Thursday, January 23, 2014

NAM, The Rebel

Interestingly, the NAM model is beginning to rebel against the model consensus, and suggesting rain in a week, on next Thursday. I like the NAM model – better than GFS – so here’s hoping it’s right!

Meanwhile, Fairbanks, AK, has been shut down by freezing rain, which in January, is utterly absurd


Interesting movie! Falling in love with an operating system! Both Jetta and Joe the Plumber liked it (Jetta loves it; Joe's heartbroken and left afterwards to commiserate with some spirits).

Afterwards, I started asking Siri numerous questions, including, "Do You Love Me?" She parried the question well.

Cast featured Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore Twombly (a professional writer of faux-personal letters), Rooney Mara as his estranged wife Catherine, Scarlett Johansson as Samantha, the OS voice, Amy Adams as neighbor Amy, plus Olivia Wilde as the Blind Date, Portia Doubleday as the Surrogate Date Isabella, with contributions from Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Director Spike Jonze, and others. The scene is near-future Los Angeles, with a marked California vibe. Music by the ever-versatile Arcade Fire!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Speaking Of Ekaterina Krysanova....

I was wondering why I found the Bolshoi Ballet's Ekaterina Krysanova so attractive, and then I realized she looks a lot like Kylie Minogue. Hmmmm. I wonder if I have subconscious templates of what the Perfect Woman looks like. There must be a blonde template there somewhere in my head, but as far as brunette template goes, Ekaterina will do....

"Le Corsaire" - Bolshoi Ballet - Tower Theater - Pathé Cinema

Le Jardin Animé, "Le Corsaire".

Six months ago, Sally urged me to go see "La Sylphide" as performed by the Bolshoi Ballet, and presented at the Tower Theater by Pathé Cinema. Pathé distributes movies of very recent ballet performances, in the manner that live opera is sometimes shown in local cinemas. The number of showings is small (sometimes just one), and the entrance price considerably-higher than for most movies, but for the discerning viewer, it's the next-best thing to being in Moscow to watch the performance itself. Sadly, the Bunhead crowd can't seem to afford it, or maybe they haven't heard about it, so it was an old crowd (but Elaine was there!), but really, these films are the best way for young American dancers to keep tabs on what is happening in Moscow these days, and learn just who is who. After watching "La Sylphide" I had a crush on Ekaterina Krysanova.

Tonight, we went to go see "Le Corsaire": A brief synopsis:
Ballet in 3 acts and an epilogue on a libretto written by Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Joseph Mazilier together with Marius Petipa.
Created on the 23th January 1856 at the Théâtre Impérial de l’Opéra, Paris
This new choreographic version has been created on the 21th of June 2007 at the Bolshoi Theatre of Moscou.

Ballet broadcasted live in cinemas thanks to Pathé Live

Music : Adolphe Adam

Conductor : Pavel Klinichev

Choreography : Marius Petipa
Scenography and new choreographic version : Alexei Ratmansky, Yuri Burlaka
Sets : Boris Maminsky
Costumes : Elena Zaytseva
Lights : Damir Ismagilov

Médora: Svetlana Lunkina (réserve : Ekaterina Shipulina)
Conrad: Ruslan Skvortsov (réserve : Mikhail Lobukhin)
Seyd, le Pacha : Alexey Loparevich
Birbanto : Andrey Merkuriev (réserve : Denis Savin)
Zulmea : Kristina Karaseva
Gulnare : Nina Kaptsova (réserve : Chinara Alizade)
Isaac Lanquedem : Gennady Yanin
Gardien de Seyd : Andrey Sitnikov

Ballet of the Bolshoi Theatre
Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre

Directed by Vincent Bataillon
Produced by François Duplat – Bel Air Media / Pathé Live – Thierry Fontaine

New Look at an Old Ballet

This Bolshoi Theatre production is intended for those who still seek for miracles in theatre. ... And if, in addition, you are as passionate about ballet as was Petipa, who embellished the old Paris original with marvelous choreographic tableaux and numbers of his own and if you love it as much as do the creators of the Bolshoi-2007 version of Le Corsaire – Alexei Ratmansky and Yuri Burlaka who have attempted to revive – here the creations of their famous predecessor – there – simply his signature, you will become a devotee of this ballet and attend performances of it just as regularly as you do those of La Bayadere or Swan Lake.

This is real “grand ballet” where there is enough dance for virtually the whole company at once, while the prima-ballerina proves her right to this title almost without a break. And although this Le Corsaire is far removed from its literary source (Byron’s poem of the same name, dear reader), its libretto is quite capable of satisfying society’s love of the pirate-romantic genre.

A great deal of work was involved in launching this Le Corsaire. The creators of the ballet studied archive material in Moscow’s Bakhrushin Museum and in the St. Petersburg State Theatre Library; with the assistance of the Paris Opera, the original score was retrieved from La Bibliotheque national de France; the old costumes and sets were reproduced, while, having deciphered the original dance notation in the Harvard Theatre collection, Ratmansky and Burlaka added dances of their own, their aim being in no way to sin against the spirit of that age when the last of Petipa’s Corsaires loved, drowned and finally ended up safe and sound – the 1899 revival. Just over one hundred years later – might be a suitable title for this hazardous and one hundred percent serious romance between the Bolshoi Theatre and grand ballet.

