Delicious Kumato

I recently found these in the produce section of my local Food Emporium, near the tomatoes. I guess they’re a different kind of tomato – plump and juicy and very mild, not acidic at all.

They’re very deep red, almost brownish in color, both inside and out. Citrus with high acidity tends to give me a stomachache, which these didn’t do at all. I loved them. Not too expensive either. Very happy find!

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Hide and Seek with Rhea

Sorry, love my new kitty and can’t resist! It’s hard to believe she was so shy in the ASPCA and when she first came to live with me because she’s now into absolutely everything. Which kind of worries me because this apartment is perhaps a bit dangerous for an inquisitive cat. She loves to run up the ladder / stairs to my bedroom loft and then run all around its pretty small perimeter, peeking out from time to time between the little pillars.

It’s a long way down though and I’m a little scared she’ll fall.

And she loves to play with this small leather mask I bought one year at a festival in Toronto. She loves to try to bat the thing down.

And the other thing she loves to do is jump back and forth between the corner of the loft and the top mantel of the fireplace. I had to clear everything off of the mantel so she’d have a place to step. Worries me! I’ve tried to put soft mats and things all around under the mantel and around the edges of the loft. I guess you just can’t worry about all that cats will get into…

Finally tired, and taking a little rest.

And now, in the laundry basket. Everything, she gets into everything!

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Rhea!

I finally got a new kitty. My beloved former cat died of congestive heart failure several years ago and it took me a while to get over it. Finally, a couple weeks ago I went to the ASPCA, where I met Rhea. I love the ASPCA by the way – they are wonderful people there who do wonderful things. Anyway, Rhea’s a sweet little Abyssinan mix. Of course she was very quiet her first few days with me, but now she’s a nut, particularly at nighttime of course, running up and down the ladder / stairs of my bedroom loft, doing gymnastics around its pillars, playing basketball down on the floor with some little toy balls with bells that were given to her by her friend, Lula, who lives across town. And yes, I meant basketball, not soccer or hockey. I have no idea what she does with the balls to make them bounce the way they do… because whatever it is she’s doing it’s in the dark when I’m trying to sleep…

She actually makes me nervous when she plays on the stairs / ladder, because she most enjoys the top rung, and it’s a long way down to the floor. I kind of feel like this high ceiling-ed apartment, which is good for housing my art work, is a bit dangerous for a cat. My old cat never even tried to get herself up in the loft, nor has any cat I’ve cat-sat here since. But Rhea’s very inquisitive, and very small, which I guess makes her more inclined to acrobatics than the average cat.

She can also sit on my narrow windowsill, which no other cat has been able to do:

She sleeps in the oddest places, like on top of the book spines. A copy of Swallow was on top of Turow’s Presumed Innocent. She apparently thought nothing of smacking mommy’s novel down to make herself a little step to her “bed.”

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Paris Opera Ballet’s Dark-ish Coppelia

So, did anyone see the live-stream of POB’s Coppelia last Monday? I went but was extremely tired, so I guess my review should be read with that in mind. I was working a contract job with crazy long, graveyard shift hours and though the movie was at 1:30 in the afternoon Manhattan time (7:30 p.m. Paris time) I really should have been at home sleeping. But I had to miss POB’s earlier Caligula, so really wanted to see this.

It was different from the versions of Coppelia I’ve seen by the American companies. It was darker, not at all cutesy and Nutcracker-ish with doll-like movements of humans imitating toys and silly people mistaking dolls for girls. The program notes say the choreographer, Patrice Bart (after Arthur Saint-Leon) wanted to give “a bit more psychological depth to the characters and feed the drama of their relationships, including finding plausible motivations / reasons in certain passages.”

I’m all for darker ballets exploring human drama in greater depths than many of the classics do, but unfortunately, I just had a hard time grasping the story here and understanding the characters’ motivations despite Bart’s intentions. I think part of the problem was that Bart used the language of classical ballet, rather than modern. Tudor is probably the master of revealing psychology through movement, but his movement language was wholly unique. Here, Coppelius, for example, would do basic ballet turns, jumps, an arabesque, etc. – all very lyrical, within the classical ballet vocabulary, then would do some kind of intentionally awkward port de bras, jabbing an arm out this way and that and twisting his torso unnaturally. I guess that more modern, angular arm movement was supposed to show angst, and it did, but it was just so inferior to movement someone like Tudor would have used to show a psychological state.

I assume everyone knows the story and I probably shouldn’t – especially this version: Coppelius is haunted by the image of a woman he loved and lost. Swanilda evokes her memory for him. Frantz, a student, is in love with Swanilda, who kind of returns his affections but not as completely as he would like. Spalanzani is a toy-maker who seems to have some outlines of a doll he’s in the process of making, which also haunt Coppelius, reminding him of the woman he loved and lost.

According to the program notes, Coppelius is a seducer, not at all the silly wobbling clown from the American productions. He tries to seduce Swanilda, who seems, from what I could tell of the onstage action, to be a bit taken by him, but only to a point. She and her girlfriends break into Spalanzani’s toy factory, play with the toys – like in the American productions – but then Swanilda sees how taken Coppelius is with the outline of the doll Spalanzani is in the process of making, and for some reason, she decides to don the doll’s costume and dance for Coppelius. It’s unclear whether she is pretending to be the doll come to life – her movements aren’t at all doll-like, as in the American productions. But at one point, things get too serious, Coppelius gets too impassioned with her, and she runs off, somewhat afraid of him. Then she accepts Frantz and the two end up together, their silhouettes wandering off into the tunnel of light, as in the photo above.

Swanilda was danced by Dorothee Gilbert, whom I’d never seen before and really liked. Both she and Mathias Heymann, as Frantz, had a lot of presence, showed a lot of facial emotion, were good at miming. They told the story as best as they could given what I felt was limiting choreography. Heymann’s lines didn’t always seem to be all there though, and I just couldn’t stop thinking how much more clean and physically magnificent David Hallberg would have been in that role. Sometimes Frantz’s male friends seemed to outdance him with their precision, height of jump, etc. It was odd, but his dancing seemed to be a bit sloppy. I’ve seen him dance before though (can’t remember whether it was with NYCB or Trisha Brown or at the Guggenheim) but I know I didn’t think that about him before.

Gilbert’s dancing was much cleaner. She definitely didn’t focus on athleticism, like Natalia Osipova. But her dancing was lyrical and lovely, and she had a strong personality and clarity of intention. Her Swanilda was at times a tease, at times inquisitive, longing, fearful, confused. She always had something going on behind her eyes – which is one of the things I value most in a dancer and which there’s not enough of these days, imo.

