I have heard it said that springtime at Shuangxi is yet lovely. I intend to sail there in a dainty boat.
by AnotherChris  July 3, 2008 9:46 am

So, yesterday was Wednesday and that means some things happened. Looking back on it from so much time now, three things really stick out. Come along with me on a journey of sentimental reflection, won’t you?

Thing #1: The great penny robbery!

One cent coin

I went a lot of places yesterday: work, a gas station (x2), the post office, the library, Taco Bell, St. Mike’s… And with the exception of the library, the post office, and St. Mike’s, everywhere I went I was shortchanged by the cashier. By exactly one cent. I’m not sure how everything I purchased ended up leaving me with some amount of change, plus a penny, but it did. And without fail the cashiers made a single cent error in their favor. I feel that this is a disturbing trend that perhaps some sort of government regulators should look into. Or maybe the Department of Homeland Security. Are they stealing my pennies to fund the border fence? Whatever the cause, I think there must be some completely sensible reason for this blatant theft of change. Aliens, maybe, or Sasquatch.

Thing #2: Adventures in Swing Dance Lessons!

SWing Dancing

I decided to embark upon learning something new last night. (Well, actually I decided it a couple of weeks ago but bronchitis kept me sidelined for a while.) After talking with some people I know -post June Rollerderby match- I found out that some of the same folks were involved in teaching swing dance lessons. Now, let’s get one thing straight, I do not – have not ever danced. But I love swing music and I’m getting too old to not be trying new things. So, with my lack of skill in place, I wandered that way. There weren’t a lot of people there at first and, given my awe-inspiring lack of social development, I decided not to bug the people that were there that I knew. So, I watched a bit of rugby and MSNBC and nursed a refreshing pear cider.

Eventually more people showed, some of which I knew, and things got started. My initial plan was simply to observe for my first time out and see if it was something I was even capable of doing. However, no one would hear of that and soon I found myself partnered with a very nice young lady by the name of Keegan. (Probably spelled incorrectly.) Needless to say it was odd, since she was probably a third of my age… ok, half, ok maybe not quite that.  Still, I felt like a clumsy old fart. In the end, she proved to be quite a good teacher and for a first attempt I ended up doing… not entirely embarassing. I also managed to pick up the Charleston, which is one of my favorite parts of It’s a Wonderful Life. With the exception of an ill-timed practical joke by someone I know, I enjoyed myself immensely and look forward to learning more as time goes on.

Thing #3: Louise Brooks!

Louise Brooks

It was an odd string of internet browsing yesterday that brought me to Louise Brooks. I was looking for a copy of picture from Life magazine taken in the late 30’s or early 40’s that featured most of their stars of the time. It’s a pretty impressive picture that I’m sad to say I failed to locate a decent copy of. Not because it doesn’t exist on the web, but because I got distracted. From looking for that picture, I ended up running across a site that showcased Film Noir. Being a Noir lover, but far from knowledgable on the subject, I settled down to read all I could. From there, I got led to one of my favorites – The Big Heat. Now, somehow I forgot that Gloria Grahame was in that and she’s obviously also in another of my favorite films – It’s a Wonderful Life.

The Noir site I was on had quite a lot of information on Gloria and seemed to really love her in a film called Human Desire, also starring Glenn Ford. A boxed set of Noir classics that was only released in Japan was about the only way to get the film. So, I started looking for that. Amazon Japan has it, but no one else seemed to.  Could eBay save me? The answer, in short, was no. Posters and photos could all be had, but not the film itself. I decided to check out one of the seller’s who seemed to have quite a collection of repro-classic film posters. Clicking that link proved to be my undoing. I saw Louise Brooks. They were selling 8x10s of her and I was hooked. Like just about anyone who has ever set eyes on her, I was a goner. I entered research mode and kissed a productive afternoon goodbye.

As a latecomer to Louise Brooks, I’m not going to sit here and detail her existence like I actually know anything. I have three books about her (one by her) and a stack of DVDs on the way. I’ve started her biography and hopefully by the end I’ll know a little more about her. Just so you, the faithful reader (are there any?), aren’t left in the dark, I’ll give you a little info. Louise Brooks was a dancer, silent film actress, and later a writer. She was thoroughly her own person and seemed to refuse to conform the standards some people (and most of her bosses) would have preferred. She has been called the quintessential flapper and her distinctive bob cut, though worn by others of the day, has indeed become one of the most influential hair styles in all of recorded history. An excellent resource for information about Louise Brooks is the Louise Brooks society, which can be found at http://www.pandorasbox.com/.

I, for one, have neglected my duty to delve into the realms of silent film. There are numerous stars of yesteryear that await being discovered by audiences of today. Unfortunately, estimes place the amount of silent films lost to time at 80-90%. It’s a shame that so much cinematic history has been lost. But I intend to devour as much of it as I can get my hands on though, that’s for sure.

by AnotherChris  June 29, 2008 2:52 pm


Let me start by saying I’m a pretty decent fan of Pixar. I’ve enjoyed their newer films better than some of the older titles and, until this past Friday, Ratatouille was my favorite. But Wall-E totally blew my mind. It’s not just one of the best Pixar films I’ve ever seen. It isn’t just one of the best animated films I’ve ever seen. It is, hands down, one of the best films I have ever seen, period.

