Gossip on Michelle Obamas inauguration dress is running wild. Her fashion tastes are being combed over in more detail than Kate Moss’s or Angelina Jolie’s. We all want to know: will Michelle be another Jackie O, elegantly clad in her own design? Or, like Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, will Michelle opt for a local designer — potentially at the expense of true chic? Hillary’s purple, sparkling Star Trek-esque dress from 1993 fell flat. Her second shot (after deferring to Oscar de la Renta) — a champagne sheath — was more in her own style (a predecessor to myriad colored pantsuits from her 2008 campaign).
Slumdog Millionaire is a riotous, colorful fairy tale of epic proportions, filmed with the greatest of tenderness in the dirtiest districts of Mumbai. The film opens to the big bass and bumpin’ beat of M.I.A. following the escape of neighborhood kids from the police. Sure, the cops are grown men on motorcycles, but the kids clearly have the upper-hand of it—running through the ins and outs of the neighborhood, they lure the cops into their own territory. Slumdog Millionaire is filmed with such casual intimacy that you can smell the garbage, taste the spices, touch the purple and gold silk drying between rooftops. It’s a tale worthy of the epic poets, about a boy growing up and his fated love for the girl of his dreams.
While collegiate flirting usually consists of recycled Comedy Central jokes and (barely) politically correct comments about our less-than-perfect friends and lovers, the Japanese literati of the Edo period wooed one another with art and poetry. On exhibit this week at the Johnson Museum of Art is Colored in the New Year’s Light, a show featuring Japanese surimono — color wood block prints produced as holiday tokens. Surimono were traditionally commissioned by poetry societies; they were distributed at New Year’s as gifts of love or friendship. Rather than that drunken text message at midnight we’ve all sent and received, the ancient Japanese cognoscenti sent one another delicate images of fish, elegantly clad women and mythical beasts by the ocean side.
The concerts that college students go to these days aren’t in classical music halls. Kanye West and Coldplay never perform with music stands, a conductor in black tie or formal seating; concerts take place in big outdoor stadiums and small bar venues. College kids assume that concerts involve a thumping bass, crowd surfing, intoxicated people — you know the story. On Monday, however, a group of Cornell’s undergraduate composers presented Contrapunkt! — a “counterpoint” to the usual collegiate concert.
The concert defied two concert traditions. It wasn’t your parent’s classical performance of romantic Debussy or soundtrack-worthy Tchaikovsky concertos; Cornell’s undergraduate composers were more interested in breaking the historic grammar of western music.
In traditional sonnet form, there’s always a turn at the ninth line. At that moment in verse, the mood switches and the tone changes to reveal something. The Princess of Nebraska, more poetry than film, has that moment too. Wayne Wang’s newest independent film documents a young immigrant’s visit to San Francisco.
It was the summer of ’69. In the midst of free love, hits of LSD and political activism across the U.S., Cornell University hosted a historic exhibit that transformed the perception of art. Curated by Willoughby Sharp at the A.D. White House, Earth Art broke out of museums and galleries and into the rough-and-tumble of the wilderness. The show was the introduction to the Land Art movement, including works like Walter de Maria’s “Lightning Farm,” which harnessed the power of nature for aesthetic pleasure.
Rumor has it that Alex Mergold ’00 set a scale model on fire during his thesis review — in front of alarmed critics. Research shows that he didn’t actually light the thing ablaze, though the project, a fire house, was provocative in its own way. After graduation, Mergoldd went on to found Austin + Mergold LLC with Jason Austin ’00, and is currently a visiting faculty member in Cornell’s architecture program. A+M’s show at Hartells Gallery, The Four Books of Archiculture, came down this past Saturday after a two-week exhibition.
The exhibition was a retrospective of the two architects’ built and proposed works in Pennsylvania. The projects include designs as varied as a grain dryer converted into a house and a miniature golf course built on a roofscape.
Diego Luna asks at the beginning of Mister Lonely, “Have you ever wanted to be someone else?” This question is the introduction to a magical film, composed almost completely of a surreal, bizarre metaphor about the loneliness of everyday life. The movie is, ostensibly, about the romance between a Micahel Jackson impersonator (Diego Luna) and a woman who lives as Marilyn Monroe (Samantha Morton.) It speaks as well, however, about the masks that all people wear and the lies they try to escape. Mister Lonely is a film that is literary in its aspirations: mostly devoid of plot, it’s interested instead in the relationships and trials of people who are all lost, lonely, and falling in and out of love.
Andy Bernard, our college’s fictional representative on that all-indicative show The Office, describes life here on the slope in a couple sentences. He says: “I went to Cornell. I graduated in four years; I never studied once; and I was drunk the whole time. And, I sang in the a cappella group, Here Comes Treble.” In some portrayals (as depcited by The Office, Stephen Colbert, etc.), a cappella represents a part of drunk-social collegiate life that rarely continues past graduation, and over-shadows their primary focus: music.
[img_assist|nid=32197|title=United They Stood|desc=All of Cornell’s a capella groups joined to perform on stage at the Statler Auditorium on Friday night.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Blood and Oil is a harrowing, methodical account of the United State’s political and military ties to oil. Activists for the environment, advocating energy independence, frequently claim that the only roadblock to mass action is ignorance — people simply don’t understand the state of the emergency or the consequences of our inaction. Michael T. Klare’s film places the blame elsewhere.