Category Archives: French

Artistic Genius

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My young friend, Margaret, at a fun blog recommended I see this

movie, “Camille Claudel” which is a French movie about Rodin and

one of his many female apprentices, who became enraptured with

him, became an artist by her ‘own right,’ and ultimately finished her

life in a mental

institution for 30 years. This was another example of how being a

woman during a different time period created challenges for her

own ability to present her artwork, mainly sculptures, to the world.

 

Poor dear Camille Claudel.

While getting this movie, you may have to go through a rather

complicated ‘search,’ since mine took me on a nearly ‘wild goose

chase.’

 

This was not available in the state of Ohio, in DVD form?

How is this possible?

 

Anyway, Central Campus of Southern State Community College

sent Delaware County District Library the movie, “Camille Claudel”

in VHS form. Thank goodness, I have one of those tiny televisions

with a VHS ‘drawer’ installed in it. It is one that has accompanied

more than one of my own three children off to college in the late

90’s and early 2000’s.

 

The director is Bruno Nuytten and has the sense of darkness in

his scenes and perspective thrown into his filming close shots.

The main actor, portraying Rodin, is Gerard Depardieu who was

in the American movie, “Green Card” and is well know for his

Academy Award nominated role in, “Jean de Florette.” The

female character is played beautifully by Isabelle Adjani. She

may be recognized for several roles but more famous, at least to

me while playing in, “Ishtar.” She was nominated for her portrayal

of  a character she played in, “Story of Adelett.”

 

This fine French film, “Camille Claudel, fascinated me. It was truly a

disturbing masterpiece. It  was nominated for “Best Foreign Language

Film” in 1989. (Gerard Depardieu was thin and muscular in this film.)

The story begins with a young, lithe woman in an alley in Paris, where

she is digging into a cliff of what looks like mud.  This must have some

amount of ‘clay’ in it.  She is gathering clumps of this, being muddy

from head to foot, and flinging it into her large container; like a bucket.

 

The brutal cold scene depicts snow on the ground.

It is February, 1885.

 

Camille’s story is full of  harrowing and intensely dramatic moments.

I hope you may look up her fantastic sculptures.  One which has the

name of “The Chatterboxes.” In the film, the piece looks like it is

carved from black coal, in its raw material state.

The beautiful sculptures may be viewed at the Musee D’Orsay in

Paris, France. Or much closer, you may look Camille Claudel on

the Internet.

 

Another, called, “Age of Maturity,” a neighbor child named Robert

asks such a sweet and insightful question of Camille of a gorgeous

sculpture:

“How did you know there were people inside the big rock?”

As if she had chiseled them Micah said,

“Out of their hiding place, like in a cave.”

 

My grandson, age 5 1/2 mentioned when I had him come across the

room where I sat at the dining table watching this film.

Micah was over by the living room section of my apartment watching

Saturday morning “Sponge Bob Square Pants” episodes and eating

pancakes he had helped make.

 

Later, he took a “cartoon break” to wash the dishes, taking his shirt off

and standing on my step stool. He rushed out to see a particularly

dramatic scene where the noise caught his attention.

 

Sadly, Camille Claudel was used and debased in every way.

She became a model, muse and an original artist and sculptor,

under the tutelage of Rodin.

 

She lost touch with her father, mother, brother and reality by

becoming immersed and having a long-lasting affair with Rodin.

Rodin’s wife who lives apart from Rodin, while he is ensconced

in his huge studio, calls Camille loudly on the streets, “Whore”

and many obscenities.

 

I felt it was most depressing that her husband is still given his

wife’s adoring attention, not disparaging HIM with the same

kind of swearing in other scenes. She persuades him after many

years of his intimate relationship with Camille, to move away.

When Camille is eventually thrown out of Rodin’s studio, having

served her time with him for almost 28 years, I cried. It is such

a tragedy, but you cannot help wanting to see more. . .

 

Camille writes long letters to the Court and Magistrate, asking

and pleading for her own sculptures and art pieces, ones she

designed to be given back. She independently had created lovely

marble sculptures with fine detailed hands, arched backs and

her brother finds her living in the upstairs of an abandoned

building, wishing to use his fame as a poet, along with his good

friend, “Blot,” who wishes to be her ‘benefactor.’ He is meaning

by helping financially and wonderfully is not asking her to give

her still beautiful body to him.

 

There is a point when the Court says she was ‘paid’ for her donations

of her artwork. (They were stolen and kept by Rodin.)

Camille defiantly declares,

“I burned the check!”

 

Her anger at her inability to get her own art back leads her to yell

about “Rodin’s gang.” She feels that France calling her sculptures,

“Property of the State,” are wrong but cannot find anyone at any

level to listen to her pleas. Her friend and lawyer, “Dr. Michaux,”

tried his best to defend her. The cops who haul her each time out

of the courtroom seem to show a more sympathetic view, as they

take her away.

 

When her father is dying, Camille goes to see him, she listens but

cries as he says she ‘disappointed him,’ but he ‘still loves her.’

There is something hurtful and touching in her studying the

Her brother, after the one singularly amazing gallery opening,

describes her pieces as lighting the inner beauty and qualities

of people through her sculptures. They have such delicate and

sensitive details, but she later while they are transported back

to where she is ‘squatting,’ is told not one piece was sold. Her

appearance in finery at the opening, with rouge and red lips

made her appear scandalous, unfortunately.

 

Camille destroyed many of her pieces, her madness in these

scenes of devastation is understandable. I would have gone

mad, under the circumstances.

The authorities never jail her in prison.

 

It was her own brother who ultimately, ‘betrayed her,’ and using

the ‘excuse’ of preventing her from hurting herself, placed her in

the mental institution.

 

Camille Claudel was put into a mental institution in March, 1913.

She lived, ‘imprisoned’ there, until 1943.

