miércoles, 27 de febrero de 2013

From Genius to Pariah (Abstract)

Fashion is a crazy world. Everybody is a Little bit out of their minds. After all, fashion is another way of Art, isn’t it? Designers express their selves by means of clothes, especially if we think about the wonderful Haute Couture

John Galliano must be one of the most controversial figures in fashion during the last decades. This creator born as an English man in the tiny Gibraltar, in the Iberian Peninsula in 1960 has been a master of fashion since he graduated at Saint Martin College with a collection called Les Incroyables.

After a short stay as Chief Designer on Givenchy, he finally was recruited by Dior in 1996, where he has been working until 2012, when his addictions put himself in a complicated situation in a bistro in Paris with some homophobe accusations to other customers.

Nowadays, rehabbed and creative as always, he keeps unemployed, though the creative directors of the different maisons have been changing a lot lately. His talent would mean success for the collections in any of them, but he is still at home, watching how fashion comes and goes, without him. Would he come back eventually?

lunes, 25 de febrero de 2013

So, who was the 85th Oscars' winner?

This year’s Academy Award gala was a clear tribute to musicals. One of the strongest points of the night was the singing performances, the musical numbers and the famous soundtracks as background music. All in all, it was good and entertaining, especially if we take into account the dullness that dominated the whole ceremony.

But Adele, Barbra Streisand, Norah Jones, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jennifer Hudson and Shirley Bassey are too much for just one gala, especially if we add the Gordon-Levitt and Radcliffe number, the Charlize Theron’s dance or the boobs’ number -completely justified thanks to its irreverence-, among others.

As every year –except last year with Franco and Hathaway-, the host is the best part of the whole thing. In the 85th Oscars’ gala, Seth MacFarlane was the chosen one. He said “I can't believe I am hosting the Oscars. It's an honor everyone else said no.” And it was quite surprising this guy was there.
The Family Guy creator, singer, entertainer and so on put on stage the idiosyncratic elements of his well known TV-show: his patented kind of humor -full of a few funny quips and a lot cringe-worthy jokes- and a lot of musical numbers.

Probably, he was paid to be the smartass and spare nobody. He tried to be funny and he achieved it at the beginning. William Shatner coming from the future to amend his work as a host and the recreation of Flight with sock puppets were hilarious. But he ended up being too wounding with a bunch of jokes about sex, gender, race, etc. ‘funny not funny’.

Regarding the awards, there was too much predictability. The obviousness of Waltz and Hathaway in the Best Supporting Roles, as well as the Best Original and Adapted Screenplays for Django Unchained and Argo was really disappointing. There’s no fun when there’s no tension.

As well, Daniel Day Lewis was the clear Best Leading Actor… who else but Lincoln? Surprisingly, Hollywood’s new spoiled brat, Jennifer Lawrence, beat the magnificent Jessica Chastain taking home the Best Leading Actress. Argo became the best film of 2013, with a very moved and moving Ben Affleck on the stage.

In general, the gala was something to forget. Probably, in one week there would be nothing left, except for some of MacFarlane’s musical numbers and jokes and Lawrence lying on the ground on her way to pick up her award.

Visionary Wilde

It is funny how when we think about Oscar Wilde, the first thing that comes to our mind is Dorian Grey or The Importance of Being Ernst. But behind this writer there's much more, as we can see in the  essay "The Critic as Artist".

The English author shows a whole phylosophical theory on how Criticism is as much important as Art itself. According to him, criticism is the wheel that moves the gears of Art. Probably this is one of the most revolutionary concepts on his essay, especially in a time when the job of the critic was not as appreciated and broadcasted as it is today. This contemporanously is surprising, yet visionary.

It is also really the concept of individualism and personality the text reveals. "If you wish to understand others you must intensify your own individualism" (910) or "it is only by intesifying his own personality thatthe critic can interpret the personality and work of others" (910). These ideas are really revealing and get along with the ideas about what a good critic should be, related especially with the revolutionary figure of Pauline Kael in the 20th century.

Finally, the idea of "Criticism is itself an art" (904), is quite new. Wilde considers that writing about art becomes an art itself, because its raw material is Art. It made me think about ekphrasis, the description of visual arts that many poets and writers have done along History and that constitute a piece of art, as well as a piece of criticism. Sometimes, the critical pieces can became real pieces of literature, of art made by words out of a pictorical, dance, musical masterpiece.

