Tuesday, April 29, 2008

past returns

Today I am not sure what to write about but I wanted to post something. I am delighted to see the sun back today but the two rainy days really greened the trees and grass up and kept the pollen down both pleasing results of these chilly wet days. This morning the pavers are finishing up the repaving of the street under my windows. Nice new black top all around. 
I have a house wren in the bird house gourd that I hung in our lilac tree a few weeks ago. Today was the first time I saw our wren after hearing his song a day or two back. I had a surprise call on Sunday from John Kelly my old friend in NYC. He was calling to invite me to come up to NYC for a discussion at LaMaMa E.T.C. Theater in the East Village about our days in the Original Trockadero Gloxinia Ballet with the amazing creator and director Madame Ekathrina Sobechanskaya aka Larry Ree. It will be a panel discussion with others from the Pyramid Club where we opened our new Trocadero company for two weeks of shows in 1982. I am excited to be recounting the stories I can remember and realized I better get busy thinking and writing about them so I can remember as much as possible. I have posted the few images I have from our posters and one photo by Donald Callahan that was taken of us in tableaux at the end of our Pas de Quatre when we performed it at the now defunct Cat Club. 
We began with our version of the Trockadero with Madame and 8 dancers. Only Madame and Grace had done this before the rest of us were beginners in the art of ballet en travesti . We spent about 6 weeks training and learning the dances and how to bead costumes in the rehearsal rooms of LaMaMa on East 4th St. I was invited to join by John Kelly who had met Larry Ree in some bar and been invited. We both had ballet training and I don't think either of us had thought of doing it in drag. I recall the day John came to ask me if I wanted to join the company. He came over for a coffee and told me about meeting Larry and what he wanted to do was get about 12 tall men to join his company and put on a show of Anna Pavlova style Russian 19th century ballet. We would all get our own pair of toe/pointe shoes and he had all the costumes and wigs to fit us that we would need. All we had to supply was a willingness to learn the dances, tights to cover our hairy legs and some makeup. Other requirements would be detailed later and we were to learn there were some very strict rules that had to be followed to be part of Madame's company of grand dames. One of the first things we learned as Madame's ballerinas was not to mug or do anything intentionally to get laughs from the audience. Madame's dislike of mugging, it seems came from some dark history with the other ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo whom broke off from Madame's company and began dancing as clowns which he found very repugnant. He said that we didn't need to do anything to make people laugh because the site of a six foot man in a tutu, wing, tights and toe shoes was funny enough. In the end Madame was right, the more serious we were the more the audiences laughed. The posters at the top detail our first run at the Pyramid and then later smaller shows that Madame, John Kelly and myself performed after the bigger group was disbanded. I danced with Madame from 1982 until about 1989 when a return trip to NYC to dance for a week caused me to get infected toe nails and I decided it was time for me to lay down my pointe shoes for good. Then I grew a goatee and soon after joined ACTUP DC and marched on NIH  to protest for access to AIDS drugs. 

Friday, April 18, 2008

friday flowers

Oh, today I discovered that Flickr holds 200 photos for display for free but after you reach 200 they want a fee of 24.95 to upgrade you to FlickrPro... so that is the catch and I shouldn't be surprised. That is how they can afford to hold all my data in a server. My brother works in one of those windowless buildings that has thousands of servers storing all our data points. I don't know much about his job except that if one of the networks goes down, some one's head is soon seen rolling down the isles. I went back to the National Arboretum to see the second installation of the International Ikebana show. I took photos of all the flower arrangements and then today loaded them on flickr click here to see them all.  I also took a lovely walk in the woods of fern valley at the arboretum to see the wild woodland flowers. The bright sun ended up ruining most of the pictures but I still don't know how to make great pictures in the dappled light of the woods. The past two days I have been going out into the garden, here at home, to write my morning pages since the weather is nearly perfect. The pope was round the corner Tuesday, Wed. and Thursday at the Catholic University and the Shrine of conception. I am delighted to report his visit did not disrupt my life much. My BF Keith had to disembark the Brookland metro at the same time the well wishers were leaving Wed. and he said it was extremely over crowded as they pressed to get in the station. Pope has moved on to NYC to wrack havoc on their traffic and transportation systems. I wonder what the pope's carbon foot print is? I heard on the radio that his shoes are not Prada but hand made by some Italian cobbler which I think is much cooler than designer label shoes. Anything made by hand like that wins my love because so few things that my society values or uses are made by hand anymore. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

