Daily Archives: Dec 5, 2014
Play cricket or walk through landmines in total darkness, at the Exhibition Tour by Dialogue in the Dark
Do you think you can handle a game of cricket in complete darkness? Find out at the upcoming Exhibition Tour by Dialogue in the Dark (DITD), an organisation that tries to help people understand how the visually challenged go about their daily life. Started in Hyderabad in 2011, DITD is expected to come to Chennai for the first time during the second week of December. And in a quick chat with co-founder Sudha Krishnan, we learn that the exhibition will feature various exercises in which participants will make full use of all their senses, save for their sight. The international organisation (present in over 30 countries) aims to sensitise people on the abilities of the visually impaired. a�?Ita��s the journey from sympathy to empathy,a�? Krishnan says. Over the last four years, 1.5 lakh visitors have taken part in the Exhibition Tours set up in Hyderabad and Bangalore and it will be taken to Pune and Mumbai after Chennai.
The concept targets people across all ages and provides employment opportunities for the visually challenged, as tour guides. Coming up in Express Avenue, the exhibition consists of a series of scenarios in dark rooms. Visitors, in groups of six, are given a quick briefing and equipped with canes before they embark on their journey through darkness. They spend 30 to 45 minutes exploring galleries a�� like a public park, a cafA�, a game of cricket and a field of landmines. In the cafe scenario, visitors will get to have a conversation with their guides while sipping on a cup of coffee in darkness. This is also the scenario where you understand what ita��s like to handle real money. Sadly, we will have to wait for their Taste of Darkness scenario (popular in Hyderabad and Bangalore), where participants get to enjoy a four course meal in the dark, while being served by visually challenged waiters. a�?We might be bringing this scenario to Chennai as a one-time event in the future,a�? Krishnan concludes. Details: 040 64603342
a�� Lakshmi Nair
Professor Eswar S Prasad, on the book he did not plan to write and why India might be a good bet for investments today
A professor, author, research associate and advisor on matters of finance a�� these are just some of the roles that Eswar S Prasad dons. The Tolani Senior Professor of Trade Policy at Cornell University, who made headlines earlier this year with his book The Dollar Trap, is visiting the country next week. And though he will not be stopping by his home town Chennai, he takes time off for a quick interview, giving us an insight into his book and his upcoming speech at the Delhi Economics Conclave in New Delhi, among other things.
Matters of coin
a�?This is not the book I planned to write,a�? begins Prasad, as we enquire about the inspiration behind The Dollar Trap. a�?I wanted to write about the patterns of capital flow. But I discovered something surprising,a�? he says, explaining that while the world thought the financial crisis (that began in the US) would lead to the decline of the US dollara��s supremacy, it actually strengthened it. a�?I saw a much more interesting story to tell,a�? Prasad admits, adding, a�?when therea��s turmoil, people look for a safe place to keep their money and that place always turns out to be the US.a�? Thankfully, with Indiaa��s a�?growth prospects looking up,a�? Prasad believes that a�?investors around the world seem to view India as one of the most attractive investment destinations among the emerging markets.a�?
The game changers
Prasad, who has lectured at colleges like the Madras School of Economics, says that the biggest concern that youth around the world have, a�?is about their future career prospects in a world beset by rapid technological change, increasing competition and changing economic structures.a�? That said, Prasad feels that the talent of Indians a�?is on vivid display around the world,a�? and the countrya��s rapidly expanding middle class and the inherent dynamism of the economy a�?provide excellent opportunities for those youth who are willing to grab them.a�?
In New Delhi next week, Prasad will be talking about Indiaa��s growth prospects. a�?The state of world economy. And the economic reforms needed to keep growth high in India,a�? he elaborates. And before signing off, the professor points out that though the dollar reigns supreme, it may not always remain the most widely-traded currency. a�?The Chinese renminbi is already playing a role and in the next one or two decades, even the Indian rupee could,a�? he concludes.
