Twisted 2 : Opera, Ballet, and Classical Music are cool in Columbus, Ohio 


Today I saw the last performance of Twisted 2 at the Ohio Theater. Funny name for a program. Why did  they call it Twisted 2? Because all the Arts twisted together. The first collaboration between the Ballet Met, Columbus Symphony, and Opera Columbus took place in 2014.

I’m so glad I made it to the second one. Artistic directors Edward Liang (Ballet Met), Rosen Milano (Columbus Symphony), and Peggy Kirah Dye (Opera Columbus) outdid themselves. The choreography by Val Caniparoli virtually took my breath away. The Children’s International Choir in combination children’s “Momentum” Dance company added enthusiasm and young energy to the program.

Each of the pieces presented were short, but so satisfying. The orchestra was lit dimly, and on an upper level from the other artists. They played mostly classic pieces that the audience was familiar with, but the added dance and singing made it so entertaining. There was also a large screen that showed films that coincided with the performance. There was a lot to take in, but it all went together perfectly.

Christopher Purdy, a local  celebrity, and a classical DJ, produced a cute film asking Columbus residents questions about the arts that were funny. “How many beers would you need to attend an opera?” Name 3 Operas? The answer that got the biggest laugh was when a hip looking guy said, “I don’t need any beers, I love opera.”

Although I loved each and every little performance my favorite was “Bolero.” Hearing the Columbus Symphony play it masterfully, and watching the dancers sync so creatively to the music was amazing. It was beautiful. (Don’t think just because it’s ballet, it’s going to be all classical, and a little boring: it’s just the opposite with Ballet Met Columbus. )

I also liked when the children ran in from Aisle 1 and 4, and hustle on the stage quickly, and beautifully. They were the chorus from “Carmen.” The “Momentum Dancers” did a quick dance.

Gershwin’s “Summertime” was sung by 4 men which made it a really different version. Usually a saprano sings the main part. This made the song fresh and new.

The whole performance ended with “Ode to Joy” with everyone participating. It was really fantastic. The ending was very cool when all the coffetti fell down from the ceiling. And what a well-choreographed curtain call.

This was really an invitation to attend all the upcoming artistic productions from the various companies that  are coming up. If you’re saying there is not much to do in Columbus, you aren’t looking very hard.

Advertisements

Ballet Met Columbus and Cincinnati Ballet inspire with “Inspired” 


Looking for something to do the rest of the weekend?  Do you want to get out of the rain, and unplug yourself from your electronic devices? Head over to the Ohio Theater and catch Ballet Met Columbus, and the Cincinnati Ballet perform three very different works. Each piece has five short movements.  If you’re antsy don’t worry, there is a short intermission after each work.

The first dance , “Age of Innocence” was choreographed by Ballet Met’s artistic director Edward Liang. According to the program notes, Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” inspired this work. The classic dancing, music, and costumes enchanted from start to finish.

My favorite piece was “Wild Sweet Love” choreographed by Time McIntyre.  Music from the last part of the 20th century is performed by these young 21st century dancers. You wouldn’t think music from “Queen, Lou Reed, Roberta Flack,  and ” The Zombies” would work with these two great dance companies, wrong, it does!  I think Freddy Mercury would approve.

The last piece was “Who Cares” featuring the music of George Gershwin.  It premiered in 1970. Caitlin Valentine-Ellis and Miguel Anaya ignited the stage dancing to “The Man I Love.”

By the time the last piece, “I Got Rhythm” got going, the end was in sight. I was sorry to see the whole thing end.

If you’re tired of rain, politics, and the blahs, head out to the Ohio Theater Saturday or Sunday. It is a breath of fresh air. You might even feel “Inspired.”

Having fun at the Harmony Project holiday event: December 19 — a biased review


When I started with the Harmony Project there were around 125 people. Now, there are 200. I didn’t really think I’d ever like singing with such a big choir, but I was wrong. We sing with one voice, and without music. It’s so much fun. We clap and rock it out too. There’s no shortage of baby boomers in the choir, but there are also people of all ages, all sexual orientations and all religions. Nobody cares about who believes what. We are all there to sing and share.

Today was our holiday concert at The Southern Theater. Almost every seat was taken. It was a rejuvenating experience.

