The Life and Death of Marina Abramović Draft Hidden Sticky

Posted Tuesday, 24 December 2013 | Post Comment |

I saw Anthony’s Swanlights, from the Anthony and the Johnsons fame a couple years ago. When the performance ended, I saw many people in tears. Then the crowd, in a mounting 15 minute standing ovation begged Anthony to come back on stage and failed.  Anthony is a unique music legend and a familiar face to many New Yorkers. I first heard of him about 10 years ago from a friend. She pointed me to a shy and slightly awkward character sitting at Think Coffee on Bleecker and Bowery and told me his name. Despite having a song on the Hunger Games soundtrack, Anthony is not widely known or identifiable by the general public.

Marina Abramović doesn’t seem to need an introduction. Nevertheless, her performance and, to an even larger extent, her life, are completely unknown to the general population. Many have heard about her for the first time during The Artist is Present. There’s also a documentary by the same name.

My favorite Willem Dafoe performance is in Boondock Saints. It’s a cult movie, yet somewhat niche. Dafoe is a brilliant actor and he puts immense efforts into being his characters.

These three individuals came together in a performance entitled The Life and Death of Marina Abramović at the Park Avenue Armory. The critics wrote that “its performers are excellent, the production is stunning, and the play itself is awful”. They complained that “if you were to go see this show, and you didn’t know much about Abramović, you would walk away without the least idea of why her death matters”. I think that the idea that you can watch such a show without any background or research is sad. We’ve become so accustomed to consuming media without any preparation, much like television. We don’t read. We don’t learn. It quickly becomes obvious that we have nothing to talk about, either. And it’s no wonder that we compare contemporary paintings to works of children.

Me? I loved the show. I’ve followed of all these individuals and their art for years. Same probably goes for everyone sitting around me, including Lady Gaga who was a mere 10 seats away in a glittery white dress. We all stood together and applauded in the end a magnificent Dafoe. He delivered a continuous and intense narrative and was incredible. He looked like a wreck and carried the entire show on his frail shoulders. Marina and Anthony appeared occasionally, and created unique and complex feelings. The Serbian chants penetrated your body. Robert Wilson’s adaptation of the artist’s life was sometimes heavy and, of course, always beautiful.

Marina’s life and death matters, but it doesn’t have to matter to everyone.


Thanksgiving 2013 in Baltimore Draft Hidden Sticky

Posted Friday, 13 December 2013 | 43 Images | Post Comment |

Botanical Gardens Draft Hidden Sticky

Posted Tuesday, 05 November 2013 | 26 Images | Post Comment |

Diego Donati and Franco Amato feat Kelly Malbasa - Turning Point Draft Hidden Sticky

Posted Sunday, 20 October 2013 | Post Comment |

This track has been looping today on repeat in my headphones, start at 2:00.


Covers Draft Hidden Sticky

Posted Sunday, 20 October 2013 | Post Comment |

Saw an awesome off-Broadway show a couple of weeks ago.

“An engaging psychological work of theater, COVERS paints a revealing portrait of an unusual family, while exploring the difficult choices made that have defined their pasts and are destined to influence their futures.”

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Governors Island Rides Draft Hidden Sticky

Posted Sunday, 29 September 2013 | 54 Images | Post Comment |

EVCS Fiesta Fundraiser 2013 Draft Hidden Sticky

Posted Sunday, 05 May 2013 | 122 Images | Post Comment |

Away from Snow in St-Croix USVI Draft Hidden Sticky

Posted Saturday, 04 May 2013 | Post Comment |

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St-Croix USVI 2013 Draft Hidden Sticky

Posted Saturday, 04 May 2013 | 78 Images | Post Comment |

Calculating the Gifted and Talented Percentile Rank Draft Hidden Sticky

Posted Saturday, 13 April 2013 | Post Comment |
My son did very well on the NYC DOE Gifted and Talented test, especially considering that we did no prep other than exercising with the DOE samples from the  handbook, maybe a couple of times to teach him how to point the answer out. He scored 97th percentile, not enough to be likely to go to our school of choice, but well enough to qualify for the lotteries and maybe even an actual spot. The numbers confused me, though.


The above score breaks down as follows:


The verbal test counts for 1/3 and the non-verbal for 2/3 roughly. So how can 98% and 99% average to 97%?

It's all because the very few kids who did better in either verbal or non-verbal did much better in those categories. This is an effect of the normalization - they may not have actually done much better in terms of items answered correctly.

Let's ask a resident mathematician for an example.

Assume you had 100 kids taking the test. In verbal, kid A and kid B were the only ones who did better, but they both got 150 (much better) and 135 non-verbal (only a little worse). Their combined scores are 150 + 2*135 = 420. Kid C was the only one who did better in non-verbal, they got a 160 and a 131 verbal (only a little worse) for a combined score of 160 + 2*131 = 422. Your combined score was 132 + 2*136 = 404, which was beaten by three kids (A, B, and C), which puts him in in the 97% total.

So, if you combine then normalize the scores the combined score makes more sense. When you normalize then add, it's much easier for kids to jump ahead by doing well on one test. This is OK with me, because a child that does exceptionally well in one area is more likely to be talented somewhere, as long as they do above average everywhere else.

Now, I don’t believe these tests represent anything other than the ability for a kid to focus on a problem, be well rested, live in a good environment that doesn’t stress them out, and have a level of intelligence appropriate for their age. I don’t think that scoring 99th percentile makes you a genius or says that you were prepped or your parents were rich. These tests are just one way to select children from a very large pool of candidates for a very limited amount of spaces available. I don't believe that the other choice when you don’t qualify for G&T should be a crappy school. Given our location in NYC we feel lucky not to be in that situation.

(thanks @aaw for a clear explanation of the numbers, quoted “as is” above)
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