La Vida Es Un Carnivale :: In the Spirit of Mardi Gras

La Vida Es Un Carnivale :: In the Spirit of Mardi Gras

In the spirit of upcoming Mardi Gras, we celebrate with dance, music and costumes /  jewelry. I didn’t really want to write another post on the history of Mardi Gras, so you can go to an informative Mardi Gras site of your choice for that. I did however find the following interesting ideas that were very interesting when combined with the art, music, and spiritually of the season.

As taken from the Mardi Gras New Orleans site here :

”The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to medieval Europe, passing through Rome and Venice in the 17th and 18th centuries to the French House of the Bourbons. From here, the traditional revelry of “Boeuf Gras,” or fatted calf, followed France to her colonies.”

Fatted calf…hmm, where have we heard this. The Bible! If you are a fan. The verse coming from the story of the prodigal son in Luke as seen below.

LUKE 15:23

And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.” Another celebration. Mardi Gras Masks

Comparison of celebration is evident, as well as color.  A trio of color. King of Carnival, Rex, was invented in 1872 to preside over the carnival’s daytime parade. I honor of the visiting Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff, the businessmen introduced Romanoff’s family colors of purple, green , and gold as the official Carnival colors.

 

Purple: Justice

Gold : Power

Green : Faith

Official Tune : “If I Ever Cease to Love” (The Duke was fond of it)

 

Now my favorite parts. Costumes. I had no idea that the costumes were in influence of the Native Americans and their historical assistance from slavery during the time. See here. The masks may be dying out due to cost, but the feathers and colors that come around during this time of year are so exciting. Artists and dancers may see comparison to birds, Brazilian Carnivale, or dance styles. I express visually, so just see my photos in this post to tell where my brain may be going on this!

 

 

And birds. ParrotLet’s not forget the birds and the fashion inspired by them. Oh my goodness at the beauty in the colors and feathers. Think Rio, the movie.Parrot Costume

 

Last but not least, I always think of a certain song by famous artist Celia Cruz. La Vida Es Un Carnivale. The first time I ever heard it was at a salsa event. I was hooked from that moment on ; ballroom dance, Latin dance, culture, everything. Imagine the excitement when she came to perform in Atlanta and I got to dance to the song I loved so much.

 

 

 

May as well add my handmade jewelry here.Mardi Gras Owl Shameless plug. One of my favorite dance instructors and personalities is from Louisiana, as well as some of my family on my father’s side, and it so seems that Carnivale is somewhat in the blood. My mother being a costume designer and musician too, I find the connection to fashion, music, dance, nature, and much more so inspiring. So many choices I can’t decide what to draw, or make, or listen too! Just heaven on earth if you can see it.

Alexander McQueen

 

 

 

I hope this translates some visual energy in your direction. That’s what beauty is all about. Remember : La Vida Es Un Carnivale…So enjoy!

 

 

 

 

~ McGlamorous

 

 

 

 

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird
Yellow Bird Necklace by McGlamorous

It’s time for a brighter post to thaw the cold. Let’s talk about “Yellow Bird”, originally a “Choucoune”, or lyrical poem that praises the beauty of a Haitian woman with the same nickname. It became a popular merengue lente (slow merengue) in Haiti,and was played prominently during celebrations at Port-Au-Prince in 1949.

It is one of Haitian poet Oswald Durand’s’ most famous works. There is a great in depth article here that tells the story of the poem and links to the original. Michel Mauleart Morton, an America-born pianist with a Haitian father and American mother, composed music for the poem in 1893. Naturally, it combines some French and Caribbean fragments to create a tune, but the lyrics for YB have no connection with the narrative of the poem. It became a minor hit on Billboard Hot 100 for the Mills Brothers in 1959, and continues to be popularly associated with Calypso and the Caribbean. It is often performed by steel-pan bands, but some versions  such as Chris Isaacks show a Hawaiian influence.

 

 

American Lyrics ::

Yellow bird, up high in banana tree.
Yellow bird, you sit all alone like me.
Did your lady friend leave the nest again?
That is very sad, makes me feel so bad.
You can fly away, in the sky away.
You’re more lucky than me.
I also had a pretty girl, she’s not with me today.
They’re all the same those pretty girls.
Take tenderness, then they fly away.
Yellow bird, yellow bird.
Did your lady friend leave the nest again?
That is very sad, makes me feel so bad.
You can fly away, in the sky away.
You’re more lucky than me.
Wish that I were a yellow bird, I’d fly away with you.
But I am not a yellow bird, so here I sit.
Nothing I can do.
Yellow bird, yellow bird.

