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Chamber of earthly delights
Expanded from the 9-21-2008 Daily Sparks Tribune

Less than a hundred invitees showed up for Friday's dress rehearsal of the Reno Chamber Orchestra's world premiere of composer Joseph Schwantner's Chasing Light.

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Updated math behind the move
Updated 11-16-2008

Charter Communications plans to illegally move four channels of analog to the digital tier.

One channel of analog bandwidth accommodates two to 10 channels of digital programming, depending on the complexity of the streams. High-definition movies eat up a lot of bandwidth.

A Charter statement quoted on TV-4's Aug. 4, 2008, 11:00 p.m. newscast said that Charter is doing this to "free up more bandwidth for high definition channels."

Charter thus gains bandwidth for between 8 and 40 digital channels by banishing community TV to the digital tier, a net gain of 4 and as many as 36, depending on content.

Charter VP Marsha Berkbigler, in her first speech to the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee in Dec. 2002, said each additional channel is worth $1 million a year to Charter — and that's at 2002 prices.

So Charter stands to make between $4 million and $36 million by doing this, unadjusted for inflation.

Talks with Charter fruitless
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 9-7-2008

Sparks, Washoe, Carson and Douglas consumers urged to contact their local governments to join the fight against Charter
Surge.TV 8-25-2008, Updated 8-28-2008

Evil empire eats its appetite
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-24-2008

Bandwidth bandidos admit their greed
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-17-2008

Sue the bastards
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-10-2008

Deregulation means never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-3-2008

Last year's columns about skulduggery at the Nevada Legislature which led to this mess

Barbwire.TV: 15-year overnight success
Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
mp3 file


The pile of unused pre-printed name badges at the front door of the reception at UNR's student union comprised a who's who of local officials. They really blew it this time.

After the RCO went through Schwantner's two works (with the composer hisself interrupting the conductor with tweaks and suggestions), most of those bused to Nightingale Hall left.

By the time the chamber orchestra came out of the closet to rehearse two Beethoven chestnuts, only 16 of us diehards were left. In my experience, a chamber orchestra is generally supposed to have less than two dozen musicians and specialize in smaller works not requiring full symphony numbers. The RCO has been expanded to more than 50 for this concert, above their normal staffing of 40-something.

Those who left early missed a great show. Two of Ludwig Van's greatest hits were smashing successes. His most famous work, the Fifth Symphony, and the ballet Creatures of Prometheus were delightful, making full use of the extra instruments needed to perform the more bombastic elements of Schwantner's works. The great Hector "100 musicians is not enough" Berlioz would probably applaud the power just half that number can produce when a capable conductor evokes full concert volume.

Just watching coach…er, conductor Theodore Kuchar call the signals as the game proceeded became an interactive sporting event from the back of the percussion section out to the peanut gallery. I think RCO is going to have to budget for a whole new set of drumheads after this weekend.

Second viola Tianna Harjo informed me during a break that Kuchar also conducts the Fresno Philharmonic back in the town of my birth. He probably has a couple of my old (and getting older) compadres from the Fresno State music department under his baton down in the Raisin City.

One more performance is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. today at Nightingale Hall up at the U. It's worth the forty bucks. Students and seniors get in cheaper. Call (775) 348-9413 for availabilities.

If you can afford it, I strongly suggest that you go. You will probably never get another chance at a world premiere of an important work.

It's uplifting in every respect. The 240-seat Nightingale Hall is acoustically excellent. The last time I was there, the far less inspiring floor show was a wrestling match between State Sen. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, vs. future Gov. Jim the Dim, R-19th Century. The music of the night completely absolved any of the sins of follytix still residing in the building.

Ladies, if your guy doesn't want to take you this p.m., tell him that the majority of the orchestra is female and they are all drop-dead gorgeous. So even football stud puppies who would normally spend Sunday afternoon trying to look up an NFL cheerleader's socks will get a better eye candy fix by going to the U this afternoon.

I was especially impressed by the youthful energy of the personnel. Concertmaster (that's code for lead violin) Ruth Lenz is all of 32. Excuse me, that's Dr. Ruth Lenz, recently awarded her PhD in music. A fourth-chair violin, a Penelope Cruz lookalike, is all of 15.

