Sunday, March 28, 2010

Balkan Bonanza

Fundraiser event @ Club FF in Hongdae, 3/26/10, to buy instruments for Romani children. I'm usually more of a photo person, but I was on a video kick for this event.

Tim McManus: accordian, Myvanwy Birds: drum,

AMAZING guitar by Greg Hanford

More AMAZING guitar Greg Hanford

The dancers (Bobby & Aly)

More dancers (Belynda Azhaar & May Tribal-fusion)

"Bad Beer" by Tim McManus

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March Hafla

A Middle Eastern food & dance party at Andalous in Itaewon, 3/20/10

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I took a shimmy-based conditioning class last night. My feet were killing me by the end, but it felt good. I wasn't so distracted by the same body issues as before because I came to understand that I'm just not used to not being the thinnest and most talented person in class by a long shot. But this is good.

My friends have always encouraged me and enjoyed watching me dance, applauding my skill. I have no skill. I'm not very good, but with no basis for comparison before now, my opinion is worth what, exactly? For the first time since I began belly dancing four years ago, I'm being challenged in class and shown up by better dancers. This is a good thing.

It means I can improve a lot.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


"Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautiful.
And though you seek in garments the freedom of privacy, you may find in them a harness and a chain.
Would that you could meet the sun and the wind with more of your skin and less of your raiment.
For the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind.

Some of you say, 'It is the north wind who has woven the clothes we wear.'
And I say, Ay, it was the north wind
But shame was his loom, and the softening of the sinews was his thread.
And when his work was done he laughed in the forest.
Forget not that modesty is for a shield against the eye of the unclean.
And when the unclean shall be no more, what were modesty but a fetter and a fouling of the mind?
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair."

Excerpt from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran

Putting on a shirt is generally the most disappointing part of my day. I like underpants well enough, but certainly not bras or shirts. My fears of what other people will think are about my only motivation for wearing bras. But these fears don't stop me from often going without in the summertime. I oscillate between not wanting to look trashy and thinking, "My breasts are magnificent and screw anyone who takes offense to them."

Covered head to toe in a feeble attempt to stay warm in the winter, I feel least like myself and most like I'm hiding something. I've chosen my winter garb with care- sweaters and slacks in attractive colors and cuts- yet I tire of them in less than a month and dressing becomes drudgery for months on end. Where are you, Spring?

I feel freer and more like 'me' in my summer clothes, but still not quite there. I delight in buying and creating costumes for performance and for amtgard, but I can never stick with just one. Dozens later, I still haven't found one (or even a few) that feels like the precise expression of who I am.

I can't say that nudist communities appeal to me whatsoever, but I still feel most comfortable at home in nothing more than my own skin. My skin and my body are the only constant of 'me'-ness. Though they change every day, every hour, so do I. I am not at all the same person I was a year ago, or even last week. My clothes can't keep up.

My weight fluctuates and I never seem to have pants that fit right. Hm, wouldn't that be an interesting metaphor for everything imbalanced in my life?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Self image prompt

How did you relate to your classmates? Were you comparing yourself to them? If so, why did you do that and what did you learn? prompt

I attended my first ever tribal belly dance class today at the Well Being Studio in Itaewon. Man, it was hard. I've been sick in bed for two weeks, so I'm physically weak. Plus this brand new posture and style to learn and so many little things I had to concentrate on that had become automatic for me in Oriental style dance classes. Whew.

Add to that my being distracted by the teacher's and other student's long, lithe bodies in the mirror, mine looking round and plump by comparison, they showing off slender tummies and dance pants that accentuate their movements better while I was covered in workout gear. And I wondered if I could ever look so slim and graceful. It doesn't help that I typically barely glance at myself in the studio mirrors, preferring instead to carefully watch and emulate the instructor.

Anyway, I left feeling particularly "blah" about myself. But I stopped by What the Book? and chanced upon a memoir about food and sex and sensuality. The author is brilliant and her book laugh-out-loud funny. ("Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses" by Isabel Allende) See the poem from the post below this. She begins by stating at age 50, "I repent of my diets, the delicious dishes rejected out of vanity, as much as I lament the opportunities for making love that I let go by because of pressing tasks or puritancal virtue."

It's cheered me up a bit.

It's not so much seasonal affective disorder as I need to exercise almost daily to keep from feeling depressed and crazy-like, but the weather and illness have trapped me indoors, trapped me in my bed and my head, increasingly insane. I'm sure, with patience, the weather will improve and I can start working out and feeling happy again.

"Hymn to Cellulite" excerpt

O avidity
for the elaphantine leg,
pillowy with fat!
O majesty
of the divine thigh
of jelly-like liquidity!
...Long live the adipose
idolators of idleness,
those of the class who leave the
odious scutwork to the mule
and eat everything that fattens the ass.

-Enrique Serna

Monday, March 1, 2010

History lesson

Betty Page 1950s fetish film

Bad form doesn't bother me so much, but what is up with her facial expressions? This was considered playful and teasing back then, though it just looks weird today. What do you think?