Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year and a Look Back

Since I started Smoldering-Rose last New Year's, this marks its one year anniversary! It's time then to look back on my first resolutions and to make some new ones.

Here it goes---last year's resolutions:
  • Plant a garden - I actually kind of did this with mother! It died though :-( I grew salmon pink geraniums, just like Loveday in The Little White Horse.
  • Go to college - I graduated from college, lol.
  • Write a novel - Nope. Keep working on it I guess. I did write a 50 page thesis on United States national personifications (Columbia, Brother Johnathan, Uncle Sam, Alfred Jones--just kidding about the last one :-D), but critical writing isn't creative writing for the most part. Guess I'm cursed to be the reviewer never the author XD
  • Lose fifteen pounds - I actually think I lost about twenty pounds, thanks in part to being incredibly ill this holiday season and not eating all the fatty holiday food. But I did workout 5 times a week or more, so that probably helped. I have the slowest metabolism of anyone in my family thanks in part to the meds I have to take daily since age,like, 9, so I'm there working out while Mom sits and eats french fries. It sucks :-(
  • Finish the whatsitcalled book series - On Harry Potter, book 4. Getting there. I read them out loud to my cat, actually, cause I'm weird like that. He likes Harry Potter though. I read a lot of other books too, though, which I'm quite proud of. Put down the periodical, pick up the novel!
And now that that's settled, on to my resolutions for this year. This year was doozey and I've had a lot of hard times, but some good ones too, so all those experiences factor in here:
  • Get a local job: This one isn't here for lack of trying. I live with my mother in a VERY VERY small town right now and it's just not happening in the job market. I'm looking at finding a part-time job in the nearby city now. But I haven't had a real income (read: non-discretionary) in almost a year, and with the mounting living costs also considered, I've kind of quit on lolita fashion recently. Hence lack-o-photo posts. In fact, most of the photo posts have been a bit older and don't even reflect what I look like anymore O_o
  • Get into Grad School: I've applied, got my recommendations in, and GRE-ed up, and I will find out soon. Needless to say if I don't get in, it's not going to be a very happy new year. I'm extremely hopeful though that it will go well, since I've worked very hard and have been very dedicated.
  • Go Shopping!: Something I will only get to do if the first two bullets are accomplished, but I'd love to go out and shop a little like I used to ages ago before all my personal and familial financial issues. I've definitely never had a "name of store" hoard post XD But mostly, I'd love to be able to shop for others, not myself. It sucks to constantly be on the receiving end of gifts (feels like a charity case sometimes), and I would like to be able to give back to those I care for this year. Dream purchase: IW Annette JSK.
  • Blog More: I want to update more regularly and add more content, both here and on my tumblr account. I craft all the time now and plan on showcasing that from now on. I have some hot links and cool projects to share soon enough :-D
  • More lolita/otome-related stuff: both online on the blog and offline in my personal life. I still have plenty of time to think up loli-related crafts, literature/movie recommendations, and decorating ideas, but I'd really like to get back to fashion. Just depends a lot on my income. Grr, income issues..............
There it is, Happy New Year!
Tomorrow I'll have nice review of Disney's
Tangled up for everybody.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Yuletide Greetings and an Update

Sorry for the delays in updates, everyone! I am finally done with the GRE and the holidays et al and should hopefully be back to blogging more often. I do have a tumblr account now for those of you also sucked into the tumblr world, lol. My tumblr blog is called Maiden in the Fire. It's just a little something for pictures/vid/quotes.

I'm working on a review of Disney's Tangled for Monday, Jan 3 (Happy New Year for those on the Jan-Dec calendar), since I was fortunate enough to have a get-together with one of my dear fellow Disney Princess addicts from college (she's actually Women's Studies too, not just English/Art Hist/Hist like me, so we're all types lol). We saw the movie and even had a little Disney Princess themed brunch. It was the one break I got from the craziness of the GRE XD

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday at the Movies: "Faust" 1926

This week's feature is actually in the public domain, so you can watch it online for free. Perfect for the dark and spooky aura of Halloween, this week's film is the 1926 German expressionist silent masterpiece Faust from director F.W. Murnau. Murnau is famous for another spooktacular film, Nosferatu, but since it's well-known I thought I'd discuss Faust instead.

