Thursday, July 20, 2017

Day 228 Pittsburgh CLO-Disney’s Newsies-Take a Stand

Jack (Joey Barreiro) and Crutchie (Daniel Quadrino) "Santa Fe" 
I was awestruck with the strength of the energetic male focused dancing  which augmented the shows  powerful theme for social change when I saw Disney's Newsies  in 2013 on Broadway.  Pittsburgh’s CLO production had the same energy and forceful movement that I  remembered. 

One  of my blog inspiration books, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Disney Golden Book” reminds us that,  “you [got to] tap into your inner warrior to do what’s right”*.  That is just what Newsies is all about-standing against power to right a wrong.

Newsies   is based on the real life story of Kid Blink (Jack Kelly in the musical)  who in 1899, lead  a number of  NYC newsboys to take a stand against the publisher  moguls  Pulitzer and Hearst by refusing to distribute their papers after they increased the newsboy’s price  per  100 bundle from 50 to 60 cents. In 1899, the delivery boys were also not reimbursed for the unsold papers. This  group  of newspaper hawkers led the change in newspaper distribution and paved the way for child labor laws. 

 The musical opened with  Jack Kelly (Joey Barreiro ) emotionally singing "Santa Fe" . He tells his  friend, Crutchie  (Daniel Quadrino), of his dream to leave the tough NYC street life of a newsboy for Santa Fe.  Then a strong vocal and dancing CLO cast of young men playing the orphaned and homeless boys, prepare for another day of work in an explosive dance number, “Carrying the Banner”.

Jack soon meets  and agrees to teach his sales skills to  Davey (Stephen  Michael Langton) and his little brother, Les (William Sendera)  who join the newsboys to support their family when  their father  lost his job  after a work accident.  Together  they lead Newsies in rebellion against the powerful publishers in "The World Will Know".

Katherine (Beth Stafford Lard) with Newsies
Like most musicals there is a love connection between Jack and  an aspiring reporter Katherine (Beth Stafford Laird ) who initially  takes on the boys' cause for her personal career aspirations but latter falls in love with Jack.  She  sings about the importance of covering the strike in the song “Watch What Happens”  singing, “Speak up. Take a stand and when there is someone to write about it, that’s how things get better”.  

Seize the Day”  almost brought the audience to their feet.  It began with the pure voice of Stephen Michael Langton as Davey, who rallies together the boys to fight against the paper distribution price increase.  He sings, “stand down the odds and seize the day..courage is when we face our fears-tell those in power, safe in their tower –we will not obey..” This song crescendos with a fantastic tap dance number that had the  strength of ballet with its jumps and turns, and the rhythm of tap.

powerful dancing 

The powerhouse voices and dancing  in this CLO production kept up in the second Act.   Newsies  captures the fight of a  “David verses Goliath story" through powerful dance. We enjoy the entertainment as we all root for the Newsies as they take a stand!

(Pittsburgh’s CLO production of  Disney’s Newsies  runs from  Tuesday, July 18 to Sunday, July 23, 2017 at the Benedum Center)

Spiritual Refection
“Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Other sources
*Little Golden Book “Disney’s Mulan

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Day 227 Pittsburgh Symphony POPS –Music of John Williams-Larger Than Life

I grew up loving the excitement of the Star Wars series and my son, who is also a fan, had all the action figures.  Listening to the musical scores  from these films brings me and many of us back to a happy place.  I recently added the Pittsburgh Symphony PNC POPS to my list of favorite experiences so I was eager to hear  the orchestra  play the music of John Williams, composer of  many popular and recognizable movie scores such as the Star Wars series, Harry Potter, Superman, Jaws, JFK and Raider of the Lost Ark sequence, just to name a few.   His music like these movies are in many ways "larger than life”  and truly come alive with the talents of a top notch symphony such as our  very own Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.  

Monday, July 3, 2017

Day 226 Diana Krall- Beautiful and Sultry (Benedum Center, Pittsburgh)

As an “empty- nester”  I have been drawn back to my past love for jazz.  Diana Krall made a Pittsburgh stop during her “Turn Up the Quit” tour recently.  This  jazz pianist is a  5 time Grammy winner with  8 albums debuting on the top of the Billboard Jazz charts.  It’s her sultry sound and her interpretation of many  jazz classics that makes her so unique and appealing to many, including me.

