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Other Arts?

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Another who-cares-it's August query. We had a thread along the same lines a while back, so this might be a familiar topic to some, but we have enough new people to make it worth revisiting, I think. I'm wondering what arts, entertainments, hobbies distract you when there's not much dancing on the menu? If you're a reader, what have you been reading lately? any favorites to share? If it's music you crave, what kind? (I'm trying to cast the net pretty wide, so feel free to include non-arts related interests, although if you spend several hours a day cruising the Net for kiddie porn, we'd rather not know, thanks. :))

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Living in a suburban beach town has meant that I have had to keep myself busy with non-dance related activities. One can find me in the Auction houses searching for antiques at ridiculously low prices. It has become most addictive I must say. Has inspired a lot of reading as well as kept me up with my passion for history, any history I am not particular.

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Films. I was into film before I ever saw a ballet (I'm a late bloomer). I've been so busy the past few years I haven't been able to see many--only about four a year. :) This year, three so far, were....hmmm. The one about the Cuban Missile crisis-- was it "Seven Days?" (which I liked, and thought some of the acting very fine), "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," which I loved and count as a dance film, although I admit that's stretching the definition a bit. And "Artificial Intelligence" which was one of the stupidest, messiest films I've ever seen--despite two great performances--and I don't know how it got out of the cutting room in the shape it did. So there.

I like to think that my other past times include reading and listening to (classical) music, but for the past ten years, everything I've read or heard has been ballet related -- not really by choice, but because I have so little time, and I need to keep my attention focused on what I'm working on.

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this summer i've gotten into refinishing furniture. in particular doing 'artistic treatments' to otherwise blah pieces. my favorite project was actually a friendly affair. i had a tea party for some close friends and had each one of them paint a nesting table. now my study has the personal stamp of all my friends. my next project will be expanding and painting my dining table...wish me luck.

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Every summer my two small grandchildren (8 and 6) come over from Washington DC to visit me here in the north of England. I have little time for other activities but I have just booked tickets to watch Roja and Kobborg and also Cojocaru and Persson dance Don Quixote in November. This helps to keep me calm when all around is chaos!

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Guest justDANCE

Great post!

I'm into drama of all sorts (except musicals...I'm not voice-inclinded :)) I also LOVE to paint and draw, as well as going to gallaries. I'm also into and writing! I've written aLOT of short stories (and long ones for that matter), poems, and songs. I love it all!!!

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Summer sings - just came back from the Brahms' "Requiem" and "Naenie" tonight; reading; listening to classical music and opera (I went to Tanglewood to see/hear Deborah Voight's debut there also making her debut in Strauss' "Salome"; Politics; playing with my 3 cats; hugging the airconditioner to try to stay cool when it hit 103 degrees the other day (for those of you in Arizona and similar locations, you have NO idea of what that's like with high humidity on top of it); trying to get my computer to cooperate with me; taking care of the excessive number of houseplants we have managed to accumulate; catching up on al the TV programs I had to tape because I wasn't going to be at home (but at the ballet) to watch them. :rolleyes:

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Film and TV. For the last two years, the better writing seems to be on TV (where writers are king). I've enjoyed Six Feet Under on HBO immensely. It's season finale is this Sunday. Other shows of high caliber that I watch during the regular TV season:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, The West Wing, Gilmore Girls. I watch plenty of other shows (I'm a TV junkie), but those are top-notch.

Film-- summer is not the time for great film. It's popcorn movie time (my fave movie of the summer being Legally Blonde-- haven't seen Shrek). Again, here, too, TV has good movies-- HBO and SHO, that is, e.g., a recent movie (I forget the name) with Laura Linney and Gena Rowlands, I believe.

Also, books. I highly recommend (though it's not new) A Short History of a Prince by Jane Hamilton. It's not without plenty of ballet mentions.


