Archive for November, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 26th, 2004

On Thanksgiving night (last night), we went over to the Safier’s for a wonderful and delightful (as usual) Thanksgiving dinner. The turkey was beautiful, although I couldn’t taste it since I gave up meat a few months ago. Anyway, the animals seemed to enjoy the bird tremendously. A plate of turkey (and then a caucus) was left in the backyard and there it came a cat, and then a gang of 6 raccoons. We watched them fighting over their dinner behind the glass like we were in a zoon. But seriously, 6 giant raccoons? Now it’s time to call the ASPCA.

Notebook

Thursday, November 25th, 2004

M. needed a notebook and I put together this one very quickly, using regular letter paper.

Thanksgiving Cookies

Thursday, November 25th, 2004

I have been baking all day today. I baked 4 varieties of cookies as giveaways to celebrate Thanksgiving. I baked so much that by the end of the day the smell of dough and oven is really nauseating. I couldn’t even taste them. It was my first time to try pumpkin cookies, and they do taste really sweet and good. Even though I was on the verge of puking, I still couldn’t resist to take pictures and post them.

Pina Bausch

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Saturday evening, we saw Pina Bausch’s For the Children of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (2002) at the BAM. We invited J. and M. to come up from Baltimore to see the program with us. It was marvellous. The piece started with 2 men sitting on a table, before one complexly falls off the table, the other one holds his leg such that he is hanging on the edge of the table. It was a mischievous to start the almost 3-hour piece. I and trying to jot down as many episodes as I can remember, who knows when will be the next time I see this piece again.

M. thinks that at certain points he felt that the movements were repeated so much that they were slapsticks-like. They would almost get on his nerves. I do think that the repetitions is neccessary. When one sees the mischievous or comical moves, his/her first reaction is the attention yielded from a mixture of shock and surprise. That is very much reactionary. The interest generated is a reflex of the unexpected movements. To repeat the movements, the viewers to get over the hump of pure reflex reactions and process the moments in the intellectual level. If there is no “excessive” repetitions, the movements are experienced, felt and gone. Once repeated the 5th time, the 10th time, viewers could be annoyed, thus forced to think about what is really going on. I think this is one of the significant functions of repetition as a rhetorical device.

On the other hand, by repeating complicated moves, viewers have enough time to examine and think about each movement. Moves come and go away so quickly, I would like each of them be allowed a fair amount of time and occurrences that allow me to enjoy and process them as much as I can.

I recall seeing Nazareth Panadero in The Window Washer (1997). Her voice is so poignant and coarse. I remember seeing her speaking Cantonese in The Window Washer when I saw it in Hong Kong. I also remember her big hairdo.

In one episode, the female dancer was lying on the floor. The male dancer was dragging the imaginary lines that pulls her towards him, one body part at a time. They have marvellous cooperation between each other, as if she was really controlled by the imaginary lines. She ended up in his embrace. In another episode, the female dancer is completely effortless. She allowed her partner to manipulate her completely. He picked her up and then he allowed her to fall. But of course, she was not effortless. She was in fact in control of her own “effortless” movements. She moved, a lot.

I loved the finale. My heart was pumping so hard that I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Everyone was dancing together, exchanging partners and repeating moves. The music was also intense. I was so enthralled and I felt I was going to burst out and scream. And then the light faded and it ended.

e.ku took a shot during the intermission at the performance the next day, and he got yelled at.

This is the program description from BAM:

Two men sit next to each other on a tabletop. One, with an obvious penchant for risk, tips his body precariously to the side, again and again. If his partner doesn’t catch him in the nick of time, he’ll surely crash to the floor. Thus begins Pina Bausch’s Für die Kinder von gestern, heute und morgen (For the Children of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow), a multigenerational ode to dancers at each stage of their lives and careers and one of the choreographer’s most affecting works.

Bausch first brought her unique brand of dance to BAM 20 years ago, establishing herself as the master of transformative theater. Since those heady days, she and her Tanztheater Wuppertal have buried the stage under a carpet of dirt, flooded it with water, piled it high with red bauhinia blossoms, and stocked a gigantic tank with exotic yellow and blue fish. Her newest work, set on a bare stage divided by stark white walls, features a series of jewel-like solos, a magnetic mix of propulsive Latino beats and unabashed crooning, and an unmistakable message that goodness always prevails.

Most central to the work, however, is Bausch’s inclusion of two eloquent company veterans. Authoritative, tender, and supremely moving in their concentration, dancer Dominique Mercy and former member Lutz Förster form the emotional vortex around which the action revolves.

I Am So Wired for These Gizmos

Monday, November 22nd, 2004

I received the latest issue of WIRED in the mail the other day, and it is obviously a holiday shopping issue. Here are some of the cool gizmos (or biggies) that caught my attention:
1. A $500 rollercoaster model, called “The Dragon.” If I have it, I am sure I can stare at it all day long. There is a great video on Coaster Dynamix’s website.
2. A $16 LED light that can “blast out 6,000 candlepower.” It’s great for giving that extra light for shooting a digital picture of video. pelicanproducts.us
3. Just that I don’t play LEGO anymore doesn’t mean that I am not obsessed with it. This is amazing, I wish that it was there was I was younger — LEGO Picket-Upper. I used to put scatter all my LEGO pieces on a blanket so that I could clean up without a fuss. the LEGO Picket-Upper supposedly “eats” up all the pieces when you drag it on the floor.
4. Silicone Garlic Peelers. It looks just cute. (siliconezoneusa.com)
5. A flashlight that attaches to a 9-volt battery. Supper-geek but super-cool! (9voltlight.com)
6. “Protective Disc Skins” for CDs and DVDs. It’s like plastic wrap for discs, and it can stay on when the disc is played. It sounds really neat, although, I think I don’t mind the scatches.

