March 27, 2013

Flat Stanley: The Journey Begins...

So far, I really been enjoying my break from work. It's been sweet and relaxing. I got the chance to take my family to the bowling alley for a few games. I watched my son roll a ball in a way that I've never seen anyone do before and it amazed me. I immediately had to stop the action to take a snapshot of the pins. I have no idea how one would pick up the spare on a 7-8-9-10 split. Ha!

Well, all of the weather reports have confirmed that the next few days will be sunny with temperatures above 50 degrees. That's exactly what I was hoping to see. First thing tomorrow morning, I'll be driving to Philadelphia. I've packed the bags, polished my boots, run the car through the car wash and got an air freshener for the rearview mirror (Cinna-berry), even loaded some new music into my iPod. I'm all ready for a road trip. My kids were both given photographic assignments to complete for school over the break and this Philly trip will be just the thing. My daughter drew a little paper man named Flat Stanley and he has to go on an adventure through pictures. I figured that Flat Stanley would really enjoy visiting the Liberty Bell or perhaps sprinting up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art à la Rocky Balboa. My son's task is to take pictures of things that represent geometrical shapes -- pyramids, spheres, hexagons, quadrilaterals, etc. It is going to be really fun exploring Philly while doing these projects. I'll have lots of stories to share when I return. In the meantime, have a Happy Easter and stay beautiful! Love & light...

"Therefore with joy
shall ye draw water
out of the wells
of salvation."

~Isaiah 12:3


March 22, 2013

Springing Into the Break

Ah, as of right now, I have off from both of my jobs for Spring Break. Acting class is also off on Monday, so, for the next 9 days, I am completely free. I intend to make good use of this time; there are quite a few creative projects that I need to work on. I have three performances coming up (each requiring unique preparation) and I'm also in the process of learning a couple of classical guitar pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach. I also plan to keep an eye on the weather reports over the course of the week. If a warm, sunny spell happens to drop by this area, I'm thinking about making a little road trip to Philadelphia for a few days and nights. That would be fun, though the long-range forecasts haven't looked too promising up to this point. We'll see how it goes as things progress.

If it stays cold, I could still make the train ride into Manhattan for an afternoon of two. I haven't visited the Museum of Natural History in several years and that is always a cool thing to do. Baseball season also opens up in 9 days at Yankee Stadium. It'll be interesting to see how that works out; as I look out of my window right now, I can still see a few mounds of snow on the ground. Other than that, everything is good. Cheers!

"Confess your faults one to another,
and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man
availeth much."

~James 5:16


March 16, 2013

Paging Dr. Painter...

This past week, I met a very interesting artist in an unexpected place. Every year, my second job sends me to a medical clinic to get a physical evaluation. I've been to dozens of facilities all over Long Island and these annual exams are usually very much the same and quite uneventful. However, my visit to the Mid-Island Medical Center would prove quite a unique experience. 

The first thing that I noticed as I stepped into this doctor's office is that the walls are covered from floor to ceiling with paintings. There were many different styles represented and each piece was signed with "MIR." When my name was finally called, I followed the receptionist down a long corridor lined with more paintings and into an examination room also filled with artwork. "Who is MIR?" I asked her. "That's the doctor. He'll be in to see you in a minute," she replied as she closed the door.

Enter Myles I. Rosenthal, M.D. The moment he walked int the room, I became quite aware of his bubbly personality. He had a bearded, cherub-like face akin to perhaps a younger Santa Claus or maybe a tugboat captain who likes to sing songs of summertime as he sails into port. I couldn't help but smile as he cracked jokes while holding his stethoscope to my back and asking me to breathe deeply. His eyes really lit up when I expressed interest in his artwork. For the 15 minutes that followed, I got a guided tour of his gallery office. He told me how he became interested in painting in 1992 and since then has created nearly 700 pieces. Much like his office, the walls of his home are also covered with artwork and he has run out of places to hang new pieces. He told me about how he had transformed his garage into an art studio where he does all of his painting and where he even learned to make his own frames. Mostly, he told me about the main thing that propels him as a painter -- the fact that his patients like to see the artwork and find his environment soothing. I was lucky to have had my camera with me that morning. When I asked him if I could snap a few photos, he said that I was more than welcome and that I could stay as long as I wanted. I absolutely love unexpected experiences like these. Aside from the times my kids were born, I don't think I ever had a nicer time visiting with a doctor. Cheers!