Diana Krall is known for her  lower vocal range, sometimes whispering, almost speaking the words. I love the way that she feels the music and her smooth vibe radiates  through her  audience.   She  opened with  the  upbeat, “Do I Love You” and continued with “Look of Love” (Nat King Cole) , “Night and Day” (Cole Porter) and one of my favorites “Blue Skies”(Irving Berlin). Then she continued  for the next 2 hours!  I appreciated that she dedicated “Sunny Side of the Street” to Pittsburgh native Mr. Rogers.

visually beautiful show 

She  travels with a fantastic band who throughout  the show  showcased their talent  during these jazz standards. I loved the violin player who seemed to take the musical  part  usually reserved for a saxophone. He made that instrument sing and even  sometimes  plucked the strings.  It produced a unique musical blend.

I expected to hear good music but I did not expect such a wonderful visual experience at show.  The screen back drop  changed with the feel of the music projecting images and lights that intensified  the musical experience.  During the song “Temptation” it was flaming red  and  then  it had a dreamy effect for “Moonglow”.   Diana Krall created  a truly beautiful  musical escape.
Waiting for the show to start 

(For more upcoming concerts from the Cultural Trust see )

Spiritual Reflection

Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was excellent in every way (Genesis 1:31)

Other  Sources

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Day 225- House of Blues Myrtle Beach - DJ Biz Markie and Gospel Brunch-Positive Lights

House of Blues Myrtle Beach
I have  been  to  the  House of Blues recently (see Day 222-90’s Grunge Experience-Cleveland) and  two years  ago  the  Gospel Brunch in Chicago (see Day 88).  I  thought  that  I would explore the  House of Blues Myrtle Beach located near  Bearfoot Landing in North Myrtle  Beach. I decided to  try  a Hip Hop experience with  DJ Biz Markie called “Decades Collide-80’s vs. 90’s” and revisit something that I really enjoyed  on this journey -the  famous Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Day 224 - Escape Games, Mirror Maze and Laser Maze –Play like a kid at the Beach (Myrtle Beach)

Legend of Atlantis Escape Game
Often when I am on a beach trip the days consist of  beaching it all day and then going out for dinner. Although there is nothing wrong with that routine this time I decided to try something new- play like a kid with no kid! I found a way to do that at  Broadway at the Beach where you can engage in an escape game, mirror maze, and laser vault  maze.  In my blog inspiration  psychologist Maslow's  theory,  having the ability to be  "child- like" is a characteristic of  a person who is self- actualized or who has reached their personal best,  so  I decided to have a day of  play at the beach.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Day 223- Myrtle Beach-Beach it Relax-A Trip of Many Firsts

First time that I did not drive 

Even though I usually go to the beach at least once a year, having no child or family with me is a new experience.  I like the idea of having  no one to worry about  except myself.  I decided to beach it with a  “chill attitude” and with no set agenda. There is nothing like being at the beach and walking along the edge of the sand and listening to the sound of the cracking waves and wind.  Luckily for me, Spirit and  Allegiant Air both have  very inexpensive direct  flights from Pittsburgh to Myrtle Beach so I decided to  beach it and relax early in the summer with a bunch of new experiences!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Day 222 House of Blues - Cleveland, Ohio-90’s Grunge Experience

I think that I missed the whole 90’s grunge music era. I was stuck in the 80’s during the 90’s except for the songs that hit the top 40 charts.  Since this blog is  all about trying something new, I accepted an invitation to “The 90’s Grunge Experience" at the Cleveland House of Blues to hear three 90’s tribute bands:  Hollow (playing Alice in Chains), Seven Circle Sunrise  (playing Nirvana) and STP2 (playing Stone Temple Pilots). I thought that it might be fun to experience  the music  of  an era that seemed to have passed me by!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Day 221 A Christmas Story (movie) House- Cleveland, Ohio–Follow Your Dreams