My biggest problem though was with Jose Martinez, who danced the part of Coppelius, which is a dance role here, not a character role. I know he’s a big deal, longtime principal in Europe, and is on the verge of retiring and taking over the Spanish ballet company Nacho Duato currently helms (Martinez is Spanish as well). It well may have been his costume – he wore a long top coat, pleated pants that bulked at the pelvis, and black soft jazz shoes – so not at all ballet costuming. But his lines were not clean at all, his movement looked very sloppy, he was completely lacking sharpness and precision. Could be I just couldn’t see the precision because of the bulking pants, but still – I couldn’t stop thinking about how much better Marcelo Gomes, who I could really see in that role, would have been, despite the pants and coat.

I don’t know if you can still get the NY Times reviews now that the paper’s behind a paywall, but Macaulay has an interesting explanation: he says the POB ballet dancers of late (ever since Nureyev, actually) are trained that way – to not give so much attention to line, amongst other things like musicality and expressive phrasing.

I don’t know. It was my first time seeing POB perform as a company and I really wanted to  like them. Overall, I was unimpressed, unfortunately. I did really like Gilbert though and I will definitely want to see her dance again.

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More BLACK SWAN Controversy, and The Paris Opera Ballet’s COPPELIA

I’m still crazy busy but just wanted to point out two things. First, if you haven’t already heard, there’s now a storm of controversy over how much dancing Natalie Portman actually did in Black Swan. Dance Magazine EIC Wendy Perron wants more credit given to Sarah Lane, Portman’s ABT double (whose dancing I love; for image credits above, click on the photos). Portman didn’t mention Lane in her Oscar acceptance speech (though she did mention the dancers in general) but, further, there was apparently also a special effects video produced about the making of the film in which Lane’s face was never shown, though her dancing body was, and in which Lane was never credited. Lane seems not to want to say too much, says she was asked to remain silent on the issue, to not talk about the film, particularly before the Oscars. Lane gave an interview to Dance Magazine in December about her role in the movie, saying she wasn’t “looking for any sort of recognition.” Millepied of course defends his muse, saying Lane did “just the footwork.”

Lane also mentioned in that Dance Magazine interview that Maria Riccetto did some of Mila Kunis’s dancing, which I didn’t know. Both Portman and Kunis must be very petite women!

Anyway, will the controversy surrounding this film ever end? Hopefully not! It’s keeping ballet in the minds of the public, if you ask me…

Thanks to reader Jeff (who I noticed is also mentioned in Perron’s blog, linked to above) for pointing me to the controversy.

Also, this Monday, March 28th, the Paris Opera Ballet will live-stream its Coppelia, via Emerging Pictures’ always excellent Ballet in Cinema series. Curtain is Paris time at 7:30 p.m., which is 1:30 p.m. here on the east coast. In Manhattan, it’s showing at the Big Theater again. For other times and locations, visit the Ballet in Cinema website.

Okay, all I have time for now. Thanks for continuing to read my blog while I remain swamped :)

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Dancing With the Stars

Oh no, did I miss it last night? I don’t even know what night — or day — it is anymore. Still working on this project… Anyway, maybe I’ll catch the good parts online. What did you guys think? Was anyone good? How was Ralph Macchio? Sugar Ray Leonard? The first day is usually my favorite since you can get a pretty good feel of who’s going to do well and who’s not.

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Don’t Forget Royal Danish’s Live-Stream Via Guggenheim

Hey you guys,

I’m on a legal assignment with some really crazy hours, so sorry I’ve kind of had to drop off the face of the earth for a while! Anyway, just wanted to remind you all that the Guggenheim is live-streaming their Works and Process with the Royal Danish Ballet this Sunday and Monday nights, at 7:30 p.m. I’ll be working and not watching, but the good thing about the live-streams is that they’re archived :) See my prior post for the Guggenheim’s ustream website.

Hope to have time soon to blog and respond to all your excellent comments on my post about NYCB and Twitter!

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NYCB Wants To Monitor Its Dancers’ Social Media Posts

The dance twittersphere is currently aflutter over this Wall Street Journal article. It seems to have started with some tweets by NYCB corps dancer, Devin Alberda, gently poking fun at NYCB benefactor David Koch, at A.D. Peter Martins’ recent drunk driving arrest, and mock-criticizing one of the yellow-face characters in Martins’ Magic Flute for its racial connotations. I’ve seen some of Alberda’s blog and twitter posts and have often found him to be clever and funny but have also sometimes wondered, hmmm, is that going too far? Actually, I’ve seen blog posts (other than Alberda’s) and thought, wow, I wonder what such and such artistic director would think if he saw that. But then I don’t think any less of the company, maybe just the dancer. And since I don’t want to know more, I don’t return to that blog. So, really, no harm done there.

Anyway, NYCB is now in negotiations with the dancers’ union to attain the ability to monitor the dancers’ tweets and Facebook and other social media posts. If the union gives them the right to do so, according to the article, they’ll be one of the first performing arts organizations to have that power.

It’s an interesting issue because, on one hand, it’s never smart to publicly criticize your boss of course, but what about when arguing that a certain stereotype in a certain ballet carries racist connotations is tantamount to such a criticism? In part, it’s a free speech issue, which somehow makes the issue seem especially problematic for an arts organization. I mean, in interviews artists will sometimes speak openly about something deemed offensive in a piece they perform (opera, a play, a ballet, etc.), though usually not as snidely as Alberda. But some on Twitter are also saying companies have the right to control their “brand”  and many companies do such monitoring.

Others are saying Twitter and blogs are good for ballet because it’s such a rarefied, insular art form, it can only help for the public to have greater access to dancers’ daily lives via these popular platforms. But if the blogs and tweets are monitored, then it seems like they’re controlled, and not authentic. I’ve read dancer blogs before where it’s obvious a dancer is just a PR spokesperson for the company, and I don’t take them seriously at all. I usually read once or twice then never return. And it also makes me think the company’s using the dancer. So, maybe, if the posts are going to be heavily monitored, it would have the same effect on the public as not allowing them at all.

And what about dancers attacking critics? And what about the whole system of patronage, which ballet largely operates under? What if a dancer says something that has the potential to anger a patron?

Very complicated issue. Any thoughts? It’s a good article.

