Monday, December 03, 2007

Levitation & The Salon

I take back everything (almost) negative I said about Molly's upcoming Christmas concert. We went on Saturday, and it was amazing. It was 3-1/2 hours of Christmas music: humorous, secular, and sacred. The cheesecake was fantastic, and Molly put us right in the front row for both parts of the show so I got great pictures. There were of course ups and downs in the concert, and I couldn't see paying $28 for the dinner show, but $14 was just about right for what we got. My only remaining complaint is that there are so many ensembles that a great deal of time is taken up with filing the kids on and off of the stage.

They performed a shortened version of the concert today for the elementary school. Mia was excited about it all weekend, because at the very end, they allow siblings to come up on stage with the choir. I met her class there because I wanted to see the concert again through her eyes. As buses dropped the kids off at the commons, the little ones started filing in. The room was completely silent while I waited for them to arrive, other than shuffling of papers and soft whispers of kids in study hall. The first few kids in the room were quiet, but as more and more piled into the room, the noise level rose until I thought that the roof would lift off. Then Santa stepped into the room. It immediately hushed for an intake of breath, and then the chattering reached new levels as all of the children called to him. He worked through the crowd until everyone was seated in the PAC. The choir performed the songs most associated with children: Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman, Susy Snowflake, and of course, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, even the Chipmunk Song. There are costumes for most of the characters. The chipmunks got a huge response (you try keeping a straight face as three tall high school guys sing like they've been sucking helium). Santa took the stage during Rudolph, again to loud cheers and gasps. You can tell who the man of the hour is. It was wonderful to sit in my seat and listen to the four year olds all around me giggle and wiggle their way through the concert. I think the Christmas season officially began for them today.

Mia was princess of the hour in her class. No other student had a sibling up on stage, so she was the only one who got to go up there. She wore a pretty pink dress so she could fit in. Her friend Jackie kept whispering, "Mia, which one is your sister?" Mia stood quite a bit taller than her 42 inches today.

A couple of similar reviews today:

The Salon by Nick Bertozzi has a fascinating pretext: The artists living in Paris in 1907: Picasso, Braque, Satie, plus Gertrude Stein, are being stalked and killed off by a strange vengeful being who has the ability to pass in and out of paintings. Stein's salon serves as homebase for these painters who come together to discuss art, their current works, and engage in hedonistic behavior. A strange blue absinthe gives them the ability to jump into paintings. The story is intriguing, and the artwork occasionally striking, but I was disappointed in this book. It got a lot of wonderful reviews leading me to believe it was transcendent and more than "just" a graphic novel. I loved the discussions between Braque and Picasso about how to paint all perspectives at once, giving birth to cubism. But so much of the book focused on the baser instincts of the artists. There were far too many panels of Picasso's penis for me. Bertozzi seemed to revel in his characters' hedonism, to the detriment of the story. I expected more from this book.

Levitation by Jim Ottaviani and Janine Johnston is an expose of how magicians perform their famous levitation tricks on stage. But the book is far more than that. This beautiful graphic novel is narrated by a stagehand who knows the history of the trick and how it traveled from Europe with the magician John Neville Maskelyne to the American Harry Kellar, who stole the trick. The slim volume has backstage drama along with technical detail all lovingly illustrated by Johnston. Each panel is fantastic, especially those where real posters have been included. There's not a lot to this book, but what is there is all pleasing. I even got my husband to read this, and he's not a fan of graphic novels. Very enjoyable read!

Today I heard about a new possibility for me to do more with my book reviews. I won't say anything yet in case it falls through, but I'm really excited about it. Pray for me please!