bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Continued from here.

37 movies, 13 of them for vidding )

  1. The Expanse S1 ♥
  2. Grantchester S2 ♥
  3. Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries S3
  4. Unlikely Animal Friends S2
  5. Game of Thrones S6 ♥
  6. *Olympic trials (ongoing)

Happy to talk about any of these, such as the Scorpius-Borg hybrid villain or jigging robots from Lord of the Dance or Vincent Cassel in a corset from Brotherhood of the Wolf.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
I want to am going to make a vidlet! It is from Powder, a movie I've been afraid to admit in fandom-public to liking. Just need to find a better song.

While researching music, came up with a fun idea for a multisource vid. Yay for being enthused about a vid idea. Doing research and gathering clips will take some time, though.

My college/Star Trek friend S. is leaving town on two weeks' notice. For good reasons, but still sad to lose him.

We hung out last night and watched the DS9 ep "The Quickening"; it seemed (in)appropriate, given current events. Now, this is the same friend who, during "Past Tense," spun a tale with me about how Sisko was pimping out Bashir in exchange for clothes and rations, and who is of course fully on board with Garak/Bashir. Last night he decided someone should write a slash story where Sloan continues to creep on Bashir by cut for inappropriateness involving stuffed animals ).

On Friday, before S. does his final packing, we'll get to see Jeffrey Combs (Weyoun, Brunt, Re-Animator, etc.) in a one-man show about Edgar Allan Poe. It got good reviews, so I'm looking forward to that.

Have you ever encountered the modern dance company Pilobolus? Saw them perform last night and they were spectacular.

details, with bonus male stripper bondage )

Such a fun evening.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
This is the vidlet I meant to make earlier in the week. It's an offshoot of a larger project that I expect will have quite a different tone. Let's call this one an experiment.

Title: Death and the Maiden
Fandoms: Meet Joe Black (1998), Death Takes a Holiday (1934), The Green Table (Joffrey Ballet/1981)
Music: Chopin's Nocturne in B flat minor, Op. 9 no. 1, performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy (edited)
Length: 1:20
Summary: Three embodiments of Death, seducing and seduced.
Content/physical warnings: No physical warnings, I think. Content-wise, possible to read portions as suicidal ideation. One moment (:36) has overtones of assault.
Notes: For the "danger" square on my Kink Bingo card.

Embed and links )

Comments and concrit are always welcome.

x-posted to vidding on LJ and vidding on DW
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Life Things are Happening that I will talk about soon, and that has made things busy. As usual. What is the pathology for inability to chill out?


Anyway, the second basement-cleaning trip went well enough aside from the grime. My dad handled everything well -- I underestimated his desire and ability to get rid of a lot of the stuff down there -- and the two of us made another big dent in the clutter. Let's see if I can remember some gems. On the Why? side: five or six boxes of hanging file folders, 19 rolls of packing tape, and several pounds of paper clips. On the sentimental side: early childhood Apple II floppy disks and keyboard covers for things like Stickybear, Facemaker, Iggy's Gnees, Grandma's House, Dinosaur Dig and Muppet Learning Keys. And of course EZ Logo and, later, Print Shop. Also some more adorable schoolwork. ♥ On the What the heck do we do with all this? side: a dozen boxes of computer software and piles and piles of computer hardware going back to at least 1980.

I didn't find the piece of kinky noncon "art" drawn on the back of some elementary school homework that got me into trouble with the school psychologist, but I did find a similar one from what must have been the same era:

cut for sensitivity )

Also, baby's first vampire creations:

 photo 20130804_183938_zps0a1bb1d8.jpg    photo 20130808_203046_zps9d32a18f.jpg

*shakes head fondly*


Vidding quandary. I want so badly to include scenes from The Green Table ballet in my next vid, but the quality of the YouTube file that I snagged a couple of years ago (before it disappeared, whew) sucks compared to the rest of the sources going into the project. Yet it is the only footage of these scenes from the ballet that I can find anywhere. (There are some decent clips available of the politicians arguing around the green table, but that's not what I need.) Scrunchy face.

