Friday, August 31, 2012

Just A Color Exercise

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Short of time as I write this Thursday night. Have to post something so it might as well be this.  These were taken on the day after yesterday's shots and there is a change of costume.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a travel day, flying out of town for our Labor Day long weekend. It's another undisclosed destination for now. None of you would guess where we're going except the one of you who already knows. Like they said at the beginning of Monty Python, and now for something completely different. However, the zombie remains of Hurricane Isaac are supposed to pass right over our fair city on Saturday and may inundate us, a summer's worth of rain in a day and a half. This might or might not work out.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

May Your Scimitar Blade Be Dull

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Actually, I had no idea which  side of a scimitar blade was the sharp one so I looked it up. It's the outside of the curve so no worries, mate. This act at the Festival of Nations was a big hit, particularly with the owners of Y chromosomes. They were fabulous, though, a combination of grace and athleticism. I wasn't crazy about the group ululation at the end but I must confess I feel like doing it myself every time if flip past the Republican Convention on TV this week.

There is a shaky hand-held video of the sword dance at the bottom. I may post some more of this tomorrow.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Return of Gratuitous Cuteness

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Lots of families attended the Festival on Nations so lots of children running around.  These are some random shots in the crowd. The kids in the top four pictures were taking an Indian dance lesson. Nice to hear a sitar and tabla in a St. Louis city park, even if it was recorded and played through huge loudspeakers.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

African Color

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There was a wide variety of performances at the Festival of Nations. I had time to catch only a few. The event was so crowded that once I had threaded my way to a spot close to the stage it was impossible to move.

These women are performing traditional dances of the West African countries of Guinea and Gambia. No shortage of energy or color. Lots more to come. Wait till you see the belly dancers doing, um, things with swords. Wait till you see the hit of the show, the wild women of Japan. Sugoi!

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Now, That's Better

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That photo that went up early this morning just didn't work out very well, although Olivier seems to like it. So, something better composed. There was a very brief Tibetan performance. A pair of monks played a drum and cymbals while two people pranced around in a yak costume. Maybe the act was short because you can't dance very long in that thin, thin air of their homeland.

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Eat Your Way Around The World

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Um, this was a Photoshop exercise that didn't turn out quite as intended.  I tried to assemble shots of all the ethnic food tents at the Festival of Nations. It didn't turn out quite the way I wanted but it's too late to change. (Nice, soaking thunderstorm as I write this. About time.) Lots to eat, in any event. Better images tomorrow.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Festival of Nations

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Late post today. Out shooting at this event most of yesterday, then a bit if shopping. Last night we attended a performance of Das Rheingold. Our little summer opera company is doing the whole Ring of The Niebelungen over four years. Someone prepared a "reduced" Ring cycle so the monumental series could be played in small venues. The man who sang Alberich was fabulous. Anyway, out pretty late.

St. Louis' annual Festival of Nations runs this weekend, sponsored by our International Institute. This is a surprisingly diverse region. Scores of countries were represented and the place was packed. A couple of quick edits for now. I'll try to get more edited later today.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Casey At The Bat

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Americans of a certain age all know Casey At The Bat, an 1888 paean to the joys and despair of baseball, our "national pastime." Well, it may have been 124 years ago. Now I think the national pastimes are watching football players devastate one another and electing crackpots to Congress. But I digress.

Last weekend there was an exhibition of "vintage" baseball under the Arch. Using the word vintage is, of course, a malapropism, since vin means wine and vintage refers to the year the grapes were harvested, which could have been just a few months ago. These days it seems to be a synonym for "old." The uniforms and equipment in use were from Casey's era. The players didn't use gloves to catch the ball (ouch!). It was fun to watch but someone needs to tell the pitcher in the second photo that it's bad form to stick your tongue out at the batter.

I never found out who won. Does it matter? But back at that old game...
The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out.
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Friday, August 24, 2012

Purple Haze

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Yep, that's today's theme song. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear.

Some commenters on this series have it exactly right: many of the scenes look like a terrorist attack, a natural disaster or an environmental crisis. Speaking of which, were the organizers of the Color Run required to do an environmental or public health impact statement concerning the city or the runners? Looks like they weren't.

The young lady with the fairy wings in the second photo somehow found the image on my Flickr site. Boodles of her friends have now viewed it. She said that she likes it.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

By Request (And Sort Of A Thrsday Arch Picture)

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Olivier and Jilly preferred the last of the three pictures in yesterday's post, which surprised me. I didn't think it was that great but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That picture and today's were shot moments apart. I like this one better, sort of the march of the living dead. Sure, it's the Color Run, but this is more effective in B&W. The early morning sun throws the runners and the Arch into sharp relief.