 

Camille never did any more artwork after she was placed there.

This was her own way of rebelling and refusing to ‘buckle under

authority.’

 

Thank so much for recommending this, Margaret! Your comment,

after reading my post about Mozart’s sister, Maria Anna Mozart

led me to watch this. You were so right in your choice of this movie,

another example where because of her gender, along with her

choice to become involved with a famous sculptor and artist,

she lost herself.

You may find Margaret who has a clever and funny video of

herself recently on a post at:

http://verybangled.com

 

 

The best question I feel needs to be asked,

“Where does creative passion separate from insanity?”

 

 

Onward later tonight, I will be watching, “Amadeus,” which I had

seen so many years before. . .

My grandson, Micah, is with me, while playing Teenage Mutant

Ninja Turtle ‘free games,’  I will try to check a few posts out.

Mystery about a Sister

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Be prepared to read about a woman’s story, one which may or may

not have been relevant and meaningful to the musical world. I feel

there is a true basis and possibility that she made a big difference in

how her famous brother became who he was. I have to admit, I was

on my  own personal “movie fest” over the weekend. Originally I was

thinking, I would just post some of my favorites and give short film

critiques.

 

Somehow, this evolved into something ‘bigger’ than I expected. It

was time-consuming and yet, I felt like a private investigator with

her mind open and ready for understanding and analyzing the facts.

I looked up, using different sources, to find out more about this

fascinating woman.

 

Now that I may, or may not, have your attention, I will tell you the

riveting movie that led to my research.

 

MOVIE REVIEW:

“Mozart’s Sister,” a French film which needs you to read the sub-titles.

 

In the movie,  which came out in 2011, Rene Feret is the director

and a young actress who is his daughter, Marie Feret, plays the

sister to her character’s famous younger brother. Historical details

that were  discerned through research shall follow this summary of

this fine movie.

 

First, here are three splendid comments from famous reviewers,

starting with one who’s deceased.  Roger Ebert, “Chicago Sun-Times,”

was always one of my favorite reviewers. He is such a trustworthy

man to recommend movies.

(Of course, many of you will recognize his name and the television

show which I used to enjoy- “Siskel and Ebert at the Movies.”)

 

Here is what Roger Ebert said of, “Mozart’s Sister:”

“Marie Feret is luminous.” (in this role.)

 

David Noh, “Film Journey” says:

“A triumph!”

 

Ronnie Scheib, “Variety” Magazine:

“A treat for classical music lovers and cinephiles alike.”

 

What was a turning point in this movie which motivated me to

investigate and research?

What happened to make me seek the truth?

 

When Leopold Mozart, father of Maria Anna (also referred to as

Marianne and affectionately known as, “Nannerl”) tells his only

daughter when she is interested in writing musical compositions,

“Harmony and counterpoint are not understood by women.”

 

Of course, this caused me to say indignantly to my television screen

which was innocently displaying the film,

“That’s outrageous!”

 

Big sister, “Nannerl,” is helpful to toddler brother, “Wolfie,” and

helps him practice his keyboard lessons on a harpsichord. This

baroque instrument is lovely sounding. The scales and other early

beginning lessons are closely supervised by their father.

 

At age 5 or 6, “Wolfie” is paraded in front of wealthy families and

is also given an audience with royalty. He is a cute boy and shows

great potential and musical aptitude. The film shows Wolfgang

using creative interpretation of the music and dramatic arm

flourishes. He was supposedly beginning to write his own musical

compositions at age 4 or 5.

 

In the beginning of the movie,  their coach’s wheel breaks after

going over a rut in the country road. It is late and the Mozart family

stays in a nearby nunnery. It is interesting to note that there are

two sisters living there. Their story emphasizes the difference in

the way male and female genders were treated in this period of time.

The two girls have been shuffled and taken away from the palace,

being raised by nuns.

 

At one point, there is a name mentioned of the two girls’ brother,

who is being raised to be a ‘Royal.’ The part that Maria Anna plays,

and is asked to carry out a charade, is to transport a letter to their

brother, if the Mozart family should be ever happen to appear at

Court. Anna Maria treasures this new friendship and promises to

keep the letter safe and take it to their estranged brother.

 

This movie would engage someone who has been enjoying the inner

workings of the staff and upper class levels or tiers of British society

on the PBS show, “Downton Abbey.” Although this is a whole other

period of time, there are still the ideas of class structure and family

expectations being expressed. Definitely, it is an eye-opener in both

the film about the late 1700’s and the television series of the 1900’s.

Traditions and historical details about clothing, customs and roles

women and men played also are featured in both of these storylines.

 

At the end of the film, there is not much said about Nannerl’s  being

anything but helpful to her brother.  There are no illusions that she

may have helped Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart compose his greatest

works.

 

In the movie’s middle,  there is a nice romantic interlude, where

Maria Anna disguises herself as a boy, in a white-haired wig, to give

the hand written letter to the young Monarch from his sister. They

use the young man’s title in the film as ‘Louis XV.’ This story becomes

a very sweet part of the movie. I will not tell you about how it unfolds,

hoping you will someday pursue viewing this one. I will say it depicts

Nannerl’s character as having spunk, showing independence and also,

her romantic side.

 

Before the credits roll, there are a few sparse details given. The written

lettering after the movie ends mentions Maria Anna helped to write

some of her own sonatas as a young woman. It mentions she helped

Wolfgang transcribe his first writings, since he scribbled them. There

is a subtle undertone of the possibility that she was his ‘muse.’  As his

sister, she may have written (created) some of his early works.

 

The movie has places that explain traditional upbringing of “fine young

ladies.” The women are encouraged to wait on men, not to further their

education. Maria Anna tries to ‘rock the establishment.’ Her mother has

disappointment and her father shows anger for her independent streak.

