich set this bizarre tale to a score that is brimming with energy, a riot of atonal exuberance, filled with percussion seemingly run amok, brassy vulgarity and vocal lines that punish the singers mercilessly — punctuated by a few beautiful snatches of melody.

The opera, performed without intermission, is less than two hours long, but its demands on the listener are intense.

To stage this daunting work, the Met found the perfect match for Shostakovich’s sensibility in William Kentridge, the esteemed South African artist known for his collages and animated drawings.

Even before the opera begins, the audience is greeted by a giant collage in place of the curtain. It’s teeming with a jumble of images, including political slogans and nonsense phrases in both English and Russian (“Another Kheppi Ending!” is one), street maps of St. Petersburg, a large red dot and pictures of historical figures.

Once the curtain goes up, the action takes place in movable sets that the characters sometimes drag on and off stage themselves. On a screen behind them plays a nonstop animated show, much of it featuring a grotesque oversize cartoon drawing of the missing nose, which at various times rides a horse that turns into a statue or appears superimposed over the heads of real figures from old newsreels and film footage.

One striking image occurs when Kovalyov finally gets his nose back but can’t make it stick to his face. While he keeps trying, we see a dancer — with the nose where her head should be — gracefully executing dainty ballet steps.

Camp follower

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (AP) — Here’s one Wisconsin grandmother who makes time for her grandson.

Michelle Cuestas of Green Bay used two vacation days and camped out for 43 hours to make sure her grandson would be first in line for the 2010 opening of a Stevens Point ice-cream landmark.

Belts’ Soft Serve opened for the year Friday at 11 a.m. Thanks to grandma, 6-year-old Brayden Banks placed the first order.

The Stevens Point Journal says Cuestas arrived Wednesday at 4 p.m. She planned to spend the night in her car but after locking her keys in the car, she instead slept in the Belts bathroom.

Brayden arrived Thursday morning. The two passed the last 24 hours playing games, reading and drawing.

Cuestas says the wait was worth it. She says making memories with her grandson is priceless.

No conviction
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Words have meaning. Just ask Timothy Becktel.

He’s getting a new trial because Washtenaw County Judge David Swartz failed to ask a jury to take an oath.

In 2008, Becktel was sent to prison for at least 15 years for assault with intent to murder. His appellate lawyer, James Hall, successfully argued that the verdict should be thrown out because the jury didn’t swear to return an honest decision based on law and evidence.

The Michigan Court of Appeals said Friday it must erase the verdict to preserve the fairness and integrity of the judicial system.
Assistant prosecutor David King says his office might appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. He says Becktel’s trial attorney never objected to the lack of a jury oath.


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