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Ed Waffle

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Everything posted by Ed Waffle

  1. I think it goes both ways. Chelsea was both privileged and lucky to have found a teacher as talented and dedicated as Victoria.
  2. A standing ovation for everyone who has posted their reviews/reactions/thoughts on the ABT Met season. They were my introduction to ballet and I have attended performances in Chicago, New York and Detroit over the years. I have seen most of the dancers mentioned and many of the ballets and the descriptive and very well written posts give a real "being there" sense. In an odd way I consider the ABT "my" company and the gang at the Met lets me enjoy them from afar. A big THANK YOU from Motown.
  3. That is exactly how I felt while reading Alexandra's book. It is great to begin a book that is both a joy to read and is really long--at first it seems like you will be able to read it forever. But the more you read the more you realize that you are approaching the end. I try to slow down then--ten pages a day, for example--but it only works for a few days, since getting caught up in the narrative makes me forget that I had wanted to stop. If that makes any sense at all.
  4. Songs written by Bryant Kong, sung by Elender Wall accompanied on piano by Kong. Words taken from press conferences given by the Secretary of Defense. The lyrics and a few short sound clips can be found at this website: http://www.stuffedpenguin.com/
  5. Herschel Walker was running back for the Universtiy of Georgia and the Dallas Cowboys. He was on the bobsled team for the United States in the 1992 Olympic Winter Games. While at the University of Georgia he was one of the top college sprinters in both indoor and outdoor competition. He appeared with the Fort Worth Ballet in one production during the late 1990's--II think that Dance Magazine had a picture of Walker and a female dancer from the production. It was a one-off deal probably to raise money and make the company more visible--I would imagine he had to come to class and rehearsal. I typed Herscel Walker ballet into the Google search window and got a few hits, including this one, which is quite nice for several reasons: http://www.theeagle.com/community/012804bubba.php In the lead the author writes that he part of "a new program called Bringing Underexposed Baby Boomers to the Arts (aka BUBBA)". The last sentence of the article is,"Here’s the one thing my Bubba experience has taught me: The ballet is for everyone!"
  6. I know I shouldn't admit knowing such things, but shoes like that are old stand-bys among some bondage types. They are not meant for either dancing or walking--or even to be worn in public. The "Pleaser 2004" link goes to their catalog, from which these are taken. The "Ballet" is just the name of a line. Strippers were the main customer base for Pleaser and may still be. They feature platform stilettoes that are made from transparent acrylic and others that glow under black light. It is amazing what is one click away!
  7. Jan Opalach--thanks you Oberon. He has been around and really delivers the goods. Regarding the SJP and Marsalis stuff-- Since it was a gala, someone had to come out and say something. She was as good a choice as anyone. I doubt, though, if PBS will sell one extra DVD due to her presence or to the cutting to Maralis when he was on stage. Parker fans watch her movies and "Sex in the City". Marsalis fans listen to his CDs and go to his concerts. The organizers could have hired almost any actor in NYC to do what Parker did with no loss of quality. Same if the first trumpet for the New York Phil had played instead of Marsalis. But they did it that way--neither were deal breakers as far as I was concerned.
  8. Hey, maybe there is something to this television stuff after all. :~> A few very preliminary notes on the show--it was broadcast in Motown beginning at 10:30 PM EDT. --Sarah Jessica Parker as hostess. Quite a change from Beverly Sills, who was shown on the Live from Lincoln Center web site as the hostess. Parker and Matthew Broderick must be one of the reigning arts couples in NYC, so it makes sense. SJP looked and sounded good. None of her gowns were horrible--I think she had wore three. The green one was OK, the LBD was a LBD, the ballgown at the end of the night might not have been the very best choice. --Domingo sounded very baritonal. Not the notes as such, although the Tchiavoksy song must have been transposed specifically for him, but his timbre and tone were almost completely devoid of any characteristics of the tenor voice. His musicianship and phrasing are still as good as can be. But why does it always have to be Placido? There are a lot of Russian speaking singers that appear at the Met and who live in or close to NYC. It couldn't be that the organizers thought he would be a big draw--they would have sold just as many tickets if I had sung it accompanied by an organ grinder's monkey. Duo Concertante -- Peter Boal is a very attractive man. Not speaking of his ability as a dancer--I will leave that to those who know something--but he is quite handsome and virile looking. A very small but nice touch was that Lin, the violinist, used a black towel under his chin. White always looks kind of tacky. The Met and New York City Opera were properly represented. The NYCO especially so with the quartet of singers. I missed the names, but the soprano has glistening high notes and a good tone. The bass (whose name I can't quite recall)--I think he is Armenian or Georgian--sounded great. Gil Shahan and Adelle Anthony seemed dead solid perfect playing from the pit for Concerto Barocco. They looked like they were having a good time, also. Kevin Kline's appearance for the Lincoln Center Theater seemed tacked on, (especially the bit with the vodka) but it is always good to see him.
