May 30, 2012

Memorial Merrymaking

For me, this Memorial Day weekend was completely rocking! As you already know from my previous post, I spent Saturday in Greenport at the Tall Ships Festival. That was a good time, though the 3 days of fun were far from over. On Sunday evening, I went out to a well-attended party to celebrate the release of George Wallace's latest book "Incident on the Orient Express" at an Indian restaurant called the Curry Club. The event was held appropriately enough in the restaurant's train car turned dining room. It provided the ideal setting for George's travel stories, which bring the listener through places such places as Nepal and India. As I sat listening, my experience was greatly enhanced by the flavors of Lamb Achari, Naan, and Mango Lassi; I even got to speak a little bit of Hindi with our waiter, Ravi. Aapse milkar bahut khushi hui. After the poetry, I spent the rest of the night in the restaurant's Velvet Lounge. There was a DJ spinning some classic vinyl albums and an artist finger painting a large piece on the patio. It was a cool vibe.

Monday morning, I rose to another warm, sunny day and I went outside to do some work in the gardens. It felt good to be wearing shorts again. From all of my time spent outdoors so far this year, my skin has already taken on that golden brown hue. Around noon, I started to notice a steady stream of buses pulling down the main street and I knew the Memorial Day Parade was getting ready to kick off. I dropped my shovel and gloves, grabbed my camera, and walked up to the bank where I took my spot on their lawn under some shady trees. Soon, the High School marching band passed by filling the morning air with loud brass and drums, the song: "You're a Grand Old Flag."

The day was so beautiful that I decided to give my car its first hand wash of the season. The familiar lime scent of the Turtle Wax soap is a wonderful reminder of summertime and the mist from the garden hose was really refreshing on my face. I couldn't help but to hold the nozzle over my head and completely dowse myself; a few neighbors got a chuckle, but it felt great! :D

After having a BBQ dinner, the evening was so warm and clear that I though it the perfect opportunity to test the lighting system for the Avant Garden Poetry Amphitheatre. As dusk was rolling in, I spent an hour running wires and hanging lights. When I finally flipped the switch, the stage glowed like a box of sapphires and rubies set afire. Oh, how magnificent! The Grand Opening is only 10 days away; I can hardly wait. I only hope that the weather will be as beautiful as it was this past weekend. Love & light!

"The Lord thy God
in the midst of thee is mighty;
he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy;
he will rest in his love, he will joy
over thee with singing."

~Zephaniah 3:17


May 27, 2012

2012 Greenport Tall Ships Festival

Memorial Day Weekend! Those 3 words herald the commencement of summertime activities. It was no surprise to me that, after about three weeks of drizzly days, I woke up to a sunny Saturday morning with temperatures that would rise up into the 80s by mid-afternoon. It was a perfect day to ride to Greenport for the 2012 Tall Ships Festival that is making its way up the Atlantic Coast.

Driving to eastern Long Island is always a pleasure. It is like a trip into the country with all of the farms, fruit stands, and vineyards that dot the landscape along Sound Avenue. I drove slowly to savor the sights and, by the time I reached Greenport, I found the entire town roped off and the streets overtaken by pedestrians. Greenport is a quaint nautical town that boasts lots of novelty shops, fine restaurants, and historical sights all centered around the waterfront Mitchell Park and its antique carousel pavilion. At the piers just beyond Mitchell Park, visitors wait on lines for a chance to hop aboard the Tall Ships that will be on hand until Monday. Two of my favorites are the Barque Picton Castle (a classic square-rigged sailing ship famous for its trips around the globe and its stops at tropical ports such as Pitcairn, Fiji, Bali, and Madagascar) and the Bounty. Construction of the latter was ordered by Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer Studios in 1960 for the filming of the movie "Mutiny on the Bounty" which starred Marlon Brando. The new Bounty was built according to the blueprints of the original Bounty that are stored in the British Naval Maritime Museum. It is a beautiful ship and it was fun to slip below deck on the narrow stairs to see the cabins. Also stationed at the piers are the Lynx, the Roseway, the Unicorn, and the Pride of Baltimore II. I really love stories of seafaring adventures and being able to climb aboard these vessels made me feel for a moment like a was part of the action.

Also located at the docks is the East End Seaport Museum. Before enjoying a lunch of brick-oven pizza in town, I slipped into the museum to check out its many nautical treasures. I am always impressed by the sight of a Fresnel lens.

After driving back from Greenport, I stopped off at a party with a few friends from work. Great food. Great conversation. Great unofficial beginning of summer. And this was only the first day of a three-day holiday weekend. Life is good. Cheers!

"Jesus looked at them and said,
'With man this is impossible, but not with God;
all things are possible with God.'"

~Mark 10:27


May 19, 2012

Danse. Tanz. Danza. Dance!

