“Blackface” and the Minstrel Show


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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American actor John McCullough as Othello, 1878.

American actor John McCullough as Othello, 1878.

In England, theatrical portrayals of black characters by white actors date back to as early as 1604. Since Shakespeare’s days, the character of Othello was traditionally played by a white actor in black makeup.

In the United States, during the 19th century, “Blackface” was a form of theatrical makeup used by performers to represent a black person – a stereotyped caricature of black people – in minstrel shows, and later in vaudeville.

Reproduction of a 1900 William H. West minstrel show poster, originally published by the Strobridge Litho Co., shows the transformation from white to "black". (Source: Library of Congress)

Reproduction of a 1900 William H. West minstrel show poster, originally published by the Strobridge Litho Co., shows the transformation from white to “black”. (Source: Library of Congress)

However, there is no consensus about the origin of blackface.

The Padlock is a two-act ‘afterpiece‘ opera created by Charles Dibdin. It debuted in 1768 at the Drury Lane Theatre in London, England, and was a success, largely due to Dibdin’s portrayal of Mungo, a blackface caricature of an inebriated black servant from the West Indies. The following year, the company took the production to the United States.

On May 29, 1769, Lewis Hallam, Jr., a white blackface actor of American Company fame, played the role of Mungo, in The Padlock, that premiered in New York City at the John Street Theatre with even greater accolades. In due course, the Mungo character attracted notice, and other performers adopted the style.

From the 1810s, blackface clowns were popular in the United States.

British actor Charles Mathews toured the United States in 1822–23, and as a result added a “black” characterization to his repertoire of British regional types for his next show, A Trip to America, which included Mathews singingPossum up a Gum Tree,” a popular slave freedom song.

Edwin Forrest played a plantation black in 1823, and George Washington Dixon was already building his stage career around blackface in 1828.

The song “Old Zip Coon

The song “Old Zip Coon” or “Zip Coon,” or was written sometime before 1827. At least four versions of the song were published between 1827 and 1834. Several folks have claimed to have written the song, but the true composer will probably never be known. Today, the tune itself is best known as “Turkey In The Straw.” The following video by Tom Roush portrays American life and music in the 19th century.

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The song “Jump Jim Crow

Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice Playing Jim Crow in Blackface, New York City, 1833.

Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice Playing Jim Crow in Blackface, New York City, 1833.

In 1828, Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice, a white New York comedian, performed his song and dance routine called “Jump Jim Crow” in blackface. Rice’s performance was supposedly inspired by the song and dance of a physically disabled black man he had seen in Cincinnati, Ohio, named Jim Cuff or Jim Crow.

The song “Jump Jim Crow” became a huge hit and Thomas Rice performed it across the country. By 1832, he scored stardom as “Daddy Jim Crow,” a caricature of a shabbily dressed Afro-American man.

Jim Crow as entertainment spread rapidly across the United States in the years prior to the Civil War and eventually spread its influence around the world. Because of this influence, in 1841, when John Lloyd Stephens, the United States’ special ambassador to Central America, arrived in Merida on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, a local brass band played “Jump Jim Crow” inadvertently, because they thought it was the national anthem of the United States.

The popularity of Jump Jim Crow and the blackface form of entertainment also prompted many whites to refer to most black males routinely as Jim Crow.

Jim Crow contributed to the proliferation of stereotypes such as the “happy-go-lucky darky on the plantation” or the “dandified coon”.

The Minstrel Show

Jump Jim Crow” initiated a new form of popular music and theatrical performances in the United States that focused their attention on the mockery of Afro-Americans. This new genre was called the minstrel show.

The minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was a form of American entertainment consisting of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music, performed by white people in blackface. By the late 18th century, blackface characters began appearing on the American stage, usually as servants to provide some element of comic relief. The black people were lampooned in the minstrel shows as musically oriented lazy, dim-witted, buffoonish, superstitious, and happy-go-lucky.

In the early 1830s, the blackface acts found a home in the taverns of New York’s less respectable precincts of Lower Broadway, the Bowery, and Chatham Street and in circuses.

It also appeared on more respectable stages, most often as brief burlesques and comic an entr’acte in New York theaters. Upper-class houses at first limited the number of such acts they would show, but beginning in 1841, much to the dismay of some patrons, blackface performers frequently took to the stage at even the classy Park Theatre.

In popularity, the blackface “Sambo” character superseded the “tall-tale-telling Yankee” and the “frontiersman” character-types.

White actors such as Charles Mathews, George Washington Dixon, and Edwin Forrest began to build reputations as blackface performers. Author Constance Rourke even claimed that Forrest’s impression was so good he could fool blacks when he mingled with them in the streets.

