Saturday, March 29, 2008

We've Moved!

Beautiful Feet has moved to a new blog address. Click here to go to the latest posts. Same great stuff. Bookmark the new url for future artists' care happenings too (and see for more details). Thanks for your continued support!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Redemption by Ann Kim, Mixed Media, 2004, 25" x 50"

Friday, March 21, 2008

It is Finished by Jeff Wunrow, Silk Matka, Silk Chiffon, Silk Dupioni, 2007, 32" x 40"

Sunday, March 16, 2008

It is the Triduum

Maunday Thursday Footwashing, Photography, Patricia Smith 2006

"The Bono of Lahore"

Great indie movie to recommend: Man Push Cart by director Ramin Bahrani (2005). While this film can be viewed from many perspectives, do yourself a favour and watch it untainted by any reviews or commentary on its 'meaning'. I did, and was able to appreciate it for the offering it was, and to not be influenced by others' take on it. Nice editing. Winner of many awards, such as at Sundance. Available at good video stores.


Aleksandar Antonijevic in Rooster. Photographer: Sian Richards
I recently saw the National Ballet's Rooster, 24 Preludes by Chopin and Soldier's Mass. I attended with a dancer, and we had polar opposite reactions: alack, you are stuck with mine alone.
The Preludes, accompanied by piano, were arranged by 'bad girl' choreographer Marie Chouinard. I haven't seen much modern ballet for about ten years, so I found it interesting to be updated, but I found the attempts at humour often lacked substance and didn't do Chopin justice. This was a very organic piece and the dancers connected with the audience, but I found the tone of the choreography just too self-reverential. I also felt the larger chorus lacked cohesion, although the demi-chori were more successful.
Soldier's Mass was extremely poignant but avoided being sentimental about war; indeed, much of the choreography was evocative of military formations and battlefields. I appreciated the references to a Christ figure during the Kyrie and other parts, and I felt the costume design suited the eastern music of Kylian well. Did anyone else notice that with the exception of three musicians, all the instrumentalists, dancers and choral singers (members of the Elora Festival Singers) were male? There was a palpable weightiness to this ballet. That's a good thing.
The much-awaited Rolling Stones-scored ballet, Rooster, tried to do too much. Choreographer Christopher Bruce created this some 30 years after its characters, Mods and Rockers, walked the earth, and it is still fresh. I'm glad the NBC put it on. But I kept feeling like the ballet couldn't decide what style it wanted to be: it rocked between lyrical, Elizabethan dance, and rock 'n roll. During Not Fade Away, I half expected Elvis Stojko to come out on rollerblades. Paint it Black worked and the finale Sympathy for the Devil lived up to my expectations. I hope next time the ballet administration decides to push the boat out that they will go whole hog and really let loose with something even more audacious. Bruce was working with the music; I just wish it had all been serious rocking.
I'm glad my one recent chance to see our ballet was this one. Karen Kain has breathed a much-needed breath of fresh air into this arts organization. I hope they will continue to diverge from the traditional repertoire, and often.

Ewen Me Both

Good news! Another venue to see some Paterson Ewen pieces! Olga Korper will be exhibiting Ewen at her gallery in April; Mapplethorpe in May. Ck her site for more details. 17 Morrow Ave.

Paterson Ewen, Cross Section of Sun 1997, watercolour on handmade paper, 22" x 30"

The Evil 14

I recently heard that the Vatican has announced an updated and expanded version of the 7 Deadly Sins, the original being a construct by the church in the 6th century, I believe, and not biblical. So here are the additions to Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed and Sloth. See if you qualify---or rather, offend:
ruining the environment; carrying out morally debatable scientific experiments; or allowing genetic manipulations which alter DNA or compromise embryos; social injustice; taking or dealing drugs; causing poverty; and the excessive accumulation of wealth by a few (see source). I guess Prada shoes are exempt...

Oh... my...goodness...

While checking out the Christian art of Sister Mary Proctor recently, I was pointed in the direction of other 'visionary' folk art via America Oh Yes website. What a surprise. If you'd like your eyes opened to the extent of another genre, ck the site out.
What's with dishonesty being cool? From commercials to books, such as one recommended by How magazine, it's supposed to be funny to outwit establishments and rip them off, either by not reporting their errors in your favour, or by theft. The IKEA commercial was funny in itself, but let's drop this attitude of screwing companies whenever possible...theft is theft.

If You Like My Poems Let Them

if you like my poems let them
walk in the evening,a little behind you

then people will say
"Along this road i saw a princess pass
on her way to meet her lover(it was
toward nightfall)with tall and ignorant servants."

~e e cummings

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 a good way of course

All you baroque lovers out there, don't forget this Saturday, March 15th at 8pm, I Furiosi return to Calvin Presbyterian Church for another concert with a wacky theme: Bad. As in Furies and fate and well, you never know with these musicians. Guest Lucas Harris on lutes and theorbo. Tickets a bargain $20/$10 at the door (compared to what some other groups are charging these days.....).

