kistha: (Bleeding)
From the time I saw the first trailers for this, I was sold. You can see the trailer (which is all Kylian, actually) here and you can see a bit of Emergence (Pite) here for some context.

Let's take them in performance order we start with Kylian.

Petite Mort
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Piano Concerto in A Major [Adagio], KV 488; Piano
Concerto in C Major [Andante], KV 467


This is the ballet that I bought tickets for, and yes they did mean that double entendre. It's an interesting piece; taking dance, sex, swords and women and making for a lovely, and moving ballet. Some of the tricks of the piece were the lighting, and the rolling dress pieces, and the fantastic sheeting they used for changing scenes and partners; the men would take it from the back, running it fluttering over the dancers, out over the whole stage then back to find that all had changed. The light made them disappear, stand out and glow like they were lit by candle light, all gleaming and gold.

Six men, six fencing foils, and just barely visible pale silhouettes in the gloom in the back are six women in black dresses. This is a contemporary ballet piece, and it started in silence. Luckily about the time I was getting irritated by the lack of music, it started - well timed that. (And I just realized used to build tension. I have issues with silence and dance, but that's for another time.) The men move with and without their swords, and eventually the women join them, coming forward in black dresses, which turn out to be on rollers. Eventually leaving their dresses behind, they too are in skin colored minimal dance wear. This is mildly erotic piece, just south of overly polite ballet, lacking ballet's usual romantic air. All of that muscled glory on display and some of the physical feats were just breath taking. A woman laying her head on an extended leg, while being suspended by another man, or the woman who is laid across the man's legs and then slowly lifts her upper torso and over extends, arching her back and then going back to parallel on the floor, again and again like a wave was something that was so beautiful and something I wish I could do - the sheer control and sensuality was fantastic. This was a ballet to watch and to love, just the sheer physicality of it.

Sechs Tänze (Six Dances)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Sechs Deutsche Tänze [Six German Dances], KV 571, 1789)

This is a farce of a ballet and definitely meant to be comedy. A group of men and women run around in 18th century underwear and do the most absurd things. It is not however without meaning. Watching them run amok, while never being able to leave stress and fear behind unable to even recognize the environment that they are in, chasing one another and courting each other. One of my favorite bits of the piece was the gender swapping play and the black rolling dresses making a guest appearance, most notably rolling by the only door out with dead dancers impaled by the foils through a green apple. And while they are not always performed together, I see how they fit together. Not a lot more to say about it, other than it was hilarious, with meaning. The husband points out that it seems that some of the jokes are only funny to dancers, since a good portion of the audience didn't laugh in some sections which he was included in. I'm not sure but it seems likely, some of the gender swaps were all about the men doing the girl ballet parts.

Forgotten Land
Benjamin Britten (Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20, 1940)

This was a contemporary ballet piece, with a very strong ballet feel. This piece is about uncertainly, the loss of everything, where even the land is impermanent. Six color matched pairs, with white and red and black being highly prominent, dance against a stormy sky. This one made me uncomfortable, which I guess says that it hit home a bit closer and a lot deeper. These couples danced dreams, and hopes and the loss of them. It was a stunning display physically, and was full of grace. It ends with three of the women all alone. I got a lot of pagan overtones in the piece, knowing that it was made with the idea of a particular part of land being reclaimed by the sea and with every woman's costume other than the woman in white, having red between their legs - the image of bleeding was very there for me. While I'm always painfully aware that change is inevitable and so is loss and death, I'm not really a fan of it. It was a deep moving piece, and while I'd see it again I don't want to anytime soon and yet, I want to see it again now.

And then, to close Pite -

Emergence
Owen Belton (2009)

I'd actually call this a straight up contemporary piece if the girls hadn't been en pointe. This is a piece that is based on insect emergence the idea that simple agents following simple rules could generate amazingly complex structures. Informed largely by Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software by American popular science theorist Steven Johnson after the choreographer Pite wondered if there was a model in nature that paralleled a ballet company.

