Friday, January 28, 2011

A Dance Class

This past Monday I took a ballet class. I haven't been in years and the last class I took was at a very hoity-toity studio with the adult class at a stress level I would expect if I were planning on auditioning for NYC Ballet. Not what I am looking for. This class was very laid back and the teacher was supportive with a good attitude, but also good corrections. The only thing is that it is a really easy class and was all lower body work, which was disappointing. It puts me in a quandary because I like the feel of the studio, but I may need more of a challenge. I'll try a few more classes and see how it goes. Supposedly there is a student closer to my level who simply was not in attendance today. Since the class is only three students her presence could make a big difference.

By the way, the above drawing is one my sister did for me, years ago.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Grandfather's Hands

Lately, I haven't been doing so well bringing my film camera around with me and getting the few rolls of film I have shot to the lab. So I'm cheating with this post because these photos were all taken with my little Fuji point and shoot digital camera.

At the end of the day a few nights ago I looked down at my hands and felt as though I was looking at my grandfather's hands. I have never thought this before, I had neglected them in this cold weather and looked older than normal and like his. I think, maybe, it is in the knuckles. The funny thing is I don't think of my father's hands. My father is a woodworker and his hands are unique to him alone because they show the time he has spent working outside, working with his tools, and more than likely from the wood itself. For some reason this made me want to photograph things around my house that we have made. My dad makes beautiful clocks (though I realized this picture displays the least impressive part, maybe I'll post more tomorrow). The most impressive piece of his work that I own is in the bedroom where my daughter was sleeping, thus no pictures, perhaps for the next post. Other than that I restored the orange chair (see here), made the cork board, and crocheted the blankets, which my grandmother taught me to do. Now that I think of it we were inspired to make a cork board by the huge cork board my father-in-law made many years ago. The things we make with our hands.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thoughts on Tchaikovsky and Disney

I still have some of these black and white photos to post from late summer. This was a lime cake with a blackberry sauce. It was pretty easy and really good, though straining the blackberries was slightly tedious. Check out the recipe here.

Lately, I've been watching a lot of Disney. Classic Disney. I have no idea what they are making currently. Actually that is not completely true I know they are returning to some hand drawn animation. Thank goodness, all the digital animation looks the same to me, which is why I don't know what production company made what film. The classic films seem to take more risks and are even somewhat experimental. Of course Fantasia is pretty obvious, but as I watched it during vacation in hopes of lulling my little one to sleep I was impressed, again. I only watched the Nutcracker Suite segment, though I watched it many times, but it amazes me how a major motion picture such as this focuses so much on visual interpretation of music. In some ways it makes me think of Stan Brakhages late films. In my last year of college I saw him speak about how he was attempting to use each frame to visually represent a musical note from any given work of music. For instance he showed this film, Water for Maya. Fantasia is significantly more accessible than Brakhage, but it interests me that they merge conceptually.

At first my daughter would only watch Belle, not even all of Beauty and the Beast, just the parts with Belle. Now she is just starting to broaden her horizons and she will watch some of Sleeping Beauty. I remembered that the film used parts of Tchaikovsky's score, I assumed the most famous parts, but in reality the film uses most of the score. The entire film was clearly created around the music; it inspires the entire film. Much like Fantasia, of course there is a story and characters in Sleeping Beauty. Contrast this with the most recent cinematic interpretation of The Nutcracker, that appears to focus only on the violence of the original story. Granted I've only seen the trailer, but I don't think music is the inspiration behind the film since barely any Tchaikovsky plays in the trailer, just a few notes of Sugar Plum. On a side note, my other complaint about this film is that it credits Tchaikovsky with story and music, when the story should be credited to E.T.A. Hoffman. If your seriously adapting a story it seems as though you'd know who wrote it.

Tchaikovsky has always been a personal favorite of mine. I know for someone who loves ballet that is a huge surprise. I am so excited that my daughter appears to like it as well (or that she wants to like what I like - I know that won't last). I just ordered the entire score of Sleeping Beauty for us to listen to and I am on the edge of my seat waiting for it to get here.

As I have been refreshing myself on classic Disney I am amazed at how each film has its own look and style. For instance Bambi is a watercolor interpretation and Sleeping Beauty has a medieval art look to it. There appears to be so much more thought and care given to these films that I don't see/feel in very many films of today. It is amazing to rediscover them.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Things to Do In Denver

So I may have forgotten my 35 mm camera, but I did bring a little digital point and shoot for Christmas morning. We usually try to leave Boulder's bubble at least once to go to Denver when we visit. For some reason I was dead set on going to the Natural History Museum. My husband claimed he had never seen a T-Rex skeleton and they have one there. He wasn't impressed when he saw it and I may have talked it up a bit too much. To my credit I was substantially smaller the last time I went to the museum so it seemed really big to me!

The museum is now called the natural science center or something silly like that and they had all these newfangled interactive displays and such. My favorites are all the oldies (but goodies) like that rocks and gems and the life size dioramas. I love that the rocks and gems displays apparently have not been touched since I was a kid and it was always my favorite area so visited it whenever I went. Very nostalgic for me. Plus, there are not nearly as many people in those displays so my daughter could run all around and play without being in anyone's way.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Passes So Quickly

It seems as though I have been from the computer for a long time. I have spent the last few weeks everywhere but at my own house. We have an iPad that we bring with us when we travel, but I don't like to type on it. Thus, it has been quiet on the blog for awhile. I don't have any interesting photos of my vacations because I forgot my camera! I always forget something and this time it was the camera.

Before I left I received a roll of black and white prints back from the lab because I have to send B & W away and can't use the local lab it usually takes me a long time to send it out. Case in point these photos are from the summer. Of course, this is the perfect time to reflect on the year that has passed and so they seem apropos.