Misseytwisted

Urban (mis)Advantures

Urban Adventure Time! The Mass MoCA. — February 7, 2013

Urban Adventure Time! The Mass MoCA.

The Mister had a great college homework assignment: view art on the internet, then view it at a museum and write a comparison paper on the subject.  Having been to more than one museum in Boston, he declared we would take a day trip to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, a.k.a the Mass MoCA, nestled in mill buildings in North Adams.  The Mister’s choice of internet pics/real life view of art:  the spectacular Phoenix, by Chinese artist, Xu Bing. 

Spending at least two years constructing the magnificent beasts out of items found at construction sites around Beijing, Xu created one 95-foot and a 100-foot long phoenix. Let me tell you, that our images do not bring justice to the breath-taking creatures.

Head, neck and feet of one Phoenix.
Head, neck and feet of one Phoenix.

IMG_0094

Yours truly under the tailfeathers.
Yours truly under the tail feathers.

 

When taking a closer, real life look at the Phoenix project, you can make out wrenches, welding masks, hard hats, shovels, wheels, 50-gallon drums, and other metals intricately pieced together.  But my mind viewed them as wonderous living beings, and I half expected them to take flight.

We then had a fun time taking family shots throughout other exhibits, such as the Sol Lewitt wall paintings:

Plays with the eyes a bit...
Plays with the eyes a bit…

Then we ran into a familiar face at the Curiosity, a children’s exhibit:

Han Solo trapped in carbonite..made entirely out of Legos!
Han Solo trapped in carbonite..made entirely out of Legos!

 

 

All of us facing Gisele Amantea's "Democracy."
All of us facing Gisele Amantea’s “Democracy.”

The Mass MoCA is definitely worth the drive out to North Adams.  Paintings and sculptures aren’t the only art on display, as they host concerts there also.  The museum is spread out among spacious mill buildings, after all.  We will most certainly visit again.

 

 

 

 

I *heart* Darth Maul — February 26, 2012

I *heart* Darth Maul

*Spoiler Alert! I talk about Darth Maul’s fate towards the end!  So be warned, any young kiddos or anyone else that has not seen the movie!*

Okay.  So he’s covered in tattoos.  But so is international superstar athlete, David Beckham.  Rrrrrrrrrrr.  Yeah, this Sith Lord spends a good chunk of time cloaked in black.  It’s one of my favorite colors.  Creepy horns sprout from his crown.  And his eyes are like a demon whacked out on meth.  Yet, he is waaaaaaaayyy better than Count Dorko.

Darth Maul is the best thing going for Star Wars, the Phantom Menace.  He gave us a glimpse that the Sith are more than wrinkled, demented men and asthmatic cyborgs.  Masterfully portrayed by martial arts expert, Ray Park, Darth Maul skillfully jumped, kicked, and flipped his way around Tatooine and Naboo.  And he had the most excellent light saber of the saga.  When seeing the first Phantom preview at the movies, the entire audience voiced their awe when Maul stepped into defense mode and ignited not one, but two glowing blades from his saber.  He whirled them with the ease throughout the fight scene that would earn an MTV Movie Award.  When seeing the light saber in action in 3-D, I’m pretty sure I ducked at least once.

Pssst.  Spoiler.  While the rest of the audience cheered when Obi Wan sliced Darth Marl in half, I exclaimed: “What?!  Nooooooo!”  and clapped only half heartedly just to fit into the crowd.  Then I frowned and crossed my arms tightly.  That’s almost always the way; my favorite character usually bites it in movies.  Yet Maul’s death served greater purposes.  It proved, first of all, that you don’t mess with Obi Wan Kenobi.  Defeating the first Sith discovered in a “millenia” greatly helped Obi Wan shed his Padawan learner braid and paved his way to becoming a Jedi Master.  It launched Obi Wan’s reputation that catapulted him to the rank of General Kenobi in the Clone Wars.

And most importantly, Maul’s demise left an opening for a “stronger and more powerful” apprentice to Darth Sidious.

