Monday, September 30, 2013

Enzo D’Alò's "Pinocchio" Nominated for 2013 European Film Awards

From altfg:
The European Film Academy has announced the three nominees in the 2013 European Film Awards’ Best Animated Feature Film category (including) Pinocchio (from Italy / Luxembourg / France / Belgium), directed by Enzo D’Alò, from a screenplay by D’Alò and Umberto Marino. Animation by Marco Zanoni.

This is quite a feat, really, considering just how many times Pinocchio has been animated for children in Europe (in particular), so there must be something quite special about this one.

The film is fairly simple looking, especially compared to the visual feasts we've gotten used to, thanks to Pixar and the ongoing attempts by Disney, Dreamworks and other animation studios to present feats and visuals never-before-seen on screen. Simplicity is, as a result, often underrated (especially in the US) but European animation companies are still creating magical works without implementing fancy effects or boasting advances in technical achievements. 

Fro the looks of the trailer, D'Alò's Pinocchio is one of these.
Take a look (subtitled):

I'm still very curious to see Guillermo del Toro's animated Pinocchio, which is still quietly in production. His filmic sensibilities are still not entirely Hollywood and often refreshing as a result, despite being rather awe inspiring visually-speaking (and his story telling has a tendency to remain solid as well). With multiple versions of Pinocchio in the works (both in live action and animation) it will be interesting to see what resonates with audiences these days.

Autumn at Oz

The Land of Oz exists!

But it's abandoned.

Except for one day every year... on October 5.

I only found out this theme park existed this last year (past tense, as it's no longer active and open to the public) and discovered only this week that there's an annual "reunion/get together" for past employees and guests! That reunion day is next weekend and is called Autumn at Oz. 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of this special - almost secret - event.

This weekend, October 5th and 6th, the park is open for the 20th anniversary of "Autumn at Oz". It's only open once a year for a reunion of former employees and past guests. In 2009, over 8,000 people attended. Every year more characters return and more vendors show up. All proceeds go to upkeep and preservation. So, if you're in the area, drop by for a stroll through the poppy field. [Emerald Mtn]

The park is currently used as a setting for (lucky people's) weddings, parties and photoshoots and - get this - vacations! (Yes you can stay in Dorothy's house and walk the yellow brick road after breakfast!)
I'm sure it's just a coincidence I can suddenly think of some very important reasons to visit North Carolina...

(Don't you love this house? The interior is all at a slant as well, complete with furniture and curtains stuck at permanently odd angles and a certain set of striped stockinged legs poking out somewhere close by.)

Most people, however, have forgotten this even exists, possibly due to it's unfortunate history and timing of events when it was getting going.
The Land of Oz theme park was open from 1970 to 1980 and it's opening day saw over 20,000 visitors. Guests enjoyed strolling down the Yellow Brick Road, and hanging out with the Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Wicked Witch of the West. Afterwards, there was a show at the Emerald City, complete with a balloon ride, which was actually a modified ski lift. Visitors could enjoy a breathtaking view of the park amidst Beech Mountain's gorgeous scenery. Unfortunately the death of the original owner before the park opened and a mysterious fire in 1975 marred the initial success of the park and it closed suddenly in 1980. Now, the Yellow Brick Road is missing a few of its bricks, but most of the park is still there, albeit in various states of disrepair. (Source)
Part of the reason for Autumn at Oz is not only to keep the memories alive but to help support and fund the upkeep of the park's unique structures. (Check HERE for some amazing photos from the park's development.) Everyone is now welcome to attend and stroll through poppy fields and munchkin lands with other Oz-philes for one special day.

There's a lovely book of black and white photos of this "abandoned" theme park for purchase HERE (see cover above).
You can find out more about the location, the history and options to visit and stay HERE.

Visiting here has just gone on my bucket list. (I might need a new pair of silver - or perhaps ruby - slippers for the trip... )

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Once Upon A Time Season 3 Premiere Tonight

Set your DVRs: One Upon A Time is off to Neverland tonight at 8/7c. (If you can't wait till then you can get a premiere preview HERE.)

How to Read Fables, A Handy What-Next?! Guide (& A 99c Sale To Help Catch You Up)

If you're curious to catch up on Fables, you've picked a good time. Right now there's a sale until the end of September on most of the Fables comics (click on the image below the How to Read Fables Guide to be take to the sale site) and as a unrelated-yet-completely-relevant bonus, I've received permission to share a post with you on how to navigate this can-be-overwhelming-and-ever-expanding universe of Bill Willingham's.