The South High Harmony choir did a fantastic job singing for the audience. They’re kids from a high school that needed a little boost. They should be so proud of themselves. They did “We Will Rock You” with energy and heart.  It was terrific.

The Unison Project sang “You’ve got a friend” with confidence and bravado.

The audience was excellent.  They stood up more than once, and they rocked out with us. We were all one giant group.

The bike lady, got up and said how great it is that 155 teenagers is foster care will now have bikes. Members of the choir raised money in a social event in one day. It was a new idea and it worked.

What a band we have to back us up. They are all professional musicians of the highest caliber and they are good! Tonight we added strings and a mandolin. I have to say our soloists did an outstanding job.

It was fortunate that David Brown decided Columbus was the place to launch The Harmony Project. We’ve done a lot for the community. There’s so much to do.

David  talked about looking for good signs tonight. I think the audience giving us a standing ovation was a pretty good sign!

If you’re coming tomorrow, you will have a terrific time. It’s  guaranteed!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Esther and Me” at the CJFilm Festival Inspired Me


I’ve been attending the Columbus Jewish Film Festival for the past few weeks. I’ve really enjoyed all the films. I think independent movies are the best movies being made today.

Today I saw a short little film that really spoke to me. It is called  “Esther and Me.” It was directed by Lisa Geduldig. She made a little film about a very charismatic woman that she met in a Jewish nursing home in New York.

Geduldig meets Esther, a resident of the nursing home, when she runs an activity at the nursing home. . She strikes up a friendship with Esther, who is in her late 80’s.  She used to be a gorgeous fashion model, and then had a career as a stand-up comic. The pictures of her in her youth are particularly striking. Even in her old age,  Esther still looks pretty good.

Her marriage, if she had one, is entirely left out of the film. There is a mention of her daughter, but we don’t meet her. We do know that she has grandchildren because they make an appearance.

Why I liked this film

Although Esther has been sick, and has a shaky hand, she is still vital. She cares enough about herself to still put on makeup everyday. She still makes jokes, and is the life of the party. She enjoys going to the theater and staying up until 11:00 talking to Geduldig.

It reminds us that just because you’re getting old, you’re still a human being who wants and needs recognition, and has something to contribute. Esther seems like she’d be fun to be around. She still has style, and likes to go out. She hasn’t given up on life, and is a fighter, not a complainer!

The most exciting part of the film was when Geduldig gives Esther a chance to do her stand-up act in front of a crowd, and she gets a standing ovation.

Esther gives me some hope

The one message I got out of the movie is you’re not out of the picture until you take yourself out. Although I’m not close to being 89, I am getting close to 65.  It is a little daunting. I always do have the security of knowing I’m not alone. (The Baby-Boomers are quite a presence.)

It also served as a reminder to really talk to the people you admire while they’re still on this earth. Better yet, use your expensive gadgets to document them

Are there older people in your life who inspire you?

Lisa G & Shelley Berman

Lisa G & Shelley Berman (Photo credit: lisagsf)

Here are my 10 top reasons for Attending Writer’s conferences


underword: flash fiction

underword: flash fiction (Photo credit: piglicker)

Today I went to a Writer’s Conference in Columbus, Ohio. It was a high quality conference held at Columbus State University.  The price was very reasonable. You wouldn’t believe it if I told you. How about $15.00 for breakfast and lunch? (Someone was very generous.)

There were high quality speakers: a poet laureate ( J. Patrick Lewis),  a Pulitzer Prize winning poet ( Tracy K Smith)  a Memoir writer ( Mary Anne Benedetto) and a writer and  Fulbright professor ( Professor Christine Buuck)  from The Ohio State University (she taught us a little bit about flash fiction.)

I received helpful handouts, recommendations of  good websites, several chances to write after some brief instruction, and an opportunity to buy books at a reasonable price.

1.  I met other people who share my interest.
2. I heard talented people talk about things they’ve done to further their careers
3. I learned some more about what websites are good for exploring the craft of writing.
4. I got the chance to buy some terrific books at very reasonable prices.
5. I learned about how to market from an expert marketer, John Kremer, http://www.bookmarket.com.  He also shared some great tips about exploring the internet.
6. There’s nothing like getting a poetry lesson from a Pulitzer prize winner, Tracy K. Clark. She also did some moving readings from her Pulitzer Prize book.
7. The writer’s answered questions, and were very thoughtful with their answers.
8.  Everybody is willing to network.
9. Attending these type of activities stimulates your mind, challenges and encourages you

10. The food and coffee were terrific, and it was just plain fun!

 

Go See “Liberal Arts” the Movie: Filmed at “Kenyon College”: Starring Bexley native, Josh Radnor


English: A profile shot of actor Josh Radnor a...