Darth Maul deserves his post as the prominent figure in the Phantom Menace poster.  Amidst peaceful Zen-like Jedis, a clumsy Gungan, and an oddly dressed queen with apparently no personality, he brings much needed balance and kick-ass to the movie.

Why Star Wars is Essential to Childhood. — February 2, 2012

Why Star Wars is Essential to Childhood.

Reposted from February 2011…

Parents try their best to impress their values and life lessons on their children.  The Star Wars franchise provides the larger than life characters, epic stories, and awesome visual effects to aid in that quest.  Here’s a look at some of the lessons these movies help teach. 

Friends come in all shapes and sizes.  An eight foot tall howling hairball of the Wookie race.  A dwarfish, ill-green colored elder with a speech impediment.  An anxious, know-it-all droid fluent in “6 billion forms of communication.”  Although they seem more like the gym classmates that weren’t the first choice of teams, Chewbacca, Yoda, and C3PO were among Luke Skywalker’s friends, which were ultimately his lifeline.  They provided advice, wisdom of ages, and brute strength to help him fight an oppressive empire.  In the later episodes, Obi Wan Kenobi’s humanoid and alien ties across the galaxy kept him informed of tid bits vital in the Clone Wars.  The Star Wars movies, books, and television series plainly teach that one can be friends with those of different socio-economic class, religious beliefs, intellects, and race.

 The biggest of help can come from those you least expect.  With the fact that one can be friends with others different from oneself, Star Wars then visually shows children the importance of taking help from these friends, especially when they know more about a situation.  A perfect example of this is the Battle of Endor.  The Rebellion forces were captured by the Empire and all their vast technologies of walkers and speeders.  And to the rescue are dozens of chunky teddy bears, springing traps of logs and bashing Storm Troopers upside the head with sticks and rocks.  The Ewoks proved to Han, Leia, and Luke that even the smallest of natives know their land better and can save your neck.  On the planet of Naboo, the aquatic native Gungans proved to have elegant weapons and waged an impressive defense against the droid army.  This provided the needed diversion from the royal city and allowed Amidala and her guards to take back the palace.  Children can generalize this to real life by asking for help during many childhood battles, including loneliness, struggling grades, and bullying. 

Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork!  Sometimes we have to work as a team.  Kids play sports and have to work together to complete classroom projects.  The Star Wars movies show again and again that often times you can’t take on the galaxy by yourself.  Among those who rescued Han Solo from Jabba’s palace included two droids, a handsome and smooth talking gambler, an inexperienced Jedi, and a pushy, love struck princess.  Each team member brought their own talents and ideas, then played their own parts to spring their friend from the Hutt’s slimy clutches.  Even the sith realized they needed the help of apprentices and droid armies to help conquer planets. 

Respect your Elders.  Yoda and Mace Windu attempted to warn Qui-Gon Jinn and then Obi Wan that Anakin Skywalker should not be trained as a Jedi.  Both men disregarded the heeding and took him as a padawan learner.  Within a couple of decades, Anakin turns into Vader, the universe’s infamous, asthmatic cyborg villain, and the rest is history.  Told you so. 

Think before you act.  We parents attempt to teach our children to use sound judgement and make good decisions.  Anakin is the epitome of acting upon feelings without thinking them through.  Granted he was an excellent pilot and exemplary yielder of the Force.  But he wiped out a village of Sand People.  He caused much ruckus in Coruscant to catch Zam Wesell.  He did not listen to his elder and Master Kenobi when facing Count Dooku, and it cost him an arm.  And then the whole turning to the Darkside ordeal and aiding in the oppression of entire systems. 

If you’re bossy and mean, other kids will eventually fight back.  Chancellor Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious) wanted to take over the galaxy, and he did through manipulation and mass murder.  He was the ultimate playground bully that wanted to rule the sandbox and surrounded himself with powerful and easily swayed allies.  But eventually other kids got tired of his tyranny and blew up his cool space station…twice.  With this larger lesson, kids can learn that nice guys don’t always finish last and that mean people really do suck and get knocked down hard. 

