I love dancing. I love dances. I love watching dances, dancing films. My current obsession is Center Stage (available on Netflix UK). I don’t know why this film didn’t get better reviews. It’s very sweet and entertaining, and not that bad when it comes to believability.
Watching dances, or other people dancing amazing dances, whatever type of dance it is, is exhilarating for me. And sad at the same time. I would’ve chosen that as a super serious hobby if I’ve got the chance to live a second life. Not as a career, but train hard enough that I could take advanced jazz classes and shit like that. If only I didn’t grow up in Indonesia. Never got diagnosed with flat feet till I was 25, by when it’s too late and there’s numerous damage beyond repair that’s happened to my body.
I continually train my body to push its limits by doing yoga and swimming. Strength, and flexibility, over and over. But of course I will never be as good a dancer as I want to be, no matter how much therapy and training my body gets. Ah, why do we have to have only one lifetime….
Having been sick on and off the last couple of months, I end up watching a ton of older movies. Rom-coms of the nineties I find to be most comforting, but oh how I’m glad times have changed. Films have two functions- to inform as well as reflect how we see ourselves. To illustrate, take Sleepless in Seattle.
This is the only picture I can find of Meg Ryan and Bil Pullman’s characters in their bed. There is a scene where the phone rings in the middle of the night, she woke up with a start, accidentally elbowing him in the face. He sat up, spluttering and coughing, tissues everywhere, his allergy-combating paraphernalia clearly visible on his nightstand. Given that in the end (SPOILER ALERT) she broke off their engagement to pursue a relationship with Tom Hanks’ character, I think it’s safe to assume that we’re meant to see Bill Pullman as the pathetic, bumbling, defective, less-desirable choice of mate.
Now compare that with today’s rom com. ‘This is 40’. I have not seen it, but having seen similar offerings, I can guarantee you there is plenty of scenes in it showing couples being themselves. Imperfect, with quirky personal habits that we know we all do, yet too embarrassing to share publicly, such as (pictured) talking to your spouse while sitting on the toilet with iPad in hand.
Here, the male with the ‘off-putting’ habit, is not seen as the undesirable, pathetic mate, but rather the person that comes as a package, both good and bad, that the woman has chosen to be with for the rest of their lives.
So ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ or ‘This is 40’? Knowledge comes from experience. Now that I’m older, married, and no longer fifteen, I can safely say that when it comes to a film that would shape a young person’s view of a ‘healthy’ relationship, my choice would fall with the latter. While the former and all the rest of the rom-coms of the nineties, should have a viewing age restriction: 30 and above. Perhaps this would help improve success rating of marriages, happiness index of long-term relationships, and ease the minds of many neurotic girls like myself, by getting rid of the notion of the ‘perfection’ when it comes to being part of a couple.
Speaking of perfection, if only I could get ‘You’ve Got Mail’ on Netflix, right now….my life would be complete.
Rolanda Haloo – Zuni
Rolanda Haloo Rolanda Haloo was born in 1956 in Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico. She learned the basics of jewelry-making from her father, Jacob Haloo, who also taught her cousin, Dennis Edaakie, one of the most renowned Zuni artists.
Check out my interview that aired on NPR
PHOENIX — Mixed media artist Tom Greyeyes chose to introduce himself for his interview with Fronteras Desk first in Navajo, and then in English.
“Hi, my name is Tom Greyeyes,” he said after the Navajo version. “I’m from Northern Arizona, I was born and raised in Flagstaff, Navajo Rez.”
He means he grew up between both places, Flagstaff at times, and the town of Tsegi, on the Navajo reservation, at other times. At 23, one of the topics he thinks a lot about is how Native young people of his generation straddle two worlds.
“A lot of us are sort of in this void, between traditional and then what I guess is American culture,” Greyeyes said. “And being in that void is sometimes frustrating. And there are always conflicting views, too, conflicting values.”
In a screenprint self portrait Greyeyes did in September, a man is grasping a root with his hands, as he is being lifted away.
Greyeyes’ tools of expression are diverse, ranging from wheatpastings to digital prints to spray paint.
He’s comfortable working on a large scale. He has paintings and graffiti installations that cover entire walls and appear on abandoned buildings on reservations. His whimsical sculptures of found objects stand out in barren landscapes.
Greyeyes said not all of his work is intended to be political. Some of it is abstract, and explores color and design. But within his art that makes a statement, Native identity and stereotypes seem to be among the reoccurring themes.
For the past week, he has been participating in a printmaking project with four other Native artists and graduate students at Arizona State University School of Art in the Herbergerer Institute, which will culminate in an exhibition and auction on Thursday night at the Night Gallery in Tempe. His print is a critique of Johnny Depp’s depiction of Tonto, the Lone Ranger’s Indian sidekick, in an upcoming Hollywood remake.
“It is about cultural appropriation,” Greyeyes said. “[Depp] is taking parts of Native culture and from what they originally meant and really distorting it.”
After graduating from Arizona State University’s art program last year, Greyeyes followed his girlfriend at the time to the San Carlos Apache reservation about 100 miles east of Phoenix.
“It is a very hard place to live, it is very different than my reservation,” said Greyeyes, who taught art while he was living there. “I started doing a lot of street art out there because there are a lot of abandoned, semi-burned down buildings.”
His outdoor works included a portrait of a young Native woman on a water tank and a grieving figure on the back of a deserted, blighted house.
One day he stumbled on an abandoned trailer and wanted to paint on it. He knocked on a house next door to ask permission, where he found a little girl and a woman.
“She was an older lady and she was like babysitting, and she was just drunk, it really stuck with me,” Greyeyes said. “I didn’t know how to react in a situation like that.”
It inspired his latest work, which he painted last week, and is now on exhibit at the Night Gallery. It is two-part painting that measures about 10 x 12 feet.
“The first image is a little girl, and she is sort of trapped in a 40 ounce bottle,” he said. “She is holding these little, little flowers.”
In part two, those little flowers have grown into a huge sunflower that has burst through the top of the bottle, leaving it broken. The little girl is gone.
“I am trying to insinuate that she escaped,” Greyeyes said.
The bottle represents alcohol abuse. The growing sunflowers – which grow wild on the San Carlos Apache reservation - stand for the persistence of tribal culture and values.
“Some communities, out there, especially on reservations, like the kids grow up sort of trapped in their family’s alcoholism,” Greyeyes said. “I hope they have a part of their culture, some sort of values they will kind of keep, and hopefully, it will grow and manifest into something, and get them out of situations like that when they are older.”
Losing his own cultural heritage is a theme that preoccupies Greyeyes.
“I’m very worried, my generation is very different than my dad’s generation, my parents generation,” Greyeyes said. “They are different than their grandparents, my grandparents. We are losing our traditional identity for sure.”
He says he has tried to find ways to connect to his heritage. He goes back to his family’s land and maintain a garden each summer. His brother raises horses in the way his father taught him. But he says it isn’t easy to find the right balance.
“I’ve tried to like reconnect a lot of times and sometimes I’ve failed, like horribly,” he said.
That sense of loss, though, may also be what inspires him to keep making art.