Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Still shot from "Barrier"

by Hsin-Yi Ku and Casey Middaugh

This is KuKu's final design for the MapMaking project. The piece is about Acacia trees in Kenya. Fences were built around the trees in an effort to keep the Giraffes from eating the trees. Unfortunately, it turns out that the trees and the Giraffes have a symbiotic relationship and when the trees were isolated- they died.

But isn't the giraffe cute?!

Monday, September 22, 2008

My new room.

I spent all day Saturday finally getting my stuff from the Dalston flat. I’m not sure why no one has been there all week, but they’re never home so it took until Saturday for my schedule and their schedule to line up. Simon, Kate’s fiancée, kindly helped me move and drove my stuff the mile and a half from one property to the other. I have a lot of stuff, and while I feel a bit silly about that-I am also very pleased to have it back around me so that I can actually move into this room.

The room is oddly shaped: there is a bay window out the front of the building and the door is at an angle, so because of that the room is almost circular. From the entrance moving clockwise I’ve got the door, an oddly short wardrobe (Grammy’s blue dress crumples a bit at the hem when it is hanging it is so short), a green arm chair, my red Sons of the Never Wrong poster, Latana’s keyboard and one of the kitchen chairs with my bright yellow coat hanging there, an orange two seat couch, a set of drawers, a fireplace that doesn’t work with all of my books on the mantel and family photos blue tacked to the wall above it, my huge double bed with purple sheets and my red and orange comforter, and then a pile of my empty red luggage is right next to the door again. There is a lot of bright colored-ness going on. It feels homey. (What I neglected to mention is the giant pile of “what exactly is this?” stuff in the centre of the room…)

My room is a little too full of furniture right now. Latana and I need to talk about what to do with her keyboard. I’m happy to leave it in the room- but I think she wants more consistent access to it which makes perfect sense, but we haven’t had a chance to talk about it because I literally haven’t seen her in three days. I think she is working a lot at the Barbican. I love the couch and am SO pleased that it is in my room. It was important to me to have a place to lounge that isn’t my bed, and I was really hoping for an arm chair- but the couch is even better. It goes with my fire toned color scheme too…

The green chair however was just irritating me: It is a LaZboy type recliner that clearly hasn’t been able to close completely for years. So because the foot stool can’t close it took up far far far too much room. Especially with my random crap pile in the middle of the room. It was getting obnoxiously difficult to move (myself) around the room so I kept turning the chair on its side and trying to figure out what the mechanism was so that I could either take the foot stool off or fix it somehow. Instead of fixing it though, I just got really frustrated at the stupid giant chair- so when Sarah Titterington and Dave showed up for dinner Saturday evening I let Dave take a look at it and mess about. I didn’t notice what he was doing until it was almost all done –but he decided that the best way to deal with the chair was to put his back into it and bend the metal. So now the chair will *never* work properly, but it is normal sized now! Success!

Pictures will be forthcoming- I managed to break the battery casing on the new/old/stand-in camera and need to take it to be fixed.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Other stuff to tell you

Remember the MapMaking project? The collaboration with students from the Royal College of Art, a multimedia concert focusing on Equator countries and climate change? Well, it isn't over yet. The performance will be in October and we have to have the final drafts of the films and the music done by the 1st of October as well as the titles for the pieces and little blurbs about them for the program.

Kuku, my partner, and I haven't seen each other since late June and I was having trouble getting a hold of her so was getting nervous about the whole thing. Fortunately we managed to meet up today- in the British Library no less! It totally didn't occur to me until today that the British Library is a brilliant place to study. I mean, I guess that is sort of a "no, duh" statement, but still. It hadn't occurred to me.

Kuku has completely changed the film. Again. And while I agree with her that it hangs together as a narrative better now, it also means that I need to completely change the feeling and tone of the music. Before the film had a lot of color and charming hand drawn characters that were cute, if a little confusing. Now it is full of 3D paper characters filmed in black and white... I can't have such stark music with a stark film. So I need to sit at a piano and figure something out. Which is actually kind of exciting, if daunting. Quick! Write something in a weekend!

Remember all those 3 session school workshops I was doing in July? They're back! Today I helped out Juliet and Jo at Shapla Primary school. Our song is about the rain forest and I wrote the cheeriest tune ever to these lyrics that the kids wrote last week:

People are cuttin' down trees, Animals are losin' their homes.
Lonely and lost with no food, will they survive or die?

It is a really inappropriately jaunty tune.

I kind of love it.

Fortunately the kids are less cheesy than I am and when they made up the tune for the last line they came up with something *much* classier than I did. I kept wanting to either soar up to a high note on "die" or, alternatively, stage whisper it... In spite of the kids classing it up, Juliet is still planning on making them step from side to side and/or shrug their shoulders in time to the beat.

My neighborhood

So, there are a *lot* of Hasidic Jews in my neighborhood and being the curious type- I thought I would read up a bit and learn more. Wikipedia supplies this little bit of information:

"The vast majority of Hasidic Jews live either in the United States or Israel but there exist large communities in Montreal, Britain (mostly in Stamford Hill) and Antwerp also. Hasidic Jews are known for having large families and as a result are experiencing tremendous growth."

My neighborhood is mentioned specifically! Also, the 'tremendous growth' bit explains all of the baby carriages and small boys in striped shirts riding around on bikes.

And this explains why all of the women pushing prams have suspiciously straight, dark brown hair:

"Sheitel (Yiddish: שייטל, sheytl, שייטלעך, sheytlekh or שייטלען, sheytlen; Hebrew: פאה נוכרית‎) is the Yiddish word for a wig or half-wig worn by Orthodox Jewish married women in order to conform with the requirement of Jewish Law to cover their hair."

In other non religious sect news- Peter dropped off my baroque bass today which I am very excited about. I pick up the rest of my stuff from storage on Saturday and then I can finally finish moving in! It will be grand. I still love my neighborhood, am starting to make headway on various goals for the year, and have been strutting around in my new yellow coat. It is lovely.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Back in London

I have made it back to London in spite of an unexpected day long layover in Philadelphia. There were quite a number of us stuck at the airport and so the hotels filled up quickly, I was fortunate enough to get a room and then spent the next day wandering around the art museum and an Indian/Hare Krishna festival outside the museum. Yay, free Indian food!

I have moved (somewhat) into the new flat- pictures will be forthcoming. Need to figure out how to get my computer and the internet in the same place...My room is wonderful though. Because it is *technically* the living room I have a brand new, never been used, still had the plastic on it, bed. And it is lovely. I also still have a couch, and arm chair, Latana's piano, a wardrobe, two side tables, and some drawers in there. It has become a bit cramped and will be more so when I get the bass back on Wednesday. We'll have to work on some creative rearrangement.

Ella met me at King's Cross and helped get my bags on the bus which was very nice of her, nice to catch up as well. We unloaded the bags, wrote a list of all of the broken things in the flat, and then I had to run down to Sadlers Wells to see my birthday present to myself: Matthew Bourne's newest work- a ballet adaptation of Dorian Gray. It was pretty awesome, though I was less caught up in the story than I was when I saw his version of the Nutcracker. At Nutcracker! I was so caught up in the story that I forgot to watch the dancing in the second half because I was so angry that the Nutcracker didn't seem like he was going to end up with Clara and that just wasn't right. Bourne is an extraordinary story teller. It isn't like The Picture of Dorian Gray is an uncomplicated novel and to be able to tell the story without words, in a modern setting, and to use motions other than the stylized pointing that ballets tend to use is just extraordinary.

Today I've been rushing around signing things for various people and offices. I have to leave now to go to the Leadership student welcome time. It should be fun to get to meet the new first years!