  9. With the exception of Homer and the Bible all written in English. Shakespeare-- Julius Ceasar and Antony and Cleopatra were two of my favorites years ago, since they were full of historical figures that I recognized--didn't have to spend so much time figuring out who was who. The four Gospels, The Acts of the Apostles and The Book of Revelation. King James version. Homer--The Illiad James Joyce--Dubliners--the ubiquitous and occasionally exercable Harold Bloom calls it the greatest volume of short stories in English. Thomas Hardy The Mayor of Casterbridge Joseph Conrad Typhoon MelvilleMoby Dick and Benito Cereno Edith Wharton Custom of the Country Mark Twain Life on the Mississippi
  10. I will jump on the "The Gay Divorcee" bandwagon. Astaire's buddy is played perfectly by Edward Everett Horton and Betty Grable has a supporting role. The big number is "Night and Day", the dancing is sublime. "Top Hat" shares a lot with "The Gay Divorcee"--not only Astaire and Rogers. Same director--Mark Sandrich, Edward Everett Horton as the buddy/foil/straight man, a silly plot. Like many depression comedies, both of these movies are set in a fantasy land of luxury--hotel suites the size of the public areas of the White House, apartments so large that they recede into the distance, everyone dresses for dinner (white tie) all the time. "Shall We Dance" Astaire is cast as a ballet dancer and Rogers as a musical comedy star who he is pursuing. Once again Sandrich is the director, EEH is the foil. Music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin--"They Can't Take that Away from Me", "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off". Or anything else with the two of them. You can't go wrong.
  11. Before I spent anythng, I would ask Alexandra how much she needed to run this nexus of magazines, websites and on-line publications and send it to her. Then.... (assuming the windfall was ten times $20 million) First--build a theater/opera house with a main auditorium with about 1500 seats and a smaller venue that would seat about 250. Second--while it is under construction, find a music director. Sign her to a five year contract with options to renew. The music director would have experience leading both from the platform and the pit and would be in charge of building the orchestra and deciding on guest conductors. The permanent orchestra will have about 60 full-time members but the pit will be large enough so that free-lancers hired for works by Strauss and Wagner will fit comfortably. She would also hire the chorus master, who would be an associate conductor and occasionally lead opera performances. The music director is the senior artistic person on the staff. Third--hire a general director for the opera company. He would have artistic management experience in Europe and North America, have excellent contacts among singers, designers and stage directors. He will have experience staging or conducting operas as well as running a house. Fourth--hire a choreographer/director for the ballet company. She would have experience both in creating her own ballets and in staging the work of others. She would hire ballet mistresses and masters and begin auditioning dancers for the company. Fifth--hire a director for the 250 seat theater. He will work with the opera and ballet company to help decide which smaller works, works in progress or other appropriate things for this venue. He will also be responsible for a jazz series and several chamber music series, some of which will be in the main house. Sixth--hire a director of development. She will have contacts in the local business community at various levels. Her first task will be to find a corporation to buy naming rights for the building itself, the main auditorium and the small house. Seventh--hire a sales and marketing director. He will be a marketing professional who knows how to present a successful campaign. He will have the freedom to devise campaigns to fill seats for every performance, whether through season tickets, cheap seats for music or dance students, promotions based on the works being presented or other means. The small theatre would have its own marketing and sales operation under his direction. The fall opera season will begin in mid September and run through mid November. The holiday ballet season will begin in mid November and run through the first week of January, with an appropriate number of Nutcracker performances. The winter opera season will begin the second week of January and run until mid April, when the spring ballet season will start and run until the end of May. The only non-negotiable artistic demands I would have are: Swan Lake would be part of at least on ballet series per year and Fidelio would be given at least once a year--although it could be a one-off festival production. There will be some type of summer festival, including concerts on stage by the orchestra, touring orchestras and chamber music groups and anything else that would make sense. My office would be in the theater, of course. I would have a box for entertaining special guests, big contributors or others I wanted to impress. I attend at least part of every performance sitting in various parts of the house.
