Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The woman doing the jokes here is Betty White, who was in Golden Girls and also appeared in many TV shows (Love Boat, Diagnosis Murder, That 7os show, Boston Legal...) She is just hilarious, hope you will enjoy it.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Forgotten films from the 30s, first features, weird ones ("Le Petomane", by Ian MacNaughton, about a man with an elastic anus)... there's even a movie starring Kevin Costner (Tin Cup)!!
Definitely an interesting list.
And if you feel that a movie is missing, they've opened a page on their blog for your suggestions.
Monday, December 18, 2006
The award ceremony will be held at the end of January.
Friday, December 15, 2006
The plaza de toros Monumental was built in 1913 and, as well as bullfights during the season (around march to september), also hosts concerts.
The decision is apparently purely economic, and has nothing to do with the Barcelona townhall's decision to call the town "antitaurina" (against bullfights). With every bullfight, the owner was losing € 24 000. Simple as that. Animal lovers, please shut up and stop boasting, it has nothing to do with you!
So, the question is, is it a sign of the end of bullfights?
Friday, December 08, 2006
Monica Mason, Royal Ballet director, said to her dancers: "You challenged me to find challenges for you, and this is what I have done". There has been no resident choreographer at the Royal Ballet since 1993, and, in the 75 years of the company, only 3 people had the job: Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kenneth MacMillan and David Bintley, who now runs the Birmingham Ballet. Big names, then.
McGregor is only 36. At 22, he was running his own dance troupe, Rambert Dance Company, with his own choreographic style: "I have very long limbs, but no flexibility in the joints, and when I was dancing I made a style for myself that suited my body". He's also studied neuroscience, created art installations, directed operas...
His latest creation for the Royal Ballet, Chroma (pictured) was a big success, both among the audiences and the dancers themselves.
"It is a new world for the Royal Ballet".
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Thursday, November 30, 2006
One of the translators between the Pope and some of its Turkish interlocutors was Serra Yilmaz, a Turkish born actress and an almost gay icon in Italy, who has appeared in several gay-themed movies, including the well-known Le Fate Ignoranti.
Cause I am lazy today, you can read reviews here and there.
Friday, November 24, 2006
The portuguese singer Mariza was at the Royal Albert Hall yesterday evening for a memorable concert. Who would have thought that a fado singer could fill up this huge venue?
Wearing her traditional black dress with long black necklaces, she shared the stage with her musicians and the Serious string orchestra, directed by Brasilian composer Jacques Morelenbaum, who also produced her third album, Transparente. Joining her to sing throughout the evening were male fado legend Carlos do Carmo (her "master"), Tito Paris from Cape Verde (her "favourite African singer"), and Rui Veloso ("the biggest portuguese singer") So it was almost a "Mariza and friends" evening, really. It was also a true "atlantic wave" (as the festival this concert was part of is called) and some sort of "fado and its influences" night, since fado's roots are part Brasilian, part African.
It was fun to notice the difference between her and Carlos do Carmo, who has been a fado singer for 44 years (fado is only 200 years old). He moves much less than her (he is not as young, obviously!) and, when we started to clap at the beginning a song, he asked us not to clap "no no do not clap, you can sing with me, but certainly not clap, please". He still was an amazing performer, who won the crowd over with his humour and by singing traditional songs very well known in Portugal. As Mariza said "You can see why he is my master".
Tito Paris was a lovely little man, with braces and a cap, guitar in hand, shyly singing some sweet morna songs from Cape Verde, including Sodade. The audience was happy to join in and asked him to play a third song, when Rui Veloso entered the stage, to huge cheers from the Portugueses in the audience.
A big star in this country since the 80s, he was a surprise guest, as "I was holidays here, and she asked me to come and sing with her". He only sang Transparente and decided to leave Mariza alone to perform the other song he had written for her Feira de Castro.
Mariza was at her usual best. It seems like she can never disappoint live. Her voice is so amazing and powerful, she really uses it to its full range. Her stage presence is fantastic. I have filmed her singing without microphone at the centre of the Albert Hall. She has no fear, has she? If anyone on the balcony is reading this, could they let me know if they could hear her?
