Fine Arts

Suddenly Surprise!

Good afternoon, my wonderful readers! I’m just writing a quick note to say that, because I have a special post planned for next week, today’s will consist of some favorite musical-themed GIFs. (None of these were created by me.)

We now return to your regularly-scheduled Puccini’s Chronicles programming.

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Personals

Daily Prompt: Vigor (or, Sailing Away)

This weekend, I saw the newest Disney film Moana. I thought it was very good in its own right, but one part of it in particular stuck with me.

In the first quarter of the story, our vigorous heroine sings a song called “How Far I’ll Go.” It is soon followed by a reprise containing the following lyric: “There’s a line where the sky meets the sea and it calls me. I’m on my own, to worlds unknown.” It was already an emotional scene, but for me, there was a deeper meaning.

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Midway through this year, every room of my mind was filled with you. Maybe I fell too hard, too fast. That’s certainly not unheard of in my life.

And with you, it was even worse because my heart raced from the very first time I saw you. Maybe it needs more barriers, a thicker shell. Who knows? Certainly when you left me, told me you could not love me despite your best efforts…I wish it were made of stone. Now some days what transpired doesn’t affect me at all- at other times, it bothers me a whole lot. It didn’t have to happen this way.

As I saw Moana sail away from her home, alone, to the next chapter of her life, the metaphor was not lost on me. For nearly half a year, you were like home. I felt safe there, felt cared for. But evidently, that’s not where I was meant to stay. Moana, too, was not destined to remain on the island where she was raised.

Don’t get me wrong- I made mistakes as well. But that is, if you’ll excuse the pun, water under the bridge now. Today I board my boat. Today I press onward, if alone. I’ll turn my head, briefly, and see you standing on the seashore. Even then, after all this, I’ll probably smile at you as I sail away.

“All the time wondering where I need to be is behind me…”

Music

The Music of Disney- Take the Poll!

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Puccini’s Chronicles STYLE: Compact Mirror Appreciation Post

Lately, I’ve been thinking I should start actively collecting pop culture-themed compact mirrors. They are easily my favorite “purse accessory,” and they are so nice and round that they feel comfy in your hand. But only the metal-based ones; compacts in plastic casing are not on my radar. Also, on a personal note: ever since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated by my own reflection. Back then, the kid on the other side of the looking glass was my “friend.” Now I literally cannot walk past a mirror without looking into it. It’s become almost reflexive. I will be chatting with someone in the dining room, but instead of making eye contact with them, I’ll be watching my expressions in the mirror. I really have no logical explanation as to why I do this.

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If we return to the compact mirror topic, there is another layer of oddity for me. At times, I take such pride in how pretty a compact is that I don’t want to use it. Like my hands need to be clean, to prevent smudges on the metal. That’s true for most things I collect, though; they must be pristine and handled with care!

The very first “fancy” compact mirror I ever owned was a gold one with the Ruby Slippers. A few of its rhinestones have fallen out over the years, but it’s still a very nice piece. I think my grandmother purchased it back when the Staten Island Mall had a Warner Bros. Store. Lord, how I miss that place. But now, the Disney emporium has some lovelies in its arsenal- pictured above is a Belle compact from Sephora. And my favorite (that I actually own) is the Disney Store’s live-action Cinderella release. It has a butterfly pattern surrounding the focal point: a shoe.

That said, I wonder if any Broadway merchandise stands sell compact mirrors? I’d kill for one with a show logo on it.

Personals

Memories of Alice

So, for starters, I haven’t seen the new Disney Alice movie yet. But I did find this quote from it, and it basically punched me in the heart. “I used to think Time was a thief. But time is a gift. Every minute, every second.” This tore my soul out through my nostrils, not only because it’s relevant and poignant, but because I remembered that Alice Through the Looking Glass is the final film of Alan Rickman. This, my friends, is why I love art so much. In the way it relates to our world, it stirs up such powerful emotions. Those emotions can then cause us to change how we view said world…or even motivate us to do incredible things. No other forum/medium has this sort of power. But…I ramble! This wasn’t meant to be a post about my “feels,” or an analysis of why art matters.

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Back to Alice. The most lauded work of Lewis Carroll has been special to me since I was a little girl. I’ll admit that my first exposure to the story was the 1950s animated Disney movie, but it captivated me so much that when I got a little older, I wanted to read the book as well.

As a child unknowingly growing up under Asperger’s shadow, I related to Alice. Like her, I felt stuck in a world operating very differently from what my brain knew. I would “cast” people in my life as the denizens of Wonderland. My favorite actress was the Rose in the singing garden, Mom was the Gryphon, my mean principal was the Duchess, and my loud math teacher was the Queen of Hearts. (Of course, my pet cat was Dinah.) I have this one vivid memory of being around eleven years old, sitting alone during recess and reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland while the other children played as though I didn’t exist. Going to school was like falling down the rabbit hole.

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“The chief difficulty Alice found at first was in managing her flamingo.” This is one of my favorite lines from the book. Although I have changed over the years, and no longer feel quite as akin to Alice, many things have stayed the same for her and me. Like that line. And blue dresses/black hair bows. Or my fascination with the wonderful oddities of life. When I picture myself as a child, I see someone with braids and eyeglasses, wearing a school uniform and reading the story of Alice. If I could speak to her, much like the Cheshire Cat, I’d say that things will get better. That she will build true friendships and find her way.

So, Mr. Carroll and Mr. Disney- I thank you for your unrivaled creativity, and my eleven-year-old self thanks you!