  12. Take Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, Patricia Clarkson, Blair Brown, James Caan, Ben Gazzara, Chloe Sevigney, John Hurt, Stellan Skarsgard and several other talented actors. Mix with pieces of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Winesburg, Ohio, Our Town and who knows what else. Place in the oven and half-bake. The result is Dogville. Lars von Trier is a skilled and audacious director and writer—witness Europa and Breaking the Waves (I haven't seen Dancer in the Dark). In this movie he may be commenting on deceit, greed, sexual violence and depravity—and seeing it as part of everyday life in the United States. A lot of critics seem to think so. What he is trying to do and what he did do may be two different things, of course. One theme that runs through the movie is that ordinary people don’t need a reason to become like beasts and turn on the weakest among them—they only need the opportunity to do so. He could be pointing to Bosnia, Rawanda and other charnel houses of the late 20th century. The movie was shot on a sound stage. Chalk outlines and a few walls to indicate the houses. The entire cast is “on stage” at all times, even when not involved in the action. The characters are as one-dimensional as the set, caricatures that don’t really change throughout the three hours it takes to run. Despite this there are some terrific performances. The script moves the action forward with workmanlike precision, and if von Trier had stopped before the last vignette Dogville would have been a more affecting piece. It is structured like a children’s book, with a prolog and nine chapters, each prefaced by an explanatory title card that could be a chapter heading in a book. John Hurt narrates in a deadpan, very ironic and unmistakably “fairy tale” voice. There is one very shocking bit in the last scene. The closing credits (there are no opening credits) are shown over still images of destitution, racial violence and personal degradation from the United States mainly from the 1930s. It is the most specifically polemical and least effective part of the movie—one has a “been there, done that” (and have seen it done much better) sense while it roles.
  13. I received a letter from Alexandra recently informing me that Ballet Alert! would no longer be published. The reason was simple--not enough money to cover expenses of producing the magazine. Those who wrote Ballet Alert! will miss it, as will those who read it. The publication schedule was a bit chancy but every issue was worth waiting for. I subscribed early on and was always a bit amazed (when I thought about it) that Alexandra could edit the magazine, see it through production and get it mailed, all while spending a lot of time making sure that this board ran properly, editing Dance View and doing goodness knows what else. Congratulations to everyone who contributed to Ballet Alert! and to Alexandra for keeping it going as long she did.
  14. It sounds like the kind of controversy that the editor would welcome--as long as there was space for it. After the stroke/counterstroke it may move to "Letters to the Editor" column. However, given the astonishing crudity of the original review, as shown in the quote essentially saying that the only way to transmit ideas is through words, it simply cried out to be rebutted by someone. What would Bach have said to that? Or Mahler? Or John Cage? Or Merce Cunningham? Ashton? The mind boggles. (Whatever boggles means) :-}
  15. dirac, I have never been able to relate to Parsifal as a music drama--my loss, since so much of the music is so sublime. Not sure if it is the dominance of low male voices--Siegfried is the Ring opera that I can most easily do without, so it may be that--or the totally over the top religious content. Probably not the last since odd religious imagery is one of Wagner's hallmarks. And certainly not the length. I could (if in a comfortable seat) sit through Tristan and Isolde twice in a day. The same with Die Walkure or Gotterdamerung. I am so stymied by Parsifal that I can't even figure out why I don't appreciate it. With Good Friday approaching I am going to load up the CD player and take a trip to the Pyrennes to try again to see what I am missing.