She doesn’t wish to follow the social order of the period. I was rooting

for her, all the way!

 

RESEARCH:

If you enjoy history and reading about a famous person’s family,

you may enjoy this part of the post. . .

 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived from January 1756 until December,

1791. There is confusion about why he died at such an early age of 35.

 

He was the son of a musician and teacher of music, Leopold Mozart.

His mother was named Anna. He was born in Salzburg, which later

became part of, or known as,  Austria. Wolgang’s father and mother

had seven children, only two that lived beyond infancy. The oldest

living child was a daughter named Maria Anna, nicknamed, “Nannerl.”

There were four years between the two children, sister and brother.

 

When Wolfgang was 3 years old, his sister was learning her lessons,

which included language, music and reading. She was practicing

with her brother close by her side. Later, she would be by his side,

while he was the one leading the lessons. This relationship lasted

probably all of their childhood. “Wolfie” was her little shadow,

trying to do everything she did.

 

There is a notebook that Leopold made for Maria Anna, which is

known as “Nannerl’s Notenbuch” or also written as, “Notenbuch

fur Nannerl.” In English, this was “Nannerl’s Music Book.” This

amazing composition book demonstrated the first lessons that

Leopold gave to her, along with her brother. It consists of only

(originally) 48 pages, now only 36 pages remain.  This book has

her father’s exercises for her practicing beginner harpsichord

pieces. This also included anonymous minuets and some of her

father’s  original  works.  Two composers,  Carl P. E. Bach and

George C. Wagenseil, had their pieces transcribed as passages

in this musical exercise book.

 

In 1982, a man (just a coincidence) named Wolfgang Plath

studied the handwriting within the Notebook and attributed

the variety to consist of five different handwriting samples

or sources. There are evidences of the collaboration between

Leopold, the father, and his son, “Wolfie.”

 

Leopold took his family touring around countries and the cities

of Vienna, Austria and Paris, France. Maria Anna Mozart was

born in 1751 and lived 78 years, until 1829. When she became a

young lady, it was considered inappropriate for her to continue

to publicly play the harpsichord, piano or sing. Up until she was

18, Maria was part of her musical touring family. A biographer

considered her to be a great singer and an,

“Excellent harpsichord player and fortepiano player.”

 

Sadly, there is no mention about Nannerl being a conduit, or

letter transporter, between the sisters raised in a nunnery and a

member of Louis XV’s “Court” or “Royalty.”  This was the main

part of the plot I enjoyed in the movie I reviewed earlier.

 

At age 18, Maria Anna went home to Salzburg with her mother,

to teach musical lessons and stay at home. The following reason

was mentioned in one source,

“This was due to her being of marriageable age.”

 

Wolfgang and his father both wrote letters to Maria Anna which

some have been saved. Wolfgang during the 1770’s, was touring

in Italy and mentioned Nannerl’s writing musical compositions

and Wolfgang goes so far as to ‘praise her musical works.’

 

There are no references in her multiple letters from her father

to any of her own musical compositions in his correspondence.

 

An interesting note (and slightly salacious fact) is mentioned

in some of the biographers’ notes about Maria Anna’s and

Wolfgang’s close, intimate relationship. When they were young,

they developed a “secret language” and they had an “imaginary

kingdom.” They pretended they were married and carried out

their positions while playing together, as “Queen” and “King.”

 

There are a few indications and there is evidence of Wolfgang’s

using sexual wordplay which he used in other letters to his

lovers or girlfriends. This can be found also in the words he

chose and were included in his writing to his sister. One

historian considers this to be a ‘strange relationship’ for a

sister and a brother.

 

As an aside, my two brothers and I would play ‘house’ but

we would not have myself be the “mother” and one of my

brothers be the “father.” We would instead play that one of

the brothers was the “father” and other brother and I were

his “children.” Like the old television show, “Family Affair,”

where the uncle has “Buffy” and twins “Cissy” and “Jody.”

(I used to love this show, with Sebastian Cabot playing the

butler/nanny and Brian Keith playing the bachelor uncle.

did you know it ran from 1966 until 1971?) Or I would play

the ‘mother’ role and the brothers were my ‘kids.’ We usually

had company or neighbors over.  Once in awhile, they would

‘marry’ one of my girlfriends, or once in awhile, I would ‘marry’

one of their guy friends. I mention this to confirm that I would

also think it strange that the siblings played ‘Queen and King’

together over a Kingdom.

 

A sad note about Maria Anna’s independence shown in the

movie, “Mozart’s Sister.” This is not to be found anywhere in

any biographies or any letters. She is shown to be subservient

to her father, allowing him to forbid her to marry a man named,

“Franz d’Ippold.”  They were both young, he was a Captain and

a private tutor. When he proposed, there is an implication she

would have liked to say, “Yes.”  There is a letter in the family’s

collection where her brother, Wolfgang, tried to persuade her to

stand up to her father. Ultimately, Maria Anna was ‘forced’ to

turn down Captain Franz d’Ippold’s proposal.

 

Years went by, Maria Anna was allowed to marry at age 32, when

asked by a man named Johann Baptist Franzvan Berchtold  “un

Sonnenburg.” They were  married in 1783.  Listen to the “fun” life

Maria Anna participated in:  She became the wife of a widower

with five children she helped to raise. She had three more of her

own children with Johann. When she had her first born son,

she named him Leopold. Her father insisted on taking the her

only son to raise him in Salzburg at his home. The biography

doesn’t mention her mother’s role in this drama. From 1785

until he died in 1787, Leopold Sr. wrote letters and in a journal

telling about his toilet training Jr. and teaching him how to talk.

 

There was no mention of the boy’s illness nor a reason why he

should not have been raised as a baby until age 2 by his own

mother.  There is some speculation for her father’s thinking he

would raise another musical prodigy. Since he felt he was the

reason Wolfgang A. Mozart turned out the way he did.

