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September 10, 2009

Cereal List parody site skewers Marin Alsop/Baltimore Symphony publicity shot


 The photo of Marin Alsop adorning the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's 09-10 season brochure makes a statement, and prompts diverse reactions.   

 I've heard it said that it looks like the conductor is swinging a golf club.

 A much more vivid interpretation has now been provided by The Cereal List, the recently launched (and, IMHO, occasionally effortful) classical music parody site. Have a look.

Posted by Tim Smith at 12:37 PM | | Comments (2)


I appreciate what this website is trying to do (lighten up the classical music scene, right?), but I guess I just don't find Cereal List all that funny. More intelligent and always funnier would be OperaChic, Parterre or even the arts marketing blog Life's a Pitch.

What's wrong with the photo? I don't get it.

Well, it does kind of look like poor Marin just got stabbed with a baton clear through the neck. Funny, isn't it? TIM

I hadn't noticed that the end of the baton _does_, in fact, appear to be jutting through the other side of Alsop's neck. (This requires a little suspension-of-disbelief, however, as we're accustomed to conductors flinging their wands all over the place.) Thanks to "Cereal List" for turning this into "The Happening." ;^)

Personally, I wasn't too fond of that particular photo in the first place; Maestra Alsop appears to be just a little _too_ intense and focused, as if something of a very personal nature is _really_ bothering her at the moment.

Whoever took this photo succeeded in getting one _very_ unflattering shot of her face, which -- thanks to makeup and lighting -- appears as if she had been either embalmed or turned into a diorama mannequin for the "London Dungeon."

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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