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Category: fashion

11/30/10 05:11 - 52.ºF - ID#53178

Patterning and Sewing a Winter Coat

Call me insane but I have been taken over by this compelling urge to make this black coat (and the grey woollen vintage-fashioned coat below) from scratch by myself.
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The trouble is how does one make a pattern and sew a coat based on photographs? Does anyone have any experience in drawing patterns (with appropriate sizing) looking at photographs alone?

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Permalink: Patterning_and_Sewing_a_Winter_Coat.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 12/01/10 10:40


Category: i-tech

11/21/10 10:29 - 34.ºF - ID#53146

Twittering no more

Shoo!
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Permalink: Twittering_no_more.html
Words: 3
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 11/21/10 10:29


Category: dance

11/21/10 02:15 - 32.ºF - ID#53145

Salsera!

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She is a true flowing river in spirit and I think I can hear this every time I see her flow in dance!




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Category: dance

11/21/10 12:28 - 32.ºF - ID#53143

Salsero!

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He is the beyond perfect fluid lead who makes it look so effortless, you want to work on those wobbly steps just to match 1/millionth of his grace! :-)

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Category: dance

11/20/10 09:54 - 35.ºF - ID#53142

Scientific Salsa

Cue music!




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The dance is a fascinating study in body dynamics. Quoting Joanna Bosse, who conducted ethnographic research into Salsa...

One of the most difficult aspects of salsa dance to convey to newcomers is the distinctive counter-body motion—a product of a particular combination of knee, hip, and ribcage movements.

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Generally, the basic position requires one bent knee while the other remains straightened, and the basic movement involves alternating bent and straight knees. This juxtaposition of one bent knee and one straightened knee causes a secondary response as the hip above the straight knee juts out slightly. Simultaneously, the ribcage moves in the direction of the bent knee, opposite the direction of the extended hip.

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The position of the ribcage serves to balance the weight distribution of the extended hip. With each beat of the music, salsa dancers alternate bent and straight knees and direction of the ribcage, maintaining a level height (with little rise and fall or bobbing of the head) and a balanced center of gravity. Another secondary result of this motion (in addition to the hip movement) is that the arms move forward and back in small circles, following the direction of the ribcage and shoulders.

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This combination of movements is very subtle and can be executed in a number of ways, depending upon other elements such as arm movement, posture, foot placement, and direction of knee movement; however, it was present to varying degrees among most, if not all, of the Latin American salsa dancers with whom I worked. This is not to say that all Latin Americans were great salsa dancers, but generally speaking this particular issue was not a problem. During my six years of fieldwork I never personally witnessed a salsa dancer specifically reference this aspect—the counter-body motion—in any way. They generally focused on the rhythm and placement of the footwork.

{and this is such an interesting observation...}
Though the Latin American salsa dancers I worked with understood that their hips were moving, their focal awareness was invested in the active engagement of the knees and virtuosic footwork.

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In contrast, outsiders to the genre overlooked the complex interplay of body movements and singled out only the movement of the hips as the root of salsa’s energy and perceived sexual appeal. Many fixated on the hip movement and worked exclusively on its performance, forsaking the necessary footwork and knee and ribcage movements that actually make it possible. This movement was not a typical component of their movement dialect and as such, it was very difficult to master and became something upon which newcomers fixated. This fetishization of hip movement on the part of my informants who were new to salsa resulted, in part, from the fact that the requisite counter-body movement was not a typical component of their movement dialect.


References (Taken in whole from):
Joanna Bosse. "Salsa Dance and the Transformation of Style: An Ethnographic Study of Movement and Meaning in a Cross-Cultural Context." Dance Research Journal 40.1 (2008): 45-64.
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Permalink: Scientific_Salsa.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 12/11/10 02:45


Category: dance

11/20/10 12:02 - 38.ºF - ID#53136

Spin baby Spin!

I had trouble spinning this past class. I always landed a bit to my right when I completed the spins... and got a bit dizzy.
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I guess I need to practise something called "spotting". It is described in detail at this

Apparently...

It takes practice and you have to go verrrry slowly at first to get the hang of it... but you will be rewarded by non-wobbly turns, balanced stops, and a better feeling in your stomach all around.

Dancing is best learned visually, so I strongly suggest asking your teacher to teach you how to spot your turns.

You know how if you get motion sick, you're supposed to look at a stationary point? That's the idea behind spotting. If you're looking at something stable, your body will feel stable.

Here's a basic way to practice it without worrying about turn technique:

1. Facing straight ahead, find something to fix your eyes on that is eye level or slightly above. This is your "spot". It may be a wall clock, poster, anything that isn't going to move.

