Friday, November 30, 2012

Photography Friday: Stop---Motion with Mikhail Baryshnikov...

Does that name sound familiar? It should...only you usually hear it in the context of dance.  I've had a crush on Barishnykov for just about as long as I can remember.  "White Nights", a movie in which he plays a defected Soviet dancer who finds him self in an unexpected homecoming teamed up with Gregory Heinz was the first non-children's movie I saw in the movie theaters and I remember it like it was yesterday.  I couldn't have been more than seven or eight.  Someone might see that movie now and think it's just an 80's movie but it's really so much more.  That movie introduced me to Roland Petit, who's choreography I later adored and I've seen Le jeune homme et la mort probably about three times...It made me dig up my mother's old cassette tapes of Visocki and listen to them, thinking of Barishnikov's heartbreaking solo...It made me love the movements of Twyla Tharp...and do we even need to discuss Lionel Richie and Phil Collins? I could go on about this movie for hours (and one day I will, I'll save the story about how I let myself in backstage after a Barishnykov performance for another day), but mostly it made me appreciate that you can mix "media" - why shouldn't you bring together classical dance and tap?

Similarly, why can't you be a dancer and be a photographer? Barishnykov recent years he's forayed into digital photography to help capture something missing in dance.  Feeling that most dance photography that you see is almost too staged - a perfect representation of costume and lighting and movement, Barishnykov wanted to represent dancers as they most frequently are, in a blur of motion.  At first when I saw the pictures, I was struck by the thought that if they had been mine, I probably would have deleted them straight off...I would have thought they were unclear...blurry...dark.  But he's right.  The beauty is in the movement, and if its not movement that defines dancers, then I don't know what is.   Just another brilliant breaking of the rules...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

To-Do! To-Do! To-Do?

Okay, who else has a to-do list at least a mile long? Part of mine is work related, part of it personal, part of it travel, part of it holiday...gah, I'm drowning in to-do lists right now.  And everytime I check off one item, it seems like another 5 things pop up in its place.  But I will master this to-do list, I swear! At least I like to keep mine in my favorite notebooks by Moleskine, so I thought I would share their absolutely fantastic stop-motion made entirely from their planners and products.  It's pretty unbelievable.  And once I get through this list, maybe I'll start a new list on how to make a stop motion of my lists...

PS - fancy this? Check out the video and photographs they put together of how they made it - wow.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Glass Walls...

We were just in Miami last weekend, and I can't get over how much that city has changed.  Although I've been through the airport here and there, the last time I spent time (and it was a LOT of time, for a work event) in Miami, was about ten years ago.  Since then skyscrapers of glass-walled apartments have shot up and there are actually things to do downtown (I seem to remember large unoccupied tracts of land).  I have to say I've been intrigued by all of the glass walled wonders - they must have the most spectacular views.  But I've always wondered how do you arrange your life when some of the traditional trappings of walls go away?

The recent Elle Decor featured the Bal Harbour apartment that Darryl Carter designed for his parents.  I always assumed that if you live in a modern cube, many people would choose a lot of modern cubes for the interiors and this place shows that this doesn't have to be the case.  If it's mix-mix, you know I'm going to like it! Mr. Carter, who is otherwise known for his work around DC, has pulled together some of the most traditional pieces in such a contemporary way, it's making me want to shop around for a glass cube of my own!

All photography by Moris Moreno for Elle Decor.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Photography Friday: Oprisco's Magical Thinking...

With Thanksgiving all wrapped up, we are now officially in "the holidays".  Hurrah! There's always a bit of magic that sets in  this time of year - lights and colors to help brighten up drab winter skies.  So with that in mind, I thought I would share a few magical photographs from Oleg Oprisco- a young photographer (he's only 24! gah!) who shoots entirely on film whom I read about on the 500px blog.  The images are so gorgeous, like fairytales and they retain a certain magical quality that makes you feel like you can't quite get close enough to step inside.

So as you make your turkey sandwiches, see lots more of his work over on his 500px page, I guarantee you'll feel inspired.

All images by Oprisco via the 500px blog.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Songs for Thanksgiving...

 A little repost from last November on the tunes are our holiday table - Happy Thanksgiving!