In the following decade, blackface minstrelsy transformed into a full-fledged distinctly American theatrical form. By 1848, blackface minstrel shows were an American national art form of the time that translated formal art such as the opera into popular terms for a general audience. After the Civil War (fought from 1861 to 1865), black people too got into the act in the minstrel shows.

In the 1830s and 1840s, blackface minstrelsy was at the core of the rise of an American music industry, and for several decades, it served as the spectacles through which white America viewed black America.

While the blackface minstrelsy had its strong racist aspects, it also afforded the white Americans to have a singular and broad awareness of the significant aspects of black-American culture.

The Panic of 1837 was a financial crisis in the United States that touched off a major recession that lasted until the mid-1840s. During this period, theater attendance suffered, and concerts were one of the few attractions that could still make money.

In 1843, four blackface performers led by Dan Emmett, calling themselves the Virginia Minstrels, staged a concert at the New York Bowery Amphitheatre. Thus, was born the minstrel show as a complete evening’s entertainment. The original lineup consisted of Emmett, Billy Whitlock, Dick Pelham, and Frank Brower.

The Virginia Minstrels show had little structure. The four sat in a semicircle, played songs, and traded wisecracks. One gave a stump speech in dialect, and they ended with a lively plantation song.

The term “minstrel” had previously been reserved for traveling white singing groups, but Emmett and his group made it synonymous with blackface performance, and by using it, signalled that they were reaching out to a new, middle-class audience.

On February 6, 1843, New York Herald, wrote that the production was “entirely exempt from the vulgarities and other objectionable features, which have hitherto characterized Negro extravaganzas.”

1844 sheet music cover for a collection of songs by the Christy's Minstrels. George Christy appears in the circle at top. (Source: Boston Public Library)

1844 sheet music cover for a collection of songs by the Christy’s Minstrels. George Christy appears in the circle at top. (Source: Boston Public Library)

In 1845, the Ethiopian Serenaders surpassed the Virginia Minstrels in popularity by purging out low humor from their show. Shortly thereafter, Edwin Pearce Christy formed Christy’s Minstrels, combining the refined singing of the Ethiopian Serenaders with the Virginia Minstrels’ bawdy act. Christy’s company established the three-act template into which minstrel shows would fall for the next few decades.

From then on, a typical minstrel performance followed a three-act structure. The troupe first danced onto stage, then exchanged wisecracks and sang songs. The second part featured a variety of entertainment, including the pun-filled stump speech. The final act consisted of a slapstick musical plantation skit or a send-up of a popular play.

The songs and sketches in the typical minstrel show featured several stock characters, most popularly the slave and the dandy. The characters were further divided into sub-archetypes such as the mammy, her counterpart the old darky, the provocative mulatto wench, and the black soldier.

Minstrels claimed that their songs and dances were authentically black, although the extent of the black influence remains debated.

In 1866, Sam Hague, a British blackface minstrel dancer was the first white owner of a minstrel troupe composed of black members called Sam Hague’s Slave Troupe of Georgia Minstrels. The troupe toured England for several years.

Hague’s overseas success lent black minstrelsy a new credence in the United States. However, at least one critic maintained their rise had damaged minstrelsy, and that white blackface minstrels were better at representing black Americans than black Americans were themselves.

Hague’s lead inspired many other white owners to purchase black companies. By the mid-1870s, white men owned the most successful American black troupes. Ironically, when Sam Hague’s Slave Troupe returned to the United States, Charles Callender purchased the company.

William H. West, known as the “Progressive Minstrel,” emulated Sam Hague and became one of the first white owners of a minstrel troupe composed of black performers in the United States. West often produced and played minstrel shows with George Primrose. They had a hit, and were known as “The Millionaires of Minstrelsy.”

Poster of William H. West's Big Minstrel Jubilee rough riders.

Poster of William H. West’s Big Minstrel Jubilee rough riders.

In the 1870s, spirituals, also known as jubilees, entered the repertoire marking the first undeniably black music to be used in minstrelsy. William West became the sole producer “William H. West’s Big Minstrel Jubilee,” the supposedly richest and costliest minstrel organization in existence. The Big Minstrel Jubilee, featured some of the leading performers of the day. Their show always ended with the cast, in blackface, singing songs of the period.

The minstrel shows were extremely popular, enjoyed by whole families from all walks of life irrespective of the ethnic group they belonged to.

At the same time, they were also controversial. While the racial integrationists decried them as falsely showing happy slaves while at the same time making fun of them, the segregationists thought such shows were disrespectful of social norms as they portrayed runaway slaves with sympathy, and undermined the institution of the southerners.