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Baryshnikov in Japan

Here’s a video of Baryshnikov and Gabriella Komleva performing Don Quixote in Japan when the Kirov toured there in 1971. Thank you to “Ballet Lover” for finding it and posting it in the comments of my Bolshoi / Don Quixote post.

What a treat! (there’s another one of him dancing the same pdd even earlier, in 1969, in that same comment). It’s interesting because the athletics exhibited by today’s dancers are so much more astounding (one thing I’d forgotten to mention about the Bolshoi’s DQ is that in those thrilling one-handed overhead lifts, Vasiliev would not only stand on one leg when doing them, but would go on releve as well, making the audience go nuts with applause) but this older version is still so glorious. In a way that I can’t exactly put my finger on it seems to have even more grandeur. You know what I mean? I’ll post the other video “Ballet Lover” linked to as well, so you can see what I mean. (This one’s with Lyudmila Semenyaka.) I wonder where they’re performing in this one?

Also in regards to Japan, my friend Marie, who comments here frequently and has begun writing a lot about ballet on her own blog – her family owns and operates a Buddhist monastery in Northern Japan. So please keep her in your thoughts right now. She wrote a really beautiful book, Picking Bones From Ash, which recently came out in paperback and Kindle, which takes place largely in Japan. I read it before I knew Marie very well, and I really loved the book; it really made me want to visit Japan.

UPDATE: Marie has an OpEd in today’s New York Times about her memories of Northern Japan, and about her family’s temple (I was wrong to call it a Buddhist monastery – it’s a Buddhist temple).

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“Sassy Gay Friend Saves Black Swan” Video

So this video was posted on Huffington Post. It’s by the Second City people. Viewers seem to be liking it. When I saw the title I expected it to be really funny. But I don’t find any humor or intelligence whatsoever. Do you guys? What am I missing?

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Larry Keigwin’s “Exit”

Larry Keigwin’s Exit had its world premiere on Tuesday night at the Joyce in Chelsea. Above two photos by Matthew Murphy. (Top: dancers are, l-r: Kristina Hanna, Liz Riga, Ashley Browne; Bottom photo: Aaron Carr and Ashley Browne). The two photos below are by Christopher Duggan.

I really enjoyed it, and didn’t want it to end, which is the way I usually feel with Keigwin + Company. My friend, who hadn’t seen the company since the wacky Kabaret at Symphony Space, loved it. It was abstract dance but there were little stories that took place between the seven dancers (three women and four men). The music, composed by Jerome Begin and Christopher Lancaster, was an intriguing blend of industrial and contemporary classical, with an amusing Patsy Cline-esque piece thrown in. The dance, which was an hour long and had a kind of club feel too it, was classic Keigwin – containing by turns hints of violence, humor, sadness, intensity, always loads of energy. He made good use of a back wall and its doorway (he often has dancers running up or along a wall, and there was a little of that here as well).

My favorite part of Exit was the most humorous – where two men, once an item, are having a little spat and Aaron Carr comes breezing through the door in the back wall dressed in black leather jock strap and high heels miming Patsy Cline-esque lyrics and acting like a total diva. It was hard to take your eyes off Carr (he’s the dancer in the center of the third photo, by the way – though dressed differently there) but I think the two men continued their spat then made up while he was diva-ing around. Later, all the dancers don the high heels but now in the dark only the white pumps are visible and the dancers playfully prance around like they’ve discovered a new toy. Amazingly, the men could move really well in them!

I was sad to see that Nicole Wolcott is no longer with the company (I’d forgotten she left) but Liz Riga (the dancer in the middle of the top photo above) has taken her place as my favorite in the company. Loved the way she’d whip her head about, her long black hair flying wickedly, and the way she’d forcefully strike out at her partner during the darker moments. And I love her size!

But actually all of the dancers Keigwin chooses are compelling in one way or another, and they each have their own unique thing, which is one of the things I so love about him. You never confuse the dancers with each other – they’re all different shapes and sizes and each exhibit their own sense of humor and beauty and creative energy.

Anyway, Exit is a lot of fun. Go see it – tix start at only $10! It’s showing through March 13th at the Joyce.

PS: DAMN! I just re-read my “review” of Keigwin Kabaret written almost four years ago now. What a horribly boring writer I’ve become! I don’t know what happened. I think it’s because critics started linking to me and I started feeling like I had to sound professional. Or maybe it’s that I got old. Or maybe that I stopped dancing myself. Anyway, I’ve become a horrendous bore! I’m sorry!

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Jacques D’Amboise at Barnes & Noble Tonight

Former NYCB dancer Jacques d’Amboise (photo above by Eduardo Patino) will read from his new memoir, I Was a Dancer, at the Upper East Side Barnes and Noble (86th and Lex) tonight (March 9th) at 7 p.m.

Here’s Macaulay’s review of the book.

I haven’t read it yet, but am adding it to my long list. First, I must finish a YA book by a Canadian author that I agreed to review.

Mr. d’Amboise was also at Symphony Space recently talking about the book (as a Facebook friend pointed out to me), but I appear to have missed it. Did anyone go?

If the Symphony Space d’Amboise event happened last night, I was at Keigwin + Company at the Joyce, for Exit, making its world premiere. Review coming soon!

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Roberto Bolle’s Proust Questionnaire

How fun – it’s Roberto Bolle answering Vanity Fair‘s Proust Questionnaire, in Italian, with English subtitles.

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The Bolshoi’s Don Quixote

So who went to the live-streaming yesterday? The Manhattan showing was such a blast. Daniil Simkin, ABT soloist and Natalia Osipova’s friend, was there, and I saw Marc Kirshner from TenduTv and several critics. And Evan McKie, principal at the Stuttgart Ballet, who many of us know from the Winger, was tweeting from Stuttgart or Canada or wherever he was. He was very informative too! I tweeted a bit under the hashtag #DonQLive – after I found out we were using that hashtag; I also tweeted about the performance without the hashtag earlier.

Anyway, I loved it. As always, I loved Osipova, though my friend who went with me, a longtime Gelsey Kirkland fan, pointed out that though she has excellent technique and athletic ability, she was lacking in artistry, particularly in her ability here to evoke a Spaniard. It’s true, and funny, because that kind of thing used to drive me nuts – when ballet dancers would perform straight ballet without any culturally specific accent (see my harping here on Paloma Herrera’s Bayadere). I remember when Angel Corella and Paloma Herrera used to be THE couple to see in Don Q in America, and of course they danced it perfectly. But then the next set of dancers – whoever it was I saw after them, all I could think was, couldn’t they have taken some Flamenco, some Paso Doble? But somehow at some point, I stopped being bothered by it.

