How was everyone’s Christmas? Sorry I’ve been MIA, after my exams ended, I have been working everyday since Christmas Eve. I spent the 3 days been my last exam and work by watching films (was totally disappointed with Anna Karenina, and have mixed feelings about The Hobbit), skyping with my mom, and meeting with friends. I went shopping on Boxing day after work – and came home empty-handed. This is the norm for me, but I was so looking forward to buying a little something. The things I really wanted did not go on sale, and the things I didn’t care for were 50% off.
I am munching on a KFC sandwich right now. The meat is tough but it somewhat satisfies my craving for fried chicken.
I was supposed to get through my Aristotle readings, but I barely made a dent. I feel terrible for slacking off, but after 8.5 hours of work and trekking through all the slush and snow, I end up passing out on my bed. I did finish one of the novels for my CAN LIT class though. I’m starting on Margret Atwood’s ‘Alias Grace‘. I can’t say I’m absorbed, and I was never a huge fan of her writing – but hopefully, the story gets better.
I need to write more!! I have a ton of deadlines coming up and I don’t even have drafts for some of them. URGHH
I also need to reread those plays for my second semester of Shakespeare. I still have to meet up with people after New Years and it’s cutting into my prep time – but what can I do? Friends are important, and I need to loosen up a bit, too.
I went to see Frida last night. The museum is CRAZY crowded. It was a members only night, so I assumed it’d be dead – but I guess not. Sigh, I’d better go during the day time.
All my moaning and complaints about not having enough hours in a day are biased, I’ve been obsessed with this Korean drama called School 2013. It’s a refreshingly realistic (though occasionally exaggerated for dramatic effect) look at the Korean education system. I won’t fangirl about it here, but ARGH!!! One word: BROMANCE!
Meanwhile, I’ve been listening to a lot of jazz. It’s mostly Holiday themed – but still lovely. Do any of you use Songza? It takes me a while to find a playlist that is compatible with my taste, but it’s still pretty great!
Leave a comment | tags: Alias Grace, Anna Karenina, Aristotle, Arts, Boxing Day, Christmas, Hobbit, Kdrama, KFC, Kim Woo Bin, literature, School 2013 | posted in ART, BOOKS, Chums, LIFE, WORK, WRITE
I am in the habit of exchanging music, literature, and art with like-minded friends. A recent one to a music major went something like this (below). I’ve edited the emails a little for continuity and clarity. Heads up: these opinions are not meant to offend anybody. all opinions and views are solely mine and those of my friend’s.
what do you think of this interpretation. it’s a bit sloppy, but i think i like it.
(ignore the wacky site, i can’t find a youtube version)
the reply (I’ve bolded the parts I take issue with):
The one thing this pianist does well, is bringing out the melodic voice.
Sometimes, maybe it’s too much that the chord qualities are not so clear.
For that reason, he should play more Bach..
Other than the melody line, I wasn’t so impressed,
I can’t feel much difference between duple and triple.
Also, when there are two notes between the hands, they don’t land quite together.
Of course Debussy writes the arpeggio sign all over the place, but you can’t really do arpeggios with just 2 notes— and I think that he is not intentionally doing it. Just lack of focus on those notes..
Well, Piano is hard and that’s why I’m not doing it.
And actually, I think that interpretations don’t really matter that much.
Unless it’s a disaster. Most people won’t even notice the subtle nuances..
Instead of nailing down every notes, playing the same music for 10 years, people need to move on and learn other things..
Now, classical musicians are different from each other only because of subtle nuances in interpretations, which are not even that big of a deal. They lack of unique personality, and I don’t know if I should consider them as a part of the creative world—- compare these classical music performers to fine artists, actors, composers, writers and choreographers. How uncreative they are!
Well, he isn’t intensively trained as a classical musician-so I don’t expect him to have the chops. I didn’t much like the YouTube vids I found of him.
I am one of those people that REALLY care about the nuances. There are a lot of musicians that are technically competent, but I dislike their style of playing. I think that is y I like Joshua bell, he doesn’t have the best tech chops, but I like the way he lets his music breathe.
Although it is true that a lot of pieces are overdone by musicians, I don’t mind. There is a reason why some works are timeless. The guy prob got a lot of joy out of doing a beautiful piece of music, and that’s never wrong.
what a good Clair de lune I should listen to?
Hmm. I thought Nuances meant very small details.
From the way you’re describing, the differences that you describe seem pretty big.
You mentioned about musicians who are technically competent and compared those to Bell, whom you admire for the music breathing.
This difference seemed to me pretty big deal.
Of course, these things should matter.