The minstrel shows survived as professional entertainment until about 1910 when it lost popularity and was replaced for the most part by vaudeville. Blackface branched off from the minstrel show and became a form in its own right. Stereotypes embodied in the stock characters of blackface minstrels played a significant role in cementing and proliferating racist images, attitudes, and perceptions worldwide. At the same time, they popularized black culture.

Amateurs continued to perform blackface and the minstrel shows in high schools, and local theaters, until the 1960s. These performances too ended in the United States as the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s progressed and gained acceptance.

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The Saint and the Simpleton (Dennis Aubrey)


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Posted by Dennis Aubrey on May 29, 2013

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There are so many wonderful stories and legends associated with the churches we photograph in France, but none is more pleasing than that of Saint Menulphe and his friend, the Simpleton of Mailly-sur-Rose, a town in the Allier.

Statue of Saint Menoux, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)

Statue of Saint Menoux, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)

Menulphe was the son of an Irish king and very devout. He traveled to England, Brittany and France and was recognized for his sanctity. When the Pope heard of this and asked him to come to Rome, Menulphe walked the route in poverty, a mendicant with no possessions. On his return, he stopped in Mailly-sur-Rose, exhausted with his journey. During that time, Menulphe took pity on an innocent named Blaise who was the scapegoat for local children. One day he intervened as the young urchins threw stones at Blaise. He chided the boys and took the young man under his protection. Blaise was described as a simpleton, one who could barely speak, and never left Menulphe’s side. He couldn’t pronounce his protector’s name and “Menulfe” became “Menoux”.

When Menoux died, Blaise thought that the holy man was asleep. He spent his days and nights at the grave, conversing with his friend. One day visitors to the cemetery saw that the coffin had been dug up and that there was a hole in the side. They discovered Blaise laying on his stomach, with his head in the hole, talking to someone. The local people were scandalized but the curé said, “Poor Blaise, he is a better and more faithful friend than we are. Perhaps he is the least crazy of all.”

The Curé placed Menoux’s remains in a sandstone sarcophagus and had an opening cut into one side. Blaise spent the rest of his life conversing with his friend, and miraculously, the troubles of his mind faded to the point that he was able to serve mass. At the time of his death, Blaise had the reputation of being a simple, faithful man, as sensible as anyone.

La Débredinoire, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: PJ McKey)

La Débredinoire, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: PJ McKey)

Thereafter, in memory of the miraculous healing of Blaise, parents led the bredins, the simple-minded, before the tomb of Menoux and placed their heads carefully into the sarcophagus – the débredinoire – hoping for the same healing that Blaise experienced. Eventually the site received such a number of pilgrims that the Benedictines built an abbey on the site under the direction of the Abbess Adalgasie and placed the sarcophagus with Menoux’s relics in the choir. They also changed the name of the village from Mailly-sur-Rose to Saint Menoux. The fairs held by the abbesses attracted vendors and buyers which led to the expansion of the village.

The church gives an idea of the importance of this abbey and the monastics who resided there. It was built in the classic Cluny style in the early part of the twelfth century. The nave has three tall, narrow bays with ogive arches covered with groin vaults.

Nave facing west, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)

Nave facing west, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)

The side aisles are, as usual, visually stunning. We see the long, uninterrupted flow to the ambulatory in the distance.

South side aisle, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: PJ McKey)

South side aisle, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: PJ McKey)

The north side aisle, however, has a unique feature. Just to the west of the transept arch is a rather clumsily executed structure that contains a stairway leading to a defensive tower on the exterior. Poking up through the roof, that tower looks almost like a minaret.

North side aisle, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: PJ McKey)

North side aisle, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: PJ McKey)

The raised apse is perhaps the finest element of the church. The choir has two elegant high bays topped with clerestory windows while the chancel features a seven bay hemicycle with an arcade of windows leading to the oven vault.

Apse, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)

Apse, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)

The débredinoire of Saint Menoux is found centered behind the altar in the chancel. These reliquaries have been placed between the pillars of the central hemicycle arch and the tomb can be seen just behind.

Reliquaries, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: PJ McKey)

Reliquaries, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: PJ McKey)

The oldest part of the church, built in the eleventh century, is the narthex on the west end of the church. This antechamber has beautiful arcades supporting a short barrel vault. Some of the pillars are topped with capitals, but it is clear that the restoration was not complete. Fragments of some of the original statuary are rather casually displayed in the arcades.

