Seeing the world through ‘time and place’ is why this blog exists. I have been thinking a lot about seeing this week as ‘stinging eye syndrome’ has been bothering me. Or maybe the condition is officially called ‘New Mexico dry eye.’ Anyway my sore eyes made me think about seeing and all of the ways we see the world…here are some of the ways and eyes through which I see the world.
Teresa is my eldest grandchild, an exceptional (of course) 22-year-old who just graduated with a Civil Engineering degree from UCLA and who has an equally exceptional cinematographer boyfriend AND who is simply pure fun to hang out with. The world through the eyes of a young woman secure and happy with her childhood, reveling in young womanhood and excited about her professional and personal future is quite an enticing place. In Teresa’s case it is also a multi-cultural journey; she’s Asian/Caucasian, her friends have family origins in every corner of Asia and elsewhere and she and I have spent some quality travel time in Europe—where we read late into the night and consequently sleep so late we miss the full 12-hour sight-seeing experience—settling for a wimpy eight hours of trekking about on buses, trains and feet. I so love the world through her eyes, it is wildly diverse in cuisine, colors and climates from Filipino rice paddies to Icelandic glaciers. It has interesting people, fulfilling jobs and livable salaries. It has great promise.
ANOTHER MOVIE SUNDAY: Lina, Teresa and I slogged on through the Oscar nominations. Even though we all love movies…as I viewed my ninth film late Sunday afternoon, it WAS feeling like a bit of a slog! My own movie marathon included finishing two more Oscar possibilities and two Netflix items, The King’s Speech (brilliant) and Queen of Versailles (most interesting).
Reviews: First on Sunday, Life of Pi. A young Indian boy is the lone human survivor of a shipwreck, his only companion a very LARGE, very FIERCE Bengal tiger. The boy finally washes up on shore and is saved but the tiger disappears forever. Did it all happen? Or is it pure fable? The Life of Pi is another magical tale of survival, not entirely unlike Beasts of the Southern Wilds and neither better nor worse. It is cinematically lush and wild with big beasts and raging seas. Pi’s story is almost real, as was Hush Puppy’s. His adventure begins in India and winds up on a Mexican beach; hers begins and ends in the Louisiana bayous—but the passages are equally stormy.
Next we fortified ourselves with a tasty snack of cheesy-yet crispy, salty-yet sweet Portobello mushrooms, grilled shrimp AND beer at the near-by brewpub then returned to the theater for Zero Dark Thirty. I thought I knew something about the capture of bin Laden, turns out not so much. This is an intense dark too-real film about U.S. treatment/torture of terrorist suspects, the search for and killing of bin Laden and the woman who—to a great degree—made that happen. I had no clue about her story and imagine that may be true of most people who see this film. I very much regret not reading up on it ahead of time because it took the first 30 minutes of the film (admittedly that large glass of pretty amber brew didn’t help my level of alertness) for me to understand that it was HER story. It is a powerful movie based on a powerful story and, although there has been some flak about inaccuracies, I believe it is probably truer than we would wish. And yay for Maya/Jessica—she is very good. Of course I love smart stubborn women and Jessica Chastain plays this one with grit and intensity, at the same time always acknowledging her very human vulnerability. So far Jessica is my favorite for best actress…can’t understand why the chick in “Silver Linings…” is ahead in the Oscar polls.
THE WORLD… DANCED: A company of European artists arrived Sunday night—for Philippe Blanchard’s presentation of his piece, “How About You” danced by identical twin performers from Italy by way of London. We, at the N4th Theater, have now known these artists for two whole days and we are in love with them, individually and as a group. AND by the way, if you live in New Mexico go to http://www.vsartsnm.org to find out more about this weekend’s performances.
Besides the fact that they are most interesting and pleasant to be around there are at least two fascinating layers of ponderables with this dance and this company.
• Is “How About You?” representative of the best of the European contemporary dance/performance scene where dance is rarely as simple as pretty moves, where dance frequently calls commonly held perceptions about art and culture into question and where dance almost always takes you in a direction you didn’t know you were going? Blanchard has crafted a work that—in his own words—is a celebration of life exploring identity, the definition of self, the search for oneself in someone else, the possibility of discovering who we are through other people, and our attempts to understand our similarities and differences.
• How has the process of Europeanization influenced the work these artists create together or separately? The choreographer, performers, manager and technical crew come from or are currently living in Sweden, the U.K., Italy, Germany, France and Belgium so in my head they embody my favorite stereotypes, realities, myths, and opinions about Europeans. I think they offer a pan-European sensibility which I would describe as worldly, liberal, intellectual (with green tendencies), more reasonable, less aggressive than us. My stereotypical European does not include soccer bullies or gangsters. How to SEE that side of Europe?
MEDIA: I have been writing about media defined as communication channels through which news, entertainment, education, data, or promotional messages are disseminated. Media includes every broadcasting and narrowcasting medium such as newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, billboards, direct mail, telephone, fax, and internet. (From businessdictionary.com) I have been pondering the differences between old and new media! Just to complicate things I have included my granddaughter, movies and dance among MY communication channels.