A Christmas Story House, restored in Cleveland, Ohio
It's a Christmas tradition for my son and I to watch the the 1983 iconic movie, A Christmas Story, that takes place on Cleveland street, Indiana in the 1940’s (see Day 178-A Christmas Story the Musical).  We laugh every  year at  Ralphie’s quest for a Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred  shot BB gun for Christmas and his dad’s  acquisition of the “major award” leg lamp. I recently learned that  the home  used in the filming of this movie has been  renovated  to look just  like it did in the film, has a museum of the movie props, provides tours, and  even offers overnight stays if you want the real experience.  You can find the Christmas Story House  a few hours from Pittsburgh in Cleveland Ohio. I was off to see this place, learn more about one of my favorite films, and maybe  even pick up a “major award” (leg Lamp) for my son!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Day 220 INXS Experience- KICK tribute band- Hard Rock in Pittsburgh

Cory Massi lead singer with KICK-INXS Tribute Band, Pittsburgh
When we hear music that was popular  during our youth, we  are transported back to that time remembering our past antics and the fun. Maybe that is why so many of us enjoy a good  tribute band.  These bands give us the experience of a concert that most likely would not happen without them because either the band no longer exists, tours, or the front man is no longer with us.  This is the case with INXS the Australian pop/rock band of the 80’s and 90’s who’s lead singer, Michael Hutchence, self -induced his death in a hotel room in l997. “KICK-INXS Tribute Band" from South Carolina was playing at the Hard Rock Cafe in Pittsburgh and I wondered if they really could give me the INXS experience that I remembered.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Day 219 American in Paris-Friendships and Spreading Joy with Beauty

I remember seeing the 1951 film,“An American in Paris” as a kid and loved to watch Pittsburgh native Gene Kelly dance because he was always so full of joy as he moved.  The musical, “An American in Paris” is inspired by the film. According to Maslow, my blog inspiration psychologist, aesthetic needs or the appreciation and search for beauty in the world  is part of the process of obtaining your personal best or being self-actualized. “An American in Paris” is about beautifying   and spreading joy in a dark world.   

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day- Remembering DC War Memorials (Day 122)

WWII Memorial
 Memorial Day. This is a look back on a prior post and remembering as we should on this day. 

As noted in (Day 121-Washington DC quite a few  memorials  have been erected since my last visit to DC. Today was a visit to the Washington  DC War Memorials which was a moving experience when you take the time to reflect  about all the lives that they honor and the history behind each one.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Day 218 Dirty Dancing at Heinz Hall –Passionate- Ooh la la!

Like most 80’s girls, I wanted to dance with and fall in love with  "a Patrick Swayze"  after watching the romance that he had with  Jennifer  Grey in the 1987 iconic movie, Dirty Dancing. Of course this movie contained a lot of dancing but it was the passion between the rich girl and the boy from the other side of the tracks, the idea of being daring, and the transformation of both characters through the power of dance and love, that turned this low budget film into hit (not to mention Swayze's dancing and physique).  I wondered if the musical stage production of Dirty Dancing at Heinz Hall could reproduce that passion.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Day 217 - 21+ nights at Carnegie Science Center-Sci-Fi Night

Back to the Future fun on Sci-Fi 21+ Night at Carnegie Science Center

I have not been to the Carnegie Science Center since my son’s elementary school years. Back then it was an exhausting rush from one thing to another as you moved along with the short attention span of your child.  I recently learned about the Carnegie Science Center’s  monthly  21+ nights. I was excited to explore the  exhibits  kid free, with a libation and food in hand, and listening to live music. Since I am a fan of science fiction movies, a bonus  was  this month’s  Sci-Fi theme with  visits from an array of characters: Ghostbusters,  Back to the Future  professor and  time machine DeLorean replica, Stormtroopers, Jedi Knights, Darth Vader and more.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Day 216 –Sebastian Maniscalco- Value Laughter –Comedy at Heinz Hall

As I have said before, it takes a lot for me to find amusement in most comedians (see Day 215). A few months ago, I saw Sebastian Maniscalco on Netflix and I was surprised to be in a continual state of laughter in front of  the TV. My blog inspiration psychologist, Maslow, describes a characteristic of a person who is self -actualized as having an “unusual sense of humor”. This is just what Maniscalco  has with an added injection of  physical body contortions and  vivid facial expressions that are  just off the chart funny.  He often tells his life stories though a hilarious Italian lens. It feels like he is telling my story  because  I am a product of Italian immigrants. I was excited to see my first "TV-stand -up comedian"  live at  Heinz Hall.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Day 215 Jim Krenn-Try Pittsburgh Comedy-Oaks Theater