Narthex, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)

Narthex, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)

Today, the abbey is gone – only the church remains after the destruction of the French Revolution. The town of Saint Menoux is quiet and peaceful for its 1,009 residents. The church is not well tended; there are rat droppings and cobwebs throughout. Dust cakes the benches and the chairs, but pilgrims still frequent the Église Saint Menoux in order to use the débredinoire for relief from feeble-mindedness or headaches.

Lest we think that credulous in the Middle Ages were alone in these workings, look at this passage in “The Invisible Architecture” by George Prat (2000).

“For more than forty years I made fun of the débredinoire which I considered an example of public credulity … My surprise was great to see that the débredinoire works and is not a gimmick. Thedébredinoire is placed at the geometric center of the apse …. and is located at the junction point of thetelluric current and four streams of water. … When one realizes that this is a machine from another age and can be activated by an ‘acupuncture point’ located nearby, we are amazed at the electrical energy released … The débredinoire is actually an instrument of care-giving; when used correctly, the equivalent a high intensity shock is given to the user. This is certainly very effective in the case of some nervous breakdowns.” People will always find a reason to believe if the need is great enough.

Demon Capital, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)

Demon Capital, Église Saint Menoux, Saint Menoux (Allier). (Photo: Dennis Aubrey)

Our daughter Sarah suffers from debilitating migraines and PJ placed her own head in the sarcophagus in hopes of helping. I guess it doesn’t hurt to try! But you must be careful not to touch the tomb while inserting your head. You run the risk of absorbing the feeble-mindedness and headaches of all who preceded you!

If you are interested in seeing some other churches in this region, follow this link.

Location: 46.585211° 3.156842°

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Re-posted from VIA LUCIS

KEZZW5R3W3YN

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The Magnificat: The Song of Mary / The Canticle of Mary


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj
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The Visitation by Mariotto Albertinelli

The Visitation by Mariotto Albertinelli

Mary Visits Elizabeth – Luke 1:39-45

During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said,

“Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.

Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.

The Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.

His mercy is from age to age
to those who fear him.

He has shown might with his arm,
dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.

He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones
but lifted up the lowly.

The hungry he has filled with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.

He has helped Israel his servant,
remembering his mercy,

according to his promise to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

    • When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, (Luke 1:41)

is reflected in

    • But the children jostled each other in the womb so much that she exclaimed, “If it is like this, why go on living!” She went to consult the LORD, (Genesis 25:22)
    • And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of [the] Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. (Luke 1:14-16)

Also,

    • cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. (Luke 1:42)

has similarities in

    • While he was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (Luke 11:27-28)
    • Most blessed of women is Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, blessed among tent-dwelling women! (Judges 5:2)
    • Then Uzziah said to her, “Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God, above all the women on earth; and blessed be the Lord God, the creator of heaven and earth, who guided your blow at the head of the leader of our enemies. (Judith 13:18)
    • Blessed be the fruit of your womb, the produce of your soil and the offspring of your livestock, the issue of your herds and the young of your flocks! (Deuteronomy 28:4)

And then Elizabeth says,

    • “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43)

Even before his birth, Jesus is identified in Luke as the Lord through the phrase,

    • “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:45)

Luke portrays Mary as a believer whose faith stands in contrast to the disbelief of Zechariah,

    • “But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.” (Luke 1:20).

Mary’s role as a believer in the infancy narrative should be seen in connection with the explicit mention of her presence among “those who believed” after the resurrection at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles:

    • All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. (Acts 1:14).

The Magnificat

Although Mary is praised for being the mother of the Lord and because of her belief, she reacts as the servant in a psalm of praise, the Magnificat.

The Magnificat or “[My soul] magnifies” in Latin is also known as the Song of Mary or the Canticle of Mary. It is a canticle frequently sung liturgically in Christian church services. It is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn. The name comes from the first word of the Latin version of the canticle’s text.

Because there is no specific connection of the canticle in the context of Mary’s pregnancy and her visit to Elizabeth, the Magnificat with the possible exception

    • For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. (Luke 1:48)

may have been a Jewish-Christian hymn that Luke found appropriate at this point in his story. Even if this canticle was not composed by Luke, it fits in well with the themes found elsewhere in Luke:

    • joy and exultation in the Lord;
    • the lowly being singled out for God’s favor;
    • the reversal of human fortunes;
    • the fulfillment of Old Testament promises.

The loose connection between the hymn and the context is further seen in the fact that a few Old Latin manuscripts identify the speaker of the hymn as Elizabeth, even though the overwhelming textual evidence makes Mary the speaker.

