The Avengers : Review!

* Warning – contains possible spoilers

Photo courtesy manocks_6 on photobucket.com

Ironman made an  “I’m sexy and I know it” appearance, Thor shone in all his blonde godly glory, Hawkeye didn’t miss a single shot (Big Surprise there!), Black Widow and her endless legs were eye candy…and also kicked some serious butt while a green superpower banged around. And no I’m not talking about Flubber *Hulk Smash*  –  Joined by all American, Captain Rogers.

Bringing them all together? The brawny, stoic, makes all the tough decisions in furious circumstances – Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. It was a Marvel party and all the legends were invited. Kudos to director Joss Whedon for turning it into an ensemble driven entertainer rather than a one-man show, with everyone getting plenty of screen time  – including the theatrical but rather ordinary God of Mischief, Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston.

The special effects were Hollywood standard high, dialogues clever, with the few gems thrown in for good measure – “he’s adopted” and “puny god” being my absolute favourites.

So where did The Avengers fail? Just the tiny thing called original story – Supervillain attacks earth, uses crazy energy source and it is the end of the world as we know it. Now we haven’t seen that before have we ? While the story picks up through the film with faultless performances by the ensemble cast – Mark Ruffalo’s The Hulk does steal the show, with a storyline and dialogues woven to thrust him into the limelight. But the climax isn’t climatic enough and for those who have seen Joss’s previous work we all know he could have done better.

That said, I will be back to watch the sequel. Of which I’m sure there will be one – if you don’t believe me just stick around for the post credits sequence.

Avengers for dummies

If everyone around you has jumped on The Avengers bandwagon and you feel a little left out, this list should help you catch on right away

Photo courtesy ALJB62 on photobucket.com

 The Good Guys

Ironman – self proclaimed “genius, billionaire, playboy’” With an armour/suit of his own invention as his weapon, he’s possibly the most conceited superhero of them all. But he has got style and snappy comebacks on his side. Played with flawless panache by Robert freakingawesome Downey Jr.

Captain America – a war veteran kept alive, but unconscious for over 60 years he’s orthodox, selfless and I have to say this – a little bit boring. Chris Evan brings this staid, good man to life.

Black Widow/ Natasha Romanoff- essayed by the girl with the unreal curves, Scarlet Johansson. She is the super spy/assassin who knows how to get the job done – kicking, punching and smashing her way through things. And she does it all looking like a sexpot. That’s right.

Hawkeye – human, master archer who never misses his aim. And with tranquilizer-dipped arrows, he’s sorted. Portrayed by Jeremy Renner

Thor – only a demi god could have perfect unruffled blonde locks after being dropped from the Heavens and that’s exactly what he is. The Norse god of Thunder( played by Chris Helmsworth) joins the motley crew to get his brother God of Mischief, Loki in line.

The Hulk/Bruce Banner – that mild mannered doctor who thanks to prolonged exposure to Gamma rays turns into a hulking green monster who is virtually indestructible.  Played by Mark Ruffalo

Nick Fury – Director of espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D, the core of the group without actually being in it, is your atypical man in charge – solid, makes all the difficult decisions and kicks ass when need be. Comes alive thanks to Samuel L. Jackson.

The Bad Guys

Loki – a.k.a adopted brother of Thor, God of Mischief and all round mayhem creater. On earth to take it over – of course. He uses the Teserract (an explosive source of energy) to open the portal to a realm, allowing dark alien creatures to enter earth (specifically New York) and attack, in his bid to gain control.

The binding factor

 The Tesseract – the storyline is woven around this source of this energy that basically everyone is trying to get their hands on.

The characters are iconic Marvel legends and fans don’t feel shortchanged by my descriptions, it’s all in good faith! For those who’re meeting them for the first time (what rock you been hiding under?), sit back and enjoy the ride – it is first class.

I got the power !

Want a chance at playing god? A creative interactive installation titled Dashavatar – the evolution of life exhibited at the Kala Ghoda Festival 2012, Mumbai. It gives you the chance to embrace the Dashavatara (10 avatars) of Vishnu who is revered as the preserver while plunging you into the “does he exist” connundrum all over again.