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For most of my adult life I've been involved in singing, though now I listen to other people do it rather than do it myself - voices don't improve with age and I thought I'd better go before I was pushed! I sang first in a choir attached to a cathedral, so I'm familiar with the Palestrina/Tallis/Byrd repertoire mentioned by Doug, and then in a choir attached to a symphony orchestra. I claim to have sung almost every work in the

choral repertoire except Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, which I managed to miss. I am very interested in the music of Benjamin Britten, and also anything by Bach. I really loved singing in different languages - Russian, Czech and Hebrew among them in addition to the standard English, German and Latin.

I'm also very keen on poetry, both reading it and writing it, though I have never been satisfied with anything I've written. I would love to be more creative - especially I'd love to be paint, draw and design for the theatre, for which I have no talent whatsoever, but I enjoy looking at the work of people who can do it.

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Here in Saratoga the Philadelphia Orchestra shows up in the wake of the departing NYCB. We also have a chamber music series and local theater productions. There is so much to do for the next two weeks that it is mind-spinning; then Labor Day comes and most of it ends. SIGH! If we could only spread it out a bit more, but then again, who wants to come here in the winter? Those of us who live here don't even want to be here in February.

Tonight is the beginning of the third week of the Philly Orch. It is a perfect summer night and we'll be leaving soon to sit on the SPAC lawn, have a bottle of wine, and listen to Tchaikovsky. Friday night is Joshua Bell playing Brahms.

Tomorrow night we're going to Washington Park in Albany for a performance of "Oklahoma". Next week we'll be in NY. What a summer!

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I'm interested in film ( especially independent and foreign) and visual arts. It's too bad that Toronto's Art Gallery ( AGO) isn't that big, but I had a great time in the spring exploring NYC's Met Museum and MoMA! My favourite artists are Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas *of course*, Chagall... there are too many! There is a Klimpt exhibit going on in Ottawa, but I can't go :) I also like to sketch and draw with oil pastels as a hobby, watercolours are nice too but it's a very unforgiving medium!

As for film, I recently rented the Three Colours trilogy ( Blue, White, Red) and they are all very good. A bit slow paced for some, but excellent detail. I really liked "Crouching Tiger.." too. Of the other Oscar nominees for foreign language film I saw "Malena" ( I found it boring) and "Amores Perros" which was incredibly real and honest- there's a lot of violence but it's not used in the same way as say Mission Impossible. You feel for each character. For Canadian film, this year "Maelstrom" won a lot of awards, but it was a dissapointment for me. The comedy "waydowntown" was hillarious though :) I haven't been to the movies this summer, except for when I was dragged to "Planet of the Apes"- don't get me started... All the movies right now are those summer blockbusters, and too many sequels and remakes to count. I'd rather go to the video rental and catch up on movies I missed earlier.

I'm also starting an interest in flamenco dance and music. I took a few classes. It's great, the guitarist follows the dancer, she controls the tempo,when it finishes, etc. If only in ballet it were so easy...

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I got a nice big mac and a midi keyboard last December, and since then I've spent way too much time making music with the numerous software synthesizers, samplers and sequencers I've collected. I particularly enjoy concocting wildly inappropriate arrangements of Renaissance dance tunes.

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In addition to opera (first) ballet (second) chamber music (third), I enjoy movies--only a few and those obsessively--and certain sports.

I saw "Moulin Rouge" six times this summer and would like to see it six more. The first two acts--essentially from the first time "the Sound of Music" is heard in the garrett until the end of the scene in the Elephant with everyone convincing the Baron to fund "Spectacular Spectacular" is as thrilling as anything I have ever seen on the screen.

It also is the only movie I can imagine that used the vocal gifts of Kylie Minogue and Placido Domingo in close proximity.

I taped and watched two hours per day of the Tour de France bicycle race every day during the last three weeks of July.

My wife is much more creative. She is a skilled water colorist and draw beautifully.

Like Alexandra I enjoyed the Cuban Missile Crisis movie (Thirteen Days) and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, which we saw a few times. CTHD is a hyper-romantic movie that hits all the right notes.

Currently reading David Cairns biography of Berlioz and John Dryden's prefaces.

