Sunday, October 2, 2011

Madrid to LA to New York to LA to Texas

In Spain on right, friends, Martin, Anna, and Noah--their best sides.
Arriving from Barcelona, summer breezes, Sangria flowing, the Prado, Flamenco, Tapas and Johnny Rockets in Madrid with my friend and colleague, Paula Ramirez, was the way to leave Spain if you're going to have to tear yourself away from this country of full bodied richness--

I made my way back to LA just long enough to do laundry, check in on our household and then fly away, thank god, to New York and the lush, Hudson Valley.  I took in one of the last showings of the Broadway show, "Jerusalem" and can't wait to pour over this incredibly well expressed language of those living on the fringe in the UK.  I highly recommend a good read of this theatre piece if you missed the stage play.  And even if you didn't.

"War Horse" was a must-see!  I won't spoil it as it will be touring to your area in the next year, I'm sure!  The stage craft and ensemble work is some of the best I've seen and I am so thrilled that our young audiences of LA will get to see this show of such magic and compassion.

Wesley Mann as Detective Fix and Ryan Quin as Passportu.
"Around The World In 80 Days" was a real highlight as I saw my husband, Wesley Mann, tear up the lawn at the tent of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in Garrison, NY.  I tell you, he is at his best when he can ride an elephant, chase after suspects, search for clues and climb scaffolding above the audiences!!  Wes and the show was so engaging!

I had great meetings with friends, mentors and colleagues in "the Cit-ay" where we caught up, talked shop, made plans and ate the best available as only one can do in the Big Apple.

Home again, home again, jiggetty jig--only to start teaching, assist in Fitzmaurice workshops, set up guest teaching, and find my way to Texas to help out family, take in great jazz and meet and make more plans with colleagues in Dallas at SMU! 

Nephew, George in the Martin High School Marching Band.
It's a full life here deep in the heart of Texas where I took in marching band (a religion) competitions.  Oh the vibrations of the drumline, the depth of the Tuba sections, the impact of the brass sections and the virtuosity of the woodwinds draw me back to my days on the field.  There's nothing like it.  I witness my nephew on the field in competition first in the early morning preliminaries, then that evening, once again, under the Texas night sky, grass beneath his feet, marching to create sequences and patterns on the field that are a visual manifestion and analysis of the music itself.  
Martin High School Marching Band getting ready for finals.
A chill moves up my spine when the drum major blows the whistle, the drum taps count off and the band executes the miriad/thousands of manuvers that create this show; the culmination of this summer's and fall's practices in the Texas heat waves, the thunder showers, the morning, night, weekend, after school rehearsals and football halftimes.  They made the finals!  Their first time in four years and eighth place out of thirty-some bands throughout Texas.  Thrilling!

My gifted anime' lovin' nephew shows me his drawings and it is also a wonderful highlight.  His non-conformist, vulnerably deep and pure artistically expressive drawings are a revelation to me.  I feel as if I know him, really see him and his work is gorgeous.  The details; hair, folds in clothing, eyes that are mirrors to the character's soul, shading, color, or not, every line that reveals the inner soul of his artistry.  The study and practice, the vision and vulnerability, the desires and dreams of an artist all shone thoughout his portfolio. 
Author, Heather Brewer and my nephew, Will.
We attend a book signing of Heather Brewer's "The Slayer Chronicals" and Heather is a true inspiration to those who have ever felt lower than low and more of an outcast than the ones cast farthest out.  She writes of revenge but in her live action life, doesn't lash back at those who hurt her back in the day.  Instead she tells her "Minions" that actions ripple out and you can choose to make good ripples or bad ripples.  She says, "Make good ripples."  Several fans yell out, "Will you marry me?!"  And she answers, "I told two other Minions I'd marry them at the last signing, but yes, I'll marry you if they don't mind." 

Heather signs my nephew's book and he offers her a pencil drawing of one of her main characters from her first book series and she looks him straight in the eye and says, "You're an artist.  Oh, wow.  Have you considered Art School?  You are so talented.  You need to seriously consider Art School!  Thank you so much--I will hang this gift in my office..."  All at once my nephew seems to be thrilled to be standing here with his shero and vulnerable from being truly seen as an artist.  I was so grateful we experienced Heather and her encouragement to all of her fans/Minions. 

She shares a story of  how she returned to her old junior high for a book signing and could have been mean to a daughter of a classmate who was cruel to her back in the day at this school.  Instead she treats this daughter and the siuation with kindness and a little amnesia.  She reminded us we can grow beyond our humilations, our shame, our pain of experiencing cruelty from others during school.  She is a wonderful model of not passing on her pain and hurt.  Clearly, she found a way to transmute her experiences into writing these wonderful books.  Now, she and the Minions no longer feel alone in the world.  Young adults all over the world are inspired by her book series.  I love Heather now too!  Thank you, Heather for the powerful transmission you offered my nephew!

My niece and I laugh and laugh as we feed and care for their high maintanence parrot, named Echo.  The kids are a fun, fun breeze to care for but the parrot...!@#?!  Highlights from Min's sleep over and running club at her elementary are delights and great reminders that nuturing carefree time in one's life is a profoundly rich and important endeavor. 

Min's excellent bow hold.

With Violin lessons at UT, Arlington and orchestra every day at school, my niece's teacher says she is a natural with an awesome bow hold!  I saw it with my own eyes! 

Check this out!  Here is a link to Min's favorite Anime virtual pop star, Hatsune Miku:

We marvel at how their tiny, tiny dog can steel and eat four pieces of bacon!  A bacon thief in our midst!!

Chibi, the dreaded bacon thief

Looking forward to what this next week brings with school, lessons, band practices, homework, meal time conversations, youtube show and tells, baking gluten-free brownies, zoo keeping, and trips to Dallas to visit with colleagues again at SMU!
Echo and Chibi stand off.

It's a full life--a great one that I love living!!

Everything I do, I love!  I wish this for all of you!

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