This year, we'll be taking it easy the day of Thanksgiving (there are onesies to be washed!), but that's not to say that we won't be celebrating.  On Friday, we'll be having our Austrian friends over for a Thanksgiving dinner with all the usual "fixin's".  Typically, it's been my experience that even though American's revere this holiday, non-Americans find it even more fascinating.  In fact, friends of ours in London will tell you that a seat around their Thanksgiving table is one of the most coveted invites of the year. 

Why is that? Well it has something to do with how we've managed to make pie out of pumpkin, the need to serve multiple starches in one sitting, and most importantly, having one national holiday that everyone can not only take part in, but can add their own cultural mark to in order to make it their own.  Not so bad when you look at it from that perspective, and certainly no equivalent in Europe.

Here's what will be on the ipod for cocktails and first part of the dinner.  All the songs revolve around gratitude, traveling home and spirit of acknowledging your blessings.  I'm sure my diplo-husband will make some non-diplo gripes about my selections, so I've thrown in a few pieces to placate him as an even exchange.  The first being the Ballad of Edmund Fitzgerald - granted a song about a shipwreck is kind of a downer when you're trying to be grateful, but he loves it and the mention of November gales.  The other one is Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.  It might not seem like an obvious choice either, but if you've ever been on a United flight trying to get home for the holidays, it's your soundtrack as they announce one delay after another, and then land you safely home where you belong.

To get into the cornucopia spirit, I've included a few pics from the Retz pumpkin festival.

Thanksgiving 2010 Playlist
1. Come On-A-My House 1:56 Rosemary Clooney
2. Our House 3:03 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
3. Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie 2:19 Jay & The Techniques
4. I Thank You (Single Version) 2:55 Sam & Dave
5. Take Me Home, Country Roads 3:21 Toots & The Maytals
6. Thank the Lord for the Night Time (Mono) 2:59 Neil Diamond
7. Someday We'll Be Together 3:32 Diana Ross & The Supremes
8. Give Thanks and Praise 3:17 Bob Marley
9. Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian) 2:52 Paul Revere & The Raiders
10. Kind and Generous 4:01 Natalie Merchant
11. Thank You 3:38 Dido
12. Harvest Moon 5:05 Neil Young
13. Autumn 2:50 Paolo Nutini
14. Long Way Home 3:21 Tom Waits
15. Shelter 4:37 Ray LaMontagne
16. Thank U 4:19 Alanis Morissette
17. You to Thank 3:34 Ben Folds
18. This Land Is Mine 3:47 Dido
19. This Land Is Your Land 2:27 Peter, Paul And Mary
20. Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (LP Version) 6:32 Gordon Lightfoot
21. Homeward Bound 2:42 Simon & Garfunkel
22. Simple Gifts 2:46 Jewel
23. Count Your Blessings 1:51 Bing Crosby
24. The Thanksgiving Song 3:48 Adam Sandler
25. Thanksgiving Theme 2:00 Vince Guaraldi Trio Charlie Brown
26. Rhapsody In Blue 17:11 Leonard Bernstein & Los Angeles Philharmonic

All photography by The New Diplomat's Wife. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Trip Report: 10 Things About Copenhagen

So it looks like we're off to Copenhagen for our next post! Hurrah - you won't hear any complaints here!  We're more than excited, and a couple of weekends ago, the diplo-husband and I set out to scope out the city.  As we've never been to Denmark, or anywhere in Scandinavia for that matter, we didn't know much about what to expect.  In our short two days though, a number of things jumped out at us as quirky things that I know we're going to love in our new home!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Compare the meerkat...

So continuing in the spirit of quirky things that I pick up on while around London...There's a series of commercials that have come out that I caught on TV - I'll admit the first time I saw this, I had no idea what this was about.  I think it's for car insurance, still not even 100% sure.  They consist of these meerkats running around, one dressed up as Aleksandr, some sort of Russian style (or broader Slavic Republic style) aristocrat (are meerkats aristocratic? are they even in Russian? I need to look up what a meerkat even is quite frankly).  Sometimes there is another one called Sergei.  And they all speak English in a way that I'm not altogether unfamiliar with.  Actually they crack me up.  Simples!

