Archive for the ‘Media/Museum/Music/Shows’ Category

Summer Olympics… Inspiring

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

The opening ceremonies were full of tradition and surprises… Countryside scenes, traditional, historical music, British humor, British legends, and Royals. I thought the filmed scenes of the queen with the James Bond character was sensational. What fun and whimsy! Good for her to allow that and be part of a fun joke at her royal highness’ expense! Good show! Thank you Danny Boyle and England!

London is a fabulous city. It looks as though it was well planned. Good job! What was Mitt Romney so concerned about anyway? A city that moves people and a central location for all events. I have heard that they didn’t have the crowds of people they were hoping for. Evidently that is a recurring problem with the recent, past 10, 15 years of Olympiads. They plan for hoards of people to attend, even building new hotels and restaurants hoping for boosts in business and hiring more staff in anticipation and in the end the people stay away and the locals leave town fearing the discomfort and inconvenience. I guess now is the time to go. After the Olympics are done and everyone is leaving and the rush of the excitement is still present. Rooms are discounted and air fares are also low to encourage the end of summer travelers.

I miss the Olympics. It was great to have so many choices for entertainment in the evening. I love my Tivo and recorded the daily events and could go back to anything. The swimming and the gymnastics were exciting. The track held me amazed at the incredible feets in just second… A flash of time and records are broken. The human being at a physical peak takes their body to the edge… and then does it again…

The Beach Volley Ball….

To think that Beach Volley ball is an Olympic sport! This speaks to present times not the past. It was introduced at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games, a demonstration event, and has been an official Olympic sport since 1996. We, the USA teams, have won gold in either men’s or women’s since 1996. Right on team.

I personally find the uniforms rather revealing, almost sexually exploitive for media purposes. I am sure there are those at home watching for reasons other than athletic interest now. They do look very containing, and supportive. I would say that of all the sports now. The athletic attire has become rather like extreme costuming. They were joking on TV about a man’s penis and whether he was aroused for the medal ceremony… Well so what if he was, or perhaps he just has a larger one… just like women’s breasts, they come in different sizes and shapes and these things are hard to hide in the skin tight minimal clothing specially designed for the teams… It was an exciting moment for him and with all the men and women in such evocative attire how could he help it in that moment, and with the snug fitting, form revealing uniforms how was he to hide it. Where? Really!

But then the Olympics of ancient Greece and Rome were done naked! The human body being celebrated and the athletic prowess rewarded.

Of course, I love to watch the sports that I have enjoyed doing myself. As a young girl in gymnastic class, didn’t we all imagine ourselves at the Olympics… Remembering Nadia, Kathy Rigby…

Cathy Rigby went on  to acting and you could find her guest staring in a role on a TV series for a while. Then she really blew up on stage with her teaching Peter and Wendy to FLY on Broadway in Peter Pan.

On the diving board when a child is asking her mom or brother and sister to rate their dive, we play at our own little competition with ourselves, wanting to do our best. The crazy fun I had with my sister when we would attempt the synchronized swimmers upside down movements or the apparent lack of above the water as they hold a pose gracefully never showing the manic paddling that it takes to keep a leg poised upward and then jut it up suddenly in synchronicity with others on the team. Wow! Remembering the old movies with the swimmer movie star, Esther Williams! I haven’t been to any of the Sea or Ocean amusement parks since I was young.. Oh no I forget the bay area Marine World  Africa USA in Vallejo, California. I think they call it something else now. Surely there is an ocean theme park that employs these amazing anonymous athletes that spend much of there performance time holding their breath. I am thinking in Florida.

While we play at our sports, some are taking the play seriously and making it a life passion, direction, and later profession. I do miss the days when the Olympic athletes could not be professionals. that when they would only become endorsed or advertised after they decided to leave the amateur status and that had to be a big decision whether to pursue another 4 years of intense Olympic aspiration driven training with out the financial backing of any large business. In history many Olympic athletes were working a day or night job while striving to find time to train. I am sure there are still many who do, but so many of the athletes today are supported by the sporting companies.  The rock stars of the Olympic games are able to support their training and have major contracts with their sponsors well ahead. I wonder what the past athletes would have accomplished if they were able to have an extra 3 to 4 hours in the pool, while their mother looked on, free to drive them and spectate because she didn’t have to take a job to support her gifted child’s pursuit of the coveted Gold, Silver, and Bronze. I am sure families still have a challenge to deal with the intensity and demands of supporting and encouraging the gifted athlete, but the ability to now have the financial support of commercial sponsors is powerful.