Speaking of vidding, Vividcon is this weekend. I'm not able to go, but people's vids will happen! Including [ profile] jetpack_monkey's Starships remix! Excited.


There was all this other stuff I wanted to tell you... Oh, good movies: Fish Tank, about a troubled teenage girl who seems to have an opportunity to turn her life around when she falls for her mother's new boyfriend (a young Michael Fassbender); Bliss (Mutluluk), about a young Turkish rape survivor who wins over her would-be executioner as well as everyone else she meets while on the run; and Daydream Nation, a weird/quirky heavily stylized Canadian indie film about some outcast teens and their parents and teachers during a pivotal few months of school, which I kept thinking about for days (and which contained a joke about Atom Egoyan, helping win my heart) even though it wasn't really about the student/teacher relationship that drew me to it in the first place. Saw The Queen of Versailles, too, and was interested in that dual fascination/repulsion way, but didn't think it was as spectacular or revealing as reviews suggested.

ETA: Oh, duh. [ profile] cincodemaygirl, [ profile] alpheratz and [ profile] corbae threw a hipster-themed party (ironically, of course) the other weekend and it was much fun. In addition to the silly theme, the snacks and the opportunity to see some local fans who've been scarce of late, like [ profile] v_greyson, [ profile] roga was in town (well, in country) and managed to make it down for a few hours. That was great, though short.


*cough* So, you know, hi. Thinking of you and reading your posts even if I don't comment a lot.


Jun. 19th, 2013 06:13 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Things to post about:

- Reaction to Man of Steel vs. reaction to Star Trek: Into Darkness
- Thoughts on last 50 Shades book (before I forget even more of what happened)
- Health/food/activity
- Emotional resources needed for upcoming NY trip

I owe many people comments and emails and I'm really sorry about that. I will get to them.

For now:

Kink Bingo is ramping up to its next round, which means a wave of thinky kinky posts. Have you seen these in particular?

Voyeurism as identity by gala_apples—a fascinating personal story about coming to understand oneself as a voyeur more than as sexual or asexual.

Tentacle kink in quilting by jelazakazone—not sure if I recced the two quilts jelazakazone posted as part of last year's Bingo, so consider this a double rec: a set of beautiful sea creature quilts and an interesting write-up on the sensory experience of making them.

Noncon, dubcon, and fannish standards by thingswithwings, which wasn't for ramp-up but might as well have been—about some problems with the "dubcon" label for fanworks.

Have been mostly lying fallow, fic- and vid-wise, for months, but find that I am looking forward once again to this summer's Bingo round; ideas are already stirring. Feels good.


Watched season three of Game of Thrones and the second half of this season's Doctor Who, am keeping up and enjoying with Defiance, and am ready for another ridiculous installment of True Blood. Taking evening walks around the neighborhood has meant more time to listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour podcasts, which are light and fun, even when I disagree with every host about Star Trek: Into Darkness' value as a Trek property and as an action movie. Making my way slowly through Michael Ondaatje's The Skin of a Lion.

I didn't realize how intense GoT was at a rate of two episodes per night before bed until it started keeping me awake, whoops. Loved sinking into the high production quality, as always. Likewise enjoyed following the themes in each episode. Yet, in the latest example of Obvious Epiphany is Obvious, while watching, I felt the familiar itch for something to happen, already; thought again about how the whole thing is like a giant chess game, all the pieces moving and being moved and getting knocked out and setting others up for destruction, the expert players and the amateurs and the lucky ones; a whole season and everyone moves like an inch on the board; and only then did the brain go ping to the title GAME of Thrones, duh, telling you from the start that it really is all about the machinations. If you're in it for the destination instead of the journey, it's going to be tedious.

