By Nina J P Evans

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dance Dance Dance

After reading an article in The Guardian, about the recent controversy involving the authenticity of Natalie Portman’s Black Swan’s dance performance from double Sarah Lane. A ballet dancer who didn’t receive any recognition or credit directly from Portman herself, who seemed to be thanking everyone in her Oscar speech without a crediting Sarah Lane, no surprises there. Sarah now claims, “she said Portman's face had been superimposed on to her body for the majority of shots.” The director states counting the shots that it’s eighty percent Natalie Portman. Natalie very admirably stressed how hard it was to dance.

This got me thinking of other films such as James Bonds 007 that very typically uses stunt doubles and computer graphic effects to enhance the films possibilities to marvellous effect (without killing off the lead, which is vital in the case of 007, as he never dies) pushing the medium forward. There is never any discredit to Connery, Moore or Craig the Bond actor playing this role. It’s a pity that there’s a shadow of doubt on Natalie’s performance has been cast. And, this is why I enjoyed the performance of master cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Lil Buck, so much more.

The filming entitled The Dying Swan is a very simple affair, but the collaboration of talent reaches new heights. Filmed outdoors suits the street dancers domain, also it suits Yo-Yo Ma, who did a filmed recording outdoors for Joe Wright’s film The Soloist. Alas the sound quality is not perfect, due to background audience sounds, trying to holding their baited breathe in awe. What a beautiful live creative performance merging the cellist solo musician with an LA/Memphis street dancer.  Presented by none other than the inspirational Spike Jonze. The occasion: To bring the arts back into schools—simply amazing. At the end of the film Yo-Yo Ma says to Lil Buck, “Natalie Portman would be proud!”

Natalie Portman on the set of Black Swan. Photo: Ray Lewis
Costumes were designed by Mulleavy sisters
M.I.A. Paper Planes Lil Buck Memphis Jookin‬
Yo-Yo Ma plays the prelude from Bach´s Cello Suite No. 1‬

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


“The word is derived from a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll. Amigurumi are typically animals, but can include artistic renderings or inanimate objects endowed with anthropomorphic features.”

These have become very collectable since 2003 on sites like Esty, they have no practical use and are created for aesthetic reasons. The most interesting Amigurumi creations are about looking closer at natural forms, rather than duplicates of known characters. The individuality in the making of… is key; they’re not super cute per se. It’s more about the playful sense of design characterization, and the most collectable are perfectly executed. The crochet is made up of using odd bits of yarns, sequins and buttons. Each creation is individually hand crafted. They are used like greeting cards to lift the spirits. Online you can download patterns, helping you to start creating your own patterns and designs. I like the way that Chity Soy Yo’s Amigurumi toy designs have traveled, adding to the charm and mystery that is made up in different places and situations with these little things.