I do miss the simpler times of the amateur athlete at the Olympics. It seemed to be a more pure sense of competition. Just the athletes without the business and money behind the advertising. Many would retire from Olympic pursuits just so they could cash in while the offers were still there for them. Now we have Olympians who return for 3 even more games. Amazing that you can, but also wonderful to stand back and feel your success and open the door for others to experience the opportunity after you, the same glory.

I would list the names of all the US Olympians, but that would take more time and we know so many and we just watched them. I was amazed daily with the athletes from all over the world…. The swimmers, runners, vaulters, jumpers, racquet swinging, shot put hurling….You know who you are inspired by.

I imagine the work and skills that are developed by these athletes and in some way covet their incredible abilities… Their natural ability was a gift of birth and their dedication and perseverance to perfect their moves and pursue an excellence such that few will ever achieve at anything in life. Bravo… I admire and applaud you.

A Woman of Character, or Just a Character? Shelburne Museum

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

This weekend, I fell in love.  I fell in love with The Shelburne Museum, another Vermont gem that I had never taken the time to visit until now, but, more importantly, I fell in love with the woman who created the museum, Electra Havemeyer Webb (1888-1960). Electra  grew up, in a NYC mansion on Fifth Avenue, surrounded by priceless works of art, many by the French Impressionists, she traveled the world with her wealthy parents who collected treasures from Europe and the Orient.  Imagine her mother’s chagrin when at age 19, Electra purchased her first piece of artwork, a wooden Indian from outside a cigar store in Connecticut.  ” I wanted to collect something that nobody else was collecting,”  Electra explained.

Electra was a true non-conformist, while her peers were establishing those huge marble summer homes in Newport, RI, Electra and her husband chose to summer in Vermont, where his family lived. She hunted bear and caribou, travelled to Alaska and the Canadian Rockies, often the only woman on the expeditions.  In WWI, she volunteered to drive an ambulance in NYC.  Nutsy, gutsy, fun loving and intelligent, Electra was passionate about everything she did.

When her collections threatened to take over her homes in Vt. and NY, Electra combined them with a collection of wagons , carriages and sleighs belonging to her husbands family , purchased a small piece of land in Vt, and began collecting buildings.  The Shelburne Museum was born. She collected a railroad station, a covered bridge, a lighthouse, general store and one room schoolhouse. Perhaps most impressive, the steamship, Ticonderoga, is now happily docked on the lawn at Shelburne.  Talk about re-cycling!

Truthfully, this woman has captured my imagination, she easily travelled among the crowned heads of Europe and the farmers, carpenters and blacksmiths of Vermont.  She respected the work of ordinary people and saw their creations as extraordinary works of art. Electra did what made her happy.  She defied convention and created a living monument to American Creativity.Don’t miss the Shelburne when you’re in Vermont.

Summer Music Festivals-what to wear?

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Dig out those cut off jean shorts, head bands, tattoos, face paint, head dresses and flowering dresses, it’s summer and time for the festivals.  Here’s just a few shots from last years’ Frendly Gathering.  Thanks again to Ali Kaukas and her excellent photo skills! Hayley, Nicole and Liza

Kylie H

Jersey boys!


Vermont Skateboards

Shelby and Mason

Summer Festival Season-let’s get Hula Hooping!!!

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

It’s the Frendly Gathering 2012 countdown, 11 days to D-Day or should I say, fun day! This could be your beginning to the festival season.  So let’s get hooping!

Photo by Ali Kaukas

Hula hooping was brought to the general public in the 1950’s  by Wham-o, the company that also brought us the Frisbee disk. However, hooping can be traced back as far as 5th century Greece and  during 13th century Scotland, doctors were prescribing hooping for back dislocations and heart attack patiences. Today many festival goers are also making their own in different sizes.

Photo by Ali Kaukas

Hooping is for all ages and ability types.  Some people can do tricks while others just keeping the hoop on your hips is trick enough.  Local gyms are now offering hooping classes to get you ready for this festival season.  The classes also burn mega calories and coupled with dancing makes for a fun way to get into shape. So whatever your goal, get your groove on and hoop! Photo credits by Ali Kaukas