The Guardian talks about "a remarkable evening", The Times says the concert was "a coronation". You know what to do next time she performs near you!
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
But my parents were on holidays in Morocco last week and have forwarded me this nice sunset pic.
For all those who miss the ocean and the open spaces!!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
The official reason is timetable organisation apparently, not the opposition of the MPs of PNV (Nationalist Basque party), IU (Izquierda Unida, left) and ERC (Republican Catalan party) to the visit. Of course!
Why such opposition? Simple. Equatorial Guinea has the second highest income in the world at about £ 26 000 per head, thanks to oil revenues from its Zafaro oil field. But it also comes bottom in the United Nations' Human Development Index, which measures quality of life says the Guardian
Teodoro Obiang has $ 700 million in foreign bank acounts, and was recently re-elected with 97% of the votes. According to a 1999 report by the International Monetary Fund, oil companies received “by far the most generous tax and profit-sharing provisions in the region.” The state received only 15 to 40 percent of the revenues from its oil fields, while the norm in sub-Saharan Africa was 45 to 90 percent.
Glad to see a Parliament care about human rights for once!
More can be read on the corruption in Equatorial Guinea in this Mother Jones article
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Jeff Koons? La Cicciolina? What?? They even made some porn pics and glasswares together, in a series called the "Made in Heaven". I guess Koons is known for his use of kitch imagery, and is there anything kitcher than La Cicciolina??
The pic below is called Ilona with Ass Up.
On the "salsa rosa" front, they even got a boy, who was abducted by his mum, who wont allow Koons to see him! what da f!
Monday, November 13, 2006
I didnt find it challenging, but I enjoyed chatting with people in the queue, sharing the excitement and slight fear and I couldnt help but smile for 10 minutes once I had gone down for the 4th floor.
Really good fun.
This exhibition offers great evidence of Holbein's "ability to depict likeness, texture, light and stillness" so well you feel like you could touch the cloth or the skin he has painted.
Everything you see amazes you: the eyebrows in his drawings are so precise, literally hair by hair; the parting of the lips, executed in one fine line; the fur, the silk, the embroideries, the pearls... Everything looks so real.
However, one notices no artistic evolution in his work. Holbein's style remains the same from his arrival in the UK until his death. His trademark is "perfect likeness to reality". In a time where there was no photography, where portraits were a treasure, a sign of success, when portraits were also the only way for the Henry VIII to heck out a potential wife, Holbein's talent and skills were very much in need, so why change the style?
Therefore, my view is that Holbein will amaze you with his talent, but not surprise you. In a sense, once you have seen an Holbein, do you need to see any other? Still, I recommend you see at least one!
Monday, October 30, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
Went to see David Hockney's Portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery yesterday and enjoyed it very much.
I knew Hockney for his big colurful paintings, whether portraits or landscapes. I wasnt aware he was also a master of simple drawings and photography.
Sketching to him is an extension of seeing, and he seems to be sketching constantly. He is obsessed with the idea of seeing and representing. I didnt know he had such a fascination for Picasso either, and with the history of art in general. I really want to read his book: Secret Knowledge, Rediscovering the Techniques of the Old Masters.
