Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pontus Lidberg - The Rain

Trailer for the 28-minute film The Rain, by Pontus Lidberg.

The programme 4 Dance 2008 included 2 extracts from that film, and I really liked it. Quite a nice surprise to find out there is more to see! Website for the movie here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dance in 2009

Two UK newspapers are looking forward to the year ahead and list what to look out for in 2009. Amongst the many artforms presented is dance.

Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant's new collaboration Eonaggata seem to be what they most look forward to. Check out the Times and the Guardian.

Am particularly interested in this news from the Times that Sadler's Wells (London's dance house) has commissioned works from Maliphant, Wayne McGregor, Javier De Frutos and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui that 'encapsulate the spirit of Diaghilev' who founded the Ballets Russes 100 years ago.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Dance Xmas

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Had a slightly dance-themed Xmas. Got tickets for a triple bill at the Royal Opera House (which includes Christopher Wheeldon's Danse A Grande Vitesse - love it) + the Balletboyz DVD Encore (which includes a piece I love, Propeller)

I highly recommend Encore - just what you'd expect from Ballet Boyz: great choreography (Will Tuckett, Liv Lorent, Bonachela...), insightful interviews before each dance piece, and a really interesting 'director's commentary' with the Ballet Boyz talking about the dance being performed.

I also watched "10 years of Riverdance" (it DOES count as dance!), "Mamma Mia!" (which I guess is choreographed so also counts as dance...) and Dance 4 Film on Channel 4 (also called 4dance 2008).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

All the dancers in the house...

wish they were in that video.

(Choreography inspired by Bob Fosse's work, no less)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Birds can dance

This is from the New York Times Magazine Year in Ideas 2008.


If you aren’t one of the millions who have already done so, go immediately to YouTube and search for “Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo.” There you will see a large white bird balanced on the back of an office chair, bobbing his head, stomping his feet and doing something that — until now — scientists believed impossible: dancing just like a human.

This is good fun. It’s also good science: Snowball’s videos are changing the way researchers understand the neurology of music and dancing. Aniruddh Patel, senior fellow at the Neurosciences Institute in California, got the link from a friend. He saw not just a funny bird but also a potential solution to a scientific argument dating back to Darwin: some researchers say that human brains have been specially wired by natural selection for dancing, because dancing confers survival benefits through group bonding. If that were true, according to Patel, you would see dancing only in animals that, like humans, have a long history of music and dance, which no other species has. The fact that only humans dance has long been seen as evidence supporting the evolution argument.

So Patel sent an e-mail message to Snowball’s owner, Irena Schulz, and asked to study her bird. “The obvious question was whether he was just mimicking somebody,” Patel said. To answer that, he made CDs of Snowball’s favorite song (“Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” by the Backstreet Boys) at various speeds. Schulz videotaped Snowball dancing to each version, and then Patel graphed Snowball’s movement against the music’s beat. “Like a child, he synched to the music for stretches of time, then danced a little faster or a little slower, but always in a rhythmic way,” Patel says. “Statistically those periods when he’s locked onto the beat are not by chance — they really do indicate sensitivity to the beat and an ability to synchronize with it.”

What’s most interesting to Patel is that this ability is present in birds but not in primates, our closest animal relatives. “This is no coincidence,” he says. Patel says dancing is associated with our vocal abilities, not musical hard wiring. Humans and parrots are two of the few species with brains wired for vocal learning — hearing sounds (like words), then coordinating complex movements (lips, tongues, vocal cords) to reproduce those sounds. Other animals who have this ability: dolphins, seals and whales. “In theory,” he says, “they may be able to dance, too. We just don’t know it yet.”

Friday, December 05, 2008

50 years of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre

The special gala celebrating 50 years of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre sounded like it was a great night, if you read the NY Times review of it.

They also have a short video about Alvin Ailey. Check it out.

Below a piece from his most well-known work, Revelations.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Impressing the Czar @ Sadler's Wells - review

GO GO GO! This is surreal, crazy, funny, superbly danced, especially Act 2 In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated, where things get serious and technical and are all about the purity of the movement.

I didn't know what to expect, and I was blown away.

