Friday, October 30, 2009

Beethoven's 5th

So visually arresting!

The Hissing Hair

A little something in the Halloween spirit.

Antefix with the head of Medusa, 6th century b.c.
At the Metropolitan Museum

by Louise Bogan

I had come to the house, in a cave of trees,
Facing a sheer sky.
Everything moved, -- a bell hung ready to strike,
Sun and reflection wheeled by.

When the bare eyes were before me
And the hissing hair,
Held up at a window, seen through a door.
The stiff bald eyes, the serpents on the forehead
Formed in the air.

This is a dead scene forever now.
Nothing will ever stir.
The end will never brighten it more than this,
Nor the rain blur.

The water will always fall, and will not fall,
And the tipped bell make no sound.
The grass will always be growing for hay
Deep on the ground.

And I shall stand here like a shadow
Under the great balanced day,
My eyes on the yellow dust, that was lifting in the wind,
And does not drift away.


~ The story of Medusa
~ How to Make a Woman's Toga
~ Martha's suggestion for Medusa hair

Thursday, October 29, 2009


"People love going along with the idea of a beautiful pig. It's like a conspiracy."
-Jim Henson

We've got PUPPETS! I'm loving today's theme. I went a little bonkers with the links at the end.

voiced by Frank Oz
Photo © Lucasfilm Ltd.

Marionette Series No. 1
by Fang Tong

by Furry Puppet Studio

Also from the Furry Puppet Studio:

Family Farm
By Carlos Zapata

Shadow Puppet
by Leonidas Kassapides

This wonderful carved Desmodus is by Lena:

~ A bio of renowned silhouette animator Lotte Reininger
~ Great article about the making of the Corpse Bride puppets.
~ Amazing productions by puppeteer Basil Twist
~ A "Working in the Theatre" seminar on Puppetry and Theatre. This is an hour and a half!
~ ThinkQuest has a great description of the cultural significance of puppets from five different traditions.
~ Hand Puppets 101 by Lani
~ Info about cabaret mechanical theatre
~ How to master the art of puppet theatre, a series of videos by puppeteer Paul Louis.
~ Puppets and Stuff: A Community on the Web for Puppeteers
~ Wallace and Gromit's Create a Puppet Show downloadable kit
~ Shadow Puppets from Orange Moon Toys.
~ A shadow puppetry lesson plan for grades 5-8.
~ For puppet news
~ After I named this entry "Puppetpalooza," I looked that word up to see who was already using it and found this paper puppet instructional book, among others.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fear No More

Age of Kings

Fear No More
by William Shakespeare

Fear no more the heat o' the sun;
Nor the furious winter's rages,
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney sweepers come to dust.

Fear no more the frown of the great,
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke:
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning-flash,
Nor the all-dread thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy and moan;
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have;
And renowned be thy grave!

Is It Raining?

The Masks of Love
by Alden Nowlan

I come in from a walk
With you
And they ask me
If it is raining.

I didn’t notice
But I’ll have to give them
The right answer
Or they’ll think I’m crazy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

At the Walters

Visiting the Walters Museum in my adopted state of Maryland.

Village on the Bank of a Stream
by Frits Thaulow, circa 1897

So, what are these jars for?
"This set of canopic jars was made to contain the internal organs removed from the body during the mummification process. The four sons of the god Horus were believed to protect these organs. The jackal-headed Duamutef protected the stomach; the falcon-headed Qebehsenuef, the intestines; the baboon-headed Hapi, the lungs; and human-headed Imsety, the liver."
A Complete Set of Canopic Jars
by Anonymous (Egyptian) circa 900-800 B.C.E.

The Duel after the Masquerade
by Jean-Leon Gerome, circa 1858

The original L'Amour et L'Amitie was made out of marble by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle and is now at the Louvre. When a second one was commissioned, Pigalle, age 69, allowed his younger colleague to cast it.
L'Amour et L'Amitie (Love and Friendship)
by Claude Dejoux, circa 1783

The Potato Harvest
by Jean-Francois Millet, 1855

~ I also like Millet's The Sheepfold, Moonlight.
~ This piece has a lovely name: A Bon Vinaigre by Paul Gavarni. It comes from an expression: "The good wine makes the good vinegar," meaning that one can make a good thing only from a thing which is good already.
~ Cool Chinese wine pots.
~ Learn about (ancient) Art History here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Dream of Horses

Waves of muscles rolling like a silvered sea! Beautiful.