But first, for those who need (another) reason to read Fables, consider this little nugget of information I pulled out of the first Fables (prose) novel, Peter & Max. Turns out Willingham not only went to Hamelin to research but ended up writing much of the novel IN RUDYARD KIPLING'S HOUSE, USING KIPLING"S LIBRARY! This insight into Willingham's approach actually explains a lot of why this series works as well as it does. Transcribed from the author's note at the end of Peter & Max - A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham. here's an excerpt from his thank you's:
"The first half of this book was written in Vermont, in the house once owned by Rudyard Kipling, painstakingly restored by the Heritage Foundation, using Kipling's original books, furniture and fixtures, which they were happily surprised to discover stored in an old barn on the property. Peter and Max were created in the same room, on the same desk in fact, that Kipling created Mowgli, the rest of the Jungle Book characters, Kim, the Captains Courageous, and many others. To say that it was an inspirational setting in which to begin a fantasy adventure story is to be guilty of criminal understatement. Thank you to the kind men and women of the Heritage Foundation, for opening the property to me and for your hard work in making my stay so comfortable, restful, and productive. Thank you, too, to the good ghost in that home for the use of your writing room and library, which always seemed to have just the right text on some obscure subject of medieval history, technology or nature, within arm's reach, whenever I needed it."
This is something I'm attempting to catch up on properly myself right now, having never read all of them in the correct order. With eleven years (and counting) of monthly comics to wade through, along with special issues, cross-overs and more, I must admit, without a guide I would feel quite lost. Although the Wikipedia page has a lot of great summary information it's still very daunting to wrap your brain around.

Thankfully, blogger/reader - and Fables enthusiast - Kailana (aka Kelly Rogers) put together a super-simple, easy to follow step-by-step guide to reading (and purchasing) the Fables issues in an order that not only makes chronological sense but makes for a fuller experience. And now I'm able to share it with you!

Without further ado (and with enormous thanks to Kailana for giving me permission to repost this) here is your handy "How-to-read Fables Guide":

So You Want to Read Fables...?

Originally posted June 29, 2012
(with one update and additional notes & cover images inserted by FTNH)
✒ ✒ ✒  ✒ (click the "Read more" link below this line) ✒ ✒ ✒ ✒ ✒ 

More from Into the Woods, including Ms. Streep

First look at Meryl Streep as the witch
We've had a few pics be released via on-set personal cameras, Twitter and Instagram this week and it's encouraging the positive buzz. We even got to see a first highly anticipated look at Meryl Streep's witch at the end of the week (see above). I was curious to see which way they'd go with her character. Looks pretty traditional with the matted wigs and talons etc. I guess I was hoping for a different take overall from Rob Marshall but it's a little early to judge just yet.
Wedding sets and costumes
Cinderella & her scruffy prince on their wedding day

The wedding stuff looks fairly standard, too - lovely but missing some oomph for me (of course we're not seeing sots from principle photography, just behind-the-scenes and that can make a huge difference.) As I said, early days...

I do like Rapunzel's wrapping details. Costume designer Ms. Atwood can generally be relied upon to put a lot of thought and symbolism into her pieces for characters so I'm hoping we see an interview with her sometime soon on some of her work for this movie.

I'm sure we'll see a few more images over the next week or too as well. They're likely to release a teaser Depp shot for publicity reasons so I'm watching for that, curious to see what direction they're taking Big Bad and little (oh so young) Red.

Sources: HERE & HERE (there are more castle shots at this link too)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Breaking News: Brooding Beast Revealed in Gans' Poster

! Wow. Now THIS is how you present a fairy tale poster. 

I will have to reserve judgement on how Beast will look in motion but this has every indication of being an utterly stunning movie. Look at the roses on Beast's coat, along with the thorny detailing. Gorgeous.

No word yet on release dates outside France but I'm going to make every effort to see this in theaters. (I seriously hope they don't dub it.)

Ask Baba Yaga: I'm In the Midst of a Very Stressful Program in a New Career Field

San Antonio, Texas. Gargoyle at the Emily Morgan Hotel, once a hospital. Photo credit: M. Kopp
Although this week's petitioner is asking about coping in a new career, I think the same applies to any new venture that's both personally important and changes your lifestyle.