Also had a fabulous evening at the ballet a couple of weeks ago when Tropical Storm Andrea blew through. Ballet Across America: companies from Austin, North Carolina and Harlem did a performance each and they were all fantastic. One featured three or four couples in different solid colors dancing in beautiful symmetries to Rachmaninoff below a set of dimming and brightening chandeliers. The second was a gorgeous piece about recovery from the Holocaust, set to Philip Glass, part of a larger award-winning work. The last (sorry, it's really flickery) was an exuberant, athletic, celebratory fusion of urban dance and classical ballet, cheeky and fun, pirouettes and booty shakes, set to James Brown and Aretha Franklin. All received standing ovations, well deserved.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
The rest of 2013 had better be less exciting than the first two weeks of it. Otherwise I am in for a year of (ETA: minor, even humorous in retrospect) run-ins with the law, awkward romantic prospects, glancing blows from deer, hacked accounts, insects, insomnia, tech troubles, and a roller coaster of nutrition and physical activity success. On the upside, it would be a year of fannish productivity, more frequent than usual get-togethers with my sister, high quality media intake, successful financial negotiation, promising new leadership at the office, enjoyable social gatherings, and a super-tidy apartment.

All by way of saying that life has been interesting lately. Today, at least, everything appears to be fine. Last night I got to hang out with my sister for the second time in as many weeks, this time in the company of Kris Allen & his group, last time with a cool band called Delta Rae, whose soul/gospel-y song Bottom of the River—especially the bass-pounding, drumstick-cracking live version, which sounds more like this (wait for it at 1:52)—caught my ear. Here are a couple of pictures I took because it was cool to see the stage from the side:

sound mixing board and jillette on stage - purple tinge

At the 9:30 Club, with opener Jillette Johnson (my sister's current employer); click for bigger

slit in curtain w sis and jillette - red tinge

At Jammin' Java, ditto

Dee and I went to this thing called Nerd Nite over the weekend at a club. The two of three lectures we stayed to hear were entertaining and chock full of trivia about gonads and architects, but otherwise the whole event was an organizational disaster. Let us not dwell on it.

How about a movie recommendation for ballet fans: First Position. Anyone else seen it? It followed the standard structure for competition documentaries, except as opposed to something like Jig, all the featured kids, aged 9 to 18, were mature and sympathetic. Not to mention excellent classical and/or modern dancers.

Also, the American Ballet Theatre has a filmed performance of The Dream (a 45-minute ballet version of A Midsummer Night's Dream) available on Netflix, which was cool to be able to finally see. Ethan Stiefel was all right as Oberon; he and Alessandra Ferri as Titania looked wobbly and straining to me, although apparently I am in the minority for that opinion. Herman Cornejo stole the show as an acrobatic Puck, and there was some fun choreography for the two mortal couples' antics. Beautiful costuming, too, as the promo shot promised.

Something I am looking forward to: Three days until [ profile] festivids goes up! That means 100+ new vids to watch, comments from recipients on the five (!) vids I made, and the thing I always somehow forget: that there will be a vid for meeee.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (i'm not here)
Found a few clips of the ballet on YouTube to give you a better sense of the performance than my description yesterday. It's of the same version (by Michael Pink), but not the cast or theater where we saw it. You can also see how much Pink mixed classical ballet with modern dance movements. I'd recommend tuning in at 2:25 for Dracula's first appearance, followed by brides, followed by a glimpse of Dracula/Harker from ~4:20-5:13. You can see the second half of the bat-like descent at 7:27. Dracula slashes his breast for Mina to drink at 10:23, and then there's the crypt dance at 10:40ish. And the ending. The punch was somewhat pulled in ours, as the stake fell out of Dracula while he descended into the misty coffin!

