ASCAP Panel – and Silverlake meadow

Saturday was a busy day, with both the two-hour opening of the Silverlake reservoir meadow (for a community meeting to discuss whether or not it should be opened to the public full-time), and a panel appearance at the ASCAP “I Create Music Expo.” First, the expo.

The panel, part of the three-day ASCAP conference here in LA, was called “Composing Your Career.” Here’s the description from ASCAP: “John Corigliano has invited some of his former students to discuss their own careers, and the paths they have taken to achieve their goals. Check out these young composers who have had the good fortune to study with a master teacher.” The panelists were John Corigliano, Eric Whitacre, Andrew Norman, Mason Bates, and I.

Before the panel, AEJ and I met up with John Corigliano, Mark Adamo, and Mason Bates at the pool at Corigliano’s hotel. We had cocktails and mini-hamburgers, pool-side. It was sunny, and the weather, the pool, and the completely over-the-top breast implants surrounding the pool made the whole experience feel exceptionally L.A. The implants were considerably more round (and large) than these buns.

Within a minute of getting out the camera to get this picture, security ran over and threatened to confiscate my camera. It seems that the fancy Hollywood hotels don’t like uninvited cameras at their pool.

The panel was fun. Eric (far left) spent some of the panel preaching to the composers in the audience to self-publish and keep their copyrights. He also had invaluable advice about how to get your music “out there.” I talked about setting rates and why rental makes more sense in my case, and Eric and I tag-teamed to discuss how consortia work. Mason (next to Corigliano) talked about incorporating electronics into concert music (of which he is the master). Andrew (between me and Eric) talked a little about the Rome Prize. (Andrew is currently living in Rome.) We all just tried to sound worthy of sharing a stage with our former teacher. (It’s tough, when you have to follow sentences that start, “when I won the Oscar…”)

Apparently when I speak, I use my hands a lot. Either that, or I’m doing a magic trick.

Here, Whitacre gets the crowd laughing.

After the panel, I met one of my favorite film composers, Patrick Doyle (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and almost every Kenneth Branagh film), who happened to have been in the audience for the discussion. We chatted for quite a while after the panel. What a kind, funny guy.

Earlier that day, AEJ and I had a very different experience — in a very different part of LA. We live right on the Silverlake reservoir, an active reservoir here in LA. There is a jogging/bike path around the reservoir, and it appears that the path will soon be separated from the road to make it safer. Part of that plan might include opening up a currently fenced meadow that is right on the water. Here’s a shot of that meadow, as seen from the current jogging path.

Yesterday morning, the city opened up the meadow to the public and held a public hearing to discuss the pros and cons of opening the meadow to the public full-time. Lots of people came to hear the comments, which was encouraging to see.

Anybody was permitted an opportunity to speak, and to be heard by the area congressmen. The speakers included AEJ (who hadn’t planned to speak when we arrived, but soon changed her mind), and the renowned architecture photographer Julius Shulman.

It was nice to see the water from this new angle, and unobstructed by a fence.

Here’s a picture of our dream house, John Lautner’s Silvertop, as seen from the water’s edge. (It’s the awesome house at the top of the hill with the rounded concrete roof.)

The meeting was interesting to hear, but personally, I’m against opening the meadow to the public. As it currently exists, it’s the home for wildlife like nesting blue heron and a family of coyotes (which we see — and hear! — frequently). There’s already green space at the bottom of the reservoir (which goes largely unused), in addition to the large dog park (which was once nice, but is now uncared for and has become a nasty dust/shitbowl area). With the new jogging path, people will be able to jog right next to the meadow and the lake, without disturbing the grass itself. If the meadow is opened, the grass will be killed, the wildlife will be killed or driven out (and I think most people would prefer the coyotes be in the fenced meadow rather than on the streets), traffic will get worse (if that’s even possible), and parking will be a nightmare. I’m all for improving the jogging path — it’s where I run every day — but opening the meadow is short-sighted. Nobody even takes care of the dog park. Who’s going to pay to care for the lawn and pay for the re-seeding that will be necessary every year? Central Park has the Central Park Conservancy to maintain the Great Lawn and the Sheep’s Meadow. Silverlake, even with its million dollar-plus homes around the perimeter, has no such thing.

And did I mention that I love that I live across the street from a den of coyotes — and I’d like them to remain there? Six months ago, I wanted the meadow opened. I thought it would be fun to have lunch on the lawn by the water (while trying to avoid getting hit in the head by Frisbees). Now, I think it’s a terrible idea. If you were a rabbit, a bird, or a coyote, would you prefer this…

Or this?


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