This week's question and answer (via poet and oracle Taisia Kitaiskaia* of The Hairpin):
(Originally posted at The Hairpin HERE)

Striking a chord with many, here are some comment highlights:
  • Brain-uncramming is a subtle type of witchcraft, though. Don't feel too bad if you can't perform it well at first! (Judith Slutler)
  • PERF. (especially the "do not hold so much yr every feeling in the palm of yr hand like a beating frog-heart") (fabel)
  • @fabel This is what my therapist has been trying to tell me, I think. Like, ok, you have feelings, yes, but acknowledging that they exist despite your best efforts at ignoring them does not mean you must feel them all, all the time. I'm Right On Top Of That, Rose)
  • Wow! I never really 'got' the Baba Yaga posts in the past but this one is just perfect. Printing out ... to put up in every room of my house. Truly necessary advice for the overly-introspective. (wordnerd)
  • whoa. (baby crow)
Beating frog-hearts in the palm of my hand. Pretty much a perfect description. Unfortunately, I hate vomiting... I'd kind of like a part two on this topic...

What do you think of Baba Yaga's advice?

Want to ask Baba Yaga a question of your own?
You can!
There's now an email address where you can send your questions
directly to Baba Yaga herself.
AskBabaYaga AT gmail DOT com
To encourage Baba Yaga to continue imparting her no-bones-about-it wisdom (ok, there may be some gristle in there... bones too), I suggest we not to leave her box empty... 

Thank you Baba Yaga (& Taisia).

Taisia Kitaiskaia is a poet, writer, and Michener Center for Writers fellow. Born in Russia and raised in America, she's had her poems and translations published in Narrative Magazine, Poetry International, and others.

Friday, September 27, 2013

"This (Branagh) Cinderella better be feminist..!"

Quoth the article at (gotta love the site name, especially with regard to this topic):

Galloping bareback through the countryside in a teal dress, James, of Downton Abbey fame, looks like she'll bring a confident sexiness to a role. 
Then again, it's only a photo. 
Cinderella doesn't, necessarily, send the best message to young girls out there. If you grin and bear it, if you stay kind and helpful, if you don't speak up, an older person with a wand will show up and help you look pretty enough to catch the eye of a prince. After all, marrying well is the most important thing. Wealth, nice clothes, and a husband will give you the happiness you've always wanted. 
The tale dates back to Charles Perrault's version from 1697, yet, some 316 years later, it's still getting air time. The cartoon Cinderella, which I grew up watching, came out in 1950, and featured catchy tunes, adorable mice, and the scariest pumpkin transformation your 7-year-old eyes ever did see. It's message stayed true to form, though — cartoon Cinderelly was nice and all, and sung with birds, but she was still pretty weak. 
It will be fun to see how 2015 Cinderella differs from 1950's Cinderella. The film's director, Academy Award-nominee Kenneth Branagh (Jack Ryan, Thor), said in a press release that Lily James's Cinderella "combines knockout beauty with intelligence, wit, fun and physical grace," which, and I might be grasping at straws here, sounds promising. Cind be smart, y'all. 
Plus, Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter are on board —they're the evil stepmother and the fairy godmother, respectively. Our Cate and our Helena wouldn't sign on unless this movie helped to reinvent Cinderella, right? 
Emphasis in bold is mine. You can read the whole article HERE. And here's another one, titled: A First Look at Disney's Strong and Sexy Cinderella.

I'm not at all surprised that this topic is being discussed. It's going to be a hot button topic for family movies again soon too, with Disney's (sadly-not-going-to-be-a-fairy-tale, just a fantasy movie) Frozen having two female leads, one of them being (apparently) evil. Heidi has an interesting post and article excerpt on the topic HERE.

Having recently completed the Origins and Evolution of Fairy Tale Princesses MOOC, in which Cinderella had a whole week to herself/her own tale, the anti-feminist aspect of the Cinderella tale is one of the complaints many people had about the earlier versions BUT...

( - and this is a pretty big BUT that really hasn't been resolved to anyone's satisfaction, so I'll just draw your attention to it. You're welcome to weigh in in the comments - )

.. of the three versions of the tale we read:
- Basile's Cindy was bawdy and a little shocking (plus she commits murder and doesn't get the comeuppance you'd expect from such a heinous act) yet this tale clearly includes romantic love (the Prince is clear on his attraction to Cindy herself  - not justher shoe/foot in this one),
- the Grimm's, which was the most recent of those we read, was more of a tale of coping with (and moving beyond) serious, almost debilitating grief and, apart from hiding and avoiding being caught for attending the ball, this Cinderella didn't show very much initiative
- while Perrault's Cinderella (which is the one Disney drew their version from) was sly and mischievous (a fact that didn't translate to Disney's version at all), intellectual and calculating (though also kind), balancing a whole lot of work, responsibility, planning and being more than ready to act on opportunities given her.

