Bridging the Worlds of Beauty and Gaming: New Makeup Looks by Makeup Bingo

Image courtesy of pakifashion.com

Image courtesy of pakifashion.com

You can watch all the latest YouTube beauty tutorials and scour through Pinterest for makeup inspiration, but there are some days when you can’t quite get your eyeliner right, or can’t decide which shade of lipstick will complete your look. Although makeup generally takes a long time to put on, indecisiveness is probably why women spend an inordinate amount of time in front of the mirror. An article on huffingtonpost.com explains that a large majority of women spend around an hour per day working on their hair and makeup alone.

Women of the 21st century have so much on their plates that they don’t have the luxury of spending hours playing with different makeup styles. Women are constantly on the lookout for beauty hacks and shortcuts because of their hectic schedules.

That said; maybe relaxation and stress relief around your beauty regimen is something that should be considered. And a new and innovative way to shorten and to relax during your morning beauty regimen is by playing bingo.

Playing bingo, you say? Yea, playing bingo!!

Makeup_bingo_01The thought of randomizing styles and techniques through this game of chance seems a little out there; however, it gets the job done and it is not as unusual as it seems.  For the past few years, many have noticed the beauty and gaming industries often crossing paths, as more women join online bingo communities to play beauty-themed games. Bingo sites have also been used as platforms for experts to share their tips. The UK gaming company, Gala Bingo, popular for its ‘refer a friend’ scheme, Bingo Promotions, 52 Lives charity game and extensive online community, previously hosted the international sensation and celebrity makeup artist, Mikey Phillips, to help viewers refresh their looks for the new year. Considering all these things, if there was any game reliable enough to base our makeup routine on, it’s Makeup Bingo.

The rules of Makeup Bingo are quite simple. The first thing you have to do is create your card, which you can either make from scratch or use the card provided by outsidebeautyinsidehealth.com. Number your five styles per category (Eye shadow, Eyeliner, Blush, Lipstick) from 1 to 5, and then roll a die for each to determine your finished look. Don’t worry if you roll a 6. Consider that a free choice for the category.

fashion-girl-makeup-paint-largeAnd bingo you have found a new and innovative to learn about new beauty trends, relaxed around your beauty regimen, as well as found a way to indulge in one of your favorite past times. Beauty and online gaming has never been this much fun!!

—Staff

A Glass Slipper-less “Cinderella”

Cinderella_Prince_02“Cinderella” without glass slippers and a story line where Cinderella is not the main protagonist; that is the “Cinderella” that Les Ballets de Monte Carlo brought to the New York’s City Center.  Unusual, but it worked, well mostly.

Les Ballets de Monte Carlo is known for bringing updated version of classic ballets to New York City. In 2014, they brought their controversial “Swan Lake” to City Center to much acclaim. And where Les Ballets de Monte Carlo’s “Swan Lake,” with a few exceptions stayed true to the traditional telling of “Swan Lake,” their version of “Cinderella” is a unique departure with Cinderella glass slipper-less.

Unlike the more traditional version of the ballet, there are no Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer fairy variations. Instead of using the wonderful Prokofiev score for the fairies who bless Cinderella, the music is used to support the different ball costume changes of the ugly stepsisters. An interesting concept, but for those who are familiar with Sir Frederick Ashton’s “Cinderella,” this reassignment of the score fell a little flat.

Cinderella_Fairy_GodmotherComparisons aside of more familiar versions, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo’s “Cinderella” triumphs in Artistic Director’s Jean-Christophe Maillot’s modern choreography and in the avant-garde, couture-like costumes. Additionally, Maillot’s unique projection of the other characters in the story, i.e., the Prince, the Fairy Godmother, and particularly the Pleasure Superintendents, caused audiences to view “Cinderella in a new way.

Maillot’s choreography was best expressed in the ensemble moments, which was quite a feat in itself in that the City Center stage, compared to larger world stages, was never meant for large group choreography. Yet, Maillot managed to craftily construct choreography that was innovative and clearly defined without the corps de ballet looking cramped or uncomfortable. And his choreography for the male corps de ballet was particularly energetic and robust.

Cinderella_Fairy_Godmother_03Still, Maillot’s choreography for the Pleasure Superintendents (Alexis and George Oliveira) was the real standout of the evening. Maillot injected humor, technical brilliance, and nuance into his choreography for the Oliveiras—even the non-movement moments were interesting.

