Wednesday, June 23, 2010

All Opera, All the Time

We've finally started rehearsals for this opera my group is doing. Thus, for the last two weeks, I've been going back and forth between watching rehearsals, working on my part of the technology (coding, soldering, brainstorming interaction design), production meetings, etc. Lots of fun, but also means my time to do non-work things has been significantly limited (particularly with rehearsals/work 7 days a week). It's amazing to see the performers in our rehearsal space, to see the scenes coming together at last for this show that has been in the working for years (a number of years even before I joined the lab two years ago). Everything is finally happening! Though we do have a lot of the tech to still integrate (and by "integrate" I mean "get working") And it looks good... And it reminds me how much I love being part of the theater, how I'm doing exactly what I should be doing right now.

As a tiny bit of background about the part I'm working the story of this opera, the main character attempts to avoid dying by uploading his mind into a computer system built throughout his house. This happens in the end of the first scene...which means the performer goes offstage and the theatrical set has to embody that character through visuals on the walls, movement, lighting, sound. You could have all of that just be pre-programmed (a challenging enough task). However, we want the performer to be giving a live performance, to measure aspects of that expressive performance, and have that expression shape the visualizations in significant ways. My research includes measuring the live performance and working with a coworker on the interaction between the performance and the visual system. Interesting as both a technical problem and an artistic problem, I think.

So. In the rehearsal-every-day thing, it's been harder for me to take the time to a) come up with outfits I really like, b) document what I wear at all. On the plus side, I feel like the act of having taken much more care about what I wear means my outfits when I just grab something are much more dressy than my old default of jeans and a fitted t-shirt. On the other hand, I'm now aware of what I feel like when I really like what I'm wearing, and thus am aware when I'm not getting to that point. I have a couple of outfits I got pictures of, though!

This was last Friday's outfit, for rehearsals and an opera-people BBQ. It's also interesting to try to dress for weather where it's been 85-90+ degrees outside and freezing cold in the lab...layering time!

Dress: Ann Taylor, thrifted.
Belt: thrifted.
Sandals: Chinese Laundry, thrifted.

I wore this dress yesterday, inspired by a handful of bloggers whom I've seen with similar beautiful embroidered pieces (which I believe are Mexican/Mexican-inspired). My dress appears to have been handmade and hand-embroidered (you can still see some placement marks under the embroidery). I wanted to play against the style and color of the dress with some more dressy black accessories, so I wore my recently thrifted wedge sandals. I think I got them last week (after I'd made a bad shoe choice and had to run into the local Goodwill and try to find something to replace the sandals that were already giving me blisters) and have already worn them three times since. I really felt good in this outfit...summery, comfortable, fun.

Dress: thrifted
Belt: Forever21
Shoes: Nordstrom, thrifted.

Hope everyone's having a good week! Getting close to the weekend...though I spend that in more rehearsals...

Monday, June 7, 2010

A variety of outfits

This was my outfit on Tuesday, the first day after Me-Made May. It was definitely strange not to be trying to choose from a more limited wardrobe...makes me want to keep refashioning things all summer! I definitely enjoyed the challenge of Me-Made May. Zoe has plans already for a Self-Stitched September, which I really wish I could participate in...however, I'll have to take a pass this year, as I'll be traveling to Europe for two weeks in September working on the opera, and I already am going to have a lot of trouble figuring out appropriate clothes to cover both backstage work, performances, and whatever dressy events I have to go to.

Wednesday's outfit was a combination I'd been wanting to wear since my mother gave me this thrifted tunic early in May...but as it didn't have a me-made component, went on the back burner till now.

In other exciting news, I purchased a small community farm share for the summer, meaning I get a load of fresh veggies every week! This will, I hope, a) increase my vegetable consumption, and b) get me cooking more. See, if I have a pile of fresh vegetables that needs to be eaten within a week, then I have to make sure they get eaten!

The results of my first week's share included spinach, red Russian kale, two types of lettuce, pea tendrils...

as well as endive, Japanese mustard greens, and bok choy.

Thursday's outfit was fairly simple; a little cream tunic, sweater (inside the lab, at least!), and sandals.