Eswar S Prasad will be speaking at the Delhi Economics Conclave taking place on December 11-12. Details: delhieconomicsconclave.com
Prasada��s list for beginners
a�? The Shifts and the Shocks
by Martin Wolf,
a�? Capital in the Twenty-First
Century by Thomas Piketty,
a�? On China by Henry Kissinger,
a�? Fault Lines by Raghuram Rajan,
a�? Poor Economics by Abhijit Banerjee.
Give your home a makeover with Nitcoa��s new collection of large-format glazed vitrified tiles. Choose from three different stylesa��the Stellar Stone, inspired by heritage rocks; Marble Mammoth, with classic designs; and Wondrous Wood, with soothing wood designs. Available in sizes of 600×1,200 mm and 200×1,200 mm. At Rs.140 per sq ft. Details: 67521555
Dine in style
Bring some oomph to your Christmas table with new products at Home Label (styled by Sussanne Khan). The exclusive collection includes cake stands, tea trays, glass bowls, vintage cake serving spoons and even some old-school milk jugs. From Rs.380 to Rs.3,100. Details:30770280
Give your decor a break from the dreary colours of winter with this bright madhubani foldable lampshade. Perfect to lend some warmth to those forgotten corners at home, this costs Rs.2,000. While at it, also pick up some cosy bean bags, comforters and funky coffee mugs. Details: limeroad.com
Quirky chairs and furniture with old world appeal find a place in Highlight Living
Having been an art director for 14 yearsa��on films like Deepa Mehtaa��s Water and Sivaji Chandrabhusana��s Frozena��Siddharth Sirohi, 36, also has a passion for designing furniture. The production designer at Highlight Films (a film production company), Sirohi, along with Srila Chatterjee (51), an executive producer, launched a furniture store this August, that offers old-school 60s style pieces, but with a contemporary approach and quirky prints.
Located at Lower Parel in Mumbai, it also offers refurbished old pieces sourced from dealers. While the chairs upholstered with an ikat fabric, featuring a black-and-white zig zag pattern, catch our eye, we are told designer Krsna Mehta picked up the ones featuring motifs of parrots and flowers for his home.
The founding partner at Blue Frog, Chatterjeea��s favourite is Memsaab, a wooden chest of drawers with a seat. a�?I also like the old-world charm of the book cupboards,a�? she says. A telephone desk with an attached retro seat also caught our attention.
Made from old reclaimed teak, the furniture is polished with linseed oil, beeswax and turpentine, while the chairs and sofas are upholstered with cotton, brocade and khand fabrics sourced from brands like Anokhi in Kolkata and Bangalore-based White Pomegranate. The fabrics are also displayed in the store and Chatterjee informs their most popular ones are Anokhia��s. a�?They have interesting prints and colour combinations,a�? she says.
The old furniture is re-upholstered and restored with six coats of Duco paint in colours like green, teal, blue and red. They also house kilims and carpets from Afghanistan and Turkey. They take orders for the furniture, with a delivery period of about two weeks and are willing to ship to anywhere in the country. From 30,000. Details: 022 40344888
From creating upcycled home dA�cor to kitchen gardens, you can learn a lot at the second edition of Green Bazaar
Reuse, reduce, recycle. We may repeat the mantra, but not many of us do much about it. Helping us stick to our resolutions is the second edition of the Green Bazaar. Organised by Bangalore-based alternative.in, an online platform that addresses sustainability (and extends awareness offline through their bazaars), it will feature stalls selling upcycled home dA�cor and coir-based garden products, workshops on how to compost, start a kitchen garden and heal with herbs, and even storytelling booths and nature walks.
a�?We are nine bazaars old (eight in Bangalore and one in Chennai, this September). We came here knowing the city is already conscious of healthy livinga��so we wanted to do something that offers everything. For this edition, we have sustainable product makers from the city and Auroville, besides a few from Bangalore,a�? explains Aarti Mohan, head of activities at alternative.in.