While the installation narrates the tale of the evolution of living beings from fish to the present day man – just like scientists state, it uses our cultural paradigm of Dashavatar as a visual. These are the versions of Vishnu, a God who appears during different ages to save the world, one way or another.

Walk with me as I as I unmask …

 Matsya – the Fish

Kurma– the Tortoise Varaha  – the Boar

Narasimha – half lion/half man

    Vamana– the Dwarf

Parshurama– the man with the axe

Ramachandra– the legendary prince of Ayodhya

Krishna – who is usually pictured with a flute as  he spreads the melody of love to people

Buddha – The spiritual man

                                                                                                                                        

Kalki -yet to appear

While it doesn’t end man’s existential dilemma or throw light on who this ‘God’ creature really is it did succeed in its goal of drawing out the brave hearts from among the crowd – urging them to shed their inhibitions. In the age when being yourself and being unafraid to express it, is constantly battling with the human need to fit in, this installation allows you to step into another’s shoes – only if you’re brave enough. So, are you going to be the one behind the camera or in front of it?

“Dashavatar” curated by Dr Ajanta Sen, Founder, Design In India 

On Display at the Traffic Island, Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, 4th – 12th February 2012

Photography by Shruthi R (Twitter id – ShruthiR11)

Published in: on February 7, 2012 at 7:15 am  Comments (2)  
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Kala Ghoda Festival ’12

Ever year that nondescript street, a few minutes away from Churchgate station is transformed into the stage for our own little carnival – larger than life sculptures, exhibits and stalls selling everything from wooden watches to furniture, make Kala Ghoda come alive.

The street festival of Mumbai city holds special significance for me – more than just being a reflection of the city’s dynamic, pulsating and ever growing arts scene, it’s a reflection of who I’ve been and who I’ve become.That first year as a Jr. college student of St.Xaviers was all about making the ultimate ‘artsy’ statement, one of those things expected of the jhola carrying passouts of the institution – but all we managed was a candy floss induced high and confusion at the installations that dotted the street.

Today it’s about being lost in a world where everything stands for something and being yourself and having the courage to express it, is the ultimate style statement. The art isn’t just about the creations we see on the street, it’s about the people who make the choice to fashion them- believing that art means something to the world. It is about the people who who walk the street – because self expression is the truest form of art. It isn’t about bohemian clothes and a devil may care attitude, it isn’t for a select few belonging to the creative industry – it’s about everyone and everything..where you live and what you do..

With the theme of this year being ‘the art of Mumbai’ I picked a few of the things that for me are quintessentially the city – walk with me…

P.S – You can never have enough candy floss. This year or the next.

Mumbai is incomplete without these two..


You haven’t really lived in the city, unless you’ve been woken up thanks to their incessant and oh so annoying cawing..

Among my favourite installations was this one – old pens, even a stray telephone are what have been used to ornament the car – look closely, cause even those worthless things can become quite meaningful…


In the chaos and sometimes unbearable din of the maximum city it’s easy enough to lose peace of mind – but it doesn’t have to be lost for always…

Every year the iconic Kala Ghoda (the original stands in the Byculla Zoo)is reinvented – this year’s version mirrored Mumbai, quite literally – it can seem bleak but it always manages to catch the light..

The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is on from the 4th -12th February 2012. Timings – 11:00 am to 9:30 pm Along with a number of Arts and Crafts Stalls and displays, there will performances and screenings, log on to www.kalaghodaassociation.com for a full schedule

Published in: on February 5, 2012 at 12:48 pm  Comments (1)  
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Fashion Forward

Trends to try in 2011

Often enough we see celebrities all glamorous making runway looks work off the ramp and models splashed on the pages of magazines looking uber-chic but we don’t all have the figures and large enough wallets to keep up those appearances.

Take inspiration from the likes of Alexa Chung  who loves peter pan collars while Jessica Alba and Sarah Jessica Parker rock colour blocking.Make what’s in vogue your very own, easily and at lower prices. I’ve put together a picture and text collection of some trends that are both eclectic and easy to make a part of your everyday wardrobe.

Floral prints

Floral top

Spring may not be in the air right now but doesn’t mean you can’t infuse a little bit of flowery cheer in your wardrobe. Remember not to go over the top and wear more than one floral piece in your outfit. Go completely bohemian with a flowing skirt, combine printed tops with formal pants or jeans, wear a pretty dress or just spice up a one coloured outfit with a floral scarf or bag.

