by Angeliska on December 24, 2011
The Roches – Hallelujah Chorus 1982
✶ From Sighs and Whispers: Bazaar’s Christmas Scrapbook, 1970: Photos by Mel Dixon. So wonderful. I want it all.
The Guardian’s Winter Reads – I have a thing where I have to read wintry books in winter,
and summery books in summer. I listen to certain albums and songs based on the season/weather.
There is day music, and there is night music. When I travel, I like to read books that take place in
the same places I’m visiting. Some of my favorite books are on this list, though there are a few I would
add to it! Lots I want to read here, but haven’t yet.
Chocolate gingerbread stars, made with the help of Holly Bobisuthi
I baked hexmas cookies! This is actually a really big deal. For me.
I’ve been collecting cookie cutters, sprinkles and silver & pearly dragees
for ages, hoping that one holiday season, I would have time to do this…
This year was about making time, taking the time, to do things I never
have gotten to do that made everything so much brighter. Latkes, the ballet,
even writing some hexmas cards and sending a few paltry parcels! This is
all big stuff for me lately, given how insane my schedule has been for too long…
So, I finally got to indulge my childhood dream of going to see The Nutcracker. Crazy, I know,
that I should take me so long to make an opportunity to go, but thanks to kind friends (who I got
to see dance that night!), my dream came true – and it was marvelous. I’ve been obsessed with the
music from the ballet since I was wee, and most especially, the Arabian Dance. I remember my music
teacher playing it for us, and how many times I would listen to it, and imagine how the dancers would
move to that gorgeous piece. I’ve since discovered that my concept of how the choreography should be
and much of what I’ve seen do not match up at all. Too often, the dancers are stilted, formal – doing
prissily proper ballet. The music is slow and sinuous, and calls for dancers that can nod to the actual
culture the music is meant to portray. I do think it should definitely be a pas de deux, but most of what I
had seen the male and female dancers doing was sort of stiffly showing off – it never felt sensual or
authentic. I searched and searched until I found my perfect (nearly!) Arabian Dance, performed by
(no surprise) The Moscow Ballet. It gave me shivers and made my eyes sting from the beauty. Sergey
Chumakov and Elena Petrechenko do this piece absolutely right, and their performance is astonishing.
They are so fluid, their carriage so proud, yet gentle – and you feel that they have some chemistry.
Her costume could be a little bit better, but his is super. Only once or twice does it feel circus-y.
Also, the backup dancers are good, and well – you can’t really beat giant pink elephant heads!
The full nine minute version of The Toy Shop (1928), a original Technicolor short film from Tiffany-Stahl with a synchronized music and sound effects track, features Josef Swickard and child actress Virginia Marshall.
Ансамбль “Берёзка – “Прялица”
This is my my most favorite thing that I have seen in a long time. Watching it brings me to my happy place.
Thank you, Boing Boing!
“Barks and roots, lichen and mushrooms, resin and sap, needles and boughs are my lights in this fertile, rich darkness of Winter. In too many years past, I found myself wishing for the season to pass me by in sleep and to live in perpetual green and constant flowering. While I certainly realized all the reasons why the land and we humans need the rest and time turned inwards, I met this shift in seasons with a certain amount of resistance and defiance. This year I finally realize, gut-deep, how much I benefit by the sweet silence and visceral rooting that can take place only now. Such a huge shift has left me not only enjoying the snow and dark, but relishing it and realizing I’ll actually feel sadness when the wheel turns and the next season emerges, even as I welcome the return of the light.”
I have been on the road for the last two day, making the journey up north for hexmas,
so I didn’t get to honor the Solstice properly. Hopefully, I can find a little time in the winter
woods to do some work and magic. In the meantime, my ruminations from solstices past:
And, ghost of hexmases past as well! Hope yours is merry and bright. oxox
✶ Hexmas Spirits
✶ Texas Hexmas
✶ Imps of Winter