The choreography for both the Stepsisters and Stepmother also was effective, character revealing and helped move the plot along. Unfortunately, Maillot’s choreography for the Fairy Godmother (Mimoza Koike) though beautiful, at times didn’t go beyond pretty steps that showcased Koike beautiful legs and feet. Koike’s Fairy Godmother was not divinely inspired and lacked an otherworldly charm. Koike’s Fairy Godmother was more space alien than benevolent spirit, which is an interesting concept, but takes some getting used to.

Cinderella_Ugly_Stepsisters

All images courtesy of Alice Biangero

Karole Armitage in her seminal 80’s ballet “Go Go Ballerina” was one of the first ballet chorographers to utilize the pie plate tutu to effect.  I don’t believe any other ballet has had the effect of “Go Go Ballerina’s” pie plate since the ballet premiered in the late 80s. Jerome Kaplan’s version of the pie plate tutu for the Fairy Godmother paired with sequined pointe shoes and sequined, lame bodysuit gave the Fairy Godmother an alien quality. And his architectural, Thierry Mugler–like costumes for the Stepmother and Stepsisters—especially the half faux bustles for the Stepsister—emphasized their dual personality and rigid attitudes toward Cinderella. Also, what worked to special effect was the sparkly lotion used on Cinderella’s feet instead of glass slippers or sequined pointe shoes. Cinderella’s crystallized sparkly feet facilitated a better articulating of Maillot’s intricate choreography than perhaps would been doable in clunky pointe shoes.

Overall, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo’s “Cinderella” has lots of high points, and lived up to what audiences have come to expect from Jean-Christophe Maillot. Re-imaged ballet classics have become the order of the day in the ballet world and Maillot’s “Cinderella” fits right in with those re-imagined classics that actually have box office appeal. Bravo Les Ballets de Monte Carlo!!

—William S. Gooch

 

 

A Ballerina’s Tale: Misty Copeland’s Unlikely Tale of Success

Image courtesy of blackfilm.com

Image courtesy of blackfilm.com

Something is afoot. And it is not the Presidential debates, a recovering economy or the latest salacious Kardashian tale of nudity, broken romance, or media overexposure. Some of the things may be important, but I am talking about something else.

The thing that is afoot is truth. And more and more documentaries are putting the truth, their truth, front and center. “A Ballerina’s Tale” is one such documentary about the truth, and more accurately Misty Copeland’s truth.

Socrates extolled, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” And Nelson George’s truth-telling documentary “A Ballerina’s Tale,” examines the truth behind Misty Copeland’s rise to what some arts critics deem 21st Century breakout ballerina fame.

Image courtesy of hollywoodreporter.com

Image courtesy of hollywoodreporter.com

We’ve all heard the stories about Copeland’s rise from abject poverty to her ascension to become the first African American principal ballerina at American Ballet Theatre. Most folks have seen the Misty Copeland segments on “60 Minutes,” “The View,” and countless other talk shows and media outlets, not mention her internet-breaking “Under Amour” video. A lot of people are aware that she’s toured with Prince, had photo editorials in Italian Vogue, and recently starred as “Miss Turnstiles” on Broadway in “On the Town.”

All these accomplishments are worth noting, and for a ballerina, almost unheard of, especially in this age of short sound bites and 15-minute fame celebs that disappear almost as soon as they’re discovered. Still, George’s documentary goes way beyond Misty Copeland’s cross-pollinated media proliferation.

Image courtesy of nytimes.com

Image courtesy of nytimes.com

“A Ballerina’s Tale” is primarily a story about all the hard work that goes into becoming a world-class ballerina, particularly if that ballerina is a dancer of color. “A Ballerina’s Tale” is also about all the folks, especially the women of color, that have supported Misty Copeland in her groundbreaking rise to ballet stardom.

In “A Ballerina’s Tale” Nelson George brilliantly displays the daily grind of a ballet dancer’s life. From endless rehearsals, to the grueling touring schedule, to costume fittings, to performances, and in Copeland’s case her injured tibia rehabilitation. (Nelson’s capture of Copeland’s comeback from injury performance of “The Dying Swan” was especially poignant.)

For those unfamiliar with the constant pace of a ballet dancer’s life, this documentary leaves no stone unturned and details truthfully that the short moments of glamour and on-stage accolades are the result of an unbelievable amount of grit and hard work. Add the pressure of being a dancer of color in the isolating world of classical ballet and the obstacles seem almost insurmountable.