Les Mis; the movie

Saturday, May 5th, 2012
To me, the music and lyrics of Les Miserables are arguably the best ever written for musical theater, which is why, when I saw the headline, “Taylor Swift Beats Out Lea Michele For Major Role in Upcoming Les Miserables Movie,” I freaked.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Taylor Swift and perhaps she could pull it off. Lea Michele is no stranger to Broadway, she played Eponine as a child, but right now, she’s Glee’s Rachel.
As it turns out, the headline was completely wrong, Samantha Barks, who recently played Eponine in the London production of Les Misérables landed the role. But, the mistake led me to look at the rest of the cast for the movie, and I’m hooked, I Look forward to how this plays out.
The male leads are really interesting and really good to look at.  As Jean Valjean, they’ve cast Hugh Jackman. We all know he can sing, he played Peter Allan in The Boy from Oz, and won the Tony, but Valjean is a very different kind of role.  We’ll see.
Russell Crowe will play Inspector Javert, this works for me,  Russell Crowe can play anything, and the self-rightous, inflexible Javert suits him.  Can he sing?  He has a band, but that is no guarantee, still, I like the choice.
The other big names, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, yeah, I see it, Anne Hathaway as Fantine, odd choice, but I can still hear her singing Queen’s “Somebody To Love”  in “Ella Enchanted.”
And finally, my favorite choices, Sacha Baron Cohen as Thenardier and Helena Bonham Carter as his wife,  I’m pretty sure it couldn’t get better than that.  These roles require great comedic affect tinged with a strong element of evil.  Who could be better?
Big stars, major production, a classic story that should not fail.
Les Misérables is an upcoming British musical film based on the musical of the same name, which is in turn based on an 1862 French novel by Victor Hugo. It is directed by Tom Hooper and  is scheduled to be released on December 14, 2012. You have plenty of time to catch up on the story and the music before then.


Friday, April 20th, 2012

It’s time to start thinking about making some plans for heading up to VT, June 14-16 for the music festival of a lifetime…THE FRENDLY GATHERING!!!  Plan on camping out, relaxing, and listening and dancing to the music under the beautiful skies of Glebe Mountain.  Take a look at this line up!!Last year’s Frendly Gathering was a huge success, but this year is guaranteed to be even better!  Gather up your frends and get ready for an epic weekend Vermont style.Get your tickets now.  Look forward to seeing you there!

Buenos Aires… Walking Tour

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

I just spent Easter weekend in Buenos Aires: Sola… No son’s to share the day… Sorry boys I didn’t get the chocolate and chewy Easter things to you before I left. I am sucking this year with the holiday accoutrements. Thanks Nick, for dealing with my neglects at home. I am sure the dogs were happy that you boys passed through in my absence.

So Buenos Aires… In a nice hotel. After spending 4 nights in a cabin on a rocking ship  with wind, rain, and snow, I wanted a nice big bath tub to soak in. I got it

After a quick 2 hour tour driving around the city to get bearings, and a lovely lunch at the hotel, I took my map and headed out…

Easter is busy like any other Sunday in Buenos Aires. Many people live in the high rise apartamientos and so they come out to enjoy their city. The art in the city central public areas is really astounding. The architecture of the past is grand… I should say GRANDE. It is European, international, and elegant.

Some new works of sculpture are around the city also. A large blooming flower…

Floralis Generica

By Eduardo Catalo

An homage to the beloved Eva Peron.

The sad thing is the filth and garbage that the people abuse their surroundings with. Dog shit all around. I watched it happening and had to watch my step on the lawns and pathways that kids are playing soccer on and people are picnicking on.

Homeless too. Reminding me of home in the bay area of California. The weather is comfortable and there are public places where there is adequate space for temporary shelter.

So I heard from the hotel personnel that Easter is a day to share a lunch with your family. Church before and then an outing or back to work. Not like the major holiday we make of it. It is the Springtime break that schools take, though.

One important stop on the morning driving tour of the city was the La Catedral Metropolitana neoclásica de Buenos Aires. The 19th century, neoclassic catedral is located at the intersection of Riodavia and San Martin. Looking more like a school of law, the stern exterior does not speak to you of the classic beauty of the art in the interior. That is the reward when you look inside. Church on Easter Sunday? Not my usual Easter routine, but on this Easter Sunday I was charmed to be in such an inspiring exalted atmosphere!

The mosaics, the typical and always precious alcove altars all around honoring families, saints, and heroes of the country and the history. The mausoleum of General San Martin, honored  persona historical de Argentina is in this cathedral. It is watched over by a pair of guards. On this warm day the soldiers were well taken care of with a fan plugged in for their comfort as they stood guard in the heavy uniforms.

Across the square from the cathedral was the street market of the weekends, found all throughout the huge city, just as you would find in the New York neighborhoods. The booths of many venders… Many tacky paintings of the Tango… rather graphic naked tango poses amongst them. The flea market used clothing and appliances along with the art booths.

The green space public area of Buenos Aires that I was walking through resembles the central parks of cities we know: New York Central Park, the Boston Commons, San Francisco Golden Gate Park. They are all different, it is the idea of the green corridor in the cities that is the similarity. Several of these parks have some of the cities great museums located in or on the fringe of the park. I found several museums as I walked. I wanted more time, but time was limited so I chose to go into the MALBA, the Museo de Arte Latinamericano de Buenos Aires. The museum was interesting architecturally with the internal layout, a smaller gallery on the bottom floor, then a tall escalator to upper galleries. After I enjoyed the lower gallery and made note of some artists I especially liked, I went above to find a dynamic exhibit from home: Bye Bye American Pie.

