Saturday, February 7, 2015

just plain brilliant

that is my three word review of the one man show by Julian Sands last night at the Historic Asolo Theater.  His evening - entitled "A Celebration of Harold Pinter" was absolutely masterful.  He commanded our attention standing alone on an unadorned stage with no soundtrack, virtually solely reading the poems of Pinter - interspersed with only an occasional quote from Pinter or anecdote about Pinter. Really remarkable evening of entertainment.

if you want a professional review - here is a link to the NYT review -

before this evening my main identification of Julian Sands was that of the role he played in A Room with a View- the suitor of Lucy Honeychurch- in a star studded cast of a wonderful adaptation by Merchant & Ivory. the romantic leading man- this is what he looked like then-

and here is the photo he provided for the program- LOL- time marches on-

the playbill from the show- 

a perfect encapsulation of the show-

directed by the always brilliant John Malkovich (an aside- I saw him in Chicago more than two decades ago just tear up the stage with his performance in Burn This- a memory of theater that has been completely unforgettable to me since that time!)

what Mr. Sands looked like last night as he delivered the poems and quotes of Pinter...

so WOW- really amazing talent all the way around- Pinter, Sands, Malkovich... what's not fabulous there?

Friday, February 6, 2015

on the list

of things we miss from Florida when we are in Chicago - grouper, stone crab claws, and pizza!

we have two places we like here and since the demise of Homemade Pizza we have few choices we really like in our neighborhood up north.  but here- we love the outpost of Grimaldi's from under the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC... a long time favorite

Grimaldi’s history of coal-fired brick oven pizza cooking can be traced to the first pizzeria in America back in 1905. Coal-fired brick oven cooking gives pizza a unique smoky flavor and a crisp crust that is just not possible with gas, convection, or wood oven.

there are several in the area although not one really close by-  but the pizza is excellent (the one we regularly order is shown above) and worth a journey!

and when we want to have pizza - last minute right around us... we like VIP (Village Idiot Pizza) which is small and family owned with very very good wood fired oven pizza-

my favorite is also "Adam's Favorite" I am happy he is willing to share!

Phil likes "the Flatlander" and also "the Butcher" (shown below)

so while we do miss many of the ethnic foods Chicago offers - we do have good pizza available!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

a success!

so it only took us five winters to find a really good sushi place- LOL- actually we have found a couple of places along the way that were fine but last night we found the place we have been looking for- and oddly enough it isn't a sushi place- it is a fusion Thai-Japanese place.  Living in a city of more than 8 million people we have a number of BYO sushi places in the neighborhood that are really just sushi and maybe a tiny bit of cooked food (tempura/miso soup etc..)

the last few years we have been carrying in from the Lawrence Fish Market but you have to plan early - and if we don't plan - and then have a "taste" for sushi we usually have gone to Ora Sushi on Clark in Andersonville or what is known as Sushi Mike (LOL) Tanoshii Sushi also on Clark in Andersonville (our neighborhood in Chicago- about 1.5 miles north of Wrigley Field along the lake front -for those who don't know Chicago neighborhoods)

so when you go to a community of 50,000 from 8 million there are some adjustments - and among them - perhaps the biggest among them is the lack of truly ethnic restaurants- we are still working on good Thai and good Mexican - Bosnian is a complete loss- Vietnamese is very iffy (one place, with decent Pho but that doesn't even have two of the most common dishes in Vietnamese cuisine- banh mi and banh xeo)

photo- wikimedia commons

photo kent Wang (Austin TX)

and forget about Peking Duck like we have just around the corner at Sun Wah BBQ....

or really good Greek food (Tarpon Springs is an hour hike up the coast) - one of the first Thai places we tried here served crab rangoon with orange cheese and no white pepper! YUCK! (made us long for Opart Thai House on Western Avenue...)

so there is no way you are going to come here and have a great meal of Cevapcici- (Sarajevo on Lawrence Avenue in Lincoln Square)

or soup dumplings Shanghai style (Ed's Potsticker House on S. Halsted)

--- but on the other hand you can't get a good grouper sandwich for hundreds of miles from our Chicago home- LOL and stone crab claws cost and arm and a leg (so to speak- LOL)

but being huge sushi fans (our first date was a sushi place where we were the only "round eyes" in there - or as they say in SE Asia - farang) ...LOL - we were questing for good sushi and we found it last night at Pacific Rim on Hillview in SRQ...


these are photos from their website- I didn't take any pictures I was having a good sushi dinner! Which did include the fabulous Sashimi Salmon and Sashimi White Tuna (both shown on the left side of the boat) and Sashimi Toro (excellent!)- so that one is handled- and we will keep on the quest for the others- so far Chinese is a wash out- the best we have at this point in a "local chain" called Yummy House but at least we haven't been reduced to PF Chang's franchise yet....LOL

ever onward...