  16. Oberon, I could not agree more regarding Behrens' dramatic commitment, intense physicality and just straight acting ability. One of the aspects of her Die Walkure Brunnhilde that is often mentioned is the power of her silent response to Wotan during the last part of the Act III as Wotan tells her that she will become a mortal. Mel, it seems that you had half or more of Parsifal to sit through when you realized you had hit the Wagner wall. As my grandmother used to say, there will be another star on your crown in heaven for your suffering. It has been written before (possibly here, possibly by me) about the person attending Parsifal who fell asleep during Act I, which clocks in at just under two hours--longer than Salome almost as long as La Boheme. When he awoke he glanced at his watch and saw that he had been dozing for about fifteen minutes. The three people on stage seemed to be singing exactly what he had heard when he nodded off and they were in exactly the same positions.
  17. Die Walkure or How I Stopped Worrying and Leaned to Love Brunnhilde. The Metropolitan Opera is doing a Ring Cycle this spring. Die Walkure was the broadcast on Saturday, April 3. I was able to listen to most of Act I at home, parts of Act II and the quiz on the car radio and all of Act III at home on headphones. It was wonderful. I simply listened and enjoyed, swept along by the music and some great performances. A very different story from seven years ago when the Met broadcast some of the same artists in the same work, when I was more interested in how a soprano who I adored would do in a role that was no longer in her compass. James Morris is the indispensable Wotan of the past 25 years. He can still sing the hell out that role and his voice sounds healthy and well supported. Deborah Voigt owns Sieglinde. Expressive, beautiful tone, seemingly effortless from top to bottom of her range. Jane Eaglen as Brunnhilde was wonderful. She had all the “Wagnerian” aspects of the role—stamina, control and power—but also has a gorgeous voice. Placido Domingo is most likely a few years past Siegmund. Siegmund’s range fit him like a glove in 1997, but the high notes just aren’t there (or may not be there in a given performance) anymore. For a typical Wagnerian tenor this wouldn’t be a problem. Musicianship, diction and staying power are generally enough. Hitting all the notes is almost a bonus. But since this is Domingo, one wishes that he would realize that many roles are beyond him now. Yvonne Naef (Fricka) is yet another talented dramatic mezzo. This is the age of the lower female voice. Levine kept things together from the pit. He can be very singer friendly conductor and was on Saturday. The last time I had made a point of listening to Die Walkure from the Met was in 1997. The buzz then was about Domingo’s debut as Siegmund and Hildegard Behrens as Brunnhilde. After the premiere there was a firestorm of criticism, some of very mean-spirited, of Behrens. There were those who wrote that she could no longer sing such a demanding role and others who wrote that she was never able to do justice to the pagan princess and others yet who thought she had always been terrible in everything she tried. I had first seen and heard Behrens as the Fidelio Leonora in a concert performance with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra during the mid-1970s. I fell in love with her as an artist that night and followed her career to the extent possible. She had been singing some of the heaviest roles in the repertoire for decades—Wagner, Strauss, a Verdi voice shredder occasionally and it was obvious that it was beginning to tell on her voice. In 1997 I barely listened to Domingo and Voigt in the first act because I was so invested in Behrens. As the first Hohotoho approached I was thinking more about what would be coming and less about what I was hearing. Would she make it—could she hit still hit the notes without having to shout or scream? Would her professionalism, musicianship, sense memory and sheer will get her through until the last act, when her silent dramatic response to Wotan’s monologue would (as always) carry the day? It was agony for me and for many other of her fans—we were filled with anticipation and dread, almost praying that she would somehow prevail. I have a tape of that broadcast somewhere but I don’t listen to it. Becoming that emotionally invested in the success or (relative) failure of an artist can be debilitating. Listening to Eaglen sail through one of the most demanding roles for the lyric stage, hearing an occasional flat note, a hint of a wobble here and there, was heaven compared with the anxiety of waiting for a favorite artist to show the critics that they were wrong. Behrens had some real problems on that spring afternoon—her high notes were a bit shrill. She has never had an outstanding lower register and she didn’t then. But she continued to sing Strauss and Wagner in Europe to significant acclaim. I will remember her as Leonora in 1977 or Isolde in 1981.
