strange_complex: (Me Huginn beak kiss)
And this one I saw a fortnight ago, again with [ profile] ms_siobhan and [ profile] planet_andy, but this time at the Media Museum in Bradford. It's actually a documentary, charting the history of the Alternative Miss World contest - a sort of bohemian art event that the sculptor Andrew Logan has been running since the early seventies. I hadn't heard of it before, but it looks amazing - all about encouraging unbridled, experimental creativity, including challenging gender boundaries, mainstream fashion paradigms and so forth. It reminded me rather a lot of some of the masked balls I've been to, but on a far grander and crazier scale.

The structure of the documentary splices the long-term history of Andrew Logan as an artist and the contest since 1972 with a shorter-scale micro-history of his preparations for the most recent event in 2009. He comes across as a lovely guy - very passionate about his work, keen to share it with as many people as possible, and with a great sense of humour about the contest, including its trials and tribulations. There was absolutely no pretentiousness about him, but just the very Britishness of the title - tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation about the whole process, but coupled with an underlying steely dedication to putting on the best contest yet.

The visual style of the documentary really did its subject justice, too. The early contests in particular are only preserved via a few fairly grainy photos, but the design made a virtue of this by using a scrap-booking aesthetic, with lots of collage-style images made up of still photos, decorative images and some animation, all inter-spliced with the standard documentary-style footage of the preparations for the 2009 contest. We all agreed afterwards that it was very much like Terry Gilliam's contributions to the Monty Python experience, complete with the same aura of British surrealist humour.

I don't know how widely this is showing, but I imagine it will crop up on late-night Channel 4 at some stage. If you like watching people pushing the boundaries of costume, fashion and identity, it's worth checking out.

Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.

strange_complex: (Purple and black phone)
Mmm! Have just had a delicious breakfast delivered to my room on a big tray. I have never done this before, but I can now recommend it!

strange_complex: (Penny Crayon)
I've now uploaded all of my ball pictures into my LJ scrapbook. There are three pages worth, they're visible to everyone, and you can see larger versions of them by clicking on each thumbnail.

I was going to post a few of my favourites in this entry too, but they are so HUMONGOUS that, even under cuts, they would just be obnoxious. So instead, the captions below link to the medium-sized versions of them visible in the gallery:

Some of the Oxgoths contingent: Andy, violetdisregard, Cat and edling

La Fleurissima

A beautiful eighteenth-century lady, who bears a strong resemblence to redkitty23

Double Helen joy

Huginn and Muninn attempt a beak kiss

King and Queen contest: mask fellatio

OMG kitten!!!

Sheer costume genius, both made by the young lady on the right (Megan)

King and Queen contest winners: Boy-on-Boy Action

When the world outside breaks in

For real photographic genius, though, and an excellent sense of what the night was like, I highly recommend visiting the collection of the official ball photographer, [ profile] dylan.

Links to other collections will be edited in below as I come across them:


Thursday, 26 January 2006 12:37
strange_complex: (Fred shall we dance)
My costume for the ball is finished, as of about 11pm last night. Which it had to be, because I'll be away tonight, and the next time I arrive home will be about 3 hours before the ball starts. I'm still not saying what it is, but that doesn't stop me expressing generic excitement about it. How delicious to know that it is ready and waiting for me to transform myself into a creature of mystery and allure at the end of the week. *Generic!Squee*

Photographs will follow for those not attending the event in person.

I did manage to find time for dinner with [ profile] kantti in the Noodle Bar last night, which was lovely as I haven't seen her since July. The food was good, but we were underwhelmed by the fortunes which came in our fortune cookies: "Smile when you are ready" and "In order to take, one must first give". Very dour and Victorian, I felt.

Then tonight I shall be the guest of [ profile] keris and [ profile] davefish in sunny Coventry, which doubtless will include a lot of us getting over-excited about the ball, since we're all going. I wonder if I shall have the self-discipline to keep quiet about the exact nature of my costume? *stiffens sinews* And whether I shall get a sneaky preview of theirs? *dons Sekrit Agent shades*

Ten-minute update

Wednesday, 9 November 2005 10:18
strange_complex: (Computer baby)
I'm rather behind with documenting things I've done recently, and a combination of tiredness and busy-ness makes this unlikely to change soon. So, in the 10 minutes before I have to go and give a lecture, I present a really rushed outline of what I've been up to in the past few days:

Friday: went to Brum to see Andreas Scholl with La Mia Mama. The concert was entitled 'Senesino, Handel's Muse', and consisted entirely of arias originally written for the castrato Senesino (with a few instrumental interludes to give Scholl's voice a rest). Since Senesino was a contralto rather than a soprano, these can now be sung by Scholl, and he did so brilliantly. My stance on Scholl is that although I recognise his technical brilliance, my personal taste is such that I'm not actually that bowled over by the tones of his voice, especially when it is in the centre of its range (both in terms of pitch and volume). There's a slight rough, rushing sound around the edges which I'd prefer to do without. However, when called upon to swell and fade a long note, hit unusually high notes or perform complicated ornaments, the rushing sound vanishes, and he suddenly becomes some kind of vocal deity, causing jaws to fall in astonishment. Overall, I prefer the very pure sound of Robin Blaze's voice. But I admit that Scholl does beat Blaze when the stakes get really high, and he will always be more suited to operatic work for that reason.

Afterwards, we queued like a pair of fangirls for autographs, and I also bought the CD which Scholl has already produced of the evening's programme. Then went home and bought 'The Last Castrato', a collection of recordings made in the early 20th century by a man named Alessandro Moreschi. This was in response to the pre-concert talk, which had been all about castrati, and had revealed to me that there exists not one tiny snippet of this guy singing, as I'd thought, but in fact a whole plethora of the stuff. It also made me realise that, although not necessarily to modern tastes, he was a better singer than I'd previously believed. It'll take a while to arrive, since it's coming from America, but I can't wait to become more familiar with this voice.

Saturday: woke up in Brum having spent night with parents. Sat over coffee watching Dad replace the batteries in his 30-year-old Grundig 'Yacht Boy' radio, and explain how everyone in the country had been sent little stickers saying '3' and '4' like the ones on it when the change was made from the Third Programme and the Home Service to Radio 3 and Radio 4.

Then proceeded up to Manchester for [ profile] angeoverhere's 30th birthday, where I caught up with some of my Bristol buddies and met some new faces from B'ham, Leeds and Manchester itself. We hung out for the afternoon in a gay bar called Taurus, and then headed for a Syrian restaurant in the evening, while Manchester made a fine attempt at exploding in celebration of Bonfire Night. Slept pretty well, and then had lunch together the next day, before heading back down to Oxford on the Sunday to finish off a lecture in a panic and deliver it on the Monday. It went fine, though. They always do.

Have also started to watch Imperium: Augustus recently, having finally worked out how to switch the Dutch subtitles off. It's very, erm... special, and will be blogged in detail later. And had a quick look on Monday at The Masque of the Red Death, realised the costumes aren't quite as amazing as I'd remembered, but have still had some decent ideas for the ball.

Well, it's lucky I'm such a quick typist (although I'm sure this is full of mistakes). Now for that lecture!

Edit: some small editing after the event to fill in details, clarify points and correct errors.


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