Video with bits from Act 2 and Act 3 (yes it's the entire company dressed as schoolgirls...crazy, I said)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sangre Flamenca @ Peacock Theatre, London - review

It was a pretty good show, though me and my flamenco friends (I take flamenco dance classes) found it very cheesy at times.

Lead dancers and co-founders of Nuevo Ballet Espanol Angel Rojas and Carlos Rodriguez are very good dancers, but at times, their mix of flamenco and contemporary dance doesn't work very well, particularly when danced to a moody (read: boring) soundtrack.

I found the second tableau, between 2 guys and a girl, particularly dreadful. There was some imaginative stuff in there, but lord, they just tried too hard.

Also, Angel kind of milked the applause at the end of his solo. First, he danced, then came to the front of the stage and danced some more, but no one really applauded afterwards. Why? Because we were not impressed, that's why! His footwork was fast but only in short sections - little build-up, no time to think 'wow this is crazy, he is amazing!"

When they stayed close to pure flamenco (eg Carlos' solo, in particular), that's where it was beautiful.

Richard Alston Dance Company

From Richard Alston Dance COmpany's Shuffle It Right.

Will leave you with a massive smile on your face. Highly recommended! They are touring the UK this November.

Update 4/11: A short feature on Richard Alston in today's Guardian.

A glorious pic

From Australian Dance Theatre's new work, G, coming to London soon.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

An article on La Lupe, the queen of Latin Soul!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Morphoses @ Sadler's Wells

The evening started very well when, at the Lilian Baylis cafe (near Sadler's Wells), there were a lot of people and I had to sit down right opposite... Christopher Wheeldon, choreographer and artistic director of Morphoses :-) I heavily eaves-dropped on his conversation with an important man in a suit (they were talking programming and new creations) and asked him to autograph my tickets.

I then found out that the great black ballerina Aesha Ash wasn't with the company this year, but would be back next year, which is alright I guess... Come back to London Aesha, please!

Overall, Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company brought an evening of great dance. Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon's Fool's Paradise is just a wonderful piece of modern ballet - I really recommend you see it (a short clip below)

There was a world premiere by a Canadian choreographer. It had some great movement, but the music was just too repetitive (it was by Steve Reich) to bring out any emotions, I felt. No accelerations, no real accents, no slowing down - the same basic rythm all the time. I found it pretty hard-going after a while.

The night also included a new Wheeldon ballet called Commedia. More light-hearted and fun, it was really good.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


An hilarious series of notes people found on the street, and that are being collected in a book.
They are just too funny.

30 Rock won four Emmys on Sunday, which is absolutely fantastic news. Let's hope it brings them more viewers, and a 4th season.

Went to see Emanuel Gat Dance at Sadler's Wells on Friday. Tickets were only £10, wherever you sat - a great initiative, though I am not sure it was enough to encourage people to see contemporary dance and fill up the 1500 seats of the auditorium. The company performed 3 dance pieces, including Winter Passage, which I already saw 2 years ago. Two guys in long blue dresses danse to some stongs from Schubert's Winterreise - I found it very melancholic and moving, but maybe it was just the music? The last piece, called Through the Centre, was my favourite: the whole company on stage (about 10 of them if I remember well), bright colours, dancing to some crazy organ/guitar/jazz combo (the music is actually the recording of a live jam performance, with audience applause included) with energetic and dynamic movement that really worked with the music. I loved it.

Also went to the dancEUnion festival at the Southbank Centre, where they had lots of free contemporary dance performances happening. I really enjoyed seeing the Italian dancer Marcella Fanzaga appear onto the cafe terrace outside the Royal Festival Hall, walk slowly, as if sleepwalking, hug surprised passers-by and coffee drinkers, dance, hug some more, before slowly leaving, moving from hands to hands. The music was very sad at the beginning, then a brass band gypsy piece followed, before returning to something calmer. What was interesting was seeing the reaction of people: some people were freaked out, didn't like being the centre of attention, others ignored her completely, one man hugged her back, another lifted her in the air.
It may sound a bit wnaky, but actually it was quite poetic.

