Women in Heels

Self is short.

Short. Short. Short. Short.

Granted, short is not a disease.

Nevertheless.

On the question of heels. Last week, went to the Victoria & Albert Museum, lined up to pay 12 GBP to see exhibit on footwear called, if self remembers correctly: Shoes:  Pleasure & Pain.

Fabulous Chihuly: In the Lobby of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Fabulous Chihuly: In the Lobby of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The torture aspect was, in self’s humble opinion, very de-emphasized. Self has seen more torturous shoes (including one fabulous pair with moss growing on the heels) in Greenwich Village in New York City.

And now to “Jurassic World,” which self has not seen, but which seems to have triggered some very strong audience reaction to Bryce Dallas Howard’s choice of footwear. It seems she keeps the heels on, throughout the movie.

Now, let self ponder this a moment.

Self has seen, in Italy, women running flat out for a bus in the highest, stiletto-heeled shoes imaginable. They look great. Also, super-powerful.

She has watched episodes of “Sex and the City” in which Sarah Jessica Parker, post-baby, runs flat out down a New York avenue in Jimmy Choos.

Let’s not forget Jodie Foster in Spike Lee’s Inside Man, the one where she plays an oh-so-smooth New York lawyer representing the Rich Bad Guy who profited from the theft of Jewish assets during World War II. Self thinks that if she had a lawyer who wore four-inch heels as confidently as Jodie Foster’s character does (and Jodie’s legs are the best legs self has seen on film since — since — the woman in Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill), she would rest easy in the conviction that she would win all her cases.

On the other hand, there is always an exception to the rule. Exhibit A: Paula Patton, who in the most memorable scene in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (one of the sequels, the one shot in Dubai), kicks off her heels, leaves on the powder-blue shift dress, and FIGHTS. Really FIGHTS. Afterwards, she sits chatting with her group, all men. She remains barefoot, but still wearing that fabulous dress. The only indication that she’s been IN a fight (because, ya know, she’s as cool as a cucumber. Or at least her character is. She has antagonists like Lea Seydoux for breakfast. Honestly) are her bare feet.

And now we arrive at Bryce Dallas Howard, who in side-note self must say is one of the most unusually interesting-looking actresses working today.  Because her character, Clare, never takes off her shoes, we are left to debate the fine points of female fashion choices. Self means: Is it rational to keep on the heels when one is being chased by a velociraptor?

Self can think of many reasons why Clare would choose to keep wearing her shoes: (1) Jungle floors are slimy; (2) She does not have hiking boots in her closet, or even in her desk drawer at work, or even under her desk in her office at work.

A guest post by Lesley Holmes on clothesonfilm makes the point: “I think the makers of Jurassic world believed that showing a woman capable of running in heels was the same as showing us a capable woman . . . ” Of course! This is a very old Hollywood trope, just about as old as the idea of the director auteur (born with Citizen Kane, which means — a long long time ago). If you want to know how powerful a woman character is, just look at what she’s wearing on her feet, for God’s sake!

Self would just like to say that while she was in line in the women’s restroom at the Gielgud Theatre, during the intermission for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, self engaged a young woman in conversation, and then expressed admiration for her shoes. They looked just like the Sam Edelmans self bought last year in California, but this woman’s shoes were flats. The young woman looked at self regretfully and said, “They’re super-painful. See?” She slipped her right foot out of her shoe and there, plain as day, was the beginning of a blister. Aaargh! The things self sees in women’s restrooms! Which is neither here nor there. But it brought home the lesson that flats are just as capable of giving a woman blisters as are Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos.

Self realizes that she herself has very little to say about the wearing of high heels, but in Hollywood, the woman who wears the highest heels is usually the most powerful woman on the block. She’s just saying.

Stay tuned.

Off-Season 2: Dandelions at the Victoria & Albert Museum

Self loves London. Absolutely loves, loves, loves. If she were to spend her last farthing, she’d want to do it in this city.

It’s not the most beautiful (although there’s plenty of beauty around). It’s not even the most affable. It rains a lot. But it has a hold on her heart (all the more so now because — hello, Victorian Steampunk! The London Institute of the Clave! Shadowhunters! The Infernal Devices! Will Herondale!)

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is OFF-SEASON.

OFF-SEASON as in: Umbrellas in winter? Balaclavas in July?

The Hunger Games has been very much on self’s mind.

Why? Because yesterday, in Cambridge, friend Dodo told self that another former classmate had visited Cambridge, and she and Dodo had gone to the Harry Potter museum just outside London.

And self wondered when that much-ballyhooed Hunger Games theme park was ever going to open?

Anyhoo, today self went across London to the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was crowded, of course, but not off-putting.