But, Osipova also doesn’t have the gracefulness of some of the others, like Yekaterina Shipulina as the Queen of the Dryads, and Chinara Alizade in the third act Grand Pas variation. I am beginning to notice that one – Alizade – more and more in these Bolshoi showings and I really like her.

Osipova is more of an athlete and my friend said she’d have made a great ice skater, or some kind of Olympian. Which is true. But I still think she adds so much to the ballet and creates so much excitement with all of the astounding things that she can do. The theater in Manhattan was more packed than I’ve ever seen it – nearly, if not completely full – and people were ooohing and aaahing during intermissions and afterward and were applauding throughout – like when, before the performance, the camera showed her backstage warming up.

Here she is in the Act One variation:

But it was Ivan Vasiliev who really wowed the audience – or at least he did as much as she. I’d seen him in Flames of Paris too and he was fabulous in that as well, but this is a larger role and so he stood out to me more here. He kept taking these flying leaps, sometimes with a turn thrown in,  and he got amazing height on them, especially given that he’s pretty short. He definitely has the muscular legs of a jumper. And he always landed so solidly, which not everyone who jumps that high does. And his form was perfect. And he had the flirty, slightly mischievous character down perfectly. And he had the Spanish flair, for the most part at least. So, he’s perfect, in a word! I don’t know if there’s been a dancer since Baryshnikov who’s danced such an exciting Basilio. Bring him to NYC, Kevin McKenzie!!

Here is he dancing on his own in the studio:

I also loved Andrei Merkuriev as Espada, the matador, though I don’t know if anyone will ever outperform my Marcelo Gomes in that role, imo :D But Merkuriev just did incredible things with that cape – I’ve never seen anyone – not in ballet or Paso – whip a cape around with such speed like that.

There were many more character dances than in ABT’s production. It was hard for me to keep straight who danced which one because in the program it wasn’t broken down by act and I can’t tell the difference between, for example, what was called the Spanish Dance, and the Bolero. If Anna Leonova danced the lyrical Flamenco-like solo, then I loved her. I thought she was beautiful and knew how to work the dress and her arms and hands and everything. It might have been Kristina Karasyova though, or one of the three listed under “Spanish Dance.” I also liked Anna Antropova as the gypsy dancer. Ditto for her. They might have been the same dancer, actually…because those dances were in different acts… Oh who knows.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter because I liked everyone and thought they danced beautifully. Honestly, this company is absolutely astounding. I don’t think there’s anyone in it who’s not only an excellent dancer but compelling to watch in one way or another as well. If you ever get a chance to see the Bolshoi, don’t miss it.

One more thing – about the third act Kitri variation. I’ve noticed when Osipova dances with ABT, she changes that variation from the one ABT usually does, and so I wasn’t at all surprised that she did the same here. I’ve always liked her version BETTER because she does those traveling passees at the speed of blasted light, and they look so much better on her than the hopping on pointe. But my friend thought the other version, which Gelsey Kirkland apparently did, was harder and more artistic. But then Evan McKie told me via Twitter that Natalia’s is the version the Russians usually do. So maybe it’s not an issue of changing the choreography to suit the dancer but just the dancer performing the version she knows best. Anyway, I tried to look up Gelsey on YouTube and could only find the final scene pas de deux with Baryshnikov; they don’t have the variations. But here’s what I’m talking about: first video is the ABT version, starring Nina Ananiashvili, second is Osipova:

Which do you guys like better, or do you like them both the same?

Anyway, the next Bolshoi live-stream will be Coppelia, coming up at the end of May. The next live-stream from Emerging Pictures will be the Paris Opera Ballet’s Coppelia, coming up on March 28th. Visit the Ballet in Cinema website for times and theaters. These are such a blast!

Above photo of Vasiliev and Osipova from here.

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Two Live-Streams This Sunday: Natalia Osipova in Bolshoi’s Don Q, and Guggenheim’s YAGP Judging Panel Program

Live-streaming, either over the internet or into movie theaters, seems to be the in thing these days, fortunately, for those of us who can’t travel the world to see top companies perform and / or afford to attend all of these panel discussions and performances.

This Sunday, March 6th, there are two live-streamed ballet events. The first, at 11:00 a.m. ET is the Bolshoi’s production of Don Quixote starring Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev, which will be live-streamed from Moscow into theaters all over the world. I wrote a little about that at the bottom of this post.

As I said before, if you haven’t seen Osipova, this is your chance. She’s one of the most athletically astounding ballerinas around right now, she’s a huge star in Europe, and this is THE role that she’s most known for (since it really showcases such athletics). In Manhattan, the performance will be shown at the Big Cinema at 59th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues, and I think it costs $25. Check the Emerging Pictures’ Ballet in Cinema website to search for showplaces and showtimes in your area.

Above image of Osipova and Vasiliev by Genaro Molina from Danza Ballet.

Then, later in the evening, at 7:30 ET, the Guggenheim will live-stream online via their ustream channel their Works & Process program on judging in the important Youth America Grand Prix. This program is free, and, again, you can participate in the live chat online on that channel.

For more info on the Guggenheim’s program and participants, click below to see the full press release:

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Nikolaj Returns!: And The Guggenheim Will Live-Stream His Royal Danish Ballet

Nikolaj Hubbe, former beloved NYCB principal of course, will be returning to NY with the Royal Danish Ballet, of which he is now the artistic director. The company will be performing over the summer, but first, they’ll be showcased at the Guggenheim, in a Works & Process event, on March 20th and 21st. He’ll be one of the panelists, talking about the rep the company will be performing – ballets by the founder of RDB August Bournonville, by Jorma Elo and by Hubbe himself – with excerpts from those dances performed. The event is already sold out, so the Guggenheim is generously live-streaming both nights free on their ustream channel. Again, as with other W&P live-streams, you can participate in an online chat on the aforesaid ustream channel, and you can also follow discussions on Twitter, using hashtag #RDB or by following @worksandprocess.

For more info on the program and on the company, click on the link below.

Above image from here.

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Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Will Receive National Medal of Honor From Obama Today at 1:45

Today at 1:45 p.m ET, Ella Baff, director of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (which is an excellent summer festival – loved it the year I was able to go), will receive the National Medal of Honor from President Obama. It will be live-streamed on the White House’s website, here.