Image courtesy of img.com

Image courtesy of img.com

Still, this pivotal work goes beyond a dancer’s struggle and hard work. Several documentaries have expertly detailed this road less traveled before. Where “A Ballerina’s Tale” shines and in many ways is unique is in its connecting tissue of a ballerina’s daily grind—in this case, Misty Copeland—and all the women of color who coalesced around her in support of her dream.

From Filmmaker and Author Susan Fales Hill (board member of the Studio Museum of Harlem, and American Ballet Theatre), and Author and Magazine Editor Harriet Cole, to ballerinas Raven Wilkinson (Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo), Victoria Rowell (ABT Studio Company), and Robin Gardenhire (ABT, Cleveland San Jose Ballet), to her manager Gilda Squire, Nelson George ingeniously demonstrates that it takes a village, and in this case some mentorship from accomplished and strong black women to assist Misty at a time in her career when she was floundering.

Image courtesy of wsj.com

Image courtesy of wsj.com

At the core of all the support and hard work is Misty Copeland who throughout the many setbacks and challenges is relentless in her quest and lights up the screen with her 40-watt smile. And, true to form, the dancing is revelatory. Isn’t all truth!!

“A Ballerina’s Tale” is currently playing at the IFC Center in New York City. For more information go to, aballerinastale.com.

—William S. Gooch

Company XIV: A New Kind of Cinderella

 

Image courtesy of Phillip Van Nostrand

Image courtesy of Phillip Van Nostrand

Company XIV has garnered a reputation for taking traditional ballet and fairy tale classics and reinterpreting these storybook and ballet warhorses through their own special lens. Their “Nutcracker Rouge” takes place in a burlesque hall with the Sugarplum Fairy in a G-string and pasties. “Snow White” has dwarf puppets, opera singers as clairvoyant mirrors, as well as other nontraditional elements. (Innovative and beautifully rendered, it was a unique way of interpreting “Snow White.”)

In the history of Cinderella ballets, the classic story has been re-interpreted from a wide range of perspectiveS, themes and choreographic points of view. There is the Nureyev/Paris Opera Ballet version of Cinderella getting a movie screen test in 1930s Hollywood. The Lyons Ballet’s Cendrillion version revisited the classic as poupee dolls.  And who can forget Matthew Bourne’s version with Cinderella set during World War II.

Image courtesy of Mark Shelby Perry

Image courtesy of Mark Shelby Perry

With so many nontraditional, brilliant versions of “Cinderella,” it is a real accomplishment and triumph for Company XIV’s version to have its own innovative structure around “Cinderella” among the pantheon of nontraditional attempts at this ballet classic. In Company XIV’s version, surprisingly, Cinderella is not the protagonist. In fact, there’s a couple of main characters with the Stepmother front and center. Add in A Prince that is an expert acrobat and trapeze artist and operatic, acrobatically inclined Stepsisters and you have a Cinderella production that definitely breaks the mold.

Though these characters reinterpretations and Company XIV’s unique melange of dance styles always creates interesting theatre, at  times, there were too many disparate elements in this production. Pointe work, burlesque, opera singers, acrobats, and a few baroque dance elements are difficult to combine into a seamless artistic expression. And this time around, Company XIV struggled, well slightly.

Artistic director Austin McCormick over the years has become more adept at combining disparate dance and theatrical elements. The penultimate triumph of McCormick’s marriage of dissimilar and unequally yoked bedfellows was Company XIV’s “Le Serpent Rouge.” However, the company’s “Cinderella,” at times, missed the mark and was a bit ragged. Still, there were some shining moments.

Davpn Rainey as the Stepmother. Image courtesy of Mark Shelby Perry

Davpn Rainey as the Stepmother. Image courtesy of Mark Shelby Perry

Davon Rainey’s characterization of the evil Stepmother was one of those shining moments. In spite of being an en travesti role, Rainey was neither feminine or Rupaulesque. (Imagine a male Supermodel in five-inch heels.) Rainey was mostly glamorously self-absorbed, and this was good thing. McCormick’s pointe work for his dancers as horses was also brilliant. The choreography for the Stepsister’s dancing instructors was bold, frenetic, innovative, and well performed. The trapeze/acrobat elements were also phenomenal. The musical numbers and music choices were superb, as always. And lastly, Zane Pihlstrom’s costumes, or lack of thereof, were not only titillating, but also helped move the plot along.

The production’s  sticky moments were evident  in the plot, which would have been hard to follow if you didn’t already know the story. And there was absent McCormick’s genius Baroque parterre and petite allegro choreography. (Something the company has become expert at executing.)

Image courtesy of Mark Shelby Perry

Image courtesy of Mark Shelby Perry

Overall, this is a worthwhile production and with some tweaking and editing Company XIV’s “Cinderella” will be a powerful addition to the company repertoire. Now maybe, Company XIV should tackle “Swan Lake,” —hint, hint.

—William S. Gooch

Misty Copeland’s Met Debut in “Swan Lake”

 

Misty Copeland in "Swan Lake." Image courtesy of elle.com

Misty Copeland in “Swan Lake.” Image courtesy of elle.com

The Metropolitan Opera House debut of Misty Copeland in American Ballet Theatre’s production of “Swan Lake” last Wednesday (June 24) was everything it could and should be —an afternoon filled with palpable emotion—deafening, ecstatic applause at her first entrance, as the Swan Queen, and at the conclusion of each section. As a fitting coda, it was announced today (June 30) that Copeland has been promoted to principal dancer, making her the first African American ballerina to reach the top at the 75-year-old company, considered one of the top ballet companies in the world.

Paying homage during that historic performance last week was a star-studded audience (Judith Jamison, Debbie Allen, Star Jones, Jacques d’Amboise, and Damian Woetzel) all in attendance to see the woman who has become arguably America’s biggest ballet star of the moment.

Curtain call tributes by two historic African American ballerinas—former Houston Ballet star Lauren Anderson and former Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo ballerina Raven Wilkinson—celebrating Copeland’s achievement further cemented the significance of the occasion, the first time a black woman has starred in this role for a major American company at the Metropolitan Opera House.

And, yes, there was a glorious, thoughtful, often moving, always intriguing performance by Copeland. That this, the dancing, is mentioned last by no means signals that it is the least important. If this were anyone else, the actual dance performance would be, easily, the most important thing.

Misty Copeland and James Whiteside in "Swan Lake." Image courtesy of Gene Schiavone

Misty Copeland and James Whiteside in “Swan Lake.” Image courtesy of Gene Schiavone

But Copeland’s debut at the famed Met, though not her debut in the role (she first performed it with ABT in Australia in January and was featured in a Washington Ballet production in April) was a moment filled with historical significance. New York, after all, is universally recognized as the dance capital of the world; particularly with ABT— recognized as one of the worlds most renowned companies with its own storied history.

And, too, there was the significance in performing “Swan Lake,” one of the most famous and most challenging roles in the classical ballet idiom. In performing the dual roles of the good and pure White Swan Queen—Odette, and her evil alter ego —Odile, a ballerina is tested with not only bringing a multifaceted interpretation to the ballet, but in showcasing the prodigious technical abilities that call upon the full spectrum of classical ballet’s pyrotechnical feats.

Finally, there are numerous backstage tales in ballet lore of black women being told to lighten their skin with powder or otherwise denigrated for having dark skin that might somehow mar the look of the ballet’s white-costumed sections.

So into this gulf of legend, expectations and history leapt Copeland on that historic Wednesday afternoon. And from her first entrance to her last leap in the ballet’s final scene, Copeland’s every move was met with ecstatic roars of approval.

To cynical observers, this may simply have been the overenthusiastic result of months of hype. Copeland, is after all, a media darling.

Misty Copeland and James Whiteside in ABT's "Swan Lake." Image courtesy of Gene Schiavone

Misty Copeland and James Whiteside in ABT’s “Swan Lake.” Image courtesy of Gene Schiavone

 

Her story is compelling stuff—a glamorous ballerina, tapped by the superstar musician Prince; a muscular beauty in pointe shoes in a now famous Under Armour underwear ad about embracing one’s uniqueness; a life story of growing up poor and shuttling between welfare hotels with her family while studying ballet at a local Boys and Girls Club. And yes, a black woman in an overwhelmingly white ballet world who has unabashedly declared that she wants to ascend to the top of the classical ballet world.

But Copeland is a lovely dancer who has, with each new plumb role, demonstrated promise, and a real sense for finding the nuances of a character. As seen in her debut in “Romeo and Juliet” and here, in “Swan Lake,” the test now will be to see how well and how deeply Copeland can plunge into the roles she’s been given.

In her New York City “Swan Lake” debut, it was, somewhat surprisingly, the soulful White Swan, where she made the biggest impact. We know Copeland as a technical powerhouse. But her White Swan was a creature of great sensitivity and vulnerability.  It was an interpretation that still needs room to mature and grow. But some things, such as the use of her arms and her well thought out approach to the White Swan’s mystical power already are being employed to marvelous effect.

Image courtesy of Gene Schiavone

Image courtesy of Gene Schiavone

Surprisingly, Copeland’s Black Swan was somewhat lacking. True, she did not complete the traditional 32 fouette turns associated with the superhuman dazzling power of Odile. That, alone, wasn’t the problem. Many a ballerina has either stumbled through these turns or, opted to substitute pique turns entirely or, like Copeland, halfway through the sequence.

But Copeland’s Black Swan, though sharp and filled with attack and cunning, didn’t seem as thoughtfully considered as her Odette had been. It’s almost as if Copeland had focused on her Odette so much that her Odile was a bit of an afterthought.

True, some aspects were obviously given due consideration, such as Odile’s taking direction from the wicked von Rothbart who has sent the Black Swan to trick the Prince into breaking his vow of love for the White Swan. But, this is one aspect where Copeland still has work to do to complete her interpretation of the dual role.

Image courtesy of wsj.com

Image courtesy of wsj.com

However, there’s no question that Copeland deserves more opportunities to deepen her interpretation and grow in this and other roles. Many had speculated that she would soon be elevated to principal dancer status. Tuesday’s news confirmed the rumors. Regardless of her official rank, there’s no question that Copeland is more than just hype. She is a dancer who is showing a tantalizing potential for artistry.

—Karyn D. Collins

Ballet Hispanico: Latin Enough for All

Image  courtesy of Michelle Tabnick Communications

“El Beso” image courtesy of Michelle Tabnick Communications

How does a dance company maintain its signature aesthetic while moving into the 21st Century and expanding its audience demographic? That is a question that Ballet Hispanico may have grappled with in the past but has now solidly put to rest.

Recently, in a Q&A after one of the company’s recent performances at the Joyce Theater in New York City, an audience member expressed concern over the fact that Ballet Hispanico’s current repertoire seemed neither very balletic or culturally Latin in scope.  This conundrum of sorts begs the larger question of what is the definition of Hispanic in today’s culture and the dance community at large.

Should the repertoire of the Dance Theatre of Harlem only include works that are based in African American culture; should a flamenco dance company only perform traditional flamenco dance works, or should the New York City Ballet’s repertoire be made up mostly of ballets by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins? And are audiences disappointed and nonplussed when they get something more than the names of certain dance companies imply?

Based on the repertoire presented by Ballet Hispanico at the Joyce Theater, artistic director Eduardo Vilaro has not only maintained the signature aesthetic of Ballet Hispanico established by founder Tina Ramirez, but expanded the company’s repertoire to include ballets that stretch the  dancers and reflects a modern Hispanic world. Latin culture goes beyond lacy mantillas, flamenco, folklorico dances, the Latin ballroom dances of the salsa, baso doble, cha cha, and samba, or swarthy men in boleros strutting around with machismo.  Hispanic culture embraces a huge range of movement styles, cultures and musical influences beyond the recognizable iconic images and sounds.

Image  courtesy of Michelle Tabnick Communications

“Conquer” image courtesy of Michelle Tabnick Communications

That said; the expansion of Ballet Hispanico’s repertoire was most evident in Miguel Mancillas’ raw, athletic “Conquer.”  “Conquer” explores the rawness and potentially unbridled inhibition that can be found in organic movement.  This dance work also examines how uninhibited movement can be a commentary on how humans can use power and possession to manipulate and control space and other people. This is a powerful dance piece that demands a high level of virtuosity.  Standout dancers in this work were Christopher Hernandez and Christopher Bloom.

Image  courtesy of Michelle Tabnick Communications

“El Beso” image courtesy of Michelle Tabnick Communications

Gustavo Ramirez Sansano’s “El Beso” does employ familiar Hispanic icons, but mostly in the set design and music. Angel Sanchez’s asymmetrical, fluid costumes with trending cutouts demonstrates the melding of the old and the new which is so evident in this work. “El Beso” or “The Kiss” presents itself in variety of incarnations; men kissing women, women kissing men, same sex kissing and affection, unwanted kisses, stolen kisses, and a sundry. The movement style of this work is very much in the vein of Twyla Tharp’s “Push Comes to Shove,” minus the pointe shoes. Still, “El Beso” perhaps has more warmth than Tharp’s “Push Comes to Shove.” Standout performers in “El Beso” were Min-Tzu Li and Jamal Rashann Callender.

One of the newest acquisitions in the repertoire, “Show.Girl,” examines the Latin female identity as seen through Miami’s cabaret or showgirls—a culture that is still thriving in Miami. The coquettishness and cattiness speaks to the games that women play with each other and themselves in their quest to define themselves. Miami-based choreographer Rosie Herrera brings in a lot of Latin Quarter elements into this ballet, from beaded, sequined showgirl costumes and headdresses to big white feather fan dances to gestures and stances reminiscent of showgirls from the 50s and 60s.

"Show.Girl" image courtesy of Michelle Tabnick Communications

“Show.Girl” image courtesy of Michelle Tabnick Communications

Though this piece is heavily influenced by the Latin nightclub culture of Miami, many of the movements and performance art influences come straight of a Pina Bausch Wupperthal Theatre dance work.  The standout dancer in “Show.Girl” is undoubtedly Jessica Alejandra Wyatt. With her retirement from the stage, she will be well missed.

Eduardo Vilaro’s assemblage of works that speak to the breath and depth of Latin culture demonstrates that dance, like culture, is ever evolving. And while the past should be honored, it is no place to live. Disappointed that Ballet Hispanico is not Hispanico enough, humm, check your culture quotient!!

—William S. Gooch

Peter Fletcher’s “Simple Gifts”

 

Image courtesy of Peter Fletcher

Image courtesy of Peter Fletcher

Every time classical guitarist Peter Fletcher appears at Carnegie Hall, he has a packed house. Whether audience members are hearing him for the first time or were so enraptured by his technical skill and poised delivery that they’ve become diehard fans, Fletcher understands how to put together a repertoire that keeps audiences wanting more. And that is his genius.

On April 11, 2015 Fletcher’s program contained the standard fare of baroque music transcribed for the guitar, Edvard Grieg pieces—of which he is one of the few guitarist that includes transcribed Grieg works in his repertoire—and of course, the  expected classic Spanish guitar warhorses. This varied assemblage of classical music from a wide range of periods and styles is part of Fletcher charm and for those who have astutely followed his career an expected eclecticism.  Interestingly, for this Weill Recital Hall performance Fletcher included some musical works that were unusual additions and also demonstrates that Fletcher is beginning to focus his attention on educating audiences on the wide range of music that can be transcribed for classical guitar.

For those avid Peter Fletcher fans it is obvious that the man has technical acuity that goes beyond many classical guitarists currently heard in recordings on in recital halls. And, while Fletcher does include works that display his immense pyrotechnical skill set, he seems currently to be more focused on expanding the classical guitar repertoire.

Peter_Fletcher_03Case in point, “Simple Gifts,” the well-known Shaker hymn, on this occasion transcribed by John and BJ Sutherland is not a work that is associated with classical guitar. However, in this outing Fletcher’s gentle and somewhat transcendental rendering of this familiar Shaker hymn proves that his choice in nontraditional material fits within the scope and evolution of where classical guitar is heading.

Other highlights of the evening were “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” Hector Villa-Lobos’ ever popular “Prelude No. 1,” and the surprise of the evening, Niccolo Paganini’s well-known “Caprice No. 24,” transcribed by Fletcher.  “Caprice No. 24” when played on classical guitar takes on a different nuance and mood. Fletcher’s transcription rendered this familiar work more warmth with darker tones than traditionally played which perhaps is due in part to the warm tones of classical guitar but should also be attributed to Fletcher’s ingenious and superb transcription.

In this outing, Fletcher’s “Simple Gifts” appear to be the great joy he gives to his devoted fans and newcomers combined with his gift of expanding the classical guitar repertoire. Well done, Fletcher!!