The performances by Galili Dance were really fun and energetic, while dancer Tina Tarpgaard's show looked amazing too - she danced, filmed herself and created exciting projections at the same time. It looks pretty scary on her website, but it wasn't!

And finally, went to see the lobby of the Daily Express building as part of Open House. Bring on Art Deco!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mega Picasso

We will have Rothko, Bacon, Warhol, Miro and Calder in London, but it seems like the major blockbuster exhibition of this autumn/winter will be Picasso et les maitres in Paris, held by the Louvres, the Musee D'Orsay, the Grand Palais, and the Musee Picasso.

The exhibition will showcase over 200 works from the most pretigious public and private collections, putting Picasso next to his masters: Velasquez, Van Gogh, Goya, Manet and more...

It sounds very impressive. I hope I can make it there.

How it came about: here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Spring Awakening @ Lyric Hammersmith

The Tony award-winning musical Spring Awakening is coming to London next January. I know very little about it except that it won some Tonys and is running at a place I would love to work at.

So I've checked it on youtube and it looks pretty cool. It's based on a 19th-century German play by Frank Wedekin, that got banned many times for openly talking about the sexuality of teenagers. There's rape (though not in the musical version - ha Broadway!) and death and suicide and all sorts of tragic things like that. The music is more rock than showtunes, and what I've heard so far sounds great.

Particular favourite is the first number, Mama who bore me. Just seeing this vid made me want to buy tickets. OK, they're kind of just yelling like loonies at some point, but it's a pretty powerful song no?

Also, the Lyric Hammersmith is doing some £10 nights, where all (ALL!) tickets are only £10. Isn't this the best deal ever? I've got my dress circle tickets booked already. Can't wait.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Elaine Stritch in London!

Wow what a summer! After seeing Mercedes Sosa in concert, I ran into another mega legend, Elaine Stritch. She was taking a walk in town, in the middle of Soho Pride( of all places!)

So exciting! Elaine Stritch is a big Broadway star, and she's been in London doing a show with her biggest successes. I didn't go because the tickets were bleedin' expensive, but hey I saw her on the street!

Went over and said hi and said I loved her work in 30 Rock (she plays Alec Baldwin's mother and she is hilarious) and asked if she would be in the 3rd season and she said she would! Horray! (Is that a scoop?)

Here's a vid of her singing, and another from 30 Rock.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Went on a pretty nice tour of some of the east end of London today, checking out graffitis and galleries along the way. Very interesting, I recommend it!
More info on the Comment Art website.

I might go again, this time with a camera, so I have some pics to show.
Found this video of Mercedes Sosa singing on Mexican television in the 90s.

Lots of things to notice in this video:
- the awful pink and gold ensemble the presenter is wearing
- how Mercedes thinks her mike is not working at the end of song 2, and keeps asking for it to be turned on. She is banging the mike making big gestures - hilarious.
- two awesome songs. The second is my current favourite: Maria Maria by the Brazilian Milton Nascimento. ae -ae-a-ae-ae-ae-e-e-eeee
- La Negra dancing about, moving across the set - a huge difference from her concerts today where she remains sat on a chair. ela she is older now, so it's ok.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


Quite an amazing opening ceremony no? I watched it this morning (up until the entrance of the teams, cause it just gets too boring at that point)

The question now is how will London top that in 2012? We're all a bit worried. Good luck to whoever has to organise it!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Mercedes Sosa!

Shame on me earlier for saying I hadn't seen anything worth blogging about recently.

Of course I saw someone great in concert, and that person was the legendary Mercedes Sosa!
Despite her old age and past health problems, even though she had a folder with the lyrics in front of her and spent the whole show sat on a chair (except right at the end, for a tremendous Luna Llena and Maria Maria) she gave a great concert.

She is a true legend of Latin American music and it was such an awesome experience to be at one of her concerts, surrounded with Argentinian, Brazilians, Cubans etc, all totally in awe of her. She is their sister, mother, best friend, she and her music mean so much to them, it was magical to feel it.

Al Jardin de la Republica, Alfonsina y el mar, Zamba para no morir, Piedra y Camino (great version with a young harmonica player) and of course Gracias a la vida - she sang them all!