Don’t ever give up on what you believe in.  Anakin dreamed of being a powerful Jedi.  Princess Leia grew up fighting for freedom.  Luke longed to leave his moisture farm on a desert planet.  The Rebellion never gave up on bringing down the Empire.  And with much hard work, self-realization, and sacrifice, all of them stuck to their values and beliefs, beat the odds stacked against them, and accomplished the near impossible.

Childhood Movies I Made My Own Child Watch… — November 27, 2011

Childhood Movies I Made My Own Child Watch…

As my son and his friend are watching Goonies, it reminded me of the many films I loved as a child.  And I made my son watch.  So take a journey through fun cinematic memories in the days of real make-up, props, and camera tricks.  You know, prior to everything being computer generated. 

First and foremost, I sat the boy down to watch Star Wars IV, V, and VI.  He grew up with Anakin, Amidala, a young Obi-Wan, and Storm Troopers when they could kick butt.  And a digital Yoda.  Therefore, he had to watch the original with the greatest movie characters ever. 

ET: I was so excited when this movie was re-released in the theatres and took my then five year old to watch it.  He was saddened, thrilled, and frightened of the movie just as I was in my childhood.

The NeverEnding Story:  My Boy loves the movie Spirited Away, but my husband and I showed him the first movie we ever saw with a white dragon.  NeverEnding  is simply a beautiful movie full of fantastical puppets and an amazing story.  I had a crush on Atreyu. 

Pee Wee’s Big Adventure:  I know all the controversy surrounding Pee Wee, but this movie was crazed innocence about getting a beloved possession back from the spoiled brat who stole it. 

Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure:  Before Keanu Reeves breathed his famous “Whoa” in the Matrix, he sat up after being psychoanalyzed by Sigmund Freud himself during a history class project, and said “Whoooaaa…”  My son had a hard time believing the unkept Ted was the same man who played his hero, Neo.  I also had to explain to him what a phone booth was….

Edward Scissorhands:  “You’re watching this,” I told my boy while I selected Scissorhands from the On Demand movie menu one night.  “It has Captain Jack Sparrow before he was Captain Jack Sparrow.”  This movie turned made me forever  into a Johnny Depp fan.  My son greatly enjoys Scissorhands and has watched it more than once. 

And of course, Goonies.  A movie that was adventurous without unrealistic explosions and superhuman stunts.  A film that was funny without F-bombs and gratuitous sex jokes. 
What’s next?  Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Here’s a brief list of my childhood films my son chose to watch:
Gremlins
Land Before Time
Poltergiest
Lost Boys

Let’s Hear it for the Bad Boys (and Girls) — June 19, 2011

Let’s Hear it for the Bad Boys (and Girls)

As a lover of stories, either in books or on the silver screen, I agree with Inkheart’s Fenoglio’s view of the villain being the essential part of the story.  Without the villain, we wouldn’t have any conflict, a story, or even a hero.  Here’s a snapshot of some of my favorite villains.

Agent Smith, The Matrix

 

Masterfully performed by Hugo Weaving, this monkey-suited, shade wearing entity with a snake like voice could break spines.  He lurked with a presence that made my heart skip a beat in every appearance of the Matrix trilogy. 

 

 

The Joker, DC Comics 

 

Face it.  When we think of  “arch enemies,” we immediately envision Batman facing off with the grinning Clown Prince of Crime.  He’s been vividly drawn by various artists, brought to life by Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and Heath Ledger, and brilliantly voiced by Mark Hamill over decades.  The Joker turns Gotham City into a demented circus, in which he is the unrelentless ringmaster whose maniacal laugh echoes in our dreams.  And we love it.  The Joker will forever be my epitome of a comic book villain. 

 

 

 

 

Anna, V

 

Lovely High Queen of the Visitors who claimed, “We come in peace…always.”  I loved to hate this lizard woman who used her beauty to charm us earthlings.  She is a literal cold blooded killer.  In nearly every V episode, I hoped the humans would blast her out of the sky, or that 5th Column V’s would skin her in her sleep.  

