Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vivid Sydney 2011

The art geniuses behind Vivid Sydney once again projected animated images, colors and designs on to the sails of the Opera House and created pure magic.

It seems they've elevated their game each year, perhaps hiring ever more clever artists or maybe learning over time how best to utilize a canvas as unique as the Opera House.

Mickey dragged his tripod to Circular Quay on a chilly evening in May to capture some Vivid moments. This one reminds me of a really cool retro sweater.

This one spread out like a fan.

This is a composite image. Mickey left the camera on a slow shutter speed and the colors bled together. It's my fave.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Royal Wedding

Now that my student days are long gone, I find myself genuinely interested in history, particularly social history. When I read about events that took place within the last century or so, I wish I had a record of how my ancestors experienced it. When the World's Fair came to Chicago in 1893, did my great, great grandparents attend? How did Grandma feel when Pearl Harbor was bombed?

In my own humble way, I hope that this blog serves as a record of one girl's twenty first century life and perceptions. Who knows, maybe my posterity will experience the same curiosity about the past and my family's relation to it that I do now. Even if this blog doesn't last generations, perhaps I can look back on it and recall details about my own life that I'll forget due to having children, dementia or the long-awaited robot takeover.

In any case, I feel the need to record my own experience of the royal wedding between Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton because it was such a significant media event. Of course, I've always felt a certain closeness with Wills because he's only three days younger than I am and my mom has fond memories of being pregnant at the same time as Princess Diana. I remember weeping in front of the television when the news revealed that she had died in a car crash and felt terribly sorry for William and Harry. They had grown up in the lap of luxury, but no amount of money or influence could bring back their mum.

My other "tie" to the royal couple is that I studied in Edinburgh, Scotland in one of the same years that Wills and Kate were studying at St Andrews. My flatmates and I had vague plans to stalk the prince when we visited St Andrews in 2002, but sadly, we didn't catch sight of him.

Anyway, Will and I have a bond (of which he remains unaware) and I was delighted to learn that he was going to marry the lovely Kate. The British tabs are legendary for their cruelty, but the worst adjective they had for Katy was 'waity.' Indeed, she was poised to be the perfect people's princess: beautiful, stylish and approachable. Ever since the royal couple announced their engagement in December, the world began to eagerly anticipate the wedding of the century.

I feel lucky to have witnessed the royal wedding as an American in Australia for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it aired at a reasonable time of day for us: Friday evening at 7pm. Dedicated royal wedding watchers in America had to set an alarm for the middle of the night to watch live coverage. Secondly, because of a genuine love of Diana and desperation for a positive news story, the American media went a bit bonkers with royal wedding coverage. When the Daily Show poked fun at the Today Show for interviewing some guy who makes iconic British building jelly moulds, I was glad that I missed most of the craziness.

Mickey and I were fortunate enough to score the perfect royal wedding viewing spot: Thor and Jennie's couch. I practically insisted that Jennie let me come over to watch because I love her and her house and TV are amazing. And because she's one of humanity's gems, she agreed and even prepared a perfect British roast meal complete with an Eton mess for dessert.

We watched the entire royal wedding from the arrivals to the balcony kisses on the BBC in high definition with no commerical interuption. The coverage on the beeb was first rate, but the commentators assumed a level of background knowledge that this yank just didn't have. I kept barking questions to Jennie and Thor: "who is he talking about? She's related to whom? They reconstructed her nose when?" (How did I get this far in life without learning about Tara Palmer-Tomkinson?) 

I loved every moment of the royal wedding. The outfits, hats and celeb-spotting were spectacular. I found it fascinating that plenty of seats in Westminster Abbey wouldn't afford a good view at all. Kate's gown couldn't have been more perfect and she was utterly radiant. No one really agrees with me on this, but I would have liked to see what a makeup artist could have done with her lovely face. I think she did a superb job, but I'd like to see the Duchess move beyond the black eye pencil on the lower lashline.

According to the media, Kate's maid of honor, sister Pippa Middleton, almost stole the show. While I thought she looked lovely, I don't understand why the media now won't let the girl live her life in peace. She didn't sign up to be a royal... yet.

It amuses me that my American friends and family were far more excited about the royal wedding than any Brits or Aussies I know. I sensed that Thor and Jennie, like plenty of Brits, are sort of "over" the royal family and their silly antics. Asking about the purpose of a monarchy in a democratic society is a legitimate question I guess. As an American who has no tax-based reason to question the royal family, though, I am inclined to love and be fascinated by the Windsors (is that tecnically their surname?) What's not to love about an impossibly rich and stylish family with a long history of infidelities, backstabbing and scandal?!

At the conclusion of the coverage, even Thor and Jennie were impressed with the flawless execution of the royal wedding. The pagentry of the event struck the perfect note: enough pomp to do the British tradition proud, but not so outrageously over the top as to make the royals seem completely out of touch.

I can't wait until Harry gets married so we can do the whole thing over again.