Also, I never thought I would see her live, what with her age etc but it has happened. A dream came true that night!

To La Negra, with much much love.

Chus Lampreave!

I love the Spanish actress Chus Lampreave, who appears in many of Pedro Almodovar's movies.

The only movie I've seen with her, by another director, is El Verdugo by Berlanga, and she is in there 2 minutes.

Pedro Almodovar gives her a well-deserved hommage on his blog. When I went to the Almodovar Q&A at the BFI for the release of volver, I wanted to ask him about Chus, but I wasn't picked. His recent post asnwers my question!

"Chus Lampreave is something more than a regular in my films. She’s an adorable person who still has a child’s innocence and capacity for surprise, even though her life hasn’t exactly been a bed of roses. She is the closest thing to the idea of an angel. A person who is naturally good. When someone like her crosses your path the best thing is to hold on to her and not let her get away for a long time. I always have a meeting pending with her, to talk, to feel her marvellous optimism and her enthusiasm at the mere fact of seeing each other and telling each other things (...)
When I offered her the role of Mother Street Rat in “Dark Habits”, her only objection was that she thought it too long, too important, and she should only do little, unimportant roles. Exactly the opposite of what any actress would tell you. Chus belongs to an atypical, wonderful race of actors who gesticulate very little. Or who don’t gesticulate at all, but their faces only reflect truth. I’m talking about geniuses like Buster Keaton, Totò, Bill Murray, Pepe Isbert, Robert Mitchum… Fortunately I managed to persuade her to play the role of the secret writer-nun in “Dark Habits”. Since then she is one of the most important emotional references in my life."

One of her best bits is obviously in The Flower of my secret. Almodovar talks about how they rehearsed it on his blog. Read it!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Earthquake in China

Dujiangyan, China
Two parents mourn the death of their child in a school collapse
Photo: Stringer Shanghai / Reuters
From this NY Times slideshow

Thursday, April 24, 2008

NY Times

I like the NY Times website because they always have those weird stories on the front page. Not, like, weird, just unusual. About the little people rather than big events.
This morning, the top one was about how the smoking bans affects bingo places, who now make less money than before: "After the smoke cleared, where did all the bingo players go?"

A very interesting on American politics in The Economist.

"The war between “ordinary people” and “condescending elites” is one of the great themes of American politics. “Ordinary people” are real Americans: they worship God, revere America and love their families. “Condescending elites” are crypto-Europeans—the sort of people who eat arugula, do sissified jobs in offices and universities, and scheme to ban guns and legalise gay marriage (...)
But this pandering to “ordinary Americans” is annoying in all sorts of ways. Isn't America supposed to be a meritocracy? (...) Almost 90% of Americans say that they admire people who have got rich through hard work. Yet whenever elections come around politicians treat the people at the bottom of the heap as the embodiment of American values. And aren't Americans supposed to believe in self-reliance? America's farms are some of the country's biggest subsidy hogs. Many small towns (...) are kept alive only by federal pork. As for family values, America's small towns and rural havens suffer from higher rates of marital breakdown and illegitimate births than the degenerate big cities.
But pander the politicians feel they must. This week Mrs Clinton downed a shot of Crown Royal whisky in Bronko's Restaurant and Lounge in Crown Point, Indiana. She also entertained America with stories about how her father taught her to shoot. But does anybody believe that Mrs Clinton spends her days shooting and her evenings throwing back the whisky? Mrs Clinton is a graduate of Wellesley College and Yale Law School. The Clintons' joint income since 2000 was $109m. Mrs Clinton joined the million-mom march against gun violence.
The same is true, perhaps even truer, on the conservative side of the aisle. John McCain—son and grandson of four-star admirals, husband of a woman who is worth $100m and owner of several houses—follows in a long tradition. George Bush senior mocked Michael Dukakis for his Harvard Yard liberalism. But “Poppy” went to Yale (where his father was on the board of directors) and was once nonplussed by a supermarket scanner. Bob Dole, who liked to boast that his father wore overalls for 42 years, made millions and married a fellow all-star politician. And as for George Bush junior...
The hypocrisy extends to the commentariat who have been busting their cheeks blowing their populist trumpets. Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly make millions out of championing “the folks” against “the elites”. Bill Kristol and John Podhoretz are the Ivy-educated sons of famous parents who are based, respectively, in Washington, DC, and New York City. "

Friday, April 18, 2008


Oh I was young and I didn't know I would turn out gay, but there were obvious signs, like loving this song... Dana Dawson! Romantic World!

