May 11, 2012 § 13 Comments
Whether told as a musical, dance, political parody or anything in between, I can’t say no to a fairy tale. I like the tropes and characters and symbols. I like that we have common stories and can tell them and retell them in new ways through the lens of our cultural or personal values.
So I was thrilled to hear recently that 500 new European fairytales were discovered in Germany, stories written down by a faithful historian well-respected by the Grimm brothers. It’s interesting to see how both the stories that have become famous and the absence of other stories in our canon have shaped us. Read one of the new (and rather odd) tales, The Turnip Princess.
And I’m continually interested in fairy tale retellings.
Swedish artist Daniel Egnéus published his own interpretation of the Grimm’s brothers Little Riding Hood.
Daniel’s rendition looks both modern and gothic, and he makes the characters rich and upper class so he’d have the fun of drawing elaborate 19th century gowns.
This short film on the making of the book is fascinating as well.
I was drawn to the album The Crane Wife by the Decemberists for its storytelling. The whole album is a novel in song. Throughout the album is a three-part ballad fairy tale “The Crane Wife,” which Colin Meloy performs solo below.
Even Salvador Dali let himself be inspired by Alice in Wonderland in this collection of prints. ”Down the Rabbit Hole,” 1969
“Advice from a Caterpillar,” 1969
What’s your favorite rendition of a fairy tale?
August 19, 2011 § 3 Comments
The author Thomas Mann once wrote, “A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” Yeah, I hear you, Thomas. If words were dishes, the wall would receive a lot of them. And on such days, I need to step back and remind myself why I like working with words in the first place–how they change, where they come from, how we play with them, and why we relate to them. So today, in celebration of words, consider these activities:
1. Do use culturally appropriate words to show your gratitude and hospitality. When linguist Deborah Fallows lived in China, she learned that among friends, the Chinese strip away words which Americans find polite. For the Chinese, using words like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ actually create formality, a distance that is easily offensive among those you consider good friends.
Listen to her NPR interview on speaking and dreaming in Chinese here (about 8 min).
2. Do create your own alphabet. For the 100th anniversary of Mitchell Library in New South Wales, Australia, librarians created an entire alphabet compiled of images of books, maps, photographs, paintings and other objects in the library’s collection. Letter A is created from a 15th century ivory book cover, a painting of a church, and a drum from the Tonga.
3. Do consider your word choice. In the short film below, the message and the medium are the same, but the words make all the difference.
4. Do read good words–at any time and any place. Steve McCurry (best known for“Afghan Girl”) photographed readers of all ages and ethnicities and of both rich and poor who were enjoying a good book. He writes, “People read while they do just about everything else.”
5. Do sneak words into unexpected places. The Argentine artist and “poetry bomber” Agustina Woodgate sews short poems into thrift store clothes in Miami, Florida, “so that poems can be in every day life.”
6. Do share your favorite words in the comments below. Recently, I’ve been intrigued by OK after reading of its mangled history (and its “entire philosophy in two letters” – Allan Metcalf).
August 1, 2011 § 2 Comments
I loved this article from the Wall Street Journal about how the vintage trend is making its way from clothing to food branding and advertising. It’s worth a read.
Below is a repost from W5 (“a blog about the art and the science of marketing research” – check them out! They have great content.), as they highlight a quick how-to guide for turning a bag of Doritos into a trendy sensation.
June 27, 2011 § 1 Comment
I took a bit of Spanish once upon a time and many years ago, most of which I’ve since forgotten. Still, it doesn’t stop me from enjoying some of the great music being sung in this language. Here are a few musicians I’ve come to enjoy even if I’m not always entirely sure what they’re saying and Google Translate fails to help me.
1. Carla Morrison is one of my favorite artists, though half her songs, I’ve yet to find the translation. I just love her sound. A Mexican American singer/ songwriter from California, she played in a few rock cover bands before a friend offered to record an EP of some of her solo songs. This year, her show sold out at Vive Latino Festival in Mexico City, and she’s working on a full-length album.
On top of that, her main website has a hip bird on it. So cool. Listen to “Esta Soledad” (This Loneliness) below and check out her takeaway show of “Pajarito del amor” (Love Bird) with La Blogotheque.
2. The New Raemon hails from Barcelona, Spain. Fronted by Ramon Rodriguez, who seems to have dabbled in a dance troupe, comic book writing, and many back up bands, the group started The New Raemon as a side project four years ago. Their success (and apparent restlessness) has led them to keep creating.