This was brilliant, amazing, awe inspiring, and more than a little freaky. The set while minimal is key, and the lighting is just as critical. The music and even more untraditional, the counting of the dancers (they had mikes set up on stage to pick up the sound) just sealed the whole illusion. It starts with a dancer as larvae being born, with the help of a fellow bug. Dude, the spasmodic, yet wave like movements, I could see her trying to inflate and unfold her wings. She was so committed to the character that it was unbelievably believable. At the Q&A after we learned that the birthing dancer is actually soaked before she comes on, I bet that helps set the mood. From then we see more of the hive, the communication changing forms in small groups with changes sweeping back in forth in waves until consensus, or emergence is reached. When the swarm goes in and out of the hive, the come out through a yellow light - this was the one place where being dead center kind of sucked, you are head on to the light, and it got a bit blinding at times. I also get an extra 10 points costuming for I found out that the tattoos that the men have are indeed makeup not costume, also every available member of the company is on stage at the end, which is awesome.

This is a ballet that took something I am SO NOT A FAN OF and made it scary, pretty, alluring and something I'd want to do. Being a hive of bugs was never really ANYWHERE on my radar as "hey, that'd be a cool dance thing." Um no. But now, it just seems so fucking brilliant. I was on my feet the minute it ended, and so was everyone else. I'd love to meet Pite, but I doubt that's in the cards. Maybe someday I can do something so radical, and moving. Although these days I'll take managing to pull off someone else's choreography without fucking up. But really you have to see this one and experience it.


So it was one hell of a trip to the Ballet, and PNB as usual was utterly fantastic and the pieces and choreographers they chose were excellent as well. I hope that I'll get to see Director's Choice and then either Midsummer Night's Dream or Giselle for the classical side before the season is over. Stay tuned I'm going to try and write here more often.
kistha: (Girl Talk)
So, we ended up visiting [livejournal.com profile] cheriezel and family to pick up some custom made skirts, and more importantly get to spend a quick hour with the family having "brunch". Talked about movies, cartoons, and how they want to start a game night. It was a nice visit, and all agree we need to do it more.

Then we dashed home, let out the dog, and headed out to the Queen Mary for tea with [livejournal.com profile] trenchwench where we covered the four jobs she has, how she knows she still owes [livejournal.com profile] cheriezel some yard work, future projects, tea cup hunting and more. It was so nice to see her - we never get to see her either. Six rolled around, so fast as usual, and we were left saying our farewells at the sidecar - sadly she was off to a family get together, while we were off to one of her favorite bars (as it turns out) to see Wynne C Blue and her Troublefakers.

Got to the bar super early, and stuffed with tea. Ordered obligatory drinks (ACK! More Liquid!) and settled in. The first band Honeybear was really together and tight for a first time outing. (Seriously.) Sadly the sound guy had the guitar up too high, the base too low - and the vocals were hit and miss in the "ability to hear" department. It got really hot, so I went outside and they sounded great out there.

Then, it was time for [livejournal.com profile] winifred and her band. And man did they COOK. It was a great show, lively, toe-tapping fun and my only regret was that there was nowhere to dance! The sound was good, the songs were great! We picked up the Rock 4 Life International CD that had "Everything" on it. It's on my iPod, and I'm listening (and singing along) constantly. They're going to be playing the Celtic Bayou in Redmond this Saturday at 9 with no cover. I'll be in Vegas, so I can't go. It's a total bummer. I could be eating hushpuppies and dancing the night away to Wynne C Blue and her Troublefakers and Ethan Freckleton

So, the rest of you need to go and eat hushpuppies and take a dance for me. It's a great show!

Bioshock

Mar. 8th, 2008 09:52 pm
kistha: (Big Daddy)
This game is the best console game I've ever played. It is so inventive, and uses game play rules in an entirely new way.

Go, buy it now and play it. If you can't play it, find someone who can, and watch with them. (This is how I had to do it, I co-pilot all the first person shooters that we play. Motion sickness, you are my BANE.)

It is creepy, it is bloody, and my gods does it make you think.

I'm all teary. Of course I'm a bit of a sap these days, as it seems I can only be a hero in pixels.

If anyone wants to talk spoiler stuff, leave a comment and I'll make another entry with a spoiler warning.

Fabulous. Fabulous. Fabulous.
kistha: (Default)
So last weekend on Saturday [livejournal.com profile] dthon, [livejournal.com profile] argentyne and I made the crazy day run to Portland to see the Quest for Immortality Exhibit at the Portland Art Museum. [livejournal.com profile] dthon and I had to have the dog to the kennel in Monroe by 9AM, and then flew to [livejournal.com profile] argentyne's and were on the road just before 10. We hit Portland just before 1, and had lunch at BJ's.

