A Haunting Interpretation of Cinderella

When you go to a ballet and it starts out with a death scene, a graveyard and a magical tree, you know you are in for something different. Last night I went to see the San Francisco Ballet’s production of, “Cinderella” and surprisingly enough, I am now blogging about it as part of my Halloween Countdown. Although this run at The Kennedy Center ends this Sunday, October 30th, if you find yourself with the spare time, I definitely recommend grabbing some tickets.

I’m sure we’re all aware of the fairy tale of Cinderella, made popular by Disney, but this rendition although definitely magical, is at times spooky and mysterious. This ballet incorporates some truly magnificent costumes, complete with oversized heads, trailing fingernails, a full suit of armor, and creepy masked figures. Some might think this show depicts a nightmare, however it is all because of magic. One of my favorite parts of the show was a rainbow created out of floating chairs. If my chairs ever floated up to the rafters, I’d be scared out of my mind. But in this production, the somewhat randomly flying chairs seem to be in lieu of a scene change to clear off the furniture. Whatever the reason for the ghostly appearance, it becomes quite the spectacle.

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Nightmarish, indeed.
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Cinderella (at right) looks quite distressed, unsurprisingly.

In addition to the at times, spooky scenery and costumes, the musical score written by Sergei Prokofiev also reflects the eerie tale. Some of the melodies reminded me of something you might hear in a “Harry Potter” movie, which adds to the magical feeling and aura of mystique. I also enjoyed Christopher Wheeldon’s choreography of intertwining twirling and unpredictable “cheerleader” like lines of movement.  I was impressed with how well the story was told through dance at times, bits of humor like the drunken dance by the stepmother and the prince as a child scheming with his friend.

As much as this is a “happily ever after” tale, this production will not let you forget how twisted and dark the story is. A great lead-up to Halloween, this story of a tossed aside slave girl who finds love in unexpectedly, is one that might just haunt your dreams.  Bet you would never think to “beware of Cinderella,” but for this ballet, you might be thankful you did.

Halloween Countdown: 3 days!

 

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Automobile Art: Terrific Type

In the 1950s-60s; the golden age of automobiles, more detail was paid to the way the name of the car was displayed on the vehicle itself. Retro fonts were usually cursive or an angular all-caps and they tended to stand out in gorgeous chrome. I love taking photos of cars, but recently, I have been focusing on these retro title badges. As a Graphic Designer whose main passion is typography, and as someone who loves older cars, this merging of interests was bound to occur. Another blogger seems to have the same fondness, stating on their site that “for those with a serious script fetish, this might not be safe for work.” This is too true, and of fair warning. Below are some of my own photos:  
  

Happy Leap Day!

I love a Leap Year, but especially so, I love Leap Day. I used to really want to have been born on Leap Day. What better way to be truly unique than to have a true birthday every four years? Although I’m sure there can be complications with determining your legal age, it has nevertheless appealed to me. 

To celebrate this truly special day, here is one of the most famous songs from the “light” opera, The Pirates of Pensance, a play that focused on a boy born on a Leap Day. 

http://youtu.be/zSGWoXDFM64

Do It Yourself Magazine Flubs Abstract Art

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The other day while grocery shopping, I spotted this cover of Do It Yourself magazine. In the center of the cover it shows you how you can “make abstract art” ever so easily, but as an artist and someone who has studied Art History extensively, I took a major issue with this claim. The “abstract art” in question is shown as a vertical pattern of spoons displayed in alternating directions. I want this to be very clear: that is not abstract art.

Wikipedia tells us that Abstract Art:

“…uses a visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world.

Using this definition, we can learn that to be abstract art, the subject matter must be so foreign to the viewer, that it must rely on its own visual cues to compose itself. Basically, this means that Abstract Art follows its own rules. So if you see a line of spoons it must not really be spoons that you are seeing. My favorite example of this is Magritte’s, “This Is Not A Pipe” shown below:

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I’m pretty sure Do It Yourself magazine wasn’t trying to go this deep with its suggestion to make an Abstract Art project. The magazine simply should have claimed that you can make “pattern art!” or something of that nature. A pattern of recognizable spoons is not “abstract” (or at least not in this example). This is a pattern. Get your terms right, DIY Magazine!