Sunday, March 9, 2008

New to me...

The Wave VII, (Vågen II) 1901. Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Check out this artist I learned about on the Tate Modern's website: Swede August Strindberg (1849-1912), who was also a sculptor, photographer and writer. His art was expressionistic and--after some research I confirmed my hunch--he shared the artistic ideology of Naturalism with which Emile Zola also wrote ('Les Quatres Journees de Jean Gourdon', Germinal, Nana, Therese Raquin are my recoms). Cool stuff from 100 years ago.

blog recom

Got a comment from a fellow blogger about the movie, Conversations with God (see label god/phantom, below), so I checked out his blog and it rocks! Kingdom of God Media's Patrick Roberts writes reviews of movies, books and records with thoughtfulness and aplomb. Those who don't yet need reading glasses might appreciate his review of this:

God loves those who can laugh at themselves

smooth as merlot

Next Sunday brings Jazz Vespers at CCDP again; at 4:30pm Mike Murley (sax) and David Occhipinti (guitar) inspire low-key worship. Admission is free; freewill offering to support this music ministry.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Does This Challenge Your Idea of Opera???

Baritone Calvin Powell in The Shaman’s Tale, part of Opera to Go 2008 presented by Tapestry New Opera Works, February 14 to 23, 2008. Photo Credit: Bruce Zinger.

What--you don't think a spliff-smoking shaman is operatic? Well, shake up your idea of what opera is by getting down to Tapestry New Opera's Opera To Go at Harbourfront's Enwave Theatre (streetcar from Union stops right outside). If you don't believe me, take it from The Star's John Terauds, who says Tapestry is "...where the future of Canadian opera is being made today", and coming from that authority, that's high praise indeed. I've covered them before, but Tapestry is so hot, I have to keep the recoms coming. I love my COC, I drool over Opera Atelier's productions, but these folks are fearless and always successful (never mind what the Globe says...). This company is innovative, fearless and consistent in their musical and professional integrity. I applaud their vision and approach: they never shy away from new things or risky stories or stretching their artistic talents. The only criticism, if I can call it that, is that I found their surtitles superfluous--the singers' enunciation needs no crutch. Best of all, they always manage to push the boundaries: if they can have my 17 year old daughter going regularly, they must be doing something right.

(left to right) Mezzo-soprano Jessica Lloyd, tenor Keith Klassen and soprano Carla Huhtanen in See Saw, part of Opera to Go 2008 presented by Tapestry New Opera Works, February 14 to 23, 2008. Photo Credit: Bruce Zinger.

Okay, so we know that I love them, love them, love them. Here's why. The librettists and composers from the annual Lib Lab (opera pseudo-boot camp: read up on it here) are versatile. The story lines are always fresh and surprising. The designers are resourceful so that one never notices they aren't working with a zillion dollar budget. Best of all, they do cool new things---thank you, God! It was exciting to see film, paper theatre, large-scale puppetry, and laptop media being incorporated into this medium. I've talked before about enjoying their sense of humour. But this time I was also taken by their multi-tasking, if you will: Carla Huhtanen and Keith Klassen not only singing and manoeuvering over-scale puppets, but simultaneously acting as if they weren't also contending with the third mode of expression. I also appreciated their fearless interpretation of a political plotline.

So kudos, Tapestry! We look forward to Sanctuary Song in May. And to the rest of you new opera virgins: hustle down to the remaining performances on Feb 20-23. See their website info about tickets, times etc.

Book Recoms

I recently read Stumbling On Happiness by Daniel Gilbert, which may be of interest to those who are into non-fiction. It's a little heavy on the cranial stuff, but it's a very readable explanation of why we are or are not happy. I am scientifically challenged but the psychological stuff was accessible, and the author kept me reading and laughing, which is something these days. Check out more about the book here. It's available in the library too.

I am presently reading Steven Pinker's book, The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, for future review here, courtesy of the publisher. More about it at a later date.

ECVA has a new call for artists on self-portraiture which you might want to consider if you are a Christian artist. Although based in the US, they are very welcoming to others farther afield (i.e. Canadians and others). Also, check out their current online exhibit (I'm plugging it again!) Feasts for the Eyes. Good people there: please support them.

HM at work

Don't miss the next four Sundays on CBC from 8-10pm for a unique look at the Queen and the many obligations she fulfills. Good for dispelling any myths about a rich, cushy lifestyle! Monarchy: the Royal Family at Work is a sympathetic look at Her Majesty and her family in situations beyond the sound bites and photo ops. While you're at it, why not check out the Monarchist League's website to learn more about the function of the monarchy in Canada. She is our Queen, too!


