Thursday, December 15, 2011

December 14th, 2011 - The Nutcracker

I popped my ballet cherry!

 Unless you count the 3 movie/book versions of this I've seen and the ballet choreography in Billy Elliot.

I don't, and that's all that really matters.

Anyway, last night I went to see Pacific Northwest Ballet's staging of the Nutcracker by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (apparently his first name is properly spelled Pyotr) and Choreographed by Kent Stowell with Shauna and Tim over at and the new roomie, Lindsey.

As far as first times go, this one was pretty awesome. Although it did feel like it went by much too fast. Especially the second act. But by then I was  a little buzzed from the champagne we treated ourselves to during intermission.

It's still not OK to leave alcohol in the glass.

I also started making Inception connections what with the dream within a dream within a dream that is the premise of the story at that point.

There were a lot of children in this ballet which is very appropriate, it being the Nutcracker and all, but I think next time I'd like to see something not so kiddy. Although I am stoked for Snow White in the future and that might be the same.

A super fun holiday night in all ended with our acapella renditions of the Elephant Love Medley and Bohemian Rhapsody in the car ride home.

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 4th, 2011 - In The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family In Hitler's Berlin

Wow...that's a long title.  Good thing the cover is so amazing ;) *

Anyway, In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson lived up to the expectations Devil in the White City  set. I wouldn't say it outshone Devil in the White City but you can't really beat a serial killer and his murder house juxtaposed with the Chicago's world's fair where inventing the Ferris Wheel was the biggest risk since sliced bread.

I may have made that sound more sarcastic than I meant to, the Ferris Wheel really was a big deal.

I guess the only problem I had with this is that you can't really shock me anymore with all the horrors that Hitler, the Nazi's, and the powers of appeasement pulled. Larson definitely reopened my eyes but know... for how long.

The murder house stayed with me though. When mentioning that I moved to Seattle all by myself, Inever forget to mention the Uncle who lives a block away and who checks in with me every single day and would totally notice if I'm missed.

I keep pitching Devil in the White City by accident.

The reason these two books are so good is that Larson's sets himself apart by making non fiction not as boring/droning/forgettable as it usually is. I'm a history major, I shouldn't say these things. But the feelings, thoughts, and pauses for breath and reflection before big actions aren't really thrown into nonfiction. Too much and people start to question a writer's credibility. But every time Larson does it I don't even notice because it is completely in mesh with that person's character.

For those of you who want a little more detail on the book than the title gives you, the American family in question is the Ambassador Dodd, his wife, his son, and his daughter Martha who were in Germany from 1933-1937.

When most of America was sitting in front of the TV and newspapers with their hands over their ears and eyes (it's possible, I learned that when I was a kid), criticizing anyone who took even mild stands against Germany's descent into psychotic despotism, Ambassador Dodd was driving around Berlin in his old, reliable, American car. He quietly worked behind the scenes, trying to teach by example and he would publicly call officials on their bullshit if they happened to say it in front of him.

His daughter, Martha, was getting to know intimately  all sides of the issues at hand by bedding anyone with luminous or striking eyes. It's her right, but not a mentality I get. Although it does make for interesting reading.

It was a shady time y'all. Hopefully, in this case, history never repeats itself.

* Book Club is conveniently called Judge A Book By Its Cover

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December 1st, 2011- Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella

"A lovely night, A lovely night! A finer night you know you'll never see!" :)

The 5th Avenue's 2011 holiday show is Rodger's and Hammerstein's Cinderella and it's adorable. I guarantee you that people will take the bus home  humming the music and straight up sing it when they have to walk the last few blocks by themselves. (and by "people", I mean me. )

But because I'm in an argumentative mood because someone was condescending to me on Facebook and I'm trying not to force them to change their mind so I'm just leaving the argument to die a natural Facebook death (even though my last post I conceded the point and tried to exit gracefully)... I guess I'll be nit picky here.

One of the songs, "Ten Minutes Ago" is all about how Prince Christopher Rupert Vwindemier Vlandamier.... (there's more, I'll spare youand Cinderella fall in love at first sight.

Alright, sure, that's totally possible. But please wait more than 10 minutes so you can try and make sure. Normally I don't think this would bother me, after all it is a kid's show and they need to keep things snappy. But Brandon O'Neill, who I've obsessed about before, played the Prince and he was very over the top with it. Antsy little boy legs, hunched "I'm so excited!" shoulders, pretty much all the things a person who would fall in love at first sight would do.

Except, I'm sure deep down he was feeling, "This whole premise is ridiculous. Who falls in love at first sight?" and I'd probably like him less if he didn't think that.

Although I did swoon a little at the kiss.  I would never say that was a bad casting choice because you get to see Brandon O'Neill in hot riding boots and the cool vest-with-the-high-collar- over- billowy- shirt- sleeves-look. Can that look come back, please.

He did the best with what he had to work with (a pansy).

Anyway, I guess I wasn't feeling the whole love at first sight thing. I did cringe a little at the cheesiness, although at one point all the adults chuckled and a kid got it two seconds later and laughed really loud and that set everyone off into wild applause which was nice to be a part of.

God bless children.

The only other things I sort of bothered me was that most of the female cast had very distinct and unique voices that are acquired tastes. They're lovely and perfect once you get used to them but a little jarring during their first song.

To end on a high note though, the sets and costumes were delightful, the magic was magical (no but really, I was surprised at how they did some of it) The music of course was excellent. Greg McCormick Allen, Nick Garrison, Sarah Rudinoff, and Jennifer Paz (Lionel, The stepsisters Joy and Grace, and Cinderella respectively) were all perfectly cast.

I definitely want to see it again and you should too if you get a chance!

If you can't, then just stick one of the three movie  versions in :)