 

 

 

Yellow bird was a dream
The dream came to be
Bright and beautiful
Caged not and free
He sang on his branches
He danced in the rain
The rays of the sunshine
Caused him no pain
His song now is lovely
Hopeful and true
He speaks of the ocean
Skies of bright blue
Sunshine sweet sunshine
Please come to me
Just like my Yellow Bird
I want to be free
~ Alison M.
P.S. My Mother plays this as a Tango for ballet barre and I wrote my own poem above. Thanks for reading and please share!
~ McGlamorous

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Have the Paua { No Balone }

You Have the Paua { No Balone }

 

The question has loomed for a few years now while crafting and selling in this medium. Vendor visitors and jewelry makers want to know :

What is the difference in Paua and Abalone?

Image of Seahorse Necklace

Well, combined research proved very interesting today. I found out that the word abalone derived from the Spanish word “Abalun” and Paua from the New Zealand Maori word “paua“.

Abalone are sea snails, the marine Gastropoda mollusk. The inner shell of an abalone is made up of nacre or mother of pearl, which comes in a variety of colors. Paua is a member of the haliotidae abalone family which there are around 149 species worldwide. They are unique to the cold blue waters of the New Zealand coastline. Haliotidae Iris is the most common and best known shell, being black interior with colors of blue and green dominating. Other species include Lao silver or Queen and Virgin Paua. They are vegetarians and graze on seaweed.

Image of Paua ShellThese little gems live in coastal, rocky areas at depths of between 1 to 15 meters, and in case you have ever wondered, the holes on the outside are for breathing. They are considered treasured meat for the Maori people and essential for a good traditional wedding feast or celebration.

Here comes my favorite part. They are traditionally used to illuminate the eyes of their carvings and artwork, and the reddish colored shells were most prized for depicting the flashing eyes of the warrior.The use of Paua shell in all all manner of jewelry and sculpture true has become a distinctive feature of New Zealand artwork, symbolizing love, life, and flow. This makes it particularly good for those who work in water.

Image of Paua

 

So essentially,they are one and the same, all part of each other. Thus is nice to know now, and maybe it will bring some treasured precision to a piece you have or may purchase in the future.

No Balone!

Feel free to share this post or send me a no spam message if you like. And as always, thanks for reading!

~ McGlamorous

Le Spectre de la Rose

Le Spectre de la Rose

As Spring approaches, the soft pastel shades of the season start to appear. Everything begins a slow movement towards life. Flowers push from below, beautifully developed in color. The Easter candy is youthfully wrapped in baby-like hues of pink and blue, yellow and green. Even though the seasons seem to almost birth too soon, as according to the store shelves, it is hard not to anticipate. It has always been a favorite time of year. Memories of new attire and hats for church come to mind. Not to be left behind is the dancer’s Spring Recital, and event every little or big girl in dance looks forward to.

Jewelry Made in the Spirit of the Rose

The memory of such performances brings to mind a certain ballet almost performed at one of my old schools’ Le Spectre De La Rose. I never got to see the ballet performed due to a lead dancer’s injury, but I have observed it through photographs and art, and recently found an old copy of Cyril W. Beaumont’s Complete Book of Ballets, which contains personal reviews on these old gems. With the recent anticipation of the release of the movie on Nijinsky, it seemed a great time to put all my (Easter) eggs in one basket for a nice and informative post on all of the above.

In a short synopsis, Le Spectre De La Rose is an adaptation of a poem by Gautier which I have pleasantly researched here and would like to share below. The ballet interprets the story of a young girl at a ball, to whom a rose is given. The excitement of the ball, which has also been set to Carl Maria von Weber’s Invitation to the Dance, has left her weary, and as she sinks into a deep sleep, the object of her dream appears through the open window in her room. He is the spirit of the rose, dancing with abandonment, similar to a rose petal in the wind. In one magical moment she is waltzing with him, her spirit lifted into heavenly realms of dance with his company. In the next moment, she is awake in her chair as if it were just her imagination. The spirit hovers for a brief instant, disappearing through the open window just as the sun rises. She stirs from her slumber enough to recall and question if it were a dream or reality. Still doubting in her empty room, she picks up the rose in remembrance, pressing it to her heart with a sad half-smile. Champagne Pansy

Finis…

According to Beaumont the intention of choreographer Michel Fokine was to use Nijinsky’s rare elevation and energetic male energy as the rose to create charming contrast to Tamara Karsavina’s presence as the sleeping girl. This ballet, in the Romantic style, is a classical pas de deux, also displaying this technique in Nijinsky’s effortlessness and graceful entrance through the window. Like a grasshopper, it says! The ethereal themed ballet achieved great success whenever performed, once so loved that it was performed twice in one evening. (So sorry for that male dancer that night!) Le Spectre de la Rose

Like most visual art I suppose, it presented itself so beautiful with these two performers that when it ended you were uncertain as to whether you had just seen what you did. Beaumont expresses that it was so linked to Nijinsky and Karsavina that all revivals failed to impress.

Thus passes the glory of the world.