I hope to post in the next day or so- about the terrorist Spaniards from the Age of Exploration from my Florida Maritime class (apparently beheading and clubbing folks to death was an acceptable practice in the name of the Catholic god back in 1556)... in the immortal words of Monty Python "no one expects the Spanish Inquisition"

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

soooo not...

your starving artists school... today's SRQ arts class met at the Ringling College of Art & Design.

here are a few photos of the sculptures at the entrance to the campus-

a mural next to the Selby Gallery located on campus-

the heart of the campus - which has over 100 buildings spread over nearly 50 acres of land-

the welcome mat is out- LOL

The college was founded by John Ringling in 1931 because he wanted to have an Italianate School of Painting in conjunction with his massive art collection that the Ringling Museum was built to house.

"LIFE IS SHORT, ART IS LONG" John Ringling October 2, 1931

He got a group of local businessmen together to buy an abandoned hotel just north of downtown and over time they acquired many other adjacent properties including a grocery store and car wash and renovated them into studios and dorm space for students.

... they discussed  the question  of location  for  the new school. A logical spot would be on or near the grounds of the museum. Several  blocks from the museum, on Thirty-third Street (now Twenty-seventh Street)  they found  a va­cant boomtime hotel, the former Bayhaven Hotel, and several adjacent  store  buildings, all empty and available. The insurance company  that owned  the property was delighted to find someone to take  the  property over  for  taxes and  insurance  payments. The buildings were renovated at a cost of $45,000,  and John  Ringling agreed  to  raise the necessary money to underwrite the renovation needs. The same contractor who constructed the museum and the Ringling Mansion went over the entire project installing skylights, partitions and other altera­tions needed in order to prepare the property for a boarding art school and junior college. The work was completed and  that Fall, on October 2, 1931,  THE SCHOOL OF FINE AND APPLIED ART OF THE JOHN AND MABLE RINGLING ART MUSEUM was officially opened. Formal exercises were held in the courtyard of the Ringling Museum with an estimated 3,000 people in attendance. Businesses in the area were closed for two hours in order to allow employees to attend.  At that time the population of the city was approximately 7,000. John Ringling, in a rare speaking appearance, spoke about his great enthusiasm and anticipation for the potential of the new school. It was in this speech that he used the phrase, "Though Life is Short,  Art is Long."

In 1931, 111 courses were offered to Ringling College's first class of 75 students. Each paid $783 per year for tuition, board, room, fees, and books. Students attended daily chapel services and if they wanted to leave town they needed written permission from the president. The institution's 13 faculty members included Dr. Laura Ganno-McNeill, the first woman in the United States to earn a Ph.D., and Hilton Leech, a nationally prominent watercolorist.

more from their website:

Located on Florida's Gulf Coast, the picturesque campus attracts close to 1,300 students from 44 states and 53 foreign countries. It is recognized as being among the best and most innovative visual arts colleges in the United States as well as a leader in the use of technology in the arts. With a better than 2:1 student to computer ratio, Ringling College's computing infrastructure rivals even that of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT].