Sorry for the lack of comments yesterday. We took our daughter and her husband out to dinner for her birthday. Got home late.

FACTOID: an anagram for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan is "My Ultimate Ayn Rand Porn." Bingo.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dust To Dust

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The junk the participants in The Color Run had to suck into their lungs was amazing. Where was the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Government Agency For Spectral Pollution (GASP) or the Institute For Chronic Kafkaesque Induction Of Purple Uvulas (ICKIPU)? All that colored powder had to coat the runners' bronchial passages. It covered my camera but was no big deal to clean off later. However, the participants should have been issued respirators with their white tee shirts.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012


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Although both sexes were well represented, I think there was a clear majority of women at the Color Run. It's interesting to speculate why. Maybe some men were uncomfortable about being coated in colored powder. They should get in touch with their chromatic side.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Painted Ladies

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By the end of the Color Run your skin tone depended in how much you reveled in the bombardment of colored powder. These young ladies had no inhibitions about it. They were pressed up against a rail in front of a stage at the end of the course. Runners were being pressed onstage by the MC for a dance contest with separate male and female divisions. The audience apparently had strong opinions. 

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Color Run

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I still don't get it. 15,000 people showed up in downtown St. Louis early yesterday morning to run or walk 5 km while being pelted with bright-colored powdered pigment. The Color Run had no obvious tie-in with a charity, no major commercial sponsor. Was someone trying to work this up into a profit-making event? St. Louis was the first in a series of such runs in second and third tier cities, although there's one in New York City in a remote section of Brooklyn.

More about this in days to come. I may get to shoot another one of these but we will talk about that in due time. The video below has a big splotch of purple dye on the lens that I didn't notice until I downloaded it. Seems appropriate, though.

What a shooting day. Besides the Color Run there was an exhibition of "vintage" baseball under the Arch. The players wore old-fashioned uniforms, had an odd-sized ball and did not wear gloves while playing the field. Last night, the young lawyer who works for us part time got married in a spectacular venue in Forest Park. She will have a CD of photos when she returns from her honeymoon in British Columbia. On the way home from the reception I stopped at a pharmacy and got a splint for my right index finger.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Emperor Of China

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According to Mel Brooks, "It's good to be the king." He was playing Louis XIV in a movie at the time.  No doubt the Emperor of China would agree.  All the luxuries the world has to offer, everybody sucking up to you, absolute power, even two nice young ladies to fan you when you're boiling under 20 kg of silk.

The bottom picture shows the whole scene, another overpowering display from the Lantern Festival. It occurs to me that it resembles those cheesy paintings on black velvet that you see in low-end gift shops across America.

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Friday, August 17, 2012


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Apsara are roughly the Buddhist equivalent of angels, although they are always female. (Which makes me stop and wonder: how can actual Christian-type angels have gender if they don't have bodies? I mean, if you don't have the correct mix of X and Y chromosomes - or if you don't have chromosomes at all - you can't be male or female. It's part of the definition.)

Anyway, Mrs. C and I were introduced to apsara in Thailand, where they figure prominently in religious decoration. We also got an eyeful of them at the absolutely hippest bar and restaurant we've ever been to, the Bed Supper Club in Bangkok. The cocktail waitresses pose as apsara, wearing diaphanous turquoise chiffon gowns. Order a glass of champagne and get an escort to heaven.

But back to business: the festival brochure said that this series of gates, trail markers or what you will represent apsara. They look spectacular at night but the bottom picture gives a better idea of the size and depth.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Nice Visuals, Obscure Meaning

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Another spectacular display at the Lantern Festival but I'm puzzled about what it's supposed to mean. Semioticians and deconstructionists, assemble immediately at a smoky cafe in the Left Bank and get to work.

We got a bridge or a rainbow (or both) rising over some trees and a whole bunch of cranes (I think). There's something like a mountain on the right that is either chewing gum and blowing a bubble or has the rising/setting sun/moon superglued to the peak. At the top, a woman stands on a little cloud with outstretched arms. A man and an ox approach her. He carries two baskets, one containing a small boy, the other a girl.

What's it supposed to mean? Fertility symbols? A Chinese version of Papageno and Papagena? Your opinions are welcome.

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