English: A profile shot of actor Josh Radnor at “An evening with the cast of How I Met Your Mother”, January 27, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the movie, “Liberal Arts,” Jessie Fisher ( Josh Radnor) plays a 35-year old college admissions counselor who is facing middle age. He is living in New York city, and life doesn’t seem to be going his way.

We learn that Jessie is a sensitive type who savor books, poetry, and classical music.  He goes back to attend the retirement party of his college professor Professor Peter Hoburg (Richard Jenkins).  He is attracted to Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen) who is fresh-faced   sophomore,  who lives in a dormitory. Jessie is longing for the campus life anyway, and is attracted to her.

They have an old fashioned romance. It starts out with her giving him a CD of classical music. They correspond via the US mail. How sweet is that?

The movie is about accepting life, and the aging process. You can’t go backwards, you have to move forward.

The retiring professor, (Hoburg)  tells Jessie, “we always feel like we’re 19 although we may look different on the outside.”  (Being a baby boomer that particular line resounded)

Nat (Zac Effron) plays a new age type who is past the college age, but at least is enjoying himself.  Jessie  and Zac befriend each other. Their scenes provide a little comedic relief. Effron does a great job.

There is a troubled college student (John Magaro)Jessie befriends who is just plain unhappy with everything, and bi-polar. Maybe he represents a lot of people who just don’t try to look at what they do have, or easily fit in to society.

Professor Judith Fairfield( Allison Janney) is Jessie’s former romantic literature professor.  Janney plays her to the hilt. Her performance is one of the best in the movie. She is also aging, and maybe not adjusting in the best way.

Without giving too much away, I would suggest you see this movie if you like too think  and reflect about life. Also, see it, if you value good writing, directing and acting. Radnor did all three. Don’t go see it, if you’re the type of person who likes action, blood and guts.

Maybe it is a little too wordy in places, but

Allison Janney at The Heart Truth Fashion Show...

Allison Janney at The Heart Truth Fashion Show 2008 (cropped) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People of all ages should be able to  relate to this movie.  I found it Intelligent, charming,  and sweet.

Guys and Dolls: The 1955 Movie: They don’t make em like that anymore!


Guys and Dolls (film)

Guys and Dolls (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Columbus, Ohio, the Ohio Theater ―a palatial old refurbished theater—plays old movies in the summer. Sometimes, it is fun to watch the old movies in a big beautiful theater with a big screen. It’s usually fun to watch them with other people too.  Chances are, they’ll be your age. In this particular theater there is a fine musician playing the organ before the show and during intermission

I had seen the musical, Guys and Dolls,  in various school productions, and even in a semi-professional theater when I was a teenager.  I knew all the words to all the songs, and I don’t even recall consciously learning them.

I enjoyed this movie. First of all, there was a young Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, and Jeanne Simmons. They all had chemistry and stage presence that popped out from the screen. It also starred Vivian Blaine, Stubby Kaye, and Sheldon Leonard.

The choreography, scenery, costumes and acting were good enough to make me forget it was 2012.

It really brought back the old days. Another time with old over-sized cars, men wearing actual hats, and women wearing dresses.

The main characters even took a trip to Havana, Cuba, to have a romantic interlude. There were no bedroom scenes, only a kiss.

It  portrayed Jean Simmon’s character as being very naive. Luckily, women’s roles have changed in 45 years.  Her character didn’t know that milk laced with alcohol would get her drunk. Maybe there are still naive women like that out there, but I doubt it.

There was also nothing but white actors in the movie. Back in those days, the races didn’t mix. In that respect, times are better.

it proved to be a very sentimental escape from me. It brought back memories of my childhood and family. It brought back the days when my life was ahead of me, and I could fantasize about what would happen to me when I grew up.  It was fun to connect with my true inner child.

If you get a chance to rent this movie, turn off the lights, and maybe you’ll go back in time too.  Sometimes, it’s fun to revisit the past. You never know what memories might surface.