Colour blocking

Colour blocking

Not one for the faint hearted, this trend has been making waves all over the world. Combine contrasting, complementing or completely crazy colours together for a fun and totally fashion forward look. Don’t pair two colour blocked items of clothing together or you’ll look like a paint company’s brochure. Don’t be afraid to wear yellow with green or two shades belonging to same family.

Polka Dots

Polka dotted dress

These feisty things never seem to be off trend. A totally stylish little black dress (LBD) with a feisty twist is one that stays away from the stereotypes of fitted , solid coloured and cleavage baring. This peter pan collared, polka dotted, flowing but structured dress complements a number of body types.

Bold Bottoms

Green bottoms

Red pants

So, blue jeans have been a wardrobe staple ever since they made their debut oh so many years ago. Now’s the time for some vivid change! Pair bright hued pants or jeans with solid colours that makes for a look that has plenty of ‘pop’ but doesn’t look over the top.

I do not presume to be an expert on fashion but clothes are an extension of our personality and reflective of our moods and emotions. Use clothes well, interpret trends your own idiosyncratic way and you’ll find that they’re the perfect, pleasurable way to express yourself.

Published in: on November 6, 2011 at 9:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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International Pillow fight day 2011

If you always associated pillow fights with teenage girls in pink nightgowns having slumber parties amidst a shower of fluffy feathers, think again.

International Pillow Fight day at Trafalgar Square, London on April 2nd 2011 was anything but that. There were rules, no one could hit anyone that wasn’t armed with a pillow and there was a dress code that asked for pyjamas.

A whistle went off at 3:00 p.m at Trafalgar Square and the pillows went flying. It was like a battle with people bashing their pillows onto the heads of their friends, their acquaintances and people they didn’t even know. Televison crews and photographers crowded the square eagerly filming the spectacle as onlookers too afraid to partake in the fight watched the ‘fighters’ in amazement.

Everyone in the square fighting with their soft, bouncy weapons had let down their inhibitions and were truly letting themselves go with no qualms of being seeing in their night clothes in public nor ashamed of being adults and fighting in public. Laughter, screams and surprise attacks followed and within 30 minutes the square was covered in white fluff.

International Pillow Fight day was celebrated across the Globe in a number of locations including Australia, India, Brazil among others. 130 nations held their own pillows fight according to the Daily Telegraph.

 

The Pillow fight day which is the brain child of Kevin Bracken and Lori Kufner who started the practice in 2008, view it almost as an interactive art installation. No official permission was taken to stage this fight at Trafalgar Square but Londoner’s came out in large numbers to take part in this event.

The pillow fight even helped Japan as 5 pound worth pillows were available at the location and the proceeds went to the aid of Japan.

All in all, it was a bit of weird event that pulled all sorts of people to attend it. There were photographers and viewers who wanted to see just how crazy people could get in public, there were those who had issues to work out and swung their pillows almost like weapons while others just came out to have a good laugh. And a good laugh was had by all.

Published in: on April 4, 2011 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Nancy Spero exhibit at the Serpentine Gallery

Feminist. Artist. Vocal anti-war crusader. Nancy Spero’s art gives you a direct insight into who she was and what she stood for.

The American artist’s exhibition at the Serpentine Art Gallery, London features a mix of her work. As you enter the gallery you are greeted by a video of Nancy showing women how to invigorate the womanly presence and expel the male one from their life. It consists of her hanging up intimate garments all over the room.

The first and most dramatic piece is what is entitled ‘Maypole: take no prisoners II 2008’. It’s overwhelming as it casts a gloom over the entire room. Severed heads painted on flat steel pieces hanging from ribbons, that’s what Spero thinks of war. The decapitated heads are painted in sombre dark colours, with thick brush strokes that exude a certain rawness. It looks almost as if the artist has declined the use of paintbrushes and used her fingers instead. The faces aren’t intricately painted but manage to convey expressions of pain, emptiness and almost look skeletal. Almost all the faces look identical, a subtle hint that perhaps war changes everyone, in the same way?