As many of you may know, the legend of Faust is very old. In Elizabethan England, Christopher Marlowe wrote a darkly comic play based on the legend. However, as Murnau is German, it makes sense that he uses Goethe's Faust in his adaptation. In the story, a good doctor named Faust finds himself the subject of a bet between the powers of light and dark. The devil (called Mephisto) is after his soul and grants him all his worldly desires: fame, youth, power, and all the women in the world. But when Faust lusts after an innocent young maid named Gretchen, he begins to see the error of his ways.

The faces of Mephisto

The film itself is super-innovative for its time period and pioneered techniques filmmakers still use today. The plot is well-written and visually captivating, so even those not used to silent films will probably enjoy this. One of my favorite films of all time!

Just look at some of these stills--this film is most certainly a work of art! Top, Gretchen gazes into Faust's eyes; Bottom, The Archangel rebukes Mephisto.

Oh, and a little adviso: the soundtrack has been re-done and re-recorded (several times I believe), so don't be surprised if you find a version with modern, electronic style accompaniment. The linked version I've provided has said music, but you'll also find earlier orchestral recordings out and about. I actually enjoyed the dark style of the modern music with the expressionist style of the film.

Notice: yes, I had to backpost this because I had a lot to do the last few days. I visited the campus of the grad school I've applied to and was in Louisville with family, so my blog took a secondary position. I'll probably be on a hiatus soon while I focus on the GRE, but I certainly will continue the blog as soon as I'm all finished with the crazy studyfest :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Trick or Treat ;-)

I'm actually doing a Notre Dame de Paris inspired Gypsy look this time a la Esmeralda. I have candy-distributing duty, so nothing too sexy/scary/both for me this year. My basset hound has a little angel costume she's wearing, so I doubt anyone will be looking at me anyway (we don't normally dress her up, but she seems to like being the center of attention) XD
Next Monday at the Movies will feature a spooky film classic from the silent film era!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday at the Movies: "Ballet Shoes"

"We three Fossils vow to put our name in the history books because it is uniquely ours and ours alone, and no one can say it's because of our grandfathers."

Marmie and I found a copy of this excellent film at our local library. Based on the book of the same name by Noel Streatfeild, it follows the lives of three young adopted sisters known as the Fossils in 1930s England. Each of the sisters is different in their pursuits--Petrova wants to fly planes, Pauline (Emma Watson of HP fame) wants to be a serious actress, and Polly wants to dance like the mother she never knew who left her a pair of ballet shoes.

There are differences from the book (I've not read it, but I've heard many fans say so), but the story is still very rich and vibrant. Not to mention visually stunning--the director and art team really delved into the theatrical stylings of the 1930s. I won't give any of the plot away, but I will bait the lolitas out there with these clippings of Pauline doing Alice and Wonderland:

I should also mention that the combined cast (not just the girls) of this movie is pretty awesome. Their quirkiness really brought out the extended family quality this movie portrayed, with different people outside one's biological family becoming one's family by sharing spaces and memories. A very beautiful film.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I went through some things in my room the other day and found my old collection of Bruce Coville unicorn stories, and then several unicorn statues in another box. As I looked them over, I got to thinking about how many happy childhood memories I had with those beautiful images and magical tales. Of the Peter S. Beagle novel The Last Unicorn and its subsequent film, and of recent stories with unicorns in them (like Harry Potter, Legend, and since it fresh in my mind from a recent film viewing, Peter's mount in Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe). Another of my favorites is Elizabeth Goudge's Little White Horse. In most unicorn-centric tales (even Sailor Moon!), I distinctly remember a young girl being the one the creature connects with.

The maiden and the unicorn is a noted historical pairing in many works of art, and in medieval times the unicorn had allegorical significance related to the relationship of Christ and the Virgin Mary. Unicorns could only be seen or tamed by virtuous young maidens so the legend says. Scholars and historians have fought over whether or not unicorns even exist for centuries. They say every girl goes through her "horse" phase, but I guess I'm not quite over mine, since I find myself still wanting to believe :-)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday at the Movies: Disney's "Secretariat"

I had to deal with some crazy medical billing stuff this week that took over my life for a little while. My heart goes out to you other recent college grads who are dealing with the same crap. Anyway,sorry for the delay and review under the cut More...
Some people aren't Disney fans, but I've always loved Disney movies. Not HSM or recent stuff, but classic Disney. I grew up when the Lion King went on Broadway and Beauty and the Beast was nominated for an Oscar, so I suppose I'm a bit biased toward Disney films. But I come from a Louisville,KY family, so the Triple Crown is also a big deal to me. I won't sit through a football game, but it's serious sportswatching time when those magnificent 3 year olds start down the track. Horseracing is also a very glamourous sport: You wear a fancy dress and hat to the races, not a jersey or warpaint. It's one of the oldest sports in the world, reminiscent of medieval pageantry (which is why I thought this might be a good period film to review for the blog).
But how does this sports film stand up in terms of cast, art style, etc.? Here's my breakdown:

Historical Accuracy: I'm happy to say that--despite some embellishments (no doubt to create tension)--the film is mostly true to history. Penny Chenery's father had already won the coin toss and Secretariat wasn't an underdog at all. Although, I think the point was that Penny was an underdog--a woman in a field dominated by men, who had double expectations on her (raise a winning horse, take care of your family). Some reviewers have complained the coverage of Vietnam and other issues was lax, but I think that the whole point of this horse was how his victory united Americans in something positive, a break from the cultural tumult of the 70s.

Casting: This film was very much carried by cast--Diane Lane was amazing of course, but John Malkovich's sassy portrayal of trainer Lucien took the cake for me. With films where you know the outcome (Titanic or Elizabeth for example), the relationships between the people is key and the cast did an amazing job.

Art Direction: So here's the controversy--one (in my op) slightly crazy reviewer has compared the art direction of the horse races and images of Secretariat in the film to Nazi director Leni Riefenstahl's fascist art style. Before you let this freak you out, let me enlighten you: Every American sports film is filmed this way--you know, dynamic angles and panning to celebrate the almost superhuman nature of the athletes? So I think that reviewer's comments were more directed at a hatred for Disney based on their perception of Disney's values (besides, there are more dangerously political films shot in this style to complain about). This film captured the excitement of the races for me, and I was able to feel about the same level of excitement I do when I watch the real thing, and so was my mother. Which is saying something, since she was around to watch Secretariat's real Triple Crown victory! My favorite shot was the river of hats streaming into Churchill Downs, then cut to the hippies also there to share in the excitement of the sport. My mother turned and said, "That's how it was--me and my flower child friends and our mother's generation in the same place on the same team for once."

Equity: Yes, this something I am going to mention. I felt this movie didn't take enough time with the character of Eddie Sweat, Secretariat's African-American groom. I don't feel that his portrayal was too rough or stereotyped, but he kind of came off as a "magical negro" because we don't see enough of his character.

Wardrobe: I love 70s fashion, and this film showcased the full range from hippie bohemian to Neo-Grecian fluted elegance. If you're interested in the period from a fashion perspective, you should see this costumes and sets for this movie.

What I Liked Most: Penny's relationship with more liberal daughter Kate (AJ Michalka), and how taking on the responsibilities she did ended up bringing her closer to her kids. I actually thought this was more of a mother-daughter movie than a family values stockpic, especially with the message of tolerance Lane's depiction of Penny gives to her daughter's antiwar efforts. Sure this movie has Christian overtones, but lots of my favorite films have religious messages and having them does not a bad picture make in my opinion.

Overall, I give this film 4/5. I definitely recommend this as an inter-generational movie, so take your kids or your mother/grandmother and enjoy. There's been so many mixed reviews that you really have to make up your own mind in the end, but I can say that I enjoyed it and my mother loved it as her bday present.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cool Wall Decorating Idea for Super Cheap: Doily Flowers

I saw this on the Nate Berkus show and thought it was a really neat idea: take different sized doilies and decorative thumbtacks and make a flower tree on your wall. This is an especially great idea for dorms or apartments where you can't really do much with the color of your walls or don't have a lot of time or money to interior decorate.

"Try decorating your walls with different sized and shaped doilies. Affix your doilies to the wall using colorful thumb tacks and create whimsical wall art with a long string of thumb tack doily flowers. You can also try assembling an array of doilies in a frame. If you’re weary of decorating with paper doilies, vintage, lace doilies can also add a beautiful, elegant touch to your home."- text from NATE, image from DG Style.

Here's another cool Valentine's Day wall look with recycled paper from music sheets. Happy Decorating!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday at the Movies: Postponed til Oct 8 for "Secretariat"

I'm postponing my weekly movie review until Friday because I'm going to see Secretariat in theatres this Friday, so I'll be posting a review of it then. My family is from Louisville, Kentucky and thus the story relates directly to events my mother witnessed when she was my age in the 70s. Friday is also her birthday and I'm taking her out to celebrate--since we can't go to Louisville, I'm bringing Churchill Downs to her so-to-speak :-)

In the mean time, I'm posting the trailer here. It looks fantastic, so I hope I'm impressed:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday at the Movies: ABC Family's "Princess"

It's time for Monday at the Movies! As promised, here's my review of ABC Family's Princess.