I scanned for reviews of the ballet in any of the cities in which it has played (Milwaukee, Atlanta, D.C., etc.) that mentioned the homoerotic threat, but found only two. Brackets are mine:

Pink [the creator] notes that the novel is ''perfect for dance,'' because it focuses on ''all the unspoken things'' in its characters' repressions and relationships. Plus, ''Dracula himself is a man of very few words.'' Of course, still more appeal is found in the ''underlying homoerotic tension between'' the count and his first victim, a young, innocent Englishman. ''All of those are great things to tell in nonverbal theater.'' Metro Weekly

In Kim's hands [the dancer who sometimes plays Dracula but not when we saw it] — and legs, and blood-streaked pectorals — this all-too-familiar melodrama just got all sexypants. His Dracula hungers not only for blood but also for sadistic torment and omnisexual domination. But he’s a sensitive demon, too. When he kisses the hand of anemic solicitor Jonathan Harker (Jared Nelson in the thankless role of earnest victim) [who actually played Dracula in our performance; imagine the amount of rehearsing he's done!], the scent of flesh sends Kim into meditative raptures. Here is Dracula as a Byronic hero; his blood lust stems from an affliction of the senses. Is that so wrong? Washington Post
And now, back to work. I have a lot to say about this ballet! Happy to do so with any of you who want.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Halloween wasn't going to be a big deal this year, and lately it has felt like I mostly sit around doing or stressing over not doing this freelance assignment, so it's a pleasant surprise to find that actually I have been part of a sort of extended Halloween celebration.

Last Friday, [ profile] ellen_fremedon, [ profile] cincodemaygirl and [ profile] alpheratz accepted my invitation to Oyamel, this excellent Mexican tapas place that had a two-week special menu for the Day of the Dead. Amazing food and drinks. )

Normal weekend with a few highlights like putting together a bookcase with a coworker and keeping horror movie marathons on TV all day in the background (Stephen King, Hammer, Tim Burton, Twilight, etc.). Then we had this, you know, tropical storm/nor'easter, and the office closed for a couple of days but I didn't lose power or Internet, so even with responsibly setting aside a day for the above-mentioned assignment, I had time to fill my last Kink Bingo square, which was going to be a Vampire Diaries story but ended up being that Halloween-appropriate True Blood/The Queen of the Damned vid about hypnotizing/seducing fellow vampires into drinking your queenly blood. Hurrah.

Speaking of vampire vids: Have you seen [ profile] thirdblindmouse's new vid, Possession? She set Nosferatu to Sarah McLachlan. It is a thing of beauty and hilarity.

My coworkers managed to pull off a potluck/costume party the day we returned to the office, which meant I got to wear a Star Trek dress and black boots in the style of Uhura, only with more modesty. Thank you, Also I made these deviled eggs with orange-colored yolks and spiders made of olives on top, from something I saw on Pinterest.

And today my friend A. and Mr. A. and I went to see a ballet version of Dracula, which... well, the (pre-recorded) music was entirely forgettable, the choreography 75% forgettable, the pacing poor, and the ending sudden and different from the book, but (1) the choreography for Dracula and his various pas de deux was spectacular, as was the man dancing him—bringing his elbows up behind him and his head forward like a bat, switching abruptly from slow and slinking to snake-strike quick when he decided it was time to attack his victims, making these elaborate creepy hand movements while pouring wine or taking someone's hand or touching someone's face or bowing in false obsequiousness, half-crawling and once howling like a wolf, lowering himself from a second-story railing head-first and extending his arms like a bat again, having partners begin mirroring his movements to indicate hypnotism—all very much in line with the book and early film depictions, and deserving of the standing ovation he got at the end, even if it might have been partly because he was the only one who got to do any decent dancing—and (2) they went full-throttle for the dubiously consensual homoerotics of Dracula seducing Harker after banishing the three brides. \o/ Dracula's hands were all over Harker's body... )

Vampires: still straddling the line between horror and desire.