The Song of Hannah

The canticle echoes several biblical passages from the Old Testament. The most pronounced allusions are to the Song of Hannah, from the Books of Samuel (1 Samuel 2:1-10) ,

1 And Hannah prayed:
“My heart exults in the LORD,
my horn is exalted by my God.
I have swallowed up my enemies;
I rejoice in your victory.

2 There is no Holy One like the LORD;
there is no Rock like our God.

3 Speak boastfully no longer,
Do not let arrogance issue from your mouths.
For an all-knowing God is the LORD,
a God who weighs actions.

4 “The bows of the mighty are broken,
while the tottering gird on strength.

5 The well-fed hire themselves out for bread,
while the hungry no longer have to toil.
The barren wife bears seven sons,
while the mother of many languishes.

6 “The LORD puts to death and gives life,
casts down to Sheol and brings up again.

7 The LORD makes poor and makes rich,
humbles, and also exalts.

8 He raises the needy from the dust;
from the ash heap lifts up the poor,
To seat them with nobles
and make a glorious throne their heritage.
“For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s,
and he has set the world upon them.

9 He guards the footsteps of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall perish in the darkness;
for not by strength does one prevail.

10 The LORD’s foes shall be shattered;
the Most High in heaven thunders;
the LORD judges the ends of the earth.
May he give strength to his king,
and exalt the horn of his anointed!”

Along with the Benedictus, as well as several Old Testament canticles, the Magnificat is included in the Book of Odes, an ancient liturgical collection found in some manuscripts of the Septuagint.

The original language of the Magnificat is Koine Greek, the language of the New Testament. However, in the liturgical and devotional use of the Western Church, it is most often found in Latin or the vernacular.

English Scripture text: Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition

My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

Amen

Latin (present official Roman Catholic form)
Magníficat ánima mea Dóminum,
et exsultávit spíritus meus
in Deo salvatóre meo,
quia respéxit humilitátem
ancíllæ suæ.Ecce enim ex hoc beátam
me dicent omnes generatiónes,
quia fecit mihi magna,
qui potens est,
et sanctum nomen eius,
et misericórdia eius in progénies
et progénies timéntibus eum.
Fecit poténtiam in bráchio suo,
dispérsit supérbos mente cordis sui;
depósuit poténtes de sede
et exaltávit húmiles.
Esuriéntes implévit bonis
et dívites dimísit inánes.
Suscépit Ísrael púerum suum,
recordátus misericórdiæ,
sicut locútus est ad patres nostros,
Ábraham et sémini eius in sæcula.Glória Patri et Fílio
et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio,
et nunc et semper,
et in sæcula sæculórum.
Amen.

Nail art: style signature of a fashion diva!


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Antonia Rapheal

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By Antonia Rapheal

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Beautifully decorated nails are the ultimate fashion statement, a hallmark of a true Fashionista. For those of you who have read my previous posts, you are quite aware that my fashion philosophy is simple; discover your unique personal style. Don’t be a mannequin for other people’s fashion ideas but create your own style. Confidence is the one must have accessory of every woman (read my previous post) and nothing oozes confidence like your own personal style.

nail extensions with nail art (Photo credit - nailsbylisa) - resized

nail extensions with nail art (Photo credit: nailsbylisa)

Manicure (Photo credit - trec_lit) - resized

Manicure (Photo credit: trec_lit)

Day 19: Galaxy Nails (Photo credit: NailsandNoms)

Day 19: Galaxy Nails (Photo credit: NailsandNoms)

Manicure (Photo credit: kodomut)

Manicure (Photo credit: kodomut)

cindy.shot for sch project (Photo credi - starapon)Nail art according to me is the ultimate form of personal expression. Nothing spells a character like painted nails that are a work of art. The combinations are endless with your imagination being the limit, from pale one tone simple polish, to elegant nail art, or eye-catching colours and even bold nail art using feathers etc.

The only tip I can offer is, practice makes perfect, there really is no substitute for dedication, time and effort. For quick DIY salon quality nail art the only option is nail wraps and nail stickers.

Feather (Photo credit: Katt Claws)

Feather (Photo credit: Katt Claws)

Manicure (Photo credit: firexbrat)

Manicure (Photo credit: firexbrat)

Nail wraps need to be heated for 3 seconds using a hair dryer and you need to snip off excess and trim the edge with a file.

Nail stickers can be peeled and stuck directly to clean dry polished nails. A topcoat does the job of sealing it.

