I Will What I Want

Friends, if you haven’t seen the new spot from Under Armour floating around the internet, then you must be on a social media detox. Or it’s because Facebook actually just went down.

For once, the voiceover actually adds to (rather than distracts from) the impact of the creative – told through the voice of a 13 year old Misty Copeland, originally denied her dream of becoming a ballerina for a myriad of crushing reasons. Because when you’re 13, your torso length is definitely one more thing you should be worried about and self-conscious of.

The story of denial and failure perfectly sets up what we are all excited and relieved to know is coming – her triumph as a soloist for the American Ballet Theater. The first African American soloist at the ABT in 20 years, no less.

The concept and cry of willing yourself to win, or accomplish something isn’t exactly a new one, but execution is everything, and this is beautifully done. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also a true, triumph-of-the-underdog story.

Now, let’s all go log some heel raises at the barre, because, those calves. That extension.

Matilda

Image Credit: Penguin Young Readers Group

I recently got to see the musical Matilda and it was fabulous! No surprises there of course – but a funny story is that when my brother was visiting us last spring, I gave him the choice between Macbeth and Matilda…. and we saw Macbeth. Where Alan Cummings was essentially the only cast member… but I digress.

Firstly – the kids in Matilda are extraordinary. There is nothing like a six year singing and dancing his heart out as back up to the ten year old start in front of a full theater on a Wednesday night at 7:00 to make you question what you’ve accomplished in your life so far. But it’s also impossible not to love them. They’re so animated and endearing.

But the best part is the story; we all love a good underdog story (see Gladwell’s David and Goliath for your researched perspective) but imagine a good underdog story where the triumphant David is a ten year old girl with a British accent who can belt with the best of them… and uses her mischief to stand up for her friends, making things better for everyone. Some of my favorite lyrics:

Just because you find that life’s not fair, it
doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it.
If you always take it on the chin and wear it
nothing will change!

Just because I find myself in this story,
It doesn’t mean that everything is written for me.
If I think the ending is fixed already,
I might as well be saying
I think that it’s OK!
And that’s not right!

So stand up, kiddos!

Lauren Dombrowiak: Domestic Edifice

When I flew home for Memorial Day, I had a pretty extensive layover in the Philadelphia airport, so I walked it. End-to-end. Through the “hall of international arrivals” and by The Supremes art exhibit.

I also discovered this gem by Lauren Dombrowiak, a ceramic artist.

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I love the use of domestic and lovely items such as cups and saucers to create towering edifices and art. I am also a sucker for China – and love the gold rimmed saucers… which are artful enough on their own.

And while I am no art expert, to me this is about taking something with an expected function and turning it into something much more. Perhaps a more refined version of “when life gives you lemons”. Either way, it says something about triumph and creativity. And I really like it.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Windows

The Christmas windows in New York are an item to see on most people’s lists in December, but I thought the festive Valentine’s windows in our neighborhood deserved a little love, too.

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This one  is my favorite – I love the simplicity of the neon heart. (I also love their bags.)

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So Happy Valentine’s Day, to you and yours from our little decorated part of the world.

“The Girl”

A few nights ago I decided to watch HBO’s “The Girl” on demand. (This is not to be confused with HBO’s “Girls” although that would be easy to do.) I don’t write about movies often; I feel so much more at home with books. So be nice.

“The Girl” is the story of the Tippi Hedren / Hitchcock years. I am by no means a Hitchcock-buff, but the summary is that Hedren began as a model that Hitchcock spotted in a commercial and decided to make into a star through his films “The Birds” and “Marnie”. He became completely obsessed with her, and upon her repeated and certain rebuffs to his advances, he ruined her career.

The movie illustrates a twisted back and forth where Hitchcock punishes Hedren in peculiar way for resisting him. The most egregious of abuses and distrubing of scenes was in filming “The Birds” Hitchcock told Hedren she would be attacked by mechanical birds in close quarters, when in reality, she was subjected to five days of shooting with real birds, take after take, cut and scrape after nip and scratch.

But she never gave in. And she made two films with him – “The Birds” and “Marnie” and he refused to let her out of her contract. She wouldn’t work with him, and she contractually couldn’t work with anyone else, but she never gave in.

There is a “Chat” with the real Tippi Hedren and the cast of the movie available on HBO. Tippi wraps it up with a line that defined her resistance to a powerful Hollywood man and remains true in a world where it still requires great and certain effort to strive for the highroad and moral grounding because some things in the world never change.

“There’s a very, very good message in “The Girl” – can you really look at yourself in the mirror and be proud? That’s what you want to do. Always.”

You go, Tippi. You go girl.