Then it was to Powells where I managed to get out just over $200. I would have got out cheaper, but I had to go back in you see. *shakes head* Although what I got was well worth it. I also had someone take a picture of my hair while I was standing outside - he and I had a brief discussion about how he was likely to get hit one day. Had he gotten a *recognizable picture* we would have had harsher and longer words.

Then we moved parking lots, rested, read and then headed to the exhibit. Our tickets were for 6:30PM and the exhibit would be open until 2AM.

Other than some problems with [livejournal.com profile] argentyne's mom being late, and my Alias moment (ended up misdirected downstairs into the closed portion of the museum with another woman who decided "we look harmless" so we went behind the rope and down the stairs, and watched the suit get on the elevator totally ignoring us until I stopped him - who passed us off to the approaching security guard who directed us to the restrooms, and asked that we use the other stairs on our way out) waiting was pretty OK.

The exhibit was AMAZING. The average time was given out as one hour. We got out in 3. And I had the usual "what you are saying is more interesting then the audio" experience, but at least I wasn't followed around by a big crowd - which has happened at every other Egyptian exhibit I've been to. [livejournal.com profile] argentyne and I were followed about by a security guard for most of the exhibit, since we kept leaning in and around to examine the hieroglyphs more closely - which is ironic considering I saw a woman touching the large sarcophagus and "Oh, no don't touch" came out of my mouth. She seemed very put out, but it's a very worn stone sarcophagus, and I just couldn't help it even if it was one of the late pieces. There was some very late dynasty stuff shoved in with the rest of the very lovely 18-22 dynasty offerings. The advertised highlight of the exhibit was the "recreation of Amenhotep III's tomb." Yeah, not so much. It's not the fully illustrated text to start with (but is interesting because it is the first complete copy of the hours of the underworld) and then there were only a couple of isolated items in the 'tomb' and they were all pretty small and unimpressive. I was much more awed by the statue of Senmut and Neferura - something I never expected to see outside of getting to Cairo. They had an awesome set of coffin cases The Coffins of Paduamen which had excellent scribe work, and is excellently preserved (21 dynasty.) There was also the statue of Naktmin's Wife that is one of the most beautiful examples of wig and transparent linen carving I've seen (18 dynasty). It is gorgeous and you can see it in this highlight at First Center for the Visual Arts. The biggest surprise was a funerary gold mask, and jeweled net with gold plaques which I think are from the (relatively) recent discovery in the "Valley of the Golden Mummies". Anyway - I watched this get discovered on TV and Hawass was having a bit of a fit over the state of the net, so I was doubly stunned to see it out of Egypt. That man does not share well. To see some of the highlights yourself, see the different museums' web pages that housed the touring exhibit (Here are two to start you off Portland Art Museum and National Gallery of Art in DC - also has video tours!)

We stumbled out a little after 9:30, and I did the real Kamikaze drive home - so tired my eyes were having trouble focusing, plus I knew we had to get back since I had to take [livejournal.com profile] dthon to the airport for the Uber Computer Game Conference the next morning, and pick up Oba at the kennel. I was so tired I thought I was going to get sick before I got us all home. We made it though, intact and alive. Once we got home I fell into bed, and [livejournal.com profile] dthon said the snoring started less than 10 seconds later.

It was awesome - the exhibit's last site is in Huston at The Museum of Fine Arts starting in September. It might just be worth the plane flight, I don't know about it being worth spending time in TX though. :)
kistha: (Sark "Not a Social Visit")
Me, [livejournal.com profile] dthon & [livejournal.com profile] argentyne went and saw Ghost Rider last night.

I have to say it was a fun ride, but don't expect a deep film here. This is fluffy comic book done on the big screen. Humorously enough, you could describe the film this way - ghost rider, concerns, death, talking boobs, scary elementals, fire, weird goths, talking boobs. Or as Lewis Black might say "fiery skull, titty titty, fiery skull, Satan, titty titty, motorcycle, titty titty titty titty. Yeah, the female role is nothing more than a very inarticulate pair of talking breasts. Pity, she was funny in Hitch. But Nick is funny in his role, and his "stage manager" is even funnier - the devil is amusing, and the the goth girl was hilarious. Special effects were nothing to sneeze at, but really it's Nick and Sam who really sell the show.