I have not been to many comedy shows because usually comedians don’t make me laugh.  I have never been one to laugh during off color jokes or ones about being impaired which seem  to be the subjects of most comedic  shows.  I am usually the girl in the audience that the comedian points to and states, “This joke will even make that girl laugh”.  Since I am a native Pittsburgher, I ventured to the Oaks Theater to see if local comedian, Jim Krenn, known for his Pittsburgh humor, would be able to “crack me up”!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Day 214 Chris Botti Jazzed it up with the Pittsburgh Symphony POPS

Chris Botti  is a  trumpeter  who fuses jazz and pop and entertains by drawing the audience in with his  crisp sound and his personality; not to mention that he was named one of "People" magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People of 2004! It was a romantic evening in February  2015 when I last saw Chris Botti with the POPS (see Day 104). In 2015, he played  several  ballads from his CD, “When I Fall in Love”  and it was a romantic “dreamy” night.  I was excited for a repeat experience. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Day 213 Super Natural Exhibit & Party in the Tropics at Phipps Conservatory

Enormous Aquilegia  

We all know that the Phipps Conservatory is the place to see beautiful plants and flowers but  you can now see super- sized  blossoms of natural beauty in the creations of  glass master artist, Jason Gamarth, in the new "Super Natural" exhibit.  I have been to the Phipps many times (Day 180) but it’s a new experience to feel small next to these towering works of art scattered among the foliage and  to experience an evening event like “Party in the Tropics”  where you can have drinks, eat, dance, and explore the Phipps at night (see Day 141).

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Day 212- Summer King- Baseball and Opera- Josh Gibson Story is a Homerun/Vocals a Single

Summer King is a Pittsburgh premier original opera* which tells the story about baseball power hitter, Josh Gibson, who in 1975 was the second player from the Negro League to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. I have seen the Pittsburgh Opera several times (see Day 134-Nabucco and Day 174-Salome)  but this show was a unique experience.  It is an opera about our city and a man whose hall of fame plaque states that he hit "almost 800 home runs in league and independent baseball during his 17-year career" but he never made it to the Major Leagues because of color.  This is a story that needs to be told and a “hit out of the park” as an innovating Pittsburgh Opera!    

* Music by Daniel Sonenberg, Libretto by Daniel Sonenberg, Daniel Nester and Mark Campbell 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Day 211- Pittsburgh Public Theater, Death of Salesman –Which American Dream?

Bendard (Shaun Hall) and Willy (Zach Grenier)*

Death of a Salesman, written in 1946 by playwright Arthur Miller, is one of those classic tragedies that we all have to read at some point in our educational history. This play is well known for  an analysis of the “American Dream”. Willy (Zach Grenier), a 63 year old washed up salesman  anguishes over his lack of  self-success and the lack of career accomplishments of his two sons, Happy and Biff (Maxwell  Eddy and Alex Mickiewicz).  He  fades in and out of reality as he relives his  past but in the present, he has a delusional  view of his imagined success. When forced to face his failed “American dream,”  he ends his life.

To be honest, in my youth without much life experience, I just did not get it. In my empty nest period, this play was much more relevant-I think Willy missed the American dream that was right in front of him because of an  unbalanced  focus on being liked by others and  equating success with monetary gain.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Day 210 Pittsburgh Ballet-Romeo and Juliet- Grand Romance/Love

I have enjoyed dance performances before (see Day 90) and I have seen several ballets but not the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet.  My blog inspiration, Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book, reminds us to “be romantic”.  As this season comes to close, I was excited to experience the romance and passion of this first time Pittsburgh Ballet production of Romeo and Juliet.