 

After all, Leopold Mozart, Sr. did write and publish a violin

music textbook.

 

SUMMARY:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was known for his classical

musical compositions, which included over 600 works.

They include symphonies, concertos, operas and choral

music.

 

Beethoven, while young, lived in the shadow of Mozart.

During his early years composing his own original music,

he was constantly compared to Mozart’s body of work.

 

Composer, Joseph Hayden said of Mozart’s legacy:

“Posterity will not see such a talent in another 100 years.”

 

Wolfgang A. Mozart married Constanze and had two sons.

He died at the early age of 35 years old.

His magnificent “Requiem” was never completed.

His music is still revered and considered the best in classical

music.

 

Maria Anna was never given any credit (that I could find out

about) for her influence on her brother’s music nor were any

of her musical compositions published. The book, “Nannerl’s

Notenbuch” is not considered to be anything but her lesson

book to practice and play music using the hand written

exercises.

 

I need to see the movie, “Amadeus,”  (again) to see if there

are any musical or notable references to his sister. If you

have a good memory or recently seen this, let me know in

the comments whether there is mention of Anna Maria

Mozart please.

 

I strongly recommend, “Mozart’s Sister” as a film to savor

and enjoy, while wishing the story line really happened.

 

Truthfully, being an older sister myself, how could “Nannerl”

NOT have had an influence upon her little brother, “Wolfie?”

 

Either way you look at this famous musician’s life,

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart made a huge impact

on the musical world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go Forth: Go MOMA Art! Go Golden Globes, and Go Bucks!

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Tragedy struck us through our worldwide connections and in our own

personal, creative bones. We felt the shattering pain and anguish.

Many areas of the world are in our thoughts and prayers.

Especially France.

 

Please allow me to cheer you up with some ‘pieces’ of France being

shown on display here for all of us to view. . .

 

Go Henri Matisse:

Be Inspired!

 

This may not be appropriate but there is beauty to celebrate still.

The Museum of Modern Art has a fantastic collection of Henri

Matisse’s last pieces of artwork. The curator of MOMA gave us

a glimpse of the fine examples of his cutting with scissors and

designs. These were made at the end of his 84 years in life, when

he had become nearly an invalid, not venturing out very often

into the world. The curator told CBS Sunday Morning reporter,

Matisse continued sharing and

expressing himself through:

“Reducing colors to the essentials.”

Later, the curator who is giving a tour of the new exhibit of

Henri Matisse, lets us know where she stands about those who

may be stuck inside,

“An artist should never be a prisoner . . . or set away from the

outside life.”

Do you remember making mosaics out of cut paper? Do you

also remember how much fun it was to fold a paper in half

and produce a heart or a pumpkin?

I remember how wonderful it was to make little cuts into the

heart and make it become quite detailed and adding scrolls

and curlicues.  Try this with red or pink paper, making the

same kind of cuts you made while creating snowflakes.

 

One of the major cut paper works Matisse made was of a

great big mural of swimmers, some were diving, others

intertwined and still others, heading off into the pool of

water, solitary gymnasts.

 

Henri Matisse grew up bin the textile district of France.

Some of his cuttings became ones out of thin, sheer fabrics.

He hired assistants to pin the cut paper or fabric pieces up on plain

sheets of paper, giving directions to how they should be arranged.

There are black and white photographs capturing the over seventy-

year old man starting and planning this new way of expressing

himself, having put down the paintbrushes by this time.

 

Henri Matisse’s paper designs were incorporated into a lovely book

called, “Jazz” which if full of jazz musicians and musical notes. He

was commissioned to produce images that the onlooker becomes

absorbed into, viewing players and instruments of the musical

scene. You can almost hear the jazz notes and rhythms through

the flow of the brightly colored impressionistic designs. They are

modern and yet, so timeless found in the 1947 book. In the 1985

and 2003 editions, with fewer artistic representations, are ones

which were introduced by famous people. The circus and theater

were also influential in his imaginative portrayals of musicians.

 

Go Golden Globes:

Be Entertained!

 

I won’t tell you who will look the most beautiful nor will I

concentrate on the two amusing and beautiful hostesses for

this grand affair. I will tell you my personal favorite movies

and the song I will hope to hear winning Best Song. I will

choose the best actor and actress in both the dramatic film

arena and  the always odd combination of comedic/musical

presentations.

 

 

Best Actor in a Dramatic Film Role~

**I would hope that Eddie Redmayne would win this Best Actor

Golden Globe award.

“Theory of Everything” has the fine skill of transforming Eddie

Redmayne into a very debilitated Stephen Hawking. It is a very

upbeat and triumphant movie and Eddie’s ability to make you

believe he is actually suffering from ALS is incredible.

Although there are many worthy actors for this category, I felt

portraying Stephen Hawking in a believable manner was the

most challenging character role to fulfill.

If I were to choose others, “Selma” leading actor David Oyelowo,

Benedict Cumberbash would also get ‘nods’ from me.

 

Best Actress in a Dramatic Film Role~

Many would say Rosamund Pike is the one who really created

an eerie rendition of the main character in, “Gone Girl.” I would

agree she really portrayed this despicable character well.

I would also like to say if Amy Adams had not just won last year’s

award, (she was nominated for two movies last year) for “American

Hustle,” she may deserve this honor for the movie, “Big Eyes.”

I have not seen Julianne’s double movie roles in “Still Alice” and

“Maps to the Stars” but just watched her in the 2013 movie, “What

Maisie Knew,” which was a four star movie role. She played an out

of control musician from a rock band, who loves her daughter,

Maisie. The character is not able to grasp what is needed to carry

out her role as a mother. It was a very good and interesting role

for Julianne. I will try to see the more recent two movies that were

nominated for her performances.