Get your hands dirty
Wellpaper, a womena��s social enterprise from Auroville, is bringing handmade home decor products using recycled newspaper. a�?You can choose from baskets and bowls to jewellery, papier-mA?chA� figurines and Christmas ornaments (`40 onwards),a�? says Yasmin Levi, the customer care manager, adding that the women also have a special treat in store for us: a workshop where they will teach the basic techniques of weaving, coiling and using papier-mA?chA� to create pretty accessoires.
Another interesting workshop is the one by Magic Bean, the city-based organisation that promotes urban organic gardens. a�?We plan to do it in two parts. The first will be a hands-on introduction to kitchen gardensa��how to make your soil, grow in small spaces and pest management. We will also have a capsule on converting kitchen waste into rich compost,a�? says Priya Gopalen, one of the co-founders.
Of diversity and growth
The success of the first edition and the feedback received played a great part in shaping this bazaar. Mohan reveals that they have ensured greater diversitya��with everything from organic honey, detergent free soaps and local varieties of rice and millets, to handspun fabrics and a lot of childrena��s products. a�?Children are at the centre of our bazaars because they grow up to be more sensitive to their environment and parents also make the choices they do for them. In fact, last year several schools sent their students over and they had a blast,a�? she says. Keen on growing the reach of the bazaar, they are now looking at starting one in Hyderabad next, followed by an expansion to Kerala.
This Sunday, at Spaces in Besant Nagar, from 9 am to 7 pm. Rs.50 for entry or Rs.100 for a day pass. Details: 09845498045
Nature and self
With the theme of preservation, the bazaar will have short talks and activities through the day to raise awareness about conservation activities in the city. Herea��s our pick: Help the Olive Ridleysa��learn how to save the turtles; Songs of the Wooda��learn forgotten nature songs with the Sargam Choir; World Storytelling Institutea��listen to stories all day long; and Kreative Kreedaa��play traditional games like aadu puli aatam and chozhis.
a�� Surya Praphulla Kumar
Back for good
His comeback in Mani Ratnama��s Kadal was welcomed. And Arvind Swamy has since bagged quite a few films. Hea��s wrapped up the shoot for Mahesh Manjrekara��s bilingual (Hindi-Tamil), a remake ofA�the Marathi film Kaksparsh. Hea��s essaying a crucial character in Thani Oruvan, the Jayam Raja-directed, Jayam Ravi- Nayanthara starrer. And on the anvil is a film directed by director Selva, where he plays a cop. It seems like this time the actor is here to stay.
Horror films have become the norm rather than the exception in recent times. So ita��s yet another spooky weekend for film buffs. All set to release today is Ra, a horror fantasy thriller. Directed by debutant Prabhu Yuvraj, it has freshers Ashraf and Adithi in the cast. Ra means a�?a�?grabbing or taking away,a��a�� explains the director.
Ita��s a catchy title and one which cricketA�enthusiasts will relate toa��1 Pandhu 4 Run 1wicket. Helmed by debutant Veera, the film has new comers Vinay Krishna and Hashika Dutt in the lead. Releasing today, the spooky tale laced with humour isA�about an incident
that happens when an India-Pakistan match is poised at a crucial stage.
band Roxygen team up for a night of Queen, dance and theatre
This Sunday will see an interesting experimenta��a theatrical production with no dialogues, just songs. Bohemian Rhapsody – A Queen Rock Opera, a tribute to the British rock band Queen, is a�?a concert with a lot of theatre and dance thrown in.a�? Says Michael Muthu, of Boardwalkers, a�?Wea��ve taken 30 of Queena��s songs and woven a story around them. There are no dialogues as I didna��t want to touch the lyrics. Instead, we have strung the songs together to tell the story.a�? The only tweaking the director has done is adding a few extra verses to songs like Innuendo and Death on Two Legs to steer the story.