Friday's outfit was inspired by the Victor/Victoria challenge from Jessica of What I Wore. She set a challenge of wearing either a very ladylike outfit or a menswear inspired outfit. I had some work/school related receptions to go to, as it was graduation (technically, I am now officially a Ph.D. student!) so I went with the ladylike look.

Dress: Nine West, thrifted.
Belt: thrifted.
Shoes: Predictions, thrifted
Jewelry: handmade

On a related note, I ought to see Victor/Victoria sometime. Sometime when I'm not busy with an opera!

Opera rehearsals start later today, with at least two rehearsals with the cast + technical meetings just about every day, so it's going to be a very, very busy summer...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

End-of-May Wanderings

Yesterday was Memorial Day, so I had the day off seemed that an adventure was in order! I met up with a friend/coworker around 1:30 with the goal of an adventure; however, we had no particular plans, so decided to walk into Boston and just go wherever seemed interesting. This led to a free-form 8-mile walk through the Commons, Beacon Hill, the South End, Northeastern, Roxbury, Mission Hill, Harvard Medical School, Coolidge Corner, and Brookline. (I think that's close to the order we went through areas!) Then we took the T back to Cambridge. It was especially interesting because I know these little areas of Boston, but normally get there by T, so don't have much of a sense of how things are geographically related to one another. This walk felt like I was stitching together a variety of different areas in my mind.

We first walked from Cambridge to the Boston Commons, where they had a display of flags for the holiday, each representing one serviceman killed in war.

The day took on a strange, mythical tone because the entire city was filled with smoke -- apparently from several large forest fires up in Quebec. So everything was hazy and unusual (and smelled like a forest fire for the first number of hours). Can you see the buildings in that picture (taken from Roxbury Station looking back towards Boston proper)? They're much closer than they seem!

One of the highlights of the day was stumbling upon this minaret near Northeastern. See, from the upper stories of the lab, if you stand at the right angle, you can see a faint spire in the distance, visible between two's been a mystery exactly what the tower was, a mystery that we hadn't been able to solve. But this minaret was at EXACTLY the right angle from the lab...we found our secret tower!

The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help on Mission Hill. Just beautiful.

After we crossed through the medical district, we started heading up Brookline Ave, intending to go to Brookline. And then, suddenly, there was a small stream and a green park and a path, and it looked absolutely nothing like Boston. So of course we had to walk along the river for as long as we could. (Interesting detail: this path ran parallel to the Green Line B train. We didn't see the train till we were almost out of the park, and then didn't know which it was. But when we took the B train back from Brookline later, we went right along the park!)

Did I mention that the weather today was pretty perfect? In the low 70's, a bit hot when passing by lots of concrete and glass, but saved by an amazing cool breeze. And in wooded areas, absolutely ideal.

We crossed a bridge over the river and came down in the middle of an outdoor sculpture installation.

All of these surprises...every corner we turned, more interesting things.

Oh yes, and here's me. A fairly simple outfit for the last day of Me-Made May, with the same old jean skirt and a pair of handmade earrings. I'll talk more about the end of Me-Made May later, though, as this has become quite a long entry already.
Shirt: H&M, thrifted
Skirt: refashioned from a pair of Joe's Jeans
Shoes: Naturalizers, thrifted (Can I just note my amazement that I walked 8 miles in these shoes and only have a little sore spot on one heel?)
Earrings: handmade

A few other moments of note:
Tiny goslings in the park.
Walking from Coolidge Corner to Brookline, and actually finding the way pretty easily.
Dinner at a Chinese place in Brookline.
Continually stumbling upon new areas, and on areas that we knew.
The piano factory that used to be the second-largest building in the US.

This was a day to stop and smell the roses...around 4 1/2 hours of exploring the city, going wherever the urge took us. Really, a beautiful day. One of the best adventures I've had in a long time...and I'd say it definitely counts as an adventure by the percentage of time neither of us quite knew where we we were! I really love this city, which I hadn't anticipated when I moved to the area two years ago. But now...I'm so glad I'm here.

I'll end the giant post now...hope everyone had a nice Monday holiday, or a good start to the week!
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