Note the top quality of the vid! Someone, in 1991, taped this performance on his video camera, filming his tv screen. 17 years later, it's on youtube. you gotta love it!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Tonight, London
An article in the Guardian about the lack of black ballerinas. It rightly points out that black male ballet dancer do better than black girls.

The Proms programme has been announced! 9 weeks of classical music every night. I couldn't handle that, but some people do go to all the performances! From a first glance at the listing, there are 8 I am keen on.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

New Pedro Almodovar website/blog

Pedro Almodovar has decided to start a kind of blog to talk about whatever is his mind, particularly his next movie, Broken Embraces. He should start shooting soon, but doesn't want to reveal too much.

"I promise to tell only the truth, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to tell you everything about me and about the film and its preparation. On the contrary, I intend to say as little as possible about the story and the characters, I’ll wander around on the fringes, in purely tangential elements. You’ll think I’ve got a real cheek, and I’m sure you’re right. (Anything to celebrate the lack of intermediaries). I’ve been nurturing a dream for some time. I’d like that at least once spectators would go to see one of my films without knowing what it’s about. I know that it’s an almost impossible dream, but I’m going to try to get as near to it as possible. Still, I am going to show lots of images of the different processes, images that will be transferred directly from my camera to this page."

It's in Spanish AND English AND French, so no reason not to read it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Heaps (Farruco @ Sadler's Wells review, Mujeres @ Sadler's Wells review)

OK, need to catch up...

I didn't enjoy Los Farruco very much. Very raw and talented performers, but I don't think it's a style that works well in a big theatre. I also found it quite repetitive: "Oh! another really fast footwork!" and I didn't like the way they always ended their routine right at the front of the stage, arms up, facing the audience, waiting for applause. Don't milk it man.

Mujeres, however, was sublimissime. Very contemporary, but still traditional, with bata de cola, abanicos, castanets, it all mixed beautifully. The 3 dancers (Merche Esmeralda, Belen Maya and Rocio Molina) were just great: sharp and gracious, beautiful hands, beautfiul facial expressions. They really knew what they were doing. Big winner that night, the singer Diana Navarro, who appeared as guest-artist during the show. She sang with an amazing voice, at the same time flamenca, arabic, fadista and more. She blew us away.

The Guardian tells us about the 10 best places to eat tapas in Granada. I want to go back!

30 Rock is back on Thursday the 10th of April on NBC. The season 1 DVDs are out next week.

Big things happening in 2 weeks - scary, necessary and exciting. Will keep you posted.

Super cute story in the NYTimes of Public School 59, in the Bronx, where they love Irish dancing. We need more of that (I mean people, and young kids in particular, dancing, not necessarily Irish dancing, though it's nice!)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Eric Underwood

Eric Underwood in Electric Counterpoint
Photo John Ross

I have talked before about Aesha Ash, a great dancer I have discovered in the Morphoses Company last year, and mentioned that she was one of the few black dancers around.

Head to the Royal Ballet this week to see another great black dancer, Eric Underwood, perform in a new piece called Electric Counterpoint. Eric Underwood started his career in New York's Dance Theatre of Harlem, before moving to the American Ballet Theatre. He is now a First Artist at the Royal Ballet, and a joy to watch. He also appeared in McGregor's Chroma. Can't wait to see more of him.

Eric Underwood in Chroma
photo: Johan Persson

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Juan Munoz et al.

Nicolas and me, looking at a Juan Munoz piece (obviously I can't remember the name of it. It's a self 'portrait' though, this much I remember)

Went to the Juan Munoz exhibition at the Tate Modern and found it brilliant. I liked his balconies, the way viewers have to get quite involved to see everything there is to see in his sculptures, which were quite poetic, despite the highly disturbing factor sometimes! The other good thing is that there weren't too many kids around. There were hips in the members' bar though, which is pretty annoying, though I guess people with young children should have the right to a bit of culture too.