  18. The reason that the love interest would have to be played by a movie actor (not simply a non-dancer) is the same reason that a someone dancing on stage would have to be played by a dancer. Both movie actors and ballet dancers are interpretive artists. The skill each brings to a work, the training he or she goes through to develop the skills, the very different "look" that works for one and not the other all are reasons why a movie actor plays the love interest. When done well acting for the screen looks easy. So does singing, dancing or any other performing art. But none of them are easy. A part of movie acting is repetition--have the same facial expression, tone of voice, posture and gestures on the twentieth take as on the first. Another part is economy of expression--an actor doesn't have to do much with face when it is going to be projected on a screen 20 feet high. A curled lip or a slight wink while delivering line may give it two different meanings, neither of which the screenwriter nor director intended. I am not comparing the level of artistry between ballet dancers and movie actors but only different skill sets and amount of training necessary to achieve them.
  19. We saw Susan Jaffe in Giselle here in Detroit a few years ago. The ABT danced it four times and we were at all four. The enduring image I have of that Giselle-athon is toward the end of Act I, when the hunting horn announces the entrance of the royal party. The nice peasant boy from down the street with whom Giselle has fallen in love is about to be unmasked as a Prince who is already betrothed. Jaffe was Giselle. She inhabited the role on that night with transparent artistry. She nailed the feelings of a beautiful fragile young girl who knows love for the first time. The audience was spellbound. And when that hunting horn sounded at least one member of the audience was dismayed, feeling "Oh no, she is going to be hurt." Sounds silly to think that way but we were so caught up in Jaffe becoming Giselle that the person on stage became real. We also saw her the next year when ABT brought Swan Lake to Motown. She was evil personifed as Odille--the swan you not only loved to hate but also hated to love, even though you did. Amazing dancer. I feel lucky we were able to see her when we did.
  20. This issue flares up among opera aficionados and in opera internet groups pretty regularly. It is really nice be part of a discussion that is both well mannered and well meaning. A few notes: Drew wrote: And don’t forget Michelle DeYoung who, as Brangane might have stolen the show in lesser company. I saw that production in Chicago. It had a terrific look, sound and dramatic impact. Eaglen is huge which was not news to anyone who were clamoring for tickets throughout the entire run at the Lyric. An important part of successfully singing Wagner is stamina, as true of Isolde as anything Wagner wrote. When Eaglen floated the first few notes of “Mild und liese”, at the very end of “Tristan and Isolde” and then rode over the orchestra in the Irish princess’ love/death, it was an astounding moment. Clara76 wrote: Lauritz Melchior is considered by many to the greatest Wagnerian tenor of the last century if not of all time. A critic once said that in his costume for Siegrfried he resembled and was as mobile as an overstuffed sofa. There often wasn’t much to do onstage in Wagner operas besides signing and standing around—the term “Park and Bark” summed it up well. Which worked quite well in that Golden Age. Of course in 50 years the beginning of this century will be looked upon with nostalgia as its own age of gold, which the then current performers can’t begin to approach. dirac wrote: Among opera fanatics this is generally where the gloves are dropped and the fighting commences. Actually any mention of Callas, pro or con, will have that affect. Like dirac I have a shelf full of Callas tapes and CD transfers—“Lucia” from Mexico City in 1952, Act II of “Parsifal” (in Italian) from Rome in 1950, the RAI broadcasts, etc. (Doesn't everyone? ) Whatever the reason Callas had a white-hot career of 11 or 12 years, from 1948 to 1959 or 1960. Her too rapid weight loss came in the middle of that period. She still had some great evenings on stage in the 1960s but they become more the exception. Oberon wrote: Or in graduate schools of music. There are a lot vocal artists in their late 20s and early 30s who can sight read any score that exists and probably transcribe it for percussion and massed zithers but who also have almost no performing experience. Many of the roads to an opera career no longer exist. Formerly it was typical for young American singers to work in the small opera houses in Germany, for example. Once travel between Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to what was West Germany was no longer an issue, these roles were taken by singers from the East. Now they stay in school instead of learning several new roles, understudying some and performing other (smaller) ones. Not the same thing at all.