**Overall, in my own experience, I would choose from my ‘gut’

reaction and hope that Reese Witherspoon wins for her role in

the movie, “Wild.”

 

Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Film:

Emily Blunt in “Into the Woods” is my favorite in this category.

(I wish James Corden could win, but this may not be his year.)

 

Helen Mirren is loved by actors, critics and audiences, so she

may win the Golden Globe in this category for her wonderful

character shown in “The 100 Foot Journey.”

 

 

Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Film:

I would say that Michael Keaton will win, he is the “favorite,”

for his role in (what I consider a dramatic/fantasy role) in the

movie, “Birdman.”

I think that Ralph Fiennes did a great job in the Budapest Hotel

movie and that Bill Murray showed humor and depth in his role

in “St. Vincent.”

 

2015 Prediction:

The song I liked the best was from the recent 2015 movie, “Unbroken,”

while the credits are rolling. The song and dramatic musical score

are haunting and beautiful. This movie is outstanding, telling the

true story of Louis Zamperini. It is very emotional and worthy of

winning Best Picture of the Year in 2016.  Bill and I saw this two

days ago and found it to be a powerful story of the triumph of the

human spirit. It will probably win for Best Director, Angelie Jolie,

Best Movie, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.

 

 

Best Film of 2014:

“Boyhood,” took 12 years to make. It filled two entire pages in the

“Cleveland Plain Dealer” about the way Richard Linklater directed

this movie, choosing to follow a boy for twelve years starting when

he was little. It will win due to its being a ‘First of its Kind.” I have

myself on a ‘wait list’ at the library for this one. I want to watch it

at home, stop it, pause it, rewind it, since I will enjoy the story of

this boy’s life unfolding.

 

I felt this way about both the two other serious movies I saw since

2015 started. They came out late in 2014. “Theory of Everything”

shows motivation and strength of character. The reality of ALS,

after Stephen Hawking was told he would only live two years after

this disease started racking havoc on his body, then living past 72

years and hopefully going strong. An amazing and powerful story.

 

“The Imagination Game” shows Alan Turing overcoming prejudice,

obstacles and using his genius mind to ‘fight’ the Germans. This film

proved science and knowledge can be fascinating subjects for a movie.

 

Best Songs from 2014 Movies:

I cannot choose, I love both of these singers and songs.

Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye singing, “Mercy Is” from the movie,

“Noah.”

John Legend and Common singing, “Glory” from the movie,

“Selma.”

 

 

In the Category of Animated Films, I would choose “Big Hero 6”

since my grandsons learned about compassion from this film. It

was a fun children’s animated movie where the idea of creative

thought is also presented.

For artistry and creativity, (yet not so entertaining for children),

I would recommend “The Book of Life.” This colorful and very

intriguing film had scary designs that resembled voodoo images,

but would be great for older children. This could inspire art projects,

too. The others in this category were all entertaining including “The

Lego Movie.”

 

 

 

 

Go Buckeyes:

Get Motivated!

 

Ohio State University is playing the championship game on

Monday night, so this may be the last of my posting. I will

head home after work, take a nap and hope we win over the

Oregon Ducks in the College Championships!

 

 

 

 

Roses, roots, and thorns

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The letters in the word, “rose” can be rearranged to spell “Eros.” How appropriate

that one of the most beautiful flowers has the letters who form the Greek “God of

Love.” The Peace rose was named 50 or more years ago. It is a pale yellow-tinged

rose with pink tipped petals.  Thorns can also help you to reach another letter

combination: “sore.” You may be sore from the needle-like thorns or you may be

sore, filled with heartache. While the rose still gives us light and lovely radiance

in its flowering.

 

In the 15th century, Henry VI declared a War of Roses. How sad and upsetting to

label anything that is filled with death and killing, with the word, rose, in its title.

 

In Medieval times, a white rose suspended from the ceiling of a room meant there

would be ‘secrets’ shared or imparted. It designated conversations which must be

totally private. The term, “subrosa,”  means “confidential.”

 

Roses have been found much longer ago than Medieval times. There were drawings

of flowers on cave walls. Particularly, historically discovered on cave walls, was

a five-petaled “rose” drawing found in Crete during the period of 1450 B.C.

 

Traveling even farther back in time, roses have been discovered by archaeologists,

in fossilized form. The rocks have been preserved and photographed have come

from the beginning of Earth’s plant life, possibly the oldest ‘flower’ ever. This is

dating back 30 million years ago. One could almost, truthfully, exclaim that roses

have been around forever.

 

In 76 A.D., the Roman writer named, Pliny, included 30 different remedies and

medicines derived from roses. Roses were used in ancient times for healing wounds,

treating insomnia (rose tea), stomach disorders and “toothaches.” Rose petals also

helped to cover the awful smell of death or illness. By scattering rose petals around

enclosed spaces, you could tolerate the odor of diseases, including the Plague.

 

 

 

In the Talmud, it is written only pink roses were allowed to bloom in Jerusalem.

The city’s name means, “Paradise,” which makes sense the pink roses be there

to fill the air with their aromatic, floral scent. Visually and using senses of all kinds,

to be immersed in Paradise. This is how some gardeners feel in their gardens.

 

The 13th century rose was brought back to Europe, from the Holy Land crusaders.

This is considered “the Old European” traditional rose. Another ‘root’ history of

the rose is it may have come form Italian travelers, from the Gulf of Salerno. The

trail of the rose, also has possibilities with the Roman Emperors cultivating them

after bringing them back from their Middle East travels.

 

The Chinese have incorporated roses in their artistry and have been given credit

for those beautiful “tea roses,” since they have for 1000’s of years compared the

scent to the aroma of the hearty tea leaves.

 

Explorers of the 1800’s, also have been considered ones who brought the first

seedlings of roses from Asia. These explorers brought these to Europe, which

then American settlers brought seeds of all kinds of plants, including seedlings

of roses to our continent. While traveling across the ocean, in 1692, explorers

discovered roses prevented sea-sickness.

