31 January, 2009

Techno Ballet Performance - GREED: The Tale of Enron

Last night I went to a modern ballet performed by the Rebecca Davis Dance Company in center city, at the Prince theater. What intrigued me the most was Rebecca's background as a dancer / Fox School of Business undergrad here at Temple. It's really inspiring for me to see creatives who get a business education in order to further their work.

But enough about me. I have mixed reviews of what her site claims to be "The most original and relevant dance performance of the season." While parts of the performance were truly genius (not to mention the theme behind the whole project itself), there were a few things that missed the mark.

Act II, part one. The whole Christmas scene. "All of the employees gather at Ken Lay's home for the annual holiday party." Maybe that did happen, but it's the end of January and I didn't come to see the nutcracker, and the Christmas tunes like "Ukrainian Bell Carol" didn't jive with the rest of the performance.

Act I, The Baxter Family. Danielle Grimm, playing Cliff Baxter's daughter, sure was cute and can definitely dance. But it would have been nice to see an actual little girl, not an undersized 20-something. And the fact that her mother, played by Jillian Mitchell, is the size of a toothpick made the whole family dynamic thing a bit awkward. No offense to these beautiful and talented women, but it would have been nicer to watch a family that looked something alike.

Enough negatives. Here's what I LOVED about the performance:

Metaphors of blindness, for example the Baxter's protecting each other by covering each other's eyes, whereas in parts it was used as a symbol of ignorance.

The movements that made dancers look like puppets, as though they were being controlled by some larger force. Perhaps the market?

"Smoke and mirrors" and "black box" imagery that made the whole performance work. The radio voiceover in the beginning helps us to understand the motivation for a ballet / visual performance involving an energy company.

The music. Other than the Christmas scene. Coldplay's "Violet Hill" and 311's "Love Song" were the ones we recognized. Would have been nice to have something in the program about the other songs.

Favorite scenes:

"Executive Meeting - Enron Corporate Headquarters" because Andy Fastow, played by Charles Russell, brings out the "books" for the first time. And he can really move! Also, we begin to see the Enron storyline and understand the situation better, as opposed to the first scene "The Skilling-Mark Power Struggle" which was a little dry and made Rebecca Mark, played by Vanessa Woods, look like a prostitute.

"Skilling & Carter - Outside Lay's Home" because this duet was intense (Coldplay accompaniment) and I loved the setting on stage. A full moon on the screen with low lights.

"The Boardroom, The Downfall, and the End of Enron" which are the last three scenes and culmination of everything modern ballet that I would admire. Funky choreography, techno music, use of strategically located shadows on the wall for dramatic effect in one part. The techno in one scene even had me tapping my feet! Good acting, good dancing, and some great numbers overall.

Davis' ability to take a critical look at Enron through both the eyes of a business major and an artistic director is surely commendable. She's taken a risk through her company by portraying real-life situations such as this one in an entirely new and unexpected way. I thoroughly enjoyed this performance not for the overall production but for the theme and concept behind it.

28 January, 2009

How and Why America Chose a Black for the White House

Searching for my Italian textbook on international bookseller sites, I noticed and translated this title in my head:

"Barack Obama. Come e perché l'America ha scelto un nero alla Casa Bianca" or "Barack Obama. How and why America chose a black for the White House"

I think it's so interesting how Italy, and Europe in general, perceives this occasion. I had been getting a bunch of emails from Italian contacts right before and after the election.

From: e-mail with professor
Rome, Italy
Penso spesso a Philly e mi manca.. spero di tornare la prossima estate, ma prima dobbiamo aspettare le elezioni del 4 novembre, che paura!!!!!!!!!!! Tutto il mondo si aspetta un cambiamento ed io sono ottimista.
From: my translation
Philadelphia, PA
I think often of Philly and I miss it... I hope to return next summer, but first we must wait for the elections of Nov 4, how frightening / worrisome!!!!! All the world waits for a change and I am optimistic.

On the one hand, they are about as happy as many of us who are glad the Bush era is over. On the other hand, I always wish people would stop referring to him as "The First Black President." I think it was more about inspiring a nation than about him being "black" why he was elected. I might actually add this item to my book for class and take a stab at translating it. See for yourself.

Jackson Pollock's Birthday Celebrated the Google Way

Google Homepage
Noticed at Mashable.

What do you think? Here are some other, perhaps better-branded "Google Doodles," including happy new year, MLK Day, and previous years all the way back to 1999 - whenever a new logo was used on the homepage:
Google Holiday Logos

This is how I am celebrating...
Painting Like Pollock

26 January, 2009

Fun with Avatars

Yahoo! Avatars is kinda fun if you're in a distract-me-please kinda mood. The selections are limited but here's what I came up with:

A little Rome-sick, maybe, hehe. Especially with all this cold weather in the States!

19 January, 2009

Frosty Wallpaper

Photo upload from Flickr: Happy Winter
Happy Winter, originally uploaded by whoaitsaimz.
Description: My lil rendering of Frosty. In Blender 3D. Desktop wallpaper. 1280 x 800

I made this desktop wallpaper in a program called Blender 3D. It's perfect for a laptop with 1280 x 800 resolution. Get the full size and right-click, then "set as desktop wallpaper" to make it yours!

04 January, 2009

Smoke Now! ...Be Happy Hereafter (REAL PROPAGANDA)

Look what I found at the Library of Congress site (my treasure find, it's like I won the lottery or something - see post about the old-school LOLcats):
Smoke Now!
...Be Happy Hereafter

Gonzalez & Sanchez
Havana Cigars
...for Women Only

A Story of a Spoiled Evening

I'M A MAN - at least I wear trousers and No. 8 shoes and smoke and drink dopes and uster drink beer and have all the outward and visible signs of manhood and most of the inward and ingrowing vices, so I feel like I'm a regular Webster when it comes to being an authority on men's dispositions.

I know you want your husband to join you in a better world when he finally kicks out down here and while I cannot begin to tell you ALL the things that will help along that line - me not being a preacher as far as you can notice it - I can say one or two little things that are right pertinent.

Isn't this just so... old school? They could never get away with this stuff nowadays: "for Women Only" it says. I think the feminists AND the men would have a protest about this one. See the entire text here.

Stay tuned for a printable mini!

Advertising Ephemera Collection - Database #A0160
Emergence of Advertising On-Line Project
John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History
Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library

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