 

 

 

Ursula, The Little Mermaid 

 
 

A busty, curvy, tentacly, sea witch with a throaty and booming alto voice, Ursula is undoubtedly one of Disney’s best villains.  In fact, The Little Mermaid would be nothing without her.  Ursula is charismatic and punkishly alluring with her smashing red lips and silver spikey hair.  I almost mourn her defeat in the end.  I don’t think the sea would be as interesting with her gone. 

 

 

 

 

Sher Khan, The Jungle Book 

In both Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale and Disney’s fun musical, the tiger lord of the Indian jungle is a menacing force not to be reckoned with.  Feared by all inhabitants as a skilled predator, he established himself at the top of the food chain.  In Disney’s film, Sher Khan is graceful, debonair, charming, and “delightful.”  He takes on the other top predator, Ka the python with a confident ease.  I always secretly cheered for him, hoping he’d prevail and dine of the whiny, toothpick of a man cub.

 

 

Basta, Inkeart by Cornelia Flunke
The knife yielding skillful carver of human skin overshadowed Inkheart’s main villain, Capricorn.  Basta’s superstitious ways made him one of the most colorful characters I’ve ever read.  His unmerciful deeds are so masterfully written that I could hear him whispering threats in my ear and feel his breath on the back of my neck as I read about him.  Unfortunately, Basta was not this deliciously malicious on the big screen……

Darth Maul, Star Wars the Phantom Menace

Cloaked completely in black, this tattooed Sith with glowing yellow eyes sneaked onto a planet and put the smack down on a skilled Jedi Master.  He fought with the coolest light saber of the whole Star Wars and blindly followed his master.  I groaned when Obi Wan Kenobi sliced Darth Maul in half.  He showed me what the Sith could truthfully be and made the Darkside tempting. 

 

 

Darth Vader, Star Wars

Darth Vader is simply the most epic villain ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Though envisioned by many directors and portrayed by various actors, nothing compares to the original Dracula.  The novel paints a horrific picture through the eyes of many characters.  He begins as a beastly mass murderer that left an entire ship’s crew in bloody pieces.  A devlish nightmare to the gypsies.  A mysterious killer of best friends and stealer of husbands and wives.  But overall, Dracula is an ageless monster who lives by feasting upon our blood.

Lessons from Jedi Master Yoda — May 4, 2011

Lessons from Jedi Master Yoda

In honor of Star Wars Day, here are the greatest lessons I learned from Master Yoda.

* “Wars not make one great.”

* “Size matters not! Judge me by my size, do you?”

* “CONCENTRATE!”  –just good every day advice. 

On daily tasks:  * “All his life he has looked away to the future…to the horizon.  Never his mind on where he was.”

On accomplishments:  * “Do or do not.  There is no try.”

On faith:  * Luke: “I can’t believe it.”          Yoda: “That is why you fail.”

On aging gracefully:  * “When 900 years old you are, look as good you will not!” 

On being organized:  * “Lost a planet, Master Obi-Wan has.  How embarrassing.”

On parenting:  * “Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.” 

On humility:  * “Anger, fear, aggression…the dark side are they.”

* “Much to learn, you still have.”

And my favorite:  “Fear is the path to the dark side.  Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate.  And hate leads to suffering.”

Why Star Wars is Essential to Childhood — February 19, 2011

Why Star Wars is Essential to Childhood

I’m still seeing my favorite Superbowl commercial-the mini Darth Vader trying to use the force on objects, and “succeeds” on the VW Jetta.  And the pint-sized Sith Lord has me thinking.  The Star Wars franchise was an essential part of Generation X’s childhood.  And it continues to be an essential part today as Gen X took their children to see Episodes I, II, and III (along with making them watch Episodes IV, V, and VI). 

“What?!” you say.  Oh, no.  Another dork that worships Jedi Knights and tries to invent a light saber.  No.  But a parent that realizes Star Wars offer visual examples of the many lessons we attempt to teach our children in order to be a productive member of society. 

Let’s start with lessons in the value of friendship.

