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various projects

13b

Dear Reader
Billy Collins

Baudelaire considers you his brother,
and Fielding calls out to you every few paragraphs
as if to make sure you have not closed the book,
and now I am summoning you up again,
attentive ghost, dark silent figure standing
in the doorway of these words.

Pope welcomes you into the glow of his study,
takes down a leather-bound Ovid to show you.
Tennyson lifts the latch to a moated garden,
and with Yeats you lean against a broken pear tree,
the day hooded by low clouds.

But now you are here with me,
composed in the open field of this page,
no room or manicured garden to enclose us,
no Zeitgeist marching in the background,
no heavy ethos thrown over us like a cloak.

Instead, our meeting is so brief and accidental,
unnoticed by the monocled eye of History,
you could be the man I held the door for
this morning at the bank or post office
or the one who wrapped my speckled fish.
You could be someone I passed on the street
or the face behind the wheel of an oncoming car.

The sunlight flashes off your windshield,
and when I look up into the small, posted mirror,
I watch you diminish—my echo, my twin—
and vanish around a curve in this whip
of a road we can’t help traveling together.


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Feminist Fashion #3 NWS

Previous posts: 1, 2

February’s Vogue Paris has an editorial featuring models Lara Stone and Travis, photographed by Steven Klein and entitled “Lara Fiction Noire.”

The one clever thing is that there are no guns anywhere in the editorial, this attempt at noir fiction:

In this sub-genre, the protagonist is usually not a detective, but instead either a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator. He is someone tied directly to the crime, not an outsider called to solve or fix the situation. Other common characteristics…are the emphasis on sexual relationships and the use of sex to advance the plot and the self-destructive qualities of the lead characters. This type of fiction also has the lean, direct writing style and the gritty realism commonly associated with hardboiled fiction.

The images (not work safe):

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I like to be well dressed, but…

Women’s Wear Daily reports:

Ports 1961 has struck a deal with NBC Universal to dress four female commentators for NBC, MSNBC, CNBC and USA Network during the Games, which take place Aug. 8 to 24.

So I know that Ports only has a womenswear division, but isn’t it, hmm, weird that only the female commentators are supposed to be that well dressed? Where’s the menswear designer outfitting all the male commentators?

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my review of Red Cliff:

Good.

  • Action scenes are many and some times overly long.
  • Some of the battle formations are well-loved Chinese tales. They may seem very weird to those not familiar with the stories.
  • Many historical inaccuracies, as reported by movie critics.
  • The one historical inaccuracy I noted was that in the film, Zhu Ge Liang is younger than Zhou Yu. But since the actor who plays Zhu Ge Liang is none other than the handsome Takeshi Kaneshiro, who has just broken a barrier in the fashion industry, I do not mind! Plus, Zhu Ge Liang is my favorite character from the whole Three Kingdoms stories anyway.
  • The Chinese government wanted Red Cliff to be a showcase of Chinese culture, and a showcase of Chinese culture it is. At times it seems a bit ridiculous – the characters cycle through Chinese calligraphy, painting, music (with qin and flute), courtesans, sports, all with John Woo’s signature slo-mo shots. and even some weird freeze shots in the music playing scenes.
  • The sex scene(s) go on really long for a Chinese film. and they’re pretty explicit. But I thought it was tasteful.
  • A lot of doves, as per John Woo-directing methodology. Actually they’re pigeons, but they look like doves.
  • Two main female characters – Xiao Qiao and Sun Shangxiang. Xiao Qiao is the wife of Zhou Yu (she’s the only fictional character with a major role in the film) and Sun Shangxiang is the princess of the Wu kingdom family (little sister of Sun Quan). They don’t see each other so they don’t speak to each other. Thus the film doesn’t pass the Bechdel test.
  • Xiao Qiao follows the traditional “good wife” role. She likes animals. She’s caring. She’s not incompetent though. She successfully bandages Zhou Yu when he is injured (big whoop). Then it’s implied that they have sex. Actually, she’s really not incompetent, despite the sarcastic tone before. she just doesn’t have good speaking lines and no good actions.
  • Sun Shangxiang is a tomboy. She is playful, smart, able to keep up with her brothers. She’s clever. She plays a crucial role in the last battle of the movie. She has a bunch of warrior maids who follow her around. When her brother tries to arrange a marriage for her, she exits the room while all the other males laugh and dismiss her (but not after she pulls a pretty kick-ass move). However, Zhu Ge Liang follows her and is the only person who accepts her as she is. (And as one of the starring roles, gives her validation.)
  • Even in China, there are Chinese subtitles above English subtitles. I liked the translations.
  • The battles look pretty good because all the people are real people. However, some of the extras weren’t in character. Sometimes it looked like a History Channel re-enactment. Except with way better makeup and costumes and all that jazz.
  • Really amazing scenery.
  • Special effects were pretty good. Some of the panoramic shots were noticeably created with special effects, but it wasn’t laughable or bothersome. I thought the whole special effects portion of the movie was really well done.
  • Cao Cao gets another motivation for conquering southern China – he wants Xiao Qiao. I don’t think this is historically accurate. Aaand I’m not quite sure what to think about this. Another romance thread for the story? Not in my book. He wants to own her, not love her. Besides, she and Zhou Yu love each other already, in the movie.
I watched the first half of the movie, which came out a couple days ago in Eastern Asia. In the U.S., a shortened (by 90 minutes) 2 1/2 hour release is currently scheduled for January.
The first half ends right before the actual battle at Red Cliff, the famous naval battle. There’s a brief shot of Cao Cao’s land-based forces getting sick on the ships, followed (not immediately) by a nice shot of Zhu Ge Liang setting fire to model ships, again foreshadowing the events of the battle.

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I love clothes.

Just to make that clear. I love clothes. Usually, as a high school student with a minimum wage job and no allowance, I can’t afford them. I have to save up for a couple months to buy some high-end items, so usually I just go to eBay and buy some scarves or something.

But this coat/jacket:

Has me disregarding the $195 price tag, simply because the back is too cool:

It’s hooded! A hooded trench coat! The idea blows my mind apart! (Not really.) But too cool.

Now I just have to choose between buying this, assuming it’s not sold out by the time I can save up enough money, and buying one of the other myriad of clothing items I really want, but obviously can’t afford.

Eventually I’m going to end up with more jackets than shirts. Which would be interesting.

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good for Vogue (maybe).

So it’s official. Vogue Italia is having an all-black issue.

Let’s hope they get it right, and not wrong.

I find it interesting that the Vogue UK blurb first calls it an issue that will “feature only non-white models” and then says the issue will be “featuring black models.” Non-white = black?

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well, I think men’s bodies are most flattering with no clothes on, so they shouldn’t wear anything on the streets.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/24/fashion/24DRESSES.html

The problem with the main argument in that NYTimes article, that men like to look at women in dresses and thus women should wear dresses (oh no! the pant! how horrible! it helps women cross their legs – but where are the ultra-feminine dresses of the pre-second-wave-feminism era?!), is that then women should be making their clothing choices depending on the whims of another group. Besides, the standard constantly shifts. Certainly, in societies where women don’t wear Western-style dresses, men think those women “look good” in other types of clothing. If someone else decides the standard, that someone else can also change the standard.

Besides, women aren’t in the world for men to oogle and shape to their fancy. We’re people, too.

[edit 7:56 PM] I got the jump on feministing this time, but Vanessa wrote another rebuttal of the NYTimes piece here.

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