Morning Routine update – June 26

According to my phone apps, it’s been over a week that I’ve been getting out for a dog walk at 6am. Thanks to an accountability partner, and an eager dog, I only skipped Tuesday to account for a late rehearsal. I’m thinking that maybe I should get out at 6am anyway, and work in a nap on Tuesday afternoons. The action gets me moving to the point of not crawling back into bed.

I’m still writing morning pages, and limiting digital surfing. Still riding my bike to work when weather cooperates. Still getting to my projects and feeling ready to take on more productivity.

One could say the daily routine is normalizing, and I’m getting more done.

I’m feeling quite settled. Which is a good thing before the work goes from second gear to third gear this Saturday.

While I’m nearing the end of the 100 posts in 100 days, I also have a count down to launch in 6 days. I’m so excited.

And I’m going to leave it at that for now. Cryptic for a reason.

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Albums & Ice Cream, edition 5

Earlier this week, two things happened to inspire the 5th issue/edition of Albums & Ice Cream. The weekly CSA (farm share) offered second pint of sweet cherries and I had a day trip with my son to the Jersey shore.

The first quart of cherries were pitted and set out on the table last week, eaten within a couple of days. The second quart was pitted, but after listening to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” in the car with my son explaining to me all of the musical details, it only made sense to put these together on this post.

I had a job as a teen at the Kenosha Spot Drive In; serving ice cream sundaes and making shakes, malts and root beer whirls. We had four flavors; vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and one rotating “other” flavor, either butter pecan, or New York Cherry. I loved that ice cream with hot fudge. I don’t see this flavor very often in our regular ice cream parlors, so I wonder if it’s a “vintage” flavor, or one that was more regional to the mid-west. Which would be weird since it was “New York” cherry.

Oddly, the only recipes I found were Philly style base.  I prefer the French style. I’m getting better at making my own custard base, with a bit of consideration toward sensibility. I’m not religiously following the instruction to use 6 egg yolks. I use three whole eggs, and temper them more carefully. The strainer takes care of the tiny bits of white that cook. I also add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to keep it from freezing into a solid block of ice. This batch was a basic vanilla ice cream with an added splash of almond extract, then fresh local cherries cut in half and stirred into the custard by the machine.

While my son’s insights into the Pink Floyd album were more focused on the drums and lyrics, I was listening with a flush of memories of recording a Tribute Band of the album name in Rochester for my doctoral studies. I was applying anthropological theory and research practice to understand the attraction of a then new phenomenon in the local music scene; the tribute band. I saw a connection to audience building for the symphony orchestra, and made the case in my work, much to the dismay of the conservative music history department at Eastman. This was 1995, the height of the culture wars, and before the term” audience building” was a thing in the arts. I was onto something then, and I still am today.

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Movie Review: Paris Can Wait – June 24

Movie Review: Paris Can Wait – June 24

My daughter had been a bit gloomy for the past couple of days. Typical fourteen year old drama learning how to manage relationships over texting instead of real conversations. So to get her out of her funk, I suggested we see a “girls only” movie on a summer Saturday afternoon.

A good friend joined us at the Steelstacks Cinemas for a screening of Paris Can Wait. I was totally in the mood for a foodie movie. And I got just what I wanted. But the producers really would have made magic by supplying samples of the wine… I left the theater wanting to eat crusty bread and fancy goat cheese with a rich merlot.

The movie runs a little short; just over 90 minutes. But if it were any longer, it would have felt too long. Diane Lane is simply delightful. She has very acrobatic eyebrows. And I really. REALLY loved the beige pants she wore in the beginning of the film. Good thing my friend is a costumer. She was able to tell me how they were constructed, so I can try to find them. Of course, Ms. Lane is in great shape too, which always makes pants look fabulous. I’m not the only one looking for those linen pants. Check out this blog I found. And then this other one. I think this movie will be more about those pants than the food, the wine, the locations or… wait. Was Alec Baldwin in it?

While the story was simple, the scenery and message were what I wanted. It was a lovely trip to France, with a message of appreciating the surroundings and the simplicity of what nature already provides. Nice movie by Mrs. Coppola; Sophia’s mom. Her husband? Yeah, that guy.

If you care to read a better review of the film, the Los Angeles Times was nice. On average, the movie isn’t getting rave reviews by the critics. But I can tell you that women in their 50s are going to be thinking of how fabulous Diane Lane looked in this film; defying expectations for “mature” Hollywood actresses. Wait. I’m the same age as she… I’m mature?!?!?! (ick)

I don’t think I would have enjoyed the movie as much in the other multiplex theaters around. I love seeing movies at ArtsQuest. They’ve always got a few good choices. The comfy chairs, the clean floors and the potential to enjoy an adult beverage and the $8 ticket, no matter the time of day – will always keep the Banko Alehouse Cinemas my favorite venue to take in a movie.

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Community – June 23

When I’m out with my kids, and I run into someone I know, there’s going to be a chance for conversation lingering beyond their bank of patience. After the conversation ends, one of them will say, “Mom, you know everyone.”

