Monday, 1 September 2014

Yves Saint Laurent



I went along to the movies this week to see the new Yves Saint Laurent biopic. I didn't know much about it, apart from the fact that YSL was French- well Algerian as it turns out, and obviously a famous designer- even though I am barely aware of fashion I still knew a little of YSL.

Told by his partner and business partner, Pierre Bergé, reminiscing after YSL's death in 2008, the movie is then a somewhat linear narrative- from YSL's early days with Dior, his disastrous conscription to military service, and setting up his own fashion house.

We see his beautiful, elegant classic designs of the 1950s and 60s, his groundbreaking Mondrian collection of 1971, and even YSL had questionable taste in the early 70s after that.

YSL Mondrian dress on display at the
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2013
It was interesting to see how formally collections were presented in the 50s and 60s and how this (d)evolved in the 1970s. YSL is not depicted as a nice man, and I was left with little empathy for him. Actually both Yves and Pierre act deplorably at times, and we weren't really shown why. Paris of course featured quite a bit with much of the movie action happening there. Paris hasn't changed all that much since 1850 so you can easily dress up the characters, change the cars and suddenly it is the 1950s. There are more than enough Paris streetscapes to keep the Paris voyeur happy- YSLs apartment has views over the Arc de Triomphe. And it is all beautifully lit and filmed. 

The first 10 minutes or so before the titles had bizarre subtitling, with about one sentence in 5 subtitled in English. My rusty French was struggling to keep up. Thankfully it improved after the opening credits, and most of it then seemed to be subtitled, but the subtitles were way too low, and it was hard to read them and watch the actual movie at the same time.

Sadly I was very tired this day and when I fell asleep (as I often do at the movies) it was 1976, and I woke only in the last 30 seconds or so. I'm not sure how much I missed...


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from Paulita at An Accidental Blog

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Sydney Biennale 2014

Way back in May I had a visit to the Sydney Biennale for the first time in many years. Decades probably. I remember seeing it at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in the 80s or 90s.

This day was my first trip to Cockatoo Island.

Being on Sydney Harbour is always a joy


Particularly on a gorgeous afternoon

Soon enough Cockatoo Island loomed up

Everyone had their cameras out, even the fashionista types
A Diana camera
We spent a lovely few hours checking out the art. 

Big
Tori Wranes- The Rock 2014

and small
Matt Hinkley- Untitled 2013
The Biennale makes use of the old industrial buildings
and also the old convict era buildings
Christine Streuli- gradually_real 2014

Kate Daw- Green Lamp 2013-4
a tree falling in the woods kind of installation
you may not see it, but it's still there

Late afternoon light on Sydney sandstone. Gorgeous. 
Even seagulls look gorgeous against the late afternoon light

A new view of the bridge 

It was a perfect afternoon
Sydney Biennale finished in June. You'll need to wait til 2016 for the next one.

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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Flavorwire's 10 Best Authors of Children's Literature


A list from Flavorwire in 2012.


Lois Lowry

E.L. Konigsburg

C.S. Lewis

Philip Pullman

J.K. Rowling

Lewis Carroll

Madeleine L'Engle

Katherine Paterson

Lloyd Alexander

Judy Blume

I've read 8/10 of these authors! Not every work by them of course, but at least a sampling.

Lois Lowry's The Giver is astonishing (my gushing review from last year) and there is a movie version coming out very soon.

I've only read one E.L. Konigsburg (From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler), but have two more in the house waiting patiently for their turn.

I guess I need to read Lloyd Alexander and Philip Pullman! But fantasy isn't really my genre. Indeed I suspect it's my least favourite genre.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Les Misérables- From Page to Stage

On my recent trip to Melbourne, I didn't have a lot of time. I did manage to eat some things.

A new production of Les Misérables has just recently reopened in Melbourne. I've never seen the stageshow, and didn't get to see it on my recent trip south of the border.

but I walked past the theatre late at night 


There is a companion exhibition called Les Misérables From Page to Stage being held at the State Library of Victoria. I snuck a couple of hours for myself one day and headed up to the library. All the ads say you can buy tickets at Ticketek. Well you can, but you can also just rock up late Saturday afternoon, buy a ticket then and there, ($15 for adults) and walk in.


You can just see the sculpture of Victor Hugo by Rodin through the entrance
Hugo refused to sit for Rodin

It's quite a large exhibition in two large sections- it aims to show the story of the novels impact on art, politics and music. I can't show you any of the first section as it was pas de photos in there. Which is such a shame- there was so much great stuff on loan from the collections of the Bibliotèque Nationale de France, Maisons de Victor Hugo in Paris and Guernsey, Musée Carnavalet, Musée Rodin and Maison Littéraire de Victor Hugo. The highlight of which is Volume I of the original manuscript handwritten by Victor Hugo. It's absolutely huge.