Also, it had Sam Elliot (the voice of beef) whose voice genuinely makes me hungry for steak. There are some people I could listen to talk forever in an erotic way, but Sam Elliot's voice just makes me hungry - and for meat which doesn't happen all that often. Ironically I'm pretty sure this was true before the "beef" commercials. It made me need steak after the film - the steak was lovely, the waiter was fun and the hysterical unbridled wacky, witty smack talking was even better!

The special effects were great, and overall it was a fun ride.

And, of course plan for steak after. :)


Beef, it's what's fer' dinner.
kistha: (Default)
So, we went to Bombay Dreams on tour in Seattle last night with our friend Jer.

After an amusing car ride, a bit of a walk to the theatre, and a good dinner next door at the Rock Bottom Brewery we got in the huge line for will call tickets.

Then we got inside, got our programs and saw that we had the most awesome seats. 5th row back, dead middle.

Perusing the program I realize that only one of the performers had previously done Bombay Dreams in NY (or, for that matter anywhere else other than this tour.) It also looks like (by the song list) it might be the UK version. Which means I'd have seen both versions, which would be a very cool thing.

By the time the first act had closed, I knew that I didn't like it. Akaash is flat two dimensional, and like the rest of his co-starts has very little charisma. Priya, has an OK voice, but keeps drowning out anyone she's singing with. Sweetie was OK, but the guy I saw in NY, was unbelievably cool. I'm starting to wonder if I'm just having comparison issues, but talking it over, Jer isn't very impressed either. He'd been hoping to be blown away, and was hoping it would get better in the next act. It also looked like they shoved pieces of the UK version (mostly pats of songs, and giving the missing character a bit part instead) where ever they could. It made it much less cool. And Rani - the seductress, just wasn't very seductive. She came across as distant and bored. *sigh*

Go to act II - hoping it will get better. The "talk show host" had a much larger role, and I hated her - and then she butchered my favorite song. Lyrics were changed, to be more "Americanized" something that irritates me to no end. The dance numbers were good, but not as sharp as the NY version.

Then came the two things that kept it from being a total bust.

There is a death in the play, and in NY it was a quick argument, followed by a shooting. The only character that was played by the same person from the NY version, was the villain. In this version, the argument was protracted, and very scary. The villain grapples with her, scaring her, demeaning her. Finally Deep Katdare gets to really unleash his character's villainous aspects. When he finally shoots her, it's almost a surprise. In fact the woman behind me actually gasped out "Oh my god!" Then instead of the hero lifting her and passing her off and singing his song about his realization that he's lost who he was - they had a guest singer come out and sing this incredibly moving piece, all in Hindi. (She also sang for Chaiyya Chaiyya and was incredible there, too.) It was spine chilling.

Then at the very end, after the traditional bows, they go into Chaiyya Chaiyya again, but now, it's much better - they are all cutting loose, singing loud. Finally I'm in the mood to dance, and play and Jer got a tiny taste of what the NY version would have been like.

All the way home we hashed (and bashed) it, and decided all-in-all it was a tour that wasn't really worth seeing for full price. Personally I'm glad I got to see the altered death scene, since I thought the character gets slighted with her death, it was nice to see at least a better and more impacting death and mourning scene.

And since the music still makes me want to dance I danced my way out of the theater.

All's well that ends well, or so they tell me.

Wicked

Sep. 29th, 2006 02:16 pm
kistha: (Default)
Last night Dr J, [livejournal.com profile] argentyne, and [livejournal.com profile] dthon and I went to see Wicked at the Paramount.

On my Friend List there has been much discussion about the massive changes from book to musical, and up until now I couldn't really join the conversation. What I will say, with no spoilers, is that the ending of the bookfor me was so sudden and abrupt - almost like the author was forced to abandon his story since the original ended there, with the death of the Wicked Witch of the West - that the change in ending didn't disturb me very much at all. Of course I knew in advance that the ending was much changed, and that may have softened the impact.

Much like many TV mini-series or Movies I'd say it's a Musical *based* on the book Wicked, and that it is a beautiful and ingenious thing all on it's own.