Having said that, it’s a tough film to really categorize. Is it Sci-Fi? Romance? Kids? Environmental? Comedy? Drama? In short, the answer is yes. It’s all of those things and so, so much more. I don’t want to spoil anything or give too much away because, quite frankly, I want you to get off your butt and go see this film. Below is an edited synopsis of the film from IMDB:

“What if mankind had to leave Earth, and somebody forgot to turn the last robot off? After hundreds of lonely years of doing what he was built for, WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) discovers a new purpose in life when he meets a sleek search robot named EVE. WALL-E chases EVE across the galaxy and sets an incredible adventure into motion. Joining WALL-E on his journey across the universe is a cast of characters including a pet cockroach and a heroic team of malfunctioning misfit robots.”

In a nutshell, that’s the film. But it can’t convey the humor, the intelligence, and the heart that makes this film everything it is. The first third of the movie is basically a brilliant realized silent film. As the story progresses we get additional dialogue from other characters, so don’t think this is totally pre-Jazz Singer. Wall-E is a treat on every level. From an audio perspective, the music (both instrumental and songs) fit perfectly help drive our emotions. Visually, what can I say? This is the most amazing feast my eyes have ever been witness to. Virtually every scene, every object, every light looked real to me. With the exception of the humans, there were plenty of times when I had to remind myself that what I was watching was generated inside a computer. EVE, in particular, and the way she appears under various light sources, is amazing to watch.

There is plenty to tug the heartstrings in this film. I’m not going to say much more because I am really in danger of spoiling the whole thing. You have got to see this movie. Seriously, go right now. Stop cooking your meal, stopping working at your job and go see Wall-E.

But, seriously, who else but Pixar could make a cockroach cute?

by AnotherChris  June 13, 2008 4:08 pm

So, these images seem to be making the rounds as promo shots for the new Davros and the Supreme (Red) Dalek for the last couple of episodes of Doctor Who series 4. How legit are they? Beats me, but if the BBC gets ticked at me we’ll know for sure. Enjoy you silly spoiler hounds. (Click for larger versions.)

New Davros
Supreme Dalek
by AnotherChris  January 3, 2008 2:29 pm

Ok, I’ll be the first to admit I’m really late writing this. I saw the performance on December 8th, 2007. I’ll skip the rest of the small talk and go right for the review.

It was an interesting mix of dress and casual in the crowd when I arrived. I found my seat quickly and decided to flip through the program to pass the time until the play started. In the little introduction penned by the director, Eva Nielsen-Parks, I found this little nugget:

What appealed to me most about this particular adaptation is how the script preserves the essence of Carroll’s characters and refuses to reduce the work to a syrupy, frenetic cartoon…

Well, no offense to Ms. Nielsen-Parks, but attacking what is arguably the most beloved version of the story outside of their original tellings is not exactly the best way to start something like this. It’s especially boggling considering that some of the costumes and characterizations seemed to be lifted virtually directly from the Disney film. All in all, despite the odd position of characters that sometimes left them facing away from the audience, this was a pretty darn good show.

Some of the actors were quite outstanding. There were a few interesting choices and a bit of over dramatizing here and there, but you could tell that everyone worked hard and it seemed to pay off. A few notable performances included Brent Collingsworth as the Mad Hatter, who appeared to be channeling Ed Wynn with great flair, Will Parente as the March Hare, Patrick Vaughn as the Queen of Hearts, and Christie Fraser as the Caterpillar.

Christie Fraser as the Caterpillar

Liz Torres stood out amazingly well as the Cheshire Cat and her masterful facial expressions were nothing short of astounding. They were all thoroughly entertaining to watch.

Liz Torres as the Cheshire Cat

Jessica Byler was an outstanding Alice, somehow managing to be cute, clever, innocent, and exasperated all at the same time. She gave her all in the performance and it showed. The only quibble I had was her breathy exclamations at the end of nearly every line. I was afraid she was going to have an asthma attack at one point. Though it did get a little old, it really did nothing to detract from her excellent performance.

Jessica Byler as Alice

Far and away the most amazing and entrancing performances of the evening came from Ivie Gabrielle Slocumb as the White Chess Queen and Marissa Chastain as the Red Chess Queen. I absolutely cannot find enough words to justify how incredible these two young women were on stage. They were funny and energetic and I honestly don’t see how Turner auditorium was large enough to contain their practically immeasurable talent. Ms. Slocumb as the somewhat dim-witted White Chess Queen was a delight and had the audience practically rolling on the floor with laughter. Ms. Chastain was equally skillful at bringing the viewers along with her as she amused as the seemingly martial Red Chess Queen. I would say that these two amazing actresses have a huge future ahead of them, but that would be painfully obvious to anyone who has seen them perform. They’re destined for great things and I hope that at least some of it will happen here in Tallahassee. I’d kick over the cost of a ticket to watch them read the phone book, there is no doubt in my mind that they could make it the most interesting reading one could imagine. Amazing doesn’t even come close to describing them. They were definitely the highlight of the show and you could just tell they were having fun.

The astounding Chess Queens

All in all, I found the performance to be a success and I look forward to seeing many of these actors move on to other productions in the area. They were a talented group of performers and I, for one, appreciated all their hard work.

Currently Enjoying…

Star Trek: Voyager
Via Netflix

Random Flickr

Social Networking

Thessair's Twitter AnotherChris on GetGlue AnotherChris on Goodreads Thessair on Flickr

XBOX Gamertag

Site Statistics

  • Page visits to date: