Monday, August 3, 2015

In August, Why Don't You...

The Conception of Loneliness
Pick up Harper Lee's  Go Set a Watchman, the controversial companion to her American classic novel.

See a play in the park

Try using a daily planner

Buy new school supplies- whether you're in school or not! (My Stationery Wishlists have great options!)

Relax at Yellowstone Lake

Pick up some local produce at the Farmer's Market

Bake an Apple Cake

Buy a new dress

Celebrate the anniversary of the release of The Wizard of Oz film with a themed movie night

Usher in your third decade of life with a bang!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Month in Review: July 2015

Adventurous Outfits

Adventurous Plans
Our summer's big trip was seeing the Big Apple for the first time, and this month I've really enjoyed getting to share our impressions of New York with you. You could also find out what three sailors thought of New York, New York with this month's film flick review. Or with this stationery wishlist. But even if you weren't able to get away this month, there were still many things to try in July, right from the Why Don't You... list!  For example, you could buy the book from this month's Dogeared Page. Fellow blogger Marlen of Message on a Napkin wrote the poetry book, Ugly People, Beautiful Hearts. 

Truthfully, after our exciting travels, things have been pretty quiet at home, partly because we like it that way and partly because an accident meant The Boy's arm was in a splint much of the month (before you ask; he's fine). What has July been like for you?

Adventurous Finds
Could it be a rare photo of Vincent Van Gogh? 

Wyoming made the news for being "Long on Pride, but Short on People"

Most people's mother tongue falls into one of these 23 languages (out of the thousands of languages there are)

A fascinating look at 100 years of beauty from all around the world

How Broadway hit On the Town made it from ballet to the Great White Way (Plus, a current On the Town star's adorkable vlog!)

Also New York related: what could a "subway symphony" sound like?

Croquet is going extinct, I guess? Here's one reason why and what the Brits are doing about it.

Animation caricature-izes the human form, but what if animated heroines had more realistic features? 

"An end to email shame" Do you need this?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child- Sosososososo curious about this!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Stationery Wishlist: New York, New York (It's a Helluva Town!)


1. New York Journals | 2. Chrysler Building Bookmark | 3. King Kong Bookend | 4. Manhattan Art Print | 5. New York Card | 6. New York Public Library Lion Paper Weight | 7. New Yorker Postcards | 8. New York Public Library Pencils

1. New York Journals- These notebooks keep the glitz and glamour of New York alive. 
 2. Chrysler Building Bookmark- In the play Annie, the orphanage's cranky keeper always insists they need to clean until "these floors shine like the top of Chrysler Building." Having not seen the Chrysler Building, I can see why that was a tall order! 

 3. King Kong Bookend- One of New York's tallest residents took an iconic trip up the Empire State. Just hope your trip doesn't have the same amount of screaming that his did. If it might be awhile before you climb to the top of that tall tower, have this bookend to tide you over. 

4. Manhattan Art Print- Done in the fun 1950s style reminiscent of the children's classic This is New York. 

 5. New York Card - Skyscrapers, yellow taxis and charm. Everything New York in one image. Use this card to say hi to the people back home! 

6. New York Public Library Lion Paper Weight- Two lions guard one of the largest library's in the world, and now a (smaller) one can guard your desk! 

 7. New Yorker Postcards - The New Yorker is known for its iconic covers. I picked up several of these to send to people while we were traveling. 

8. New York Public Library Pencils- These pencils are colorful, cheerful and even have a great quote about books and learning- two of everyone's favorite things, right?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What I Wore: Seeing Art Where Ever We Go

Stripes and Green Skirt Stripes and Green Skirt
Stripes and Green Skirt

What I Wore: Skirt (Chicwish), Shirt (Popbasic; Similar Here), Shoes (Old Navy), Bracelet (Popbasic)

I wore this outfit for a very special occasion- in fact, it was the whole reason I brought the skirt! I was going to see "The Woman in Gold," or, more accurately, "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I." It is a stunning piece of art by Gustav Klimt that has sometimes been referred to as the Viennese Mona Lisa or the Mona Lisa of Austria, and has been the subject of several books, documentaries and even a recent Hollywood film about its confiscation from its original Jewish owners in WWII, its return after drawn out court cases, and its subsequent, controversial sale to the Neue Galarie. But we didn't venture here because of any film! 

I'd never argue that the  Neue Galerie is a quintessential, must-see stop for anyone in New York. It was on the top of my own personal list because I've really loved the work produced by the Viennese Sessionist ever since visiting Vienna several years ago, and this was a chance to see one of Klimt's greatest masterpieces. In fact, in many ways, the morning we spent there was like leaving New York, leaving the States and transplanting oneself into Austria. The day was cloudy, and the attached cafe on the ground floor of the museum, while exactly like any of the hundreds that dot Vienna's cafe culture, was hardly crowded when we went for brunch before the gallery opened. We took our time over coffee, tea and an apple strudel (dessert for breakfast?! I was on holiday, though! The Boy had two eggs in a glass), with our fellow diners' conversations of art movements occasionally drifting over to our table. A large amount of the conversation for the day was in German, actually, so the gallery must be a popular destination for a certain group. It is not a big place, but was certainly busy! On the second floor, was the star painting, along with an exhibit entitled "Vienna 1900," which featured other Sessionists' artwork and design, including a lot of furniture and silverware etc. that was produced by Sessionists and an interesting section examining the clothing popular among many of the portrait sitters called "reform dresses." If you are at all interested in fashion or fashion history, you should look up these gowns! The last floor contained a rather less inspired exhibit on the connections between German expressionism and it's Russian counter-part. Truthfully, the Galerie is a bit like visiting a museum for one painting, but she is breath-taking, even more so in person, so I felt it worth it. 

