Saturday, March 5, 2011

An American Carnival And a Black Swan

I really like carnivals, despite my inability to spell or say the world correctly. Seriously- I once wrote a story in about fifth grade and throughout the entire thing, I wrote "carvinal." I am not dyslexic, but to this day, I still have to consciously make sure that the 'n' and 'v' are in the right places. My speech pattern was very stilted today as I took pauses to make sure I didn't scramble the word.

Anyway, the reason I bring up my childhood and current difficulties is because there was a carNiVal at Queen Mary today! The event description said that it would be an "American-style" carnival with rides, games, food like popcorn and cotton candy (or "candy floss," as they call it here), music, and a free voucher to the one cafe on campus that I've not yet been to. I thought this sounded pretty cool, and so did Adrienne, so we met up around 2:30 to go to the carnival, which had started a half hour earlier.

You certainly wouldn't have known that given how many people were there, the amount being around five. Yeah. It was dead. I don't actually remember any music playing, but there must have been, because when we went up to the booth that had "PAY HERE!" flashing on it in bright neon lights, we had to shout to be heard. Oh, and the "PAY HERE!" sign was a big lie. They wanted you to pay at a table, which had a tiny white paper sign taped at hip level that read "get your wristbands here." If you bought a wristband, you had unlimited access to the rides, food, and anything else you might come across.

Adrienne and I stood a few feet away from the table and looked around us. The big swingy ride was not swinging, as there was no one on it. Even if I didn't believe that bumper cars are instruments of death, I couldn't have driven one if I'd wanted to, because there would have been about thirty unused ones parking me in. The games were a bit pathetic looking, and plus, I have no aim and I throw like a girl, so I tend to avoid those. The "Las Vegas- style pictures!" green screen area was deserted. The popcorn was there, but I don't even think the cotton candy maker was turned on. That was it. I was there for the cotton candy. I love cotton candy. If there was no cotton candy, there was no me.

This is not a carnival. It's not even a carvinal.

Basically, we decided that we didn't want to pay five pounds to go back and forth between the swingy ride and the torture devices that some people call bumper cars, in hopes that when we got off of one of them, there would be cotton candy. I had texted Laura to tell her that we were there and she should join us, but sent her another message not to come- it wasn't worth it. As Adrienne and I walked away, the swingy ride operator called after us sadly, "Not staying, girls?" There was still no one in his line.

Being American, I am worried what people will think of this event. Carnivals (or fairs, as I would refer to them) are not necessarily the coolest places to hang out, but they're still fun. This was not fun. It's just awkward when you're the only one there. Like seriously, even if I had bought a wristband and went on the swingy ride (which I generally enjoy), it's not like I would have exclaimed my joy as it was going on. Sitting alone in the twelve-seat row going "Wheeeeee!" isn't fun. It's sad.
I am also worried that while the carnival lacked anything we Americans considered worth indulging in, the swingy ride did possess a lovely depiction of the scantily-clad lower halves of two women. Go, USA.

Now, I will say that when I returned from my evening engagement, there were people at the carnival. However, it was raining, so I'm not sure why. But whatever. I think I can safely say that most likely, none of the attendees were American.

My evening engagement was something I've been trying to do for awhile, and that was see Black Swan. I've been planning and unplanning to see it since I got here, but since Natalie Portman won Best Actress for it, I figured I should probably go and see it. Plus, as bad at ballet as I am, I love it, so I knew I would enjoy that aspect of the story, too.
I will say this for the film: Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis were great. I did like the ballet stuff. They did a good job of picking where to end the story (sort of.) It did in fact make me feel very paranoid and grossed out. As a performer, a lot of it was accurate- in fact, I read on IMDb that it was originally written as taking place in the NYC theatre world. I'm glad they switched to ballet, firstly because it ups the stakes- an injury could mean the end, there are constant smaller injuries going on, and you're old by the time you're twenty five, putting on the pressure to establish yourself. Also, the movie freaked me out so much that I think I would have been afraid to go onstage again if it were set in a theatre.

But seriously... I did not like this movie. At all. It was, in two words, too much. Everything about it was too much. I have never let a rating scare me away from a book or play or movie. I pretty much read and see what I like and I'm lucky enough to have parents who allow me to do so. But I should have suspected when my mom, along with several other people, warned me about the film. They didn't say not to go and see it, but they did caution me. While I valued their opinions, I thought I could handle it. Seriously, I have read and seen a lot of things and I was like, "They're probably exaggerating."

Nope. Nope. No, not at all. I sat with my hands over my eyes for at least a fourth of the movie. I seriously considered leaving the theatre because I didn't know if I could stand it. Maybe I'm a prude, but HOLY CRAP. I don't care that it was two girls- it probably would have been just as bad if it were a guy and a girl. I don't wish to find out. They leave absolutely nothing to the imagination. And it did bother me. I was very uncomfortable. In fact, I was uncomfortable beginning from the moment when her director gave her her "homework assignment" in the beginning of the film. I did a whole lot of cringing throughout and when it ended, I actually said "thank God" out loud and left as quickly as possible.

So yeah... that's my review of Black Swan. I actually have much more to say, but I figured I'd spare you my theatre student nit-picky stuff.

In other news, I burned my wrist rather badly on a pan when I was roasting potatoes on Tuesday. I burnt myself because I was rushing, which meant that the burn was left untreated for a good four hours or so, and it got pretty irritated. Now it has become a small but impressively dark scar. Me + kitchen = not so good.


Captain Stennous said...

Hope your wrist feels better. I suppose this means you won't want to be Enscribe's domestic support anymore.
For reasons far too lengthy to explain, I immediately thought of Chaucer when you brought up the carnival. I think the English department is affecting me.
There's a reason we warned you about Black Swan... How many times has your mother been right about things like this?
I feel my response is becoming exceptionally disjointed.

Rachel said...

My wrist is getting better- I had hoped the mark wasn't actually a scar, but I think it'll be sticking around for awhile. If you guys ever demand that I cook for you, I'll just hold it up and pout :p
I know nothing about Chaucer or why he would be related to carnivals, LO.

Yes, BS was terrifying, but now at least I know never to see it again.

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