Friends come in all shapes and sizes.  An eight foot tall howling hairball of the Wookie race.  A dwarfish, ill-green colored elder with a speech impediment.  An anxious, know-it-all droid fluent in “6 billion forms of communication.”  Although they seem more like the gym classmates that weren’t the first choice of teams, Chewbacca, Yoda, and C3PO were among Luke Skywalker’s friends, which were ultimately his lifeline.  They provided advice, wisdom of ages, and brute strength to help him fight an oppressive empire.  In the later episodes, Obi Wan Kenobi’s humanoid and alien ties across the galaxy kept him informed of tid bits vital in the Clone Wars.  The Star Wars movies, books, and television series plainly teach that one can be friends with those of different socio-economic class, religious beliefs, intellects, and race.

The biggest of help can come from those you least expect.  With the fact that one can be friends with others different from oneself, Star Wars then visually shows children the importance of taking help from these friends, especially when they know more about a situation.  A perfect example of this is the Battle of Endor.  The Rebellion forces were captured by the Empire and all their vast technologies of walkers and speeders.  And to the rescue are dozens of chunky teddy bears, springing traps of logs and bashing Storm Troopers upside the head with sticks and rocks.  The Ewoks proved to Han, Leia, and Luke that even the smallest of natives know their land better and can save your neck.  On the planet of Naboo, the aquatic native Gungans proved to have elegant weapons and waged an impressive defense against the droid army.  This provided the needed diversion from the royal city and allowed Amidala and her guards to take back the palace.  Children can generalize this to real life by asking for help during many childhood battles, including loneliness, struggling grades, and bullying. 

Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork!  Sometimes we have to work as a team.  Kids play sports and have to work together to complete classroom projects.  The Star Wars movies show again and again that often times you can’t take on the galaxy by yourself.  Among those who rescued Han Solo from Jabba’s palace included two droids, a handsome and smooth talking gambler, an inexperienced Jedi, and a pushy, love struck princess.  Each team member brought their own talents and ideas, then played their own parts to spring their friend from the Hutt’s slimy clutches.  Even the sith realized they needed the help of apprentices and droid armies to help conquer planets. 

Respect your Elders.  Yoda and Mace Windu attempted to warn Qui-Gon Jinn and then Obi Wan that Anakin Skywalker should not be trained as a Jedi.  Both men disregarded the heeding and took him as a padawan learner.  Within a couple of decades, Anakin turns into Vader, the universe’s infamous, asthmatic cyborg villain, and the rest is history.  Told you so. 

Think before you act.  We parents attempt to teach our children to use sound judgement and make good decisions.  Anakin is the epitome of acting upon feelings without thinking them through.  Granted he was an excellent pilot and exemplary yielder of the Force.  But he wiped out a village of Sand People.  He caused much ruckus in Coruscant to catch Zam Wesell.  He did not listen to his elder and Master Kenobi when facing Count Dooku, and it cost him an arm.  And then the whole turning to the Darkside ordeal and aiding in the oppression of entire systems. 

If you’re bossy and mean, other kids will eventually fight back.  Chancellor Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious) wanted to take over the galaxy, and he did through manipulation and mass murder.  He was the ultimate playground bully that wanted to rule the sandbox and surrounded himself with powerful and easily swayed allies.  But eventually other kids got tired of his tyranny and blew up his cool space station…twice.  With this larger lesson, kids can learn that nice guys don’t always finish last and that mean people really do suck and get knocked down hard. 

Don’t ever give up on what you believe in.  Anakin dreamed of being a powerful Jedi.  Princess Leia grew up fighting for freedom.  Luke longed to leave his moisture farm on a desert planet.  The Rebellion never gave up on bringing down the Empire.  And with much hard work, self-realization, and sacrifice, all of them stuck to their values and beliefs, beat the odds stacked against them, and accomplished the near impossible. 

Parents try their best to impress these and other values and lessons on their children.  The Star Wars franchise provides the larger than life characters, epic stories, and awesome visual effects to aid in that quest.