Man, I would love to see David Hallberg play this Dracula. It would be worth sitting through the listless beginning and the endless tea party again. (After what felt like half an hour, the party at least was made interesting when everything went blue and slow motion as Dracula appeared on a balcony and entranced a spotlighted, normally moving Lucy.) One other saving grace was an ensemble danse macabre in a crypt or mausoleum or graveyard or something, the corps [sic, ha] done up like Helena Bonham Carter in a Tim Burton movie, only bloodier. There was a folk dance as well that had potential, but the dancers were out of sync and didn't seem to be doing as much as they were capable of. They did have a nice, gory wolf carcass. The scene where Mina was forced to drink from Dracula's breast worked well, although the audience tittered again when he ripped his shirt open, and the makeup people didn't powder his torso (or behind his ears, grr) to match the white of his face. Anyway, also impressive: The guy doing Renfield somehow danced an entire scene in a straightjacket.

In general, it was fascinating to observe the ways in which the novel could be transformed into dance, movements as clever metaphors. They stayed pretty faithful to the original plot and characters. [ profile] catilinarian, I think you would have loved it too.

That was going to be the end of it, but hey, does going to see a filmed performance of the Globe Theatre's production of Doctor Faustus count next week? Arthur Darvill (Rory from Doctor Who) plays Mephistopheles. Should be quite enjoyable if I stay on top of my assignment in the meantime and don't freak out about leisure activities. November is going to be nuts.


Thinking of all of you in New York and environs who are still struggling with power outages, lack of heat, gas shortages, etc. Though my mom & co. lost a tree and my dad's household is without power and is expected to remain so for up to two weeks, my family made it through okay.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (ballet hallberg wiles)
Last night commenced the first of four ballets I've got tickets to this season for American Ballet Theatre's residence at the Met: "Cinderella," a 2004 adaptation set to Prokofiev's score by Canadian choreographer James Kudelka, who took a feminist angle and set the story in the roaring '20s. Costumes were accordingly gorgeous, all art-deco black-and-silver for the prince's ball, three-piece suits for the men (colorful and sans jackets in Act I, creamy whitish in Act III), lots of satin, earthy tones (maroon, deep greens and browns) for the fairy godmother and helpers and for Cinderella's first dance at the ball. The men's hair was slicked back and the women's done in bobs with occasional fashionable hats and kerchiefs. The "glass slipper" was a sparkling toe shoe.

There was a lot to like about "Cinderella," but I did not thoroughly enjoy it. Let it be said first of all that I went in knowing that there was no way in hell this would be among the best ballets I've seen, because a romantic fairy tale would be hard-pressed to rank alongside either "The Green Table" (Death and the maiden, need one say more?) or "The Lesson" (because that was f*cking hot) on my list. I've also suspected since seeing him in the bland "Les Sylphides" last fall that I much prefer David Hallberg in villainous roles over romantic leads, but this was my first opportunity to see him in a principal role as a principal dancer with the company, and I thought "Cinderella" would be the most accessible choice for my father, so off we went.

Tell me more! )

Next up: "Giselle" on Thursday, with Julie Kent and José Manuel Carreño. Yay, about one year since going to the ABT for the first time and feeling dancer-literate!
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (ballet hallberg wiles)
[ profile] synn and I first went to the ballet last year because ABT did a production of "Le Corsaire" based on Byron's poem and I couldn't pass that up. The second time we went, we discovered the glory that is David Hallberg when he danced von Rothbart in "Swan Lake." As you may remember, dear DH is now a principal dancer in the company and has been getting lots of good press -- including this review from the New York Times on his role as Conrad (the lead in "Le Corsaire") last week:
Mr. Hallberg was a Byronic hero, his high, split leaps at the start reinforcing the impression of this young star as the most Apollonian of danseurs nobles. His easy, unforced technical feats were a special pleasure, as were his brashly commanding gestures.
Hee. Can't wait; only a few more days till my subscription kicks in!