Amazon says: This book is the fruit of his practical and historical investigation into how artists from the 15th century onward produced such vividly realistic drawings and paintings. Hockney's conclusions are simple but devastating. He argues that, "from the early 15th century many Western artists used optics--by which I mean mirrors and lenses (or a combination of the two)--to create living projections". The results are extraordinary. Secret Knowledge carefully explains how Masaccio, Van Eyck, Holbein, Caravaggio, Vermeer and Ingres all used optical aids, as it carefully takes apart the paintings and recreates the instruments and techniques used by artists from as early as the 1430s.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Thursday, October 19, 2006
"We reaffirm the great principle of liberalism: that every citizen is entitled by right to the elementary means to a good life. We believe passionately that societies should afford their citizens equal treatment under the law -- regardless of accidents of birth, race, sex, property, religion, ethnic identification, or sexual disposition. We want to redirect debate to the central questions of concern to ordinary Americans -- their rights to housing, affordable health care, equal opportunity for employment, and fair wages, as well as physical security and a sustainable environment for ourselves and future generations"
"Reason is indispensable to democratic self-government. This self-evident truth was a fundamental commitment of our Founding Fathers, who believed it was entirely compatible with every American's First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. When debating policy in the public square, our government should base its laws on grounds that can be accepted by people regardless of their religious beliefs. Public commitment to reason and evidence is the bedrock of a pluralist democracy"
Read the whole letter here and in French here
Thursday, October 12, 2006
It is fantastic that he receive such a prize, as he was taken to court in his home country, Turkey, for denouncing the 1915 genocide of Amernians and Kurds led by the Turkish.
It is also great that he receives such a prize today, just as the French Assemblee Nationale voted a law prosecuting anyone denying the Armenian genocide.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Love the rythm and the lyrics are quite cute ("the butterflies... in the air! and the ants... on the ground!"). Those lyrics are also a bit naughty ("Take a little fish, put it between my legs...") but I just thought that was weird. All I wanted was the fish-dress worn by the singer, Elie Medeiros. And the sparkly one at the end, even better!! :-)
Monday, October 02, 2006
Should developing countries try to reduce the technology gap or focus on getting the essentials (water, health...) right first? Both sides have good arguments, and here, Esther Duflo tells a story showing the unexpected advantages of introducing mobile phones on the Kerala coastline (South India).
Mobile phones have helped sardines fishermen increase their profits by 8%, at the same time as reducing the price of sardines by 4% and avoiding wastage all together. Now how is that possible?
Fishermen go to sea, along the coast (max 25km), early in the morning, and by 8am are back on beaches to sell their catch. Those beaches are quite far apart, so they were unable to move from one beach to another if there was too much competition on one beach. The same for fish buyers: if there was not enough fish to buy, they sometimes went home empty handed.
Now, with mobile phones, fishermen can decide before coming ashore who they are selling the sardines to, or what price they will sell them to. All the fishermen have access to all the buyers, and vice versa. Results: reduced volatily of prices, no wastage, better prices and better profits for all.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
It had some great long travelling shots, beautiful lighting, good lines and characters I cared about. And Claire Danes is superb in that movie. Her performance is the only thing critics agreed upon. For the rest, it's very mixed. Only 62% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes...
Some people found unbelievable that such a girl would fall for Steve Martin (born 1945!) but his character is a rich man, a bit shy at the beginning, quite a gentleman. What would people say if that man was a dwarf or a fatty? I say why not?
Another boy is after Mirabelle, the geeky Jeremy. After a not very good first fling, he leaves on tour with a rock band and comes back changed. It is sad that the scenarist (Steve Martin himself) decided to make him change through self-help books, when the reason he changed is simple: he just did what he wanted to do, and through that became more confident and had more to give.
People point to plot-holes and things being a bit too "engineered", but, man, women's favourite romantic comedy tells about a whore who falls for her client, how engineered is that!
Anyway, this is my movie recommendation for this week.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Silvio Rodriguez is "the Beatles and Dylan rolled into one" for Spanish speaking people said the Guardian a few days earlier. And indeed the expectation among the crowd was as high as if a concert with such a line up ever happened. Since his music career started, 45 years ago, Silvio had only been to London once before. So imagine the queue awaiting return tickets in the Barbican Hall.
I will be quick on the supporting band, Ska Cubano, who did their best to warm up the crowd, but putting them before Silvio Rodriguez would be like putting the Pussycat Dolls before Joan Baez. We're expecting a man with a few guitars, a flute, nice melodies and exceptional lyrics, so not really in the mood for some dancing. But they did quite well, until members of the 80s band Madness joined them onstage. Then, Ska became what I really think it is: boring.
Anyway, after the entracte, Silvio came on. Already we were on our feet to welcome him (So much for having to win people over!)