—William S. Gooch

Break into Spring with Swish4 Energy

Morning has broken, like the first morning

Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird

                                          —Eleanor Farjeon

 

Image courtesy of ENT PR

Image courtesy of Edent PR

Just as morning breaks in this English ballad set to a traditional Scottish Gaelic tune, so can you break into your morning routine with vigor and vitality. Gone are the days of sluggish mornings that are followed by several cups of coffee only to crash in the middle of day.

What is the cause of this new morning vim and vigor?  Swish4Energy™ mouthwash is just the solution for low energy. And it is better than other competitors in that its GRAS–listed ingredients, Vitamin E and a low quantity of caffeine in a single unit gives consumers a quick burst of energy and well as a fresh mouth with every swish. Also, the lack of ingestion makes Swish4Energy™ a unique product that stands out from competitors.

The pocket-sized unit for convenience makes it easy to carry and use whenever needed. Body response to Swish4Energy™ may vary from person to person. Just remember, do not take more than three units of Swish4Energy™ per day.

Staying on trend goes beyond just how you look in great clothes; it also extends to how you feel. Break into springtime with Swish4Energy™!!

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Reverie Is Wild About “Wild”

Image courtesy of girlseatgreen.com

Image courtesy of girlseatgreen.com

While the Oscars might be gaga Reese Witherspoon’s nominated pic “Wild,” some New Yorkers have one up on the Academy of Motion Pictures by being wild for the West Village gluten-free bistro “Wild.”  The food is synonymous with the bistro’s moniker; the delicious food at “Wild” is something to go wild over.

If this somewhat hidden bistro was not on your radar during New York Fashion Week (NYFW) as you scurried from one fashion venue downtown to the next, then it should have been. (If you didn’t hibernate at “The Tents” at Lincoln Center during this blistery Fashion Week, then you were probably hustling between the Standard Hotel, Milk Studios, Pier 59 or Skylight Modern; all downtown fashion venues.)  And if you were counting calories the way most industry professionals were during NYFW, then Wild’s gluten-free, quality meals made with the simplest ingredients fits the bill.

Image courtesy of examiner.com

Image courtesy of examiner.com

But gluten-free, healthy meals lose their savor if taste is lacking. When Fashion Reverie dined at “Wild” the food was not only tasty, but the portions were filling and you could really taste the freshness of produce that is well seasoned.

Image courtesy of ENT PR

Image courtesy of ENT PR

The BBQ Vegan Delight Pizza consisting of BBQ chicken (optional), marinara sauce, red onion and vegan cheese was enough for two people and more than enough to satisfy hungry diners. This is a great option for a quick lunchtime treat and the gluten-free vegan crust is ideal for those looking to avoid foods with gluten.

Now if comfort food is your oeuvre then “Wild’s” gluten-free Chicken Parmigiano is a great choice. Prepared with fresh tomato and basil sauce and served with penne pasta, this entrée option is great for frigid nights and not too heavy for those looking for something filling but leaves room for a great dessert. And the dessert extraordinaire is the cheesecake pop sickle rolled in chocolate and granola.

Image courtesy of ENT PR

Image courtesy of ENT PR

So, Hollywood’s “Wild” has nothing on the West Village’s “Wild.” We love Reese Witherspoon but we love good food better.

For more information about “Wild,” go to eatandrinkwild.com.

—William S. Gooch

 

Fashion Reverie Exclusive Interview: Zane Pihlstrom

Company_XIV.jpg_02If anyone has ever attended any production by Company XIV, you are immediately dumbstruck by the seamless melding of dance, music, costumes, and set design. Though artistic director Austin McCormick is solely responsible for brilliant choreography that incorporates movement elements from Baroque dance, classical ballet, modern dance, and burlesque, Zane Pihlstrom is the guiding force behind the set design and costumes that helps brings Austin McCormick’s concepts to life on stage.

And he has a tough job. McCormick’s choreography though grounded in the Baroque dance necessities of grande rond de jambe parterre, petit allegro, and quick petit batterie is also injected with hard Graham falls and recoveries, angular grande battement, and sizzle and pop Burlesque disrobing. Zane Pihlstrom has to design and maintain costumes that stand up to this activity. An arduous tasks indeed, but Philstrom is more than up for the challenge.

While Company XIV was in season with their controversial and titillating “Nutcracker Rouge,” Zane Pihlstrom spoke with Fashion Reverie about his love of dance, costume design and the melding of beauty with the absurd.

Fashion Reverie: How did you first become involved in fashion and set design?

