Kaija Saariaho is a renowned Finnish composer and is the artist-in-Residence at Mount Holyoke this weekend. I had never heard of Saariaho before these last couple of weeks and finally I got to hear some of her music performed by International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). It was a striking sound. There were seven pieces in total. The reaction/emotion I felt listening to Saariaho's music was probably at times very similar to what audiences first thought of "The Right of Spring" by Stravinsky. Especially, 6 Japanese Gardens (1994) for percussion and live electronics; that piece was moving and at times evoked strong responses in me. It opened my mind and broadened my way of thinking about composition or how to use a traditional instrument in a different way.
3,000 Years Away From Home: How Wrongful Convictions Impact Family and Society was the title of this weeks lecture by Betty Anne Waters and Maddy deLone from the Innocence Project. It was another heart-wrenching lecture as Betty Anne Waters told the story of her exonerated brother who was convicted of murder. Betty Anne devoted her life to proving him innocent as she worked to get her GED, Bachelors, Masters and finally a law degree. The discovery of DNA allowed her to prove her brother's evidence. The Innocence Project is an organization that works towards small reforms that would help in eliminating wrongful convictions.
The Night Before the Exams, is an Italian film made in 2006 about the last couple days of high school before exams. It's set in Rome in 1989. I didn't realize that the French had done a remake in 2008 called Nos 18 ans, which they aired on TV constantly last summer--un film nul. Bref, Prima Notte degli Esami was quite entertaining for a teen comedy.
Sometimes I find myself on youtube watching clips of old movies. It was just one of those days and The Killers was fully uploaded in 10 segments so I started to watch it and got hooked. The Killers was Ava Gardner and Burt Lancaster's big break into the movie business. A film noir about two hit men coming to a small town, assigned to find and kill a man. The rest is a series of flashbacks as an insurance investigator looks into the murder and finds connections to an unresolved robbery two years back. Just like the movie poster says it was a TENSE, TAUT, TERRIFIC! film.
Limits of the Law is a lecture series that the Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts is holding at Mount Holyoke College this semester. Tonight's speaker was Lani Guinier, a Harvard Law professor who talked about Racial Literacy or Post-Racial Blindness: Where Should the Law Go from Here? It was a fascinating and amazing talk about to what extent are we collectively responsible for putting 1 black man in the white house and 1 million black men in prison? It was very thought provoking and the energy that Professor Guinier shared was contagious. The answer to our crisis is related, again, to education. Rather than spending $200 billion a year on law enforcement we need to direct our money, energy and time to early childhood programs, schooling, and ensuring quality education for all so that we don't disregard the creative potential of all citizens.
Tuesday February 2, 2010 was National Girls and Women in Sports Day (as well as Groundhog Day) and Mount Holyoke celebrated it by showing a documentary film made by Jenny Mackenzie about a third grade girl's soccer team that goes on to compete in the boys division and ends up winning the season: Kick Like A Girl. The movie is very sweet but also touches upon some fundamental sport issues concerning women's equality and perception in the arena of sports. Dr. Mackenzie is the mother of a girl next door from my room and she did an excellent talk after the screening about gender socialization and the fact that we still have a far way to go to making sports co-ed, especially in the younger ages when differences in skill is non-existant. The film is very sweet and funny, depicting 9 year olds learning and sharing life lessons with wisdom.
ABT II came to Mount Holyoke this weekend to perform Barbara choreographed by Aszure Barton in collaboration with ACT II Dancers, Swan Lake (Act II Pas de Deux) choreographed after Lev Ivanov, Pavlosk choreographed by Roger VanFleteren, Le Corsaire Pas de Trois staged by Wes Capman after Marius Petipa and Interplay choreographed by Jerome Robbins. ABT II is composed of 12 dancers from the ages of 16-20 handpicked from around the world. The classical company prepares these young dancers to enter American Ballet Theatre as well as other professional ballet companies. It was an impressive performance for so young a group. All of the pieces, except for Swan Lake I had never seen before so it was a nice exposure to new works. I was particularly taken with Barbara because the pieces were set to the music of Barbara, a french singer that my dad likes to listen to when he's doing the dishes.
