Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Magic Carousel Mini Tour!

I have always loved carousels. For one thing, they are one of the few carnival rides I can actually ride. The Yoyo and the Ferris Wheel are the others. I tried the Hammer once and ended up getting off the ride and projectile vomiting in front of the line of people waiting to get on. Then I had to sit in the grass for half an hour. Not one of my finer moments.

Another reason I love carousels is the great old-fashioned look of them. I tend to be antiquarian in my tastes.

The final reason is Ray Bradbury's book "Something Wicked This Way Comes". A carousel figures highly in that story, although admittedly in a somewhat sinister way. I read that book as a kid and it has always stuck with me.

So when I heard there were a couple of carousels in the general area, I had to seek them out. A friend and I went to the Albany Carousel Museum first. This carousel is in various stages of being finished and it has the most enchanting figures:

People have paid thousands of dollars each to sponsor figures and volunteers carve and paint them. Because individuals are inspiring the various figures, there are some incredibly interesting variations:

For the full list of the amazing animals, see here.

A volunteer puts some finishing paint touches on a horse:

We found out that the way the figures get their final high shine is that they ultimately go to an auto body shop for a couple of coats of clear, hard exterior finish.

While the Albany Carousel Museum is really amazing, there are no rides to ride yet and we wanted to ride! So we traveled a few more miles to the Salem Riverfront Carousel and got to do a ride there.

I rode Snickerdoodle,

who appropriately had a cat on her back:

 a covered wagon ride!

An awesome squirrel on the back of Blackberry the Deer, one of the new figures they were finishing.

We finished off our experience with bags of pink cotton candy. I really have to say that I am extremely happy that carousels are still being made and appreciated. It's a bit of magic I would hate to see fade away. Luckily lots of other people seem to have a connection to carousels as well. I can tell you that if I had the means to sponsor a figure it would either be a mammoth (because I am obsessed with them!), or one of my cats, probably Tiger Baby. 

Do you like carousels? What figure would you have made if you could?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Going "Into the Woods"

Into The Woods recently became available on Netflix so I took a chance and watched it. First off, I will say I hate most Broadway and show tunes and this movie is based on a Broadway play from the 80s so it has plenty of those. But...they were tolerable. Otherwise, I thought the movie was pretty great. It has a lot of good, well-known actors/actresses---Meryl Streep as the witch, plus Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, Christine Baranski and Tracey Ullman to boot. And the costumes are fantastic. There is a great deal of humor (the scene with the princes standing on the waterfall and melodramatically tearing their shirts open had me rolling on the floor). There is tragedy as well; all does not end happily, and there are surprising little pops of violence that remind us of the brutality of the original tales. Johnny Depp does a wicked turn as a truly sleazy wolf. The rest of the more unknown actors were certainly equal to the task. The way the story takes traditional fairy tales (Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella) and combines them into one sweeping tale did not piss me off the way I thought it might. Clever, entertaining and filled with great outfits (Meryl Streep's dark blue attire at the end of the movie is particularly notable), I gotta recommend it---even if you don't like show tunes :)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Thinking About Pink...

I picked up this blouse at the thrifts the other day:

I am about to do a big batch of over-dyeing of clothes and thought this shirt would come out well with its print and textures. You see, I am not a fan of white, pink or pastel and hardly ever wear them, at least as outerwear.

But for some reason I stayed my hand on this blouse. Maybe because we are into spring now? I don't know exactly.

Stylistically, I come out of a long background of rebellious dressing tied to underground music scenes. Hardcore punk of the 80s, and grunge in the 90s.  I was wearing 50s dresses with converse sneakers and combat boots in the primary-colored, neon-drenched 80s and serious goth, all black clothing with dead white makeup (including white mascara), at the beginning of the 90s. Then there was a period of serious guy dressing---men's military pants (the old school tailored kind) with tank tops, guy's bowling shirts or ratty band T shirts. I was aiming for rebellious and tough, and pink just didn't figure into that equation. Pink symbolized traditional girlyness, which symbolized weakness and bowing to the status quo. Pink was the color worn by high school cheerleaders, sorority girls and young mothers, people whom I had no connection with.

But here I was a few days ago with a pink, floral blouse wondering why I wanted to wear it. I ended up wearing it all day yesterday. And I was...somewhat uncomfortable. Part of me liked it, and part of me wants to throw it into the dye bath as soon as I can. It does look good with the olive green skirts I have too many of. Which part of me will win out? We shall see...

What is your relationship to pink?