I thought about how tough it must be to be Silvio Rodriguez. He has 5-10 tunes that are known almost by heart in Latin America. Everyone probably remembers where they were the first time they heard Ojala. A boyfriend had just dumped me, and there came this haunting guitar and these lines over a tape player: "Let's hope something will happen that erases you suddenly, a bliding light, a snow storm, Let's hope at least death will take me so that I dont see you that much, so that I dont always see you". I cried like an idiot in front of everyone.
Anyway, it must be hard for him because people want to hear those songs, he has to play them. New ones? OK, why not, but you have to play Ojala he?? Which is why we knew there would be several encores because he hadnt played Ojala or others. And, when a guy comes twice in London in 45 years, we want to suck the blood out of him, he'd better play all the songs he can!!
So it was a good evening. I realised there were many songs I didnt know, but I enjoyed the warmness of people around me, people clapping to specific lines in songs, people doing a proper encore clapping (ie not random, but "O-TRA, O-TRA, O-TRA" English people cant do that, believe it or not), and of course Silvio's songs. He is a good writer, and though he has little efforts to make to be liked, he is a good performer as well.
To finish, here is a poem by Luis Rogelio Nogueras he read to people during his performance (he seems to read it at every concert)
Recorro el camino que recorrieron 4.000.000 de espectros.
Bajo mis botas, en la mustia, helada tarde de otoño, cruje dolorosamente la grava.
Es Auschwitz, la fábrica de horror que la locura humana erigió a la gloria de la muerte.
Es Auschwitz, estigma en el rostro sufrido de nuestra época.
Y ante los edificios desiertos, ante las cercas electrificadas, ante los galpones que guardan toneladas de cabellera humana.
Ante la herrumbrosa puerta del horno donde fueron incinerados padres de otros hijos, amigos de amigos desconocidos, esposas, hermanos, niños que, en el último instante, envejecieron millones de años.
Pienso en ustedes, judíos de Jerusalem y Jericó, pienso en ustedes, hombres de la tierra de Sión, que estupefactos, desnudos, ateridos cantaron la hatikvah en las cámaras de gas.
Pienso en ustedes y en vuestro largo y doloroso camino desde las colinas de Judea hasta los campos de concentración del III Reich.
Pienso en ustedes y no acierto a comprender cómo olvidaron tan pronto el vaho del infierno.
My translation (The ... sign means I didnt know how to translate. Apologies)
I follow the way taken by 4 millions spectres (...)
It is Auschwitz, the horror factory that human madness built to the glory of death
It is Auschwitz, a mark on the face of our times
And, in front of the deserted buidlings, the electric fences (...)
In front of the rusty oven door where were incinerated fathers of other sons, friends of unkown friends, wives, brothers, children who, in the last moment, aged millions of years.
I think about you, Jews of Jerusalem and Jerico, I think about you, men of the land of Sion who, (...) sang the hatkivah in the gas chambers.
I think about you and your long and painful way from the hills of Galile to the concentration camps of the III Reich.
I think about you and cannot manage to understand how you forgot so quickly the vapor of hell.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
His point was that we had to address the causes of terror, not just terror itself, and the cause is rooted in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. Who would have thought? Thanks for that, Ted, we had figured that out before.
As a reminder, Israel was created in 1948 by the Western powers, in some sort of compensation to the Jewish people, victim of the Holocaust, on a land called Palestine. ie a land where people already lived, but we didnt really think about that. So we can imagine the anger of the Palestinian people, having their land taken away, and realising that their fellow Muslims were powerless to regain that land for them. Today, Palestinians still suffer from Israeli domination (checkpoints, the wall etc...) and that can be said to fuel extremism and terrorism among Muslims (the same way Nazi brutal occupation of France fueled the ranks of the Resistance during WWII)
Anyway, 2 interesting points in the programme:
- One, Honderich presented his principle of Humanity: the principle by which one takes rational actions to prevent people from leading bad lives (ie from being deprived of length of lives, well being, freedom, respect, goods of relationships and satisfactions of culture). (A principle that can be liked to Amartya Sen's view of development as freedom)
- Two, based on that principle, Honderich said the Palestinians had a moral right to terrorism, since they were being almost ethincally cleansed and had no other means. I am not exactly sure how that goes with the principle of Humanity.