How long your style creations last will depend on the quality of products used and the stresses you subject your nails to. Washing dishes in hot water, swimming in the ocean, etc., can greatly shorten the life of your nail art.

nail extensions with nail art (Photo credit: nailsbylisa)

nail extensions with nail art (Photo credit: nailsbylisa)

Nail polishes (Photo credit: The Style PA)

Nail polishes (Photo credit: The Style PA)

Nail Art in Vietnam (Photo credit: kittynailpolish)
Nail Art in Vietnam (Photo credit: kittynailpolish)
full house nail art (Photo credit: borispumps)
full house nail art (Photo credit: borispumps)

Simple tricks for an instant diva style:

#1 Use tape to create patterns and shapes.
Cut a pattern (heart, square, triangle etc.) out of the tape and then tape it around your nail. Apply a different colour nail polish over this, peel the tape and you should have a clear image of your pattern on your nail. Apply topcoat and you are done. Using strips of tape or sticker you can create various patterns.

# 2 Two tone polish
Painting your nails with two different colours of polish is easy and gives a very stylish look. Using toothpicks or hairpins with the rounded edges you can create dots. You can either cover your nails with dots or just the corners.

For more complex nail art you can Google tube videos where talented nail technicians share their secrets but be prepared to arm yourself with a professional nail art kit.

Quick drying tips:

#1 Use a dry fast topcoat.

The Internet is abounding with tips raging form hilarious (soaking nails in ice cold water for 5 mins!) to positively ridiculous (sticking your fingers in the freezer!), nothing works better or safer than a dry fast topcoat.

If passing the time is your concern since we all know how entertaining sitting with your hands and feet in front of you can be, here are some ideas.

#2 Paint your nails just before you sit on your computer, works if you prefer short nails. We spend at least ½ hour if not more surfing the web, checking posts on FB, reading my blog…

#3 Set yourself up with your favorite music (not the kind that makes you jump up and touch everything) and lie down and relax. Get a little sun in the garden or watch a movie.

Nail art (Photo credit - Wikipedia)

Warning: Nail art is addictive! Once unleashed there is no stopping the nail art diva within you! I would love to hear and see your creations!

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Re-posted from the AUSSIE FASHION BLOG

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Outrageous and Blasphemous Ad: ‘MAKE THE WORLD CLOSER’


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj
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A controversial advertisement has outraged the Evangelical Christian community of the word. This ad for Ukraine International Airlines shows the colossal icons – Rio
de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer Statue and the Statue of Liberty – in bed of a motel, with the statue of Christ holding a cigarette in his hand.

Advertisement - Rio's Christ the Redeemer Statue and the Statue of Liberty in Bed

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This work of art has the Ukraine International Airlines logo at the bottom.

It is a piece of exploratory work by creative director Aleksandr Bozhko and his team with a tagline that reads “Make The World Closer”. I came across the following details of the team in the website ADS OF THE WORLD:

Agency: kaFe, Kiev, Ukraine
Creative Director: Aleksandr Bozhko
Art Director: Igor Dzhemesiuk
Copywriter: Aleksandr Bozhko
Illustrator: Antonina Aleksandrova

After the ad went viral and received many criticisms Ukraine International Airlines twitted that the ad was a fake, and the company did not commission or endorse the poster. Subsequently, Aleksandr Bozhko issued a statement clarifying that UIA did not commission the work and apologized to the company for any confusion and criticism he had brought on them.

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Paper Bird Sculptures of Diana Beltran Herrera


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj
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I thank hovercraftdoggy.com for introducing me to the paper bird sculptures of the 24-year-old Colombian artist Diana Beltran Herrera.

Diana Beltran Herrera

Colombian Artist Diana Beltran Herrera

Diana has created a series of vibrantly colored feathered friends. Trained in industrial design, she has created an ever growing collection of imaginary and actual species of birds. Now this hobby has become a full-time project for her.

Diana says: “I have chosen to study birds in many places: simple pieces of paper transform into real birds with bright colors. The study moves between two addresses: the movement and surprise. Birds are often built in places and environments, which highlights the symbolic from the idea of ​​movement. It is at that moment capture the wonder of the things that are made and moments, thus stimulating thought processes in the viewer. The use of paper as a material for the construction of these sculptures perfectly adapted to the chosen themes, convey to the viewer the impression of freedom and lightness. The role that loaded itself the concepts of temporality and fragility. Then, the process that allows me general these visual documents of facts, has a life and a transformation process, the same process that has issues that I talk in my work.

I’m worried about the lack of interest that humans have lately regarding the nature, and with my work, I hope to help in thinking about these things that will disappear soon.”

