Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Remembering January in late May - the Finger Lakes

Summer's arrived in NYC so why not remember a chilly, snowy morning in the Finger Lakes?

View of Seneca Lake
It was the middle of January, 2011. That is certainly not peak tourism season in Central NY State. The bloom is off the rose; in fact the leaves are off the rose and just about every plant that's got enough sense to shed it's leaves when the days begin to grow short and the nights turn frosty. No, from late spring through the fall foliage is when the crowds pack the winery tasting rooms, and wander a little bit stewed through the parking lot, back to their party limo or bus. Then it's eye-rolling time for the people working at the vineyards, the phone serving as an early warning system for the pourers, the last place the amateurs departed, and what direction they are heading.
Cayuga Lake

Seneca Lake from Damiani Cellars tasting room
No, in the Finger Lakes, winter's a time when the winemaker insists on pulling out things he or she hasn't released yet, pouring a quarter of a glass and watching and waiting for you to pass judgement. It's a time for gazing through the picture windows toward the lake below, but you can't see the lake, swirling, sniffing, sipping, swishing, and either swallowing or spitting. It seems a moment frozen in time, a moment for contemplation.

Skaneateles in winter

The towns are quiet, even the tourist towns, like Skaneateles, NY, a picturesque place at the northern end of the lake of the same name. The stores are open, a few shoppers wandering in and out, but not the summertime crowds who stroll the sidewalks determined to have a good time or else.

Winter's not too bad in a place like that. The snow can be fierce and beautiful, it can be deadly, but it doesn't have to be. The winds whip around but they aren't gales - just a strong breeze, the nip on the nose reminding you that you've still got a schnoz worth blowing - as indeed you will need to if you stay out in the cold for a while.
Skaneateles NY

One thing is certain: the daylight is neither broad nor bright, especially when the clouds roll in.

Friday, May 25, 2012

In Portland Maine, it's always 7:10 on Congress St.

What do you call the sister of the person to whom you were once married? When I was married to Pam, her sister Terry was my sister-in-law. Now I'm divorced from Pam, so what is her sister's relation to me: former sister-in-law; sister-out-law; sister-in-law-no-longer? Damned if I know. Anyway, a week ago my ex-wife - at least there's a phrase for that relationship - and I drove up to Bar Harbor, Maine to see our daughter. She's almost finished with school at the College of the Atlantic, a very small institution of higher learning located in the incredibly - no outrageously - picturesque village of Bar Harbor. The subject of her senior project, as anyone who follows this blog and pays attention knows, was on the psychology of theater. It included a mission statement and then directing a production of Edward Albee's The Zoo Story in the fall, and writing and directing an original play in the spring, that demonstrated the premises of her project. The original play, My Very Own Flag, was presented last weekend. This was the occasion opportunity for Pam and I to go visit Holly, the College of the Atlantic and Bar Harbor. Pam's sister, Terry, who lives in Vermont, wanted to join us, so Pam made arrangements with her for Terry to drive to Portsmouth, NH, where she would park her car, we would meet up with her and continue on together from there. All of which we did.

On the way back, mid-day Sunday, we stopped in Portland, ME, for lunch. My friend Lenny, who lives in Portland and who I enjoy getting together with whenever I'm passing through, if he's around, had taken me to a place called Hot Suppa, on Congress Street. It figures that I wouldn't remember the name of the place nor where it was. I don't know the neighborhoods of Portland, and whenever I exit Interstate 295 there I seem to get all turned around and can't tell which was is east and which is west. I knew it was near an intersection I once  passed while misplaced in Portland about a year ago and I sort of remembered how I got there. I completely surprised myself by being able to find the place without a hitch.

The district is an interesting one. It's the borderland between Downtown and Parkside. There were lots of restaurants and bars on Congress and and around the corner on State Street. There are large mid-Nineteenth Century brick homes on both sides of Congress, some of which are deserted, some in a state of occupied disrepair, some lovingly maintained and at least one is being renovated from the grounds up interspersed with gas stations, free-standing convenience stores and chain pharmacies. The narrow side-streets are lined with frame homes of similar vintage to the brick's on Congress, on narrow lots, some with porches, some with stoops, in a similar array of maintained and not maintained. Walking around in the sunlight on Sunday, I saw this clock, and I knew that somewhere in Portland, ME it's always 7:10.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My daughter's play - Part 2 (My Very Own Flag by Holly George Krakowski)

Before I continue with some comments on the play, I want to mention this is my 100th post on this blog.

If you missed yesterday's part one, here's the link

And now, back to the show:

The artist is sometimes subsumed by the art. A father watching his daughter's play with pleasure and pride forgets himself and thinks of her. The actors on the stage, the lighting and the sound, the sets, costumes and makeup, are there and doing what they're doing because she put them there, put the words in their mouths, told them where to stand, where to go, what to do with their hands.

Yet despite the father's desire to see it all as his daughter's creation from nothing knows and acknowledges that the musicians, the sound and light technicians, the makeup and costume directors, the carpenter, the stage director and of course the actors worked as hard and righteously to make the show a success. So the father applauds them, and in photographing the show, that is what is present. The co-directors and author is only visible at the beginning and the end. Between the curtain going up and the actors' bows, their presence is invisible. If they did their work right, the actors are confident in their motions and the delivery of their lines, the scenes change smoothly, and the audience is entertained and illuminated.

And when it's done, what's left? If we paid attention, we saw and heard something that stays with us after we exited the theater.

The photos pick up in the middle of the play, where Deirdre confronts Lee with her feelings.

Here's a list of cast and crew:
Cast (in order of appearance):
Douglas O'Hearn - Robby
abigail e. dunn - Lee
Sarah Danger Duff - Emily
Gina Sabatini - Deirdre
Nathaniel Hillard - Mike
Lisa Bjerke - Joe
Alicia Hynes - Scott
Tomas Carolsfeld - Dave
Brittany Lester - Waitress
Colleen Courtney - Jess McCordic - Moses Bastille - Amber Parshley - Cara Soucy - Hannah Flagg - Sarah Hines
Band - Down the Drain:
Pok Tik Benjamin Leung - Kelley Sharp - Jeana DeLaire - Michael Hueter
Crew (as best I can figure out):
Polly McAdam - Kandyce Bartee - Alice Mae Stoner (stage?)
Rain Melody - costumes
Brittany Lester - Makeup
Renee McManus -tee-shirt design/ Kyle Christensen - tee-shirt spray painting
Katie DiTullio - Patrick Davis - Jabu Mickle-Molefe: light and sound
Millard Dority - Gabriel West - the Buildings and Grounds Crew - set construction
Bo Remy Dennis - Tomas' hair

Thanks Holly, for being my daughter, for growing up to be the person you are. It doesn't mean a thing to anyone but us, but you made your dad quite proud.

Please note that comments, though moderated, are welcome. Clicking on a photo to see it full size.

The play ends as it begins, with the band playing, the ensemble dancing and Lee and Robby on opposite ends of the stage.

If you made it all the way down to here - there are a lot of photos - then you deserve to see a few photos of cast and crew after the performance.

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