2. Slowly start to turn your body, keeping your focus on the spot *and your head stationary*. At this point your body is turning under your head, almost as if your head is floating. Once your body has turned as far as it can without moving your head, turn a little more so that your eyes are looking sideways at the spot. You are looking over your shoulder.

3. Without moving your feet, and keeping your body as still as possible, turn your head to find the spot looking over the other shoulder. This is the opposite of what happened in step 2 - now your head is turning above your body!

4. Always focussing on the spot, complete the turn with your body.

So your body starts the turn, your head whips around to catch up and go ahead of it, and then your body catches up. Your eyes are on one spot except for when it turns so fast you don't have a chance to get dizzy.

Practise this slowly, stopping at each step to make sure there is full separation between the head and body turn. Do it in each direction. Once it starts feeling familiar, do it without stopping the (still slow) rotation.

Then, do it for the types of spins you do, and work it up faster and faster. While practicing alone, you'll have to find a suitable spot in the room. If you're doing partner dancing, often you'll be spotting on your partner's face.

The other way of avoiding dizziness while spinning only applies if you are not generating the spin or unable to spot without disturbing your position; that is, if you are spinning in a lift, or in a super-fast spin where the partner is really powering it and you are basically turning on the spot. In those cases, you have to learn to "blank out" and not see the room, just sense your own balance and then focus as soon as you exit the spin. Those are special circumstances though!



But I am afraid all that detail sounds a bit like this right now...
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Maybe I just need shoes that will not put a brake on my spinning all the time...
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Category: music

11/19/10 10:00 - 38.ºF - ID#53135

Stormy Weather

{Cue music!}




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ahead for Buffalo.

But mainly, I wanted to dwell on just how awesome Etta James ALWAYS manages to sound.
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I love that surly little grittiness in her voice.

I was listening to the song that (e:Paul) posted on his miss-you-already-(e:terry) post (e:paul,53129) today morning and I could only think of Etta James and didn't she capture the very feelings in her own twisty way so many decades back?!

I could hear this song so clearly in my head that I had to hunt it down!

Oh, and (e:libertad) reminded me of this one!




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Permalink: Stormy_Weather.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 11/19/10 10:54


Category: dance

11/19/10 08:44 - 38.ºF - ID#53134

Teach me how to Dougie

The NYC edition.



You have to appreciate how popularly arcane urban art can be! haha


PS: I saw this video first in my salsa class. My dance teachers were fascinated by the new moves. I was fascinated watching them so immersed. I love how involved they are with dance. It's almost as if dance flows like art and blood through them and they live for the thrill of dancing. They inspire me so much it's hard to express in words. They ARE art.
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Permalink: Teach_me_how_to_Dougie.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 12/11/10 02:44


Category: music

11/19/10 12:28 - 42.ºF - ID#53123

Hip Hop Love Hate

I think I could be a massive hip hop fan (especially with southern roots, they are SO catchy!) IF ONLY they didn't insist on crooning out absolutely offensive and downright annoying lyrics with those really outstanding tunes.

Does it all have to be about crime or calling women all kind of juvenile names?! It irritates me so much because I really dig the whole rhythm and the complex multi-layered arrangements of several hip hop artists but I just don't want to listen to them singing about how they clobbered someone to death (and not in a black noir way, either) or how their guns and drugs are so cool.

Of course, I have the option of turning off the vocal frequencies, but the problem is the vocals are so much a part of the melody and rhythm in the song, the song loses a LOT if you eliminate the vocals.

Man, how I wish they all sang/rapped in French!

Hippety hop dilemma.
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Permalink: Hip_Hop_Love_Hate.html
Words: 163
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 11/19/10 12:44


Category: music

11/15/10 10:30 - 41.ºF - ID#53109

Clave Crazy

Okay, I spent every minute of my mp3-player time today playing traditional salsa by greats like Roberto Torres (and OMG-so-popular-its-POP Marc Anthony) and listening for this Clave Rhythm:




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I am nowhere close to deciphering this elusive rhythm in real salsa songs. But the funny thing is I can now hear it clear as day in Prodigy's d&b hit.

(Yeah, I know. Weirdest video ever. And I have no idea what they are croaking on about in the middle of all those raving-loony-peeping-into-screen dance moves. They definitely need the hospital. Any hospital. But listen to that clave right there! Listen to that d&b clave!)

At this rate, I might start hearing the clave when people speak. Who knows...


PS: Being a bit salsa-clave-overzealous nutcase here but I also found a software called "The Salsa Rhythm Machine" at this I am going to give it a whirl and report back.

PPS: The Salsa & Merengue Society's website is an absolute delight It's so plain and innocuous but every little corner is a nifty surprise!
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Permalink: Clave_Crazy.html
Words: 191
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 11/15/10 10:49


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