Thursday, November 23, 2017

Day 248 Motown The Musical -Pittsburgh Broadway Series-Can’t get enough

Temptations -Motown the Musical 
I have always loved the Motown sound. If you are like me, you feel some kind of  connection to it that  always brings your feet moving, your head bopping and your mouth singing. That might have been why I had a “musician connection” for many years before I started this blog that had me listening to this type of music.  Although I took a reprieve from it  in my empty- nest period, when I heard  that the Pittsburgh Broadway Series was bringing Motown The Musical to town,  I was ready to experience that Motown sound again because it’s the type of music that you just can’t get enough of!

The musical is based on the founder of Motown, Berry Gordy’s autobiography To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown .  The show begins  in 1983 at the 25th Anniversary Celebration of Motown with the Temptations and the Four Tops  energizing the stage with their sound and dance moves. Then the music keeps going with 66 total songs from Smoky Robinson, Marvin Gay, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Jackson 5 and more!

Gordy starts his record label 
 Motown  not only captures the excitement of  the music but also the development of Gordy’s empire. We are taken  back to 1938 where a young Gordy was enamored with the Joe Louis (African-American) vs. Max Schmeling (a German) boxing match, which was the focus of African American pride at this time. As a boy Gordy excitedly remarks,“Louis is black like me”  as his father encourages him to always remember to be the best, work hard, and trust God.

Diana and Supremes

 Berry Gordy’s ( Kenneth Mosley) determination for the best took him from featherweight boxer, to song writer, to the Motown label that  launched the careers of Smokey Robinson, Steve Wonder, Diana Ross and Michel Jackson and more.  During this musical we are there for the ride and enjoy the music that we all know the words to and love to hear over and over again.

Of course we see  discovery of the  young Diana Ross (Ternyce) and the Supremes  as they burst into “"Stop! In the Name of Love".  Then we enjoy the ride of  her  solo career debut  in Las Vegas  as she sings, “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)”. 

Jackson 5
The recreation of all the artists woven though-out Gordy’s story were fantastic. I especially enjoyed Ternyce as Diana during this Vegas show which made us all feel like we were there. The  Jackson 5 medley (ABC watch)  with young Michael (Kia Calhown)  brought a burst of  audience  applause. My mother particularly enjoyed the crisp moves and harmonies of the Temptations.

This show was a celebration of music and the history  that brought white and black America together. It ended with the touching real footage from the 1983 25th Anniversary Celebration of Motown. I say join in on the celebration with Motown the Musical and remember the sound that we can’t get enough of.  

(Motown the Musical runs through Nov 21-26 (excluding Nov 23) at the Benedum Center. For tickets go to Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.)

Spiritual Refection
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, (Colossians 2:23)

Other sources
 Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Broadway tour schedule

Friday, November 17, 2017

Day 247-Pittsburgh Broadway Series- Color Purple-Resilient and Strong

Celie and her sister Nettie

The musical The Color Purple is based  on the 1982 novel by Alice Walker. It  is a story about a  woman (Celie)  who triumphs over life’s hardships  in the American south.  As  my blog inspired physiologist Maslow would say, she self-actualized or became her personal best.  I was a sap and cried tears of joy on her behalf  during most of the play's second act when she  triumphed over adversity with the strength and resilience given to her from God. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

246 Marriage of Figaro-Pittsburgh Opera-Lovely Comedy

Figaro and Susana, Countess and Count
There is nothing better than a good laugh, especially when there seems to be an endless trail of “doom and gloom” stories in the news. The Marriage of Figaro with music by Mozart and sung in Italian, is an operatic  comedy.   I was excited to experience my first opera  where someone did not meet their demise in the name of love!


I have discovered  a new interest in the opera during  my empty-nest period (see Day 239-Tosca). They all seem  to be such “larger than life” productions with extravagant  sets,  powerful voices, and beautiful symphonic music.  The Marriage of Figaro was less extravagant than  my past experiences but it  was  filled with wonderfully whimsical music. Much of  Mozart’s 1786 composition, especially the overture, has been played outside of this opera  and thus the  music was familiar to my ears. (listen here)

In this four act opera no one died. In  fact, most of  the action centered round the playful antics during a 24 hour period before the impending marriage of Figaro (the Count Almavia’s head servant) to Susana (the Countess Rosina Almavia’s maid).

 The Count (Christian Bowers)  had a thing for Susana (Joella Harvey) and wished to exercise his noble right to take the place of his servant on his wedding night. He continued to try to delay their wedding. He also  tried to force the marriage of  Figaro  to an old woman, Marcellina (Leah de Gruyl) to satisfy his debt. Then in Act 4 Marcellina discovers that Figaro (Tyler Simpson) is her long lost son.   

Figaro gets the girl, Susana

The Countess (Danielle Pastin) fearing that her husband has lost interest in her, schemes with Susana  and Figaro to teach him a lesson. They convince the page  boy, Cherubino (Corrie Stallings) to dress up as Susana in order to trick the Count. You get the picture, there  is a lot of  twist and turns and mistaken identities  that result in laughter but in the end the Count and Countess fall back in love and Figaro gets his girl!

There were 12 strong characters in this opera and many shared the stage together in song. Since there was so much  movement,  I often just stopped trying to follow the action and English subtitles and enjoyed the music. Especially in Act 3 when both Susana (Joelle Harvey) and the Countess  (Danielle Pastin) produced such beautiful soprano melodies.

This light- hearted opera with familiar music and  a twist of laughter was a welcomed new operatic experience.  I intend to keep the Pittsburgh Opera Season in my survival toolbox because thus far, I have enjoyed the diverse  variety in their shows.  

(Their next show in  January, The Long Walk, is a contemporary American Opera about a solder's struggles after his return from the Iraq war.)

Other Sources

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Day 245 4x4 Ephemeral Architectures -Ballet and Juggling-Beautifully Intimate

Juggling  and ballet is not something that  you often experience  together but renowned juggler, Sean Gandini and Royal Ballet dancer, Ludovic  Ondiviela combined their talents in the show, 4x4 Ephemeral Architectures  at Wilson Center recently.   This show continues to  receive rave reviews since it opened in 2015 at the London International Mime Festival.  Luckily, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust  brought this merger of two different art forms to Pittsburgh.   I thought that this would be my first contemporary  circus experience but this was something much better- something beautifully intimate!   

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Day 244 The NEW Arcade Comedy Theater –Improv, humors spontaneity

New Arcade Comedy Theater, Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh
Bringing  humor and laughter to Pittsburgh  is a great way to circumvent some of the unpleasant current events in the news lately and to combat the impending shortened daylight this time of year. Arcade Comedy Theater  is a new comedy venue with a non-profit mission to, “elevate and advance the art of comedy” and  “present fun accessible and affordable live comedy to Pittsburgh every weekend”.  I was  ready to experience some  spontaneous  humor   through the art of improvisational comedy during the  Grand Opening of the New Arcade Comedy Theater!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Day 243 My Great Stress Cook- Off

My blog inspiration book, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from, a Little Golden Book recommends, “Learn to cook”. I never thought that I would use that book page in this blog because I am such a bad cook and I actually really hate to cook. I know it’s shocking -an Italian girl that does not know how to cook. I wish I had a dime for every time I heard, “You’re Italian and you don’t cook”! 

Today my happiness meter went into the “critical red zone”. Why my stress  level  was in the red zone: whether it’s a product of work, my relationships, or my child is irrelevant, but what matters is the way I choose to circumvent  potential despair. I don’t drink, use drugs, shop much, or sleep it off, so I decided to try something new –cook!

Friday, November 3, 2017

November Preview of Upcoming Events

Since this blog is  all about keeping a forward trajectory in mist of change and reaching your personal best, I wanted to preview some of my planned experiences in  the hope  that it will inspire some to join in. As Dale Carnegie once said, "Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." Let's all get busy!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Day 242-Pittsburgh Ballet Opens its Season with Dracula-Beautifully Eerie

What better way to spend Halloween weekend than with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theather (PBT) Season Opener, "Dracula".  One of my favorite things is going to a ballet because of the beauty  but his time the show is based on something mysterious- Bram Stoker’s 1887 novel.  The last time that PBT preformed this show was in 2011, so I did not want to miss the experience of something beautifully eerie!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Day 241 Pittsburgh Broadway Series Opens with "School of Rock" - Powerhouse Kids-A Voice

The Pittsburgh Broadway 2017-18 season opened with "School of Rock”, the musical, with music by Andrew  Lloyd Weber. The play is based on the 2003 movie with the same name.  If you like kids then you will love this lighthearted play because the best part of the show is experiencing the kids' powerhouse musical talent as they perform rock n roll live. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Day 240 Black Violin-Create your own path

My Blog inspiration book, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book” reminds us to “be unique” and unique is  just what  you get with Black Violin. Classically trained violist (Wil B) and violinist (Kev Marcus)  fuse  classical music with hip hop, pop and rock. They call  their new musical genre “Classical Boom”. Their music is not just about a new sound but as Wil B  said during their show, it is about  “breaking stereotypes, thinking  outside the box and creating your own path.”

Friday, October 13, 2017

Day 239- Pittsburgh Opera –Tosca-Romance, Loyalty, Love, and Deceit – An explosive musical experience

Mario and Tosca 
I have seen several  operas, some  modern (Day 212) and some classical (Day 143), but they have all been larger than life productions. What I love about the opera  is that it is not really about the story but about the way the set, voices, and symphony  combust  to produce the overall "operatic experience."  The best way to describe Puccini’s "Tosca" was a powerful  vocal and musical explosion!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Day 238-Equus- Pittsburgh Public Theater at the O’Reilly: the power of Worship

I have seen many plays but never one as powerful, as thought provoking, or as visually interesting  as Equus. Equus  tackles  the question that most of us ask when we hear about a horrific crime or event-“why?”  In this  drama,  Martin Dysart,  a child psychiatrist,  searches for the  source of  the pain in a  teenage boy,  Alan Strang, that birthed a horrific act of horse mutilation. As the  puzzle unfolds,  we discover  that the act of worshiping a  higher being  or thing can be a powerful  catalyst for good or evil.     

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Day 237 Adam Ant-Palace Theater Greensburg-New Wave Icon Just Like I Remembered

I have recently enjoyed  several  tribute band’s recreations of  music from the 80’s and 90’s (see Days 220 and 222 ).  Adam Ant  is a UK  80’s Punk Rock/New Wave  icon.  I  remembered going to an  Adam Ant concert  as a 80's high school girl at the now long gone  Syria Mosque with my best friend Paul (who quiescently  changed his name to Adam). We dressed in “new wave” garb by wearing  black and white, garnishing our outfits with  safety pins  and adding  white stripes under our eyes. We   jumped like crazy to the energetic pulsating drum beat of Adam and the Ants.  When I heard that he was  touring again  I was off to a new venue, The Palace Theater in Greensburg, to see the real deal and once again experience  the high octane music of Adam Ant!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Day 236- Sylvan Esso with Helado Negro- Enigmatic Musical Performances at Stage AE

My blog inspiration book, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book”, reminds us to “be unique” and  to “make music a part of your life.”   In my quest to experience varied  musical genres (see Days 15,  113, 140, and 122 ),  I was excited  when  Stage AE brought the new music of  Sylvan Esso, a duo of Nick Sanborn’s electronics and Amelia Meath’s  unique voice, to Pittsburgh.   Heladro Negro, a Latin singer  from Ecuador who uses “performance art” opened the show.  The mysterious sounds and performances of both of these artists  made this  enigmatic  show  such an enjoyable new experience!   

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Day 235- Experience Art exhibits at August Wilson Center-"Funky Turns 40: Black Character Revolution"

The August Wilson Center, Pittsburgh’s African American Cultural Center, offers interesting shows and exhibits.  I recently experienced Kaki King, a unique visual guitar experience in it’s 472-seat theater (see Day 234). The center also has multiple exhibition galleries(see schedule). Recently, by chance, I visited, “Funky Turns 40: Black Character Revolution”, a show  that focused on the significance of  the positive change in Saturday morning black cartoon  characters in the 1970's-80’s.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Day 234 Try August Wilson Multiple Choice Events- Kaki King a visual explosion and guitar

Kaki King-Potters Clay visual on guitar
The August Wilson Center which has a small  theater was the perfect intimate setting to experience Kaki King. She is a unique artist who fuses  a visual experience  with her distinctive inventive method of guitar playing. Just like  Pink Floyd’s The Wall, her show is one that you have to see, hear and experience. It’s an escape with an explosion of  light and music (see video) .

