Video

Gymnastic Rhythm

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http://www.utrend.tv/v/amazing-girls/

I always watch the Olympics as they are broadcast on TV and figure skating and gymnastics are two of my favorite events to watch. I got to see the ‘Fab Five’ get their gold medals and watched them grow in fame. Yet going back to watch their routines and ones from the past and other countries, I am always in awe of what they can do with their bodies alone. Aside from the strength, muscle conditioning and the flexibility needed to preform, they also get points for creativity. The routine and rhythm that goes into a floor routine seem quite simple compared to the flying tricks they do in their stunts, but there are elements in them that can make or break a routine. For example, synchronization of movement and tumbling was a bit off at parts in this routine, but when they were preformed together they looked flawless. The angles made with arms and legs, the curvature of the spine in the stunts, the angles of the stacked bodies are all points towards creativity in gymnastics. This routine shows levels of skill and difficulty and was really fantastic to watch.

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Editing Beauty

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You hear everywhere that models are not real people, that they don’t represent a realistic expectations.  Models are real people, and they may be thinner and taller than the average person, but they are still real.  How a model is portrayed to look is what is not real.  The clip above shows the effects of photo manipulation in a video compilation of the entire process of the photo shoot, the hair and make-up and then the post-production editing for one single image.  A lot of work goes into making the model look that way after the image is already taken…the model is not as thing as the picture, has a different face shape, nose and larger eyes.  The editing went into lightening the hair and the skin tone and as far as lengthening her legs and neck to appear taller then the actual model.

The photo manipulation work shows some decent skills in the world of post-production editing.  The thing that bothers me is that this highly edited photograph is then mass produced in magazines and portrayed to the world that this is what this woman looks like on a daily basis.  Most people today will accept the fact that magazine and print photos have some level of editing and airbrushing, but not everyone might know to what extent.  This is what the media latches its claws onto, selling the point that you have to look like a manipulated photograph.

It isn’t the model that sets the beauty norm, but the post-production editing and the media that drives it.  Dove has their real women campaign that is trying to dispel the effects of the media, but much like what Jennifer Lawrence says in the clip link below, it is up to us to change how the world views beauty by not supporting what the media has to say about it.

http://www.upworthy.com/that-girl-from-the-hunger-games-is-asked-a-poignant-question-and-i-love-her-answer?c=bl3

Commercial Chain vs. Small Town Shop

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Just about every girl has seen the show ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ and has dreamt of their own wedding day and getting to pick out the dress they will change their life in.  They expect everything they see on the television; the sparkle, the attention, the budget, and the overall spectacular experience these brides to be on television have at these mega stores such as Kelinfeld’s.

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I started my wedding dress search at a chain store, David’s Bridal, in Brookfield.  I can’t say what I was expecting to see, I had some ideas of what could happen and what I was hoping to find.  I walked through the big glass door and was placed in an ordinary dress shop, nothing extraordinary, nothing spectacular.  They had a large variety of dresses in plastic garment backs hanging on racks and some on mannequins but nothing jumped out at me.  I filled out some forms and started picking out some dresses at random since no one was assigned to me to help…in the show the dresses are picked out for you.  I was led to a crowded room near a collection of mirrors and was instructed to start trying dresses on in a tiny dressing room off to the side.  In the show, a consultant was assigned to you and was there for the whole process of helping you pick out dresses and helping you try them on.  My mom was the one who actually did the assisting in the room and then I would go out to the mirrors and see how I looked in them.  I was disappointed because my mom was then unable to see the revealing of each dress as my sisters who also came were able to do.

Wedding dresses are a peculiar thing, what you think looks great on a hanger may not be the most flattering on your body and what you think looks like a tangle of fabric on a rack fits you like a glove and makes you feel like a princess.   I tried on twelve dresses at my first appointment and chose two as my favorites.  Both were out of my price range, as I was never asked what my price limit was when I entered the store but both were very pretty.  My number one was a ball gown, much like the one the Disney princess Cinderella wore to the ball, but the one I picked out was a light gray color instead of the traditional white.  The second dress I liked was a lace gown with the perk of pockets.  Both were beautiful dresses yet I didn’t feel either one was the dress.  Overall from my first experience of dress shopping, I was not very impressed and left empty handed.  Granted, I wasn’t expecting to leave with a dress, I still felt torn between the two I liked, but after an hour and a half of trying things on and net getting the assistance from the employees, I just wanted to leave.

