PEACEMAS: We're going to be honest. Sometimes we're a tad cavalier about how we spend your time, shooing you off to some golf tournament or pancake breakfast or elementary school science fair. Now that we've got that startlingly candid admission out of the way, we promise you that there is no better use of your time this weekend than to attend a rare, if not the first, performance of Karl Jenkins' intense and beautiful "The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace," at 3 p.m. Sunday at the First Congregational Church of Long Beach, 241 Cedar Ave.
"The Armed Man" debuted in 2000 at the Royal Albert Hall in London and has been performed more than 1,000 times since then. Based on the Catholic Mass, a frame used frequently in classical music, the work is sweeping and eclectic, weaving in bits of the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, the Islamic call to prayer and the Bible's Psalms and Revelations, plus poetry by Rudyard Kipling, John Dryden, Jonathan Swift, Hiroshima survivor Toge Sankichi, and Guy Wilson, who writes about the guilt felt by surviving soldiers of the Great War.
It's a powerful and elegant work - it seems almost jarring to say this: Check it out on YouTube.
First Congregational and Wilson High choir director Curtis Heard will lead the Sanctuary Choir and Chamber Orchestra, with soloists Amin Momand, Megan O'Toole, Lisa Bode Heard, Carlos Carlos and Leeav Sofer, with violinist and Mozart Festival finalist Annelle Gregory playing the first movement of Tchaikovsky's violin concerto.
DON'T GO DOWN THERE!: Here's something to do this weekend: Check out your house to see if it has a large basement. Telltale signs might be a trap door under the rug in the hallway, or a door off the kitchen with stairs leading down into the murky darkness, or maybe some sort of entry on the outside of your home.
We checked our house. Nothing. Just a bunch of dirt down there where there should be a basement with a plaid couch and an old console TV where the kids could hang out and drink beer and play bumper pool.
Or where something horrible involving slashing and dismemberment could take place.
As you probably know, crews from the pleasantly violent Showtime series "Dexter" have been busy Miami-ing up Long Beach in recent weeks: They practically live on Bay Shore Drive now, having painted three homes in colors from the gaudy Floridian coastal palette.
Now, and rather quickly, they're looking for a Long Beach home with a large basement. And never mind what they're going to use it for. If we told you, you'd never be able to sleep in your home again.
"Large" is the operative word here. Don't call John Robinson with anything less than a large basement. "If you have a basement and you think it could be larger, don't call," he pleads.
If you have a basement, and you can't imagine it being any bigger, and you don't mind something grisly going on in it for a day or two, call Robinson at Long Beach Locations, 562-900-1928.
HOME SHOW: Fix up your home. Seriously. You're killing property values with your dowdy lack of curbside appeal. We're only telling you this because we want to help you. And because we haven't actually been in your house, we're guessing it could use some tweaking in terms of, well, paint, for starters, and carpet/flooring and appliances and lighting.
Here's what you do: Go to the South Bay Home & Garden Show today through Sunday at the Long Beach Convention Center.
You'll find hundreds of exhibits, plus seminars and workshops on the latest in how your home should look as opposed to, say, the way it looks now.
Admission is free, though you'll find ways to spend some money before this battle is over. Show hours are noon to 7 p.m. today; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
FRIDAY PLAYLIST: It's the last Friday in February, which, by law, makes this the last Friday Playlist of Black History Month, featuring the musical contributions made by black musicians. Today's list, in keeping with the initial theme of today's column (go back and look) features songs about peace. Doesn't mean you shouldn't turn it up loud.