Friday, May 30, 2008

A Convenient Opera

A new opera is in the making and expected to be at La Scala in Milan in 2011. Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" will be transformed into an opera by Italian composer Giorgio Battistelli.
Not a lot of news about this but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Here is the story from the Wall Street Journal, Image from NY mag blog.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Elijah's Kite

I learned about an opera created for school kids in 2006 about bullying. Elijah's Kite was created by a Canadian group called Tapestry and was composed by James Rolfe and writer Camyar Chai.

Elijah’s Kite is a morality tale that deals with bullying and school violence. It is written with tenderness and humour, and explores the issues of friendship, loneliness and self image. Nine year old Elijah feels alone in the school yard and is often bullied by Big Billy Brett. For comfort, Elijah brings his favourite kite to school and dreams of flying away. One day, Elijah meets a
strong new girl named Miriam who isn’t afraid of Billy and stands up to him. However, Miriam soon learns to use her new power in the peer group in a negative manner and begins bullying others herself. In the end, by developing empathy for each other and appreciating diversity, they all discover what it takes to make Elijah’s kite fly: caring and cooperation!

What a wonderful way to bring opera to students with issues that directly effect their generation. The performance I read about included a hands on art activity where students got to make kites and then launched them with the opera singers. The study guide is available on line for teachers and students.

FYI: I am still absorbing the art from Chicago, I will blog about the good the bad and the ugly when I have processed.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Food Shopping and Art

I didn't finish wendesday
We ended our very jam packed day with dinner at Cafe Louis which is not the dinner with the prefix, but the very tiny french bistro that had a wonderful free range chicken. We shared the onion tart and it was lovely.

The Prefix dinner that I was so nervous about was Thursday evening. After a day at the art museum and more shopping, we went to Charle Trotters where 8 courses would have been perfect, but for some reason they decided to make our 3 deserts 5 deserts. They just kept bringing things out... It was all too good not to eat. and so we did. I will have to have K elaborate on our dinner when we get back, but as we are paying for internet minutes, this is just a brief sketch of our time.

I must move on to last night. Friday. All day SHOPPING. got great deals at Filenes and Ann taylor but we went to Nordstroms, and some huge shopping area where they had a million different bathroom sinks. We found this place because of a gallery that K was interested in, we found it and it was more of an antiqe shop on the sixth floor of a30 some odd floor ware house market place. It seemed like the entire place was dedicated to kitchens and bathrooms with the occasional furniture place here and there. It totally confused us both.

We went past the Cheezbooga, cheezebooga, cheezbooga place, Billy Goat Strut (?) made famous by the guys on Saturday Night Live.

Nordstroms was having a great sale, and I TRIED to buy the Kate Spades but even on sale they were $160. I am sure to some that is a great price for Kate Spade ballet flats, but with a non profit salary, I must get more out of my money and DID I ever!! our next stop was Ann Taylor where I got a suit & two pair of pants for $80. Not bad.

On our way back to the hotel, K wanted to stop at one last gallery. He purchaced a giclee of Frank Senatra for his office, and we looked at two floral pieces by a Parisian painter for the living room. K was more inclined for her work than Wednesday's wire. I don't have all the information on the artist yet. So I will blog about her when we get back.

Our dinner last night was very different. We took the advice of Larry Levine, who said we should go to Gennero's. Its a small mom and pop shop in little italy with authentic italian food. Thats what we were looking for and we found it. Jeff our waiter reminded us of Jimmy Fallon. the "gravy" was smokey and light at the same time. Good choice. We went from there to POP's for Jazz and Champagne. Odd combo but it worked well. K & I talked about the possibility of having such a place in Kentucky. It wouldnt work, but it would be nice.
We made it through one set of the Jazz quartet and one bottle of bubbly and I was cooked.

We will be leaving today. There is a parade that we hope won't get in the way of our departure. Randy also let me know that the Gay Lether convention is in town this weekend. We tried to see the piano player at the Knickerbocker that my brother reccomeneded and the place was filled to capacity with bears. Ha ha. Good times.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


WOW what a great city! Chicago has great art and great food. We have had full days of both.

Wednesday, we checked into the Drake Hotel. It is very similar to the Sealbach in Louisville. An older plalce that has seen better days, but they have great bellservices and they try to anticipate your every need. Immediatly after check in, we went to Filene's basement where shopping ensued. We both made modest purchaces with the promise that we would return for more damage. We went to lunch at Ralph Lauren where we shared the Crab Louis and the Lobster Club both of which were well complimented by the champaigne. After lunch we returned to the room to drop off our wares and headed out again to find art, and boy did we ever.

