Thursday, November 30, 2006

The pope and Serra Yilmaz

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.

Royal Ballet Triple Bill

What an evening! Three great works, two being brand new. The staging, the technique, the choreography, the music, all was just perfect. I look forward to seeing them again.
Cause I am lazy today, you can read reviews here and there.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Mariza - Royal Albert Hall - review

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!


Cloudspotting is back this week, thanks to my sister! Hugs to her!

St Jean de Luz, November 06

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Sorry for the lack of cloudspotting pictures these past two weeks but I have no internet at home so cant upload my own pics :-(

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

Obiang in Spain

Great! Teodoro Obiang, the president of Equatorial Guinea, was supposed to visit the Spanish Parliament this morning, but it was all cancelled

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 and La Cicciolina!!

It is with great surprise that I found out last week that the American artist Jeff Koons married Ilona Staller, aka the one and only Cicciolina, in 1992.

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

Carsten Holler slides

I finally made it to the Tate Modern slides I mentioned earlier.
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.

Holbein in England - Tate Britain - review

Hans Holbein the Younger (he is the Younger cause his father, Hans Holbein the elder, ran a successful workshop in Germany) came to England in 1526 with the recommendations of Erasmus, and made it big here, becoming a few years later Henry VIII's official court painter.

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!