camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-09-20 08:16 pm

(no subject)

 Went to a play this afternoon, Lolita Chokrabarti's Red Velvet at the Lantern. It is the story of Ira Aldridge, a black American actor performing Othello at Covent Garden in the 1830s. The play within a play receives accolades from the audience but terrible reviews focused on the race of the actor playing Othello. 

It is a compelling play about racism that balances its point with acceptance. Aldridge was a famous actor at the time, after all, performing throughout Great Britain and Europe. So his Desdemona is happy to trade notes and debate techniques with him, and the impressario, Pierre, is an old friend. Forrest McClendon was excellent as Aldridge. I would have stayed for the talk-back, but Barb had to get back in time to go to the Bach with Tom tonight.

I skipped Bach, though. I had opera yesterday, theater today, and opera again tomorrow. Slotting a festival into the start of the season makes for tight scheduling. Next year, I will shift some season tickets around the festival to avoid another week like this!

camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-09-19 11:09 pm

(no subject)

Tonight at O17 I saw the Wake World.  It was amazing. The wake part was about a young girl who falls in love with a fairy prince who is actually a woman in very snappy drag (not a pants part, a real woman!) who leads the girl through shedding her inhibitions-and the overwhelming ruffles and sashes that make up her costume--to her awakening sexuality. Since the opera is based on an Aleister Crowley story, it is not an easy awaking, but one driven by power and obsession and lust pushed to the edge of despair. Then, you know, frolicking in the moonlight.


The voices were spectacular and the cast convincing in their roles. The music was soaring, more like a choral piece with the lead voices floating on top than a traditional opera. 

Because it took place along a catwalk the length of the hall, the audience had to walk up and down to actually see what was going on. At the same time, the chorus was wandering around the wandering audience, so we were actually IN the music. The production was fascinating, But I would pay to hear the music in in concert format. Elizabeth Cree will have a lot to live up to!


O17 Fest Wake World Opera Philadelphia

camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-09-17 12:05 pm

I went to the Opera! Mozart's Magic Flute

 
It's a busy week around here! Went to Magic Flute at O17 fest on Friday. Strangest production I have ever seen, and it looked a bit dangerous to me. Most of the opera was performed against a flat background, on which fantastical animation was projected--dragons and mechanical talking heads, and a giant semi-mechanical spider, but also flowers and leafy vines and cascades of musical notes. The spoken bits were not said aloud but projected on the screen like a silent film. One character appeared as Nosferatu, strengthening the twenties silents vibe.


In the meantime, the characters kept popping in and out of doors set in the flat background, singing and interacting with the animation in very clever ways. It is eye-popping in the experiencing, with excellent singing, but the more you think about it, the more you question.

For one thing, I was worried about those singers suspended on their little ledges far above the stage. For another, the fact that the spacial distribution was in two dimensions rather than three made it rather--yeah, two-dimensional. It lacked interaction with a physical space that generally humanizes the characters and engages our sympathy. 

In sum, funny, very very smart and clever, I'm glad I saw it once, but I would not want that style as a steady diet.

Here is a clip!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXYVNgKV1Ec

camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-09-02 08:17 pm

(no subject)

 It is September, cool for the day even so.  I needed to wear a fleece jacket when I went out. It seems to have triggered my lizard brain and I bought far too many vegetables at the farmers' market today.  Winter is coming.  We have grocery stores and a big enclosed market, and food comes from all over in trains and trucks and ships.  But my back brain only knows that the farmers here will be done soon, and will close up shop and I have to get all the nutrients I can before the days get short and the nights grow cold.

So, Kale and peppers and cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes in assorted colors.  Crimini mushrooms and string beans and corn on the cob.  Plums and peaches and radishes, and some angel food cake from the gluten free bakery stand.  Can't go wrong with the farmer's market!
camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-08-21 05:56 pm

(no subject)

 I went to the eclipse party at the Franklin Institute today--it was outside, on the steps, in the park, along the median of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  There were a ton of people there, all with out special glasses. Stayed through our maximum, then headed home to visit with local people on the roof.  It is always good to have a reminder that nature is awesome!

camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-08-17 01:40 pm

My new BalletX article

 I have a new article in the Broad Street Review!  This one is about BalletX's Choreographic Fellowship, that brings in a young choreographer to create a piece for the company under the mentorship of an experience choreographer.  It was interesting to hear director Christine Cox talk about what the fellowship means for the company.  

http://www.broadstreetreview.com/dance/andrew-mcnicol-wins-the-2018-balletx-choreographic-fellowship
 

camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-08-17 01:37 pm

(no subject)

 Busy week!  Last night, went to the #PhillyIsCharlottesville march.  The March ended at a church where speakers talked about local action to take next. Most of the people were outside, with loudspeakers carrying the speeches, but I actually got a seat inside.  It was a hot night, and I was a bit soggy by the time I got home, but I now have lots of ideas for forward action!
camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-08-10 06:52 pm

(no subject)

 For Folks who don't get over to my Facebook page:

Patricia McKillip won the Mythopoeic Society award for adult fantasy this year. I love her work--I think she is the best writer of fairy-tale style fantasy in the business. She won for Kingfisher, which I liked very much, but my "reread McKillip" impulse took me instead to The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. It's been a while since I read it, so I didn't remember much, just that I liked it and that it had left me with that feeling like I'd just walked out of a dream. Her books hit you that way.

