Sunday, October 28, 2007

Going to the Ballet on the Moped

Alex as Jeffrey Day

Every year Alex looks forward to Columbia City Ballet's Halloween production. Most year's this is Dracula: Ballet with a Bite. Dracula is a special ballet in our household. It is the show that really inspired Mathias to dance. This is not a fact he is thrilled about...but it's true. In fact, his very first ballet lesson was a private class with Count Dracula himself. At the time, Artistic Director William Starrett was dancing this part.

Alex and I don't generally look forward to the dancing, however. In truth, there's not that much "classical" ballet in this show. There's lots of Gothic touches, very little costuming, stroup lights and smoke effects, fake blood spurring across the stage, and an energtic, sexy 80s club inspired score by Thomas Semanski who unfortunately died earlier this year. Actually, there was better actual DANCING in Dracula than in last week's Columbia Classical Ballet's Snow White (which I might write about later).

Alex and I go to enjoy the campy fun and for Alex to enter the annual Halloween costume contest. Last year he went as MySpace. (Image and entry are found by clicking here.)
He won second place, tickets to Nutcracker. This year, Alex outdid himself. He went as our local art critic, Jeffrey Day.

Jeffrey isn't exactly the most popular person in our small arts community. He has a reputation for being overly negative. He doesn't review ballet though. The judges, however, have strong theater ties. Jeffrey does review theater. Larry Hembree, Robin Gottlieb and Dewey Scott-Wiley awarded him another second place...and they didn't even kick him! This time, the prize was a season, Steve has to attend the future productions with us! (He stayed at home watching Ohio State beat up on Penn State....rah! rah! rah!)

I went to the ballet on the back of Alex's moped...door to door service...waving Jeffrey's face at all the passing traffic (video is in the post above).


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cheap White Wine

As promised, here's a photo of the nice dinner Steve made to go with the bottle of "Cheap White Wine" brought home from the west coast. We eat dinner on the living room coffee table on nights when Dancing With the Stars is broadcast. Steve is addicted. I tease him about the entire show being "rigged".

By the way, Steve is thrilled with the comments he's received!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Steve's beach video

This is one of Steve's three video clips from Ruby Beach on the Olympic peninsula. Please note, he trips over his own feet during the filming which gives an excellent view of the gorgeous stones on the beach...only one of which he brought home to me!

Steve's trip to the Washington and Oregon coastline

(Above: One of a few "artsy" photos taken by Steve!)

This post is being written in order to share Steve's western trip. He's really very supportive of all my blogging activities and now wants his time in the limelight! I told him to take as many photos as humanly order to get at least a few half decent ones. He took over 200. Here's what is left after laughing hilariously, deleting most, and using dozens of PhotoShop filters.

Last spring Steve won the "big prize" at the CMFA (Columbia Music Festival Association) annual fundraiser, Pub Night. It's a round trip airline ticket to anywhere in the continental United States! He was thrilled. We had all sorts of plans for the ticket; but, in the end, Steve decided to simply go as far as he could...Seattle, Washington. He left last Thursday morning and returned on Monday. He had a blast. He went to Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge on the Olympic peninsula. He also went to Cape Disappointment; the Hoh Rainforest; Fort Canby; Seaside, Oregon; saw Oregon Ballet Theater on Saturday night, and went into downtown Seattle on Sunday. In Seattle he went to the public markets and to the art museum.

Steve brought back a single bottle of white his suitcase due to the strict airline regulations that forbid more than 3 oz. of liquids in carry-on baggage. It was called "Cheap White Wine". We drank it last night. Soon, I'll post a picture of that too. He brought back a bottle of local beer too...he drank that for lunch yesterday. He also brought back some gourmet chocolates. We are still enjoying these.

After all our travels, we are now trying to get some SERIOUS WORK done...alas, we are not independently wealthy...just love to travel.

(Above: Another "artsy" photo!)

