Friday, July 30, 2010

"Life Lessons."

Colin looking at the set for "Life Lessons."

Our journey ended on Wednesday and I basically hit the ground running once again because the kids have a big performance tonight.  They had dress rehearsal most of the day yesterday followed by a pas class (partnering) until 8:30 PM.  Back to the movie...I spent 4 grueling days at rehearsals and the movie set.  I honestly don't know how my Colin and Claire survived all this but they did and they did it beautifully. The ordeal actually lasted 5 days ( a good friend took the kids on one of the days so I could run around trying to get work permits for the kids).  The first three days were very intensive rehearsals.  They learned choreography for a 6 minute ballet and the choreography they needed at the ballet barre.  These days lasted 6 -10 hours, not counting about 3 .5 hours in travel.  The rehearsals took place in a rather small ballet studio.  I met moms from all over the area as well as other states.  Watching the process was fascinating.  I just don't get how the kids learn the steps with this choreographer jumping all round calling out moves, changing every 2 minutes.  It was nuts.  Yet learn they did.  The last two days we spent in Evanston Illinois where they filmed this short film.  The production company rented out the famous Giordano Dance School, which in itself was worth the time.   The Giordano Dancers are a well know throughout the world as a  jazz/modern company.  In fact my husband and I have seen them perform several times.  My oldest (who came along with me) got to watch them rehearse.  So the world of movies is definitely not for me.  One is literally on call from 6 AM till?????  One does not find out when they need you on set till maybe 12 hours before.  This was perhaps the most frustrating aspect of doing this movie.  When I found out that the kids had a 6AM call on Monday morning, I nearly fainted (we were up at 3 AM to get there) and so we booked a hotel and stayed in Evanston.  I felt a little more in control but we were still at the directors beck and call.  I met the main star who played the dance instructor Bently Stone.  He actually played Scar in the Broadway production of Lion King.  Way cool.  Sitting on the set was hot, very hot, and although the technical stuff, like the cameras were cool, it was mainly a hurry up and wait sort of scenario.  The kids found the process fascinating.  Claire wants to be in the movies, Colin, not so much.  He found the waiting unbearable and was glad to have his friends from the ballet school there.  

So what is this movie about...Believe it or not, I am not really sure.  It is set in the famed Bently Stone-Walter Camryn studios in Chicago (circa the 60's) and it is about a young girl who becomes a dancer but during her youth, really was not sure about it.  It shows off how hard it was to be a dancer (ballet) back then.  Apparently the film is going the route of the film festival (Cannes, Tribeca), and from there, who knows.  It could be months in editing.

At the very least, my dancers have a "star" literally, on their dance resume and you never know who will see the film.  Hopefully they wont wind up on the editing floor :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"The Big News" 7-21-10

Thanks to a good friend, I have have the confirmation I needed to be able to share our family news.  I know this sounds a bit strange but I really did not want to post unless I knew this was a sure deal.  About two weeks ago, both Colin and Claire auditioned for a short movie/documentary.  The theme is dance, of course, and to be honest with you all, I am not sure exactly what it is about.  I think, mind you I am reading between the lines, this has something to do with the history of  the Stone- Camryn dance school/company that was based in Chicago in the (1941-1981).  There is a fictional element with it as well as non fictional.  Mrs. Svalander, the owner and director of the Judith Svalander School of Ballet (where my kids dance) use to dance at that school and knew the choreographer who also danced there.  And that is about all the details.  Via email last night, I obtained the rehearsal schedule (intense for three days).  The filming schedule will be coming forthwith.  So I will take them into Chicago and basically stay there waiting for up to 8 hours each day.  We have to work out transportation details because parking is non existent in the city.  The filming will take place in Evanston, which is doable in a car but it is a good 1.5 hour drive.  Parking is better in Evanston. I am excited for both of them for the obvious implications (you know, being discovered by ballet company directors etc..).  The film is supposed to be sold and might go the route of film festivals.  And there you have it.  More details will follow I am sure. 

On top of my getting back to working on the computer, this should prove interesting.  I  will have a very hectic and busy next two weeks.  Today we are going with the dance school to see Billy Elliot!  Yea.  My kids are so stoked!  So even thought a was dealt a basket of lemons these past weeks, there was a cool glass of lemonade waiting for me with this news. 