Zane Pihlstrom: When I was a little kid I would stage productions with my dolls and toys. I would make up lives for imaginary people. When I was nine or ten I converted my family’s barn into a little baroque theater or what I thought a baroque theater looked like at that age. My friends and I would make plays and design costumes. I just of kind of always knew what I wanted to do as an adult.

FR: Do you any formal training in set and costume design?

Zane Pihlstrom: I attended McGill University in Toronto where I studied set design ,and for graduate school I attended the Yale School of Drama.

FR: Who are your favorite costume/fashion designers?

Zane Pihlstrom: I love Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. Everything that they do looks like you could pluck it off the runway and put it into a Greek tragedy. I am also inspired by the photography of Ken Blocker. With one image, he can capture and detail an entire story.

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FR: How would you describe your design aesthetic?

Zane Pihlstrom: My design aesthetic is different depending of the production. When it comes to Company XIV, I draw on vintage burlesque. The aesthetic of Company XIV really comes from the artistic and creative director Austin McCormick, and I just kind of build from his perspective and point of view. There is a lot of burlesque and Austin’s choreography is influenced by French baroque court dance, as well as classical ballet, modern dance, and jazz. So, I always look at the shape and silhouettes of French baroque dance and that era and incorporate it into the costumes.

FR: How did you first become affiliated with Company XIV?

Zane Pihlstrom: About seven or eight years ago when Company XIV was still located in Brooklyn, Austin McCormick asked me if I would work with him. I was suggested to Austin through a mutual friend. He asked me if I would work on Company XIV’s production of “The Judgment of Paris.” We worked really well together and Company XIV is my favorite company to work with.

FR: You have seen Company XIV’s design aesthetic evolve from “The Judgment of Paris” to “Le Serpent Rouge” to “Nutcracker Rouge.”  How has your design aesthetic evolved with the company?

Zane Pihlstrom: I work with the company so frequently so that even I work with other companies I am drawn to the same principles found at Company XIV. We started off imitating what we thought European costume and set designers were doing.

We were looking for more experimental ways of telling stories that was seen in our earlier work. Now, we pretty much know the tools that we need to tell a story, and we are probably a little less experimental now.

FR: There seems to be this seamless melding of music, sets, costume and design in Company XIV’s productions. How do you achieve this?

Zane Pihlstrom: I work very closely with Austin and he is also very flexible. If there’s something within the design that isn’t working, Austin will often find a way to adjust things.  It seems that he can accommodate any design idea.

FR: What was the design concept behind “Nutcracker Rouge”?

Zane Pihlstrom: We wanted a “Nutcracker” that was fresh and current so we used a light of neon and special effects. We also wanted a dance hall vibe from the turn of the century. So, in this production of the “Nutcracker” you get a marriage of those two disparate points of view.

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FR: This revamped production of “Nutcracker Rouge” has evolved. Why did you make some changes?

Zane Pihlstrom: There were some practical reasons. We are now in a smaller, more permanent space. And with this new permanent space, we have the opportunity to evolve several of our older productions.

FR: How many productions have you worked on with Company XIV and which one is your favorite?

Zane Pihlstrom:  I have worked with Company XIV for over eight years and I worked on about 15 productions from children’s shows to productions with adult themes to operatic productions. Our early productions were in a warehouse in Brooklyn right off the Gowanus Canal. So, from those early productions we have figured out what works.

My favorite shows are the ones that combine beauty and decadence. That said; “Le Serpent Rouge” was my favorite production because there is a wonderful synergy of decadence and beauty.

All images courtesy of David Gibbs PR

All images courtesy of Company XVI

FR: What is the challenge of making costumes for a dance company that incorporates such a variety of movement forms?

Zane Pihlstrom: This is perhaps the most challenging kind of work I will ever do. The combination of graceful movement combined with forceful, frenzied movement is difficult because we use a lot of period costumes that in its construction and form  be quite fragile. But, the beauty in this assemblage of different movement forms is that juxtaposition of grace married with violent, chaotic movement and having costumes that support that.

It is tricky to keep the clothing in its period shape and then add in the element of Burlesque where you are seductively taking clothes off. Over the years, we have learned all the tricks of Velcro and fake zippers it!!

FR: What’s next for you?

Zane Pihlstrom: I am worked next with Yana Ross on a Russian political play that will have 100 live dogs on stage. Imagine that!!

—William S. Gooch

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