On Wednesday, December 9th Mount Holyoke received its first dumping of snow. I woke up in the morning and was greeted with around 6 inches of bright, fluffy, powder. Snow is exquisite. The sky looked like snow itself with dark grey, dense, clouds full of frosty snowflakes.
As always Greg Mortenson is an inspiring person to listen to. I found it funny that this time he presented he was in a suit and tie which is very different from what he was wearing when he came to Bainbridge Island: a green long-sleeved shirt and khaki long pants. His mission and story continues to inspire me to support education. Perhaps I'll go to the Harvard Graduate School of Education, who knows? But if the world was as dedicated to offer an accessible education for all as Greg Mortenson we would see a change.
The reason there are so many frustrated and angry people in the Arab-Muslim world, lashing out first at their own governments and secondarily at us — and volunteering for “martyrdom” — is because of the context within which they live their lives is dominated by three deficits: a deficit of freedom, a deficit of education and a deficit of women’s empowerment. From Thomas L. Friedman's Op-Ed Column This I Believe.
President Obama's speech comes at an interesting time for me as I am starting to read Amartya Sen's book Development as Freedom, I just saw Charlie's Wilson War a couple weeks ago and Greg Mortenson is coming to MHC to talk about is his new book. Taking from Sen's idea that development is a process of expanding substantive freedoms that people enjoy and that education, health, economic and social security, and political liberty and basic civil rights all work towards expanding freedom. The issue of Afghanistan's freedom and ensuring our security would most effectively be solved by addressing education and women's empowerment. This is where Greg Mortenson comes in and inspires as well as convinces me that building of schools is the best solution.
One of my earliest memories of the english language is this poem. My mom would recite it to me when I went to bed (I think). It was the first poem I memorized in English because I always picture the red concrete in la cour de Versailles and my shadow stretching out before me when I read this poem.
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see. He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head; And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow-- Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow; For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball, And he sometimes goes so little that there's none of him at all.
He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play, And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way. He stays so close behind me, he's a coward you can see; I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!
One morning, very early, before the sun was up, I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup; But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head, Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.
Put the pie crust in a pan and lather it with mustard. Slice tomatoes and arrange them in the pie dish. Sprinkle salt, pepper and basil. Then put slices of cheese (emmental/conté) on top. Pop it into the oven for about 45 minutes and voilà! You have yourself a delicious, juicy tarte à la tomate.
I'm in love with the Young@Heart Chorus. They came to Mount Holyoke at the beginning of November and it was a fantastic, moving performance. I had never seen the movie but their fame was well known. So well known in fact that the line stretched out for hundreds of feet 45 minutes before the show started. There were two other bands that opened the show: Nate Fuller and the Dukes and Unit 7. Nate Fuller and the Dukes are students from the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts School and they are awesome. The energy they enthused was so contagious and helped set the tone for a moving performance by Young@ Heart.I was blown away by the voices of these folks.
An article from Mount Holyoke News gives a snapshot of what it was like to be in Chapin listening to such an inspiring group.
"The Young@Heart came back on stage next to do their second set. They opened with a few songs I did not recognize, but then came one I did know: "I Feel Good" by James Brown. Following this song, the director of the chorus remarked, "Well, those last few songs were our contribution to the health care debate." This was not the only bit of humor in the show. The final song of the set, Lou Reed's "Take a Walk on the Wild Side," drew bursts of laughter from the crowd. "
The picture you see is of Dora B. (Parker) Morrow who was born in 1922 and sang "I Feel Good" and danced for "Take a Walk on the Wild Side". Dora at first looks very rigid but man when she starts singing the floor shakes and when she starts dancing you want to dance too. I wish concerts had the same energy as the Young@Heart Chorus. Life would me so much brighter and happier.
Whenever it rains here in South Hadley I immediately think of home and the cloudy skies of Bainbridge Island. But on the East Coast there are no misty showers or partly cloudy days with a chance of rain. Instead it pours, drenches your clothes and soaks your skin. On the east coast it rains until you have to worry about hydroplaning on a bike or car, the river flooding...oh wait roads and lawns are flooded too! All I want to do is stay inside in my cozy bed reading and listening to the pitter patter of rain on my roof.