Other recipients include James Taylor, Harper Lee, and Meryl Streep. Does this mean Harper Lee will make a rare public appearance to receive her award as well?

Click on the link below to read the entire Jacob’s Pillow press release with info about the festival, the award, and prior recipients.

Above photo of Flamenco Revolution performing on the Pillow’s Inside/Out stage, by Kristi Pitsch.

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Alice in Wonderland and Twitterland

Photo of Lauren Cuthbertson as Alice, by Johan Persson of the Royal Ballet, taken from here.

Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice in Wonderland premiered tonight at the Royal Ballet in London. BalletNews has already posted a detailed review. And the Ballet Bag ladies live-tweeted the event on behalf of the Royal. They had backstage privileges and were privy to all kinds of insider info so definitely check out the hashtag they tweeted under, #AliceInWonderland – they’ve got pictures, reviews, etc. etc. I was also told NYCB’s Maria Kowroski was in attendance. I’m currently searching the hashtag tweets for the photo of her.

I’ve been really excited about this ballet since I first heard about it. Can’t wait for it to tour!

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Dancing With the Stars Season 12 Cast


I can’t believe I watched The Bachelor for this! I hate reality TV shows!

Anyway, if you missed ABC’s announcement / mini press conference, here’s the season 12 cast:

Sugar Ray Leonard
Chelsea Kane (Disney star)
Romeo (hip hop artist)
Ralph Macchio (Karate Kid star)
Petra Nemcova (supermodel and UN spokesperson)
Kendra Wilkinson (reality TV person)
Hines Ward (footballer, Steelers)
Mike Catherwood (missed who he is, sorry)
Wendy Williams (talk show host)
Chris Jericho (wrestler)
Kirstie Alley

Not horribly excited about this cast. Most interesting to me at this point are Sugar Ray (duh!), Kirstie Alley, and Ralph Macchio. Okay, those are the only ones I really know anything of. Whenever new casts are announced it always drives home how out of it I am pop culture-wise :)

Anyone you guys are particularly excited about?

Top photo from here.

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Natalie Portman’s Black Swan Acceptance Speech at the Oscars

So what did you guys think of it? I tried to find a YouTube video but couldn’t find a free one. Interesting that companies are going to start charging for subscriptions for that kind of thing… Anyway, I love that she thanked and named all the professional dancers who trained her this time, and that she expressed how wonderful and enlightening it was to work with them all. She honestly elevated the film with her speech in my opinion.

And how sweet was it for her to try to bring Millepied up with her onstage! I watched E!’s red carpet show – mainly to see her – but she arrived last and seemingly without Millepied (since she was interviewed alone). I was like, where is he?! But he was there, of course.

Speaking of the red carpet show, I loved Mila Kunis’s dress.

And Scarlett Johansson’s, though it didn’t seem to go over too well with Kelly Osbourne and the other woman who was hosting the show:

And Helena Bonham Carter noted that her dress was by Colleen Atwood, who is the costume designer who ended up winning best costume design for Alice in Wonderland. She said she preferred to celebrate the movies rather than fashion on this night:

I thought all of the best actor and best supporting actor speeches were good. Loved Colin Firth’s, loved him in King’s Speech, but still love Jesse Eisenberg as well. Love that in her excitement, Melissa Leo used profanity. How’d they bleep that out so quickly? And did Kirk Douglas actually grab her butt? Someone on Twitter said they thought they saw that. He was kind of acting in an antiquated sexist kind of way, with all his flirting with Hathaway and all, so I totally believe he may have. He would have made me so nervous if I were Leo. Poor Leo, I thought. This is her moment, not his. Interesting (and proper) move, to include Douglas as a presenter, because Anne Hathaway and James Franco seemed to keep sending the message that they were invited to host because they represented the young, hip generation. Is that true? She seemed like a big, clumsy, awkward goof – probably the nerves, and he seemed to have taken a bit too much Valium (or something else) to calm his. Does Hollywood feel the need to pander to the young ‘uns too? Like ballet and the opera? How odd – movies are generally for the younger generations, I’d thought… Anyway, they bored me, those hosts. And Kirk Douglas scared me. Isn’t there, like, someone in between, who’s not too unsophisticated to take on that kind of role but who can also keep from violating current-day boundaries?

Anyway, overall a decent night. The end of the evening speeches made up for the poor hosting. Kind of.

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Guggenheim Live-Streaming Tonight and Tomorrow Night’s Dance Performances: Ashley Tuttle Dancing

Tonight and tomorrow night (Sunday, February 27th and Monday, February 28th), the Guggenheim will again be live-streaming their Works and Process event. This event consists of choreography by Donald Byrd and Pam Tanowitz set to music by John Zorn, and one of the dancers performing (probably the star dancer) will be Ashley Tuttle (of Movin’ Out and Come Fly Away fame; above photo by Allison Michael Orenstein from TONY). Again, you can watch live at the Guggenheim’s ustream channel, and you’ll be able to participate in the live chat there. You’ll also be able to participate in a chat via Twitter, under the hashtag, #JohnZorn or by following @worksandprocess.

It begins at 7:30 both nights, and will be archived for future viewings on the Guggenheim’s ustream channel.

I’m watching the Academy Awards tonight (with all the ballet peeps in the audience, who could miss it?!) but plan to watch the Guggenheim live-stream tomorrow night. I know nothing about Byrd, Tanowitz, or Zorn, so it’ll be educational for me. Join in the live chat if you can – they’re fun.

Click on the link below to read the Guggenheim’s whole press release with info on the program and bios of the dancers, choreographer, and musician.

Continue reading

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Misty Copeland on Tavis Smiley

Apropos of our recent discussion on race and ballet, ABT’s Misty Copeland was recently on the Tavis Smiley show. She talks about race, ballet, elitism, her training, her recent appearance onstage with Prince, the immense difficulty of ballet, and of course, Black Swan. She’s very well spoken. Go Misty!

Also, speaking of Black Swan, here’s an essay by former NYCB dancer Toni Bentley in the Daily Beast. Bentley has more guts than anyone else in the industry, that’s for damn sure. Go Toni!

Above photo of Copeland taken from Martini Pink.

