Online Finds: Poikkeustilapolkka – Polka in Quarantine

After Hours, Bits in Spaaace!

During the covid-19 pandemic, many people in my social bubble have turned not just to handcrafts but to video projects as a way to pass the time and provide comfort. I’ve seen a wide spread of projects and inspiration as a consequence, and enjoyed every one. Here’s an example.

Polokkarit is a 25-year-old folk dance ensemble based in Oulu, Finland. They recorded a polka performance that respects physical distancing recommendations.

(P.S. Beware of one blurred-out NSWF moment – I’m kinda flabbergasted that they left it in.)

Poikkeustilapolkka – Polka in Quarantine by Polokkarit Kansantanssiryhmä on YouTube

They tell a bit about their polka video on YouTube:

“At the moment most of the world is in lockdown mode, but the Finnish folk dance group Polokkarit has found a way to combine dancing and social distancing. Ever since Finland introduced official COVID-19 restrictions, weekly video calls have gathered the group together to practice, keep in touch and socialize. These sessions resulted in an idea of ‘Polka in Quarantine’, a video piece for celebrating International Dance Day with the aim to help ease the group’s yearning for dancing together and at the same time brighten the day of people all around the world.

“The whole production of ‘Polka in Quarantine’ was carried out remotely. The piece introduces the variety of Finnish polka steps in the characteristically cheerful Polokkarit style while offering the dancers’ national costumes a long-awaited outing as well. The video features 29 Polokkarit dancers altogether, scattered to different parts of the country due to the pandemic. Despite the physical distance, this video piece brings the dancers together, thanks to Finnish polka. As well as demonstrating a variety of traditional Finnish polka steps, ‘Polka in Quarantine’ also gives the viewer a unique chance to take a peek into Finnish homes.”

Love it! It’s also nice to see glimpses of familiar places in the background.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Bright Idea: British Murder Mystery Where Stewart and McKellen Garden and Solve Crimes

Geek out!, Movies & TV

Connecticut-based author M.L. Brennan had a brilliant idea the other day and tweeted it out. Basically she posits a murder mystery show set in Britain where “Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are elderly widower neighbors who bicker a lot about their gardens, and also solve crimes”. Brennan also suggests plot points and gives her casting choices for the supporting characters as well.

 

I really encourage you to read as much of the long, rambling thread as possible. It brightened our evening a lot one night when positivity was needed.

Here’s the beginning:

 

Absolutely fabulous, right? Stewart and McKellen be amazing together.

Like I saw someone remark, I bet we could crowdfund this baby in a second. I sure would watch the hell out of this show! 😀

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Random Beauty: Firefall at Yosemite

Random Beauty, Thumbs Up

Each February, if conditions allow the seasonal Horsetail waterfall in Yosemite National Park in California to flow, the waterfall appears to be set ablaze by the setting sun. And it’s simply breathtaking!

Flickr Jay Huang Firefall Yosemite National Park

Jay Huang via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The event is known as the firefall (apparently as homage to Yosemite Firefall). This photo was posted by Jay Huang on Flickr (CC BY 2.0). Thank you for sharing, Jay!

New to Me: Mermaid Skeleton Print Fabric

Design & Designers, Fabrics & Materials

I was looking for something quite different when this print fabric caught my eye: skeleton mermaids. (Skeletal mermaids? Mermaid skeletons? Mer-letons??)

JoAnn Novelty Mermaid Skeleton Print

I see one playing a panflute, another a harmonica, yet one more a guitar; some are wearing sombreros or crowns on their heads. What?!? LOL! 😀

Sadly, the vendor doesn’t describe it in any more detail than “novelty cotton”. I wonder whether it might be a Day of the Dead print? It’s fun, nevertheless.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

This Is Important, Thumbs Up

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

Flickr Quinn Dombrowski Indigenous Peoples Day

Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Columbus Day is increasingly celebrated as the Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the U.S.; for me that’s going to be the case from now on. Furthermore, I’m going to be following, listening and reading more indigenous creatives throughout the year and not just on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

As a Finn, I don’t have any skin in the North-American (or, indeed, Anglo-American) colonization-based racism blame game. (We have our very own problems, thankyouverymuch, and need to do better.)

However, as a citizen of a small nation surrounded by larger ones whose cultures and languages have seemed poised to swallow ours for centuries, I feel enormous compassion towards any groups who have to struggle to retain their identity and who are underrepresented in public discussion or government.

Differences rock, y’all. Our differences are why humanity has come this far as a species. Differences are essential to a vital future.

So, again: Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

A New Emma Production Is Filming

Books & Mags, Movies & TV, Thumbs Up

Great news for Janeites! Just after I blogged about the casting for Sanditon series penned by Andrew Davies, I found out that we’re about to get a new screen version of Emma!

Instagram Autumn de Wilde Emma Day1

Autumn de Wilde on Instagram.