If critics can't have the thing to be an artist, they can always become an artist with their pens, writing wonderful stuff about the work of others, "putting them into a form that is at once new and delightful" (904), [...] "a creation within a creation" (904).

Quotes from WILDE, O. Excerpt of the Part I of The Critic as Artist.

miércoles, 13 de febrero de 2013

Tarantino wants to be a historian

Have you ever imagined about Tarantino making a trilogy? Neither have I. Apparently, he already has the idea wandering around his head and part of the job done.

During the post-BAFTA gala interview, the moviemaker of the controversial Django Unchained, Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs awarded with the Best Original Screenplay BAFTA, declared: "This [rewritten history theme] begs a trilogy, it begs to have a third movie on this theme. I haven't decided about what yet, but I wouldn't be surprised."

His two last movies, Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained are supposedly part of the plan. Whit this two and the one probably upcoming, the moviemaker will achieve his goal of rewrite the wrongs on history and give his own vision of the things. Ambitious, huh?

The big question here is: what would be the issue of the third part of the trilogy? It is impossible to tell, but it is sure that his legions of fans will be already rubbing his hand waiting for more Tarantino. 

Sincerely, I will not give much credit to Tarantino's promises of prequels and sequels of his movies. After all, Vincent Vega (Pulp Fiction) and Vic Vega (Reservoir Dogs) were never reunited and Black Mamba's (Kill Bill) third episode never saw the light...

NYT'S Critical Defense: 'Wang’s Going-Away Present'

Cathy Horyn has been writing for the Fashion and Style section of The New York Times since 1999. She started her career in fashion journalist in Detroit and soon she was writing for The Washington Post. Also, she has contributed with her articles to Vanity Fair, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

The review published on Monday, February 11, 2013 is entitled Wang’s Going-Away Present and covers the third day of the New York Fashion Week Fall 2013. In the review, she analysis the collections of Alexander Wang, Joseph Altuzarra, Prabal Gurung, Rag & Bone, Band of Outsiders, Victoria Beckham, Louise Golding and Yuming Weng.

Horyn centers her attention in Alexander Wang’s collection and slightly analysis the other designers according to their relevance. She puts several “buts” all along the review, as she analysis different collections. However, the strongest “but” is on the review of Wang.

It’s not surprising Horyn’s rowdy reputation in fashion’s world, taking into account her judgemental writing style. In this review, it is distinctive the ironic tone with hints of provocation.  Also, the strength of her voice is remarkable all along the review, especially when she uses the first person or certain words such as, “this collection was more merchandised than designed”.

Josh Haner/The New York Times

'Sight and Feeling': Anselm Adams at Kalamazoo

From January 26 to May 19, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is hosting an exhibition of the work of Ansel Adams, sponsored by Friendship Village and Consumers Credit Union.

The showing is entitled ‘Sight and Feeling’ and it contains twenty-four original photographs placed in a cramped room in the lowest floor of the Institute of Arts. All of the photographs are framed in silver with a big white passe-partout.

The technique of the pictures is gelatin silver print. Besides of the pictures, the exhibition contains a replica of the camera which Adams used to take the pictures back in the first half of the 20th century.

"In my mind's eye, I visualize how a particular . . . sight and feeling will appear on a print. If it excites me, there is a good chance it will make a good photograph.” This quote describes the way Ansel Adams conceived photography.

The work of this Californian photographer is outstanding. His pictures are unique because of the black and white usage with high contrast of shadows and plenty of details.

Most of the pictures show one of the passions of Adams: the breathtaking views of Yosemite National Park in California. These shots are one of the identity signs of this photographer who was a declared environmentalist in love with United States of America’s landscapes.

Besides the Yosemite pictures, there are also some landscapes from Alaska, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. Also there is a still life picture, some macros of leaves and tree branches, as well as a portrait of Edward Western.

The negative aspect of the exhibition is the arrangement of the pictures and the misplacement of lights. The crystal of the frames reflects the light which makes it complicated to appreciate some of the works properly. Besides, the space in which the collection is located is really narrow and it is mixed with the museum’s permanent collection.