Posted in Dance Criticism / Discussion / Reviews / Blogs, Dance on Television, Film / DVD / YouTube / Livestreams, Interviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Moonlight on the Beach

Happy President’s Day everyone! I’m spending the week in South Carolina at my cousin’s timeshare – I needed a few days away from New York and the ocean is  my favorite place. (If I ever have money, I’m definitely buying a beach house somewhere.  I could never be one of those New Yorkers who buys a country home up in the mountains. I don’t understand those people. Who wants to risk a run-in with a bear or coyote or jaguar? Not to mention deal with permanently cold temperatures…) Anyway, the light from last night’s full moon on the ocean was gorgeous. My iPhone is not so good at taking pictures at night, so you’ll have to take my word for it :)

The condo’s wireless connection is a bit off and on, plus, it’s unexpectedly nice weather here – 71 degrees today, plus I’m supposed to be working on my novel, so I don’t know how much time I’ll have to blog. But here are a few items of interest:

Roberto Bolle makes his Hollywood debut;

John Epperson talks about his role as “Jaded Piano Player” in Black Swan; and

Our friend Benjamin Millepied is now getting hounded by the tabloids for working too hard and not paying enough attention to Ms. Portman

Also, here are some photos I just received of the magnificent Sara Mearns debuting as the Siren (opposite Sean Suozzi) in Balanchine’s Prodigal Son a couple weeks ago at NYCB:

Finally, if you haven’t seen Natalia Osipova dance yet, next Sunday, March 6th, will be your chance. She’ll be dancing Kitri in Don Quixote with the Bolshoi, in a performance that will be live-streamed direct from Moscow via Emerging Pictures’ Ballet in Cinema series. NY performance time is 11:00 a.m., at the Manhattan Big Theater, and she’ll be dancing opposite Ivan Vasliev. This is the role that made her famous, and she owns it, so try not to miss it if it’s showing at a theater near you. Check Emerging Pictures’ website for times and locations.

Okay, that’s all for now. Happy holiday everyone!

Posted in Dance Chatter, Dance News, Dance Photos, Dance Previews / Upcoming Dance Events, Film / DVD / YouTube / Livestreams, Personal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jenifer Ringer to Appear on Oprah

NYCB announced today that Jenifer Ringer (the subject of Sugarplumpgate if you’re not a regular NYCB dance-goer) will appear on Oprah Winfrey this Thursday, February 17th. She’ll appear as part of an episode called “Fascinating Lives.” In addition to being interviewed, footage of Ringer in rehearsal and performing Jerome Robbins’ I’m Old Fashioned will be shown. The show will air at 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, on ABC. Click on the link below to read the press release.

Continue reading

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Aesha Ash’s “Black Swan Diaries”

In my last post, on NYCB’s Swan Lake, I railed against what I saw as race-based casting, which led to a good discussion on race in ballet thanks to some very smart commenters! Marie mentioned the ballerina who’d been with NYCB and it made me nuts that I’d momentarily forgotten her name. So, I did an internet search and found her – Aesha Ash – via Eva Yaa Asantewaa. It turns out she’s just started her own blog, Black Swan Diaries. She has some really good posts up already, about dancing Arabian in NYCB’s Nutcracker, and about touring Brazil, amongst other things. So another addition to your blog reading!

Photo above from here.

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Sara Mearns Was Gorgeous in Swan Lake, But Overall Production Was Lacking

Last week was Sara Mearns week for me (well, for many New York ballet fans, I suspect). On Tuesday night, she made her debut as the Siren in NYCB’s Prodigal Son. (I’m still awaiting photos and will post as soon as I receive them!) Sean Suozzi danced the lead role. He did very well, but she just always stands out to me whatever she is in – particularly the story ballets. She was the best, most tantalizing, sinister, seductive, all around captivating Siren I’ve ever seen. The way she whipped that cape in between her legs, wrapping it around each one, the way she’d bend her knees slowly into a second-position plie while on point, basically squatting over the son’s head in a suggestive but also sinister manner, the way she’d raise her hand behind her head with the wrist bent and the fingers splayed to indicate her triumph over the son’s will, even just the way she’d walk out onstage on pointe, tiptoeing all around him – everything, every movement was in service of the character and was an integral part of the character’s story. I often feel like I’m seeing steps with other dancers. Just steps. The pas de deux between the son and the siren contains some of Balanchine’s oddest-looking choreography- especially those lifts – ‘here, stand on my knees, wrap your legs around my neck and let me carry you around like that,’ etc. I imagine it would feel very odd and foreign doing some of that, which of course was the point. It’s supposed to look warped and off-kilter. Everyone has mastered those steps, but to me, Mearns makes it the most deliciously warped. I love her.

Then, on Friday night, the company premiered their Swan Lake (Peter Martins version), and she danced the lead. (Photo above by Paul Kolnik, from Playbill Arts.)

In sum, I loved her; I wasn’t in love with the production. I went with several friends, two of whom don’t regularly go to the ballet, and that seemed to be the consensus. Everyone was excited to see Mearns dance again, but not to see that production. She was wonderful for all the same reasons I’ve written about before – she’s like a Veronika Part to me; she does such a full job of developing character, she brings you so fully into her world, you feel all of her pain with her. But of course she’s also an excellent dancer. She has a way of arching her back so, of working her arms and hands so, of extending her leg so high in arabesque, of extending her line so beautifully and making such full shapes – it’s a cliche, but her adagio / White Swan is just breathtaking. It almost makes you want to cry, and one of my friends did!

But she excels in the Black Swan / allegro role as well – not so much because she can do athletic feats like Gillian Murphy or Natalia Osipova (there were “just” a bizillion fouettes during the pas de deux, not a bizillion fouettes divided by multiple pirouettes and wild swan-like port de bras thrown into it all) but because she can do that all perfectly fine while still making it all about the character. When she does a series of lifts with Jared Angle where she spreads her legs into a straddle split in the air above his head, it’s just so wicked! And even at the beginning of the Black Swan, when she makes her entrance and presents her hand to the queen – it’s clear she’s up to no good. But she also doesn’t overdo it. She’s conniving and sinister but with a sweet face.

But the rest of the production: Jared’s an excellent partner, that’s clear. Mearns was way off her center of gravity in much of the White Swan partnering, and he securely held her balance, freeing her up to make those gorgeous shapes, and to act it all out the way she so brilliantly does. But in his own dancing, he just, like practically all dancers these days, goes for the cliche. It all looks so fake. I don’t believe he’s in love with her, or that he’s ever longing for what he doesn’t have, and that he’s devastated when she leaves him in the end. It’s all her sorrow and longing alone. So the performance was so unbalanced. I wish so much I could see her dance this with Marcelo Gomes, who really brings Prince Siegfried’s internal conflicts to life like no one else.