It’s written by Eleanor Catton and directed by Autumn de Wilde. Neither name is familiar to me, but I do recognize a few names from the cast list released thus far: Bill Nighy plays Mr. Woodhouse and Miranda Hart Miss Bates – if her previous performances are anything to judge by, she’ll be brilliant! Anya Taylor-Joy heads the film as Emma; I have seen her in an episode of Endeavour, apparently, but unfortunately I don’t remember her.

The director-writer team sound new in the field: Emma is de Wilde’s first feature-long project (she’s previously worked as a photographer as well as music video and commercial director), and Catton has only written one miniseries before (based on her novel The Luminaries which won the Man Booker Prize in 2013; she’s the youngest author to win the literary award). That should guarantee a fresh take on the classic!

IMDB lists the movie as filming at this time, and MSN reports that release is expected in 2020.

I can’t wait – the world can never have too much of Jane Austen on screen if you ask me! 🙂

P.S.: Just FYI: this is not an April fool’s joke.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Traditional Andean Design Finds New Life in Architectural Details

Colors, Design & Designers, Random Beauty

The city of El Alto in Bolivia, high up in the Andes, is the country’s second largest city and right next to the third largest one, La Paz. Something that El Alto beats its richer neighbor in is unique eye candy right on the building facades.

That’s because an architect, Freddy Mamani Silvestre, is slowly working bright colors into El Alto’s red-brick and concrete scenery.

Wikipedia Mamani Cholet1

via Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Information on Silvestre seems scant in English. A member of the indigenous Aymara, he apparently started working on buildings as a bricklayer. There’s a feature on El Alto in The New York Times in 2013 and in The Washington Post in 2014. He’s referred to in a 2014 BBC News article on president Evo Morales. The Architectural Association, Inc., still has their exhibition info Salones de Eventos from 2015 available online. I also found two articles via the German Wikipedia entry for Silvestri: one in The Architectural Review and the other in Quartz, both from 2015. The best bet at the moment might be the 2017 book El Alto by Silvestre and Peter Granser. For Spanish readers there’s more, including the 2014 book La arquitectura de Freddy Mamani Silvestre.

Quartz Mamani Salon Montecarlo

Salón Montecarlo by Alfredo Zeballos / The Architecture of Freddy Mamani Silvestre. Via Quartz.

Silvestri draws on traditional shapes and colors in his designs. Some of the detailing reminds me of jugend (I believe the phrase art deco is used in the U.S. instead), but Silvestri’s work is clearly not derivative of it.

If the exteriors seem colorful and detailed, just wait until you see the interiors!

Wow! His style has been described as Neo-Andean, new Andean, space-ship architecture or, plainly, kitch. However you may want to describe it, the word colorful will have to be there!

Found via Colossal.

Cross-posted from Co-Geeking.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Loved on Screen: The Theory of Everything

Movies & TV

We recently saw the movie The Theory of Everything, a biopic of physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking focussing on the relationship between him and Jane, his first wife.

The Theory of Everything

I picked the movie basically because I really like the female lead, Felicity Jones; she also rocks in Northanger Abbey and Rogue One, plus visits as a society burglar in the Doctor Who episode “The Unicorn and the Wasp”. Every performance in Everything, however, was excellent, as was the writing and directing.

The stunning, gripping soundtrack is by Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, who was nominated for a Grammy, BAFTA and the Academy Award and won a Golden Globe for it. I really loved his work on Arrival, too. Jóhannsson sadly passed away in 2018, about a month before Hawking.

Here’s the end credits music: “Arrival of the Birds” & “Transformation” performed by The Cinematic Orchestra.

The Theory of Everything – Soundtrack ending scene (The Cinematic Orchestra – Arrival of the birds) via sintomopersistente on YouTube

I don’t think these two pieces are Jóhannsson’s, but they’re nevertheless so, so beautiful.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Celebrating International Women’s Day with a Captain Marvel Viewing

Geek out!, Movies & TV

March 08 is International Women’s Day. Very appropriately, we are celebrating by going to see Captain Marvel!

IMDB Captain Marvel Eyes Horizontal

Marvel Studios via IMDB.

I’m hoping it’ll be as awesome as the trailers look!

To the people complaining that this version of Marvel is too political and therefore massively off-putting, I have only one thing to say.

(Long post warning.)

Congrats: Black Panther Wins Three Oscars!

Geek out!, Movies & TV, Thumbs Up

Black Panther won three Oscars at the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday!

Ruth Carter – so, so deservedly! – won the Achievement in Costume Design, Sweden’s Ludwig Göransson won the Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score), and the Achievement in Production Design went to Hannah Beachler (Production Design) and Jay Hart (Set Decoration).

Instagram The Academy Ruth Carter w Oscar 2019

Ruth Carter with her Oscar. The Academy on Instagram.

My warmest congratulations to all the BP winners! Keep on busting down that glass ceiling!