Saturday, March 28, 2015

SF Ballet: Just Go --- Day 4/58

Walk: SF Opera House (Don Quixote ballet)
Distance: 5.5 miles and a little bit of stretching

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Ciwt was sort of dreading  two and a half hours of ballet.  Light, but it just flew by.  She actually laughed out loud at a few of Sancho Panza's antics in this comedic and lyrical take on Don Quixote.  Gorgeous visuals: dancing, sets, costumes.  Not to mention that SF Ballet's dancers are right out of Hollywood central casting   Image result for don quixote ballet san francisco Image result for don quixote ballet san francisco

Friday, March 27, 2015

Once More with Feeling (Ciwt wishes)* --- Day 4/57

Walk: City Centre Theatre ('71), Mindful Body
Distance: 2 miles and teach yoga class

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Once more, presenting Charles James.  Just look at all that gorgeous fabric, creative construction and drapery.  And try to imagine all the techniques that don't meet the eye but hold the gowns in sculpture like position.  Truly a fashion genius.

*At this time, if one of these gowns - the most expensive in the world when created in the 1950s - was up for auction, it might fetch somewhere in the six figures. Touching would be out of the question for Ciwt (or most) - financially or, for conservation purposes, in fact.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wellness Break --- Day 4/56

Walk: Whole Foods Van Ness
Distance: 2.4 miles and home yoga

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We interrupt our latest cruise through the Scottish Galleries Art and the Brooklyn Museum Costumes to bring you a wellness reminder.

Specifically a reminder that, no matter the body, we all lose flexibility as we age, and one activity affected by ongoing tightness is walking.  For example if there is tension between our calf muscles and our heels, we can tend to catch our toes, stumble and fall.  Since our bones also weaken with age, falls can lead to fractures - especially of the hip. Then there is the potential hospital care, etc, etc.  (I have friends who remind each other daily "We cannot fall!")

The good news in this dire recital is Yoga!  In the case of the calf-ankle connection, the good news in particular is Downward Facing Dog which works that area as well as many other parts of ourselves. In many yoga modalities, Down Dog is the most frequent pose in each practice session.  For good reason: it inverts us so prana can flow to our hearts and brains; it strengthens the hands, wrists, shoulders; it opens the entire back body from the feet, through the length of the spine into the arms and hands.

And more. Like all active stretching*, Down Dog improves mind/body connection, alignment of joints, mental focus.  And more.

There are modifications depending on your physical condition.  For instance: bending your elbows and doing down dog from your forearms, keeping your knees bent, straightening one leg at a time/bicycling them, simulating the pose against a wall, table or chair, or other modifications you might invent.  And Ciwt always recommends a warm up of your choice to prepare for more demanding, fully extended poses.

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*Also, bike riding, swimming, doing the stretches in the classic Anderson book "Stretching."  There are also excellent alternatives to hatha/movement yoga (which she teaches): restorative, Iyengar, chair yoga, yin yoga. The main thing is being present in whatever active wellness you choose. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Tree Goes to the Ball --- Day 4/55

Walk: Mindful Body (2), High Tech nails
Distance: 1.5 miles and teach yoga class

Charles James was a man of restless, unpredictable and unorthodox creativity.  It almost wasn't in him to create the same fashion twice, and there was no knowing what his next garment might be except that it would be an unforgettable, utterly original amalgam of mathematics, architecture and sculpture.  And it would be made of rich delectable fabrics - usually yards and yards of them - tucked and draped and seamed with utter precision often over rigid underlying corsetry of his own invention.

Although James inspired and fascinated generations of designers, admirers and collectors, his name is not generally known. He was prominent for less than 10 years (1947-54 in New York) and his total output was fewer than one thousand garments in his entire fifty year career.

One of these garments is the striking "Tree" Ball Gown of 1955 designed for Marietta Peabody Fitzgerald Tree.    Yesterday Ciwt how the gown is able to stand on its own.  It turns out there James invented many hidden solutions to this defiance of gravity including zippers, bone, weights.  The gown's embedded structure likens it to standing sculpture. Halston himself referred to James as the Leonardo da Vinci of fashion.  He was far more interested in the construction of his clothing than the comfort.  Looking as the yards and yards of fabric* and thinking of of the rigid seaming, zippers et al,  Ciwt does not envy Mrs. Tree wearing her gown.

*Image result for Charles james 'tree' evening gown There is even more fabric than meets the eye.  When Mrs. Tree walked, white satin facing supported by a profusion of colored tulle added romance to the visuals - and more weight for her.

Tree Gown, other Charles James garments and many more historical high style items are on view at the de Young Museum's Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection Show (March 14 - July 19, 2015)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Brooklyn Costume Show Coming up on CIWT --- Day 4/54

Walk: CPMC, Mindful Body
Distance: 2 miles and teach yoga class

How does this dress stand up?  Stay tuned....

Monday, March 23, 2015

Early Tech Lover --- Day 4/53

Walk: Trader Joe's, Davis Foot Comfort
Distance: 2.5 miles and home yoga

Fernand Leger (1881-1955), Woman and Still Life, 1921, oil on canvas

Simple, streamlined, sensuous.  Simultaneous homage to the machine and the female nude.
Ciwt found this Leger work the most appealing of all she's seen.  Soooo many masterpieces visiting us from the Scottish National Galleries.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Glum in the Sun --- Day 4/52

Walk: Sundance Kabuki/Cinema Club (Sunshine Superman), Laurel Village, Trader Joe's
Distance: 3 miles

Glum today.  Maybe because spent yesterday reading a book about  -- death/dying: Irvin D. Yalom, Staring into the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death.  Think it had the opposite effect on Ciwt. Seemed empty, shallow, smug, overbearing and less.  Anyway, not recommended.

Then a movie with Sun in the title: Sunshine Superman about the 'father' of BASE jumping.  Ciwt happens to know a bit about this activity, its history, its pioneers, and Sunshine... just didn't hit the mark for her.  Made her a little glummer.

Oh well, Mamma said there'd be days like this  (< click on this)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

You Are There --- Day 4/51

Walk: No (being a little careful with feet)
Distance: 0, home yoga

Andre Derain (1880-1954), Collioure*, 1905, oil on canvas  (National Galleries of Scotland)

Here you are at the absolute beginning of Fauvism, before it had a name.  As Derain painted this oil he worked side by side with Matisse at whose house in Collioure he was staying.  Matisse was already in love with the intense light of this small Mediterranean port, and it didn't take Derain long to catch up and to be swept up in Matisse's enthusiasm for the intensely bright and sensuous energy of colors he felt himself (and probably was) seeing for the first time.

All summer the two painted together and remained friends even though their artistic lives went in nearly opposite directions.  Derain ended up renouncing not only Fauvism but abstraction in favor of embracing neo-realism.  (See CIWT Days 344, 345, 2/21, 3/218 for more on Derain's painterly path). But for Matisse the abstract use of intensely colored forms remained with him to his dying day, culminating - Ciwt would say (along with Many) - with his poetically reduced cut-outs.

*Please see CIWT Day 3/317 for Matisse paintings of Collioure