When city-based rock band Roxygena��with singer Timothy Madhukar in the leada��takes the stage, they will be backed by an eight-member chorus, 12 dancers from Jeffrey Vardona��s The Hot Shoe Dance Company and six actors from Boardwalkers. a�?It was challenging because as dancers we choreograph for a full song. But here there is drama, action and reaction, and since the songs are being performed live, there will be small changes, too,a�? admits Vardon, adding that we can look forward to rock, ballet, contemporary and post-modern moves.
With costumes by Vardona��s wife Cassandra, singers trained by voice coach Augustine Paul, multi-level sets designed specially for the show and elaborate lighting, Muthu promises a spectacle. a�?I dona��t want to reveal too much, but the two-hour and10-minute show will include lots of angels, demons and the character of Beelzebub,a�? he says of the event that is being organised by The Rotary Club of Madras South to raise funds for its community service programmes.
At Sir Mutha Venkata Subba Rao Hall. From 7 pm. Rs.500 onwards. Details: eventjini.com
Our pick of offbeat lecture-demonstrations during Margazhi, featuring technique, debates and more
Come Margazhi, as the citya��s sabhas resonate with thalas and raagams, and ardent rasikas queuing up for performances in the evenings, we tell you there is more to it. For those who have a morning free or a desire to learn more, catch one of the lecture-demonstrations by prominent artistes like vocalist Premeela Gurumurthi and music guru Ramahari Das. Covering topics as myraid as Odissi sangit and a�?musicala�� stamps, here is our pick:
Drawing on his vast research into Indian mythology, author Devdutt Pattanaik will be giving a lecture on a�?Black, White and Grey – Shades of the Feminine Divinea�� along with pianist Anil Srinivasan. a�?I will speak on an idea and Anil will express the same through music. Thus the audience will experience the idea via the head and the senses,a�? explains Pattanaik. Together, the duo will make the journey from Sati to Parvati (honouring Chennaia��s Kapaleshwara) and the struggle between Radha, Rukmini and Satyabhama (honouring Chennaia��s Parthasarathi).
At Kalakshetra, on December 23, at 10.30 am.
Bollywood, Kollywood and Tollywooda��the three industries might be vastly different, but they have classical music in common, says vocalist Premeela Gurumurthi. The head of department of music at Madras University will be presenting a lecture-demonstration on the music of composers from the 50s and 60s, titled a�?The Enchanting Songs of the Yesteryear Film Music Directors and their Ragasa��. a�?I want to bring out how film music directors contributed to classical music in filmsa��not just in terms of raaga and themes, but also the instrumentation and the scenes staged in the songs,a�? says Gurumurthi, who will be showcasing composers like SD Burman, Shankar Jaikishen, G Ramanathan, Viswanathan-Ramamurthy and Adi Narayana Rao, to name a few.
At the Indian Fine Arts Society, December 22, at 10 am.
Tune it right
Odissi is one of Indiaa��s eight classical dances, but the music behind the art form has no visibility, laments music guru Ramahari Das. His lecture-demonstration on Odissi sangit tries to highlight the different styles of singing and compositions that feature in traditional Odissi music. a�?Odissi music has a history that goes back to the second century BC,a�? says the Bhubaneshwar-based musician, giving us a glimpse of what he has in store for Chennai. a�?There are records about King Kharavela of Kalinga holding extensive programmes in the form of music,a�? explains the 60-year-old lecturer at the Utkal Sangeet Magavidyalaya.
Das will also touch on traditional Odissi compositions composed for Lord Jagannath and the different characteristics of Odissi music.
At the Music Academy, December 18, at 8.45 am.
Retired Commander Sriramarao always liked collecting stamps. He also liked music, especially classical. When he retired in 1993, he decided to combine both and his musical collection was born. So far, the Navy commander has collected 4,000 stamps, 260 special coins and 93 currency notesa��all related to musicians, musical instruments or musical notes. a�?I also have a good collection of covers from post offices that are either named after musicians or their music,a�? he says, listing a�?Mozarta�� in Saskatchewan (Canada) and a�?Toscaa��, an opera, in the Northern Cape.
