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Visual-minded

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“The animals that come out to dance to Tamino’s flute have walked off of every Chagall canvas we have ever seen.”

On this day in 1967 the Marc Chagall production of Mozart’s Die Zauberfl√∂te was unveiled at the Met. Soprano Lucia Popp made her Met debut as the Queen of the Night.¬†

Alan Rich in the World Journal-Tribune:

By the end of last evening, many members of the Metropolitan Opera House’s audience were convinced that Marc Chagall had not only designed the new production of “The Magic Flute,” but had also composed the music, written the libretto, sung the major roles and conducted. It was decidedly Chagall’s evening, judging from the conversation and from the wild applause that greeted each new stage picture (often to the detriment of the music); seldom has a Met audience come to a performance so visual-minded.

What the painter has provided is certainly worth discussion, to be sure; it may well turn out to be the conversational gambit of the season. He has not so much designed a scenic production of the opera as he has provided a commentary on it. There is no scenery at all, in the usual sense; the action unfolds, rather, against a sumptuous series of Chagall paintings and forms that deal in some general way with mood, and in some even more general way with symbolic significance.

He has not stinted himself. Everything is rich, recognizable, vintage Chagall, the fanciful figures, the slashing, vibrant colors. The animals that come out to dance to Tamino’s flute have walked off of every Chagall canvas we have ever seen. The costumes are Chagall paintings wrapped around people, and they, too, are wildly, vividly colorful.

Reservations, however, must be expressed. One is constantly busy with the settings, simply because they do stand so completely for the man’s viewpoint on the opera. There is a sense, almost, of redundancy, of two “Magic Flutes” simultaneously presented. And sometimes his viewpoints are so personal as to clash with that of any other viewer (and listener). The brilliant reds of the final temple scene are splendid translations of the triumph, but what about the deep mauves of the previous scene? Is that what you and I feel as the Queen of the Night is banished? Possibly not.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDUyA-fVie8

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courtwatson
118 days ago
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Fitness app releases data-set that reveals the location of sensitive military bases, patrol routes, aircrew flightpaths, and individual soldiers' jogging routes

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Strava is a popular fitness route-tracker focused on sharing the maps of your workouts with others; last November, the company released an "anonymized" data-set of over 3 trillion GPS points, and over the weekend, Institute for United Conflict Analysts co-founder Nathan Ruser started a Twitter thread pointing out the sensitive locations and details revealed by the release. (more…)

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courtwatson
139 days ago
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S t r a v a
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Lost words of English that we should probably reclaim

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Buzzfeed has curated a list of old words that we should revive, because man, they seem to really fit modern life. Like "fudgel" -- "pretending to work while actually doing nothing at all." Or "ultracrepidarian": "Someone who gives opinions beyond their level of expertise". They're all taken from The Horologicon, a wonderful book by the writer and word-lover Mark Forsyth. My favorite is "uhtceare", which means "lying awake in bed before dawn and worrying about the day ahead". Forsyth's passage in The Horologicon about "uhtceare" is informative:
Uht (pronounced oot) is the restless hour before the dawn, when Aurora herself is loitering somewhere below the eastern horizon, rosying up her fingers and getting ready for the day. But for now, it is dark. And in the antelucan hush you should be happily slumbering and dreaming of pretty things. If you are not, if you are lying there with your eyes wide open glaring at the ceiling, you are probably suffering from a severe case of uhtceare. There's an old saying that the darkest hour comes just before the dawn. However, that's utter tosh. If you get out of bed and peek through the window, you will see a pale glow in the east. But don't, whatever you do, actually get out of bed. It's probably chilly and you'll never get your posture in bed (technically called your decubitus) quite right again. You'll just have to lie there and try not think about how horrid it all is. Ceare (pronounced key-are-a) was the Old English word for care and sorrow, emotions that have an annoying habit of striking during the uht. For some reason these early hours are the time when you remember all your sins and unpaid bills and, perhaps, the indelicate thing you did last night, and as each of these creeps into your mind your uhtceare grows more and more severe. For an affliction so common, uhtceare is a very rare word. It is recorded only once, in a poem called The Wife's Lament, which, surprisingly, isn't about how awful and messy her husband is, but about how he has been exiled to a far country and left her here with her uhtceare and her vicious in-laws. Old English poetry is almost universally miserable, and Old English poets should really have bucked up a bit, but they did give us uhtceare and for that we should be grateful.
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courtwatson
147 days ago
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THIS.
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Tocatta: 1942

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August 1942. Interlochen, Michigan. "National music camp where 300 or more youngsters study symphonic music for eight weeks each summer. Girls swimming during the recreation period. Applying first aid to girl who stubbed toe while in swimming." Photo by Arthur Siegel, Office of War Information. View full size.
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courtwatson
247 days ago
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Interlochen!
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This Michigan-shaped Adirondack chair dispenses cold beverage cans

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Woodworker Matt Thompson has been making Adirondack chairs in the shape of Michigan, the lower peninsula at least, for a few years. Recently, he added the state's upper peninsula to the chair's overall design in the form of a beer/soda can cooler and dispenser.

From Michigan-based site Mlive:

The chair is made of cedar, and Thompson estimates he spent somewhere between $400-500 in wood to create it.

"It's not very practical to sell this or mass produce this," Thompson said.

The holding chamber can hold a full six pack of 12-ounce cans. The ice contained will keep the cans chilled for approximately eight hours, Thompson said. There's a full drainage system that prevents the ice from spilling down the chute.

"Cedar is a good insulator," Thompson said.

(reddit)

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courtwatson
281 days ago
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There's a hidden message in this mass letter of resignation from President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities

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Look at the first letter of each paragraph in this letter of resignation from the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, signed by 16 of the 17 members:

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courtwatson
303 days ago
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