It was a family affair with our older son and his wife joining us at the Kennedy Center matinée. We had front row seats in the third tier with these gorgeous starburst cluster-chandeliers above us.
I had read the book by Mark Haddon and loved it. They were unfamiliar with the story line and it was interesting to see their heartfelt reaction for the first time. Libby teaches public high school students, so I thought she might appreciate the challenges for this teenager in the play.
It was one of the most active and physical plays I’ve seen going from a somber moment to a super-energized cacophony. The book fully captivated me and the play even more so because it added the visual and auditory layer that the book couldn’t fully generate, except in your imagination.
Both the book and the play put you in Christopher Boone, the 15 year old protagonist’s head, as if you were the one who was experiencing what it is like to have Aspergers first hand. It is a dichotomy in that he is brilliant but unable to manage social situations easily. Everyday hectic living can present crippling sensory overload for him.
Christopher sets out to solve the mystery of the death of his neighbor’s dog, who he discovers is killed on the front lawn with a pitchfork. The adventure leads to revelations that even “normal” teens, much less adults, would be shocked to their core to learn. Because Christopher has Aspergers, a milder functioning form of autism, he takes everything at face value and in some ways is able to deal with the truth better than most.
Just like when I read the book, I found myself getting uncontrolably emotional because you can’t help but be moved by Christopher’s accomplishments.
The entire set was a digital sight and sound box that was brilliantly used and constantly changing. I can’t really describe it more than let this video speak for itself — and even it doesn’t do the play justice. If you have the chance while it is on tour, it’s just something to see!
We sat at the table closest to the center dark wall
Their special cocktails: a Negroni in back (without Campari) + Rimini in front with 2 different amaros, cachaca and pineapple. Both are excellent!
Views of CityCenter below.
Side note: Although there is so much, actually endless topics to write about, this blog may be posted 2 times a week after this post, due to the time involved to write, which I don’t have as much as I used to with other things taking some priority. Plus, I welcome reducing some of the load.
This has been quite a month of celebrations, so much so that I haven’t had a lot of time to document but here it goes — in bullet formation.
• January – a Birthday is always great when it happens to land on a long holiday weekend, as my husband’s does with Martin Luther King Day. We took advantage when taking our son back to UVA for his final semester. We had recently discovered a new place, where we’ll be staying in May, and decided to test it out by staying over a night before heading back to DC. What a great decision! Shenandoah Crossing, in Gordonsville is a part of the BlueGreen Resorts and lives up to its promise of high style glamping. Although we stayed in the lodge during this cold, winter visit, we’ll be staying in a yurt and a 3-bedroom cabin with extended family later this spring.
Shenandoah Crossing Lodge
Clever way to display framed pictures in the room
The Lodge Restaurant
Shenandoah Crossing Yurt
• February –Valentine’s Day is one that we don’t usually celebrate but this time it fell on a Sunday and luckily Monday was a holiday — Presidents’ Day. Yippie, we could actually enjoy the Wine Bars with the wine pairing I had planned in advance because this day didn’t fall on a work / week day or break our vow to give up drinking during Lent, which we sacrifice — except for the weekends.
The only problem to the way the evening ended was pretty humorous, actually. Peter normally cooks melt-in-your-mouth steaks. For some reason, the ones we got from Whole Foods maybe had more fat than normal? Not sure but when flash pan-frying, they created so much smoke that the fire alarm went off. It wouldn’t have been a problem normally but since we’ve “upgraded” to a digital phone service, the alarm folks couldn’t get through the home phone to reach us as the alarm had hijacked the phone system with blasted warnings, “FIRE ALARM, leave the premises immediately!!” Well, the fire truck made it to our house before we could alert ADT to stop them — can only go through their 1-800 number. OK, as if this wasn’t embarrassing enough on a street with close-knit neighbors. The fire alarm went off again and guess what, yep, the fire truck paid us another visit. Crap! Lesson learned, we changed the phone alert pathway and at least we didn’t get charged. At this point, more wine and chocolate pairing was the best plan.
• February – a Birthday is always great when it starts with a Friday. Actually my celebration started a few days before, on Wednesday, when we went to listen to Big Sam’s Funk Nation at Gypsy Sally’s. What fun!! I always get excited when I see bands from my hometown playing. This big brass New Orleans band with the lead singer, Big Sam Williams, gives a jiving, “urban funk” performance that just gets you up off your feet. He’s the former trombonist for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. The 8 Ohms Band started the set and gave a great foot-stomping performance and certainly prepped the crowd for Big Sam, who came out and played a song before intermission.
8 Ohms Band
On Friday, my real birthday, my good friend Liza had these gorgeous flowers delivered. My other good girlfriend, Marty, delivered her famous individual size coffee cake. Soooo nice! Sometimes, I get so busy, I forget my birthday. This wasn’t a big year and still people remembered.
These look so lovely with the portrait that was retrieved from my Aunt Katherine’s painting stash.