  21. The current New Yorker has a very funny Back Page by Steve Martin, Studio Script Notes on "The Passion". Very little of it addresses the controversy of its content. In one note the studio exec thinks that Jesus should turn water into wine at the Last Supper--it would be a great trailer moment and would brighten up the scene. Another is "I'm assuming 'The dialogue is in Aramaic' is a typo for "American." :grinning:
  22. dido wrote in one post: and in another post: Which may be at least part of the point of this thread. If one has seen several productions of Swan Lake and several performances of each production, experiencing a production set on Mars that includes a Dance of the Rovers might be interesting. One could say the same thing about Cosi Fan Tutte set in a diner on the New York State Thruway, The Marriage of Figaro in Trump Tower or MacBeth set in a Central America during a revolution. One can appreciate or not the way the directors or choreographers have "reimagined" classic works but will still remember Makarova and Nagy, Te Kanawa and Von Stade, Terfel and Bartoli, Plummer and Jackson. In my case I would rememeber them as touchstones against which others would be compared. And if the production is of a work with which one is already very familiar, one can (if necessary, and it often is not) more easily ignore the worst of the reimaging and concentrate on, for example, how well the orchestra handles some of the difficult bits, whether the Countess and Susanna switch lines in the duet, how well the prose and poetry is spoken. But--if it is first time that one has seen a production of a classic work it is very different. In that case something that (as Hans mentions) continues the tradition may be important to see. Some reimaginings of classic works play very well on stage. The audience may get new insights into them. But attempting to simple update the time, place and action in order to make the work revelvant to a current audience is bound to fail. The way that Shakespeare dealt with issues of loyalty, political power, the supernatural and how a diseased mind works is either relevant now or it isn't. Tchaikovsky and Ivanov had much to say about obsession, beauty and undying love. Updating seems to say that today's audiences are unable to see and hear great ideas expressed in great music and sublime movement. Before Freud or Marx, Mozart and Da Ponte cut to the heart of conflicts between lovers, within families and among social classes and did so in music and prose that can still move an audience on the first hearing or the fiftieth, whethere set in the 18th century in Europe or the 20th in the United States.
  23. Oberon wrote: I think he was there for a few reasons: --A love interest for Ryanne. And the love interest would have to be played by a movie actor since he had a significant amount of screen time doing what movie actors do--deliver lines, react to others, stay in character while all the distractions of a movie in progress are happening around you. --There had to be a love interest so the movie would appeal to a wider range of potential audience than ballet lovers. Which didn't work, since it has barely been distributed. A case of "It wasn't released, it escaped", although not for the usual reasons. --There were a few specific scenes in which Ryanne's character was developed a bit in conjunction with him. One was in the bar, where she noticed him, he noticed her, both acted as if they weren't noticing the other. Neve Campbell is able to act as if she knows her way aroud a pool table--nice solid bridge, chalks the first two fingers as well as the cue. The next scene, where Josh surprises her in that palatial bathroom, leads to a bit more of her character--she has danced since she was about three years old.
