Monday, May 16, 2011

Almost finished with grades - but not quite, will have to work several hours tomorrow. (It's still Sunday to me; I am in summer owl mode.) I receive daily emails from students asking for their grade. My answer is always the same: they will be available. 12 noon Tuesday 5/17 (that's the university's common date / time). My deadline from the Registrar is Monday 5/16 11:59 pm and believe me, I need every minute! I announced this several times at the end of the semester in every class, and posted it on the home page of each course's blackboard site, but still the emails dribble in. Some even acknowledge what I said about when final grades would be ready, but ask anyway.

Speaking of birds (I mentioned owl mode), we watched The Black Swan tonight. Before this, I had no desire to see it for some reason. (That isn't really like me, generally I want to see the Oscar nominated movies.) We were standing there at red box, and another couple was right behind us. Both of us hate to be rushed (tailgated, as we say), so I said, "why don't you go ahead of us?" They did, and while they were browsing the movies, we were discussing the new releases that are pictured on the machine. The Black Swan was one, and I (loudly) whispered that I wasn't interested in it. They guy who was reviewing the movie selections looked up and said it was one of the best movies he'd ever seen! We must have acted as if we were going to choose it, because at that point they said, "why don't you get your movie first?" Maybe they felt pressured by tailgating too? So I felt kind of obligated to get his suggestion.

After watching it, I would describe it as an art movie, but not really an entertaining movie - to me there is a difference. It left me feeling the way Ingmar Bergman movies do. Not that it was similar to one of his movies, but I am always so tense and anxious while watching them (and for a while afterwards). That is the same sensation I had tonight. I can see why Natalie Portman won best actress. She nails it, but her character isn't a bit likable. Nor is it a sympathetic portrait of ballet dancers. They are shown to be uptight, backstabbing, vindictive, mentally ill, anorexic, among other unflattering things. I imagine dancers hated this movie.

It's sort of funny what "art" brings to mind. Back in Oneonta, I was in a writing group. Our goal was to create radio plays. I was invited to join by my writing tutor, who had been an editor. I remember when I first met him, he thought I was a dancer, not a writer. I don't mind dancing (and I even won a contest at about that time), but I am not sure why he had that impression. I suppose it must have been the Danskin leotards and Chinese shoes I wore all the time (although those were very common fashions). Or perhaps I was graceful, in those days before orthotics and walking with a cane?

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