My definition of nuances is something very small- choices you make in nuances are neither right or wrong, it’s just a matter of taste. Well, somebody could say playing music purely with technical proficiency is also a matter of taste (because there are a lot of them and some are very successful), but I don’t really buy that, so no, not in my definition.
Although this one doesn’t say the name of the Pianist…. This one nailed down every note.
Ok, perhaps what I meant was INTERPRETATION, which, in a way, is the sum of all these nuances?
ALL RIGHT, so i took umbrage that my friend doesn’t place much importance on nuances, which, for me, is what makes a particular recording great. What is the purpose of covers, if not to make the piece your own? I’m not sure what he would say is the most importance “ingredient” in a successful, truthful cover.
In the email thread, we ran into a conflict over our usage of the words NUANCE and INTERPRETATION.
Here is what I got from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (i wanted the OED
, but can’t). My understanding of the two words in context are in bold.
Definition of INTERPRETATION
: a particular adaptation or version of a work, method, or style
: a teaching technique that combines factual with stimulating explanatory information <natural history interpretation program>
Definition of NUANCE
distinction or variation
: sensibility to, awareness of, or ability to express delicateshadings (as of meaning, feeling, or value)
Leave a comment | tags: Arts, Classical, Classical music, classical music performers, Claude Debussy, Johann Sebastian Bach, Joshua Bell, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, music, Musical composition, Piano | posted in ART, Chums, LIFE, MUSIC
This is the finale to my seeing Picasso series. What follows is a mesh-mash of things. Hope you enjoyed it!
A random “artsy” shot of the museum.
this is the museum cafe (situated right outside the Picasso souvenir shop).
I was doodling along during my visit – so here is one of the quick studies. For my embarrassing comparison:
and then I started drawing random people.
I became attached to these miniature boats and wanted to document each one of them. bUt of course, I got shouted at by the security guard and had to restrain myself.
the level of detail is insaneeeee
photos of Picasso in the hallway leading to the exhibit.
After 3 hours of me going obsessive (my friend was pretty tired of the place by then) – we went to this quaint little French place for dinner.
they had these cute sketch collages on the walls – so appropriate after a night a the museum.
I had looked up the place before I left for the day and saw that they were big on mussels. At about 9pm, we got to the joint and the waiter told me they “ran out of” the damn things. Suffice to say, I was pretty disappointed. After much undecided looks at the menu, we got:
Believe it or not, we did not order the same dish – they just look identical. I had a very gamey (ugh) braised lamb shank, and my friend had some sort of beef ribs.
the sauce was a tad weird
All in all, I had a good great time (evident by the fact that I have been back to see the exhibit 3 times now). I realized that the brass sculptures I mentioned in part 2 are called THE BATHERS. So I’ll go back and update that post soon!
1 Comment | tags: beef ribs, Cubism, french place, lamb shank, Pablo Picasso, souvenir shop | posted in ART, Chums
I had been anticipating my visit to the AGO to see the Picasso exhibit (150 +paintings and sculptures from his private collection) ever since I saw its adverts all over the city. Throughout middle school and high school, I basically thought his art was weird and incomprehensible. Now, I don’t think this is a controversial statement to make – most people consider non-realistic art “modern”, which translates into odd in casual speech (IMO). I had studied him in an art history course and still, he remains an enigmatic, almost larger than life character. Picasso himself loved the mysterious nature of his work. He encouraged the notion that his pieces did not obviously express or imply a particular message.
Suffice to say, I was a little apprehensive – but more importantly, I was excited. I’d seen a few of his originals in various museums in Boston and NYC (the MET) – but never had the chance to actually study the paintings (the downside of being in a tour). This could be the day I gain a firmer grasp of his art, his style, his culture.
I had secured a pair of tickets for Wednesday night (half price) and happily synced the audio commentary freely available on the museum’s site. SO after an eight hour day at work, I wolfed down half a cheeseburger leftover from lunch and got myself downtown to join a chum who also hadn’t experienced much live Picasso and was equally interested in the initiation. We met on the steps and skipped the giant queue (having paid before hand) of people who were there for the same show.
I was giddy, practically bouncing on the balls on my feet. After declining a pair of headphones (for the low low charge of $6), we entered the exhibit through a red corridor lined with photos of Picasso and his family. And then we were there:
Beginning with Exhibit Room 1 – it contained some of his early works. Celestina (trans: The Woman With One Eye) caught my eye (pun intended) from the get-go. It’s evidently from his blue period and is a somber, if not slightly terrifying portrait of a lady Picasso knew.