Moving on is a collection of her paintings on paper. Among this collection are what she entitles ‘lovers/fornicators’ and ‘great mother’. All these paintings have the same quality about them, they are very basic and almost childlike in their execution. They lack detail but still manage to tell a story. Again, she has used only blacks, browns and greys in the pictures.

The brush strokes are almost conflicting, criss- crossing each other. Its as if her use of colour and brush strokes expresses her anger, frustration and discontent with society. Great mother is a silhouette of a woman, lying on her side with four tiny faces under her. It looks almost like a bitch birthing puppies, perhaps alluding to the fact that she was appalled at the way women were treated in society, only meant for giving birth and taking care of young one’s.

Her paintings have a liberal use of what some would call offensive language ‘fuck you’ makes its presence felt more than once through the exhibition. She isn’t afraid to use controversial images as one of her paintings shows swastika’s on top and the bottom half of a man’s body with Swastika’s coming out of his penis, almost like he’s urinating them.

Another series of paintings are more war driven, they follow the same dark colours and rough strokes format. ‘Sperm bomb’ represents her anger towards men and war. Her paintings through her career make strong statements against male dominance, the futility of war and the suppression of women.

‘Azur 2002’ is a serious departure from the style we’ve seen so far. The paintings are bursting with colour, heavily detailed and consist of images from Egyptian and Greek mythology, which are a stark contrast from her realistic subjects. Here she uses symbolism to communicate while her works above were more obvious and to the point.

She rarely painted light subjects, if you want to see rainbows and flowers this show isn’t for you. Her technique consisted of more than just images, she often combined them with collages and text. This text was strategically chosen and picked to drive her point home.

Through her 50-year career, Nancy Spero was a crusader for what she believed in. She passed away in 2009 and the exhibit at the Serpentine is the first showing of the artist’s work in the UK since her death.

Nancy Spero

Serpentine Gallery

3rd March- 1st May

 

Published in: on April 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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‘Coverlook photoshoot’ at Elite studios

Free, free, free! I have to admit when I, like most people hear this word I have one of two reactions. Yes, I’l do it/I want it or er, this can’t be for real.

Next time this word is thrown around in a conversation, I’m going to think long and hard before I respond  no matter how exciting the prospect seems. The reason?

The ‘coverlook experience’ by Elite photo studios. I got a call from Elite photo studios one day asking me if I wanted to take part in a ‘promotional photoshoot.’ First reaction: No.

Then my friend did make an appointment with them and asked me to go along with her for a day of free pampering. They promised professional hairstyling, a makeover, session with a photographer and one free photograph. It sounded tempting and I had an enthusiastic friend for company so I agreed.

One fine thursday morning, with four dresses changes, hair freshly washed and faces scrubbed free of make up we went over to the studio, very fancily located near Oxford street.My friend had paid a deposit of 70 pounds for both of us. It was disaster averted when we found that the studio was real, legitimate and had people walking around inside.

The first thing we were asked to do was fill in a sheet giving names of ten of our friends so they could get an opportunity to be a part of this experience and we did this gladly under the allure of a free goody bag. (Which never came!) An hour later, we had been made up by extremely professional artists and we were ready to walk the ramp, anywhere. At least thats how beautiful we felt.

Three hours of posing for a woman who used us as the sounding board for her life’s problem’s and contouring my body into more shapes than a pretzel, I was just about ready for my one free photograph.

Thats when the mini-bomb fell. Between the two of us we only got one photograph. This one photograph being ‘promotional’ and ‘free’ can be best used as a passport sized one. Albeit a very glamorous passport sized photograph.

If you want to purchase any of these photographs they costs 75 pounds each and the more you buy, the cheaper they become and since we were students they were kind enough to extend us the courtesy of paying in installments.

All in all,  to me it was a disappointment. I spent four hours in the place and I didn’t even have a single photograph to show for it. Not even a passport sized one. So the next time you get offered something free, think about it once, twice or even three times !

Click here for Stefanie Soehnchen’s coverlook experience.

Published in: on March 31, 2011 at 9:09 pm  Comments (1)  

Disinformation’s ‘Origin of Painting’ exhibit

A darkroom and soothing music playing in the background. At first, you barely notice the music as it washes all over you like the first drops of rain. Then it engulfs you much like the heavier downpour with grey clouds in the sky that overwhelm you into darkness.