Turns out there are about a half-dozen members of the legendary local musical Lenz family in the RCO, including cellist John and featured oboist Andrea. (Elizabeth Lenz Elementary School is named after their matriarch.)

If you show up, you will see the result of Mr. Kuchar's energetic relationship with his players, but you won't see the entertaining way in which he builds it. We chosen few got to witness that Friday evening. Small-market orchestras never have enough rehearsal time. As an old trumpet player, I know that after an hour or two, your chops start to burn out. Kuchar had to keep his charges at work for more than three hours.

He knows how to lighten the workload with a good sense of humor. Several of the musicians were smiling and chuckling at Kuchar's moves as they played well into the night.

From the pieces I saw being assembled Friday, you will see a very tight and energetic performance today.

Schwantner's 18-minute, four-movement Chasing Light commences and concludes electrically and bombastically.

The RCO is also presenting his 1983 New Morning for the World: Daybreak of Freedom with narration provided by City of Reno Finance Director Andrew Green.

Mr. Green is blessed with a great baritone voice, but the quotes from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., have become clichés and further homogenize a firebrand reformer into a bloodless statue, as has been done with Robert Frost, Woody Guthrie and so many others.

More about the Ford Foundation's Made in America Campaign

58 Orchestras, 50 states

Mr. Schwantner would do well to rewrite the narration to make King more relevant to today's turmoils.

Some of the passages in the work are also a bit dated, the kind of generic stuff one expects in modern American composition, but these are only small flaws in what was, for me, a magical evening of watching great art being assembled in a little music factory right here in River City.

PEACE DAY: If you prefer outdoor art, hie thee down to the Wingfield Park Amphitheater in downtown Reno from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. today as local activists celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the United Nations International Day of Peace. Over 50 community organizations will have information tables to encourage involvement and volunteering. Entertainment includes Guitar Woody and the Boilers, Jahzilla, the Notables, SEED and more. And it's free.

Be well. Raise hell.

...and more ammo

The Dean's List

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.

      RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?

Phillips, Kevin; Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know
Harper's Magazine; May 2008; page 43
Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.

NAOMI WOLF: Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps
There are some things common to every state that's made the transition to fascism. Author Naomi Wolf argues that all of them are present in America today.
Alternet 5-20-2007

Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007. I love it when heavy hitters validate what I've been saying for years in the tiny Sparks Tribune.

Barlett, Donald L. and Steele, James B.; America: What Went Wrong? (1992); America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? (1994); America: Who Stole the Dream? (1996) ; Andrews & McMeel/Universal Press Syndicate. For additional comments on the work of the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning team, use the search engine and sweep for "Barlett."

Review of Alex Carey's Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia

The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey
Excerpted from the book available below

ORDER Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press

     SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.

     By one conservative estimate, the corporate right has spent about $3 billion over the past three decades manufacturing public opinion to suit big business goals. Lapham's number covered the early 1970's to the present day. Alex Carey noted that by 1948, anti- New Deal corporate propaganda expenditures had already reached $100 million per year, not adjusted for inflation, for advertising alone. (Carey, ibid; page 79)

     Adjusted for inflation, that 1948 $100 million becomes $801,659,751.04 in 2005 dollars.

Conservatives Help Wal-Mart, and Vice Versa
As Wal-Mart struggles to rebut growing criticism, it has discovered a reliable ally: conservative research groups.
New York Times 9-8-2006; Free registration may be required.

      BARBWIRE: Labor Day '94: People vs. corporate con job, 9-4-94
Chilling forecasts from Alex Carey

      BARBWIRE: The Nevada Republican Party Becomes Communist, 3-30-97
A prescient Plato on the dangers of oligarchy

The sands of time do not cloud the long memories of the sheiks of Araby
Barbwire 9-10-2006

      Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966 | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
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Copyright © 1982-2008 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 39-year Nevadan, editor of and, former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee and serves as political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. He hosts live news and talk (775-682-4144) Monday through Friday, 2-4:00 p.m., at Barbwire.TV and Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter cable channels 16 (for at least the next 90 days) and 216. E-mail As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988. Tempus fugit.


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