We all know  Shakespeare's story of the two young lovers who would rather end their life than live without each other but this production was so grand. It had 13 scene changes in 3 acts. The sets were magnificent with an elaborate market square, a stone castle home, a garden with the famous balcony, floor to ceiling stained glass in the chapel, beautiful arches in Juliet’s bedroom, and finally, a crypt. An ornate tapestry- like 7 paneled curtain, which  rose and fell  in sections between each scene, directed the audience's  focus on the character(s) by the pattern used.  It looked just like a painting each time!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Day 209 Celebrate Earth Day-“Ecolution Fashion Show” at Fairmont Hotel/ the Universe and more

Earth Day Pittsburgh celebrates the city’s transformation from steel production to a city with a pulse for green innovations with the theme,“Steel to Sustainable”. The festivities kicked off with the, “Ecolution Fashion Show” at the Fairmont Hotel. My Blog inspiration book," Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book", reminds us that we should remember to, “Look up…Stargaze”. “Plants-Preserving the Wonders of the Universe” was what this show celebrated with art, fashion, food, and dance.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Day 208 Nightly- Alternative POP at Spirit (Lawrenceville, Pgh)

Nightly in Pittsburgh

I have tried listening to various genres of music and exploring different music venues in my continued  quest to try new things (see Days  169, 172 and 174 ). This is in line with what my blog inspiration book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book, recommends, “keep music in your life”.  So I was off to experience Nightly, a band from Nashville and try listening to some alternative pop at a new venue, Spirit, in Lawrenceville.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Day 207 STOMP- Enjoy the Rhythm Made From Nothing and Everything

A beat produced from any source (a drum, a hand, or a can) is an instinctive way of human expression that  transcends all  language obstacles.  I think that is what makes  STOMP, a show that  focuses on sound and the creative  percussion of objects, so appealing.  My blog inspiration book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Bookrecommends that we, “make something from nothing”. That is just what happens in STOMP- everything and nothing is turned into a nonstop rhythmic experience!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Day 206 PNC Broadway Pittsburgh/Fun Home –Tackling Real Life but Soaring

"Fun Home" is not like any other musical that I have ever experienced. It’s not a musical where: “boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, and they sing  catchy show tunes that reverberate in your head  for  days”.  After this show,  it was  not the songs that played in my head, but the characters’ pain and joy  expressed through the music.   One  character (Alison) soars after she  openly  comes to terms with the fact that she is a  lesbian, while her  father (Bruce) self destructs from a  life  of  hiding that he is gay.  This musical  tackles real life family issues and is emotionally powerful  entertainment. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Day 205 PNC Broadway, King and I- Overcoming Cultural Differences and Finding Friendships

As a child, I loved the movie “The King and I.”  I must admit that I had a crush on the king, Yul Brenner, in the movie, bald head and all!  This is a story of  two people from very different cultures (The King of Siam) and the British schoolteacher (Anna), who’s contentious relationship at first  develops into a  loving friendship.  Initially, their ideas are very polarized because their  worlds could not be  more different but by being open to learn about each other, and  by developing a deep respect for each other, a powerful friendship/love evolves.  “The King and I" is all about  the process of  overcoming cultural differences.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Day 204-The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center-“Shake Your Booties..Down Bourbon Street” for a Family Cause at Stage AE

I have been to galas and walks to raise funds for organizations that focus on the support or a cure for various illnesses (Day 67, Day 90), but not for an organization that so strongly supports families. My blog inspiration, Little Golden Books, reminds us that family “times gives us a sense of belonging, when we feel safe and loved.” That is just what The Children's Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center does by promoting the health and the well-being of infants and children through  services that establish and strengthens the family.  They help establish a family with an infant adoption program, prepare a family with a home-like transition hospital for children, and  assist a family with a day care program for children with developmental and medical needs. I was  therefore ready to enjoy a night of jazz and fun by attending the event, “Shake Your Booties..Down Bourbon Street " and support this family centered cause at Stage AE.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Day 203- Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra POPS-Sounds of Simon & Garfunkel (AJ Swearingen & Johathan Beedle) –magical harmony.

Image result for aj swearingen and jonathan beedle images

At age 10, I remember listening to my neighbor’s parent’s  Simon & Garfunkel albums,“Bridge Over Troubled Water” and "Simon and Garfunkel Greatest Hits." We sang “Cecilia and  Homeword Bound” over and over again.  As a child, I loved the harmony and the stories told in the music and to this day I gravitate toward artists that have poetic lyrics and that harmonize.  This 1960’s duo was truly a magical musical union that fit together like no other. They produced songs that lasted the test of time or the kind that when played, you just start to sing along.  The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra POPS –Sounds of Simon & Garfunkel–with guests,  AJ Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle, and under the direction of guest conductor, Michael  Krajewski, brought back that magical sound enriched with Pittsburgh's first class symphony orchestra.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Day 202- Riverdance 20th anniversary-Amazing-Benedum Pittsburgh

Riverdance is on its 20th year of touring and I have never seen the show!  I love  to watch dance (see Day 193-Pilbolus & Day 90-Nutcracker ) so I thought that  it was time to see why this show has had such a long run and get my Irish fix on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. My son was home, so even though he needed a push to go, we both were amazed at the show. I overheard several people say “I thought it would be good but did not know it would be this good!”  