Relatives sent cards and my wonderful in-laws really surprised me with with beautiful vintage style, mother-of-pearl handle, double-blade, Congress Muskrat, pocket knife from A.G. Russell. There will be all sorts of uses for this beyond what I might know. I just have to remember to remove it before traveling on a plane.
We topped off the evening with a fun night of pool at No. 9 Lounge (above the Majestic Lounge) at Evening Star Cafe. This is a somewhat hidden spot upstairs for pool, beer, meeting new pool buddies, listening to cool tunes and eating scrumptious food. I loved my cream of cauliflower soup with raisins. I need to get that recipe!
Unfortunately I couldn’t find a recent picture with the pool table in the far back (via Biz Bash)
Afterwards, we saw 13 Hours at the movie theater, which we rarely do these days but this is big screen worthy, as is The Revenant, The Martian and the latest Star Wars, all of which we’ve bucked up to see on the big screen. The movie tempered the mood but was well worth seeing. In fact, if everyone saw it, they would certainly question those publicly conveyed chain of events and the government’s role in them. Makes you think, if only….!
• A Leap Year Anniversary — that comes every 4 years, gives us two times to celebrate in one year. This is our 7th special anniversary and we celebrated it at Magnolia’s On King, a relatively new Southern style restaurant that gets it right. We started out with the appetizers I love to have each time I’ve gone, stuffed dates with blue cheese and wrapped with bacon. Mouth-watering good! I’m using for our Easter Brunch! I had the best meal. Evidently, we lucked out because our celebratory night was on Monday — Gumbo Night. Wow! Excellent! A larger meal than Peter’s and just the right amount of spice.
The best part was heading upstairs to the Palm Lounge. It reminds me so much of New Orleans with the exposed brick wall, deep red walls brightened by firelight and rattan ceiling fans that I’ll go back to see in action when it gets warmer out. Tyler, the welcoming and talented bearded bartender, was willing to create a drink of our choice as long as he had the base to work with. We asked him about amaros and he said he was really liking Caramaro right now. Well, it’s one of my favorites so I asked him to please make a drink with it. This is the divine delicacy that he crafted with 1/2 oz gin (that I normally don’t drink), topped with egg white (Ramos Gin Fizz style) and a spritz of Angostura bitters.
Specially concocted Cardamaro Sour at Magnolia’s
I can’t think of a better way to end the month, except, we may continue the celebration. We learned from our friendly bartender about Captain Gregory’s, a new (but not so) secret speakeasy to try, “a hole in the wall” inside the Sugar Shack Doughnut (hole) Shop, of all places. Looking forward to continuing new discoveries into March… 😉
This is a busy week so I’ll leave you with this incredible video of Lueb Popoff using a chainsaw, which at first appears to be a carving frenzy with no plan in sight. However, a beautiful sculpture eventually evolves with several furry animal friends that appear to magically “come out” of the woodwork.
How in the world does he do it?! Pretty fantastic.
I also like the music. Kinda the pace I’m keeping this week.
After watching the film Racing Extinction, I thought it deserving of a blog post, because not only is it well done,* I like animals and I’ve posted about efforts to save sharks and others before but it uses art to get its point across. In writing this post, I realized there have been a series of coincidental confluent events taking place in the process.
Majestic Manta Rays are just some of the animals featured and with a positive outcome.
At the time of this writing, the film has had over 11.5 million viewers, and just the other day, the video sound collaborators projected inspirational images of near extinct animals on the outside of the Vatican. Confluence #1: I just posted about the Pope and a mural created in his honor in my last post.
OK, the location and animation in itself is pretty amazing. Just watch. Note: it requires patience for it starts after 10 minutes of silence with a lot of pauses and shots of the audience at night with only camera phones visible. It’s a meditative piece that is different than the Racing Extinction film but serves a similar purpose. There is no commentary only images and sounds of the animals with beautiful transitions. This gives a lot of time for reflection, which is the objective after all.
You’ll be amazed at how many animals are on the extinction list. Most all of the butterflies that I have painted + my clown fish in my fish tank (precisely because they are in people’s fish tanks and coral reef depletion). These are just to name a few that will hit home.
I had already sent the film information to my husband, who happens to be attending the Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris, thinking he might see the Racing Extinction folks in attendance. No report yet but coincidentally and yet probably strategically planned to market the film a the time of this climate change conference. Confluence #2. Instead, I received a beautiful picture of Paris, “the city of [Christmas / holiday] lights.”
Side note: I enjoyed watching the U2 Live concert the same night they just played in Paris. I always wanted to see them play live and I felt like I was there. There were a lot of moving moments and it was incredible how immediate the news was about it, with thoughts of Paris and San Bernadino and terrorism on everyone’s minds.