Ha, how I like programmes with interesting and challenging messages nicely presented and argumented, where the trail of thoughts is easily identifiable and things make sense. Well done. Tap on the back Ben, for feeling clever tonight.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Apparently, the tour was quite a success. The last date, yesterday in Madrid, got a good review in El Pais this morning.
Dalai Lama, Hijo de la Luna, El 7 de septiembre, Mujer contra mujer... Mecano made it big in France as well, thanks to well translated lyrics and what a voice has la Torroja! I remember learning Un ano mas in my Spanish class when I was 13, and everyone asked the teacher to copy the song on a tape for us.
Tonight we are celebrating my sister's 35th birthday and 10th wedding anniversary. I am pretty sure Dalai Lama will be played at some point!!
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Woke up at 5.30am with a sore throat (angine), and am paying the consequences of my stupid Monday idea: going to the gym in the morning and going to my flamenco class in the evening. My legs are dead. It was fun at the time though!
I have been obsessed by this poem, written by gallegan writer Rosalia de Castro in the 19th century. It is read in the movie El espiritu de la colmena.
Ya ni rencor ni desprecio
ya ni temor de mudanza
tan sólo sed…, una sed
de un no sé qué que me mata
Rios de vida, ¿do vais?
Aire! que el aire me falta
¿Qué ves en el fondo oscuro?
¿Qué ves que tiemblas y callas?
¡No veo! Miro cual mira
un ciego al sol cara a cara
Yo voy a caer en donde
nunca el que cae se levanta
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Today, we shall aim a bit higher and I will start a (hopefully weekly) series of pics of clouds, taken by myself (and others if you wish, feel free to mail)
This one was taken last sunday, in Paris
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
I shall end here with my trip in France.
As Michael said "Paris doesnt disappoint"
Versailles certainly didnt. At 25, it was time for me to visit it after hearing so much about it as a kid in our history lessons!
A huge and almost perfect place. So much details was put in everything! Just amazing. (Sorry it is late and it would take too long to describe everything!)
Monday, September 04, 2006
Still, I managed to meet up with my friend Viviane. Hadnt see her for 3 years, but she said "It feels like I last so you yesterday!"
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Michael and I are in Paris, France (cher pays de mon enfance) until Tuesday, eating like pigs and meeting friends, chilling out and trying not to think how much more beautiful it is than London.
So far, we have ran into many people who seemed crazy (they talked rather agressively to random people) as well as a busker on the tube who had "un petit programme musical pour vous les voyageurs" and started shaking his body to african tunes. A woman went on for more than half an hour on "ces salauds de Bordelais". We had diner at 1 in the morning in a brasserie. We have also been to the Musee de l'Orangerie in the Jardin des Tuileries to admire Monet's Nympheas. It has a strangely relaxing and soothing effect on you, something intended by Monet. He was the first living artist to give a painting away to a nation. He travelled around, was a major Impressionist figure, went almost blind... I am quite keen on reading his biography now.
My twin Romain, his gf Nathalie, Michael and our cousin Julia, outside L'Orangerie
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
With 40 'illegal' downloads for each paying one, it might be a good idea to do something about it.
"A government, at all levels, that fell short of its responsibilities" when dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I didnt say it. Bush himself said it!
The big English and international publisher Penguin is moving into China with its bestselling classics range. Don Quixote, The hunchback of Notre Dame and Moby Dick are heading for Beijing.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Since then, my interest in dance has hugely increased. I starting taking flamenco lessons and went to see lots of shows around London, so the blog tends to be more about that now. And since Covent Garden is the home of the Royal Ballet, I thought I would keep the name!
I work full time and am quite busy but will try to update as often as I can.
You can contact me on astudioincoventgarden (at) gmail (dot) com