All the works are labeled with their correspondent information (authorship, place, date, technique…). In addition, there are panels with information about the author and the techniques he used. This is formative for the attendants, taking into account that there is no catalog.

In short, Ansel Adams’ exhibition is worthy and a must-see. Sometimes, it is really astonishing how small institutions in small towns can organize interesting exhibitions and with a high artistic value.

Ansel Adams, Vernal Fall, Yosemite Valley, California, 1920, gelatin silver print | Collection of the KIA, Gift of Wm. John Upjohn, 1995/6.27.6 © 2013 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

miércoles, 6 de febrero de 2013

The same good old story

Last Wednesday, it took place the dressing rehearsal for the play they are going to be showing at Kalamazoo's Civic Center during the next weeks: Sherlock Holmes: The Last Adventure

The play was good enough to be a interesting entertainment. Though Sherlock Holmes is a little bit cliché, personally, I enjoyed it quite a lot as I have always been a huge fan of sir Arthur Conan-Doyle's works. However, I think there are episodes quite more interesting than this last one, who tells about the death of the famous detective (and that Conan-Doyle had to resurrect afterwards because of the fans).

Regarding the technical aspects of the play, I liked the lightning, simple in most of the scenes but extremely correct what is good, as many times it is not necessary at all big effects to achieve a good result. The costumes was probably what was more surprising. I consider that all them where really rich and I really enjoyed specially with the female ones and the cape of Sherlock... classic! The setting was correct, but sometimes it was kind of poor, and it did not fit with the global tone of the play, as in the train moments.

Besides, I think the acting was pretty good, specially if we take into account that many of the actors were volunteers and not professional actors. However, I think the acting of Sherlock Holmes was exceptional and I enjoyed a lot how he embodied the character of the English detective.

One only thing that I should blame on all the cast was the British accent they tried to fake, and that some times was really rough. 

So, roughly speaking, I have to say that I enjoyed the play, specially the second part, where there ir more action and the script and lines are quicker and not as slow as in the first part.
I will recommend everybody to go to the theater. It is always nice to see some live acting in front of you, instead of only movies. And also, Sherlock Holmes is always a good reason to do, even if it is the same old story as always. 

martes, 5 de febrero de 2013

'Chrysalis', the beginning of something else?

College is a crucial phase for kids. It is fundamental to develop dreams, discover passions and find the own personality, or at least, start building it.

Charles Weber (21), senior at Kalamazoo College (Michigan), is trying to pursue his dreams that walk hand in hand with his enthusiasm for dance.

Last Thursday, January 31st, the young student performed his SIP (Senior Individualized Project), the result of many moths of hard work. He named his project Chrysalis.

On the mandatory introduction, Weber described the performance that was going to take place as a reflection on the evolution of modern dance, especially during the 20th century.

The influences of the young dancer are many and diverse. Weber recalled the names of some of the best choreographers of the last decades, from Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham to Paul Tylor.

The performance did not last more than thirty minutes, but it was more than enough to show the potential of this young man and the five dancers in his crew.

The show was divided in five independent parts. They were connected quite logically by the soundtrack, a really careful selected variety of songs that made increase the rhythm of the performance.

Hits from Muse, Kimbra, Sigur Rós, Swedish House Mafia or Robyn, besides chill out music, made the audience vibrate as many could relate with many of the songs played.

Another element of special importance was the lightening, combining flashes of blue and red, Weber achieved to create very intense atmospheres for the dancers and a great visual delight for the audience.

Besides, the lightening was the element in charge of the performance’s structure. The different acts were separated by blackouts with slight flashes of orange, which allowed the dancers to get ready in between acts.
Probably, one of the worst aspects was the dressing of the dancers, though they tried to match colors, the differences on the clothes the dancers wore spoiled the visual effect, especially in the group performances.

However, it was really surprising how accurate and beautiful was the dance execution of Weber’s crew. Even if it is impossible to forget that this was an amateur performance, sometimes the movements and formations seemed really professional.

Weber demonstrated not only his skills as a dancer, but also showed up his skills as a choreographer and as a stage director. Hopefully, this is only the beginning of a long and successful career.