Monday, September 4, 2017

Day 233 Labor Day Weekend Heinz Field Rib Fest - food, fun, family and football kickoff tradition

Smokin Joes-a lot of spunk

I am not even a meat person so to go to the Heinz Field Rib Festival   is a little out of my comfort zone as well as a new experience.  Pittsburgh has had a Rib Fest since 1990 when it was held at the now long gone, Three River Stadium.  The pulse of this town is football  and  a rib festival  seems like the  appropriate kick-off  to the  season  since footballs are made from  pigskins. It also could be that ribs are a tailgate favorite and this town goes all out during  Steelers and Pitt football  tailgates. In any event,  Labor  Day and ribs seems to be a deep rooted  Pittsburgh tradition. With free admission and also a great track record of free entertainment, I was off  to try a bunch of  ribs!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Day 232 American Eclipse 2017-Carnegie Science Center-awesome

The rare event of a total  solar eclipse exclusive to the US traversing a path across our country united  many Americans as we all looked up in amazement at this cosmic spectacle. We all had a little "eclipse fever", or at least I did, and why not, a continuous eclipse in the US has not happened since 1976 and one exclusive to the US since 1776. Americans everywhere  saw various versions of  the moon blocking the light of the sun and those in the direct path saw day turn into night. It was a moment where we realized how small we are, a  speck on this planet that is just a speck in the universe!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Day 231 Million Dollar Quartet-Pittsburgh CLO- peak experience of music from the soul

Martin Kaye (Lewis), Billy Finn (Perkins), Derek Keeling (Cash) James Snyder (Presley)

Self-actualization or reaching one’s personal best according to my blog inspiration psychologist, Maslow, is measured by “peak experiences” of the world. With a peak experience “there are feelings of euphoria, joy and wonder”(see simple psychology).  A  peak musical experience is what happens in Million Dollar Quartet, a show about a single jam session with four rock and roll/country legends, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley in 1956. This show  dramatizes  the historical  one time musical moment that took place at  Sun Record Studios in Memphis, Tennessee  and was latter known as “The Million Dollar Quartet”.  This play captures the  intensity and feeling of the music that came from the artists’ soul.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Day 230 Pittsburgh CLO-Mamma Mia- a frolic, a vacation

My blog inspiration book “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book"
 reminds us to “frolic” and  a frolic is a good way to describe the musical, “Mamma Mia.” It’s a show based on the songs from the popular 1974 ABBA album with the same title. This show  moves with cheerfulness and excited energy from the beginning to the end. You  can’t help but relax and enjoy it like a mini vacation as you sing along with  the familiar  pop/dance album  hits "Dancing Queen”, "Knowing Me Knowing You”, "Money, Money, Money”, “Super Trouper”, SOS”, "Voulez-Vous”, “Thank you for the Music”, “Winner Takes it All” and of course the title track, “Mamma Mia”.    

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Day 229 Common- Hip Hop Rap and the Pittsburgh Symphony-A voice and community.

As I have said before, I never envisioned myself listening  to  hip hop rap music  but  in my effort to try new things, I have discovered  that I enjoy  the way the rhythmic chants, like poetry, condenses a message. Rapping at times also gives a passionate voice to a cause or an issue  (Day 170- Rapper Kuf Knots  and  Day 122-Biz Markie ).  Common, a hip hop rapper, poet, author, and actor, brought  this style of musical  expression  to the stage with the symphonic sound of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.  With the  added  ensemble of  strings, the musical messages seemed  even more powerful- an amplified voice.

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.

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

(Don't miss another  Carnegie Science Center 21+ night  (Beer 21+) on Friday, July 28th, where you can sample beer from 16 local breweries, see demonstrations, hear live music and as explore the 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.