(Above: Early Dale Chihully artglass)

(Above: Steve knew to put something in this photo in order to establish scale. Most people place a quarter. I like the reading glasses even better!)

(Above: Rocks! All I asked for from the Pacific Ocean was some rocks. With such a vast assortment, Steve brought back only one...about the size of a quarter. He said there were signs, however, thanking people for leaving the rocks on the beach.)

(Above: Steve said he took this photo because other people were taking pictures of it! No wonder; it looks great!)

(Above: Another "artsy" photograph...I'm actually quite proud of how many GOOD pictures Steve did take!)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ballet reviews!

I posted my impressions of both "Strictly Dancing" and Edward II on my other blog. So, I won't write about this again.

Click here for "Strictly Dancing".

Click here for Edward II. Please note, this is the only ballet I've ever heard of carrying warnings due to its "mature subject matter". Some have called it an X-rated ballet...Mathias was cast as the "X". It was wonderful!


Last week I went to London, combining two of my greatest passions, embroidery and ballet. Birmingham Royal Ballet has performing at Sadler's Wells Theater over the same weekend as the annual Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace ("Ally Pally" to the Brits!) My sister Wanda flew in from Frankfurt, Germany. Mathias booked us a triple room in a seedy, cheap hotel that has discounted rates for ballet company members. What the hotel lacked in amenities, it made up for in location.

(Above: Entrance to the Knitting and Stitching Show)

(Above: Wanda and I riding on the upper level of a double-decker bus...on our way to the Knitting and Stitching Show with hundreds of other women!)

Wanda and I watched the matinée of "Strictly Dancing" (a triple bill including Paquita, Nine Sinatra Songs, and Daphnis and Chloe) on Wednesday and the London opening of Edward II on Thursday night. It was fabulous to see Mathias on stage. He looked adorable in a tuxedo for Nine Sinatra Songs, younger than nineteen. He looked quite perfect as the "Fool" in Edward II. Both were soloist parts, and he danced them with gusto. I was very proud, though any partnering still makes me nervous to watch.

Mathias went to an early dinner near London Bridge with us on Wednesday, between performances (Thanks, Mom for treating us!). Wanda and I then took the tube to Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliment for beautiful nighttime views of the city.

During the day on both Thursday and Friday, Wanda and I went to the Knitting and Stitching show to see cutting-edge fiber art, hundreds of vendors, stitching of every kind, and more inspiration than ones mind can absorb. I focused on the exhibitions by internationally renown fiber artists. Wanda found the perfect kit and tutor to begin goldwork. We bought lots of other things too, including Belgium chocolate!

(Wanda and Royal Needlework School tutor Lucy Freed.)

One Friday night Wanda and I went to see Mama Mia. It was so much fun. We got good, inexpensive seats.

(The view to the theater from our box seats)

On Saturday, Wanda had to fly back to Frankfurt. First, however, we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum via the tube and an underground passage to a side door. I've wanted to go there for years as it is supposed to be one of the world's best places for decorative arts. A year or two ago, I had seen an exhibit at the National Gallery in DC of selections from the Islamic Department. I wanted to see more. This was the first area we found. Then we wandered into the incredible courtyard and had a fabulous lunch in the world's first museum restaurant (all others since then pale by comparison). There was a very good pianist, the best service we had in England despite being basically a "cafeteria", good food, and the most elegant rooms. Then, Wanda had to leave.

(Above: One of three rooms for diners at the cafeteria styled V&A restaurant)

So, I'M SO SORRY WANDA...We did it ALL WRONG! We should have wandered further, looked up at the Chihully chandelier. We should have entered by the main door. We should have walked to the casting rooms, the textile department...I'm so sorry. We will have to go back! You didn't really see ANYTHING! I stayed after you left and almost CRIED for you!

(Above: Wanda in the courtyard...part of an art installation...and taking a smoke-break!)

