Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Florence Foster Jenkins lived in New York and in the 1940's, when she herself was well into her 70's, decided to rent Carnegie Hall and perform opera to rally the troops. There is a great documentary, A World of Her Own, on You Tube about the rich socialite with dreams exceeding her talent. Stephen Frears directs Meryl Streep in the recently released version of the Hollywood film. There is a line in the movie that I love, "They can say that I can't sing, but they can't say that I didn't sing."
I saw the film the night before attending my first singing lesson. I showed up to the night class along with the other forty hopefuls. Many seniors, several middle-aged workers, and ten or so young adults. During introductions we heard from people who had been told they couldn't sing in grade school, and now, here they were in their sixties and seventies, figuring, why not? There were others who already sang in church choirs and were looking for some professional voice coaching. When it was my turn to introduce myself, I shared the Florence Foster Jenkins line above.
Going to the Scarborough Uke Jam is fun, and partly because we sing our hearts out as we play. None of the players in the BPYC Uke band, Lost at C, are exceptional singers, but we sing (and beg our audience to sing along with us).
So far I've been to two night classes and there has been some of what I expected... vocal exercises and funny faces and deconstructing songs to look at phrasing (where to take a breath). Also a bit of the unexpected... stretching exercises and yoga to help free the chest, diaphragm, jaw and neck.
I'm not ready to rent Carnegie Hall by any stretch, but then, neither was Florence.
For now I will stick to the shower, uke jam, and strumming with 'Lost at C'.
October 1 is International Music Day. I think I'll celebrate with a few stretches and singing in the shower!
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Rob and I booked our tickets to Hawaii on September 10, for travel in Jan/Feb.
We looked at a cruise but decided on island-hopping with an itinerary we'd set for ourselves. So it is flying into Kaui, heading to Maui, and then on to Big Island.
As it gets colder and frostier it will be fun to plan our days. Definitely will include: whale-watching, star-gazing, checking out a coffee plantation, going for a sail, seeing the live volcanoes, swimming in the Pacific....
I was saving this for my 60th, but Rob said, why wait? He proposed the trip for my birthday this year, and we agreed on a combination Christmas and 30th anniversary present.
Maybe we booked the tickets a bit early for cost savings. The research I did said the ideal is 100 days before departure, but we both had to book work far enough in advance for a three week holiday.
So the countdown begins!
Monday, September 19, 2016
I tend to avoid reading reviews before seeing the shows, so I'm not overly influenced, but it is always fun to compare notes afterward. Maybe I am getting more discerning, or maybe just more cynical, but the rave reviews weren't always jiving with my experience. There is also the opposite experience, with poor reviews of productions I've really enjoyed.
**Matilda: A fun night of musical theatre, based on Dahl’s novel first published in 1988. The play has been winning accolades in NYC, with Time magazine billing it the “show of the year.” We attended mid- August and although the show was thoroughly entertaining, it didn't charm me enough to renew for another season of song and dance.
*****Hamlet: . Rob and I had a backstage tour at Shakespeare in the Park this year and learned the show is produced on a shoestring budget, with actors laundering their own costumes and making the stage blood on the cheap (apparently insects love the recipe!). At 4,000 lines, Hamlet is Shakespeare’s longest play and takes 4 hours to perform, but the director took some liberties with this version and edited scenes down to 90
minutes. Events take place in modern times, and a funereal touch at the end was including a projection of the characters filmed in happier times.. The ampitheatre was crowded with an audience comprised of a great mix of ages and races, as diverse as the cast itself. When the play ended and people were leaving the park, I was listening to some of the teenagers' animated conversations about characters, plot twists, and the blood-bath-ending. We saw this at the end of August and I didn't read any of the reviews until we were actually sitting down, waiting for the show to begin. (mostly positive)
***Come What Mahem: The latest edition of sketch comedy at Second City was predictably hilarious, providing a couple of stand-out bits and good belly laughs. Saw this the day after opening night (August 31), but I didn't check out the reviews until just now. The Sun was disparaging, the Star and Globe both positive recounts of the irreverent and satirical sketches.
*The Plough and the Stars: Ireland’s national Abbey Theatre brought this production to Toronto for a limited run to commemorate the Easter Rising of 1916. The play is a classic and highly regarded, but unfortunately between the strong accents and the poor sound quality I couldn’t understand more than half the dialogue. This is the first time I ever left a play at intermission, thinking I would do better to read it or see the movie if I wanted to understand the original. A strong review in the Star the next day made me wonder if we had seen the same performance.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Mid-September and cooler mornings have arrived.
|I love the combination of the hydrangea, dahlia, sedum and thyme that greets me by the front doorstep.|
|Tomatoes planted this year didn't ripen on the vine - too much shade - so we picked some and left them to ripen in the sun, but it was a wasted effort. They are still hard. Fried green tomatoes?|
There is a cluster of leaves in the backyard maple blushing at the coming autumn.
Friday, September 16, 2016
"Let's go dancin' in the light."
photo: Road to Nowhere by Aaron J. Groen
Neil Young playing Harvest Moon in Austin Texas:
The moon is full September 16 at 9:45 a.m. Although not visible in Toronto, Australia and other parts of the world will be able to see the penumbral lunar eclipse.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Then it was back to work on my actual birthday. My brother, who works nearby, treated me to lunch.
When I got home I went to do a quick internet search and was both a bit impressed and freaked out when I realized that Google had sent me birthday greetings .
Rob and I celebrated in the evening by going to Canoe, with its spectacular view from the 54th floor of the Toronto islands, planes flying past, and the CN Tower and other skyscrapers twinkling nearby. We arrived just before twilight, and as the evening wore on, a storm came in and lightning flashed in the sky behind Rob. Very dramatic! We enjoyed the tasting menu, a seven course feast inspired by the route to the Rockies. An incredible and memorable dining experience.
We'd never been to Canoe. In fact, we don't get out to fine dining restaurants, preferring to create our own "foodie feasts" with friends. However, Alex went recently and raved about it, and my birthday seemed a good excuse.
Speaking of good excuses..... I had been planning to head to Hawaii for my 60th birthday, but Rob and I figured we'd do it this coming year. Why wait?