Besides man over fishing and killing animals, the film claims that the extinction of some animals is due to climate change. *Here’s where my politics differ to some degree but this is not a political blog so I won’t belabor points here because it’s been a roundabout argument from both sides of the subject. I’ll just say that I agree that some sensible steps to reduce carbon and methane emissions should be carefully considered and where adversely and economically impacted, there has to be a mutual meeting ground in order to get results. I do not believe man is completely in control of the world’s climate — that would be a tall and bold and almost arrogant “projection” to make when the world’s natural climate is changing all the time and there are larger forces than just man alone contributing. Nonetheless, the Racing Extinction group has a petition started on their website, if you’d like to join.
Confluence #3. I had mentioned I had written about efforts helping animal extinction before. This is the film’s main focus. OK, man is one of those animals but primarily it is about other animals with whom we share the planet. The manta ray and rare birds are among some. Confluence #4 will be in a separate post documenting the history of the world’s birds in a mural just completed and about which I just received the story alert at the time of this writing.
Regarding the Oceanic Preservation Society’s film production team: One of the photographers, Joel Sartore, creator of the Photo Arc [I’d like to feature in a single blog post, it is so impressive] and in fact the director, Louie Psihoyos, all work and have worked for the National Geographic, a publication I have been a long time supporter of and even took over my father’s subscription from 1921. I’m still wondering what to do with all the magazines because I’m running out of space, but I renew each year. The visuals and stories are worth reading and I like to support its efforts as well as its photographers, like Stephen Alvarez, about whom I’ve written before. Confluence #5.
Finally, this large-scale film projection is created and “performed” by Obscura Digital, behind the creative force of Travis Threlkel its founder and projection mapping. It is another group about which I’ve featured in a blog post (Confluence #6). Their creative concept is to use not only the Vatican but other buildings while traveling around in a Tesla and projecting on surfaces as moving graffiti if you will is both clever, ambitious and innovative. I’m in awe of the entire production from conception to execution to strategically creating the necessary buzz to spread the word, that there is one thing everyone can do. This in itself, may be an initial start to seeing results. I’ve already started…
During Pope Francis’ trip to the United States, he dropped by to sign his name to the largest paint by number project in Philadelphia.
The mural, Faith and Family in the 21st Century, was officially dedicated on November 30th. It is made up of 153 5 foot square panels painted at the World Meeting of Families on Sept 25. It is the largest 4,200 square feet mural painted by more than 2,700 people and Pope Francis added the final touch with his signature.
Most likely the mural will also gain fame as being entered into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Meg Saligman’s impressive public artwork, Undoing Knots, was on display during the Pope’s visit at Basilica of St. Peter and Paul. It is composed of over 100,000 individual ribbons with handwritten personal struggles that are tied to the 13 feet high and 20 wooden framework that encircles the basilica dome.
Ms. Saligman is most noted for her incredibly large, realistic public art murals in Philadelphia and across the country. We saw some of her work when we were in the city last taking a self-guided public mural tour on foot.
Philadelphia Muses mural by Meg Fish Saligman
There are a couple other recent news items to update.
Regarding the controversial mural I wrote about in Jefferson County, Alabama, the committee was split on a decision for what to do. They agreed to hire a consultant to see if the murals could be removed safely. If not, they will have to come up with another solution. There are two more areas within the courtroom to paint updated murals showing progression with a more contemporary viewpoint.
With the December Christmas season starting to get into full swing, I thought this mural painted by Agostino Lacurci in Rome, Italy, reminded me of a certain jolly fella. Think so?
I often overlook trending videos in email promos from YouTube but for some reason this one caught my attention. It’s a pretty spectacular performance from a 13 member, all-Filipino troupe called, El Gamma Penumbra. They perform shadow dances with a message. This one happens to be about the dual character of Mother Nature — both beautiful and powerful.
Ancient Egyptian murals were recently discovered near Luxor during the archeological mapping of Sheik Abd Qurna, which is a courtyard known as Theban Tomb 110.
Egyptian tomb photos via i09.com
The murals are 3,500 years old and in spectacular condition, except for the sad fact that they have already been subjected to some vandalism.
On a side note, when I saw members of ISIS (ironic to me that the acronym is also an Egyptian Goddess) destroying ancient artifacts recently, it just sickened me. I don’t know why anyone would want to destroy art, especially that which documents culture and is an antiquity. When you see it happen, as they are systematically doing, you can only conclude that they want to wipe out all existence of humanity (past and present) which would even include their own history. Upsetting, strange and incomprehensible.
There really isn’t a lot of space to work or even stand but the decoration covers every corner, including the ceiling, which is fantastic!
Look at the entrance. Hard to believe it was even discovered, it could be easily overlooked.
Not only is the full story on these newly discovered Egyptian murals and more pictures worth viewing on io9.com but the comments are hysterically funny, from arguing about the figures’ skin tones to adding in the Alien Creature where a vandalized section seemed to “take out” one of the figures, to my favorite, King Tut — Steve Martin’s portrayal.