Every year at this time, I pay a visit to my former High School to attend a dance recital put on by Anita's Studio of Dance and Theatre Arts. It is a very important thing to me to give support to young people who are expressing themselves creatively through the performing arts. They always give an inspiring show and it makes me feel good to watch it.

It also gives me a chance to browse around my old stomping grounds and reminisce a little bit. It takes me back when I see the spot in the Commons where I used to sit and play my acoustic guitar during lunch periods. It's also interesting to see the way that things have changed. The old AP Music room is now a teacher's lounge. The place where my locker once stood is now a sport's trophy display case. Down by the music and art wing, there are wonderful portraits painted on the concrete walls of Miles Davis and Arnold Schoenburg. Even as I stepped into the auditorium, memories washed over me of playing in the Senior Variety Show -- the house was packed, my guitar was cranked up, the song was Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll." It's been a long time, been a long time, been a long... Ah yes, it has been a long time.

The theme for this year's dance recital was "Anything Goes." This time around, I decided to get a seat in the balcony which gave me a bird's eye view of the action. I am always so impressed at the coordination of the shows -- dance number after dance number, all different, appearing seamlessly on the stage. It is an amazing thing to watch. This year, my favorites dances seemed to be the ones that featured the Latin rhythms, though the entire show was top notch once again. I think it would even have made Cole Porter smile! :)

"Do not love the world
or anything in the world. If anyone loves
the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For everything in the world -- the cravings of sinful man,
the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does --
comes not from the Father but from the world. The world
and its desires pass away, but the man who does
the will of God lives forever."

~1 John 2:15-17


May 15, 2012

A Gallery and a Gallery

In the past week, I've gotten the opportunity to visit two art showcases on Long Island. The first exhibit is called "Juried Photography 2012: The Hand-Made Photograph" and is taking place at the Mills Pond House in St. James, a gallery run by the Smithtown Township Arts Council. Every few months, I will see a sign on their front lawn that reads "Art Show - Free Admission" and I always make a point of stopping by to check out the latest shows.

Boasting a Greek Revival design created in 1838 by architect Calvin Pollard, the Mills Pond House's stately rooms of hardwood floors and lush crown molding provide an ideal setting for this series of pictures. As I strolled through the various rooms, my eyes rested on some amazing images. The exhibition was selected by juror and accomplished artist/photographer Christopher James and offers a glimpse into a diverse array of experiences and sensations. It features the works of 30 photographers. The current display will be viewable through June 1.

The second exhibit that I visited was at B. J. Spoke Gallery in Huntington Village. I was actually in attendance for a poetic fundraiser that was taking place at the gallery, but was presently surprised to find the works of two terrific local artists hanging on the walls -- Eleanor Berger's "Seasonal Landscapes" and Constance Wain's "Retro Is New." Being surrounded by beautiful visual arts definitely enhanced the poetic experience. It was an excellent night. These exhibitions will be up until Sunday, May 27. Cheers!

"Then Jesus said unto them,
'Yet a little while is the light with you.
Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you:
for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not
whither he goeth.'"

~John 12:35


May 9, 2012

A Dream Come True & Animals Too!

Hello. It's been a while. Hasn't it?

I've been keeping so busy lately that I haven't gotten the chance to post anything new here on my blogs. In the last month or so, I completed all of the work on the Avant Garden Poetry Amphitheatre. This venture has been a long time in the works and it's an extremely satisfying feeling to finally see a beautiful, new performance space finished. I must say that it has turned out much better than I ever expected. It's a dream come true, really. I will put up lots of photographs, though I am going to wait on them until after the amphitheatre's maiden voyage. I'm also going to do my best to capture lots of video footage. Opening night is set for Saturday, June 9 (if the weather cooperates). I'm so excited!

With my weekends having been taken up mostly by outdoor details, I didn't get to do much else. Now that all of the major work is done, I should have more free time, though I'll still have to devote a few hours every weekend to maintenance. I did take a ride out to Manorville a few Saturdays ago during a warm spell to visit the Long Island Game Farm. I've been there a few times in the past and it was good to see the familiar sign that welcomed me on to their grounds again. It's a nice place that allows its guests the opportunity to get close up to a variety of wild animals (bison, deer, kangaroo, llama, lemur, mountain lion, peacock, giraffe, monkey, etc.). One sight that really impressed me was the plumage of the many wild turkeys that I saw walking along the edge of the dirt paths that cut through the woods. Wonderful fans of tail feathers. I really enjoyed my morning at the game farm; it was a great opportunity for me to chill for a while and just unwind. Cheers!

"...being strengthened with all power
according to his glorious might so that you may
have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks
to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance
of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has
rescued us from the dominion of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
in whom we have redemption,
the forgiveness of sins."

~Colossians 1:11-14