Now with the deep debate out of the way: So, Kistha, how was the show?

In a word, Awesome.

The original definition of Awesome, please, as in Awe inspiring.

The voice of the Witch was so deep, rich, and powerful. The voice of Glenda was so versatile, and tricksy, even if occasionally sharp in the upper range. Together they stole the show, but since it was theirs anyway...They both had powerful charisma and physical abilities that just made it all the sweeter. It's touching, deep and funny as hell in places. (We can't all travel by Bubble.) The minimalistic sets and phenomenal lighting work, and work well.

At the end of Act 1 when Elphaba finally decides that she'll have no limits, and defies gravity, I wept. Silly as it seems, I'm not even sure why, except that it was so powerful.

It was a fabulous show, and it was great to finally hear the source for [livejournal.com profile] scarlettina's duet "For Good".

And yes, I cried at the end too. So I'm a softy. Or I'm regretting the path not taken, I'm not sure which. What if I had followed that dance/drama path?

Sunday, we go and see Bombay Dreams with another friend. I hope he likes the American version, since all he's heard is the UK version - and they are VERY different from one another.

I'll let you know how it goes...
kistha: (Bleeding)
I rarely blather about authors or books I've read (or the rare TV show B5 - go watch it now, in order, all of it, well maybe except for season 5 and Infection from season 1, but I digress). If people ask, I'll tell them what I like and why, and if you ever visit the library here, you can peruse the shelves yourself. I figure, for the most part, if someone wants a new reading recommendation they'll ask. But today, I feel the need to share how I feel, and a little bit of why.

I just finished reading, for about the fourth or fifth time, The Lions of Al-Rassan and I cried, again. (And I mean cried the kind that makes your face all red and your nose all gross.) It's a novel by Guy Gavriel Kay, who is I think, my favorite author. If he's not my favorite he is the one who stands out sideways from the rest. For his language, his style, his history, his poetry and most of all, his ability to make you love, cry, and weep for the nature of man.

For me, the reason he is separate from the rest is that he writes, always, of the dichotomy of all sides in human existence. There is always conflict, and there is always more than one side to any story, and somehow, he passes on to us the complex and terrifying truth that it seems we as a race will always be this way. For Kay, like me, sees that while there is wrong and there is right, we also see painfully, weepfully, horrifyingly, awesomely there are always reasons and most of us live and die in gray middle caused by the perceived wrongs and rights of the world. For sometimes right is on both sides, and causes unimaginable evil. And sometimes great evil can bring about the brightest light of good.

After my latest reading of The Lions of Al-Rassan my first desire was to make my Aunt T read it. She had shown me the movie Crash. She seemed disturbed when I was angry because I don't like being reminded that people are stupid, blind and awful. While there was some minor redemption in Crash it certainly didn't fill me with anything resembling hope. It just reinforced my belief that people frequently are too stupid or crazy to live, most of them in fact. And all of them needed serious therapy. Crash dealt with racial issues in LA, and much more would spoil the movie for those that haven't seen it.

The Lions of Al-Rassan in it's own way, is a much more painful telling of the same story; one of the oldest stories in humanity. Religion, Politics, and Racism and how they clash. It's based on the reconquering of Spain from the Moors, and the Jews that were caught in the middle when the "age of grace" fell shattered by extremists from both sides. The difference in the main, is that the story is told through people who also can see all the sides, and know and experience the pain of it. Not just from the point of those so trapped in their own natures, that they see nothing else. That there are some who change, as they see and learn, and while they may see above it, are still horribly, inescapably embedded in it by their own natures. To me that is the critical difference, people can choose, and by choosing they change not only themselves and others but history. And that the smallest actions, can some times cause unforeseen calamities.

Every time I read one of his books, I am transported, tortured, forced to grow and change, and evaluate how I see the world. I cry with almost all of them, at least once. I am pushed to see the wider world, and the deeper meanings in self, faith and others' and their faith. I am in awe of this man and his writings.

So, need a new read? I recommend Guy Gavriel Kay. He has a website at Brightweavings everyone has a different take on their favorites and why, so take a look around and pick one to try.

But if you'd just like to know my favorites in order they are: )

If you've read Kay, like him or not - I'd love to talk about what you think of his books!

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kistha

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