However, there was a little girl yesterday in the audience at the Royal Opera House, watching 3 short works, 1 a modern piece by McGregor, the other the Rite of Spring (sacrifice the maiden!) and another about a soldier who murders his girlfriend. Not exactly the Nutcracker is it?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mayra Andrade on Later with Jools Holland

The Cape Verdean singer Mayra Andrade was on the music show Later with Jools Holland last week, here in the UK. Here is a special performance recorded for the Later website. The song is called Tunuka.

Mayra will be in concert at the Barbican in London in March!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Funny parody of Celine Dion

World Press Photo 07

World Press Photo prize winner, 2007
by Tim Hethrington
First published in Vanity Fair

More photographs and winners here.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

What European toys say about European views

A very interesting article in The Economist on Europe's biggest toy brands, Lego (Denmark) and Playmobil (Germany). I tried to explain to an English friend what Playmobils were and failed.

A few extracts:

"Study these little people, and you learn much about European views of globalisation, violence, creativity, America, race, gender equality and what makes a good job. For example, says Playmobil's chief executive, Andrea Schauer, “the dream of every German mother” used to be to have an engineer for a son. Parents liked to see boys assembling elaborate structures in their bedrooms; Lego is the top toy brand in Germany. In contrast, the French shun construction toys, preferring the world of the imagination. Playmobil is their leading toy brand.

Europeans are squeamish about warfare and armies. American shelves groan under tanks and muscle-bound action heroes; European parents are less keen. Playmobil tanks and warplanes “could certainly make big money,” says Mrs Schauer, since children write in demanding such things. But Playmobil will not make them. Europe's history, especially Germany's, rules it out.

Yet go farther back in history and violence triggers little concern. There are Playmobil knights and barbarians, pirates and Roman legionaries, all wielding lethal weapons. Europeans can even live with American military toys, if they are old enough: there are Playmobil cowboys from the Wild West, and soldiers from both sides in the American civil war.

The difference is philosophical, says Mrs Schauer. There are no more knights and pirates, so their combat is a “resolved story”. Modern war is “really horror”. "

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Let's hear it... Muffin top!

I got quite a lot of random traffic from my Muffin Top post: people are looking for the lyrics, and for the song! As you know youtube deleted the origianl video clip grrrrr so I uploaded my own. It only has the audio of the original, which I am hoping will be enough not to get the video scrapped!
We'll see. Meanwhile, enjoy the tune. I am posting the lyrics again.

Everyone knows the most delicious part of the muffin is the top...
My muffin top is all that
Whole grain, low fat
I know you want a piece of that
But I just wanna dance
You're checkin' out my sweet hips
My sugar coated berry lips
I know you wanna get with this
But I'm just here to dance
So back up off of me
You're we-eee-eee-eirding me out
I'm an independent lady
So do not try to play me
I run a tidy bakery
The boys all want my cake for free.

I am also adding this great bit, where the character of Jenna has put on weight and lands a contract with Enorme, the fragance for plus size women! hahaha The bit just before between Tina Fey and Tracy's wife is hilarious too "You lookin' for a sassy black friend??" hahaha

Friday, January 25, 2008


After almost not happening, the From Russia: French and Russian master painting 1870-1925 from Moscow and St Peterburg exhibition got secured and is opening tomorrow. It's gonna be pretty busy I think, as tickets to see the show on Saturday or Sunday are booked up until the 22nd of March. Will have to take a day off and go then!

The Economist is being positive this week and argues that the world is more prosperous and peaceful than ever before, and than we want to believe. Examples of nice things:
  • "In 2007 Unicef, the United Nations child-welfare body, said that for the first time in modern history fewer than 10m children were dying each year before the age of five. That is still an awful lot but it represents a fall of a quarter since 1990"
  • "The long march to literacy is nearing an end: three-quarters of people aged 15-25 were literate in 1975; now the rate is nearly nine-tenths."
  • "Last year the global economy entered its fifth year of over 4% annual growth—the longest period of such strong expansion since the early 1970s. Moreover, growth was spread around fairly evenly."
  • "In 1990 those on $1 a day accounted for more than a quarter of the population of developing countries. By 2015, on current rates, the proportion of very poor people should have shrunk to 10%. Moreover, these monetary measures probably understate the real gains from things such as lower child mortality, safer water, literacy and other social achievements."
Being the Economist, they attribute all those benefits to globalisation, the increase in trade and better governments. "Bad government and lack of growth often, though far from always, go together. Whatever the problems of globalisation, they are dwarfed by the penalties of being untouched by it."