(Above: Mathias in the Casting Room at the V&A)

(Above: Mathias selecting food in the V&A cafeteria/restaurant)

(We didn't actually eat on of these...neither of us like them...yet, they were amazingly GIANT!)

I also returned to the V&A on Sunday with Mathias. We left our luggage in the coat and package check area and ventured out to Kensington Garden and Palace. It was a wonderful, self guided tour; a beautiful day; and we found a great crepe restaurant too.

(Above: As close as Mathias and I dared to go to the many swans and geese in Kensington Gardens!)

(Above: The crepes are great!)

My last night was with Mathias in a plush hotel by Heathrow Airport. I had to leave before sun up but Mathias enjoyed the morning. His return rail ticket, however, wasn't for the nearest station...he got on anyway and hid in the bathroom until arriving in Birmingham!

I'll be posting images from the V&A soon...likely on the other blog. I'll also be posting about the Knitting and Stitching show, etc. and will provide links later!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'm Back!

This is just a short post to say, "I'm back from an exciting trip to London!"

Over the next few days I will be sorting through 298 digital images, my notes, my mental impressions, and the many beautiful visions of art, ballet, and family. I will post as I manage all no particular, please return often!

Steve leaves for a mini-vacation to Seattle on Thursday. This is how he decided to use the free airline ticket he won in a raffle at Pub Night, a CMFA fund raiser. I will be stuck at Mouse House....but with nothing better to do than post on my blogs!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Birmingham Royal Ballet has updated their photos

Birmingham Royal Ballet just updated the photos of their dancers, including Mathias. Mathias isn't fond of the picture. He prefers very traditional, posed, black-and-white head shots. Personally, Steve and I love it. I can't wait to see him in London next week.

Mathias called today. He had to step into Nine Sinatra Songs last night due to a minor injury. This meant he had to dance the piece with another partner. They've danced together in other works and everything did go well. He also said he and Sasha have been invited to dance in some sort of reunion performance being put together of Jackson medalists and award winners. When asked if he'd spoken to Sasha about this...well, I can't exactly type the response. Fortunately, Mathias is a great actor and is looking forward to the challenge of dancing a pas de deux with an ex-girlfriend. He exudes confidence!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Lunching by the beach

One of the greatest things about vacationing on Hilton Head Island is the abundance of great eateries. There's a place for everyone, from very fancy to southern BBQ to the freshest seafood to every nationalities flavor. We elected a nice place beside the beach one day. The next day we went to Shelter Cove. It was the first time Dad went without a bandanna covering the wound from the emergency tracheotomy. Okay, he hid behind a palmetto tree...but he's doing great and no one would really notice the scar! It's been a miracle.

So, where were Alex and Erica? They brought the moped...we barely saw them!

Hilton Head

Steve and I really love to visit my parents at their timeshare on Hilton Head Island. There are so many beautiful views of the ocean and of nature. Above is one of several shots I took of Spanish moss. Below was how some smart floral designer used lichen, moss, and other natural elements and created a centerpiece for one of the hotel lobbies. Further below, is a sign that appeared on the glass door of one of the chic boutiques.

Mangiamo's: A Place to Cheer for the Buckeyes!

Even Alex and Erica joined us at Mangiamo's in order to cheer the Ohio State Buckeye football team on to victory over Minnesota. We've been here in past years and always look forward to a sea of scarlet and gray fans singing the fight song while clapping wildly for each touchdown.

Hilton Head

Most people go to Hilton Head Island in search of sun, sand, and seashells. Sure, we enjoyed these natural phenomena while visiting my parents at their time share this past weekend....but the mushrooms were also wonderful. I've posted ten photos in order to share them with my mom. She helped locate and photograph these. Dad and Steve got bored with us crawling around in the pine straw and shadows, but we had a blast. In Dad's defense, he was busy collecting pine cones. In Steve's defense, he helped me string sea shells from along the coastline at both high and low tides...only the ones with holes. Thus, I can boast that I stitched on the beach!