From a branding perspective, it actually floors me that the actual company built out two websites - Compare the Market, which is what the site actually is, and Compare the Meerkat, the other spoof site that they're constantly referencing.  Not only did they build it knowing people would go there, but it keeps the same tone and English and quirkly style of the commercials - now that's consistent branding if you ask me.  Brilliant - or is it "brillz" (does that sound more london-y?)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cockroach perspective...

In reading the paper on the tube (metro!) this morning, I came across one of those odd kinds of things you really only see in the UK.  Kind of quirky, kind of bizarre, and I'm pretty sure I've never seen anything like it...Turns out that you can tour the Science Museum in London...dressed up as a cockroach.  Yep.  Cockroach helmet, antenneae, and body casing.  Rather curious, no?

The tour is meant to give a roach's perspective on humans, especially in light of environmental and climate chnages - after all, they were around since the time of the dinosaurs and they're still here so they might know a thing or two about survival.

I've had a lifelong fascination/repulsion of roaches but I don't know, maybe a good old-fashioned roach tour would help me empathize with my local critters a bit more...who's with me?

Photo by Santiago Arribas-Pena for the Science Museum

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Great Expectations...

All around the tube stations, there are movies for the new Great Expectations movie - there are actually tons of movies I'm on the lookout for right now so maybe I got so wrapped up in what we're waiting on in the US market (Bond! Les Mis! The Great Gatsby!) that I completely didn't even realize this was coming out.  I have some mixed reactions about a new movie - I mean, can anything top the 1998 movie with Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth and Robert De Niro and of course, the pretty perfect Anne Bancroft as Miss Havisham? And who can forget all of that artwork...and the soundtrack...and the New York setting for the city.  While I always try to read the book before movie, that movie made read and re-read the book, and the fact that it has two endings just added to the tragedy in my mind.  Something about life being able to go two different ways if just this...or just that...and the fact that our fortunes are connected to more people than we often realize.

But yet, there's something about seeing Helena Bonham Carter dressed up as Miss Havisham, staring insanely in the distance that's compelling.  She's made for characters such as these...unlike the 1998 version, it almost seems like this interpretation is focused more on the Havisham/Magwitch characters rather than Pip and Stella but that's not necessarily a bad thing...Interestingly, the film seems to interpret Miss Havisham's house in nearly the same way, maybe it's a nod.  I don't know, I think after this preview below I'm going to have to add this to my list for this winter.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Wheels Down LHR...

Just touched down in London-town...again! Posting might be a little lighter this week as I make my way through the next few days but sometimes I feel like these planes floating in and floating out on repeat.  More importantly, it's a good thing we don't see all these airplane wobbling when we're on the inside...  All the same, still excited for the week - going to see one of my all time favorite shows tomorrow!

Video via This is Colossal, from the Cargospotter Aviation Channel. (who knew there was a cargospotter aviation channel? diplo-husband is going to love this!)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Photography Friday: Saving the Jersey Shore...

I've had a thing about seeing the Jersey Shore - for me, it's one of those Exotic America elements.  Just kind of a cultural thing you won't find anywhere else. When we first got back and were spending time in NJ, we kept saying we go and we would go, and each weekend we found something else that was more pressing at the time.  And then we didn't go at all - so I never got to see all of these elements that were already the stuff of legends then.  When we go, it will be a new shore, though if I know New Jersey like I think I do, it will still have those distinctly defining elements.

I read about photographer Christina Zona's project to document the Jersey Shore of her youth on polaroid film on facebook, and she's now making these photographs available as prints with proceeds being devoted to charity.  If you have any wistful wishes for summers that were simpler, sunshine that makes you squint, or long days that go on and on without much on the agenda, I think these prints will speak to you.  They don't cost much, they're for a great cause and they represent nostalgic photography at its best.  I'm already thinking a set of 10-12 of them will look amazing in white frames hung in a grid...You can check out her full set of work here - and be on the lookout for this one - she's already working on big projects and I know there will be more to come!

A Note From Christine:

The wake of Hurricane Sandy has left complete devastation in my home state of New Jersey. Though I haven’t lived there in years, it is still near and dear to my heart. It pains me to see the photos of crumbled homes, destroyed boardwalks and decimated neighborhoods.