Film and Television

Open your eyes, AMPAS elitists!

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ latest piece, Zootopia, has been slaying reviewers all over the country…in the best way possible. So I need to blow off a little steam about something. It has to do with elitism in the artistic and media domains, which is a problem that affects not only creatives, but those who want to be part of the community.

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I once read a comment by a professional reviewer at AMPAS (they decide what wins Oscars) that they don’t even bother watching the contenders for Best Animated Film “because they are older than 5.” I find that elitist attitude toward animation to be complete BS and shameful to anyone who claims to be a movie aficionado. If a motion picture is well-made and interesting, and is full of artistic passion, who GIVES a hoot if the characters aren’t live acted? Newsflash: Have you SEEN the reviews for like 85% of the “real films” that come out these days? They’re trash. A movie is a movie, regardless of the style it uses to tell its story. So here’s to you, Zootopia. Haters gonna hate! (Rant over.)

Music

Spotlight: Vinyl’s Amazing Comeback

Have you ever noticed how, in recent years, vinyl albums have made this enormous leap back into the public’s good graces? I don’t know how or why it’s happened, but the fact remains that I’m hearing (and seeing) more LP records in the past two or so years than I have in my entire life. Forget about children of the 80s or 70s…I’m talking people my age (20s-30s) buying record players and starting their own collection of vinyls. I asked my mom, a longtime worshiper and owner of dozens, what could be making them so appealing.

Her response: “I liked the cover art; it’s easier to appreciate it than on a little CD. There were also the jacket liners with different things printed on them- stories, information, lyrics, even posters inside. The sound has been made better with the newer ones…but I even liked to listen to the crackles!”

Seems like a legitimate explanation to me. In the remainder of this blog post, I’ll show you some of my favorite vinyls- both from Mom’s archives and modern ones I’ve seen in stores. For the latter, I will also tell you where to buy them and how much they cost. After all, this is one bandwagon that could be worth jumping on!

91atpdzmovl-_sx425_ Pitch Perfect 2 (Originally exclusive to Target, now on Amazon for $12)

inside_w_sleeves_vinyl The Last Five Years (Sh-K-Boom Records, $29.98 for deluxe edition)

tangled_vinyl_picture_sideahi-520x520 Songs from Tangled (Hot Topic, $26.50)

r-6194700-1429029503-8901-jpeg Songs from Frozen (Hot Topic, $26.50)

eltonjohngoodbyeyellowbrickroadle1 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Vintage)

r-1602165-1231459776-jpeg The Stranger (Vintage)

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30DDC- Day Thirty

Favorite Happy Ending

In the words of Principal Duvall from Mean Girls, “I could not be happier that this school year is ending.” I can say the same about this challenge. Although it was super fun to do and surprisingly thought-provoking, it’s time to move on. And with that, I shall present to you one of the most satisfying endings to come out of the Disney canon.

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The last moments of Pixar’s Up provide so much closure that I can’t even open the door anymore. (Wow, that was awful.) You wanna know why I love this finale so much? Because it wraps up the characters’ journeys that we have seen from even the very beginning of the story. Carl gets the son he never had. Russell gets the father figure he never had. Dug becomes leader of the now-benevolent dog troupe. Carl passes on his most prized possession to Russell. And Ellie’s spirit finally comes to rest as Carl’s old house miraculously lands right at Paradise Falls. It is just a string of beautiful moments and no emotion is left unattended to.

With that, I have reached the end of the 30 Day Disney Blog Challenge! Thanks to all my readers for going on this “magical” trip with me. Starting tomorrow, we return to our regularly scheduled Puccini’s Chronicles programming. And I have something cool in store! See you then.

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30DDC- Day Twenty Nine

Favorite Overall Moment

Sorry this is late! And what a task stands  before me in this category. How on Earth am I supposed to pick the best overall moment in any Disney movie? Hmm…let me think about this…ah, I’ve got it!

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Yes, this is most definitely the one. And not just because my attitude while doing this challenge is basically, “When all else fails, pick something from The Lion King.” All joking aside- the “Circle of Life” scene in this film is a masterwork of visuals, music, and pure exhilaration. The words of the song are so meaningful. The sight of all the savanna animals is fascinating and beautiful. And ultimately, when the number culminates in Simba’s recognition as the next king, it all just becomes….I don’t know, life-affirming? Either way, “Circle of Life” is undoubtedly the greatest opener to a Disney movie, and quite possibly one of the greatest openers for film in general.

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30DDC- Day Twenty Eight

Favorite Sequel

Ick. One field where Disney certainly does NOT succeed is that of sequels. Then again, most movie studios fail at sequels. I try to avoid them at all costs, particularly if they are direct-to-video. I’m shuddering as we speak. The only exceptions I’ll make are if I like the development of the characters’ story in a sequel AND it has a fantastic soundtrack. In that regard, the only Disney sequel I’ve actually seen that fulfills both of these criteria…is not even a full-length feature.

FROZEN FEVER

The animated short Frozen Fever was released in front of this year’s live-action Cinderella, effectively combining two of my favorite heroines ever (Ella and Elsa) into one glorious package. I think the short makes for a delightful followup to the original for a few reasons. One, the main song (“Making Today A Perfect Day”) is really fun. Two, it actually takes the original story and characters to an interesting new level. And three, perhaps most importantly, it does so without sacrificing the feel of the original film. I hope the creators behind the Frozen franchise show this same amount of skill when creating its inevitable full-blown sequel. Lord I hope so.