Bird

Here are some pages you can click on to see the fantastic creations of this talented artist:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections


IMG_1666 (1024x768) - watermarked

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“Rags to Pads” – a Documentray Film by Chithra Jeyaram


Chithra Jeyaram the award-winning documentary filmmaker feels obligated to communicate the realities of everyday life as it unfolds, focusing on the nuances that can never be dwelt upon or deliberated via mass media. She hopes her films would help to break the barriers that exist in India. She writes:

Fiction films are make believe, there is no doubt about that. But documentaries, what are they? Are they real, artistic depiction of reality (fiction films do that) or is it an interpretation of reality. Documentaries have existed from the beginning of cinema – the first things captured in film was life as it happens – people walking, laughing, talking, dancing etc. For me, When life is full of unpredictable possibilities and wonderful characters, why cook up stories. I see the world of documentaries as a magical realm of discussing the real through a manipulated sequence of visuals and sound bytes. This blog is a journey about documentary films that I come across and how they intersect with life. This intersection will feature a variety of subjects including current affairs, special events, significant dates, memories, film festivals, rendezvous with people of significance, etc. (sic)

Chithra’s initial exposure to filmmaking began in 2004 with an unsuccessful endeavor to finance a documentary film about an explosive water-sharing dispute between two South Indian states. Profoundly stricken by that sour experience, she quit a decade-long career as a Physical Therapist and acquired a Master of Fine Arts degree in film production from the University of Texas in Austin, Texas.

Currently, she is the founder and creative director of Real Talkies, a boutique production house in the Washington DC metro area. “Real Talkies” produces meaningful films that inform, inspire, and educate people on issues that shape people’s lives and their contemporary culture.

    • In 2009, she received the Dina Sherzer Award for Social Awareness (2009) for her film “Refugee Musings”.
    • In 2011, her film “Foreign Puzzle” received the post production grant from Dance Films Association.
    • In 2012, her short film Mijo (My Son), an evocative portrayal of a mother and a child’s intimate relationship in the midst of life altering medical events received the CBA Your World View Documentary grant and won countless awards. (See the list at the bottom)

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This summer Chithra Jeyaram produced a 3 minutes 10 seconds long documentary film “Rags to Pads” about an extraordinary inventor/entrepreneur, Arunachalam Muruganantham, a school dropout, and his remarkable innovation – the inexpensive sanitary pad.

Muruganantham nauseated on finding his wife using rags during her menstrual cycle, dirtier than the rags he uses at his mechanic workshop, realized that most Indian women shun sanitary napkins because they could not afford to pay the price. From his research, he found that out of India’s 355 million menstruating women only a small segment use sanitary napkins. Pathetically, about 81% of women in India use dirty rags, newspapers, dried leaves and even ashes during their periods. Finding the need for an affordable, low-cost sanitary napkin, Muruganantham set himself on the task of fulfilling the need.

This 3 minutes 10 seconds long film, “Rags to Pads” now a semifinalist in the Focus Forward Filmmaker Competition among 93 other incredible films is poised to win the $100,000 Grand Prize.

I have embedded this film in this post. If you like it, vote for it (vote button is on the top right corner), and of course, you may share it.

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A note on Mijo (My Son): An evocative portrayal of a mother and child’s intimate relationship in the midst of life altering medical events.

AWARDS
1. Seond place Best Documentary Award at the Moving Media Student Film Festival, Detroit, Michigan 2012
2. Winner Silver Ace Award at the Las Vegas International Film Festival, Las Vegas, 2012
3. Best Short Documentary Award at the 21st Arizona International Film Festival, Tucson, Arizona 2012
4. Audience Award at the 4th Wallabout Film Festival, Brooklyn, New York, 2012
5. Best Documentary Award at the 45th Humboldt Film Festival, Arcata, California, 2012
6. Best Student Documentary Award at the 4th Sene Film and Music Film Festival, Providence Rhode Island, 2012
7. Best Student Documentary Award at the 17th International Family Film Festival, Burbank, California, March 2012
8. Best Student Film at Pennine Film Festival, Lancashire, UK, March 2012
9. Best Documentary Award at Watersprite: The Cambridge International Student Film Festival, Cambridge, UK, February 2012
10. 3rd Place Short Documentary Award at Winnipeg Film Festival, Manitoba, Canada February 2012
11. Best of Show Award at 21st Rose Bud Film Festival, Arlington, VA. November 2011
12. 2nd Place Best Short Film Award at James River Shorts, Richmond, VA. November 2011

NOMINATED
Nominated Best Documentary at Long Island International Film Expo, June 2012
Honorable Mention Rochester International Film Festival, April 2012
Finalist at 4th Breast Fest Film Festival Online Contest, Toronto, CA. September 2011
Nominated Best Documentary @ 9th Super Shorts International Film Festival, London, UK Dec 2011