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I've always been fond of painting, and my favorite things to paint, shockingly enough, are ballerinas. I've tried to do danseurs, but they usually wind up looking so effeminate that I just say the heck with it and turn them into ballerinas. :)

Books? Most of my favorites are mindless reads of the drugstore variety, but I am quite fond of Catcher in the Rye and anything by Tom Robbins, as well as Maya Angelou. I also like to write myself, but seldom complete what I've started, unless it's for a school project, creative writing workshop, etc.

[ 08-15-2001: Message edited by: BalletNut ]

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I'm back to playing Baroque recorders. Have played lots of Palestrina/Tallis/Byrd in a consort over the years.

Also transposing music from classical guitar (can no longer play due to arthritis) to the fretted dulcimer. I've been trying to play Baroque pieces on it.

We own an Irish step dance school. I spent a long time on the phone yesterday with an 82 year old woman who's offering us a free dance hall if we'll teach her and her friends step-dancing. They're all over 75-I love it! And they'll bring dessert, she tells me.

Finally, I spend as much time in the garden as I can. It's mostly a rocky hill but is now shaping into some semblance of my dreams for it. I've been delighted to have hummingbirds visiting it daily now.The season is too short.

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Alas, I have no talents like you folks above. My garden looks as if our house was abandoned last year and I have no musical or artistic abilities. Even so, packing kiddo off to SIs creates some rare playtime for me and if you count the culinary arts among "other arts" I might qualify. I spent much of July working on a peanut-butter chocolate pie recipe (with my secret crust!)I want to enter in the Virginia State Fair this fall. Wish me luck! Otherwise, I'm a words gal. Writing is what I do and reading is how I relax. Best of summer so far is a novel that seems to be screaming from the headlines: "Martyr's Crossing" set on the checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah (not exactly light stuff but this is the only time of year I can do the heavy reading -- few interruptions!)also a strange work of non-fiction about my favorite game -- SCRABBLE. The book is called "Word Freak" by Stefan Fatsis and it's a glimpse into the weird, wonderful world of tournament SCRABBLE. Once upon a time I loved theater and opera but there's no moola left after ballet for those indulgences. Alas, at 52 my idea of a musical blast is driving with the windows down playing George Thorogood and the Destroyers ("One Whiskey, One Scotch, One Beer"). Kiddo cringes at this.

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As far the arts are concerned, I'm a consumer as opposed to a practitioner, I regret to say. During the summer I usually head for the movies. There are a few art house cinemas fairly close by so I have an alternative to Multiplex Hell, and there's also a theatre that specializes in very old films, sometimes bringing back real rarities like Ruth Chatterton flicks, Robert Montgomery and Norma Shearer in "Private Lives," and so on. I do, however, grace the multiplex with my presence as well. This summer I checked out "Moulin Rouge," which I quite liked without thinking it very good, and "A.I.," a mess, as Alexandra noted, but a very interesting one, and I was fascinated by the slightly ghoulish spectacle of Spielberg channeling Kubrick. And it's always a pleasure to see a film shot by a director who really knows where the camera should go. (Also, I do not care for child actors, or let us say I don't care to the uses to which they're usually put, but Haley Joel Osment is amazing.) I suppose I must also confess to breaking down and going to see "Planet of the Apes." Nice makeup, but Wahlberg is such a lump.....

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I'm mostly interested in books, films and classical music. I started being interested in classical music only after being interested in ballet- listening to ballet music first, and then to works by composers who had done some ballet music... Now I'm more interested in chamber music (especially by Dvorak, Janacek, Schubert...) but still love Tchaikovsky's scores.

One thing I really like in Paris (unlike in Marseille) is that even in summer, there always is a large choice of good (old and recent) movies to see, with all the festivals at the Cinematheque and in the small independant cinemas of the Quartier Latin. The last two movies I saw were Preminger's "Laura" and Tim Burton's "Beetlejuice"- very different, but both enjoyable... I liked "Crouching tiger, hidden dragon" (but probably would have enjoyed it more if the cinema audience hadn't been the worst I've ever seen- a bunch of idiotic vulgar teen-agers shouting at each other, yelling silly jokes, etc), even if sometimes it looked a little bit too artificial to me.