A Dream of Horses
by Lee M. Robinson

In the dark they left the barn
together, the old gelding
leading the younger
to the far pasture.
The moon was full,
the field like snow.
They stood for a long time
looking into the sky,
lifting their heads
as if listening to the stars.
A shiver
ran the length of the young one’s
nose, along his ivory blaze,
then rippled down his back,
and because
they were so close, traveled
to the other.

Deep in the cedar
the waxwings felt it,
awoke to see the flash of light,
the waves of muscles rolling
like a silvered sea, a pounding
of hooves in air, then the silent
pas de deux of flesh and fur,
bone and sinew, reach and curve,
one leading the other
(now the younger, now the older)
until the sky
could hold them no longer
and they were gone.


And a quote to think about:

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.
~T. S. Eliot

Do you agree?

I do.

Poetry Friday is being hosted by Laura Salas.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

En Garde!

"The essence of fencing is to give, but by no means to receive."
~ Moliere

These first three are from the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Close helmet with mask visor, circa 1515
Attributed to Kolman Helmschmid

German design for a sword hilt, circa 1540

Armor of the Gusoku type, 18th century

"Lichtschwert" (Light Saber) in front of the opera house in Graz, Austria.
Sculptor: Hartmut Skerbisch

The Motherland Calls
by Yevgeny Vuchetich

A bit of trivia: At the time of its installation in 1967, the statue of The Motherland Calls formed the largest free-standing sculpture in the world.

~ Fencing fork sculpture
~ The art of stage fighting (lesson plan)
~ How to make a wooden sword
~ A little fencing history
~ A fun photo

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Blue Spurt of a Lighted Match

Meeting at Night
Robert Browning (1812 - 89)

The grey sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i' the slushy sand.

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, thro' it's joys and fears,
Then the two hearts beating each to each!


A modern video version of Meeting At Night.

Go Alone...

Another delightful postcard from Endicott Studios.

Art by Virginia Lee

an excerpt from The Night Journey
by Terri Windling

. . .you dream and stir upon your bed
and toss and turn among the sheets,
the wind taps at the window glass
and water tumbles through the leat
and through the garden, through the wood,
and over moss and over stone
and tells you: go, by candle light,
and go tonight, and go alone ...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

At the Met

A stop at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City...

This Mayuri (peacock) from India was made in the 1800s with wood, parchment, metal, and feathers.

Seated Female Musicians from China, late 7th century

A Chinese Yunluo ("cloud gong"), from the 1800s.

Central-Asian shaft-hole axhead with a bird-headed demon, boar, and dragon, late 3rd–early 2nd millennium B.C.E.

Love in the Italian Theater (L'Amour au théâtre italien)
Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684–1721)

Details from Camel: From the Berain Grotesques, circa 1685–89
Designed by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (1636–1699); Woven at the Beauvais manufactory under the direction of Philippe Behagle (1641–1705) or his son of the same name.

Go here to see family guides on the Met site.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Beware of the Book

I know I'm on the tail end of Banned Books Week (September 26-October 3, 2009), but it's not quite over.

Book Talk
by Elaine Magliaro

Dressed in uniforms of blue,
The word police arrived at two.
With laser eyes, they scanned our pages
And locked our naughty words in cages.
Then up we cried: “You’ve taken text!
Will you remove our pictures next?”
“Your pictures?” one policeman said.
“We only take the stuff that’s read.
Your naughty words must be excised.
Let all your authors be advised
To watch their words when they compose
Their poetry…and all their prose.”
Warning given…the men in blue
Then turned to leave. They bid adieu.
We books now left with words deleted
Feel somehow, sadly, incompleted.

A couple of links:
25 Banned Books That You Should Read Today

Info about a school visit by author Ellen Hopkins which was cancelled.

I'm Making You Up

I'm Making You Up
by Chrystos

Grandma we all need
partially deaf & busy with weaving
    listens through a thick blanket of years & sore feet
nods     while I cry about everything they did to me
how horrible     & can't stand another
while brown wrinkled you smile at me like sun coming up
    I stand next to you     pass wool absently
    you lay aside the wrong colors without comment
I'm simply     Grandchild
babbling     your sympathy warm & comforting as dust
    I sit in your lap     your loom pushed aside
you feed me fry bread with too much maple syrup
    I pull your braids     you cradle me deeper in
    your legs folded to make a basket for me
Grandma who died long before I was born
        Come Back
            Come Back

for Beth Brant