The Phantom Of The Rose – Poem by Theophile Gautier

Sweet lady, let your lids unclose.–
Those lids by maiden dreams caressed;
I am the phantom of the rose
You wore last night upon your breast.
Like pearls upon my petals lay
The weeping fountain’s silver tears,
Ere in the glittering array
You bore me proudly ‘mid your peers.

O lady, ’twas for you I died–
Yet have I come and will I stay;
My rosy phantom by your side
Will linger till the break of day.
Yet fear not, lady; naught claim I–
Nor mass, nor hymn, or funeral prayer;
My soul is but a perfumed sigh,
Which pure from Paradise I bear.

My death is as my life was–sweet;
Who would not die as I have done?
A fate like mine who would not meet,
Your bosom fair to lie upon?
A poet on my sentient tomb
Engraved this legend with a kiss:
‘Here lies a rose of fairest bloom;
E’en kings are jealous of its bliss.

 

 

Le Spectre de la Rose

Ballet in 1 Act. Book : J.L. Vaudoyer. Music : Weber. Scenery and costumes  Leon Bakst. Choreography  Michel Fokine. First produced  Theatre de Monte Carlo, 1911.

 

~ McGlamorous

 

Time with Rhedd (Butler)

Time with Rhedd (Butler)

 

It is pleasantly doubtful that the story of our time with Rhedd would begin any different than those love stories in the guise of kitty encounters. I never knew Angels had red hair and fur, but I am solidly convinced.

First appearance in March

They usually begin with an appearance, a discovery, or just a pleasant surprise. Out of nowhere these little spirits can manifest, like they are coming from some other time or place, right smack into your life. The introduction period is oh so brief. It is always love at first for my family, Rhedd here being no exception.

His visit was a back door rub that caught my eye late one night last winter around March. I had seen a few other cats come up for food and wildly scatter, but for some unknown but gut stirring reason I melted enough to scurry to the kitchen for emergency morsels. In all honesty I , maybe we – carried subconscious grief and love for Charlie, an indescribably gently red tabby that was previous to Rhedd, which motivated my attention and concern towards him. It felt as though Charlie was visiting in another form, or had sent a reminder.

Trying To Be Friends

The cinnamon swirl markings where visible through the glass patio door. Tail dancing, he rubbed closely for attention and I opened the door and placed the bowl out for him to munch. I went out to visit and with no fear he wailed with a passion that I nor my Mom and Grandmother had ever heard. His cry was so desperate that it was tempting to laugh, but you didn’t. He was sad and lonely, yet strong.

The next few months proved his affection and extreme protection for us. He had tried to befriend our other kitty, Lily, and it was a somewhat comical flirt that proved him a dud with the ladies, so it seemed. It was like Billy Joel meeting Christie Brinkley, but what we later discovered was that he desperately needed a friend. Our dog chased him, his own species seemed to have no loyalty, and he could not get a date across the branch during the high season – if you know what I mean.

Summer Naps

His visits were sporadic at first. Nightly romps would leave him beaten and scarred the next morning. I applied castor oil to his coat and gradually saw improvement. The more we cared for him the more we noticed an uncomfortable stance, but it did not bother him. I felt humbled by his strength and we held common issues with bad alignment. He lived with short front legs which caused his spine to curve when he sat down. Still, he walked with pride and an incredible leadership. He had no name, but surely a strong presence.

The more he stayed the day, the more friendly we became with him. After all, who could ignore those cries? Garden chores were accompanied by his presence and evening swinging with the sunsets held a place for conversations and kitty hugs. What a boy. So much love and appreciation was evident. I shed tears with him over losses and pain, and at night when I went out to see the stars he was there guarding me. Yet he still had no name. I tried to make it manifest but it did not. Somehow I felt it would come and on that night I blurted it out….”RED. No….RHEDD!” Yes, yes, yes, I thought, just like Rhett Butler the southern gentleman from the classic film Gone With The Wind! Boasting with excitement, I re-entered the house telling the family of the discovery. My Mom agreed that it fit this little protector’s personality. She labeled him the Red Warrior. Wow was that spot on. It seemed as though he grew stronger and more confident in his role as protector the longer he stayed. Cries were replaced with morning and evening walks. We silently invited him in for nights on the recliner with popcorn and movies, and he was a regular consolation in times of despair. Just a true gentleman and a true friend. I joked that had he been human, we would have been married.

Happiness Found

Sadly, he could not stay with us and left in August. We were already attached and hoped for more time, but his job was done. Breaking up is so hard to do. His loss was as such and I choose to leave only his love story behind. That once dirty and dingy coat was slick with gentlemanly sheen, and it even smelled of powder. It was as though a sweet scent floated from his happy soul. He had found love, friendship, and had given so much more than he got. He taught us strength, and protected our vulnerability at the same time.

 

Rhedd was answered prayer. I believe that is why he was so beautiful in every way.

 

Warrior Rhedd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ McGlamorous