Thursday, November 29, 2007

Roma Rainbow Choir singing against AIDS

Coming up this weekend in Rome... The Roma Rainbow Choir will be performing at the Chiesa Valdese (Piazza Cavour 32) on Sunday 2nd December at 20.30. Entrance is free and the event is to mark World AIDS Day on 1st December.

The Roma Rainbow Choir is Italy's first gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight head over to Piazza Cavour on Sunday and sing-along with them!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Romulus and Remus video footage!

Some exciting archaeological news from Rome that seems to be featuring prominently on the Internet and in newspapers all around the world is the discovery of an underground grotto believed to have been revered by ancient Romans as the place where the she-wolf suckled Romulus and his twin brother Remus. Romulus, the city's legendary founder, and his brother, were allegedly sons of the god of war Mars who were abandoned in a basket floating on the Tiber. The vaulted cave is decorated with seashells and coloured marble and buried 52 feet inside the Palatine Hill, and has so far been visible only via endoscopes and laser scanners as archaeologists fear the cave may collapse. Yesterday, the Italian Ministry of Culture released video footage of the discovery.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Fellini's Dreams at the Auditorium

sguardo assorto
Originally uploaded by [ e L e ]
I had the weirdest dream the other night – a Shetland pony leaped out of my bedroom wardrobe and clopped towards the kitchen, out through the French doors and onto the balcony, where I caught up with it devouring the lavender plant! Okay, so I admit there's really nothing very complicated to analyse here – I'd just pruned the lavender, in fact, and had also, just that evening, watched the wonderful John Cassavetes movie Love Streams, where in one scene Gena Rowlands brings two miniature horses inside a house! So why am I suddenly blogging (heaven help us) about my dreams? No, I haven't gone all Jungian...but I have been paying closer attention to my dreams since visiting the exhibition dedicated to the dreams of Federico Fellini which just closed at the Auditorium in Rome - Fellini oniricon - Il libro dei miei sogni (The Book of My Dreams).

From 1960 until 1982 Fellini kept a visual notebook of all his dreams in two ledgers, as well as loose addition pages, some of which are dated as late as 1990. Entirely private affairs kept at the suggestion of his Jungian analyst and never intended for publication they are consequently the closest we can come to really understanding Fellini's creative processes and the influence of the psyche and dreams on his work. Consisting predominantly of large digital prints and enlargements taken from the books – sadly, given the nature of the material, there were only a few, loose page originals on display – the exhibition was a complete delight. The sheer spontaneity of the drawings, particularly those in bright strokes of felt-tip colours, was very apparent, whilst the neat, hand-written explanatory notes, were equally fascinating. I particularly enjoyed the section devoted to mini-portraits of contemporary figures who peopled his dreams. Fellini, it would seem, was a consummate caricaturist, and even self-portraitist.

Nightmares covered a sizeable amount of the notebooks too, with an eerie and obsessive focus on collapsing towers, which to a post 9/11 generation were rather unsettling. The final explosion at the end of Michelangelo Antonioni's masterpiece Zabriskie Point appears as a background to another drawing with both directors depicted in conversation in the foreground. Least surprising, perhaps, were the dozens of corpulent, large breasted women throughout the exhibition – the women one might easily describe as Fellinesque!

Friday, November 2, 2007

The vocations of Walter Veltroni

I've just read an excellent article in the New York Review of Books which is also available on line.
Entitled Rome: The Marvels and the Menace and written by Ingrid D. Rowland it dishes out some harsh criticism of Rome's Mayor Walter Veltroni:

[...] Rome is now in the hands of a mayor whose vocations lie elsewhere. Earnest and self-dramatizing, Walter Veltroni creates film festivals and "White Nights," escorts high school students to Rwanda, Malawi, and Auschwitz, and hobnobs with the likes of Bob Geldof, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Rigoberta Menchu from his Michelangelo-designed city hall. He has just written his first novel. He is a man for spectacle rather than infrastructure; to be sure, he is putting in a new subway, but it is the old subway lines that need his attention, with their deteriorating physical plant and their alarming increase in violence. [...]

Autographs collected at the Rome Film Festival!

Have just made this video featuring autographs of stars like Cate Blanchett, Tom Cruise, Emile Hirsch, Jonathan Rhys Meyers - even Francis Ford Coppola - collected during the festival! If you enjoy autograph collecting then check out my other other site Signed By Cast (shameless plug!!)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ennio Morricone | The Auditorium, Rome | 30 October, 2007

Getting across Rome on a moped to reach the Auditorium on Tuesday evening was a question of picking the right moment and dodging the torrential rain which had been pouring all day. Amazingly, we managed to get there AND back without getting drenched but only just in time. In fact, an impressively noisy and quite spectacular electric storm broke over the Parco della Musica shortly after we arrived, accompanied by another downpour making the lead-coated insect-like roofs on Renzo Piano's buildings gleam and steam like space pods in a sci-fi movie.

This dramatically cinematographic setting seemed very fitting, somehow, for a wonderful concert by the Orchestra and Choir of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia directed by the maestro of film scores, Ennio Morricone, and in particular, his ambitious 2002 piece Voci dal silenzio (for vocal recital, recorded voice, chorus and orchestra); both exhilarating and at times, deeply unsettling, it was composed initially as a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks and subsequently dedicated to the victims of all the massacres throughout history.

After a short interval, Morricone returned to the stage to conduct a series of suites with excerpts from some of his hundreds of film scores, pieces he has tagged applied music as opposed to the absolute music of his concert pieces.

1st suite – Per le antiche scale, from the 1975 movie by Marco Bolognini;
Bugsy, directed by Barry Levinson, 1991;
H2S by Roberto Faenza, 1969.

2nd suite – City of Joy, from the 1992 movie by Roland JoffĂ©;
Nostromo, from the TV series directed by Alastair Reid, 1996.

3rd suite – The new composition Sicilo e altri frammenti, inspired by the ancient Greek Epitaffio di Sicilo, thought to be one of earliest ever examples of musical notation.

4th suite – The Mission, once again directed by Roland JoffĂ© in 1986.

The concert ended to rapturous applause after the extraordinary crescendo of the Mission suite. The maestro was called back several times for encores which included the song that has been playing in my head ever since – Here's to You (aka The Ballad of Nick & Bart) dedicated to the memory of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti from the film Sacco e Vanzetti.

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