Ironically, Perrault's was the most "feminist" of all in many ways yet in Disney's version she completely lost her edge.

In all four versions - including Disney's - it's the most recent Cinderella in which our girl is the weakest!
Cinderella by Inshoo
I find it very odd that no one is talking about this. Most people have this idea that the old tales are anti-feminist. If you read them in context, that's rarely the case. The women in the stories are almost all unusual or unique in some way and often acting against the norm. This is certainly true of the older (and world wide) Cinderellas. It's our popular versions (you could even say summaries) that portray these women, particularly Cindy, as the antithesis of feminism. (And what does that tell you??)

I'm curious to see if Branagh and his screenwriter will put back some of Perrault's originally intended spunk, making it clear that she's not passive and is more than capable of combining grace with the sharp intellect and action that would be required of her at court.

Cindy is only one of the iconic women characters under the feminist microscope at the moment. With Disney having recently bought Marvel and super hero movies making big bucks at the box office, the lack of a Wonder Woman movie and how difficult it seems to be to write a decent script for such a character (or any other female superhero movie) seems to be a sore point. (Check the link for a good discussion on the topic, along with Lynda Carter - the original Wonder Woman weighing in.) While it may not immediately seem related, the conundrum of writing a feminist icon seems to be one Hollywood just can't get its head around. (This is just bizarre to me.) With Buffy and the urban fantasy genre having made huge strides in the "capable woman lead" arena, the criticism is that (once again) these female superheroes are really just the comic book versions of business women acting (and dressing) like men in the work place to get ahead.*

By these definitions I know ZERO strong women. But this just isn't true - I know plenty. It's just that most of them can't wield a sword like a Samurai and crack Nazi codes all while cooking a hot breakfast and running their own multi-national company, which apparently takes them out of the "strong women" running. (There's an interesting article HERE discussing Cinderella, Wonder Woman and what a strong woman actually is with regard to these two examples.) I guarantee you, you'd be impressed by these women I know, though. They do seem like Wonder Women and both the women - and men - around them are somewhat in awe of them.

So are we saying that our iconic super women (ie ideal representatives) need to be even more "super" than super men??

I would argue that at least two of the Cinderella's we read in the MOOC were more-than-averagely-strong women. Exactly how much do you expect of someone who's oppressed, abused and exhausted by long days of physical labor?**

Have we forgotten what a strong woman looks - and acts - like?***

It certainly seems people can't agree. (At least in Hollywood****.)

* There are plenty of books with strong and iconic female leads and/or heroes and we have a whole lot of amazing examples throughout history currently surfacing (particularly from World War II) as well.

** Most women - and men - I know, wouldn't survive such a situation well at all but that doesn't mean they're not strong either.

*** Other than gorgeous, because apparently all icons have to be stunning proportioned and physically enviable...

**** I'm curious to see if the Fables movie includes Cinderella. She's not at all meek (she's actually a super-secret super-spy, one that even most other Fables don't know about) yet she's not shy about her love of luxury - or shoes - either.

Another Peek Into "Princess Kaguya"

Studio Ghibli's official Twitter account just posted some new stills from their fairy tale film, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, being released in November (in Japan, at least) this year.

Although we've seen a couple of these before most are new and all show a lovely calligraphic quality of line. You can almost feel the hands behind these drawings.

Note: I just want to cheer on behalf of the health of babies everywhere for the tasteful portrayal of a mother breastfeeding her baby - and, if I'm correct, this is her adopted baby too [and yes, that is possible, it's just a lot of work to make happen]. Part of the reason I'm even mentioning this is that when kids see this sort of role modeling by good parents in movies and stories, it doesn't seem like a foreign concept when they get older and they have more tools in place to make active and informed choices.