Picture source

Victor Hugo wrote much of Les Misérables while he was in exile from France from 1851-70, and was finished while he was in the Channel Isles. He wrote on the right of the page and used the left for annotations.

Picture source


This is the first time that this volume has left Europe- it even got to fly to Australia on its own business class seat- I've never done that... Les Misérables was a hit from the outset. The two volumes were first published in 1862 and all 6,000 copies sold out in one day! Everyone read it, rich and poor, and public readings were organised when copies sold out.
The universal appeal of Hugo's creation lies in its themes: the possibility that the condemned can rise above poverty and degradation to become good and honourable, and perhaps above all the fight for freedom of body and soul. 

From June 1862 just two months after it's first publication in French, Les Misérables was published in nine languages and in serialised volumes around the world.  The first stage production came the following year in 1863. There have been at least 48 film adaptations of Les Misérables. We see some of the worlds first theatrical merchandise with beautiful Les Misérables chocolate wrappers from 1890. We also see some volumes of Les Misérables from around the world, a collection of movie posters, and some of the costumes from the recent 2012 film adaptation.

Victor Hugo was also an artist and we see some of his pen and ink drawings and paintings in the exhibition. The famous image of Cosette used for the stage show is by Émile-Antoine Bayard and comes from the second illustrated edition of Les Misérables, a picture version is included in the exhibition.

I resisted the catalogue on the day,
but do wish I'd bought it

The second room is devoted to the stage adaptations and is interactive and much more hands on than you'd expect in an exhibition like this at a library.

Cosette's wedding gown from the Australian tour 1987
first worn by Marina Prior

Stage props on display

You can take to the stage with
revolutionary zeal

You can dress up in an array of costumes

There is a themed gift shop at the end
with all manner of tshirts, books and paraphernalia

Javert's keeping an eye on you as you leave the library. 
If you can't make it to Melbourne there is an excellent exhibition website where you can see some featured objects from the exhibition.




My friend Janine at Resident Judge went to the exhibition too. You can relive my trip to Musee Victor Hugo in 2010.

Les Misérables From Page to Stage is open 18 July to 9 November 2014
10-6 daily, until 9pm on Thursdays
State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston Street
Melbourne

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Eat Melbourne

Recently I snuck down to Melbourne for a few days. All my time was taken up with a rather intense course, and I was sick, so I didn't arrange any social engagements as I normally would. A girl still has to eat though, or find things that she would eat if only she had the time.

Even having a quick solo meal at the restaurant at your hotel is fun. Heirloom on Bourke Street.

Heirloom Tofu
Tofu foam, orange ponzu, anchovy granola, spring onion
I suspected that tofu foam would be a mistake-
for me it was

Pitoro Gyoza
Pork and prawn dumplings with chill oil and ponzu
spicy and delicious

Aburi Salmon,
Seared salmon, witlof, snowpea, salmon caviar yuzu sesame dressing
delicious
Pastries at Laurent Patisserie for breakfast on the run

Much deliciousness left for another time

I didn't even get in the door of Le Petit Gateau
but was stopped in my tracks in the street
-next time
Buying presents for Master Wicker

It's almost impossible for me not to to order Agedashi tofu-
Edoya Russell Street

 or Sashimi and Asahi. Edoya
I was attracted by a queue on Bourke Street for The Lab Nitrogen Gelato Bar


Interesting to watch. They put a liquid into the KitchenAid and then pour in
liquid nitrogen to make the gelato on the spot.

Raspberry and Nutella Tart. $6
A bit style over substance I thought.
Perhaps the other varieties are better?
My one meal out with company, we tried a new dumpling house. Shanghai Dragon Dumpling House on Russell Street. Fabulous.
We were stuffed with delicious house made dumplings,
three sorts for under $30 for 2. 
Walking through alleys we came upon Prix Fixe who are doing a fabulous English Midwinter menu inspired by The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. 

What a fab idea!

The door was even made over as a wardrobe
I wanted a nice pudding this night, and didn't want to go back for more nitrogelato. A quick google and I was off to OmNom at the Adelphi in Flinders Lane, where I was introduced to the concept of a Dessert Degustation! OMG. All desserts should be degustations... $55 for 3 courses. 

Basil Garden
Dark chocolate, vanilla, olive oil, honey, basil, lime,
white chocolate and meringue
Interesting, but my least favourite of my 3

Mont Blanc
Meringue, dark chocolate, chestnut, vanilla, blackberry, feuilletine
Hello. I've died and gone to heaven.
This was AMAZING.
Tarte tatin.
Granny smith apple, 5 spice, chantilly, vanilla, lemongrass and ginger
Which was nice, really nice, but I was yearning for more Mont Blanc. 

Puppy Cakes spied at BreadTop on my last morning. 
There are many reasons why I love visiting Melbourne. The food is just one of them. Melbourne was recently voted the world's friendliest city.


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This post is linked to Weekend Cooking
a fabulous weekly meme at BethFishReads