I apologize for how many times this post had to be edited--I had some html issues! Anyway, Princess is a 2008 ABC Family original film for TV. It is not very well-known, save for those who saw it when it aired or happened upon the dvd while online or elsewhere. My introduction to this film came from a friend who let me borrow it. My only other recollection of it is from people online talking about how it was a "cheap ripoff of Enchanted." So I set out myself to watch the movie and see how horrible it really was.

Big surprise: This movie is nothing like Enchanted. And nothing about it came off as cheap or bad.


The main character is a fairytale-esque princess who talks to animals and falls in love with a regular Joe--that is the only remote similarity to Enchanted in the entirety of the film. The alterations its story makes to the standard "princess" mythology far remove it from Disney stereotypes filled with beautiful maids dreaming of true love. In fact, in Princess's mythology, the heroine doesn't even believe in true love. Care to know more? Here are some spoilers, fair warning:

Princess is the story of a washed up novelist named William who can't seem to get a break. While freeloading off his internet-made-rich college buddy, he winds up being invited to a charity dinner ball hosted by the elusive Princess Ithaca. Ithaca is a local mystery--a beautiful but rarely seen woman who dresses like a princess from a fairytale and only appears outside her castle-like home once a year to hold a ball that raises funds for endangered species. Intrigued, William agrees to attend. When he sees Ithaca for the first time, it's as if he is led toward her by a spell. When Ithaca auctions off a chance to have a dinner date inside her castle, William makes the spur of the moment decision to bet his life savings. He wins the date and a dance with Ithaca, but Ithaca suspects he is more than he seems. She believes William is her Searcher--the mystic man who can find the next princess and bring her to the castle to learn her magic gift.
You see, legendary creatures like nymphs, mermaids, unicorns, beasts and pixies exist. Their species are in danger of dying out completely because they are feared and misunderstood. Only one magical being has the power to help these creatures--the Princess. She is the only human blessed with the power to communicate with them. She lives a life of chaste solitude, dedicated to her mighty task and cared for by an old female caretaker. She doesn't have time for marriage or princes because an entire world depends on her. No men are allowed inside her world--except for the Searcher. Ithaca brings William into her life as a Searcher who will find the next princess before her 25th birthday when her powers expire. William, having fallen in love with Ithaca, plays along but soon realizes the gravity of the situation. Together they must find a street kid named Calliope and bring her to the castle within a week or the fate of every fairytale creature is doomed and the balance of our own fragile world will be destroyed.

"Is it true?"
"Is what true?"
"Do you have a room covered in diamonds, and hundreds of dresses, and millions of dollars and magic wands?"
"I..I'm afraid I don't have any of those things."

The storyline is the first hint that this movie is nothing like Enchanted. First of all, the plot is overwhelmingly dark and serious. Don't get me wrong, it has its moments of laughter and romance (which are great), but overall it's driven by a sense of urgency which gives it an almost thriller quality. Second of all, its highly original twist on the standard princess mythology helps it stand out from all the other live-action princess stories. Here are the unique characteristics of Princess's princesses:
1. Princesses are orphans: The princess has no family (or stepfamily) and lives as an orphan until she is discovered by a Searcher. Her only family is her "mother," that is, the retired Princess who came before her that guides her in using her gift, and the old crone who is her mentor. Very different from your patriarchal fairytale tradition with its missing mothers and evil stepmothers.

Ithaca crowns the new princess, her symbolic daughter Calliope, as her guardian Nana watches on.