Hoy, yo fue a la mesa de español en MacGregor por la primera vez. It felt like complete immersion for the whole dinner which was great. Students and foreign fellows came from South America, Central America and Spain. Even if I didn't talk a huge amount it was stimulating for my brain to be surrounded with Spanish. The different accents, the pace of each person challenged me to really listen to understand the conversations. Even though I'm not taking Spanish this semester it reminded me how much I feel the need to understand or be able to communicate in another language. Unfortunately fluency and confidence won't happen unless I practice...
I just finished watching Spellbound. A film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck. The film was made in 1945. The film features an Academy Winning Score by Miklos Rozcas and a dream sequence inspired by Salvador Dali. The film was captivating and taut with excitement. It definitely was a nail-biter that kept me on the edge of my seat. The story is about Dr. Contance Peterson (Bergman), a psychiatrist. When Dr. Anthony Edwardes (Peck) becomes the new chief of staff at her institution, Constance finds her self in the middle of tangled identities, psychoanalysis and on the brink of falling in love.
A couple of times per month Bill Cunningham combines his pictures and his commentary together to form a little sketch of about 3 minutes telling you what the fashion is on the street. I just love these snapshots of New York, Manhattan or wherever he happens to be because he is able to relate the evolution of fashion to what is currently happening in modern fashion. You would think that Mr. Cunningham would not approve of some of the styles people wear, but he is inexhaustibly positive. I find that terrific! He is just brilliant. Here is a segment that I particularly like because everyone is wearing an older style... its called Tea Trot. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Stunning performance! I was speechless by the end of PNB's beautiful repertoire. This season's Director's Choice included Jerome Robbin's Dances At A Gathering, Christopher Weeldon's After The Rain Pas de Deux and George Balanchine's Symphony in C. Superbe! It was a beautiful evening to end my two years of going to the ballet due to a generous friend. This evening truly touched the emotions that make us human.
Jerome Robbins is probably my favorite classic choreographer because his pieces are always so much fun to watch and illustrate accurate portrayals of human relationships. Dances at a Gathering is set to the solo piano works by Frederic Chopin, my favorite composer, and is an hour long suite for ten dancers. I like that Robbins dreams up stories to Chopin, that's what I do when I play the piano!
The most surprising piece and the most mesmerizing was After the Rain Pas de Deux. An announcement before the curtain said that the usual dancers (Carla Korbes and Bathurel Bold) would be replaced by James Moore and Rachel Foster. A general sigh of disappointment escaped from the audiences lips and were we all wrong. The music was simple, a violinist and pianist, playing the nuances of rain while two people told the story of their evolving relationship and emotions through dance. It was simply breathtaking and after the last note was played...I was speechless and really moved. It reminded Ari and I a bit of pas de deux from last year called The Kiss.
Symphony in C was a classic Balanchine performance set to the music of Georges Bizet. Aesthetically it was really sharp and beautiful because of all these dancers in crisp white tutus and the men in midnight blue. Technically stunning.
An excerpt description from the program:
"Make more," Balanchine said when Jerome Robbins first showed him Dances at a Gathering. A major PNB acquisition, Dances has been praised as "essential Robbins, an effortless evocation of community…just music and dance create a world of sunlight and open air." (The New York Times). Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain pas de deux rendered audiences breathless at its premiere and was described as "Spare and poignant, the duet intimates a renewal of faith, the reburgeoning of love." (The Village Voice). With Symphony in C, balance, harmony and the satisfying order of classical ballet goes on virtuoso display as Balanchine's full-company pageant of technical prowess.
Tonight was the end of the season party for crew. What can I say? It has been a great year rowing and the experience has been rewarding as well as challenging. As I'm preparing myself mentally for college I can't help but be grateful for the fantastic communities on Bainbridge and rowing is just one of my communities that I really appreciate. The hard work, dedication and fun that goes into rowing has enriched my life. I love it! It's like theatre, but on an athletic level. Thank you to Morgan, Tim, Bruce, Jackie and the Bainbridge crew team for a funtastic year!