Though their latest album is a bit more rocky heavy, I’ve really enjoyed their third album, La dimension desconocida. My favorite song is “el fin del imperio” (the lyrics begin, “The days of the empire have ended, and the invention of money fail as well…”). “Estupendamente” is excellent as well.
3. Mexico City’s Gina Recamier, going by Madame Recamier (after the French socialite Juliette Recamier) played her first American show at SXSW last year. Since then, her covers and translations of American songs (i.e. Lady Gaga’s “Pokerface”) have garnered her more popularity and she’s working on her second album and more U.S. shows. In her interview before SXSW, she shares about the Mexican music scene.
Listen to “Mira Mira” or “Pam Pam Pam” (below).
4. And a bonus! Mexican American artist Julieta Venegas isn’t up-and-coming (she’s won 5 Latin Grammys), but her music is so fun, I felt she should be added to the list.
May 2, 2011 § 2 Comments
It could be the combination of the romantic language, cheese and bread, and wine that creates a sophisticated charm that intrigues me to the French culture. Years ago, reading a French magazine from a friend, I learned the only French phrase I know, “Je me sens sexy quand je passe inaperçue.” Do you know what it means? If so, share in the comments.
Below are some of my French favorites:
1.Le Petit Prince is written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a French aviator and writer. Although this is a children’s books it has deep philosophical points that are embedded in the asteroid and Earth adventures of the Prince.
2. Someday, I want to wake up here – Annecy, France.
3. Luke Shephard put together over 2,000 images to create this fascinating video of Paris entitled Le Flâneur. Enjoy the two-minute visual tour of Paris.
March 30, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Recently, I have been obsessed with National Public Radio. There are moments that I cry, gasp, or laugh out loud while driving and hope no one caught a glimpse of me. At times I wish the red light was a little bit longer so that I can listen to an end of a story. For example, last weekend I was driving and listening to A Prairie Home Companion. I was on my way to the grocery store when I was captured by Sara Watkins and Sam Duncan’s music number The Price. I drove past the underground parking, around the block, and parked my car on the “no parking/stopping side,” and put on my emergency lights. I sat awhile listening to Garrison Keillor talk about Dolly Parton in Nashville, Emmylou Harris sharing a sad, sad song – Darling Kate, and The Civil Wars performing Poison & Wine. Below are some of my favorite programs.
Ira Glass, humorist host of This American Life, captures stories around a weekly theme. Click on the picture below to hear one of my favorites.
My morning drive to work usually consists of news from All Things Considered.
A friend introduced me to Storycorps a few months ago. Interviews are archived from people around the country. What I love most about Storycorps is their pairing of animated shorts with their stories in a beautiful and raw way.
Listen to some airwaves this week. I think it’s perfectly okay to cry or throw your head back from laughing so hard – even if its alone in the car driving to the grocery store.
March 4, 2011 § 1 Comment
In keeping with the British theme from the previous post I thought I would share some of my favorites from Great Britian.
To have Clive Staple Lewis read the Narnia series to me would be splendid. He is such a brilliant writer. I wonder what the conversations were like during the Tuesday mornings at The Eagle and Child pub.
Everyone should watch Sir Ken Robinson’s talk. He is definitely “educating people out of their creativity.”
A part of my morning routine is to pour water into my tea kettle and sit with a cup of tea. Whether its Black, Green, Chai, Oolong, or Herbal I have to credit the British for producing some fine tea.
Toodle-hoo til next week!
February 9, 2011 § Leave a Comment
This fascinates me, both the visual layout of the project and the content presented (not to mention how intrigued I was by a stats lecture. Good design = engaged learning):
He’s so optimistic about the progress the data shows – and it is amazing progress. But what strikes me most is that Africa is pretty much invisible and has been for 200 years. As much as global health and wealth have increased dramatically – and we have the hope of continued improvement – Africa still lags furthest behind. 200 years ago, they were the poorest and unhealthiest, and much of its countries remain so today.
I’m also surprised that African and indigenous tribes’ life expectancy and health weren’t higher to begin with. These populations were more isolated and untouched by the diseases, chemical technology, and altered foods prevalent among Europeans and Americans. Perhaps by the 1800s, these changes had already been introduced to African countries and taken their toll. Or perhaps indigenous populations were hardly large enough to affect the data.
It’s interesting to note that later data shows American health (I’m equating health with life expectancy, which maybe doesn’t always work) at a high level even though we still consume a ton of chemicals and processed food and we struggle with obesity, diabetes, etc. You would think our representative bubble would have stalled rather than continued to jump.
So yes, Mr. Optimism, perhaps someday we will all make it to the “healthy, wealthy corner,” but how long will it take African countries?