On our way home from her harp lesson today, my daughter was looking through my phone messages and told me that I know too many people, because I apparently don’t erase text messages. To this I said,

“I hold onto texts and emails in case there’s something I need to remember. What does that have to do with how many people I know?”
“Do you know how many people are in your contacts?”
“Do I need to?”
“How many friends do you have on Facebook?”
“All of them – and many more that I haven’t yet met.”

I was volunteering at Godfrey Daniels tonight. There was a gentleman there who came up to me after the concert and asked, “You’re Silagh, right?”
I didn’t know his name, and I didn’t remember meeting him.
“Our mutual friend introduced us at Levitt Pavilion last summer.”
And now we’re friends.

See kids? That’s how this works.

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Made in Bethlehem – June 22

Made in Bethlehem – June 22

There’s a group of people making a documentary film about the Bethlehem art scene. The project started last summer with the support of a Mellon Foundation grant through Lehigh’s Digital Humanities program. The production team is interviewing dozens of people in our community who have built the current cultural scene that has helped the local economy recover after the fall of Bethlehem Steel.

What we see today is because of the perseverance of people who were determined to make something special. Now they want to make that special thing last.

As I say to my students, having assets in a community is great. The quality of the assets are what define the quality of the place we call home. Assets are parks, independent businesses, concert venues, diverse dining, art galleries, coffee shops that sell locally roasted beans….  those tangible things that shape the character of a community.

But assets are not just the things; they are the results of creative and contributing citizens. But if we all don’t take and share the care and support of the assets, especially the people, they go away.

This film is about supporting the people who are the voice of our community’s culture, history, art, music and personality. This film is about giving respect to, and taking care of the people who define the Bethlehem arts scene.

Here is a direct link to the Kickstarter page so you can see updates on the project make a contribution. This crowdfunding effort has less than three more weeks to reach its goal. I hope you’ll consider giving your support to the people in our community that are true treasures to behold.

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It’s OK, I’m in the band – June 21

It’s OK, I’m in the band – June 21

Six months ago, I challenged myself and performed in a rock and roll band on my bassoon. Not just on Smokey Robinson’s “Tears of a Clown,” but on the entire set list. I never thought in all of my conservatory training I’d find myself on this kind of stage with some awesome people.

The February show was a fundraiser for the summer program we’re doing in a couple of weeks. Conceived by Touchstone’s Artistic Director, JP Jordan, he wrote a post about the band’s February performance and a bit about the band’s origin story. I was not part of the original line up.

The show we are about to do in three weeks is all newly conceived music based around characters that are matched with each member of the band. The story follows a hero’s journey and includes muppets, stilt walkers, and an aerialist. It’s a mobile story that takes place in three separate locations on South Bethlehem’s Greenway linear park. Yes, I will need to stand and walk while playing the bassoon. And cue the Woody Allen movie reference.

Images taken from Jason Hedrington’s Facebook page; so he’s not pictures with his accordion of awesomeness
This is the spectacular cast.

Last night the band rehearsed with the actors who are voicing the dialogue and operating puppets. There’s is also a chorus of pirates and other characters. Oh, and we hope spectacular audience participation. It was the first time we all came together to run the script. We all left the “The Peace Train” room <- the name of the upstairs studio at Touchstone Theatre -> with such a high level of energy. In fact, when folks were dismissed, we hung out for a while. When people linger after rehearsal, it’s usually because you don’t want to leave that energy too quickly. It’s a great feeling.

Here’s a close-up of the puppets created by Yodi Vaden; an incredible Renaissance man from Allentown. Not only does he make these muppet-like creatures, he also makes ginormous puppets that actors need to walk on stilts to operate them. He’s also a sensitive poet and a mad awesome chef. Check out his Instagram feed for pictures of his work. It gives you some nice insight into the puppet making, and also how inventive he is in multiple art forms.

As I was driving home last night, I was thinking about the show; reviewing spots I need to woodshed a little more, mental notes of making time for more reed production since the weather will require multiple options in the reed case, and … Holy Moley! I’ve been made into a muppet! Pretty sure this is a career peak.

Barbara Volgelgesang and I make the wise Acolyte of the Oracle.

Jakopa’s Punch Processional is part of a collaboration in South Bethlehem between Touchstone, Zoellner Arts Center and ArtsQuest. The other venues have interesting shows. You can find out about ArtsQuest’s HERE and Zoellner’s HERE. The concept of a three day festival that celebrates community and circus arts comes from the brain of Deborah Sacarakis. I enjoyed working with her on numerous cirque programs when I was at Zoellner. It’s neat to be a part of this as a performer.

As you’re reading this and might want to jot down the details of the Jakopa’s Punch Processional. July 14 & 15, 2017 at 6:30pm (run time 60 minutes). We’ll be on the South Bethlehem Greenway, meet us at the Chinese Harmony Pavilion between Webster and Taylor Streets.

Oh, and by the way, both of these shows are FREE. (Zoellner and ArtsQuest shows are ticketed)

It’s going to be a great weekend in Bethlehem because it’s also the time for the annual Historic Bethlehem Partnership’s Blueberry Festival. I also learned that there will be an opening of an art walk in the South Bethlehem Arts District that weekend. And this is supposed to be a quieter time of July as we commence to “restin’ before [Musik]festin’.” Ha!

Face it. I live in a community with lots of people who love to create and make special moments. Gosh, I love this town.

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