The other major issue I have with this production is the costumes – the costumes and the sets. I always forget about them until I see the ballet again, and, especially when I go with friends. My friends Friday night really found it hard to look beyond those costumes. For some reason, I kept thinking of the Flinstones, my friend, Marie, called them Jackson Pollack on speed or something to that effect (I haven’t read her review yet but will after I finish this post), and the others we went with just couldn’t stop talking about the brash colors. I remember my friend in the fashion industry saying of the Romeo and Juliet costumes (Per Kirkeby designed sets and costumes for both Martins productions) that the colors needed to be muted; these brash, bright, almost neon colors made the characters look like cartoons. Same with the Swan Lake costumes. Cartoonish is NOT what you want to go for in serious ballets like this.

Also, the RACISM. This is another thing I hate to admit I often forget about until I see the ballet again with a friend, and the friend is horrified at the fact that a black man is playing the evil character. Must von Rothbart always be danced by Albert Evans or Henry Seth? Are we not living in the year 2011? I mean, this is a huge reason why young people are so turned off from the ballet. And none of the very educated critics ever seem to be calling Martins on this. What’s up with that? Seriously? I think once you go to the ballet a lot you begin to forget about these things, you become immune to them. Which is horrible. But really, asking your audience to associate black men with evil is a horrible insult to that – probably very educated – audience.

Another problem here: Faycal Karoui (the conductor) was seriously on speed. He was flying through the first half. The poor dancers couldn’t even express the story. They really had to rush falling in love. If I’d never have seen this ballet before (and there were probably some such people there due to the Natalie Portman film), I don’t know if I would have gotten much out of the White Swan pas de deux. And that’s kind of an important part of this ballet…

All other dancers did well – I particularly liked Ana Sophia Scheller and Anthony Huxley (filling in for Sean Suozzi as Benno) in the first act Pas de Trois, and, in the second act, Abi Stafford and Joaquin DeLuz in the Divertissement Pas de Quatre, and Antonio Carmena in the Neapolitan Dance – but everyone did very well (those were just the ones who stood out to me). Oh and I loved Daniel Ulbricht throughout as the Jester. With his immense skill at jumps and turns – and combo jumping turns – and his comical sensibilities, he is perfect for such a role, as he is for Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream – my favorite roles for him.

But I have to say, I was floored when none of the other dancers came out and took bows at the end of the production. Why? Whose idea was that? Only Mearns and Angle and Evans took bows. I realize the dancers are all very hard-working and probably needed to get home to get sleep for the next day’s matinee. But this severely cut Mearns’s bow and curtain calls short. It reduced the celebratory aspect of a production well done. Worse, it also really makes it look like none of the other dancers cared about Mearns, and about the production. It made it look like the company is not really a company of dancers who all work together and support each other. I’ve honestly never seen such a thing before. I’ve seen it where dancers who only dance during the first act will take their bows and curtain calls after the first act and not at the end of the whole, but the dancers who danced in the last act always come out for their bows at the end. Anyway, it really stood out to me. What did other people think?

Here is my friend Marie’s write-up.

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Ballroom Kids Win “Live to Dance”

Apparently the young ballroom dance duo, D’Angelo and Amanda, won the first Live to Dance championship last night. Coming in second place was the 11-year-old contemporary / jazz dancer, Kendall Glover, and placing third were the ballet pair, White Tree Fine Art.

Thank you to reader Irina for emailing me about the show’s results! You guys, I am so sorry but I’ve been so crazy busy trying to finish my second novel, get it out, and get the third going. I know I haven’t blogged much about ballroom lately – and I’m sorry – it’s my passion, it really is! My third novel, by the way, is going to have a good deal of ballroom in it, so I think that’s what’s been going on with me – all my attentions have been taken with the novels…

Anyway, because of the books and the ballet, I’ve missed the last three weeks of Live to Dance and am going to have to watch YouTube videos to catch up. I remember not liking the ballroom pair a whole lot, nor Kendall, but loving that break dancer. Too bad he didn’t place. I am glad ballet had a showing in the finals though.

I’m off to a reading (Benjamin Hale – can’t wait to read The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore!) but hope this weekend to look up some of those YouTube clips so I can see if D’Angelo and Amanda got any better from the last time I saw them.

Thank you to Irina for making me aware of the final results! I promise to get back into the ballroom swing of things soon!

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Is Benjamin Millepied a Better Fund-Raiser Than Choreographer?

Thank you to Jeff, who comments frequently here, for pointing me to this article in the NY Times, which most of you have probably already seen. The first page is all gloss and generalities and isn’t of much interest to a serious dance audience. I did think it was interesting that this writer, Joshua David Stein, called Millepied a “superstar in the insular world of ballet.” Does anyone really consider him a superstar? He’s known as being a choreographer who gets lots of commissions, but a superstar? I have to agree that unfortunately the ballet world has become really insular. And it hasn’t always been that way, right? What happened? Well, that’s the subject for another post.

What I found most interesting about this article (as did Jeff, who emailed me about it) is on the second and third pages where Stein gets into the business of ballet a bit. I’ve always wondered how Millepied gets so many blasted commissions. I’ve thought much of his choreography is good and interesting, but much of it is not, and I’ve thought that that is because he’s just working so much. How can you be creative on command like that, creating one ballet after the other every few months? According to this article, Millepied is a master of getting commissions because he’s a master of getting people with the means to fund them.

From the article:

His fund-raising prowess owes a debt to the enduring legacy of Mr. Robbins. The Jerome Robbins Trust and Foundation, which is led by Christopher Pennington, underwrites much of Mr. Millepied’s work and his inner circle of donors include Robbins-era philanthropic titans like Anne Bass and Arlene Cooper.

But credit should also be given to Mr. Millepied’s own assiduous cultivation of donors. William H. Wright II, chairman of the New Combinations Fund at the New York City Ballet, a group of 75 donors who dole out $2 million annually for new works, counts Mr. Millepied as a personal friend. Ira Statfeld, the home furnishings guru and a major dance supporter who met Mr. Millepied at a dinner in East Hampton in 2003, said he would “consider Benjamin a member of our family.”

Michele Pesner and her husband, Steven, who is the vice chairman of the Joyce Theater, said they have supported Mr. Millepied “from the very beginning.”

The article goes on quote others whom Millepied has wooed, and then quotes dance historians on the history of patronage in ballet:

To be fair, charming patrons is an integral part of ballet, a genre that grew out of court cultures of 16th-century France and Italy. By the 19th century, the backstage of the Paris Opera was a “privileged venue for sexual assignation” between dancers and season ticket holders, wrote Judith Lynne Hanna, a dance historian, in her book, “Dance, Sex and Gender.”