The Jersey Shore is a very special place to me. My summers as a kid were spent with my grandparents and cousins at the boardwalk in Pt. Pleasant. I would eat orange vanilla swirl ice-cream until my brain froze and I played boardwalk games until my fingers cramped. As a teenager my friends and I would cruise down to Seaside Heights were we would get into all sorts of crazy shenanigans. In my older years I would spend time with my parents in Atlantic City playing penny slots and enjoying strolls along the water. Not to mention those awesome buffets. I could go on and on telling tales of my Jersey Shore adventures, but let me get to my point.

A couple of years ago I started a photography project about the Jersey Shore. I did it to restore the innocence of it to the masses. I wanted people to view it as I did as a kid. Each time I went home I would set out to a different beach: Seaside, Pt. Pleasant, Belmar, Asbury Park and Atlantic City. I thought this project would go on for years. So much so that I bought an entire case of expired polaroid film to dedicate to this project. I had a list of boardwalks I needed to visit and things I forgot to photograph at the boardwalks I already went to. Little did I know that the shore would be taken from me. My memories and my youth washed away by Sandy. The photos that I took have now become my most prized possession.
It is important to me that I help the people and the places that have shaped me into who I am today. That’s why I am putting prints of my polaroid series up for sale. 100% of the profits will go towards two charities to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Every print sale generates $3-4 profit. All other product sales generate $4-5 profit. The most inexpensive print is $5 and $3 of it goes to charity.

The money will be split between Waves for Water and the ASPCA (NJ). Waves for Water has a lot of experience with disaster relief on every level and though they normally focus on clean water, this time they will be assisting with many needs - first response survival supplies, rubble removal, and rebuilding, etc. They’ll be targeting surf-based coastal communities in Jersey and NY. ASPCA is helping families reunite with lost pets and is caring for any abandoned pets in need. Don’t forget, pets are family too.
I am asking two things from you today. The first is to purchase a print. Let’s preserve of the memories of a shore that once was while helping build a new one for future generations to enjoy. Second, please help me spread the word; re-post this status, send some tweets, email your friends. The more prints we sell, the more we have to donate to those in need. With your help I know I can reach my 5K goal.

Thank you for your support and love.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Across the blue...

Wax Tailor feat Aloe Blacc- Time To Go from Oh Yeah Wow on Vimeo.

Travel time! Again! Heading out for work in London again, but also Copenhagen and rounding out all this continental chill with a weekend in Miami to visit friends for a big event!  Heading out across the ocean soon so thought of this little vimeo about the octopus that paints the town blue, on his adventure across town.  Warning, there's something a bit melancholy about it but the stop motion is just too incredible to pass up.  Even cooler, see some of the pictures of the "making of" over on This is Colossal.  It really gives you a sense of just how much work goes into these little pieces of artistry that take us only a few minutes to watch.  See you on the other side of the Atlantic!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

District Dossier: Eastern Market

Well, we're only about seven months out from a new place to live - goes by fast right? It's kind of that time where we start to look ahead to what's coming, but also to look around in our current post to see what we still want to see and do and appreciate.  So with that in mind, I'm pretty excited to be introducing a couple of new ideas, which I hope will become a series here on the blog.  First up, District Dossier - which will be a little column devoted to the little things that have become staples and discoveries, and help to make DC the great city that it is.

I'm excited for the first District Dossier to cover Eastern Market, a little place near and dear to us.  Confession, I started coming here for the free samples as a student (a free brunch of fruits and vegetables and excursion all in one!) but now it's such a great place for meeting up with friends and exploring on Saturday mornings with coffees and treats in hand.

A few pictures from this past weekend's visit...Again, if posts are starting to look different around the blog, that's thanks to BlogShop, a little class that teaches Photoshop skills for bloggers.  Full disclosure, since I use Lightroom for photography editing, I never thought Photoshop was really something for me, but Bri and Angela's class demystifies it completely.  Hopefully I'm one step closer to better translating what I see in my head into what appears in these posts.  I'd love to hear your feedback and thoughts - I'm still a newbie here so bear with me as a I learn, but I think you can expect some better looking things going forward.

Not only is the Blogshop class just generally amazing, Bri and Angela work hard to share some of the best giveaways.  Check in on their new Blogshop website for giveaways related to their class - and in full disclosure, I'm throwing this post into the running to win my own copy of Photoshop so that you can see a lot more of this!
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