2. Princesses understand the outside world,but are not part of it: In Enchanted, Giselle is the perfect social creature--despite being totally lost, she makes friends easily and everyone seems to fall under her spell. Ithaca has no such luck--she is socially awkward and while she is extremely intelligent in the ways of the world, she is not socially adept because she is always needed at the castle to care for the creatures. When she ventures into the real world, she actually disappoints a little girl when she fails to live up to Disney expectations.
3. Princesses understand advanced medical procedures: Birthing pixie babies, cooking specialized meals for recovering mermaids and unicorns, and using a vast knowledge of psychology and veterinary surgeon skills are all daily job requirements for Ithaca. A princess in this movie needs a freaking PhD--good thing she's surrounded by centuries old nymphs to teach her their healing powers.
4. Princesses aren't princesses forever: A princess keeps her position until age 25 when the next princess must be found and brought to the castle to awaken her powers. The previous princess then becomes that princess' mentor and guide, her "mother" as Ithaca puts it. It is a never-ending cycle of women, not the linear destiny of one.
And most shocking of all...
5. Princesses don't experience love: At least they're not supposed to--Ithaca and William help break this when they find each other, but before the princess was kept shut out from the dangerous world of man. Men are not to be trusted because of their cruel, dishonest ways. The princess lives in a matriarchal wonderland where she is accountable only to her older, female teachers. She has her every need met (well, except for romance) and isn't cultured to even want a prince (she certainly doesn't need one). Ithaca is almost a love atheist, asking William how he can believe in true love when he's never seen it happen. It is this aspect of Princess which leads me to doubt it even glanced at Enchanted. Giselle's whole world revolves around finding Prince Charming, Ithaca's around finding her female successor.

So now that you know more about the story, here are the breakdown as to why I think any fantasy film lover would love this movie:

Writing 4/5: This movie was very original and a welcome twist to the standard fairytale. There could have been more action and less suspense in some scenes, but it carried well regardless. I had a biff with a few loose ends (particularly about the nature of the Searcher and how involved he is in the Princess's world), but not enough to make me disappointed.

Visuals 5/5: ABC family pulled out all the stops with this one. Fallen was another ABC series that got similar attention to fx. The overall aesthetic quality is stunning--reminiscent of a Pre-Raphaelite painting in some scenes. It reminded me a great deal of The Tenth Kingdom's special effects and art design. Ithaca's dream prophecies are especially well executed.

An example of a garden scene. Also, baby deer so cute omg.

Costumes 5/5: The costume designer for this movie did a phenomenal job with Ithaca's many fabulous outfits, as well as the other character's wardrobes. Calliope and the other street kids looked like..well, a bunch of ragged and dirty homeless kids. It was very realistic--it never felt like a cartoon or out of place.

One of Ithaca's more casual dresses, with a Neo-Medieval aesthetic.

Music/Score 3/5: The movie was very good about having music where music was necessary. When songs were played, they didn't distract from the action. The score was rich and very fairytale feeling without being cheesy or over the top, but it wasn't one I'd buy the CD for.

Acting 4/5: I will hand it to ABC family--they know a good actor when they see one. The only character I felt was forced at times was William's college buddy who--granted--is supposed to be an annoying prick in the story. Nora and Kip had great chemistry, and she played a wonderfully multi-dimensional princess.

Total Score: 21 out of 25

Final Comments:
If you have the chance to rent, buy, or borrow this film, do. ABC Family really shined with this one and I had a delightful time watching it. I loved it so much I made new lj icons from it. Princess really does take the fairytale standard and mix it up. I especially enjoyed how the princess gains her power from another princess, something I rarely see. William was a delightful reluctant hero and totally proves that a self-proclaimed "frog" can be the best kind of prince in the end. It's refreshing to see the "prince" place himself in the princess's world versus the princess conforming to his. The underlying theme of love bringing two worlds together was beautifully realized as well. As for those who still claim this movie rips off Enchanted (which I still love,btw)....well, sticks and stones.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Clean Hoooouuuuse

Today was my apartment complex's big yard sale. I managed to make some money toward my GRE fee and sell off my old dorm stuff and unfitting clothes. The rain waited for us, thankfully, to finish before pouring!
After the yard sale was done, I donated all the items that didn't sell to charity. I enjoyed the whole process (I'm sore from carrying all the furniture and heavy items), and I think sometimes you have to part with one stage of your life and move into another. Selling/donating/repurposing items from one's past is an almost ritual way of enacting changes in your life on a material level. I know people who have serious hoarding problems caused by inabilities to progress from that past stage of their life to the next--literally, carrying "baggage" from their past. I feel rejuvenated after ridding myself of the vestiges of past. Cocoon to butterfly, here I go.

BTW-Last week I grievously omitted Monday at the Movies during my hectic yard sale/grad app prep! This Monday I'll be posting an illustrated review of the ABC Family original movie, Princess starring Nora Zehetner. I really love this movie's princess mythology--it's focused a lot on women's POVs and is pretty empowering even (not your common fairytale). I can't wait to share, see you Monday!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Fall Equinox/Harvest Home/Feast of Ingathering, and Autumn at last!