We headed to the gallery district in the 300 block of Superior Street. We probably hit about a dozen galleries and saw art that ranged from amazing to just plain awful. Three places hit the high marks for me. Melanee Cooper Gallery at 740 North Frankin had an unusual artist who was using frescos with oil. A very interesting effect when you add a high gloss enamel on top. The intense colors and the simple designs gave me the inital impression of enamals. In the office off to the side I saw a few piceces from the previous show of Allen Bently. The first one that caught my eye was "Wire". It is a long thin piece with a bright red back ground and dancers viewed from the top. These are great fun and make me want to dance.

Some other highlights include the Habatat Galleries Philip Baldwin and Monica Guggisberg pieces were wonderful uses of color light and line with use of glass balls heavy wire.

Gabriela Morawetz was another favorite. Her Egospheres were at maya polsky gallery. They were paintings with a

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I am taking off for Chicago tomorrow! Super excited!

Tonight there is a meeting for the local bloggers at  my offices at ArtSpace.  I am looking forward to that as well.  I found these people by accident, and they actually inspired me to start this blog (indirectly).  I had been looking for someone to blog about the opera for about a year, and I found I thought this might be just the place for me, and low & Behold there was a Social Media Club meeting that week. I was able to meet Michelle, and some other bloggers, and thought this is a good group.  They met at the Fox & Hound which was very loud and not good for discussions.  I offered the ArtSpace and after a preview by Jason Falls it was a done deal. 
I hope it  goes well tonight. 

I will actually be able to blog a bit in the windy city as K is bringing his lap top.  So I can tell you wether I make it through the full 8 course pre fix at Le Bouchon. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Food is art

So K wanted me to make sure I mentioned the Art of Charlie Trotter.

His dishes are more than filling for your mouth. They are exotic visual creations that tantalize the senses beyond most visual art.

Some of his "pieces" are essences rather than digestible food bits. I hope we have some of that in our 8 courses. K assures me that its only 5 because 3 courses are deserts. That somehow doesn't make me feel better, but I will be brave.

I also wanted to say we will be going to Le Bouchon. A Parisian cafe which features Jean Claude's Onion tart. K says (in a romantic and nostalgic kind of way) "You step off the mean streets of Chicago and are immediately transported to Paris!"

Looking forward to both dinners, and a nice rainy day to hang out in the Art Institute. Apparently we will have a few rainy days to choose from... This will be my fourth visit. It's been a while, and I may have to review some notes (if I can find them in my relatively unpacked condo.) I believe I have a cataloge which can help our direction, I don't know that I will be able to put my hands on it.

We are going to try to find a jazz bar my brother told me about (PK if you are reading this, you will need to refresh my memory). There is a piano player there that he likes a lot.

I will not be blogging on my trip. I will take notes though and give a full report when I return.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

And I think a painting has such a limited life anyway.

on a sad note...
He mixed media, mixed formats, and mixed genres of art - Robert Rauschenberg died last night at age 82 in his Florida home due to heart failure. (This post's titleis a quote from Robert Rauschenberg)

on the up beat...
A robot named ASIMO will conduct the Detroit Symphony tomorrow night.
One thing about both of these stories, I learned about them on NPR. I have several sources for my art information, I get emailed every day, several times a day on various art subjects. I had heard about ASIMO through one of these emails, but the details, such as the Detroit Symphony and Yo Yo Ma and the Impossible Dream were not included. So while I link these images to other news outlets, the source for me, NPR - they have this news thing down to an art form...

Monday, May 12, 2008

We are going to Chicago to buy a piece of art. I am so very excited about the trip and the possibilities. K has purchased from the Mary Bell Gallery in the past and feels confident he will find the perfect painting there.

I have done a little searching for other galleries and found a good number in the area.

K is especially excited about the diners: we have reservations for Charlie Trotters but will not be sitting in the kitchen which has its own menu apparently and is the VERY COOL place to be. I am hopeful the 8 course pre-fixe will not be a huge and heavy meal. K assures me it will be fine. I have not been successful with pre-fixe dinners in the past, they are usually so heavy and I leave in pain and takes days to recover. In any case, I am sure Mr. Trotters will be a grand experience.

I will be talking about Chicago until I get there, so be warned...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mothers Day

Went to the Art in the Arbor art fair today with my mom. We were going for mother's day but the weather is supposed to be bad tomorrow so we opted for the more beautiful eve of mother's day.

The fair was fair. 

There were a few good booths.  I did see Brad Devlin whose work is always fun and inspiring. We also saw Robbie Moriarty who is a charming charm artist. 

Mom's friends Cindy  & Michael Fess had a booth where her wire wrapped jewelry were well displayed. 

We both LOVED the kaleidoscope artist.  She used antique metal objects like old spoons and tray handles to decorate the stained glass. She used marbles, beads and crystals.  Very unique. 