At Ringling College of Art and Design, we prepare our students for a lifetime of amazing possibilities. In fact, we are shattering the myth of the starving artist. Curious about how important of a role that art and design plays in our everyday lives?
Did you know that:
  • 3.34 million Americans work in the  arts.
  • One in 111 jobs is in art and design.
  • Creative jobs have grown from 10% to over 30% of the economy.
  • 97% of employers say that creativity is of increasing importance, but 85% say they are unable to find the applicants they seek.
  • The economic impact of art and design exceeds that of sports worldwide.
  • The creative industries are an estimated $30 billion export annually.
  • Jobs in design have increased 43% in the past ten years.
  • The global art market was worth $60.8 billion in 2011; 70% of all art sales were for contemporary and modern art.
  • There are over 532,000 designers working in the U.S.
  • More people are employed in the visual arts than in all of the performing arts and sports industries combined.
  • 200,000 people are employed in the film industry.
  • People spend approximately $55 billion annually on video games.
  • The computer animation industry generates $33 billion annually.
  • Jobs and employment in many creative industries are growing faster than the labor force as a whole and make up 30% of the work force by some estimates.
  • America’s nonprofit arts industry generates $134 billion in economic activity every year.
  • By 2016, jobs for artists and designers are predicted to increase by 42%.
  • Arts-related businesses in the country's largest cities represent 4.3% of all businesses and 2.2% of all jobs in the United States.
  • There are 3.34 million people working for over 904,000 arts-centric businesses in the United States.
  • Employment growth by arts-centric businesses since 2007 was 12%, more than four times the rise in the total number of U.S. employees.
  • Designers are the single largest group of artists, followed by performing artists such as actors, dancers, musicians, and announcers.
  • Employment of interior designers is expected to grow 19% from 2006 to 2016.
  • Median salaries of: Creative Directors–$90,000, Art Directors–$86,505, Fine Artists–$48,870, Multi-media Artists and Animators–$61,555, Graphic Designers–$46,925, Set and Exhibit Designers–$49,330, Producers and Directors–$86,790, Broadcast Technicians–$40,270, Photographers–$36,090, and Film and Video Editors–$66,715.
  • Wage and salary employment in the motion picture and video industries is projected to grow 11% by 2016.
  • Animators, film and video editors, and others skilled in digital filming and computer-generated imaging have the best job prospects in future of the motion picture and video industries.
  • There are about 94,000 computer artists and animators working in the United States.
  • Jobs for photographers have increased 38% in the past four years.
From wikipedia- 

On April 14, 2007, the art school was renamed the Ringling College of Art and Design. As of 2010, the campus had expanded to 49 acres and 108 buildings and the student population had reached over 1,300 students attending from 46 states and 46 countries. As of 2013, U.S. News reported a tuition rate of $36,624, 1,364 enrolled students (39% male and 61% female), and a student-faculty ratio of 12:1.  In 2010, Ringling College of Art & Design trademarked the mission phrase Shattering the myth of the starving artist.

while researching this post - I came across this list: 

Best Universities for Designers: Linked-In ranked universities based on how successful recent graduates have been at landing desirable Design jobs- Ringling ranked #7 (above RISD, Pratt and Parsons) who knew?

and-  The Hollywood Reporter Named Ringling College in the Top 25 U.S. Film Schools-
Ringing College of Art and Design was listed on The Hollywood Reporter's Top 25 U.S. Film Schools list for the third time in four years.  (My nephew Nicolas went to #5 CalArts!) of course they were in order-  USC, NYU, UCLA, AFI and then CalArts AND our daughter Angela went to #13 UNC School of the Arts...

The original hotel which was the first building of the college is shown in two photographs - it is now the Keating Center 

 "Ringling 1985" by Ken Cormier 

and here is another little tidbit- which leads into some of my photos from this morning-

Ringling alumni have worked on every Academy-Award-winning Best Animated Feature since 2003.

outside the animation labs the halls are lined with posters of works that have involved Ringling College Alumni- and each has a plate below or above listing the folks who worked on the film- see examples below- 

Dreamworks/Pixar/Disney - all the biggies of animation use lots of Ringling College graduates for these films-

The animation and game design department is located in the same building as the Made By store/gallery and is in the center of campus- 

this morning our tour followed this route- Keating Center for a Portrait exhibition- in the Thompson Gallery

then on to the Academic Center (very large donation will get you naming rights - LOL) where the Basch Gallery is located- 

a Chihuly hangs in the Academic Center building-

upstairs the motion design students spoke briefly about their major-

the largest major at the college is "illustration" because it is so versatile and can be entry to so many other fields- 

current exhibits in this building include the glass work of Tagliapietra and another with background in issues from the Holocaust- 

Our last stop was the Selby Gallery and there we saw two exhibits - one on the graphic novel and another on manuscripts through the ages- 

the manuscripts in the gallery-

one of the things we saw along the way were animation illustrators desks from Disney studios- which were given to the college and are still used by students-

they were located in the third floor lab area of the building shown below-

bikes parked outside and easy and convenient way to get around the campus-

just some art hanging in a corridor we passed through on the way from one building to another-

oh and I think I failed to mention they have continuing education courses as well....

a wonderful if hurried visit gave us an idea of what was available in the many campus galleries and a level of comfort to return to see things in greater depth! Next week we have a two hour tour of the Van Wezel facility and art collection.  That should be seriously interesting! We have now completed half the course and I am so pleased to have gotten into this one because it has really opened up a lot of new culture options for those of us lucky enough to do our winter getaways here in SRQ!