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Art Of the Land Donation 7-18-10

Life is good.  We have both of our scanners back up and running.  Now I just need to get our camera (s) software loaded.  I will need my hubby for that.  In addition to that feat, I was in the studio today and finished a donation for The Art of The Land show in September at the Starline Gallery in Harvard Illinois.  The show and part of the artists proceeds go to The Land Conservancy of McHenry County.    I have been inspired by the ocean as of late (my cousin had a thirty foot plus sail boat and I am following her summer, along with her husband, around the east coast of our country).  I also have been inspired by water in general, waterways, rivers, name it.  So my abstract landscapes usually have a water element.  Something about water is so elemental, soothing yet at the same time, powerful and potentially devastating.  The title of this work is "Waterscapes 1."  It is a 6 by 6 inch mixed media and collage work on masonite board.  I worked from two photos of different places and sort of combined them (in my head) to a place I would love to explore.  This could be by the sea or the rocky bluffs seen along Lake Michigan (upper peninsula Michigan).  At any rate, I would love to vacation there for sure. 

What is next...well I have an artist brochure I need to redesign because I lost it in the crash.  I want to start a database in Access again.  I know that won't be complete because the data for art sold is gone.  Oh well.  And I want to get back to the studio to achieve two things...samples for a journal class teaching transfer techniques, and I finally hope to start making some papers (actually altering papers) for a new abstract that has been floating around in my head since New Years Eve.  Oh yea and then there is a bit of wonderful new, family news that I wish to share once I have details and hopefully it will actually come to pass :)


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Great Computer Crash of June 2010

I have emerged from the depths and have begun to tread water once again.  If you have not experienced a computer crash of your own, please read on for the gory details. I am now down feeling sorry for myself and my art.  I am done crying, I am done being angry, I am done fretting, and I am done blaming my kids and husband for this mess.  I am in the reconstruction mode and so I apologize, to myself and you dear readers, that I do not have certain software re-installed (need drivers that support vista) that support my cameras. In other words, no pictures nor scans for a while.  But what we do have installed should allow me to recreate some of the many lost files that are gone forever.

So, I have asked myself a thousand times how this all happened, how did I get into my sorry state of affairs.  This all started a week before the Flying Lessons class ended.  I was so looking forward to that last week.  We were also preparing for an overnight reunion with my dearest cousins up in Williams bay Wisconsin.  My son and myself had noticed some weird sounds coming from the hard drive.  The computer monitor would "blue screen" and then the computer would shut down.  I was able to restart and so was my son.  Our virus scans showed nothing.  My husband then noticed clicking sounds coming from the hard drive.  He diagnosed this as corrupt files not being able to be accessed (not necessarily due to a virus).  My husband is a software engineer and was able to get the computer started yet again.  The morning we were to leave for Wisconsin, the computer crashed and nothing would get it started.  So my husband erased the hard drive totally wiping out everything.  OK, I thought nothing of it because we did have back-up, an external hard drive, an expensive external hard drive.  We left for Wisconsin, came back (had a marvelous time), and then Marc started to re install the OS, MS office etc...  These programs required update, new drivers etc... and while he was downloading them, several viruses snuck in that threw off all sorts of thing.  The computer crashed yet again.  He cleaned up the viruses and finally got everything running it (this took him about 4 days of solid work).  OK so when it was time to restore files...everything I had done since January of 2010, all my database files (Access), publisher files (for my art and my pre school classes), jpegs etc... were not there.  Apparently the external drive stopped working on my user account for whatever reason (we still don't know why). 

Now what?  Marc tried various programs to restore the files.  We could see them out there, but when we tried to open them, we were given numerous error messages that ammounted to the fact that they were corrupt.  He found software that opens up Access files but it costs 200.00 and there was no guarentee that it would work.  The geek squad was considered but the cost kept us from doing it.  So that brings us to today.  I still have not fully assessed what is lost but I discover stuf daily.  I managed to get some files re built but it will take me months to even come close to building the relational database that I had for years of art work.  Some jpegs are gone forever because the art work has been sold.  I now am manually saving all files to the external drive plus I purchased a flash drive that I am also using for my art work. 

The best news though is that I was in the studio yesterday for the first time in 3 weeks.  I am working on a donation piece for The Land Conservacy fund raiser in Sept.  I felt a calling and decided to work on an abstract landscape.  These types of collages always give me great pleasure.  I am not sure when I will have my scanners ready but once I do, I promise a scan of the work. As far as the classes I teach at the Studio, they are on hold for a while.  Hopefully I can get back to it in August.