The famous Japanese folktale Taketori Monogatari (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter) centers on princess named Kaguya who was discovered as a baby inside the stalk of a glowing bamboo plant.Taketori Monogatari has inspired dozens of manga and anime stories, such as Reiko Shimizu'sKaguya Hime and Arina Tanemura's Sakura-Hime Kaden. (Source)

For those who follow casting in anime, the confirmation of the Japanese voices may interest you. Here's the summary:
Aki Asakura will lead the cast as Kaguya, and Takeo Chii, who passed away in June of last year, will still play the role of Okina (Old Man), as he had recorded his part before his death. Kengo Kora and Nobuko Miyamoto round out the main cast as as Sutemaru and Ouna (Old Woman), respectively. Other cast members include Atsuko TakahataTomoko Tabata, Tatekawa Shinosuke,Takaya KamikawaHikaru IjūinRyudo UzakiNakamura ShichinosukeIsao HashizumeYukiji Asaoka, and Tatsuya Nakadai. (Source)
I'm looking forward to seeing a hand-drawn "picture book comes to life" approach to a fairy tale/folktale again. It's been far too long since seeing that kind of magic.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Into the Photography (Of Into the Woods)

Note: Good glory - I just experienced almost 24 hours without phone, internet or TV or radio news! It's weird when even your schools and libraries cannot get online... Into the Desert here - sheesh. Thank goodness for Megan at The Dark Forest keeping up with the days' scoops! You MUST subscribe/follow/log-in and read her regularly.
Yep - it's picture time! First behind-the-scenes pics - in Colleen Atwood's costumes* (swoon!) - were released today via Broadway World from the filming at Dover Castle of Disney's movie adaptation of Into the Woods (dramatic music sting - and a sharp slap on the hand for a ridiculously long sentence).

Go check Megan's The Dark Forest post for lost of lovely pics, all the details and her excellent musings on why we love Into the Woods and whether or not making it into a movie will make that love stronger or make it die a thousand deaths... (or, worse, make us yawn).

Oh - and the comments on Broadway World are fun/cringe-inciting to read too. I had to include this exchange:

*Check Rapunzel's braided corset detailing peeking through in the background, amidst the pics in the original article - very nice touch.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hello Cinderella (First Look at Live Action Cindy)

First look at Lily James as Disney's new live action Cinderella 9/23/13
“It is impossible to think of Cinderella without thinking of Disney and the timeless images we’ve all grown up watching. And those classic moments are irresistible to a filmmaker,” Branagh said in a statement. 
“With Lily James we have found our perfect Cinderella. She combines knockout beauty with intelligence, wit, fun and physical grace. Her Prince is being played by Richard Madden, a young actor with incredible power and charisma. He is funny, smart and sexy and a great match for Cinderella.”
"...irresistible to a filmmaker..." That tells us a lot right there. Apart from Disney itself being the company that's bringing this live action version to life, as well as it being a 'live-action version" of the Disney's animated Cinderella (at least at the inspiration point), it will be interesting to see what they consider classic moments. Will they be classic moments in the plot (which Disney actually owes to Perrault) or will the be classically presented moments, which the disney artists (especially Mary Blair) created their own staging and vision of?
Also note the inclusion of "physical grace" in Lily James' attributes. We're talking about dancing, poise and, now that we see this picture, riding bareback as well. I'm guessing it's unlikely she will be balancing breakfast on her head as the animated Cindy did (although, you never know...)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Rapunzel's Tower Is Under Construction

Set of the film, Into the Woods (2014) under construction at Waverley Abbey, Farnham, Surrey. The artificial tower between the abbey's dorter on the left and the refectory on the right is Rapunzel's Tower. (September 18, 2013)
So if this is what the construction of such a structure looks like in 2013, what would it have looked like in the 1600's? (ie. when Giambattista Basile was writing his version, which is the earliest version of this tale found to date?) What materials would they have used? How many people would it have taken to build? How long would it have taken to construct - had to be less than 12-16 years, right?

Oh wait. Mother Gothel was a witch so she probably magicked it into being...

"The way is clear, the light is good...." #IntoTheWoods
~ Anna Kendrick on Twitter
Image from Into the Woods filming location
But if she could do that, between that and her luscious garden, what kind of witch was she?

And no matter whether the tower sprang up overnight or over twelve years, what would the townspeople's reaction have been if they'd seen it in the wood?

(In the Basile version, Rapunzel/Petrosinella is much older when her mother hands her over to the sorceress/ogress and has already been to school [and it's in an even more heartless manner that the exchange happens, in my opinion] and at least one member of the town community interacts/gossips with the ogress, so someone else - other than Petrosinella's birth family - was very aware of her living situation.)