Self decided to go see the WHAT IS LUXURY exhibit.

The exhibit includes a fabulous artwork made out of real dandelion seeds, embedded with LED lights to make a chandelier.

Self associates dandelions with The Hunger Games because of Peeta Mellark (one of her all-time favorite literary characters). Katniss, for those who are completely out of the zeitgeist, ends up with Peeta in the end because he is her “dandelion in the spring.”

And, hello, it is summer. Or, anyway, past the season for dandelions.

So here’s a shot of a fabulous chandelier at the Victoria and Albert:

At the Victoria and Albert Museum: Real dandelion seeds were harvested before opening into

At the Victoria and Albert Museum: Real dandelion seeds were harvested before opening into “clocks” and then were individually applied to LED lights to make this chandelier.

In keeping with the rather soggy weather, here’s the London Eye ferris wheel. Ferris wheels symbolize summer (at least they do for self), but because of London’s grey skies, the symbolism today (Self took this picture while meandering across the Waterloo Bridge) felt rather muted. So, here’s a most somber-looking ferris wheel:

The London Eye Viewed from Waterloo Bridge

The London Eye Viewed from Waterloo Bridge

Anyhoo, yesterday in Cambridge, it was rainy. Dodo took self on a punt ride on the river Cam. It was so wet that we had to bring umbrellas and hide under blankets. Self even had to buy a raincoat for the occasion. Here’s a shot of the inside of our punt. A great time was had by all:

Dodo (who lives in Cambridge) and Self in a Punt! On a Rainy Afternoon in Cambridge, UK.

Dodo (who lives in Cambridge) and Self in a Punt! On a Rainy Afternoon in Cambridge, UK.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Vivid 2: 28 Chinese Artists at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is VIVID.

To self, “vivid” is all about color. Or warmth. Or illumination.

Self spent yesterday afternoon at the Asian Art Museum (The traffic heading into San Francisco is just horrible, UGH) and saw many vivid pieces of art from the current show, “28 Chinese Artists From the Ruddell Family Collection” :

Tattoo 11, 1994 by Qiu Zhije (b. 1969, Fujian China)

Tattoo 11, 1994 by Qiu Zhijie (b. 1969, Fujian China)

“Darkness Illuminates Me” by Qiu Zhijie, 2009

The artist Zhang Huan covered his body with honey and oil and sat in a public toilet (Size: 12 square meters) and waited for the flies to land, then had someone take his picture:

“12 Square Meters” by Zhang Huan (b. 1965, Henan, China)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Broken: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is BROKEN:

  • Capture something broken:  broken windows and tools, an old window, a toy never fixed, and so on.

Each of the pictures below depicts something “broken” — whether it’s Anthony Burgess’s disturbing novel of social dysfunction in an England of the future ruled by thugs, A Clockwork Orange (the book was in a visual art exhibit at the Walter Phillips Gallery here in Banff), a preserved dinosaur head, or an installation representing America’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan:

Anthony Burgess's CLOCKWORK ANGEL

Anthony Burgess’s CLOCKWORK ANGEL — Ooops! Self means A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Self’s got too much Infernal Devices on the brain, dear blog readers!

Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum at Drumheller, Alberta

Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum at Drumheller, Alberta

Harriet Bart, American:

Harriet Bart: “Enduring Afghanistan” – map of Afghanistan rendered in dog tags, at the Walker Art Museum, Minneapolis

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Intricate! Dinosaur Bones

The Daily Post Photo Challenge this week is INTRICATE.  Self will focus on fossils. Something about these long-lost creatures fascinates her.

Alberta has a great dinosaur musem in Drumheller. Cousins took her there, a few weeks ago.

Dinosaur Fossil, in the Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum, about an hour north of Calgary, in Denheller.

Dinosaur Fossil, in the Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum, about an hour north of Calgary, in Drumheller.

Tiny dinosaur on rock faces stiff competition

Tiny dinosaur on rock faces stiff competition

These little dinosaurs fascinate self.

These little dinosaurs fascinate self.

Quite an interesting display of dinosaur fossils at the Royal Tyrrell Museum. It’s astonishing how scientists can stumble across fragments of dinosaur bones, then painstakingly piece them together to come up with real facsimiles of what the creatures must have looked like.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Intricate 4: A Walk

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is INTRICATE:

What does the word “intricate” mean to you? It could be the deep, fibrous bark on the ancient oak tree in your yard. Maybe it’s the robin’s nest under construction near your window — that ornithological engineering marvel of mud and twigs.

It was another gorgeous day in Banff. Self took a walk, and here’s what she found.

