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Postcards from Travel Near and Far by Jia-Rui

90038, Hollywood

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Piano music in a very unusual setting

Dear ——–,

I spent a very enjoyable Friday evening at the cemetery. (How many times do you get to write that?) I parallel-parked by some gravestones at Hollywood Forever Cemetery and met up with Ruben to catch piano music by Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka. We sat down in the main hall of the Masonic Lodge, where movie posters hung on the blood-red walls and high-backed ceremonial chairs and enormous candelabra decorated the stage. I loved the dreaminess of Dustin O’Halloran’s Debussy-like pieces, but Hauschka’s sound was a revelation. He manipulated the piano’s tones and added percussion by stuffing his instrument with shakers, tambourines, duct tape and other items impossible to see in the dark. It was as if he was inspired to make his old-fashioned piano function like today’s electronic keyboards, which can change sounds at the push of a button and tap out tinny bossa nova beats. For one song, he poured ping pong balls over the strings, adding ghostly whispers to his melodies. Every now and then, when he hit a note hard, one of the balls flew up and bounced out into the audience.

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Author: postmarkhere

I'm a journalist based in Los Angeles who has always said that writing postcards for a living would be a dream job. The posts -- short enough to fit on an actual postcard -- chronicle recent travels near and far. I could blab on about being inspired by epistolary novels, the short poems of Emily Dickinson, and the New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" pieces, but I'll just say that I'm aiming to give you a sense of flavor of a place without boring you to death. Wish you were here!

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