Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chasing the Whale: Catastrophe at the Bookstore & Praise for a new Opera

A Portland institution, and index of gentrification formerly on SW Stark where American Apparel is today, the Great Northwest Bookstore has burned. It is difficult to imagine that phoenix-like it will rise from the flames. All lovers of books should pause and mourn.

Chasing after another whale, the Dallas Opera and composer Jake Heggie have dared to turn one of the great American stories into an opera. The New York Times reviews it and says that it "opened in a blaze of glory." More on the commission and quest here.

A toast to heroic quests, whether they end in tragic failure or grand success.

(And a toast of a different sort: To open stacks, public libraries, and veneration for books. Libraries are places! And books are things! Ideas and bodies come together. May LoveSalem be wrong, wrong, wrong!)

(Image from the University of California reprint of the Arion Press Moby Dick.)

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