I wasn’t in much of a rush to get my dress as I am still ten months away from my wedding now, but I decided to make another dress appointment at a smaller shop closer to my house.  Edith’s is the name and it is the store where my aunt got her dress seven years ago.  I went in with more of an idea of what I was looking for but they had a much more limited selection of dresses than David’s Bridal. Though they were more welcoming at Edith’s, giving me instructions and having my appointment be the only one that my ‘stylist’ was responsible for so she wasn’t running in a billion directions.  I was told to look around and pick five of what I liked, I was given some funky binder clips to mark them and when I was done my stylist helped me into the dresses so that my family, even my mom, could see the look as I walked out.  I tried one a few dresses and fell in love with one that I picked because I liked half of it.  The bottom is not what I thought I would be looking for and it looks nothing like what I had pictured myself in.  But this was my dress, I felt at home and comfortable and beautiful.  To finish the look, my stylist went and picked out different accessories for me to try with the dress.  She brought out different veils all ranging in size, sashes for the dress, and headbands and clips for my hair after the veil would come off after the ceremony.  She was very helpful and I was super impressed with the service overall.

After I ‘said yes to the dress’ and tears were shed by my mother and future mother-in-law, I had to put half of the total payment down so that no one else could see my dress.  As I was filling out all of the paperwork, the stylists took my bridesmaids down stairs to help them start picking out what their dresses might look like.  We were all having a great time that we stayed until the store closed because we felt more at home and taken care of and not rushed or like a commission prospect.  I defiantly would recommend going to a larger store on your first appointment to get a feel of what you are looking for and what you like then finding and purchasing your dress at a smaller local store.

Edith’s Bridal: http://www.ediths.com/
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avid’s Bridal: http://www.davidsbridal.com/

Math in Movement

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Bones, a TV crime drama of which I am a big fan, airs numerous ways to murder people….all fiction of course.  Yet they have to get their ideas somewhere, right?  Last week’s episode, ‘A Spark in the Park’, brought in Olympic Gold Medalist, McKayla Maroney, and some interesting physics equations to help solve a murder.

I won’t spoil the episode and the outcome, but I will tell you that I was very impressed by the math that was created for the show, and I am not a big fan of math.  Being a gymnast takes lots of practice and dedication to get muscles to move just right and to execute all of the flips and turns that seem to defy gravity and what a human body should physically be able to do.  But how would one show all of that movement in numbers and symbols?  It is very complicated and takes a lot of time.

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In the episode, the father of the murder victim, pays his respects not by crying over his loss but by showing his daughter’s life in a series of equations: her birth, her first steps, her first somersault, her first bike ride, kart-wheels, round-offs, through  gymnastics.  Ultimately, the equations show a stop in motion, meaning her death and final resting motion.  I don’t understand the amount of scribbling on the chalkboard and in the show, the genius forensic anthropologist, doesn’t understand all of it either.

Now, being a show on television, I wondered if the equations were actually possible or if they were simply made up to add some tv magic.  As it turns out these equations were real, the creators of Bones went out to find how this could be possible and contacted the right people to make it happen.  I thought it was very impressive that the show creators would make sure that every detail in the show was not overlooked.  I also thought that math could not be beautiful with its crazy symbols and mixing the alphabet in and showing no numbers at all in its multitude of equations.  I was wrong.  Math can be beautiful.  It was quite an emotional part of the episode, watching the victim’s life of motion represented in math.

A Spark in the Park: http://www.fox.com/bones/full-episodes/77864003651/the-spark-in-the-park

The Color of History

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Black and white photos are associated with the past, even if the photograph is taken tomorrow on a digital camera and turned black and white in post production, it will instantly have a connotation to the past.  I love black and whit photography, if I could only shoot with a film camera I would, however in the digital age today I would be at a disadvantage.  One advantage of the digital age is that we can take those old black and white photos and re-develop them into color photography, in other words, we can bring them to life and discover the color of history.

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Pastincolor.com is a site where you can upload your own black and white photograph and they will use their artistic talent and specialized software to bring the color back into the frame; make the grass green, the sky blue and the rosiness back into cheeks.  Based in Sweden, this company will color correct your photos for nearly $100 and will make sure that you are satisfied with your product.  They have an entire portfolio gallery to view their past work to see their success.  My favorite photos are the more iconic images that we have come to love in black and white, how much differently I look at them in color; how the scene changes the intensity, the emotion and the connection I have with each image.

Photo Gallery: http://forrifarg.se/portfolio?lang=en
http://indulgd.com/realistically-colorized-historical-photos/

People from the Past.

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Tom Hussey, a Dallas photographer, created his work entitled ‘Mirrors’.  This collection of photographs are to show the passage of time, life, and how a person views themselves and they achieve it.  This collection reminds me of the saying ‘..a 20-year old stuck in an 80-year old’s body’ or of Grandpa Jo from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  The images captured by Hussey that show nurses, teachers, and firemen as they are now and their reflections show how they feel on the inside.

slide_288547_2268945_freeHussey’s inspiration came from a conversation that he had with a WWII veteran who couldn’t explain how the time had gone by so fast and that he didn’t feel as old as he was.  This is a very interesting project as Hussey had to find people who looked like his subjects only 40-50 years younger to pose as the person from the past.  I love this idea of manipulating the images to combine two completely different story timelines into one complete image that tells it’s own story.