I love the questions that spring to mind when the practical matters of a fairy tale have to be managed in real life, such as how to construct an actual tower for set use in a film. In this case, the construction is for the current film-in-production Into the Woods, for which principle photography started this last week (the building will be half-historical and half new).

Check the interior stairs - would the original tower have had stairs inside with no door or window to make use of the space, do you think? And with woods like those shown above, don't you think the tower would have been more than a little visible to the surrounding towns? Or was it also camouflaged with vines and greenery? So many questions...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Lily Cole Dances The Red Shoes at 2013 London Fashion Week

"She danced, and she was forced to dance through the gloomy night. The shoes the the carried her over stack and stone; she was torn till she bled; she danced over the heath till she came to a little house. Here, she knew, dwelt the executioner, and she tapped with her fingers at the window, and said "Come out! Come out! I can not come in, for I am forced to dance! "

I know!

How unexpected but oh-so-appropriate too.

From London Fashion Week via XPOSEentertainment:
(Super model) Lily Cole opened Vivienne Westwood's latest show with an interpretive dance yesterday.
The fashion designer showed off her Spring/Summer 14 Red Label line at London Fashion Week and as has become the norm for her, it had a strong environmental message.
Lily's movements were inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Red Shoes and she wore a dramatic Grecian gown as she moved her body in a pool of red light.

From the Daily Mail:
Dame Westwood has always used her runway to promote her social and political ideals, and having worked with the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Sunday was another opportunity to provoke change through fashion.And with Lily Cole, the designer has a good ally, who this year directed her first short film with Sky Rainforest rescue to inspire people to protect the environment and tackle climate change.Together at London Fashion Week, the two brought their message to light, with Lily proving again that she is more than just a model.

Although the connection of supporting "climate refugees" and the message of stopping the amount of waste of resources might be a little difficult for some people to see, there's no doubt it got people thinking.

Lily Cole was a natural ally for Ms. Westwood's "Climate Change" agenda, having been outspokenly eco-conscious for some time.

From Ecouterre back in 2011:
British model-actress Lily Cole thinks that the term “sustainable fashion” is oxymoronic, but only in the sense of “fashion” meaning trends. And it’s not a problem that’s unique to the clothing industry, either, she explains to The Guardian on Monday. “I mean, the fact that there’s already a second iPad out now is ‘fashion’, in a similar way,” she says. “I don’t think this is fashion’s fault. It’s a broader issue to do with the capitalism, and an economy which needs us to keep buying, and creating this superfluous kind of waste.”

I would have to say I had never connected Andersen's Red shoes directly with wasting eco-resources but it makes sense. Having had this brought to my attention, I now feel as if my brain was missing the obvious "next step" of HCA's warnings against materialism. The greed - and consequences - of wanting a thing at the cost of everything (and everyone) else, is pretty clear in his story. Your actions, while immediately hurting some and eventually hurting others, do, ultimately come back to you as well. The proverb, "you reap what you sow" (a concept Andersen would have known well, being Christian-minded) holds true.

Lily takes a bow in red shoes
It's interesting to see one of the world's leading designers have such "eco-consciousness". Fashion is said to be frivolous but really clothing (and how we choose to wear what we do) is much more than that. It's image, armor and expression and, being aware of what we consume (which applies directly to clothes and fashion) says a lot about how we consider our place in the world.

Nicely done Ms. Westwood and Ms. Cole. I have a feeling that although Andersen would have been surprised at the interpretation/use of his story, he would have been humbled as well - and possibly have applauded quite loudly too. :)

Note: I have seen small excerpts of Ms. Cole's interpretive dance on YouTube but nothing very substantial. There are video links (supposedly) embedded in the Daily Mail article (excerpt above) but I couldn't get them to play.

On a related note (with regard to working against the destructive tendencies of materialism, as illustrated in HCA's Red Shoes and helping each other be better) Lily Cole is one of those unique celebrities who's very interested and active in promoting the best of the world and of humanity, both in looking after the planet and in looking after each other. Her new altruistic social network IMPOSSIBLE (a play on I'm Possible) is an intriguing new program and attempt at encouraging a "gift culture", leaving money out of it altogether (even her developers and company people are working on this as their "gift" to the world, without monetary compensation). If you're interested in finding out more about her initiative you can see a video explaining it HERE (it's long but very interesting) and the newly launched app is HERE.