...Le Corsaire was an unfailingly popular ballet throughout Europe in the 19th century. Its grandest staging was in Paris in 1856 but it soon arrived in Petersburg, was much revised, its first score by Adolphe Adam given a patchwork of interpolations. It survived, variously corrupt, in Russia, and in London we rejoice in the Mariinsky’s madcap account – by Groucho Marx out of Ali Baba. Now Alexey Ratmansky, director of the Bolshoi Ballet, and Yury Burlaka, a specialist in dance reconstruction, have made a production that seeks to show the ballet as Petipa finally transformed it in 1899. The plot may, fragmentarily, be Byronic but it is really a romp for pirates, slave girls, assorted eunuchs, and with a shipwreck to round matters spiffingly off. The score has been cleaned.

The scenery, by Boris Kaminsky, is brilliantly of-the-period in suggesting Adrianopol under Turkish rule. The costumes by Yelena Zaitseva rework those designed in 1899 and are admirable. Ratmansky and Burlaka have restored a text, recapturing much of what I sense is the Petipa manner, and filled it with dance delights. The result is fascinating, and was given on Thursday and Friday nights, when I saw it on the Bolshoi’s New Stage, with exultant zest.

Svetlana Zakharova, as the heroine Medora, was enchanting, witty and beguiling in step and manner, and she sailed with adorable grace through ferocious choreography. (At the second performance, Svetlana Lunkina was also a delight). The celebrated Jardin anime is revealed as a far longer scene than heretofore, the stage a riot of danseuses with roses in baskets, bouquets, parterres, garlands, looking exactly like the photograph in the programme of the 1899 staging.

The shipwreck is tremendous and scary, and Gennady Yanin scuttles about the stage like an anxious crab, brilliantly comic as Medora’s venal father. And the piece lasts 3 hours. ....

by Clement Crisp
The Financial times, 06/25/2007
Adolphe Adam was the same composer as for the ballet "Giselle", so in a way, despite their disparate styles (spare and classical vs. sumptuous and character), "Giselle" and "Le Corsaire" are cousins.

I was really struck by "Le jardin animé", partly because of the costumes, partly because the music so-closely parallels "Giselle" (with the garland-bearing dancers echoing the Wilis), and partly because of the sheer number of dancers. There were no surviving notes regarding the costumes for this part of the ballet, so costumer Elena Zaytseva had to create them from scratch. Interestingly, the angle of the skirt on the dresses in "Le jardin animé" almost-perfectly matches that of Morning Glories. We had those kind of flowers in Corrales, New Mexico when I was growing up as a little kid, so one odd effect on me of "Le jardin animé", with all the dancing Morning Glories, was a strange form of home sickness.

I think this is my favorite ballet now. It's so much better than so many!

Film Trailer

Fortunately, a pas de deux from this version of "Le Corsaire" is on-line!

Le Corsaire pas de deux - Svetlana Lunkina and Ruslan Skvortsov

Svetlana Lunkina Discusses Giselle

Monday, January 20, 2014

Trouble In My Neighborhood On A Monday Night

Looks like an auto accident.

"Cabaret" - Third Weekend - DMTC

Just one more weekend to go!

I haven't taken any pictures till Saturday, just because I worry about stuff derailing on my Stage Manager watch.

Afterwards, we went to Woodstock's Pizza in Davis. From our perch, we could observe pizzas being made.

Shoe Tossing Near Where I Live

These shoes mark the West End of what I suspect to be a Drug Zone.

I was mystified why people in my neighborhood toss shoes on electrical lines. So, time to consult Wikipedia:
Shoe flinging or "shoefiti" is the practice of throwing shoes whose shoelaces have been tied together so that they hang from overhead wires such as power lines or telephone cables. The shoes are tied together by their laces, and the pair is then thrown at the wires as a sort of bolas. This practice plays a widespread, though mysterious, role in adolescent folklore in the United States. Shoe flinging has also been reported in many other countries.

...A number of criminal explanations have been proposed as to why this is done. ... Some also say that shoes hanging from the wires advertise a local crack house where crack cocaine is used and sold (in which case the shoes are sometimes referred to as "Crack Tennies"). It can also relate to a place where heroin is sold to symbolize the myth that once you take heroin, you can never "leave": a reference to the addictive nature of the drug. Others claim that the shoes so thrown commemorate a gang-related murder, or the death of a gang member, or as a way of marking gang turf. ... However, the practice also occurs along relatively remote stretches of rural highways that are unlikely scenes for gang murders, and have no structures at all to be crack houses.

These shoes mark the East End of what I suspect to be a Drug Zone.

I rather like the drug-sale explanation offered on Wikipedia, because these shoes bracket a location where I often see mysterious people waiting in the shadows, and where there is mysterious traffic. A decade ago, I remember a Big Raid here, where a swarm of police shut them down at gun point. My guess is either that they have returned, or it's a new group resistant to the lessons of the past.

Good for what ails you....