"Humility and the fear of the LORD
bring wealth and honor and life."

~Proverbs 22:4


March 9, 2013

Skies of Pure Art

Reporting to a job site at 5AM isn't always the easiest thing to do, especially on snowy mornings like the last few have been, but one of the perks is that I get to see many a glorious sunrise through the office window. A peaceful moment when I get to stand on the deck and watch clouds of pink, red, and orange burst over the horizon really starts my day off right. I took this picture earlier in the week. Isn't it marvelous? 

Also this week, I made another stop off at the Mills Pond House Gallery to check out their current display, Youth Art Showcase 2013. This exhibit features works of art done by students from participating school districts all over Long Island. I really liked many of the pieces that I saw and it always makes me feel good to support the efforts of young artists. The showcase will be on hand through March 15.

Nicholas Mahan

Pink Lake at Dusk
Amanda Tonelli

Abigail Frosina

Locket and Pearls
Amanda Jackson

Jar Ocean Landscape
Kristina Le

Girl with Purple Hair
Katherine Pena

The Cat
Sarah Ansman

Sometimes I Like To Pretend I Have a Mustache
Katrina Galvin

King of the Jungle
Dylan Kowalski

As I am writing this post, I have Steven Wilson's latest album "The Raven That Refused to Sing and Other Stories" playing on my iPod. This is absolutely one of his best efforts to date and I don't say that lightly because I pretty much enjoy everything that he releases. This is fantastic. Highly, highly recommended. I also noticed that he'll be giving a concert in April at the Best Buy Theater in New York City. The thing that really amazes me is that the tickets for the show cost all of $23 (I also bought the new album on iTunes for the very affordable price of $7.99). In an age of ridiculous hidden fees and extreme price gouging for everything, I can go to see a live performance by one of the greatest artists of our time for just about the same price that it would cost to go to the movies. That fact is not lost on me and I applaud Steven Wilson; he clearly puts the art before the dollar. Bravo!  

"Hatred stirs up dissension,
but love covers over all wrongs."
~Proverbs 10:12


March 1, 2013

Les Trois Femmes & Paumanok II

Last Sunday, I had a delightful day with the arts. In the early afternoon, I went out to the Huntington Library to have "an intimate chamber music experience" with classical ensemble, Les Trois Femmes. The group features three ladies -- Ann Zalkind (piano), Nadine Scharman (flute), and, my dear friend, Tara Kavanagh (voice). I have known Tara for several years now and she is an amazing opera singer. During the summer of 2012, she graced the stage at the Avant Garden Poetry Amphitheatre with a solo performance that was incredible. She sang a few french songs accompanied by accordion that just whisked my imagination off to some Parisian Lounge overlooking the Seine. I also had the pleasure of performing with her on a few songs. She does things with her voice that just astonish me. For the Library show, Les Trois Femmes slipped comfortably into the era of Impressionism featuring music by such composers as Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy, as well as some poetry from the period and a Monet-esque backdrop for the stage that really set the proper mood. The blending of piano, flute, and voice and the selection of pieces works perfectly. 

Immediately after the library, I went straight to the Walt Whitman Birthplace for a book launch celebration hosted by another of my dear friends, Kathaleen Donnelly. Her latest piece of work is an anthology of poetry and photographs done by Long Islanders called "Paumanok II: Interwoven." It is a beautiful publication and I am honored to be included in it. The event was very well-attended.

I also wanted to take a moment to say that my first acting lesson was a total blast! We did several kinds of acting exercises and ended the night with a little bit of improv (which I loved). It was very inspiring and I really felt as though I was in my element. Fun group of actors. The jokes were non-stop. Class #1 was an excellent experience. Love & light...

"Blessed is that man
that maketh the Lord his trust,
and respecteth not the proud,
nor such as turn aside to lies."

~Psalm 40:4