  24. Based on photos of the red carpet arrivals posted on a few movie sites, there were a lot of great looking gowns and not many horrible misfires. A few first impressions: Charlize Theron, in full bombshell mode, a (gray?) spangled, backless, form-fitting gown with a split skirt. Quite amazing looking. Vanessa Paradis, slender as a fashion mode, in a white layered dress. Very busy but it worked on her--as would almost anything. Diane Lane, her gorgeous hair pulled back, in a white floor-length dress with a cut-out neckline showing just the right amount of décolletage. Sandra Bullock, her tan set off by her white dress, which was too busy—bows, two rows of feathers. Great hair. Liv Tyler, great make up and hair, simple and elegant black (or at least very dark)dress, beautiful face set off by choker made of same material as dress. Catherine Zeta-Jones, perfect coloring for a long red dress with form fitting top and a deeply scooped neckline Nicole Kidman—needs a new sylist. Ice blue is not her color and those feathers at the hem didn’t add anything. Strapless and extremely form-fitting dress draped very well. Jennifer Garner—apricot or orange or whatever the color of her dress is not her color. Renee Zellweger—not at her best. Some of the ladies (Theron, Kidman, Zita-Jones) looked as if they had been poured into their gowns. Renee looked as if she had been stuffed into hers. Angelina Jolie--white satin/silk dress with plunging neckline, actually a bit daring in the post Janet Jackson celebrity fashion world. Tatoo looked silly, too may necklaces but otherwise gorgeous. Julia Roberts--still has the one of the best (and biggest) smiles in moviedom. Very well cut satin/silk? dress, plunging V-neckline and flowing skirt. Kelly Lynch--she should not let herself be talked into wearing a dress with way too much going on. Shohreh Aghdashloo--what a beauty! Her dress was the perfect shade of red for her coloring. Great hair. Holly Hunter--Pastel dress could have been a recycled prom/bridesmaid outfit, but she is another woman who looks great in anything. Layered hair style suits her very well. Naomi Watts--a bit monochromatic (complexion, hair, dress) but strapless gown showed her great shoulders and lovely skin to good effect. Sofia Coppola--a classic beauty, very understated makeup, well cut and not terribly busy purple dress, good color for her.
  25. vagansmom wrote: vagansmom and board: If this is the same scene I have been thinking about it was one of the real gems that Altman tossed at the audience. It was about 10 seconds of screen time at the end of a longer scene. A meeting had begun with Antonelli/MacDowell and DesRosiers talking about the choreographer's vision for "The Blue Snake". Upon entering, Antonelli had been casually cruel to a junior member of the staff who hadn't been quick enough to clean bagels, etc. from a table, so when the dialog between him and DesRosiers begins we may be predisposed to like DesRosiers, simply because he isn't Antonelli. If we are it lasts about 3 seconds. DesRosiers was perfect playing himself. As he describes "The Blue Snake" (and the blue snake) it sounds increasingly ridiculous, expensive and wasteful and he sounds like a parody of the over the top, spare no cost guy with a vision. Antonelli (no longer an arbitrary adminstrative martinet but now a responsible, budget-conscious arts manager) is pulled from the meeting and DesRosiers continues to discuss his staging with the staff. This is where the scene goes from good to just about perfect. A ballet master (not sure who, since there are three otherwise unidentified "ballet masters" in the cast, but he was terrific whenever on camera) asks about the music. He is told that it is being composed. The ballet master or one of the ballet mistresses then says that of course the choreographer will have beats that the dancers can learn while waiting for the music to be finished. The choreographer says something very close to "not believing in beats, that the dancers would feel a beat, that this was an organic way to work". The looks from the staff members were completely true and telling. They went from "Oh, my God" to "I can't believe I am hearing this" to "Here we go again". The crowning touch was that they didn't look at each other. If they had it would have changed the scene entirely. The three people from the company would have become a group united in their distaste for Desrosiers, instead of three talented and dedicated artists confronted with yet another impossible task and perhaps a bit outraged by it. It kept the focus on the work to be done and not on the personality of the choreographer. It was perfect. My wife saw "The Company" with me the second time I saw it. Her initial reaction to "The Blue Snake" was exactly the same as mine--"They didn't really put that onstage, did they?" It was ghastly. Among the "characters" were the dancers with green tendrils. My wife thought they were palm trees--they looked like artichokes to me. One could image the way the DesRosiers motivated the artichokes--he could have used dialog from "Tootsie" when Dustin Hoffman as Michael Dorsey explains to Sidney Pollock, playing his agent, why he shouldn't have been fired from a commercial in which he was playing a tomato: "Nobody does vegetables like me. I did an evening of vegetables off-Broadway. I did the best tomato, the best cucumber... I did an endive salad that knocked the critics on their ass."
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