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

Title quote brought to you by a rerun of last night's Colbert Report, p.s. YOU ARE ALL FIRED for not telling me David Hallberg was the guest! Except [ profile] musicisbelievng, because she actually did tell me this afternoon. He is doing his best to be poised and articulate while Stephen Colbert accuses him of rekindling the Cold War by defecting from the American Ballet Theatre to the Bolshoi. (He is not; he is on time share. :)) And now, a performance.

David also appeared on screen in a trailer before --

Sorry, hang on, cracking up at Stephen Colbert in tights joining the performance. Oh God.

-- appeared on screen in a trailer before one of the EU Film Festival movies, encouraging people to come watch movie theater projections of Bolshoi performances. My poor movie companion got poked a time or two as I exclaimed.

Item the second

Is anyone else amused by Netflix's new (ish?) "Recommended For You" categories on the home page? In addition to the usual things like "Documentaries" and "Foreign Dramas," now there are these super-specific genres such as:

- Understated Romantic Movies based on a book
- Cerebral Comedies Featuring a Strong Female Lead
- Family-friendly Talking-Animal TV Cartoons

I guess I hadn't quite articulated my tastes in such ways before. Heh. Looking forward to what pops up next.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Carl Zimmer did a nice overview piece on slime molds in yesterday's Science Times—Can Answers to Evolution Be Found in Slime?—which made me go back and reread Auburn's wonderfully creepy SGA sci fi fic The Taste of Apples:
"Right now, it's acting like a symbiont, but it's not, it's an opportunist. When the colonies in your bodies are mature," Carson said in a rush, "we think it will digest the host material—"

"You mean us," Rodney interrupted flatly.

"—to provide itself with raw material to produce its fruiting body. That will be the phase that generates the worst danger of contagion, since it's the spores that spread the organism."
While we're on the topic of NYT articles and fandom, yesterday Natalie Angier did an interesting piece on pathological altruism that recalls some of Wilson's behavior, especially the giving of self to the point of harm for the sake of helping others because of a driving sense of hollowness; although I'd bet he doesn't pursue the sort of extremely aggressive treatment described in the lede against patients' wishes, that being more House's style (on the journey to a diagnosis, at least, not to cure what's already known).

Also, squid sex.

Also, for people interested in the RL U.S. homosocial continuum, an article called Allowing Teenage Boys to Love Their Friends, which touches on the angst young straight men can experience when they feel they can't be close to their male friends anymore and may not recognize what's going on or why.


Earlier, I had a heart-sinking moment when I read that David Hallberg is leaving the American Ballet Theatre for the Bolshoi. Not that my visits to NY in the last couple of years have included enough time to go to ABT performances, but it's always been in the back of my mind that I could see it (& him) again if I wanted. But! Further reading revealed that he is going part-time with both companies. Whew.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Tagged by [ profile] thewlisian_afer and happy to oblige.

1. List 5 celebrities you would have sex with without even asking questions.
2. Put all of them IN ORDER of your lust for them (5 - 1, 1 is the hottest).
3. Say which movie/show/thing it was that hooked you.
4. Supply photos for said people.
5. Tag five people!

Five Men I Would Not, As The Saying Goes, Kick Out Of Bed )

Bonus List! Five Girls I Would Go Gay For )

Tag, you're it! (if you want to play): [ profile] synn, [ profile] elynittria, [ profile] moonlash_cc, [ profile] theninth, [ profile] daasgrrl
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 hallberg wiles)
My beloved David Hallberg has just been promoted from a soloist to a principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre! As if I needed another reason to look forward to seeing him dance this season. I'm so happy for him and for everyone who loves him.

Official ABT announcement.
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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