"San Francisco sans brume, San Francisco s'allume..." This was my first official trip down to california and I had a lovely time. I went down to visit my cousin and Mills College, which is in Oakland. The sun makes a difference, I have to admit. I left Seattle in a downpour and arrived in sunny San Francisco. It really fulfilled the stereotypical California that you seen in classic films: palm trees, sun, old houses.
Mount Holyoke College here I come! I had an extremely difficult time deciding between Smith and Mt. Holyoke College for multiple reasons, but mostly because I didn't want to miss what each institution has to offer. I will be going to MHC in the fall and I am scared/excited witless.
On April 17th, 2009 WSA's seniors and teacher arrived at school at 3:45 am to arrive at Sea Tac in time for a 7 something flight. So began my spring trip down to Salt Lake City, Utah where we would meet our NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) instructors. We were going to Grand Gulch Canyon for a week backpacking. It was hard, challenging, fun, painful, breathtaking, relaxing and a gift to be away from civilization for a week.(We had just finished our Senior Project Board Presentations). This trip solidified my shaky confidence of thriving in the wilderness for extended periods of longer than three days and made me realize how beautiful life is when there are no outside distractions to pull you away from being present in the moment.
This is a movie directed by Ernst Lubitsch starring Don Ameche, Gene Tierney, Marjorie Main and Charles Coburn. It's a lovely comedic movie about a deceased turn-of the 20th century playboy Henry Van Cleve (Don Ameche) who retells his life story to Satan for permission to enter into hell. Henry Van Cleve goes on to tell his tale of wooing women and his marriage to Martha (Gene Tierney). I found the film a gem of a story with plenty to laugh about, though at times the story did get a little bit slow.
"Ernst Lubitsch’s Heaven Can Wait, nominated for Academy Awards for best picture and director, is an enduring classic that showcases his trademark blend of wit, urbanity, and grace."
This year I played Sinfonia No. 6 in E Major by Bach and Fantasie in D minor by Mozart. Both pieces that I worked really hard on. I love the feeling of adjudications or performances when I feel confident with my music. My adjudicator was Dr. Karen Savage. She is the Clinical Assistant Professor of Music, Piano and Accompanying at the School of Music for Washington State University. She was fantastic! It was amazing to see how compared to many other adjudicators she was very calm and did not seemed rushed. She summed my character up after just hearing how I play my two pieces. It was interesting to realize that music can really show the personality of a person. Each time after an adjudication all I want to do with the rest of my life is play the piano.
The Damned Don't Cry, Mildred Pierce, The Women, Grand Hotel...all with the sassy character known as Joan Crawford. Viewing the special features about her life and how she developed her persona is amazing. She really was and worked at being a star. It's strange to think that today stars are not made the same way as before. The film stars are not forced to keep up an image...
Ok. I seemed to have missed the blurb that says, "Rated R for some disturbing languages". Some is a bit of an understatement since the first 30 minutes or more are pretty violent. I don't think it was a bad movie, just a hard one to digest and watch since the story was so hard. It made me think more about how people perceive violence and how much we tolerate in our media and life. I guess the PG-13 violent american films are rated that way because they only show blowing up, special effects, and not very realistic graphic action. Whereas Slumdog Millionaire was a story that depicted the life of survival in the slums of India. It's real for a lot of people in third world countries and is the horror of every nightmare. The movie showed violence/torture that we have all read in the news, but never seem to have mass protests about to end this wrong.
It was a nice long story about life. Hollywood doesn't make movies like that anymore. This was a lovely picture of a man who was born old and grows younger. Brad Pitt stars as Benjamin Button, who was born on the end of WWI in New Orleans. We follow Benjamin's journey through life, especially his love for Daisy, a girl he meets physically as an old man and marries when he is middle aged. The movie is nicely shot and poignant. The story is based on the 1922 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is directed by David Fincher.
In my humanities class we are reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Mark Chabon and that has led us to the discussion and study of comic books. I can't help but observe how different American comic books are from French "bandes dessines". Comic books have a fascinating history in the States because it was an art medium/career that was mostly started by American-Jewish illustrators. Comic books illustrate a story of a hero and in the US these heroes have become synonymous with our myths. I think that heroes like Superman, Batman, Catwoman, etc. are the US' historical myths. They were (especially during WWII) and have become our national identity, of sort. Bust crime, free people, Fight EVIL, sex symbols, war, and science fantasy are all topics that have come to symbolize the US.