 

The belief of the rose as an aphrodisiac is more than just a romantic novel’s

idea. The appearance of this belief goes back centuries using rose hips as

part of a mood enhancer. The rose hips are also known to have Vitamin

C which is considered a natural way to help prevent depression. It is also

considered to be a way to prevent ‘apathy’ and ‘resignation,’ in books of

old folklore and medicinal texts.

 

Marie Antoinette’s good friend, Pierre Joseph-Redoute, was a wonderful painter

and artist, along with being one who enjoyed gardening. One of his famous rose

paintings is hung in one of the French Art museums. The artist is known for his

botanical paintings, which have become made into prints for decorating homes,

along with the Palace. In France, roses are included in 12th century cathedral

stained glass windows.

 

In the story, “Sleeping Beauty,” the rose vines with their thorny protection make

it very difficult for the Prince to wake Beauty from her sleep. The vines grow and

surround the castle while she is deep in slumber.

 

Withering roses mean that love is transitory and love can fade. There are many

ways the flower is used as a metaphor  in books, poetry and stories. Blue roses

come from a gene from a blue petunia injected into a white rose. I think you may

remember in the play, “The Glass Menagerie,” the brother calls the invalid sister,

“Blue Roses,” which indicate the possibility that she has pleurisy.  Australia was

the country given credit for having the clever horticulturalists and scientists who

managed to ‘create’ this blue rose. Symbolism of the rose would take many pages

of writing, along with intensive research.

 

When Carl Jung analyzed a rose depicted in a church stained-glass window with a

magical circle surrounding the rose, he described it in quite mythological terms.

Jung said the rose symbolized,

“Our mortal yearnings for Union with the Cosmos.”

 

Dreamers sometimes are accused of looking through “rose colored glasses,” which at

times, sometimes I prefer them.

 

The expression, “second hand rose,” may have its roots from the days when Henry II’s

mistress (who would have been considered ‘second class’ or less worthy of his time,

since the wife was given preferential treatment) died an early death. Poor Rosamunda.

 

Tough times or parts of our life that are challenging make our lives, “No bed of roses.”

 

“Rosy” cheeks may depict a ‘picture of good health,’ as the children in the Campbell

Soup advertisements display round, rosy cheeks  while they entice us to warm up with

their product.

 

The oldest living rose bush is the size of a tree. This may be found by a cathedral in

Hildesheim, Germany. There is a historic document which provides proof of it dating

back to possibly 815 A.D. It is considered, “The Thousand Year Old Rose Tree.”

The story or legend of the Lower Saxony, Germany tree, is that during WWII, the

bush caught on fire from Allied bombs. The root system was removed, undamaged.

It is still flourishing and flowering in Hildesheim, Germany.

 

From the history of roses through the ages, it seems that they are meant to continue

to grow against all odds. While we are meant to benefit not only from their beauty and

romance, but admire their longevity and endurance. The Peace rose radiates its power

of Hope to us all. The rose holds a special place in our lives and it is amazing to learn

from its very existence.

Roses have flourished from the beginning of time and will continue to do so,

until the Earth stops spinning.

~reocochran 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagination Gone Wild

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Monkeys and the moon are such amusing subjects for children’s books. I have

always loved, “Curious George” and his adventures. I also treasure the worn-out

copy we have of “Goodnight Moon.” There is an old classic, “Moon Man,” that has

been made into a sweet and warm video (2012.) It was beautifully animated by

German filmmakers.

 

This is based on Tomi Ungerer’s 1966 book, “Moon Man.” The author narrates the

film. If you have not read Tomi Ungerer’s books before, I would recommend, “The

Three Robbers” or “Allumette: A Fable,” to incorporate imagination and action

from a fine illustrator and author. Tomi Ungerer is famous for his ability to write

in three languages and is often quoted. There are a series of his posters with the

famous quotes available to view online.

 

Recently I have found a unique and short article that was about “Goodnight, Moon.”

I had never read Margaret Wise Brown’s biographical details and was very much

dismayed to find out that she died at the young age of 42 years old, having suffered

from a ruptured appendix. Her “Runaway Bunny,” is another all-time favorite among

my three children. I have not read it as much to my grandchildren, since it is indeed

the ‘perfect’ book to read to one’s own children. If the bunny is going to run away,

the mother rabbit will become all the things that are needed to stay by the bunny’s

side. (A sail on a boat, a flower in a garden, etc.) She passed away in 1952, having

left us with such beautiful illustrations and stories.

 

They have recently published a new collection of previously never-seen-before

lullabies written by Margaret Wise Brown called, “Goodnight Songs.” I cannot

wait to see this book, hoping to savor the eloquent words that she chooses to

use, along with hoping for more of her beautiful artwork shown in this book.

 

Did you know recently, there are numerous ‘copy cat’ books of Margaret Wise

Brown’s “Goodnight Moon?” There have been several versions of her classic tale

springing forth recently. The article I found gives this a spin by describing them as,

‘a host of imitators.’ This seems like a more polite version of what I would call

these plagiarists, stealing someone who is no longer here to ‘sue them’ over her

original theme!

 

Here are some of the amusing titles of those who have done “take-off’s” of the

“Goodnight Moon” book:

“Goodnight iPad,” where the newest technology is part of the book’s theme,

including a lot of cords in the child’s bedroom.

“Goodnight Nanny-Cam,” which is poking fun at modern parents who have

installed this to keep watch over the Nanny. One of the lines includes this,

“A bilingual nanny who was whispering hush.”)

Beyond what you would wish to have children listen to, the parody of the

book takes an adult direction in, “Goodnight Keith Moon.” Yes, there is a

line from this book going for laughs of a more seriously cynical kind:

“Goodnight rock stars, goodnight pills.” (Or is this sarcasm?)