Scholars in the audio accompaniment quote Picasso as being unconcerned with how his art was interpreted. For instance:
Many scholars thought this sculpture was one of Picasso’s happier pieces because they believe the sheep is representative of the harvest season (and thus, good times). BUT Picasso apparently retorted (paraphrased) “it could’ve been any animal, there was no statement at all!”
Personally, I’m a little baffled at Picasso’s reaction. While I appreciate his desire to leave things “free to interpretation” – to devoid this piece of any meaning seems a little… thoughtless? Why did he chose to render a sheep? What was it about the sheep that made it more attractive as a subject? I suppose I like to base my readings on evidence, not on whim.
Anyway – Portrait of Dora Marr must be one of my favorite paintings by Picasso. It’s painted in that curious in-between state. The chair and the body have mostly been broken down into 2-D shapes – but the picture is positively alive. Dora is luminous and her glaze – spell-binding. The way her face is presented seems to suggest that this picture is both candid and posed. Dora’s got one eye trained on the viewer, and the other, seems utterly non-nonchalant.
More to come later this week~
2 Comments | tags: Art, Art history, Celestina, Dora Marr, Museums, New York City, NYC, Pablo Picasso, Painting, Picasso, Visual Arts | posted in ART, Chums, FOOD, LIFE
Emails are perishable, far more so than snail mail. They are not tangible items i have feel in my hands and yet they are so much more easily accessible. But we never do access them once their subject matters have been discussed and dealt with.
Sadly enough, the number of people who still write emails longer than a “I MISS YOU, LET’S HANG SOON” are quickly diminishing as well. People have elevated texting to a fast food type of art. Everything is condenses, so much is meant by those abbreviated words. People are too in tune now. No need to actually speak directly with others when your whole life is on display on facebook.
Mine isn’t, my life – that is.
Maybe I am greedy, want some REAL connection/interaction.
[Another deadline on May 14th – GAHHHHHHHH!! My screenplay is going well. I have to do a lot of research, but it’s quite fun – and I like to be historically accurate.]
I’ve decided to embark on my first baking adventure since high school. I am going to make a chocolate cake for my mother when she comes to visit. It won’t be very fancy, but I’m still looking forward to it.
THURSDAY: Pizza, tomato egg zucchini soup, rice, steamed salmon, decaf americano
FRIDAY: mexican fries, apple pie, decaf coffee (I needed some sort of stimulant, but still want to sleep)
Leave a comment | tags: Cooking, fast food, Pizza, Snail mail | posted in Chums, FOOD, LIFE, Uncategorized
I feel like I’ve been sleep walking this whole week, floaty, airy, etc. In fact, I’ve been so off kilter I think I’ve lost weight (hold on, let me just hop on that scale: well, I still weigh the same).
I’ve always secretly prided myself on knowing what I want to do with my life. And it’s only in recent years that I’ve come to understand that sometimes I don’t know how to go about doing those things. I know this is hardly a startling confession to the wise/mature audience, but it is one that I value. I think it takes some courage to accept that.
I want to write, and so I write. Amateur writers are always told to “write what you know” and to be honest, I know very little. Although I have been very independent for the latter half of my 20 years (without bragging, I’m saying the truth here), I have lived a very sheltered life. I’ve been inside this bubble of predictability and… ordinary-ness.
I was talking to a friend the other day. She’s graduating this spring and she’s going to grad school this fall. When I asked her what her plans are after grad school – she said she didn’t know. She said she just wanted to explore her options and figure out what she’s really passionate about. I love her for saying that, for stating that she doesn’t know where she’s headed but that right now, she’s on a good path. It’s so healthy!
I can say this without fearing the cheese (since she’s ignorant of this blog’s existence) that I really look up to her. She has such a sunny perspective on life and yet it’s got a good dose of practicality. She works so hard (like 3 occupations kind of hard) and she’s saving up for her impending month-long Europe trip. I promised her that if the timing’s right, I’d go with her. But for now, we are going on a weekend trip together this summer. Just the two of us, and we are going to be impulsive and have a blast (just as soon as megabus.com releases those $1 tickets, damn it)!
OK, love-fest over for the moment.
PS. It took me 10 minutes to write this 350 words post. How come papers don’t come so easily!! I’m still doing reflection and analysis, just without the library research!
PPS. Whoa! I dared to be different today and spell-checked: but there were only 3 errors – and they weren’t even legit ones. Like I said at the beginning, it’s a topsy turvy day.
Leave a comment | tags: Education, europe trip, graduateschool, health, mature audience, Recreation, startling confession, travel, United States, vacation | posted in Chums, LIFE