It sounds ethereal and eerie at the same time, peppered by random voices spewing words at intervals. It’s almost like the music is coming from beyond the grave.

Once you’ve adjusted to this strange sound your eyes turn to the incandescent images in front of you. The wall is full of graffiti and shadows of human figures. A flash of bright light, a click that sounds like a camera and the feeling is that you’re being watched.

This is at Joe Banks ‘Origin of Painting‘ exhibit at the Usurp Art Gallery, Harrow.  Inspired by a poem by William Hayley that talks of a woman who is enthralled by her lover’s sleeping form. By the light of a lamp his shadow appears on the wall and she traces his portrait.

This exhibit is a very interactive painting installation that was created using sound and light.

Art can be difficult to define, interpret and even more so to create. When an art exhibit gives visitors the unique opportunity to be a part of the art and help create it, the understanding follows.

It seems basic enough. You get a device that allows you to draw on the walls. You hear the camera click and position your body against the wall and in an instant your image is up there for everyone to see but in truth this exhibit is a delightful combination of science and art. The music is electromagnetic noise.

The soundtrack basically catches electromagnetic activity in the lighting that illuminates the exhibit. It consists of synthetically created radio chatter and even picks up stray radio voices that account for the words that come up in the soundtrack occasionally. They lead a ghostly air to the ambience.

The way that people’s images are captured on the wall is interesting as well.


Its not just about waiting for the flash to go off and positioning yourself against the wall, the mechanics of it are more complicated than that. It’s a live painting fashioned with 35,000-volt electric discharges.

The effect is disarming. The darkness overwhelms you and the power to create your own image even more so. It also brings you face to face with what would happen if you vanished, as visitors’ watch enthralled as their own images disappear in front of their very eyes. Watch a video here to get a taste of this exhibit.

‘Disinformation’ was first created in 1995 using electromagnetic noise as the basis for art and music installations and has been a part of more than 70 art exhibitions, 11 solo exhibits and played at numerous concerts.

Tucked away in a tiny lane of London, Usurp was launched in Harrow only in 2010 and prides itself on being an artist-led not for profit art collective. It specialises in supporting contemporary art endeavours and anything that challenges norms.

It’s for everyone and anyone that has a love for the arts.

Writers, sound artists, painters and anyone that calls themselves a creator has been showcased at this gallery.

Past exhibits include ‘Whispers in shallow window’ which was a combined effort of a live musician, photographer, video artist and writer. Usurp is anything but mainstream instead it’s a bit eccentric, modern and Disinformation fits right in.

 

 

Published in: on March 28, 2011 at 11:18 am  Comments (1)  
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Facebook add new relationship status options

Some people take photographs explicitly for their facebook profiles while others judge relationship seriousness based on their partner’s relationship status.

Facebook is definitely important in today’s fast paced and technologically oriented lifestyle.  We use it as a tool to judge our social life, our popularity and sometimes even to check if our lifestyle is accepted by society.

As of February the 17th 2011, the social networking site has given its approval to gay and lesbian relationships.

Same sex couples now have the option to give their relationship a more legitimate and formal tag. The relationship status options were single, in a relationship, engaged, it’s complicated, in an open relationsip, married, separate and divorced.

These have now been expanded to include; in a civil union and a domestic partnership. ”This has been a highly requested feature from users,” Facebook’s Andrew Noyes, manager of public policy communications, told the Huffington Post.

This change is open to facebook users in the United States, The United Kingdom, Canada and France among other countries. These options are then being scheduled to be made available in countries where same sex marriages are legalized.

The Gay and Lesbian movement has been fighting for its cause for decades all over the world. Is its acceptance by this popular social networking site a sign that things are changing for the better?

With these options being available on a universal, social platform is facebook telling the world that it’s time to accept people as they are?

The essential question remains, should your personal preferences determine what rights are afforded to you or not?

Does being a woman and being in love with a women mean that you shouldn’t be allowed to tell the world what your relationship stands for?

10,000 B.C is when humans started making artifacts that suggested the appreciation of homosexual eroticism. Are we as humans that backward that in the many years that have passed since we still haven’t been able to accept  homosexual relationships without judgement?

I really hope not.

References

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1358195/Facebook-adds-civil-union-relationship-status-options.html

Published in: on February 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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