Whereas, France has very different heroes. Tintin, Spirou, Lucky Luke, Asterix...all of these national characters are normal average people with some help from a sidekick whether it be a person or animal. Tintin and Spirou both have partners in "good" and an animal to help solve the mysteries or problems that come to them. The illustrations themselves are more like comic strips.
It was inspiring to participate as a Franco-American the momentous evening of our country's history. To realize that for the first time an African-American will become the President of the United States. It was really moving to realize what this country stands for and how much we can do as individuals if we work together.
Probably the worst movie ever made. Just horrifying! I can't even imaging how someone could have spent the money and time to make that movie. It's terrible. It's horrific and it gave me nightmares as Tim Curry filled the screen with his red lipstick and dark blue eye shadow. And yet, with all of its nigthmarish qualities, it is the ultimate halloween experience and I am sad to say it...fun.
Because it is so terrible it allows the audience to interact, meaning that you can do whatever you want if you go see it on Halloween on Bainbridge Island (and other places i am sure:). There is something unique when a whole movie theatre can throw rice, toast, and toilet paper at each other. It is hilarious when suddenly everybody has a newspaper on their heads because it starts to rain as people throw water. The act of sharing this experience makes it hilarious because everything is multiplied, so everybody is throwing rice and having a good time. Everybody is reacting and screaming insults at the screen. Of course this could be considered mob mentality but at the Rocky Horror Picture Show...? I doubt it. Happy Halloween.
Cult Classic. After becoming engaged, Brad and Janet get stranded at the strange castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter after their car breaks down. They are then initiated into the strange world of the "Transsexual Transylvanians" and their customs.
Cast: Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Richard O'Brien, Jonathan Adams
Yesterday was Take Back Your Time Day:October 24th. The 70th Anniversary of the 40 hour work week and minimum wage. US laborers were supposed to get paid vacations as part of the package, but it never happened. It still hasn't for that matter. The US in the only industrialized country that does not have mandated paid vacations. A pity because I could use one right now.
I have not written a post in so long due to the start of school and the constant things I have to do in addition to attending school! A brief update... I am currently doing fall rowing season. i started this summer and it was a blast, so I now leave early from school everyday to go run, row, and do jumpies. I then rush home sore from all the exercise and try to finish all my homework. I am a senior this year so i am also trying to start my college applications. Last week I visited Lewis and Clark and Whitman. Both were really nice campuses, but I liked Whitman better because of its architecture and the weather:)
The onset of Seattle weather began this Saturday morning. "It is overcast skies in Seattle, showers throughout the day, highs in the mid-60's and lows in the low 50s. This is NPR news, National Public Radio..."
I must say the reason perhaps I have not written in so long is Facebook. Facebook doesn't have a blog application but it gives you the feeling that you are connected with people. Honestly I completely forgot that I had a blog until this morning, when I read the blog The Slow Cycle Movement. I think Bainbridge should start one. I check these blogs religiously every day for some new picture of Cycle Chic. It gives me hope in this car dominated culture. I still use my French bike which needs to be Copenhagenized. Meaning it needs a basket, a night light and perhaps some new stickers on it.
My first Costa-Gavras film and I must say it was a masterpiece. The rhythm throughout the film engages you. "Following the murder of a prominent leftist, an investigator tries to uncover the truth while government officials attempt to cover up their roles." This is a French film set in Greece. Costa-Gavras had a hard time finding support at the time for the film because of the politics tied to the story. It was a thriller movie. Winner of two Academy Awards (1970) including Best Foreign Film and Best Film Editing.
Brief Encounter on another note was extremely slow. A 1945 British film, it tells the story of a housewife slowly falling in love with another man. Their meeting was truly a brief encounter. The story is beautifully set to Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2.
"I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking.""Earth to Mathilda" Zoolander is a ridiculously funny movie about male models and the fashion industry.