I didn’t make it to this one pictured below, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes…  Just not enough time.

I did make a stop at the Japanese Garden. It was my initial destination… My distance point to head to and return from. On Easter Sunday it was full of families and couples… Grandparents with grandchildren and their parents… their children… It was a decent park, but not with the overwhelming beauty of my favorite in Golden Gate Park, but then I am sure I have a prejudice here. It looks like there are cultural programs going on here in the center. I am sure it is a gift to the community and the Japanese who live here have a cultural center to connect in.

Enjoying the feel of the city and wishing I had just one more day. I have a list made for what I want to see next time I am there…

…If I return

When I return.

Mary and Max

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Animation, claymation, I don’t usually watch movies involving any kind of ‘mation’ unless I’m entertaining a 7 year old, but Kylie introduced me to a film I have to share.  ‘Mary and Max’, a film by Australian writer and director, Adam Elliot, is a black comedy.  It is fascinating to see, a work of art. It’s heart wrenching, funny and bittersweet.

‘Mary and Max’ opened the Sundance film Festival in 2009, it’s been around for several years, so you may already know of it.  I had never heard of it.  In 2004 Elliot won an Academy Award for ‘Harvey Krumpet’, a 23 minute animated short, and made history being the first gay man to thank his boyfriend. That, I remember.

‘Mary and Max’ is a full length film describing the friendship of two misfits who will break your heart.   According to Wikipedia, Elliot calls all his works “clayography”, somewhat biographical and based, loosely, on friends and family. Max, voiced by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, is based on a NYC pen-pal, who is Jewish, obese and has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Mary is a poor, neglected 8 year old in Australia, coping with her alcoholic mother and looking for a friend.  It’s often dismal, sad, but touching and insightful and in the end, there is an element of hope.  It is a really lovely movie and claymation has earned my respect.

Kylie pulled it up on Netflix, it’s also available on DVD at Amazon.

The Hunger Games, What Would Mom Say?

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

The Movie is out and breaking box office records everywhere.  There is so much hype about the casting and the ratings, Is she too fat? Really?  Can children see this? Mmm, probably not.Who will play Finnick O’dair in the next movie?  It’s impossible not to at least wonder what The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is all about.

Kylie ordered up the trilogy and for the past two weeks we have been listening on to the story of Katniss Everdeen,  Katniss and Gale, Katniss and Peeta, Katniss, the brave.  I love it, first off, it’s reminiscent of the days when I read to Kylie every night.  There is something just right about cuddling up a hearing a story together.

Then there is the story itself, written for a generation that grew up with Harry Potter and the second wave of Lord of the Rings, followed by The Twilight Saga. Hunger Games encompasses the elements that hook you and make you want more.  You want to know what happens to these characters, what happens to their world.

The book brings to mind earlier stories of a changed and controlled world ,The Giver, by Lois Lowry and A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle. Both books also were made into movies that never enjoyed the success of The Hunger Games.

Big Brother, reality TV, violence, suffering and death as entertainment and a love triangle to keep it interesting, sometimes, I thought it struck uncomfortably close to home, to our own viewing preferences. It’s social commentary, political commentary and an ethics discussion all neatly packaged in a boxed set. Read the books or listen to them with someone you love, then see the first movie, I hear it’s great.

Photos courtesy of Lionsgate Publicity

Postagram…the postcard app

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Just heard about this cool app Postagram where you can actually create a postcard from your photo library, and they will send it off in the US mail for 99cents.Today it seems with cameras in cell phones,  facebook photo albums, and Instagram, is there really a need for a postcard app? True the days of sending postcards is a bit old school but postagram let’s you send any photo from your library, so the postcard is totally personal and unique.  There is something to be said for having  a photo in hand!

Photogram can also be used as a great marketing tool.  You can keep particular clients notified with a personal photo that certainly has a better chance of being read than a generic ad.  As an example, let’s say you are in the business of renting your property.   You may want to send a photo of a your property in a new season or special light  to a list of former happy  renters, in the hopes of inspiring them to rebook.  There could be many different applications depending on your business and budget.

I love the idea of thank-you postcards created specifically for each recipient.  Who wouldn’t welcome a note of appreciation with a picture chosen for them!

There is  of course the obvious use of sending postcards to your friends and family for the simple pleasure of sharing the sights while you are traveling. Much more fun with a snap shot which includes your smiling face!

The app is free.  I say give it a try!