(Excerpt from "'Le Corsaire' at American Ballet Theater," Jennifer Dunning, 27 May 2006)
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (ballet)
Saw "The Pink Panther" tonight with the dad and sister. I felt a bit guilty after refusing to see "Nanny McPhee" with him, and this seemed like an acceptable compromise. I was so sure the highlight of the movie would be the credits, but it turned out to be pretty good light comedy; lots of slapstick and other obvious gags, which the majority of the audience enjoyed, but also a few clever jokes I've already forgotten, as well as smaller pleasures like Jean Reno doing comedy and a cameo by Clive Owen as "Agent 006." Actually my brain is sort of scarred after seeing Jean Reno dance to Beyoncé in a pink jumpsuit, especially once he started gyrating his hips. Henry Czerny was lovely in his role as "Yuri the soccer trainer who trains." A couple of slashy jokes, too, which the moviemakers couldn't pass up. What is it these days with films' and television's inability to let homosexual subtext remain subtext? Is it just that they know a certain segment of the audience is going to read something slashy into the scene, and they maintain control by acknowledging it and laughing it off?

More analysis than the movie invited, anyway.

But the ballet last night. Oh, the ballet. Verbal swooning over a gorgeously twisted ballet and a new favorite dancer. And two pictures! )

1,800 words later, we silently thank the LJ-cut. Whew! I am just so grateful to have had the opportunity to see this show, for those two foreign dancers I wouldn't have been able to see otherwise, because it featured a cluster of talent all on their own rather than in a three-hour-long narrative ballet with a large cast, and because those smaller pieces didn't reduce them to powerhouse or virtuoso performances. I hope you enjoyed reading about it. Let me know if you hated or loved it, actually, because there are three or four ballets coming up from May to July and you can tell me to shut up or keep going.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)

All I have to say is: OMFGDavidHallberg.

Actually, I have a lot more to say than that. I'm pretty sure you're all sick of hearing about my trips to the ballet -- or at least sick of hearing me wax lyrical over certain dancers -- or possibly it's only my co-workers who feel this way -- but you definitely will be after reading this -- so it's all behind a cut today. Death and Greek gods. )

And moving on.

[ profile] synn's back from YaoiCon and I'm off to Philly with my mother and sister for a day to visit a great-aunt I haven't seen in probably 10 years. She's been terrific to my mother since she (my mother) was a kid, is now old and wealthy and ill, and is apparently preparing to fill our car with boxes upon boxes of stuff -- china, pottery, painted eggs, who knows -- to keep it away from her son-in-law, who she's convinced is going to take everything when she and her husband die. Should be a fun time.

Fortunately I have Jonathan Lethem for company, in the form of Motherless Brooklyn, which features a detective-hero with Tourette's. Makes for interesting reading when he keeps randomly yipping or shouting stuff like "EatmeBailey!" (or, my favorite so far, "Eatme-stringjoke!"). It's not funny, really, and Lethem isn't intending it to be. The way Lionel describes living with the syndrome reminds me of having a chest cold where you feel the urge to cough, try to suppress it, succeed briefly, then descend into desperation as the urge builds, losing concentration on what's going on, perhaps seeking escape in shifting your position or breathing differently, until the inevitable cough explodes; the urge recedes, but you know it'll be back; and the cycle continues. It's like that for Lionel in the book except instead of a cough it's verbal or physical tics, which get worse under stress. My manager's son has Tourette's and she's mentioned how when he comes home from college he lets loose all the tics that've been building up until he relaxes after about a day.

Aside from the condition itself, or rather because of it, Lionel makes for a beautiful read on account of the language games he's forced to play. Every time he hears a new word or strange phrase he tumbles it over in his head and comes right back with a handful of variations, one-two-three, in wacky combinations and always rhythmic. In the tradition of reading any good writer's work, my thoughts are starting to rock to his cadence.

Off to Philly.

bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)

Well, so the ballet was a success yesterday, aside from having to lean, duck and at times sit on my coat to see around and between the heads of two of the tallest men in the audience in my direct line of sight depending on how they slouched, and even though the graceful arm-waving of "Les Sylphides" set to half a dozen Chopin tunes grew dull very quickly, and despite the fact that the piece with David Hallberg ("Afternoon of a Faun") only lasted about five minutes, and even though I noticed in the program that there had been a performance the night before called "The Green Table" which featured DH as Death.... Oh, did those last two smart. After his stint as the sorcerer in "Swan Lake" in July (I will never see a better production), I was really looking foward to seeing DH onstage again, and chose to go yesterday afternoon so we could see him in the two-person piece rather than in a cowboy outfit or the ensemble. (Each performance in the company's three-week season features three or four short pieces with a rotating cast.) And then his part was over so quickly!