The films which striked me the most in the last year both were from Asia: Edward Yang's "Yi-yi" (Taiwan), and Wong Kar Wai's "In the mood for love" (Hong-Kong).

Presently I'm re-reading Jane Austen's "Emma". Recently I especially enjoyed "Quoi de neuf sur la guerre" (What's up about the war?), the first novel of the film maker Robert Bober, dealing with life in a Jewish tailor's workshop in Paris just after WWII.

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Guest mod-squad


I am not really a frequent visitor here, but I'll share my interest anyway.

Hobbies or interest not ballet (or dance) related?

When I am not busy being a full time dad (3 kids) and husband I:

I like to draw (charcoals,ink,lead) and paint (both traditional and digital with computers). Been drawing since the age of 2. I am a 21 year graphic artist by profession also currently trying to defect into post production for film. Anybody with any advice to share regarding that feel free to email. I need all the help I can get.

I collect and restore old 50's style balloon tire bikes; Monark,Firestone,JC Higgins (at one time I had over a 110, now I have parred it down to about 30 or so). Its an extremely expensive hobby that I can't really afford anymore. I have been into bikes about 25 years.

I am also an avid VINTAGE diecast car (1/64th scale Matchbox,HotWheels,etc) collector (I have currently between 34,500-36,000 pieces). I have been collecting these nearly 35 years).

I love to cook (good for the nerves).

My wife and I also collect old vintage poster art (Cappeillo is a favorite!) from the early 20's.

We also are heavily into antique furniture (restoration).

I am also into film (I was also heavily into theater and acting up until I entered college upon the time I found out most actors starve. I may get back into it though just for fun).

I love old movies (Gary Cooper,Humphrey Bogart,Jimmy Stewart). Rarely do I waste my money on new films or esp waste time watching current TV sitcoms etc- (most of it is garbage; lacking any quality, substance or originality!).

What TV I do watch is usually educational (History Channel,Bravo, A&E, Biography).

I also follow politics very closely. I am (dare I say it here) very much active with the Republican Party (I donate quite a bit) and spend quite alot of time reading and listening (TV,talkradio; Fox, Dennis Prager,Micheal Medvid) to intellegent debates.

[ 09-05-2001: Message edited by: mod-squad ]

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I live on the beach in Florida, so I love to surf, water ski etc. I'm on the swim team at school, as well as the girls football team (not THAT great for a dancer,but I LOVE it) I'm an avid photographer, and just found out yesterday I have the lead in the first school play of the year :) Obviously, I like to keep busy, and can't sit still for very long LOL :)

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mod-squad: Our interest in your opinions is unrelated to the frequency of your posting or lack thereof. It's always nice to hear from you!

Re: your Republicanism. I hope I speak for all of us when I say that a board like this acts in part as a forum for people to voice their opinions, and every once in awhile opinions of a political stripe will creep in. We need to hear from everyone in order for discussions to be truly rounded and interesting. Otherwise, we may find ourselves sounding like T.H. White's ant colony, all voicing the same opinions over and over "Oh-I-do-like-that-ballet-it-is-so-very-Done."

That's my speech for the day. :)

[ 09-05-2001: Message edited by: dirac ]

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I'm a reader. I read avidly, anything and everything, and if I enjoy a book I will read it about a million times over. At the moment I'm revisiting Jane Austen. I wish I didn't read so quickly - if I enjoy a book I can read the whole thing in a couple of hours and then I'm cross because it didn't last long enough!

I also love music - I really want to join an ensemble of some kind with my flute but unfortunately all the ones I want to join rehearse on the same night as ballet class ... priorities ...

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Your mention of Jane Austen makes me think of a conversation I had with someone at my office when Roger Machell's version of "Persuasion" came out. She hadn't actually read the book, but was eager to see the movie, and it occurred to me that in the time it took to drive to the theatre, wait in line, buy tickets, etc., she could actually read the book (it's not very long) and have a far more satisfactory aesthetic experience.

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