Each thing is intricate in its own way. What’s important is to gaze. To pay attention to the smallest detail.

There are two of these things in front of the Kinnear Centre.

There are two of these things in front of the Kinnear Centre.

Strange things. Don't know what they are.

Strange things. Don’t know what they are.

Self also dropped by the Walter Phillips Gallery to explore the current show, Séance Fiction, a multi-media installation.

In a dark room, there were two huge screens, showing clips from old movies featuring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Self took a quick snap of one screen. It’s layered with other images (accidentally, but self kinda likes the effect):

A Still from

A Still from “The Time That Remains,” which consists of found footage from old Bette Davis and Joan Crawford movies. The work is by the Australian duo Soda_Jerk.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Afloat 4: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

DSCN9288

Self went to the Walker Art Center today. It was a beautiful day — warm! When she was reaching for her wallet to pay the entrance fee, the woman stopped her and said people attending the AWP writing conference received free museum admission.

!!!!

Unfortunately, she doesn’t know the name of the artist who was responsible for this particular installation. She’ll look through the Walker Art Center website when she has a little more time.

DSCN9287

Look carefully: each bubble has a different design.

Robert Motherwell, "Untitled"

Robert Motherwell, “Untitled”

Self took a picture of this Motherwell painting because it really does seem to float out from the white wall. There is something so inscrutable about Motherwell’s paintings. It’s as if he’s constantly challenging the viewers to say: “What’s this about?” Motherwell cheekily left a corner of the painting white.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Blur 4: Self’s Head Is Still in Winter

It had been decades since self had ridden on Amtrak. But when she lived in New York City, and her sister was still taking her MBA in Wharton, she used to take trains all the time.

Last month, she visited one of her sister’s closest friends, Kathleen Burkhalter, who is now Mrs. David Bell and lives in New Bedford, Massachusetts. It was officially spring, but the landscape was still snowy.

View From the Train Heading from New York (Penn Station) to Providence, RI

View From the Train Heading from New York (Penn Station) to Providence, RI

When self lived in New York, she started out sharing the basement of a house in Flushing, then moved to a sublet on 8th and First. She loved New York with a passion.

Returning last month, she saw her first heavy snowfall in decades. The snow coated the sidewalks, the streets, the trees in Central Park.

Trees, Central Park, March 2015

Trees, Central Park, March 2015

Finally, Bjork’s Swan Dress.

Self managed to catch the Bjork retrospective at the NY Museum of Modern Art.

What.A.Fascinating.Exhibit.

Self took many pictures of the dress. But since this week’s Photo Challenge theme is BLUR, she picked one of the blurry ones:

The Infamous Swan Dress, the Bjork Retrospective at the New York Museum of Modern Art, March 2015

The Infamous Swan Dress, the Bjork Retrospective at the New York Museum of Modern Art, March 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Wall 3: New York City

From the WordPress Daily Post site:

Walls are “where stories are read, voices are heard, ideas are shared.”

Below are a few pictures of walls from self’s peregrinations today, St. Patrick’s Day, in the great, ever-inspiring city of New York.

It was a blustery, chilly day. Self overheard this conversation, while sitting on the steps of the Metropolitan having a lunch of shish kebab and lemonade from one of the truck vendors on Fifth (And it was a pretty good shish kebab!)

Young Woman (wearing a dress, leggings, boots, and an absolutely radiant smile): “I just flashed everyone.”

Friend (seated behind self on the steps): “I know. It’s such a fucking windy day. Love the outfit, though.”

Chinese Courtyard, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Chinese Courtyard, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

St. Patrick's Day Parade Wall of Flags! Viewed from the steps of the Metropolitan Museum

St. Patrick’s Day Parade Wall of Flags! Viewed from the steps of the Metropolitan Museum

Wall of People? We're all waiting for the parade!

Wall of People? We’re all waiting for the parade!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Wall: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is WALL.

As the prompt on The Daily Post states:

Share an image of a wall that reveals something about a place, or a people, or you.

Here are some examples of notable walls self has taken pictures of in the recent past:

Mural, Egghead's Restaurant, Fort Bragg

A few days ago: Had breakfast in Egghead’s Restaurant, Fort Bragg, and took a picture of this wall mural.

This is Bones, a graffiti artist. He's standing in front of his latest creation, in a gallery on Laurel Street in Fort Bragg.

Karen Bowers of the Mendocino Art Center invited self to go gallery-hopping in Fort Bragg, a monthly ritual called “First Friday.” This is Bones, a graffiti artist. He’s standing in front of his latest creation, in a gallery on Laurel Street.

One other mural by graffiti artist Bones.

One other mural by graffiti artist Bones.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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