Ck out this amazing Christian arts project called Bibelots. I love organic movements with a purpose! This one is a ministry which touches people on many levels. Info courtesy of CIVA.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Opera to Go Recom

"Everyday tales of passion and pathos…with just a touch of paranoia
Toronto, ON…Tapestry explores the passion and peril of contemporary relationships in Opera to Go 2008, presented in
association with Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage 2008 at The Enwave Theatre (231 Queens Quay West). Opera to
Go 2008 previews February 14 and runs February 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22 and 23, 2008. All performances begin at 8 pm
with the exception of the February 17 matinee at 2 pm.
Opera to Go 2008 showcases seven world premieres of six 15‐minute chamber operas and a Bravo!FACT film by composer‐writer teams who have graduated from Tapestry’s Composer‐Librettist Laboratory, an annual opera “boot camp” that brings together artists of various disciplines to collaborate on new opera creation."
Tapestry New Opera is the coolest company going. You may recognize their director Tom Diamond from Bathroom Divas. Ck out the Tapestry website for more details.


In my continuing study of art about the Prodigal Son, I found out that Tissot had done an etching on this subject, part of an exhibit now on at MOBIA in NYC. Also cool are the versions by Timothy Vermeulen and Mary McCleary. Check them out.

Even more exciting was my discovery of a fellow exhibitor in the ECVA Feasts for the Eyes, Rev. Paul Fromberg, and his work, such as Good Friday: Lebanon Bombing:
Another artist's work I will save for Maundy Thursday. Although Fromberg's is for Good Friday, I couldn't wait til then to post it!

compline with a side of organ

Christ Church Deer Park has a Lenten program for the next several Sundays which sees various organists playing recitals followed by the BCP service of compline with Gregorian chant. This evening office begins at 7:30pm. Even chiller than Jazz Vespers!

jazz vespers

Next two dates are Feb 17th and March 2nd at 4:30pm, at CCDP. Visit the link for details about the musicians and other goings-on there.

Film Recoms

A neat film I saw recently was Last Orders (Fred Schepisi, 2001) starring Michael Caine and Helen Mirren. This movie had sensitive direction about life and grief, and was particularly astute about the English. All you WASPs out there will feel emotionally at home....Worth a watch. Also finally saw American Beauty (Sam Mendes, 1999); I think I'm the last person in North America to see it. For an accurate portrait of the realization that life is not as it always appears--especially in the American dream--put aside a few hours for a watch. And buy the soundtrack.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Menorah

The Menorah (1993) by Roger Wagner, British, b. 1957

Happy Epiphany!

Today is Twelfth Night or the twelfth day of the Christmas season. It marks the liturgical celebration of the magi's arrival at Christ's side with their three gifts. It is also the feast of Christmas for our friends in the Eastern Church. For more info about epiphany, please click here.
You can also catch the Archbishop of Canterbury's new year's message on YouTube but here is an excerpt, which is good for reflection:
In a society where we think of so many things as disposable, where we expect to be constantly discarding last year’s gadget and replacing it with this year’s model - do we end up tempted to think of people and relationships as disposable?
You gotta love an archbishop who goes on YouTube! Well, that's the Church being sensible about how to reach the people. I like to think of Thomas Becket's mind being boggled by all this! Anyway, good food for thought. I heard him speak this past year, and I am much impressed with Rowan Williams.

Inflationary Language

If you want a bit of a giggle, go to this site to read Victor Borge's Inflationary Language sketch. Read it through before going to watch it on YouTube; you'll get more out of the AV version if you are familiar with the text. Great fun!

Film Recoms

The first film I would like to discuss is Jesus Camp (2006 Ewing and Grady), a documentary about evangelical children in the U.S.. There is much that is difficult to swallow in this movie. If it were just little kids saying "I love Jesus", that would be one thing. But consider the following quote from a conversation between a 12 year old and a children's pastor: Levi: At five I got saved... Becky Fisher: Yeah? Levi: ...because I just wanted more of life. Now, I'm sorry, but at 5 you don't have cognitive development that enables such thought; even if you did, this is clearly parroting adult talk. The views expressed by the participants are racist (see the quotes on IMDb if you don't believe me), narrow-minded and threatening. The film also gives Christian homeschoolers a bad name--they are not all fundamentalist. I found Jesus Camp completely frightening and yet it is absolutely required viewing for any Christian.
On the other end of the spectrum is a movie called Into Great Silence (Die Grosse Stille, 2005, Philip Groning), about a French monastery that is considered to be the most ascetic in the world. The Carthusians apparently took 16 years to consider even allowing the film! At times I thought the art direction was superb, at others boring--how unoriginal to be filming dew-covered flowers!!! In any event, the film is almost 3 hours long and almost completely silent--a hyperacutic's dream come true! Amazing how you get drawn into these men's lives, then. And it contained some wonderful surprises. Overall, I would recommend this film with the proviso that you must set aside the 3 hours to watch it uninterrupted, or you won't be able to enter into the spirit of it. If you do this, I promise you your blood pressure will be lower and your spirit calmer by the end of it. Great chilling!