I tend to agree.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Strange Trip

A real classic directed by Fernando Fernan Gomez, El extrano viaje centres on the going-ons of a family of 3 grown siblings in a small village. Ignacia, the eldest of three, dominates the lives of her slightly dumb sister and brother Paquita and Venancio.

This is a very funny movie, especially if you like your humour very black, and, visually, it sometimes parodies Psycho, to great effect. The gags are matched by some quite scary moments, and a mystery that unfolds with more humour than you would imagine. The movie is also good at portraying the tension and oppresion of life in a small Castillan village, where people gossip a lot and life seems to have stopped for some (the sight of the village's women looking a younger girls dancing the twist is hilarious) In that respect, it reminded me of Clouzot's Le Corbeau.

Highly recommended!

El extrano viaje was shown as part of the British Film Institute's Spain (un)censored season. Tonight was the last showing, but they will be showing many more movies over the next 3 weeks! Go! Go! Go!

Stevie Wonder - Free

So we have to pay 30% more rent from next month, or leave, so I guess we will look for a new flat. How depressing! This one is so nice.

And now Andreas Scholl is ill, so no concert on Monday. I was looking forward it! Shitty week end so far, we can def. say.

Any form of uplifting music is therefore much welcome this week end. Like that song, for example.

Friday, January 18, 2008

El Roto

We need fervent catholics, or, if there aren't any, anticlerical fanatics
El Roto publishes a cartoon daily in El Pais
See this article for background

Friday, January 04, 2008

Almodovar news

Out in spain, an updated edition of the disc "Las canciones de Almodovar" (now called B.S.O Almodovar): 2 CDs of songs that appeared in his movies. The original version came out in 1997, so songs from Carne Tremula (Tonanda de luna llena), Todo sobre mi madre (Tajabone...), Talk to her (Caetano Veloso's Cucurrucu Paloma...), La Mala Educacion (Sara Montiel's Quizas Quizas Quizas...) and Volver now appear. I want it!

Pedro's new movie will be called "Los abrazos rotos" (Broken Embraces) and will star La Pe (aka Penelope Cruz) and Bianca Portillo. La película, en palabras de Pedro, "transcurrirá en los años noventa y en la actualidad, con el mundo de los negocios y del cine como telón de fondo y contará una historia de amor fou con tintes de cine negro del Hollywood de los Cincuenta". Ca promet! Shooting starts this month apparently.

30 Rock - Muffin Top!

As I have already said, I loooooove 30 Rock, and here is one example of something that made me laugh and laugh and laugh.

Actress Jane Krakowski plays the character of Jenna Maroney, an actress who works on TV and is gagging for fame and attention. Here, she sings Muffin Top, a 'euro-dance' track she recorded with a producer she dated and that is 'No1 in Israel and No4 in Beligum'! hahaha

The dance moves are awesome (check out the robot at the beginning!), copying the sexy R'n'B moves we see everywhere these days. And the lyrics... lord!! For reference, a 'muffin top' is the extra flesh that spills over the top of the waistband of low rise jeans. see picture below.

Everyone knows the most delicious part of the muffin is the top...
My muffin top is all that
Whole grain, low fat
I know you want a piece of that
But I just wanna dance
You're checkin' out my sweet hips
My sugar coated berry lips
I know you wanna get with this
But I'm just here to dance
So back up off of me
You're we-eee-eee-eirding me out
I'm an independent lady
So do not try to play me
I run a tidy bakery
The boys all want my cake for free.

Enjoy! and long live 30 Rock!

Oh no! they've removed the video! :-(
Come on! that was a great promo for the show!