Thursday, May 31, 2012

At the beautiful Bolshoi...

Awhile back this year, a friend and I purchased a mini-subscription to the Kennedy Center and yesterday was our final performance.  And possibly my favorite one yet.  Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet is in town and they signed, sealed, and delivered a phenomenal performance of Coppelia.  I'll admit that I get excited about the "classical" ballets less and less, prefering mixed reportoires instead but last night seriously made me reconsider. 

The amazing thing about this production is that it is just that - nothing un-bolshoi about it. The dancers are first-rate - and not just individually but also as a corps.  After watching so many performances where corps work seems to consistently come last in terms of attention to detail, the Bolshoi company nails it - nearly every single time.  Ahh the beauty of movement in UNISON.  But the sets are gorgeous, and the costumes are breathtaking in their color and detail, and the music (although played by the Kennedy Center Orchestra and not traveling with the actual Bolshoi) is a joy to listen to.  And if the colors and dress make you nostalgic for Eastern European villages before the unfortunate 20th century rolled through them, that's because the work is set (accurately) in Galicia (now Polish and Ukranian territory).  See? A "production" through and through, all coming together for a really wonderful piece of work that takes every aspect of the show into account, something that I think is rare when constrained budgets and travel schedules hit productions.

Last night Maria Aleksandrova was in the main role, and her speed and lightness of foot was unbelievable - no clunk, clunking when she lands.  And she's funny too - it's amazing what dancers can convey with just a look or the flick of a wrist.  Ruslan Skvortsov delivered an equally excellent Frantz, complete with the right "how did i get into my own mess" confusion that he delivers on multiple occassions.

If you missed the performance last night you can catch the Bolshoi through Sunday at the Kennedy Center

First three photos by John Ross, remaining by Damir Yusupov.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Orlando by iPhone...

Here are a few pics to wrap up the Orlando, Florida trip.  Most of them, while not necessarily glorious pics, at least have the glorious light of sunset since it was usually after my work day and our early evening pool time that we got out and about, taking in a little walk, maybe catching a little Mickey Mouse, even catching a baby croc (and not the shoe kind).  While we didn't go into the park, the Disney grounds still offer plenty to see: like Dragons and Knights in Shining Armor made entirely out of legos, or a boardwalk that captures the glory Atlantic City was always supposed to have, or hot air ballons that rise up into the sky, and boat rides across the lake that the sun is sinking in to.  All in all, not a bad set of attractions for a diplo-tot, and frankly, not so bad for her mother either! Say what you will about Disney and being expensive, but everything we did is free (here is a great guide) and this company, and the people that work for them, know a litlte something about creating magic that's memorable.



All photos by The New Diplomat's Wife via Instagram.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mommy and Me: Magic Kingdom...

A little fashion for our evening stroll in Downtown Disney.  Diplo-baby - or should I say, diplot-tot now? that's probably more accurate - is still a little young for the park itself.  But downtown Disney and the Disney Boardwalk were perfect evening attractions - lots of space for running and exploring, and just enough Mickey for that Disney Magic.

Here's a little Mommy and Me on what to wear when you wish upon a star...

Mommy and Me: Magic Kingdom...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Exotic America: All aboard the Intrepid for Memorial Day...

With all the travel we've been doing for work this month, we didn't get around to planning a major outing for this three day weekend.  But that ended up being just as well - it gave us an opportunity to head up to New Jersey to visit the fam, and we headed in to the city for a change of pace on Sunday.

Wanting to do something to commemorate Memorial Day, which is the American holiday honoring US veterans and fallen, it dawned on me that I've never been aboard an aircraft carrier.  Not that that's all that common to have been on one, but with a lot of friends and family closely tied to the Navy, it's kind of uncommon in my immediate circle.  In fact, I've got a brother out on right now (thank you, brother!).  so what better time than Fleet Week to see what these floating cities are all about.

Fleet Week brings all sorts of US military seacraft to NYC but we visited the USS Intrepid, which is a permanently docked air craft carrier docked in the city that serves as a museum for both the carrier and assorted carrier-based aircraft.  The ship itself was put into service soon after Pearl Harbor, bore the brunt of Kamikaze landings and theater in the South Pacific, floated for aircraft in Vietnam, was the recovery ship for multiple space missions, and was a floating FBI office after 9/11 as well.  That's some tremendous history.

Being aboard makes you realize how fantastically large these ships (and this isn't even one of the modern ones), yet, they're small enough that you are in awe of the fact multiple planes can take off and land on these runways at the drop of a hat.  Also, how wacky is it to see all of this fighter aircraft with the New York skyline in the background?  The museum does a beautiful job of showcasing the ship's service with lots of information on the engineering and logistics, as well as on the exceptional service of individual veterans. Interestingly, the Fischer family, who led the development of the project, took this on because he couldn't serve in the military himself and always felt indebted to the service of others.

I couldn't think of a more fitting way to do something to commemorate the reason behind this holiday that we consider the start of summer...

All photos by The New Diplomat's Wife.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Photography Friday: Photos from a day...

Remember the "a day" project that I mentioned a couple of weeks back? May 15th was chosen as a worldwide time capsule day to help capture all sorts of views of the world.  Everyone can submit up to 10 photos - I ended up with a couple more so I'll have to axe two but figured I could put them all up for now here on the blog. 

A couple things...first, you'll notice that they are all Instagrams.  I contemplated carrying the full camera around but in thinking about the actual project more, I didn't see how you could capture a time capsule element to 2012, and not have them be through instagram since it's redefined how we take and share photos from our everyday experiences.  The second thing is that the photos are for the most part, pretty mundane and that was intentional.  I tried to be on the lookout for things that have become so much a part of my everyday that I rarely notice them.  But at the same time, it's possible that these things could change significantly - if the whole notion was to build a global time capsule, it occurred to me that whenever they decide to open it, that things like transporation could look different, what we wear and what we buy and how we consume it could look different, our work will be different, the work tools we use will be different, buildings will be different, technology will be different.  Even something like the solar compactor that they just installed outside of my work building, which is new now, probably won't even be given a second thought by then. 

But there is one photo that's a bit different from all of that and that's intentional too.  Saying good-bye to your child as they clutch a treasured item? I don't think that will ever change.

Find our more about the A DAY project and see photos here .
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