Forgotten Beasts, like most of her books really, is a love story. It is about a young girl who lives alone on a mountain with the beasts she more or less controls by magic. A man brings a baby out of war and leaves him for her to raise. Knowing nothing about raising children, Sybel enlists the aid of a neighbor down the mountain side. She has never known love herself but, beginning with the child, she begins to learn all the many kinds of love that can trip her up or save her from herself. 

The book is satisfying start to finish. Makes me glad she is still winning prizes!

camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-07-16 12:27 pm

(no subject)

 So excited about the new Doctor.  Love Capaldi, but Moffat never could figure out how to write for him.  When you have such a powerful actor, deciding that Dr. Who is all about the companion is a bad choice.  But we're getting a great new doctor and, hopefully, the new showrunner has a great plan to go with it.  
camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-06-23 01:50 pm

(no subject)

 Gym accomplished!  Also managed to get tai chi in between rainstorms.   Much to do, but rainy days make me lazy!
camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-06-19 06:52 pm

(no subject)

 
Finally getting over this virus, and went to DC to see the National Symphony.  Christoph Eschenbach, formerly Music Director in Philly, was stepping down and these were his final performances before he moves to laureate status.  Here is the review!

camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-05-25 12:58 pm

(no subject)

 Have been notably absent lately, due to a lot of family visiting followed, as it is, by a nasty virus.  Getting better and hope to be more interesting shortly!  I really want to write about Coming From Away, but that will have to wait until my brain is in gear.
camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-05-08 05:56 pm

(no subject)

 Back from crazy weekend with my sisters! Saw the Riverside Choral Society at Lincoln Center, which was wonderful. Then Come From Away on Sunday afternoon. I will write more about that tomorrow.

Highlight of the daylight hours: Mood to look at fabrics! My sister M sews and actually bought stuff to make some capris, but I went because I wanted to visit the fabric shop from Project Runway. it is crazy! It is upstairs in a building on 7th, so you have to take the elevator. We got there a minute or two before 10 and there was a line waiting for them to open and security guard to make sure that people didn't over-crowd the elevators.

There were three floors of every kind of fabric for clothes--I have never seen so much neoprene in one place! Most of the bolts of cloth were stacked on deep utilitarian shelves or propped like sheaves of wheat on the floor. But in one discreet corner, there was a section of suiting fabrics that were $120 a yard. The bolts were stored neatly on dark wood shelving, all very clubby. W.e did not shop in that section, but it was fun to see!

Next door was a Mood for home fabrics, for upholstery and draperies and such such. The only disappointment--I didn't get to see Swatch the dog!
camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-05-01 12:19 pm

(no subject)

 Here is my Kun-Yang Lin,Dance review. East and West meet politics and art.



ttp://bit.ly/2qvETYc

camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-04-28 01:02 pm

(no subject)

 Missed Bach this week for BalletX's Spring Series.  You have to love an editor who lets you use the word "crotch-y" in a review!

http://bit.ly/2qeMyh4
camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-04-23 07:30 pm

(no subject)

 I marched for Science yesterday!  When I was in grad school, the teachers in my department made a big joke about the department turning out the lights when they were ready to retire.  Except that it wasn't a joke, and the department was dissolved and became a program, and then pretty much disappeared.  Turned out they had no sense of handing over a functional scholarly endeavor--it was more like they put one over on us all.  

And it feels like that is what the Koch brothers and the other "drill baby drill" folks are doing.  Using it up with no thought at all for the kids and grandkids who are going to need the planet when we are gone.  Worse, they push an apocalyptic agenda to convince their victims that the world is going to end anyway, so no need to worry about what happens to your grandkids.  

I am not religious in a traditional way, but I think about religion a lot.  And I think that this apocalyptic message is a perversion of religion to benefit a few old men who believe they can take it with them when they die.  They are in for a nasty shock.  But in the meantime, I will be out there with my feet on the pavement, fighting for the planet so our kids and grandkids have air to breath and water to drink, and a climate that supports human life.  It's easy to give up.  Harder to do the work, but the work has to get done anyway.  

camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-04-20 01:37 pm

(no subject)

 I missed reading Wednesday!  

I am still reading Apollinaire's poetry, and I am almost through Jean Cocteau's Thomas the Imposter, about WWI. I like it very much--it is a slim book, with strikingly concrete imagery and an absurd plot drawn from Cocteau's own experience.  Not quite as outrageous as his real life at that time, though.

Next up is more Cocteau.  I've been a wee bit obsessed with him since I was in my twenties.
camille_bacon_smith: (Default)
2017-04-19 10:13 pm

(no subject)

 I was away for the holiday, and to celebrate my mom's birthday--yay mom!--and forgot to post the most recent review.  

The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) is Philadelphia's premier Black dance company. Have a link!

http://bit.ly/2of3fo2