Interesting…

And then the article goes on to quote dance insiders who think this is how he gets so many commissions – more because of his ability to charm than actually choreograph.

Over the weekend, I was talking to a friend who’s a doctor and also a young patron of ballet, and he brought up the article as well. He said much of medical research is funded the same way – diseases that get the most research are those that are able to attract the wealthiest donors.

I just find it all very interesting…

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Sexy Kindle Party Reading


Broadcasting Live with Ustream.TV

So, my reading Thursday evening is now archived on the Reading is Sexy Kindle Party ustream; I embedded it here. I’m the sixth reader on the list – out of eight. The readings were so diverse. The only similarity between us is that we all happened to be women (though the event definitely wasn’t excluded to men)! Each of the books seemed to be of very high quality – really the quality of self-published books is not at all what those in traditional publishing seem to want to make it out to be – and the authors were quite adept at reading from their own work, which surprised me – usually authors don’t make such good readers :) Many of the authors have won awards for their writing (either for their books or short stories), some have been published in anthologies, some have MFA degrees, and some are Amazon bestsellers.

The authors I read with were:
Karen Cantwell, reading from her comical mystery, Take the Monkeys and Run (A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery)
L.B. Gschwandtner, reading from her literary novel, The Naked Gardener
Lisa Leibow, reading from her women’s novel, Double Out and Back
Laverne Thompson, who writes romantic suspense and erotic romance novels
Cathy Wiley, reading from her cozy mystery, Dead to Writes
Misha Crews, reading from her literary novel, Still Waters
D. A. Spruzen, reading from her literary suspense novel, Not One of Us (The Flower Ladies Trilogy, Book 1)

I think the event was really a success. The live audience was packed – I’d say there were about 50 seats set up in the reading room, which was completely full. And we had an internet audience as well, actively asking questions of the readers. So a big huge THANK YOU if you were one of the online participants!!!

Someone asked me if my next novel (the legal / urban drama about the group of men who witnessed a shooting) was based on a true story. I’ve been kind of working on two novels simultaneously – that one, which is taking a while because I needed to take a little writing break and do some research, and a sequel to Swallow, that will include dance. I thought the second might have more sales potential, which is why I was working on it as well, trying to get it out as soon as possible. But several people (mostly outside of the dance world :) ) keep telling me they’re eagerly awaiting the legal drama. So the person who asked that question prompted me to work hard on that one, because there is interest, and in my heart that’s what I want to write about. So, thank you person who asked me that question!! The answer to the question is yes, but I’m taking a lot of liberties with the actual event it’s based on, completely creating new characters, etc.

Also, three of the authors happened to be lawyers or former lawyers, and someone asked the third what was up with that! What’s drawing lawyers to a profession that’s so much less lucrative than their original career? Leibow, the last lawyer to read, laughed and said it just so much more creatively rewarding. I’d strongly second that, adding, in my case, that it’s also far more rewarding to write for intelligent, open-minded readers, than for judges, most of whom are conservative, jaded and cynical.

I had such a good time doing this and am so glad I went down to Virginia for the day. I realized though, in doing so, that I’m not as young as I once was. Funny though, because I got carded ordering a rum-based Hurricane with my lunch at the Pizzeria Uno in Union Station. I always seem to get carded when I order alcoholic beverages down South. So, apparently to some I don’t look as old as I feel :) Anyway, such a long one-day trip there and back really kind of took the wind out of me and it took me most of yesterday to recover. I should have stayed overnight in DC and gone to the AWP (Association of Writing Programs) conference yesterday, but for some odd reason I decided to catch the 1:40 a.m. bus back to NY.

I always travel like this and, I know, I’m weird. My third year in law school I had an interview for a federal clerkship, down in Albany. Not Albany, NY, but Albany, GA, about two hours out of Atlanta. I was living in Hoboken, New Jersey at the time. I left my apartment at 6 in the morning, bussed to Newark airport, flew to Atlanta, caught a connecting flight to Albany (one one of those 10-seater planes, which I don’t think I’ll do again…), took a long cab ride to the courthouse, had my interview, then went back all the same way, arriving at my Hoboken apartment nearly 24 hours after I left it.

And, during my first dance competition, which was in Miami, I decided last minute I just had to see Key West. I only had one day until my first day of competition, and then my flight back to NY was the evening of my last comp. So, I took a day trip from Miami to Key West the day before the comp. It’s about 3 1/2 hours each way. I spent about six hours out on the island, and I still managed to get a full night’s sleep (part of it on the bus) and was up early and ready for morning practice the following day. I don’t know how I did that…

Anyway, I had a wonderful time in Vienna, met so many wonderful writers and readers. The Soundry, a multi-room venue kind of like the KGB Bar in NY, was an excellent place to have a reading. Thank you so much to the Soundry’s Jennifer Crawford for including me in the roster at the last minute. Thank you so much to Karen Cantwell for telling me about the event in the first place (on the Kindleboards), and for carting me between the Soundry and the Vienna metro station! So nice to meet several Kindleboards authors I’ve been chatting online with for months now. Can’t wait for the next event!

Posted in Ballroom / Latin, Dance Competitions, Film / DVD / YouTube / Livestreams, Law, Literature / Books, Swallow reviews / awards / mentions / events, The Blogging Life / The Writing Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Reading is Sexy Kindle Party!

This Thursday night I’ll be participating in the first ever (that I know of anyway) Kindle party. There will be a total of eight e-book authors, including acclaimed women’s lit writers Karen Cantwell and L.B. Gschwandtner. Audience members are encouraged to come with their e-readers, though it’s not necessary to have one. (I think most of us have print versions of our books published as well.)

It’ll be held at the Soundry, in Vienna Virginia, but will also be live-streamed online! So you can watch from the comfort of your home, and participate in a live chat (format is similar to the Guggenheim’s Giselle live stream & chat). It’s from 7-10 p.m. EST on Thursday night, February 3rd. Go here for the ustream channel. There will also be a discussion of e-readers and e-publishing in general. So, tune in (or come if you’re in the DC area) if you’re interested in any of those things.

This is the first time I will have read from my book post-publication, so I’m really excited about it. I’m also really excited about all of these live-streamed events!

Posted in Literature / Books, Swallow reviews / awards / mentions / events, The Blogging Life / The Writing Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment