Tuesday, February 28, 2012

From the Gilded Stage to the Silver Screen

This lovely lady made dumplings for dinner! Here we are posing outside the theater at Kansas City's newest addition, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Eek! All I had was my camera phone!

I spent my weekend preoccupied with performance, in several manifestations. During one of my A.C.E.D. classes on Saturday, my students recorded their "disc jockey" introductions to pop songs. Later that evening, my friend Kate and I made our first visit to the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, where we saw the ballet Romeo & Juliet. The next day, my family got together for the Academy Awards and a pre-show feast.

A.C.E.D., of course, is always an enjoyable experience. My adult students with intellectual disabilities  bring energy, excitement and great ideas to the classroom without fail. In fact, it was a student's idea to focus our radio broadcasting course on radio interviews during one of our class periods. Even though I often listen to interviews on NPR, I didn't even think of that!

The glass enclosure.

Spacious lobby and spacey ramp.

Broad view of Kansas City from the Performing Arts Center.

Then, there was the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. It is so exciting to have such a first-rate performing arts center in Kansas City! You can see well from any seat in the house, and your ears will be blessed from every angle. Kate and I sat on the Grand Tier, which is not the highest level, but it was pretty high up. We heard the dancers' feet slap the stage as if we were sitting directly before them. It was magnificent! I am a huge fan of the building's architecture, although I am not sure I am sold on how each floor has its own color of carpet. Even though the building itself is a work of art, I do wish there were more paintings, sculptures, etc. around. Art could be added in a way that does not interfere with the architecture or clutter the space.

A mod take on the typical performing arts theater, but fair Verona hasn't changed a bit.
People spilled out of the theater after the performance. The place was packed!

No ballet slippers for me.

What I wore to the theater: vintage flower pin bought during my adolescence when I still understood Romeo & Juliet, cardigan bought from Target because it matched my glasses, a tank top from JCPenney, a thrifted dress with tags still attached at time of purchase, shoes from Payless, tights from K-Mart, and an opera jacket that once belonged to my Aunt Opal. I'm so fashionable. That's what this one girl meant when she looked at me all funny.

The ballet was divine. There is something so thrilling about live performances. Maybe it's because I know how much work is going on behind the scenes to make the production appear flawless. Or maybe it's the costumes! Or the music! Romeo & Juliet is a classic, and I think it was a good idea to see a narrative with which I was familiar. I remember studying the play during freshman year of high school. I thought it was so incredibly heartbreaking. If only Juliet had awakened five minutes earlier! If only Romeo had arrived after Juliet had risen from her cold slumber! If only I could have gotten to the crypt to stop Romeo from slaying himself! I hated cruel fate at the time. Later on, as an adult, I revisited Romeo & Juliet. My experience at that point was much different from that of my adolescence. I thought Romeo was downright emo in his convictions. It made me realize, a little sadly/a little wisely, youth happens once. I had grown too old to relate to the primary characters. I understood that, yes, you do indeed survive your first love, even though losing him/her hurts. Does this make me jaded? I like to think not - I'm still a crier and a feeler and a it-takes-me-a-long-time-to-get-over-a-love kinda person! Anyway, the production was beautiful from the music to the costumes, from Romeo to Juliet. I enjoyed it very much, and I hope to make it back to the Performing Arts Center soon.

Roasted veggies and swiss burgers.

Mmm, fresh fruit and dip!

Mmm, fresh fruit and mini-pastries!

I love movies, too, and watching the Academy Awards is almost as good as seeing one. The Oscars doesn't just celebrate actors and actresses. It celebrates all the artists, thinkers, movers and shakers it takes to produce and release into the world a multi-faceted piece of art. As an artist, I am enthralled by the costume, set and makeup design, as well as all the new digital processes used in movies. I am also a huge fan of cartoons. The Animated Feature and Animated Short categories inspire me. Hee! The Academy Awards makes me dream!!! My sister began the tradition of celebrating the Academy Awards in dressy outfits with a fancy dinner years ago. This year we went without the gowns, but we did have a delicious dinner. Then we spent the evening enthralled by the movies. I watch The Academy Awards to learn about movies I haven't yet seen (which seems to be most of them!) and artists I should get to know. My favorite things about Oscar Night are the fashions worn and the emotions shared. I live for exciting, emotional, humorous or outrageous speeches. My favorite to date is Roberto Benigni's acceptance of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film for Life is Beautiful. What's yours?

Did your favorite movies and stars win this year? Are you inspired to try a new art form or see a new film? Are you a movie buff? What's your favorite Oscar winner? My favorites are It Happened One Night and Marty - but, sheesh, how can I even choose! Obviously, The Artist is now at the top of my list of movies to see right this very instant. I can't believe I haven't yet seen it! I, who am so enthralled with old Hollywood and silent film!

Who dressed the best? I was hung up on quirky details like the rose on Stacy Keibler's gold Marchesa gown and the huge bow at the neck of Emma Stone's Giambattista Valli design. I was also way into Rooney Mara's bangs, Michelle Williams' pixie cut (as usual), and Jessica Chastain's pretty shade of red. As far as the guys go, Christopher Plummer did it for me in his velvet tux!

Alison :)


  1. Being in love at 14 was probably more important considering when R&J was written, you only lived to about 35 if you were lucky.

    1. Romeo & Juliet had a whole three years before they would have officially reached middle age! They had plenty of time without killing themselves over each other! ;) Ah, young obsessive love - it's important in any era.

  2. Who's your date Alison? She's gooooooorgeous!