It was a fun way to spend mothers day. 

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Surreal Art Experience

I had the unexpected pleasure last night to visit the studio of Barry Motes.

Barry does very interesting surreal abstractions in oil. He creates ethereal backgrounds with great movement and places iconographic line drawings floating in space. His palate is almost neon in hue, bright pinks, blues and greens. The effect is a bit disturbing and alluring at the same time. I had a sense of Miro but with a bit more realism in his figures and more movement & color in his backgrounds.

I saw pieces from a previous show, Heaven & Hell, where devils and angels did battle on backgrounds that seemed other worldly (not like where the hobbits live, more like where the aliens mêlée). The juxtaposition of the human ideas of metaphysical creatures, who in our construct reside in the clouds or the fiery pits of the underworld, interacting in the strange environments of space create a dizzying complexity in his large scale paintings.

He carries a similar yet opposite theme in another body of work, whose title escapes me but has something to do with disease on the cellular level. He takes an image of say cancer cells magnified so a single cell is about the size of a softball. Again he uses intense and bright palate and then superimposes a black and white image of his parents. In this series, he has gone from the macro (grand space like backgrounds with universal and iconographic figures) to the micro (cellular backgrounds with very personal themes). He is moving from the grand talk to every one to the intimate talk to me…The people in all these images are known to Motes, yet they have the quality of universality in a personal way. His parents could have been my grandparents, his mother died of the cancer that Motes used in the background and, my father died of cancer… these concentrations are extremely personal to some if not most of us, and even more so for the artist himself.

I wasn’t supposed to see what he was working on currently, so I will only say that he has moved into the third dimension and is flirting with Magritte-esque qualities of space, light and themes.

It was a delight to stumble on such a great opportunity, another reason to be grateful.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Photo exhibit at PYRO

Hanging Together

Poverty, Prosperity, Portraiture by John Fitzgerald

Hanging Together is a collection of portraits of individuals representing a wide range of socioeconomic status. While society and reality may treat these individuals quite differently, the photographic technique of this project seeks to view each individual much the same as God would – with absolute equality. The artist’s objective is to challenge the viewer to approach poverty and wealth through a more divine and personal lens than what their human perceptions, stereotypes, and experiences may allow. Photographic intimacy and a minimalist simplicity of artistic style are the means by which I attempt, - not to obscure, but to transcend the inequalities between those who are included in a wealthy, consumer culture and those who are left out. Learn more...

Opera in the News

Some interesting opera stories out there today.

This one caught my eye. When I first started with Kentucky Opera, I had a meeting with the editor of Louisville Music News who had this crazy idea of trying to get a younger crowd of hard core & heavy metal music, suggesting that the audiences while very different, have similar values toward their musical tastes.

It seems as though the Canadian Opera Company was a fly on the wall of that conversation...
As JOSHUA OSTROFF writes in Wednesday's Globe and Mail:
If you had to pick a pair of musical genres furthest apart from each other, opera and hip hop would be a fairly safe bet. One thing they do share is sizable purist fan bases, which, whether they use the phrase or not, prefer practitioners to keep it real. Nonetheless, these star-crossed genres are coming together in a performance called The Hip Hopera, a new collaboration by the Canadian Opera Company and the Royal Conservatory of Music. read more
Kudos to this collaboration that blends genres.

Another bit of news comes from Chicago - My boss just saw this Giovanni and said it was pretty spectacular, and only moments did the conducting lack in power that the music would have preferred.

ANDREW PATNER of the Chicago Sun Times review:
Journalists try to stay away from quoting marketing materials. But what to do when those materials are on the money? "Opera less ordinary," proclaims this year's COT brochure. "Less inhibited. Less predictable. Less expected." read more

Scott C. Morgan of Windy City Times reviews:
If Chicago Opera Theater's ( COT's ) new production of Don Giovanni was a movie, it would be slapped with an “R” rating for sexuality and violence. Thank heaven for that. read more
In any case, both of these stories exemplify the way opera is trying to appeal to a younger audience, the question now, is it working? By modernizing Mozart & merging contemporary music styles, is this changing the art form into something else?

I want to say no. If you run your fingers through any Opera News, the lush and provocative images are from the contemporary renditions and those visuals make me want to go and check it out. The image is from Faust produced in Dresden. Don't you wish you could have seen that set?

Ask Shakespeare - Most theater companies who have a large Shakespearian rep have modernized at least one of their productions.

We will look into this phenomenon.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Just getting started

I thought a blog would help me to write every day. It's doubtful I will actually get to write EVERY day, but we can try to set up a pattern.

In this blog, I want to write about art - of all kinds. What ever I can sink my teeth into. We shall see. Wish me luck.