Published-Roxy on the Roof

June 19th, 2009 § 0 comments

Certainly not the second review I have written, but my second review for Whitehot is published! Here is the link to the article, and here is my neon picture on the cover. Questions, comments, concerns?

Roxy_Paine

A Garden Wedding

June 11th, 2009 § 2 comments

I am looking out the window of the plane en route to new york. The sun is setting over clouds that have finally stopped shaking the beer can we are flying in, and the view is breathtaking. It is awkward to be so high, but it’s a view I can never resist, and since it will be dark when I fly over the east, I am enjoying the window seat while it still matters.

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At the risk of sounding cliché, I can’t help but state that the wedding was truly beautiful. It was everything I think the bride wanted it to be; simple, nontraditional, sentimental, and meaningful. Despite the rebellion my generation instinctively feels toward the traditions of feminine ownership, I understand why we love weddings. Property matters aside, it is a lovely way to come together as a group and celebrate something good. Love, even when it does not last, in the moment that it is true, is a glorious thing to toast—birth, death, and love. The details of weddings only matter because they too are icons of a kind of shared beauty. Flowers, friends, silks and satins are simply the manner in which we reflect a feeling, and our sentiment.

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Train Dichotomies

April 30th, 2009 § 2 comments

“I’m sitting in the railway station, got a ticket for my destination…”

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Other than an old steamer crossing the Atlantic, trains, being much older than the road, might be the most romantic form of travel, and one that remains completely overlooked in this country, romantically and practically. European trains, with stations older than our historic buildings, live up to their myth, and each kind—overnight sleepers, cheap locals chugging through the Spanish desert, efficient bullets whipping between Berlin and Munich, excessively expensive rides through the Channel—exudes a certain stereotype of travel, each appeals to a certain class of passenger. I cling to the notion that traveling poor is the best way to see the underside of travel, as wealth is too warm and insulating. A French flight attendant, walking me through a snoring first class on a flight to Paris, laughingly told me, “it’s a different world up here!” When he brought a first class meal with silver wear and dessert, I had to admit it was. Trains, like buses, are more affordable (or ought to be), and therefore attract a different kind of traveler; most people do not pick the slowest way to their destination because they harbor romantic ideas about trains and passing scenery, but because of price.
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A Young Company

April 23rd, 2009 § 0 comments

I vividly remember the first time I saw Netherlands Dance Theater perform, a truly amazing European dance company that travels too little in the U.S. The experience eviscerated my then teenage conception of “proper” dance, believing that traditional dance, or even worse that traditional ballet, was the apex we were universally training toward. Ballet teachers encourage their students to believe that those who choose companies outside the realm of ballet are settling due to a lack of talent. It always seemed odd that the dancers talented enough to learn the movements while granting them a unique life and character, were drawn toward “modern” companies. NDT dancers are not simply good dancers, they are the very best kind of dancers; precise artists who happen to use their bodies to express conceptual ideas. The style of the company is more lyrical and conceptual than Taylor’s, the choreography tends to be balletic rather than athletic, and the stories are conceptual rather than narrative.

All forms of dance consume (destroy) the body long before you would like, aging normally seems traumatic enough, and another interesting aspect of NDT is that they house not one company but three—NDT is the original, NDT II is for the young, and NDT III for the elderly—and each company serves different functions. Looked at cynically or practically, young companies usually exist to feed preferred dancers into the main group, and an elderly troupe is perhaps like Las Vegas is to singers; where dancers go to die. Thought about a little more creatively, however, three companies pulled from three different age brackets parallels people themselves at different ages; everyone has something a little different to offer. Thinking specifically of performers, the young can offer an energy and exuberance that age tempers, those in their absolute prime can offer a kind of athletic human perfection, and older performers are seasoned and experienced; they don’t make the mistakes you predict in others.

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Out of the Trunk

April 22nd, 2009 § 1 comment

twins

For an archive that caters primarily to fashion, lifestyle, travel, and celebrity based imagery, which is then sold to the type of magazines owned by Conde Nast, I was surprised to find that the archive of Seydou Keïta is among our recent acquisitions. Born in Mali, he was a self-taught photographer who specialized in portraits of his family, friends, and neighbors beginning in the 1940’s. It is difficult to photograph people and places that are steeped in a history of photographic exploitation, but his perspective appears authentic. The constructed quality of the images and the subjects posed expressions reminds me of James Van Der Zee, the notorious manipulator. I am curious how accurate these portraits are in showing a slice of Malian life at that time.

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