It's the beginning of Autumn! This is the day I celebrate an old holiday of thanksgiving for the fall harvest called Harvest Home. It's an English/Scottish Medieval Christian tradition of celebrating the fall harvest with feasting and merriment. Of course, the practice of celebrating the Equinox and first harvest goes back much earlier with the Pagan sabbat of Mabon and the Jewish Sukkot or Feast of Ingathering (I reckon the Medieval celebration roots itself in the biblical tradition but follows more like the Pagan in practice, like A LOT of Christian holidays, lol). Some Christian denominations call it the Feast of Tabernacles, I think.

Marmie and I made chicken, squash, baked apples, tomatoes, bread and pound cake. We had salad with homemade vinaigrette dressing and cranberry juice, and our neighbor even brought some cream corn over. It was really wonderful--Marmie got to use her new bread bowl and I was so happy to be eating totally local-grown meat and produce and making bread from scratch. It was a total feast and I'm totally stuffed--we made plenty to share with neighbors as well. Too bad there's no big sales today for me to walk it off in while I shop! XD

So, do any of you have a Harvest tradition in your family/community? Big Thanksgiving get-togethers in November, traditional Jewish festivities, observances for Mabon/Alban Elfred? Now that Fall is upon us, I'd love to know what everyone's doing this season! Happy Fall, everyone.

(And I know my sisters at Salem College rocked Fall Fest again tonight. It's Fall Fest y'all).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Update, Thurs 9/16

Sorry for the lack of posts as of late, I've been planning a big yard sale and working on grad school stuff. To make up for the lag, I give you cuteness:

Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday at the Movies: "Fantasia" (1940)

So, I'm starting a new weekly blog topic on Smoldering Rose called "Monday at the Movies," where I watch and discuss a film that fits the romantic/fantasy/fairytale aesthetic. Today's film is Disney's classic Fantasia.

Fantasia is one of those you-either-love-it-or-you-hate-it Disney movies. The premise: give the feeling of a live classical music performance, complete with an onscreen orchestra and emcee. Only, instead of just our watching the musicians, Disney creates a series of animated vignettes to go with each musical number. As a fan of classical music, this is totally awesome to me. It reminds me of when Disney did musical short cartoons, only this is on such an enormous level. There have been sequels like Fantasia 2000, but to me, nothing can replace the artistry of the original.


Here are five reasons I love this movie, and why you might too:
1. This movie is not just for kids: unlike many animated films, Fantasia is really better experienced by mature audiences who appreciate music and art on the level the animators and orchestra do. It is a celebration of the imagination of classical music visualized through the imagination of Disney animators. Not that you won't enjoy it if you have no interest in classical music, but this movie is definitely a gem for classical music fans--I mean, they got Leopold Stokowski to conduct for goodness sake! It was meant to be an art event, not just another Disney film.

2. Flower Fairies and Gold Fish in the Nutcracker Suite: Disney puts Tchaikovsky's famous ballet suite to a series of vignettes featuring a dancing goldfish, faeries bringing the frost, and dancing flowers and mushrooms. Very creative and otherworldy, which is how the music has also sounded to me( the Nutcracker is also my favorite ballet, so I guess I'm a bit partial to this piece):

3. The Pastoral Symphony: Also known as Beethoven's 6th, instead of a day in the countryside, Disney takes us through a day in the midsts of the mythical Olympians. With centaur couples, cherubs, and a baby pegasus' learning to fly, this is one of the most memorable fantasy sequences in Disney history:

4. The Dance of the Hours, with Hippos and Alligators: From the famous ballet in Ponchielli's opera La Gioconda, this ballet is the same setting as usual--Alvise's palace. It is an allegory of the times of day, with dancers representing dawn, midday, dusk, and evening. The difference in Disney's version is that the dancers are now ostriches, hippos, and alligators. And it's absolutely delightful:

5. Night on Bald Mountain into Ave Maria: This is my absolute favorite sequence--I love juxtapositions, and no two musical pieces have themes and tones more in opposition than Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain (where the subject is the debauchery of Satan's followers on a fiery mountaintop) and Schubert's Ave Maria (where the subject is the Virgin Mary and the birth of Christ). In a provocative contrast, the sequence begins with monstrous figures heading toward a dark and looming Devil and ends with the coming of daylight where pilgrims with candles head through a beautiful forest over a cathedral-like bridge. Spiritual, invigorating, and brilliantly animated, this sequence is the reason I'm still amazed by this movie: