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.

“Experiencing life like a child, with full absorption and concentration” is the behavior of a person who has reached their personal best or who is self-actualized in  Maslow's psychological theory. I must be getting there along with  a lot of the others who were at the science center that night because everyone seemed to be enjoying the science just the way the kids do.  The interactive exhibits were being actively explored. Many grown-ups (including me) were also playing along with, and taking silly pictures with, the Sci-Fi roaming cast of characters. 
I even learned the science behind making my own “Ghostbuster Slime”!

Everyone seemed to be enjoying the exhibits (O2HO!) 
There was so much to do.  “Roboworld” is a floor dedicated to robotics. It  has robot models displayed in a film time line, some robots to play with, and a giant robotic arm shooting basket balls to watch. Another  floor, “O2OH!” focused on water and explored the importance of water and the things living in it.  Since I have a health background, I seemed to spend most of my time on the new "Bodyworks" exhibits, interacting with the stations on bones, x-rays, and the mechanics of the body and mind. I also visited the miniature railroad  and enjoyed the Buhl Planetarium show which was in line with the nights Sci-Fi theme, “War of the Worlds Martians, Mystery and Mass Hysteria!”
Made Slime

My favorite  was  the Bodyworks exhibits
The Science Center and staff  went all out to facilitated the fun. I especially enjoyed the older gentleman that reminded me of a sarcastic absent minded professor who talked me into making the slime. Classic Science Fiction movies played in the Science Stage, a green screen provided various  photo-ops from Star Wars, and the Pittsburgh Penguin’s play-off  game  was on a large 4th floor screen so that hockey fans like me could explore the exhibits and  watch some game action. There was a bar on each floor and "GumBand" (a classic rock band)  played most of the night.
GumBand played most of the night
I loved having fun like a kid without the kid because I actually had the time to read the exhibits!

I would definitely explore the science center again during one of their monthly 21+ nights (6 pm to 10 pm). The next one is on June 16th -“Prom night”.  I better rally up some of  my high school friends (yes, I still see some of my friends from high school ), find  a prom date and some 80’s garb to wear!

miniature railroad of Pittsburgh from 1800's to 1930's 
Spiritual Reflection
Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:4)

Other Sources
Carnegie Science Center http://www.carnegiesciencecenter.org/ 
Maslow http://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html 

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 Fat Tuesday-Milk Shake Factory

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.  

Monday, January 16, 2017

Day 188 Carnegie Museum of Art- Stories You Tell

If you are like me  and love to hear someone telling their story (see Day 146 and  Day 182),  and love experiencing art (see Day 165),  than you will love  the exhibit, “ The Stories You Tell ,” at the Carnegie Museum of Art.  It is a  double dose of art because it combines  the art of story  telling  inspired by the work of art on display.  We  can all share our creative story and be an artist.  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Day 187 Ski the East-Whiteface Mountain-NY

Whiteface Summit behind us at the top of  the Gondola  

Last year I skied out west  for the first time in 10 years (See Day 154). This year I wondered what it would be like to ski the east.  Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, New York, home of the 1980 Winter Olympics, will not disappoint you especially if you enjoy a steep mountain.  Whiteface boasts of a 3430 foot vertical drop with 87 trails.  The Adirondack Mountains are also  just as beautiful as those out west.   My son and I had not skied together in 2 years!   I was excited to tackle the east  together with the  guidance of my  friends and my ski patrol buddy.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Day 186 Bobsled Experience-Lake Placid

Ready for the bobsled experience!

 I took  my  philosophy  of celebrating life by “keeping some type of forward trajectory”  expressed in Day 185 literally  when I ventured on a bobsled  at the Olympic Sports Complex in Lake Placid. I love watching the bobsled  races during the Winter Olympics. I marvel at the skill it takes to get the sled over  80 mph with only gravity and the manpower of teammates pushing it on a  narrow, banked, concrete, ice covered, twisting course.   It is dangerous, exciting, and fast. This is the perfect way to start my 2017 year of new experiences!
Great experience with my son

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Day 185 Celebrate Something. A New Year at the Baja Grill

It’s hard to believe that I have been trying new things and  blogging since  July 1, 2014 (see Day 1). It’s been a fun Journey with  new  places, relationships, activities and things (See summaries Day 31  and 61). More importantly it’s been a way  to continue to celebrate life. Life will always  have  ups and downs but it can  be a celebration when there is an attempt to keep  some type of forward  trajectory.  For me, and I guess for  those of you who enjoy reading this blog, trying something new is a way to keep some forward momentum.   Therefore, this year I wanted to go out and CELEBRATE the New Year. Some friends and I did just that at the Baja Grill with a little Abba from the band Dancing Queen!