Pina Bausch is coming to town

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

This weekend I am going to see Pina Bausch. This Friday Pedro Aldomovar’s new movie Bad Education is opening in New York. In his last film Talk to Her, I was so excited to see he featured excerpts of Bausch’s Café Müller (1978), and Masurca Fogo (1998). I was even more excited to see Pina Bausch in the opening of the movie (that is Cafe Muller).

I first came to know of her work when I was college. A few years later I saw her work for the very first time, and I was mesmerized by the delicate and elegant story-telling body movements. Now I am definitely not an expert in dance, but all I can say is that watching her work is like being in heaven to me. That first piece I saw was Der Fensterputzer (The Window Washer), a piece she made in coproduction with the Hong Kong Arts Festival Society and Goethe Institute Hong Kong in 1997. It was special.

Then a few years later I saw her again at BAM, Danzón (1995) in 1999. I was smiling like a dork when I left the opera house. This year she is back to the BAM again with her Für die Kinder von gestern, heute und morgen (For the Children of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow) (2002). It is going to be another memorable night. Read the feature on NPR (Thanks to E. for the link)

Holiday Tree

Monday, November 15th, 2004

This year, I want an elaborate tree for the holiday. For the past few years I worried that Sasha (the cat queen of the apartment) might eat the leaves and get sick, hence I wasn’t sure whether I should get a tree or not, live or fake. I have heard and read so many stories that they get sick from them. But it seems like Sasha will be okay with that, after realizing that she doesn’t touch or even go near the plants we put around the apartment.

Anyway, I am determined to get a tree this year. We had a small 3 feet plastic tree when I was a kid. Every year, Mom would unpack it and hang lights and a star on it, it would be surrounded by X’mas cards. I have always liked it. This year I want a big tree. It has to be at least 6 feet — I want a tall big white tree. It will be a plastic one, because I don’t believe in cutting down a tree for 2 months of pleasure. It will be a holiday tree that is full of X’mas and Hanukah ornaments. It will be hanging with white and blue ornaments and angels, as well as my origami nuggets.

Poetry Reading

Monday, November 15th, 2004

We went to the Greenpoint Coffee House last evening for a poetry reading. A few weeks ago we bumped into J. and K. at a local Polish restaurant and J. invited us to go to the poetry reading that he was organizing. There was a good turn out at the coffie house, and it was rather packed. It’s good to see that there is a good crowd like that in the neighborhood. There were definitely some good pieces read. We really enjoyed it. Afterwards, we spent a few hours hanging out at the pub. J. is turning 28 today, we celebrated his birthday over a few drinks, and chatted about putting together salon meetings, or rather, “purposeful gatherings.” It was a very mellow and nice way to end the weekend.

Danny The Dog

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Here it comes Luc Besson’s new film! And here it also comes Massive Attack’s new album! Danny the Dog (a.k.a. Unleashed), directed by Louis Leterrier is supposedly in post-production right now and is written and produced by Besson, featuring Morgan Freeman and guess who, Jet Li (hot!). Woo-ping Yuen is the action choreographer in the film. He is the action choreographer in the Matrix series, and the Kill Bill series. He’s been so hot outside Asia these days! The film should be in theaters in the North America in mid-2005. It’s said that Jet Li has a lot of dramatic parts, not only ass-kicking choreography. Now I can’t wait to see his kick-ass kung fu and stunt skills, plus his acting skill.

The movie sounds hot enough, but we’ll have to wait until next year. But for now, I have a chance to jump start on the soundtrack. And here it comes the Massive Attack! (There is an online jukebox on their web site, which also has the trailer of the film.) My gosh, what a collaboration. Danny the Dog better be good.

Gadget-freak

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

So I haven’t been updating this blog much for the last few weeks, as I was so distracted by the Crackberry (a.k.a. Blackberry). All I could do for the last few weeks was checking e-mail non-stop, it’s pathetic. With the Crackberry (go figure why it’s called “crack”), e-mails keep bombarding me every few minutes, and I couldn’t stop the urge to keep checking and typing e-mail, as if I need to do so. It’s just sick, very very sick. Yes it’s sick and yet I am still doing it. Of course, most of my time spent on the Crackberry is dealing with junk mail. One of the fun cracking experiences is that I can wait to respond to e-mails while I am riding on the subway, desperately looking for something else to do, besides reading another good book. What are my working hours again?

That’s not all. Last week I re-visted the obsession of the Canon digital SLR. And suddenly I realized that a new model (D20) has come out with 8 mega-pixels. The best thing is that this is a step-up model of the same price range I was planning to spend out. It would be a sin if I didn’t get it. There you go, gadget-freak. I am not planning to do a review here, but it does take amazing pictures. You just can’t compare a (digital) point-and-shoot with a (digital) SLR, and the digital side of it is just, oh you just can’t beat that.