Saturday, March 12, 2011

Five things make a post

In which our Diva is kind of a wee bit all over the place tonight, and rolling with it

Watch: Mao's Last Dancer, which I had never heard of until it happened to be one of the movies on my flight back from London. A bit heavy-handed at times, as these things tend to be, but generally an interesting biopic and the dancing is superb and (a clincher for me) mostly even filmed well. The funny thing is, I got about ten minutes into it and went "Wait, everyone is calling this guy Li, and he's arriving in Houston in 1981... OMG, is this about Li Cunxin?"

See, I actually saw him dance Swan Lake on Houston Ballet's tour in 1982, in the midst of my hardcore ballet-baby phase, an occasion memorable for being the first time I saw ballet of that caliber in person. If I'd thought about it when I was older, I would have realized it was almost a given that his life story would be a dramatic one, but I hadn't, and I had no idea. And (unsurprisingly, given that ballet has its politics and mercenary side just like everything else) not all the drama was the fault of the Chinese government.

Bruce Greenwood with a British accent (as artistic director Ben Stevenson) is a little blink-inducing, but once you get used to it he works well. Of the three actors playing Cunxin, it's actually the middle one, Chengwu Guo -- covering his teenage years in Beijing -- who impressed me most, as both actor and dancer.  It gets a little on the soapy side, but nobody (except maybe Madame Mao, who was kind of a living caricature anyway) comes off as either a saint or a villain.  It's a collection of flawed people with their own goals and agendas, some of whom happen to dance gloriously.

Eat: Ancho Chili BBQ Burrito at Qdoba. Ridiculously good. And reheats well, which is important, since it's one of those burrito-as-big-as-your-head places, so the thing is easily two meals.

Read:  The "Walker Papers" series by C.E. Murphy. I've been doing pretty much all research reading lately, and it's great stuff, but I picked up the fifth book, Demon Hunts, just in time to have some lighter travel reading for the trip to England. Joanne Walker has all the most fun "standard" urban-fantasy-heroine traits -- notably a very hard head, in both the literal and figurative senses -- and a few that are very much her own.  Plus an interesting cosmology, a great support structure of interesting characters, a personal life that's engagingly complicated without crossing the blurry line into paranormal romance, and (at least so far) nary a vampire in sight. Which, as you know if you read much urban fantasy, is worth noting. Not that I'm not demonstrably quite fond of the fangy types in a variety of flavors, of course, but it's nice to have a universe that does things a little differently.

Do?: Spring fever has hit me early this year, partly because -- due directly to the wicked cool stunt work you can catch a glimpse of in the Resonance trailer -- I'm having an attack of see-something-cool-and-want-to-try-it with respect to parkour. Which may or may not be practical (given my schedule, dodgy knees, and questionable upper-body strength), but I've been watching Jump City on G4, reading articles and watching videos on, and eyeing the mentions of beginner jams on the Chicago Parkour site. For all that it looks pretty outside most days, of course, it's still too chilly for me to want to actually be out there if I can help it, but I can smell spring, darnit!

All this is proving once again that part of me is still the slightly reckless eight-year-old who was prone to things like taking a friend's big brother's go-cart (the old-school home-built kind you may have heard about from Bill Cosby) down a rather steeper incline than it was, strictly speaking, intended for. Suffice it to say the cart and I parted company well before the bottom, and I arrived there with noticeably less skin than I'd started with. (And yes, this coincided with the hardcore ballet-baby phase. I'm a complex creature. *g*)

Listen: I'm always behind the curve with pop music -- I have no patience for commercial radio, and most often find music I like because it appears in movies or TV shows I like, or because it's used for fannish music videos -- so I only recently downloaded Paramore's Brand New Eyes. The first track, "Careful," is getting a lot of repetition on my MP3 player because I've mentally adopted it as the theme song of a Chicago-based Resonance character. (I'll tell you who when she goes public, and you can decide for yourself how well it fits.) But it's "Brick By Boring Brick" that has the video I keep rewatching.

1 comment:

Studiesinlight said...

I'm so pleased that you're enjoying Murphy's "The Walker Papers" series! She's been a delight for me since I discovered her a few years ago... and I think I'm going to leave that declaration undefined as to whether I mean the author or the protagonist. :-) My copy of Spirit Dances, the newest book in the series, arrived last night -- purchased with a Christmas gift certificate -- and I'm looking forward to it as a genuine treat.

(Wordpress is not accepting my OpenID. At least it's accepting the post...)