Friday, March 17, 2017

Day 201 Brit Floyd-Music of Pink Floyd- Immersion Tour at Benedum Pittsburgh

My first experience with the  music of the British  rock band, Pink Floyd, was in college.  I was  not  a  “rock and roll” girl but a disco queen  in college mostly because I loved to dance.  One  of my roommates gave me  head phones and  I listened to the entire  album of “The Wall”laying down in a dim lit room.  I could not believe the musical experience with  the voices, sounds (laughter), and instrumentals. I assure you that no drugs were involved but  I was taken on an escape, a relaxing ride,  and  I was hooked on the band. My blog inspiration book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned from A Little Golden Bookreminds us to “use your imagination” and that is just what I remember doing that day in my college dorm as I was immersed in the music.   I was excited to see if  Brit Floyd, which is a Pink Floyd cover band, could capture the experience.  

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Day 200- Musical, Daddy Long Legs-Secret of Happiness and Lemieux Family Center Event at O’Rielly

March 9 to April 9 at  O'Rielly

Pittsburgh Public Theater  held an event to support  The Children's Home of Pittsburgh and the Lemieux Family Center before the second night of the musical "Daddy Long Legs" at the O'Rielly Theater. This organization which offers adoption services, a pediatric  hospital and a day care for medically fragile children, seemed like the perfect charity to combine with this play. Daddy Long Legs is about an orphaned girl (Judy), who goes to college because a generous anonymous trustee (Jervis) finances her studies. This musical is really about Judy's educational, social, and personal growth, and her  secret to happiness.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Day 199-Travel Around the World- Play at Epcot (Orlando)

As noted in Day 198-Winter Park, Florida, it's been 15 years since I visited the  theme parks in Orlando and back then my son was only 5 years old. At that time, it was an exhausting Disney World experience keeping my son entertained in the long lines, finding food that he would eat, and avoiding an over tired child meltdown. Even with all that,  I was still joyous when experiencing my son’s Disney excitement.  This empty nest experience was new. I was playing as an adult and I chose  Epcot so that  I could travel around the world in a day.
Disney  1999,  loved  my son's joy 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Day 198 Beauty in Winter Park, FL- Orlando, museums, peacocks, lakes and more


Since February and March in Pittsburgh can be the perpetual rain and gray sky months, I say fly south for some beauty. From Pittsburgh there are reasonable and sometimes down right cheap direct  flights to Orlando. However I have not been to Orlando since 2002 when I did the Disney thing with my 5 year old son. Like most, I associate Orlando with Disney parks and endless exhaustive walking but  my friend introduced me to a lake community, Winter Park, Florida. It’s 7 miles from Orlando and  a small gem offering so much beauty in a quaint town with lakes, museums, peacocks and  more.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Day 197 Cool off with a Milk at the Shake Factory (Fat Tuesday)

 (I am reposting this reminder about the Milk Shake factory during our current heat wave!)

I have to admit that in my world  ice cream is a basic food group. My opinion is not based on any nutritional science but based purely on my  love for the stuff (see Day 10- Brewery and Ice cream).  I cannot pass an ice cream establishment  without indulging!  Therefore,  I  have no problem following the wisdom of my blog  inspiration book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned From A Little Golden Book that suggests,“treat yourself.” On this Fat Tuesday, the last feast day before the Lenten fast, I choose to have my feast with an ice-cream shake at the Milk Shake Factory.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Day 196-Pittsburgh Symphony POPS Broadway Standing Ovations-Feel the Music