What will they think up next?

 

Wonder if they make much money on these parodies? I am a ‘fan’ of “SNL”

parodies, but not sure how I would feel with the children’s books parodies

on my bookshelf?

What do you think?

 

There are a few adorable little clues to the 2012 children’s animated film, “Moon

Man,” I wished to share. This movie is only 95 minutes and has the man in the moon

coming to earth as a pale (moon colored gray/light blue skinned) man. He is bored up

on the moon, so he catches a ride on a comet’s tail. The imagination goes wild, with

the lovely flowers and the unique way the artwork incorporates colors. (The owl is

purple, moose is blue, and there are so many flowers the moon ‘man’ who looks

like a boy to me, needs to sniff. The commentary is subtle about humanity and will

reach your conscience about the environment and how we treat ‘aliens,’ too.)

The sad part of the book is how our President sees him as a ‘threat to our world.’ It was

released in February, 2014. It was interesting to hear Tomi Ungerer’s voice. He was

born in Strasbourg (1931) and moved to the United States in 1956, at age 25. He has

moved to Ireland, where he lives today.

Creativity “Toy” Celebrates Its 54th Anniversary

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On Saturday, July 12th, good old “Etch-A-Sketch” will celebrate the

54th anniversary of its creation in America. In France, they may add

one more year to this number, as the inventor, Arthur Granjean, had

this toy named, “Magic Screen,” and was ready to manufacture it in

1959. Interestingly enough, the Wikipedia gives credit to a French

man named, Andre Cassagnes. How did I learn of Arthur Granjean

and his “Magic Screen?” A poster that was on a friend’s wall, told

of the creation of the Ohio Art company’s product.  Supposedly,

according to the Clement’s “news and views” poster, Granjean took

his invention to the Nuremberg, Germany toy fair.

Arthur Granjean chose to sell the idea, for which we in the U.S.A.

should be grateful for, since many of us have enjoyed trying to get the

two different knobs to go the way we imagined!

I looked up the current prices, since this is still being sold at many

Big Box stores, like Walmart. The prices vary, from as much as $22.93

to as low as, $15.59.

I am happy to tell you that my two grandsons have one “Etch-A-Sketch”

between the two of them. When I asked my daughter-in-law, Trista, she

said they “had one but it ended up left outside and got moisture caught

inside.”

While I went around asking coworkers about their experiences with the

“Etch-A-Sketch,” I learned of a few frustrated ‘artists’ and listened to

their favorite things to ‘draw’ using this tool.

I had some comments about this toy, their expectations of the ‘toy,’

and some musings about, “What this new generation would think of the

toy?”

We all agreed that it may be considered, ‘boring’ to today’s standards,

due to its lack of technology.

Also, we found out, almost EVERY person I asked over the age of thirty,

Sketch!” It became one toy we could say was, ‘non-gender specific.’ Also,

I heard some humorous thoughts about it, as far as whether one gender

was ‘better’ than the other at creating pictures. There seemed to be a

little ‘competition’ on this point!

One friend mentioned that they can be quite artistic in presentation

and recommended looking up the website, to view some of the elaborate

designs and pictures that artists had rendered. I found out while looking

at these beautiful creations, that the stuff that makes the pictures can be

actually ‘drained out’ to allow the picture to become permanent! I also

found this to be comforting to know, since there were times my brother,

who was outstanding at making his “Etch-A-Sketch” come alive! Now I

know that if someone does this ‘now-adays’ they can preserve the pictures.

Here are some funny comments that I heard from my fellow warehouse

workers:

1.  Tammy said,

“My favorite designs to make were checkerboards on my Etch-A-Sketch!”

 

2.  Melvin, (ever the tease and comedian) said:

“I created colorful rainbows on my Etch-A-Sketch!”

When I gave him my ‘stern teacher look’ he folded and told me that one

of his best pictures he ever made on it was:  “A dragon!”

 

3.  My male friend, who I hope someday to be more than friends, told

me that he had ‘trouble making many things on his Etch-A-Sketch.’

Mark added,

“My favorite thing was to try and make a house, but I could not make a

slanted roof, so I made it a square one. Then I added windows and a

door, also a sidewalk. I was very proud of that accomplishment, since I

am not an artist.  Another thing I liked to do, was to grab my younger

sister’s Etch-A-Sketch and try to shake her picture away! I was a ‘brat!'”

 

4.  Robin said very enthusiastically,

“I remember having one of those! I liked to draw lines and squares. I made

one time a square snowman!”

(I told you that she was my ‘twin’ according to Melvin, even though her hair

is short and blonde. It sticks out like feathers everywhere and she is very

up. She reminds me of the woman on the “Drew Carey Show.”  This wild

character’s name was ‘Mimi Bobeck,’ played by the actress, Kathy Kinney!)

 

5.  Joe, one of the shipping guys, mentioned an interesting fact that had

eluded me, that he thinks it was “one of the toys that everyone got.” He

could not remember what the advertising for “Etch-A-Sketch” looked like

nor could he remember a ‘jingle’ or tune.

Everyone that was at our second break, hearing Joe. They all agreed,

“Slinky” had a cool song that went with its toy. Some wondered why

we could not visualize the advertising on commercials for this toy?

Joe added:

“I loved the sound of what seemed to be metal filings or sand ‘swishing

around’ in that toy!”

 

6.  Charlene, my fellow ‘soap opera’ addict, during ‘second break’ watching

the show, “The Bold and the Beautiful” said her favorite ‘activity’ using her

Etch-A-Sketch, was to ‘create mazes.’ Wow!

 

7.  My brother once ‘drew’ a horse on his Etch-A-Sketch, for which I wish I

had a photograph of this memorable artwork!