We wandered a bit through the upper section of Central Park, though was rainy, and my green skirt seemed to fit in there just as well as against all of Klimt's golden tones. We made our way a few blocks to the Guggenheim Museum. Truthfully, the building's unique design, courtesy of Frank Lloyd Wright, was the real draw, just as much as as any artwork inside, but it is worth seeing. 

It may seem by now that all we did was visit art museums in New York City; there are a lot of them (we didn't even scratch the surface, really!), but we alternated "indoor days" with "outdoor days" as much as possible and... I am my father's daughter I suppose. Growing up we went to museums, especially art museums, when on trips, as my father, a photography teacher, thought that was important to be exposed to. On a recent trip with college, we went to an art museum and she had remarked that, while she enjoyed the visit, it wasn't something she'd usually have thought to go to. On the other hand, her family spent most trips visiting at least one historic site (if not many!) because her husband was a military history buff. What type of things are just "givens" things you naturally are drawn to seeing on trips? Sports events? Historic sites? Shops? I'd love to know! 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Film Flick: On the Town

"What can happen to you in one day?" asked a dockworker of a trio of sailors with a 24 hour pass in New York ("New York, New York- Its a Wonderful Town!"). In their minds? Anything! And it turns out, that's not far from what the day really holds as they see the sights, have adventures and maybe- just maybe- find love in the City that Never Sleeps.

This 1949 film, On the Town, is a fascinating look at creative evolution as a story changes and grows from medium to medium. A new ballet classic, Fancy Free,  with a score by Leonard Bernstein about three sailors on leave is critically acclaimed in 1944, and that same year, work to turn it into a Broadway play is undertaken, with Betty Green and Adolph Green writing the book (both ultimately costar as one of sailors and his gal). Amazingly, all three of these creatives were only in their twenties, and the smash hit it made on Broadway, as one of the first musicals that used song and dance to further the plot rather than stop the show, would be just the one of all their many professional accomplishments. As successful plays were wont to do at the time, it caught the eye of Hollywood. The head of MGM was reluctant to buy the rights though, citing that it was "smutty, " an opinion possibly formed due to the fact that it was an interracial cast and had interracial couples on stage! However, Metro Golden Mayer did ultimately purchase the rights, and the film was produced under the Arthur Freed Unit.

As it did when going from ballet to Broadway, On the Town underwent some major transformations went it became a film. Sadly, most of the music was replaced after being deemed too "operatic," though the now-iconic song "New York, New York" and handful of others were kept. This caused Bernstein to wash his hands of it, though Comden and Green rewrote the book for the film (making several plot changes which may or may not upset fans of the musical) and the duo would go on to work multiple times with the Freed Unit, including for Singin' in the Rain.

The film brought together Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Mushin as the three sailor out On the Town. Kelly, along with Stanley Donen, would also direct. Though both agreed it was hard to share the job, they would pair again together to direct Singin' in the Rain too! Vera Ellen (she of the incredibly slender waist!) would match Kelly in both tap and ballet shoes as his romantic partner for the film.  Ann Shirley and comedian Betty Garrett rounded out the cast as the other ladies- an anthropologist interested in "Modern Man" and a romantically aggressive cab driver.

Sailors Gabey, Chip and Ozzie are small town boys ready for a day of big city adventure- seeing the sites and picking up dates. Which they do, largely thanks to Betty Garrett's character Hildy taking a shine to Frank Sinatra's Chip. She plays tour guide and fails to take in her cab on time. But when Gabey falls for a girl in a poster on the subway, they all set out to find "Miss Turnstiles for June." They run into another girl (Ann Shirley)- and a dinosaur- in a museum, and while they rate a big Navy E with the lady, the museum staff is not so pleased.  The trouble they cause keeps mounting, even as it seemed Gabey's getting closer to True Love- but with only twenty-four hours to be On the Town, can things resolve happily for Our Boys in the Navy?

One of the reasons the story translated so successfully to film was that it was partially filmed in New York- the first musical to go on location . Ann Shirley later credited her own pleas with Studio Head  Mayer, arguing that it should be filmed on location because she "had never seen New York." In retrospect though, it seems impossible to have done it any other way. The sailors dance along many of the most famous sites, giving it a sense of realism that probably appealed to an audience filled with many who had just gotten back from active duty only some years previous. Even today though, in a time when several sky scrapers top the once-towering Empire State,  its timeless appeal is largely due to the films obvious love of New York. With Gene Kelley and Frank Sinatra as your guides, you too will love being On the Town. 

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