Tuesday, January 1, 2019

A True Spectacular: The Rockettes

The first time I saw the Christmas Spectacular, my mom and I were 1 hour late, and I did not remember a thing. For a number of years, I never had a strong desire to watch the whole thing, mostly because it was not exactly on my radar. However, as the years progressed, my YouTube feed started to recommend Rockette audition videos, likely due to my obsession with watching clips of different ballets. After watching a number of Rockette related videos, I was hooked and suggested that my family watch it together.

So on December 29th, 2018, we went! My brother, mom, dad, and my sister-in-law pushed through dense crowds and made it to Radio City Hall. The theater itself was enormous, and I think better designed than some of the theaters at Lincoln Center (namely the David H. Koch Theater). The seats, even the so called obstructed ones, all had a clear view of the stage itself. In the David H. Koch theater, I have tested the partial view seats, and they were indeed only worth part of the price.

The Christmas Spectacular uses a combination of singing, dancing, and digital animations for their show. Not only that, the show expanded their definition of the performance beyond just the stage: there were singer and dancers on side platforms and the digital effects expanded the round theater projecting from the stage. These effects made the audience feel like they were in a snow globe, almost as if we were part of the show. The set designs were beautiful - very elaborate and well planned. In particular, I liked how the double decker bus looked as though it was moving using the animation that looked as though we were traveling through different areas of NYC.

However, I believe the stars of the show were the Rockettes. All of the women in the company look incredibly strong and well-rehearsed; there was not a single moment where they were not synchronized. Their dancing in totality felt like a woman power-group who were going to dominate the world. Not only was their dancing impeccable, their ability to remember all the choreography the show required is something to marvel at. Unlike other dance companies, because of the homogeneity of the choreography among the dancers, it is impossible to point a single dancer out for her abilities. For example, in ballet companies, dance critics constantly applaud or scrutinize dancers in principal roles because those roles are meant to exemplify one dancer’s dancing. However, with the Rockettes, each dancer must dance like the one next to her, otherwise, the whole group is let down. Perhaps this is beauty of the Rockettes; everyone is held to the same standards and are therefore (theoretically) treated all the same.

I also wanted to give a special shout-out to the girl who played Clara in the Nutcracker scene. I thought she was so bright and had a beautiful stage presence.

Please comment below on your thoughts on the Radio City Rockettes!     

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

An Archaic App: Postcrossing

-A relatively short post (and perhaps jumbled one) on my new hobby

            A longing for more archaic forms of communication, I recently turned towards Postcrossing to satisfy the craving. Postcrossing is a website that enables users to send a set number of postcards to other randomly generated users and in return, the website randomly assigns those users to other users. For example, if I wanted to send five postcards to five random users, I would be given five users’ addresses and an ID code to write on the postcard that allows the receiver to “register” that they received the postcard. Then, once my send postcards are received, then Postcrossing will assign my address to other users for them to send me postcards. It has been extraordinarily exciting to receive mail from people around the globe, and this experience with Postcrossing is reminiscent of the times I had penpals and periodically wrote letters to friends.
            A relatively simple hobby, Postcrossing brings a certain old-fashion joy and intrigue from friends. For one thing, I certainly am more attached to my school mailbox (I do not recommend using your home address for safety reasons) and check it more frequently. It is interesting how now-a-days, in the age of social media, I am much more excited to receive a postcard than I am “likes” or new content from creators. Perhaps in a psychological way, these postcards solely serve as a method of communication and sharing rather than any sort of self-validation, which has marginally improved my mood.
            So far, I have received postcards from numerous countries such as China, Germany, Latvia, Greece, Poland, Singapore, Netherlands, and many more! It has been great seeing what postcards people have and different sights that I have never seen. On the website, users are able to write a description on postcards they prefer to receive, which has been great in terms of postcard selection. On my description, I mentioned how I love Harry Potter, and a number of users have sent me Harry Potter related postcards! On this post, I will attach some photos of postcards I have received. Happy Postcrossing!
Tell me in the comments what you think of Postcrossing! :)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Not-so Fantastic? Review of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Movie - Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

As a Potterhead, I was ecstatic when I found out the Fantastic Beast, a series within the Harry Potter universe, was to contain five parts. Five more movies within the Harry Potter world? Count me in!

The first movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, was beautiful. The story of the awkward, but cute Newt Scamander letting his fantastic beasts lose in the early twentieth century hit all Harry Potter nostalgia factors and introduced audience to a whole other part of the wizarding world of Harry Potter. The intricate, yet strangely realistic magical creatures that Mr. Scamander let loose in NYC were incredibly fascinating, and the creator’s creativity was evidently unbound. Not only did the creatures satisfy my craving for more wizard-related things, but also the portrayal of the wizarding world in the United States made me fully recognize that the wizarding world was not limited to the Europe and there is a whole other continents that have wizard history. Exciting - more content to learn about in the wizarding world!

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, was a bit different. I would first like to say that yes, it still hit all the nostalgic sweet spots and just looking at the depiction of the wizarding world made me excited. However, the story itself felt a bit intermittent; many of the stories felt like a set-up for bigger stories to come. It is almost as though the J.K. Rowling took the Fantastic Beasts Saga and sliced it into 5 arbitrary pieces, contrary to Harry Potter where there was an overarching story within the series but smaller, yet substantial stories within each book and movie. Though some of the  dramatic and unsuspecting events convinced me to watch future movies, this movie just felt as though the movie makers needed a medium to introduce characters who may or may not be important in future movies. Nothing was really solved in this film, and the movie just left us off at the “rising climax” of the story.

Despite my not-so-positive commentary, I would still recommend the movie for Potterheads. For me, anything more I can learn about the Harry Potter world is enough. Additionally, Eddie Redmayne embodied the spirit of Newt Scamander so well that when I reference Eddie Redmayne, I write Newt Scamander by accident. 

Overall rating: 6/10.

Let me know your thoughts of the film and Harry Potter in general in the comments!

A True Spectacular: The Rockettes

The first time I saw the Christmas Spectacular, my mom and I were 1 hour late, and I did not remember a thing. For a numbe...