 

8.  I cannot remember any creative endeavors so complicated as a horse or

a maze, but I did learn how to make ‘circles.’ My best pictures and favorite

drawings were of roses with tightly ‘twirling inner petals and then looser,

ruffled edges on the outside.’

 

9. Chuck, passing by and being ‘flip’ told us all that he liked to make pictures

of,

“Starless, moonless nights. I made completely black pictures, starting from

the left corner, going back and forth, until it was covered.”

 

10.  Mary Jane, says that she had a ‘coveted’ toy, “Etch-A-Sketch” while she

lived in the Philippines as a girl. She shared this with many of her cousins,

liking to see how they would make their pictures. Then, she says,

“I would take it home and practice, practice, practice!”

The next time she saw her cousins was during a special holiday.

MJ expressed her satisfaction and joy at demonstrating to her family

and cousins her best drawing:

“I made a table with dishes on it and the plates held food. Some were

little circles and others were lines back and forth. Then, I described

our ‘feasts’ with the different homemade dishes, like ‘adobo,’ ‘lechon,’

and ‘pancit palabon.'”

M.J. said her uncle actually clapped! This made her smile, remembering

this special moment.

Note: Traditional Filipino meals include rice dishes, which were her “little

circles.” Then, Mary Jane explained her “back and forth things she

drew were their homemade noodles.”

That was my personal favorite story about “Etch-A-Sketch!!”

 

Are you inspired yet?

What was your favorite or best design that you made on your Etch-A-

Sketch?

If you didn’t have an Etch-A-Sketch, did you visit someone who did?

Have you ever seen a special design that stood out in your memory,

created on one of these ‘toys?’

 

 

 

A Flower Cart Vendor and a Queen

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Today, May 20, 2014, we honor a character from a musical play and a

Queen of England! (Okay, maybe a day late for her!) Yesterday, May 19,

2014 was a federal statutory holiday called, “Victoria Day,” in Canada.

On my home calendar, they accidentally had it on the 20th! This extra

special day first came about for the celebration of Queen Victoria’s 35th

birthday.

That historic day had begun at midnight, with a ‘gun salute.’ I wonder

now if it was to wake everyone or maybe the party goers cavorted all

night and were already awake?

Annual celebrations included ‘pre-dawn serenades,’ athletic contests

or competitions, ‘torch-light processions,’ picnics and all-out 19th

Century revelry. This Canadian Patriotic Holiday makes it sound like

the United States’ Fourth of July celebrations!

There were two names listed, both French for Quebec’s celebration of

“Victoria Day:”

“Fete de Dollard” which lasted from the period of the “Quiet Revolution”

until 2003 and “Fete de la Reine,” (party for the Queen) which continues

to this day.

Also, there is another fascinating woman who really is ‘featured’ today:

“Eliza Doolittle Day!”

Both these notable women could be considered ‘heroines,’ of sorts.

One who was the creation in the imagination, originally, of George

Bernard Shaw in his play, “Pygmalion.” In 1938, a film adaptation of

the original stage play was produced.

When it was revised to become a musical, in 1956, Lerner and Lowe

had collaborated on the lyrics and plot line. It became a very well-

respected and beloved Broadway musical. It still circulates among

high schools, colleges and independent acting theaters.

When in 1964, Lerner and Loew’s musical was transferred into movie

form, it “shone” with the star, Audrey Hepburn. I think that I may

have written in a former post, awhile back, that Julie Andrews was

dismayed not to have been asked to be in either “My Fair Lady” or

“Camelot’s” film versions. Both had directors who chose ‘non-singing’

female leads in Vanessa Redgrave and Audrey Hepburn.

Just for your information, Marni Nixon was the young woman who voiced

all of Eliza’s songs, in the 1964 film adaptation, “My Fair Lady.”

I love how she delivers the song, “Just You Wait (Henry Higgins).”

Audrey Hepburn, as an innocent waif, did an excellent and well-received

portrayal of the character simply described as ‘the flower girl.’ Her

name was Eliza Doolittle.

So, this is the character for whom we celebrate today!

The male lead, playing the character of Professor Henry Higgins, is Rex

Harrison.

The part of Colonel Hugh Pickering, was played by Wilfrid Hyde-White.

Another fine actor and singer was Stanley Holloway portraying Eliza’s

father. He belts out the song, “I’m Getting Married in the Morning”

in his full blown version of a ‘cockney’ accent.

The songs are lovely memories for me, hopefully for some of you.

The whole concept of the transformation of Eliza, ‘the flower girl,’

into a fine lady of ‘high society’ in Edwardian London came from a bet

or a ‘wager’ between the two men, Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering.

They happen to be ‘phoneticists’ or linguistics. They study phonics and

dialects.

Higgins is the one who thinks he can change Eliza by using phonetics

and recordings to eliminate her ‘cockney’ accent. She is able to complete

this transformation into a refined and formal lady by a set time, to

attend a Ball. She falters as a stilted, yet genteel, lady at the Ascot

Racecourse.

I remember, at age 9, going to see this “breath-taking” movie at the

theater with my family. It really enchanted me with the way the whole

story went, along with the costumes that were lovely. Not only for the

Ball, but the race track, too. My brothers and father did not complain,

it is funny, thinking back to that time. Sometimes, I think about the

many action movies we would go to where I would not say that I didn’t

really want to go. As a sign of the times, there were less choices

and one did what their parents ‘told them to do!’

Another amusing thought is that if “Eliza Doolittle” met the Queen

Victoria, what those two minds would have come up with! Especially

with one who was considered one of the longest reigning Monarch’s

of the British colonies and a simple ‘street urchin’ who had spunk

and a feisty nature indeed. I imagine there may have been some mutual

admiration for their strengths of character.

Now go on!

Celebrate with birthday cake and British tea or have a glass of wine to

cheer these women on!