Opera in Mainstream American Culture

With our ASL Opera project picking up steam, I was curious to know just how the “High Art” of Opera has influenced mainstream American culture over the last 50 years or so, and I was surprised to learn, via ChatGPT-4 AI, just how deeply many of the most famous Opera melodies made their way into our shared childhoods and our culturally maintained totems of relevance!

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David Boles’ Personal History: December 13, 1994

A career is an interesting thing in comparison with a life. The career is temporary, but the life is both temporal, and temporary. The other day, for some reason, Ezra Stone was bothering my mind, as I tried to remember why he had contacted me so many years ago. I did a quick search of my Google Docs and his name popped up in a document titled — “David Boles’ Personal History” — dated December 13, 1994. That file turned out to be a wowser!

I am not sure why that document was originally written. I was three years out of my MFA at Columbia University in the City of New York. Oftentimes, these personal histories are written for grants, but this file was too personal, and specific for a grant committee — the file reads as if I were forcing myself to remember what happened for some existential reason.

One thing I noticed about the file is that it is filled with names — and that still astonishes me, that so much effort and time for what I was trying to do was not really ever about the actual work, but it was more about the personalities involved. I’m an INTJ, not really a people person, so it makes sense I had more ongoing success working alone in Nebraska than I ever did working with the creative gangs in New York City. On your own, you’re on your own to live or die; I always thrived. In the City, you a play a limited role by design, and you have to hope others are as dedicated to you, and to your idea, as you are — but it never turns out that way.

Nobody wants to pay for anything; they want every idea for free; and you always hope it’s about the work — but as you’ll see — it’s never about the work. It’s only about — the money!

This document may have been a tipping point or a turning point — two years later I started Go Inside Magazine — and began writing and publishing on my own. I could serve only the Master I knew, and no longer the talents I did not understand.

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Relaunching Boles Dot Com as a Preservation Portal and Restoration Reserve

Since uploading over 500 videos to Vimeo PRO — I’ve been thinking about content and production and restoration and preservation of all the things I’ve worked on over the arc of a lifetime — and I decided now was the time to start digitizing the mountains of paper and film and video and audiotapes that engulf the small gully of my world.

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Obama and the iPod

Barack Obama gave the Queen of England an iPod.  I think the iPod is a terrific gift that was appropriately personalized with music and commemorative video — but some in the mainstream press are ticklish over their feigned outrage at Obama’s “inappropriate” gift giving style.

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Rent, the film based on the Broadway musical, is being released to theaters nationwide today. Elizabeth, Allison and I, along with hundreds of other lucky individuals, got the opportunity to see it Monday. It brought back pleasant memories of seeing Rent twice in the last six and a half years. It was also one of the best films I have seen this year, at least, in terms of English language films.

My girlfriend of the time and I had broken up and I was still quite upset. Perhaps to get my mind off of things, my mother suggested a five day trip to London followed by a few weeks in Israel with my cousin Gadi. It was during the five day stay in London that I got to see Rent – I’m not sure if Israel has gotten to have Rent produced yet, or if it would be successful. Before the breakup, we were going to go and see Beauty and the Beast on my birthday – that being July 30th. I gave her back the tickets when we broke up as I felt that it would be inappropriate to see it given the circumstances. Interestingly enough, I ended up leaving for London on my birthday.

The flight was one of the best I have ever had, chiefly because I had a box of Krispy Kreme donuts and was more than willing to share them. The airline steward asked if I had brought enough for everyone. Sadly, I did not, but he was okay with that. Some of them came over to my seat to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me, and I think I just about had an entire pot of British Airways tea. Honestly, I’m not sure what sort of tea they use. It’s certainly not Tetley.

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