near by gardens

This afternoon under bright blue skies I had a walk over to the other side of the tracks and on the way I found a few blooms.  Expecting I would, I took a camera in my pocket for some quick snap shots of the natural things that really stood out. The first was this evergreen tree which had many wonderful cones fully open with little tassels. I was enchanted because I know that type of cone from an arts and crafts design somewhere in my deep design memory.  I wonder what the tree is and where I saw that original design that made me notice the likeness?
Once I went to 7-11 to collect a payment from Western Union and found for the 4th time that wasn't going to be possible I headed back across the tracks to the Yes Organic market and found more lovely things on the way. Lilacs in the alley, green Dogwoods posed before an orange shed and a bold early green euonymous shrub bursting with color in the sun light. So the trip wasn't a total loss. Brookland is a beautiful neighborhood for all it's quaint gardens and spring is a good time to walk around and see lots of color. I sometimes wish I could have one of each plant in our yard but then I would miss all these and a pleasant experience of walking to discover them in my neighbors yards. 

Sunday, April 13, 2008

ikebana international

I am happy to say that this past Saturday after a couple months of feeling an almost constant state of stress eminating from across the room I went to see the Ikebana International Chapter One's show at the Bonsai Museum in the National Arboretum. My partner was the organizer and this was his first chance to organize an exhibition. As you can see in my 2 snap shots above, and 25 more here,  everything worked out quite well for this first group of arrangements.  The show opened  Friday 4/11 and continues until 4/20 next Sunday and will have a second and third set of  new arrangements installed this week. Saturday afternoon we attended a demonstration of Ikenobo Ikebana school style that is one I have always admired, everyone was very excited to see these lovely arrangements take shape. These exhibitions are kind of a well kept secret as are the teachers and the schools that are all over the world. In 1956 Washington DC  became Ikebana International Chapter One because this is the very first place the Japanese began allowing the ancient art to be taught outside of Japan. 

Saturday, April 12, 2008

blue bells of 2006

I found the blue bells at bull run back in 2006 and took my mother out there for a walk. I made some pictures of the flowers on that walk and thought it would be fun to load them up here to go with the story about taking my sister out there this past Tuesday. I didn't have any sun to light up the flowers this week but back in 2006 there was plenty of sun to make some nice bull run blue bell photos. 

Friday, April 11, 2008

bull run blue bell

This week while driving to visit Manassas to see my sister Jenny who is visiting from Texas prompted me to look for Virginia Blue Bells in bloom along the Battlefield Park. I saw they were in bloom from the highway and as soon as I got home I asked if Jenny had ever seen them, no was her answer, so we made a bee line to the park. The main office and museum gives out passes to park and is located next to the iconic Stonewall Jackson statue. He was a confederate general  that stood "like a stone wall" in one of the two battles of Manassas (battle of Bull Run for the north) .  We found the park office closed at 5 pm and drove on over to the Stone Bridge walk along bull run to see the wild blue flowers that grow in the flood plains on both sides of bull run.
I have some pictures from when I was there with my parents a few years ago so this time I just focused on Jenny and the swampy area that caught my eye. She spotted some white tailed deer grazing on the fresh spring grass. They were about 300 feet away and the zoom didn't help much because the light was low and the hands a little shaky. If you look very hard at the view of the swampy forest field you might see them back there. 

Thursday, April 3, 2008

gardens waking

Today it is cool and raining here in Wash. DC but the garden is really beginning to wake up to spring. We have a lot of flowers blooming but I broke my camera last week when I was out doing my volunteer work so I don't have pictures of today's garden. I did go on flickr this week and post about 100 images from our home garden of last year's growth and favorites so I am going to post a link  garden pictures 2007  There are also a set of photos from my 2007 August trip to Ipswich, MA where I spent a week with my pal Betsy. She has a wonderful home on the edge of the Ipswich river marsh about half a mile from the ocean.  Seeing all these photographs of last summer make me look forward to the coming months of warm breezes and beautiful blooms.