Saturday, March 29, 2014

we "walk the walk"

LOL- so to speak...  So last night CBGB came down and the four of us headed out to the Wine Walk to Ca d'Zan.  Phil and I had gone last year on a very busy Friday night just after we closed on our condo and really enjoyed ourselves. So this year we invited CBGB and we made a foursome...

the event is simple- wines from many countries/foods from many countries and a lovely setting alongside Sarasota Bay as the sun goes down...

the little passport has all the wines and foods listed in for planning your "trip" around the estate-

so we stopped in for sea bass and empanadas at the Chile/Argentina station and sushi and sake at the Japan station.... terrine and tenderloin pizzas at the California/Oregon one and salumi at the Italy stop--- then topped it all off with tenderloin from a carvery station at the VIP tent- then we walked to the Terrace to sit for a bit to end the evening-

the layout had been altered this year due to very heavy threats of rain and we liked the one from last year a bit better but the rain held off and we enjoyed the evening despite the changes necessitated by the threatening weather...

up next for us- a week of farewell touring for Phil (read - we go to all his favorite restaurants one last time before he heads north)

up next for me- the Sarasota Film Festival where I have tickets for five films.

Also 4000 Miles at the Asolo with Georgia (in the historic Asolo Theater) and lots of cleaning and putting away at the condo- for the summer away. And finally, once it has really actually warmed up - the girls and I will head home for the summer.

we have lots to catch up on at home (Ed's Potsticker House soup dumplings! for one example) and we have theater tickets for four plays and a concert and a Goosefoot dinner - in the first two and a half weeks after I am home.  Then, before we know it, we are off to France with CBGB for our barge trip with our friend Captain Anna! Lots of fun in store for us this summer, including a trip to the Maritime Provinces for an "Epicurean Adventure" LOL- sounds delicious!!! Stay tuned for more details.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


so tonight we headed to the theater to see the Asolo production of Grapes of Wrath...

we stopped for dinner at Captain Brian's Fish Market (yes it is) and Restaurant where we have been twice before and really enjoyed the very fresh fish- the place is not at all fancy just good food! Here were the specials tonight- (sorry about the flash)

we got to the theater a bit early which turned out to be really nice because we had time to look at a display I might otherwise have missed about risk taking- see more below- 

so as you entered the lobby - a bit on the side was this sign and then a board where people had posted their notes-

now some of these (in my judgment) are not BIG risks but some are stupendously big risks and here are some I noticed-

"finally gave my heart" (I was so touched by that one- how joyful to see that post)  and the one next to it was a knock your socks off  "gave my husband a kidney he had given his to his brother" - and the row continued with "married the poorest guy in town 61 years ago, no regrets!"  these were fabulous sharings!!

the staging was fabulous- amazingly depicting the long and arduous journey the family took from OK to CA-

starring a cast of dozens of people!

a bit of history on the dust bowl from the program-

some blurbs about the works of Steinbeck- which have been adapted for stage and screen-

so here is my thumbnail review-

this play was excellent and it was intense - there was not one upbeat moment in the entire two hours plus-these people had only crappy bad things happen to them - a whole bunch of people die along the way and really bad people do really bad things to these poor down and out folks who are just trying to get some work- that's all they want is a chance to work and feed their families- seriously intense and depressing... although excellently acted and incredibly staged (rivers run, it really rains, people get buried, camp fires are lit) but WOW - what a downer...

and here's the thing- it was even more of a downer because decades later we still have the same issues- people just wanting to work to feed their families and getting nowhere---

and so I will leave you with this-

And remember to get out there and vote! The only way we can change things is to raise our voices through our votes!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

three weeks - three plays

Well the "best laid plans" - LOL- I realize that there is a weird kind of connection in that quote because we are about to spend three successive Wednesdays at the theater and this week our play is Grapes of Wrath... and if I am not mistaken the remainder of that quote was also used by Steinbeck as a title to one of his seminal works Of Mice and Men... so it was kind of strange that I started the post with that, but it fits our situation.

we had originally gotten tickets for the Asolo Theater for roughly a play a month- since we also had a concert series at the Van Wezel and miscellaneous other events (Forks & Corks, the Wine Walk, wine dinners etc...)

we would be starting the "season" in November with School for Scoundrels and then in early January - Loot and late January - Philadelphia Here I Come and February - Other Desert Cities, then March would be a double duty month with Vanya & Sonya followed by Grapes of Wrath.  Then we would end the season in April with 4000 Miles (in a compare and contrast exercise with the Northlight production from last September.

BUT- things we awry when the director of Philadelphia Here I Come canceled all the shows for two weeks near the beginning of the run... this left the Asolo folks scrambling and they rearranged the schedule (yes they called more than 2000 people to rework tickets... so how this boiled down for us is that it left us with three plays in three weeks right at the end of the "season"...

this week Grapes of Wrath and next week (finally) Philadelphia Here I Come and then in two weeks 4000 Miles (which will be performed in the Historic Asolo Theater rather than the Mertz Theater where most Asolo productions take place.)

so get ready for some reviews of the three plays and photos of the Wine Walk to Ca d'Zan and then four films I am scheduled to see at the Sarasota Film Festival....

so, a few illustrative photos- to entice you to come back for the reviews and other thoughts I might have along the way...

here is a link to my review of the Northlight Production of 4000 Miles from last September-

this Friday evening - CBGB and the two of us will be headed to the Ringling Estate - Ca d'Zan for the Wine Walk- and event we loved last year!

here is a link to the walk last year- which was held basically the same night we bought our winter place here in Florida (and boy are we grateful for the timing of that as our Chicago home has been inundated with nearly 70 inches of snow and record cold this winter!)

so heading into the home stretch for the "season" with lots of cultural engagements and a visit from Cousin Michele as well as CBGB (mentioned above for the wine walk)... the hits just keep on coming!!!

Monday, March 24, 2014


Four weeks and one day after returning from the trip I am actually done with the photos, with blogging, and with the photo book! Much much faster than the China post trip work...

Shutterfly offers exclusive layouts and designs so you can make your book just the way you want.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

But there’s always an elephant to ride....

lately things have shown up around a theme- yesterday or the day before Phil said to me "today is the 40th anniversary of the day the ERA was passed and sent to the states"

then Gail Collins wrote an op-ed called "this is what 80 looks like" on Gloria Steinem. the article was matter of fact (like its subject apparently) about a woman who became the face of the feminist movement (somewhat inadvertently) - there are plenty of women of note in the earliest days of the women's movement she is just possibly the most recognizable.

about two years ago I donated to a kickstarter campaign that was raising money to complete a film on the early days of the feminist movement - it is called "She's Beautiful When She's Angry" directed by Mary Dore and Nancy Kennedy.  The film is about to be premiered at the Sarasota Film Festival in early April. Phil asked me why I donated the sizable amount that I did to the project, and my answer was "because we are losing ground, not gaining and maybe this will help wake up some of the younger women who think the war is over."

from the website link above-
SHE'S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE'S ANGRY resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women's movement from 1966 to 1972. SHE'S BEAUTIFUL will take us from the founding of NOW, with ladies in hats and gloves, to the emergence of more radical factions of women's liberation; from intellectuals like Kate Millett to the street theatrics of WITCH ("Women's International Conspiracy from Hell!"). Artfully combining dramatizations, performance, and archival imagery, the film will recount the stories of women who fought for their own equality, and in the process created a world-wide revolution.

Remarkably, there has never been a feature film on the early days of women's liberation. SHE'S BEAUTIFUL aims not to romanticize the early movement, but to dramatize it in its exhilarating, quarrelsome, sometimes heart-wrenching glory. The film will not shy away from the controversies over race, sexual orientation and leadership that arose in the women's movement. SHE'S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE'S ANGRY will capture the spirit of the time –it will be thrilling, scandalous, and often hilarious. 

SHE'S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE'S ANGRY is a film about activists, made to inspire and empower women to work for feminism and human rights. And not only women: a film that shows the power of organizing a mass movement will be useful to all audiences interested in social change.

the war on women is being waged all over the US especially in red state territories where men think that women who are raped can't get pregnant and who think requiring a vaginal probe before obtaining an abortion is "just a fine idea"... outrageous things go on all the time when it concerns women and their status as equal members of society. 

so I read the Collins column with interest to see if perhaps Gloria had answer or a game plan - she is celebrating 80 in Botswana (on an elephant) and so when the column was drawing to a close I found this particularly poignant:

"You do sort of count on her having a plan for the next stage. “We’re so accustomed to narratives, we expect there’s going to be a conclusion, or explanation or answer to the secret,” she said. “And probably the answer is, there isn’t.”  

But there’s always an elephant to ride."

So I will be there at the Sarasota premiere of She's Beautiful When She's Angry and hope that the film ignites a spark in many of the younger women in the audience to stand up to the destruction of the forward progress of the women's movement of the 60s, 70s, and 80s...

and in line with my GO NOW philosophy- "there's always an elephant to ride"

go girl! Gloria! and happy birthday!!!

PS look for the movie and support the cause by going to see it and don't forget to vote!!!!!