I have had a run of Broadway show experiences lately (see Day 168 Kinky Boots,  Day 171 Finding Neverland , and Day 191 Something Rotten) so when I heard that the  Pittsburgh Symphony POPS  had a show, “Broadway Standing Ovations," I thought  that it would be perfect to experience  a variety of  the best  from Broadway with the full sound of  the Pittsburgh Symphony.  What I got was  such a powerful  sound that  during the show I had the  urge  to stand in appreciation, especially in the second half. You  could not help but feel the music! It was a standing ovation!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Day 195 Oaks Theater- John McIntire's Dangerously Live Comedy Talk Show

(John McIntire's Dangerously Live Comedy Talk show is coming back  to the Oaks on  June 24, 2017 with a new panel)

As a kid, I always loved talk shows like the “Johnny Carson Show," which is now "Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel." On occasion  I enjoy the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Therefore, when I heard about a comedy/talk show with some locals: the Mayor, Bill Peduto; Pirate's announcer,
Greg  Brown; and WQED’s, Rick Sebak, I thought that I would venture to a new place, the Oak Theater, and see what it was all about.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Day 194 Grandpa Joe's Candy Shop- Love Lives in Memories –Happy Valentine’s Day

On this Valentine’s Day, one of my blog inspiration books, Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned From A Little Golden Book, says it so well, “love lives in our memories of simple, happy times.”  When I found Grandpa Joe's Candy Shop in the Pittsburgh's Strip District, the candies of my childhood brought back some  memories of those simple happy times.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Day 193 Pilobolus-Collaborative and Inventive Dance

My Blog inspiration book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book  reminds us to, “use your imagination.” The  dance company, Pilobolus does this by pushing  the limits of  creativity and imagination to tell a story with movement.  I experienced this company in the 80’s as a high school and later as a college dancer. I loved how they contorted, formed, and molded, the body with an element of pantomime to express feelings and to tell stories with humor. This show, Shadowland,  uses dance and  shadows formed by the body, by its parts (hands, feet and legs), and by the collective dancers, to produce an explosion of screen images.  These images, are far better than the bunny or bird shadows  that  we all have made to amuse
 ourselves or entertain our children.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Day 192 Twelfth Night-Shakespeare-Love and Laughs- Get Some “Culture” at the O’Reilly Theater

My blog inspiration book, Everything I Need to Know I learned From a Little Golden Book, says that we should, “take in some culture once in a while.” What better way to do that than with a little Shakespeare!   In Day 191, I enjoyed the musical comedy, “Something Rotten,” which was about the birth of musical theater during the Renaissance to compete with the popularity of Shakespeare. Therefore, I thought that taking in the “real deal,” Twelfth Night, a Shakespeare comedy, would be  appropriate.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Day 191 Something Rotten-Comic Relief-The Birth of the Musical?

When you have weeks of  Pittsburgh gray skies and a barrage of  political discussion, some silly humor giving rise to a belly laugh will put that skip back into your day. That is just what happens when you experience the creative and whimsical plot of this musical comedy, Something Rotten, which is part of the PNC Broadway Pittburgh series.  

Monday, January 30, 2017

Day 190 DC Woman’s March-American freedom to express

My blog inspiration psychologist, Maslow, characterized “being concerned for the welfare of humanity and having democratic attitudes”  as traits of a  self-actualized person or  a person who has reached their personal best.  I strive to  reach  my personal best through trying new things.  Taking part in a march or a protest  could be in  line with this and in line with  American expression.   

Having a right to dissent, differ, question, and discuss is what I love about my America. Therefore, even though marching is outside of my comfort zone and my reasons for going may have differed from the “platform,” I decided to take part in this important means of American expression.  

Monday, January 23, 2017

Day 189 Decades Rewind Music of 60’s, 70’s, 80’s-Your flashback memory

My blog inspiration book, Everything I Need to Know I learned from A Little Golden Book, reminds us to “sing, even if you can’t hold a tune.”  That is just what you can’t help doing   at the show Decades Rewind. It's a musical review of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. When you’re a child of these decades you know all the hit songs, you sing the words, you add a little dancing, and then bingo- you’re  in your own special flashback memory.     

Singing  breeds  fun  and a song can  incite memories. My girlfriend and I  knew  the words to every  song in the show!  The 80’s, “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” transported me to Daytona Spring Break  at  a beach  karaoke contest where my  energy, not my singing, most likely won me a tee-shirt.