His favourite stamps are the ones releasedA� on legendary musicians Thyagaraja Swamy, Muthuswamy Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri. a�?Our government also released a `100 coin for the International Year of the Childa��with the picture of a dancer, a sitarist and a mridangist. I also love the coins released for Rabindranath Tagore,a�? he says.
Sriramarao will be showcasing 20 frames from his collection at The Music Academy, from December 16 to 20. And he will present a lec-dem on musical Indian stamps on December 16 titled, a�?A Philatelic and Numismatic Tribute to Musica��.
Play and learn
Colouring within the lines does not an artist make. Help your children tap into their creative side with Tara Booka��s art workshop. To be conducted by their artist in residence, Koki Oguma from Japan, it is for children between eight and 12 years. Limited seats, so register now. Tomorrow, at the Book building, Thiruvanmiyur.
Learning is not taxing when there is fun involved. Forum Art Gallery is conducting an art appreciation workshop for children (five years and above), where they will study the work of artist Paul Kleea��known for his colours and style inspired by expressionism and cubisma��and createA� a project using his style of painitng using mixed media. On December 13, from 10.30 am to 1 pm. Details: 42115596
Tale of contrasts
Exploring the twin faces of a city is The Urban Story, an exhibition of photographs by architectural photographer Deidi Von Schaewen and painter-photographer George K. While Schaewen explores the hidden agenda of politics through scaffoldings as a metaphor, George looks at an abandoned furniture factory as a political aspect of social outcasts. December 8 to January 25, at Apparao Infinity, Wallace Garden. Details: 9941012386
With something for the audience and the performers, IndiEarth Xchange gives independent media a boost
Right at the cusp between the worlds of film and music festivals, IndiEarth Xchange 2014 is a platform for independent media. The third edition of the initiativea��created to showcase the best of music and filmsa��will feature performances, conferences, presentations, panel discussions and workshops, for and by music and film professionals.
a�?Ita��s a connection hub. We want to bring together independent artistes from all over the world and give them a platform to perform and interact with the audience and each other,a�? says Sonya Mazumdar, the organiser and CEO of EarthSync, the record label and audio-visual production company that is powering the venture. a�?Ita��s not just about the gigs; it is also about creating markets and a wider reach for independent media.a�?
The line up
Some of the acts this year include Rajasthani folk master Kutle Khan Project, singer Arash from Iran, Mumbaia��s Filter Coffee, The ZenPad Experiment, Madboy/Mink from Mumbai, Blak Wax from Australia, Bangalore-based rock band Parvaaz, pop musician Justus Kohncke from Germany, city-based rock band Grey Shack and more. The event also boasts a set list of rare and difficult-to-access films including Yes ita��s on!, True Love Story, Ship of Theseus and Covelong Point.
Among the workshops will be one by Madeline Bloom, a musician and producer from Germany. a�?It will be about using live electronics in performances,a�? she says, adding that she is excited to attendA� as the footage of the past editions a�?look really amazing.a�?
According to flautist Shriram Sampath of Filter Coffee, a�?Ita��s one of the most talked about events in the last two years. Everyone from the independent music scene is there.a�? His partner Swarupa Ananth, a percussionist, agrees, adding that it is a great time to be in independent music because there are many opportunities and a great audience.
Making it count
Indeed, some of the artistes at the event wona��t just be performing to entertain. With luck, they will bag contracts from the industry peers present. In fact, some of the artists who performed at previous editions went on to sign contracts for international performances, including Audio Pervert and Nucleya. Yotam Agam a musician from Israel, and co-founder of EarthSync, explains, a�?We see some very talented musicians and filmmakers here and we want to give them a stage. IndiEarth Xchange is something that has come right from the hearts of the people that started it and ita��s an amazing initiative.a�?
From today till Sunday, at The Park. Passes from Rs.1,000. Details: 42676000
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