But for all that it was brief, "Afternoon of a Faun" was beautiful. DH played a boy practicing in a studio, first alone, then with a girl, then alone again. From the start as he lay on the floor and arched his back, lifted each leg and stretched indolently, it was clear that he can command not only the stage but also every muscle in his body. The man is unspeakably graceful. The only other dancer yesterday with comparable presence was Jose Manuel Carreno, the power soloist from the pas de deux, but he came off as more self-satisfied. JMC looks elegant doing three technically astounding leaps in succession, but DH could mesmerize me just as much by walking from one end of the stage to the other. I'd been babbling about him most of the afternoon, and we were not disappointed; "I see what you mean," [ profile] chalcopyrite said after "Faun" ended, looking suitably impressed.

Incidentally, he looked much younger in "Faun" than he did in "Swan Lake," so it is now possible to believe that he's TWENTY-ONE years old. Photographic evidence. )

Personally I prefer him older-looking, and was grateful to be sitting in the rear mezzanine with my overdue-for-prescription-update glasses so his face was blurry. Superficial? Maybe. But ballet is about aesthetics (and technical prowess) and that's a factor for me.

The woman behind us spent most of the intermissions yapping at her husband and young son about everything she knew of the company and the pieces -- the sort who broadcasts her questionable expertise at twice the necessary volume and calls "Bravo" too softly to be heard onstage but quite loudly enough for the immediate vicinity to know her opinion -- which provided us with entertainment between acts.

The pas de deux with two of the company's best dancers (as Our Personal Announcer repeatedly pointed out) was a definite wow and "Rodeo" was a blast, not just because of the beef music. Even the lady's grouchy kid thought so; during curtain calls he conceded, "That was the only good one." My companions seemed to be having a good time queering it. To be fair, the producers were asking for it, with all the pastel costumes, threesomes and an adorable main female character who spent most of the time in pants trying to be "one of the guys." Afterwards we sampled truffles from a tiny chocolatier across the street, then came back in the rain, ordered Chinese and watched "Meet Joe Black," so all turned out well.

Never satisfied, and only more in the mood after watching the movie last night, I'm seriously considering going back to the City Center to see "The Green Table." It's described as "a medieval dance of death in eight scenes" and is supposedly the most powerful anti-war statement ever staged with ballet dancers. It premiered in Europe in the '30s. Death is in every scene. I love anthropomorphic representations of Death. David Hallberg plays him sometimes. I love David Hallberg. Perfect, yes? The trouble is, because they switch up the pieces and the performers each day, it's tricky to find a night with everything you want. Two dates work, and here is the choice: Suffer through "Les Sylphides" again to see DH play Death on a Wednesday night after work, or go to a Saturday matinee where someone else plays Death but DH is one of four dancers in a show-off piece and "Les Sylphides" isn't on the program.

Meanwhile, the e-Bay and Amazon purchases keep trickling in; I've got Thorslev's out-of-print The Byronic Hero: Types and Prototypes now, and Nina Auerbach's Our Vampires, Ourselves, which gets weird at the end but has lots on Byron and Polidori in the first chapter or two. Thorslev is exciting but I'm holding out for Atara Stein, which should be arriving early this week.

My father just walked in to ask whether I'd like to see "Bewitched" with him, again, to which my reply was, "The only thing worse than a romantic comedy is a romantic comedy we've already seen. With Will Ferrell." He's getting it anyway.

Off to Blockbuster, then, to see if they've picked up anything good lately. Anything other than starting this list of tasks, right?


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