OFFICIAL SELECTION
1.Doc Utah, St. George, Utah, September 2012
2.7th Docufest, Atlanta, September 2012
3.Vegas Cine Fest, Las Vegas, September 2012
4. Fear No Film at the Utah Arts Festival, June 2012
5. 2nd Outbox International Short Film Festival, Beirut, Lebanon, June 2012
6. Rainer Independent Film Festival, Ashord, WA, June 2012.
7. Mexico International Film Festival, Mexico, May 2012
8. 13th Lake Arrowhead Film Festival, May 2012
9. UT LongHron Showcase, Austin, Texas, May 2012
10. 12th Cape Fear Independent Film Festival, Wilmington, North Carolina, April 2012
11. 13th Newport Beach International FIlm Festival, Newport, California, April 2012
12. River Side Film Festival, April 2012
13. 7th Sunscreen Film Festival, St. Petersburg, Florida, April 2012
14. 13th Barebones International Film Festival, Muskogee, Oklahoma, April 2012
15. 39th Athens International Film and Video Festival, Athens, Ohio, April 2012
16. 11th Annual River Bend Film Festival, Edwardsburg, Michigan, April 2012
17. 16th Annual Kansas City FIlm Fest, Kansas, Missouri, April 2012
18. 11th Reality Bytes Independent Student Film Festival, Dekalb, Illnois, April 2012
19. 7th European Independent Film Festival, Paris, France, March 2012
20. 2nd Green Bay Film Festival, Green Bay, Wisconsin, March 2012
21. AFS Showcase at SXSW, Austin, Texas, March 2012
22. 4th Talking Pictures Film Festival, Evanston, Illinois, March 2012
23. 15th Aunual George Lindsey UNA Film Festival, Florence, Alabama, Feb 2012
24. 1st Mix International Short Film Festival, Richmond, Virginia Feb 2012
25. 15th Magnolia Independent Film Festival, Starkville, Mississippi, Feb 2012
26. 5th Annual Thin Line Film Festival, Denton, Texas, Feb 2012
27. On the edge film festival, International Falls, Minnesota, Jan 2012
28. Weyauwega International Film, Weyauwega, WI November 2011

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The ARKOFF Formula and the Peter Pan Syndrome


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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In 1954, James H. Nicholson, and Samuel Z. Arkoff, an entertainment lawyer founded American Releasing Corporation (ARC). They released their first film “The Fast and the Furious” starring John Ireland and Dorothy Malone in 1955.

From ARC, Nicholson and Arkoff launched a film production company, American International Pictures (AIP) in April 1954. Perceiving that other filmmakers were overlooking the lucrative teenage drive-in sector, AIP focused on producing several low-budget, youth-oriented movies. They exploited the up and coming juvenile delinquent genre with movies like Daddy-O, High School Hellcats, Female Jungle, Reform School Girl, Runaway Daughters, and Girls in Prison. Additionally they distributed independently produced low-budget films bundled as double features, particularly appealing to the teenagers of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

In a 1980s talk show, Samuel Z. Arkoff spelled out his tried-and-true “ARKOFF formula” for producing a successful low-budget movie.

Action (exciting, entertaining drama)
Revolution (novel or controversial themes and ideas)
Killing (a modicum of violence)
Oratory (notable dialogue and speeches)
Fantasy (acted-out fantasies common to the audience)
Fornication (sex appeal, for young adults)

Soon after, the AIP promotion division envisaged a strategy known as “The Peter Pan Syndrome”:

a) A younger child will watch anything an older child will watch.
b) An older child will not watch anything a younger child will watch.
c) A girl will watch anything a boy will watch.
d) A boy will not watch anything a girl will watch.

Consequently, to capture the largest audience they zeroed in on the 19-year old male.

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The Innovative Shadows of Pilobolus


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Pilobolus Dance Theatre “Shadowland”

The world-renowned Washington-based Pilobolus Dance Theater formed in 1971, strives to innovate something different. They blend humor, creativity and riotous visualization to take their audience beyond customary interpretation of dance.

The Japanese automaker Hyundai wanted to know whether Pilobolus could mimic an automobile without a vehicle placed on the stage. “Yes. We can”, claimed Pilobolus; and thus emerged the concept to work with shadows. At present, this world-renowned dance troupe focuses primarily on athletic and imaginative challenges with the conventional form of shadow theater.

After many years of work with shade structures, Pilobolus has established their explicit technique and forays into unprecedented aspects. With their production of “Shadowland,” the audience experiences another new dimension of shadows and dance in poetic lingering images.

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