Tom Hussey’s entire ‘Mirrors’ collection can be viewed here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/27/tom-hussey-mirror-series-shows-elderly-people-looking-at-younger-selves_n_2958505.html#slide=2268945

Video

Disney Medley (UMass Amherst Doo Wop Shop A Cappella group)

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Disney has been with me ever since I can remember…I am a Disney child. I love to watch and re-watch the movies and especially listen to the soundtracks that match perfectly. People who can sing the songs and mash them together are also something that I would listen to over and over again. I found this A Cappella group on YouTube and was mesmerized for the whole 8 minutes of their performance of a Disney medley. Not only are they singing the words and creating the melody of each song, but they are adding a limited amount of acting as well. The combination between the transitions, the singing, and the acting bring the entertainment value and humor that make this a great performance.  From the start with the classic Disney opening and drawing the half circle over the castle at the beginning through Scuttle’s ‘WaWaWa’ in the middle to end with the mash-up of the main parts of each song, this performance is something that I shared with all of my Disney loving friends.

Re-Design

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There are so many projects in the world and everyone had a different viewpoint. Naturally, as things are published we might see something and think that we would have changed this or that or done it completely different if we were given the chance. Some people actually make that chance happen, especially when it comes to re-designing movie posters or book covers.  Harry Potter is a popular series of both movies and books to re-design the images that cover each book or movie.  I came across one of these re-designs that has a more modern twist on the fiction and fantasy that J.K. Rowling presented to the world. The re-design is not just an image either, it is an animated .gif, and the designer created one for each book.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

AAAHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

CCCHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

DDDHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

EEEHarry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

FFF

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

GGG

What I thought made these re-designs stand out was not only their animated features, but the concept of a lightening bolt, like the scar on Harry Potter’s forehead, is hidden in each design.  That extra attention to detail is what sets these creations apart from other re-designs.  Other minimalist designs for more movies can be seen here: http://mashable.com/2013/11/02/harry-potter-minimalist-posters/#gallery/minimalist-childrens-tales/527536b1b589e44df700cddb

Hocus Pocus

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This ‘article’ was sent to me by a friend whom I made watch the Hocus Pocus movie in honor of Halloween.  He didn’t happen to find it as amusing and funny as I did; he actually said that if it were up to him he wouldn’t watch it again.  But because I like the movie and it is October he sent me the top ’23 Reasons Why Hocus Pocus is the Best Halloween Movie’.  Most of the reasons, I admit, are ridiculous and there are quite a few spelling and grammar mistakes, but these types of posts are published for their entertainment value.

The movie is basically set in Salem and focuses on the lives of three witches who cast a spell to come back to life when an event happened. I don’t want to spoil the movie it you haven’t seen it, but events unfold and it is up to the three young main characters to put the witches back to ‘sleep’ and save all of the children in their town.  Hocus Pocus came out in 1993, but is still being played on many channels including ABC Family as part of their ’13 Days of Halloween’ TV special, so obviously it is considered a hit….even though the website International Movie Database (IMDB) gave it a rating of 6.2 out of 10 stars.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/reasons-why-hocus-pocus-is-the-best-halloween-mo

‘Spell Block Tango’

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I came across this video while searching for creative inspiration for a project.  I have seen the movie version of the ‘Cell Block Tango’ from the musical Chicago.

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This was a spoof of the same song but done very creatively using the very well-known villains from the Disney franchise.  Although not child friendly as most Disney related things are, it is still defiantly not as ‘rated-R’ as the original that it was based off of.

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The chosen villains include Cruella DeVil from 101 Dalmatians, The Evil Queen from Snow White, Ursula from The Little Mermaid, The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Scar from The Lion King and Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty.  The lyrics of the original song were altered to fit perfectly with each villain.  In comparing the two videos, the melodies and basic concept of each one matched very well.  The creative differences and the extent of the attention to detail on the spoof are done very well.  The facts from each movie are written into the persona and histories of each ‘murderer’ except for the fact that the murders of the characters are all falsified.  The set design matches the basic set of the Chicago musical; with the lighting, props and the smoke/fog.  The make-up element of the video is also well done.  I don’t see it as overdone, just enough to add character and make it obvious as to which villain is which. Overall, the creative, production, written, make-up and acting elements were all very thought out.

CELL BLOCK TANGO:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KA6R1DMb-Z8

SPELL BLOCK TANGO:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAUZIw95ueM