Temples of Cold

We spent the last day in Mongolia visiting two Buddhist monasteries, the Natural History Museum and having a final meal at our favorite Korean restaurant. Our first stop was Gandan Monastery, the oldest monastery in Mongolia built in the 1800s. Most temples were destroyed or shut down during Soviet times but they left one alone apparently as a showcase to westerners of their religious tolerance. The Gandan monastery is actually a working monastery so we saw monks praying, chanting and just hanging out. There were also many people there praying and spinning the various prayer wheels. Inside one of the temples Connie and I started spinning the prayer wheels that lined the inside walls building but were immediately warned that we were going the wrong way. We corrected our direction but did not make it all the way around because the wheel were very cold and our hands soon got numb even with gloves on.

We did a bit of shopping at the monastery store. I bought beads, some small bells and a couple of gifts.

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We then headed to the Choijin Lama Temple Museum, a monastery built in the early 1900s. There were about 6 or 7 temple buildings. We went into two of them and saw many intense statues of gods and demons and some interesting artworks - including two representations of hell - one with fire and the other with ice. I chose not to pay for taking pictures which was twice the price of the admission but I really regret that decision. There really was some amazing things. The temperature outside was less that 10 degrees and it was even colder in the temples so we did not visit all the buildings. I hope this temple complex remains intact. High rising housing construction was circling it like wagons in the old west.

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The Natural History museum was interesting for its amazing fossilized dinosaur bones and eggs. My favorite items were a fully intact pelvis the size of a flattened VM bug and a claw as big as me. Unfortunately photos were not allowed.

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A final shot at Happiness Land next to the Korean restaurant and a history lesson at the Ulaanbaatar airport

The highlight of the trip home was 12 hours in Beijing but otherwise it was long and uncomfortable. We arrived in Beijing (the airport is beautiful), checked into a crappy hotel very near the airport and then arranged for two taxis to pick us up at 12:30am and drive us around for a couple of hours. We then slept for 3 hours and headed back to the airport at 7:00am. Needless to say there were no tourists at Tiananmen Square so it was us, the many surveillance cameras and the military guards. We walked around the square and outside the wall of the Forbidden City, which was closed. We encountered two guards in an underpass, one seemed thrilled to talk to anyone and practice his English, the other did not say a word but did not seem to mind Connie posing with him for a picture.

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Beijing airport

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Tianeman Square and the underpass where we talked to the guard. Note the cameras.

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Near the Forbidden City

We flew through Tokyo but felt no real sense of trauma from the earthquake disaster in the short layover. It was just another busy airport. Miyako had been worried the whole time we were in Mongolia and was able to talk to her family a couple times there and at the airport before we headed to the US

Take a look at my entire Gallery of Mongolia pictures

Day to Day

So for most days it was up 7 or 8, eat a fairly leisurely breakfast of made-to-order omelets, sausage, yogurt, almost decent coffee. There was a lot of dinner food served like pasta carbonara but i just could not get behind that for breakfast.

A embassy van would pick us up and we would be dropped at the various locations for teaching, choreographing, lecturing, observing. We went to universities, grade schools, the School for the hearing impaired, three different dance groups' studios and a place called The American Corner where young adults gather to learn and practice English. These organizations were all chosen by the embassy and we were welcomed everywhere.

I mostly took photos and videos but Sarah and I talked at the American Corner one afternoon. This was not a dance audience and I got the feeling they were not necessarily interested in Dana's group but they did seem interested in how we felt about Mongolian folk dancing, contortionists," Dancing with the Stars" type programs and Lady GaGa. Mostly I think we provided real English speaking people to talk and listen to.

In the evenings we went to the hotel bar and worked on the Chronicle for Higher Education blog. Dana wrote, I made editorial suggestions and then we went through photos that fit with the text and/or were interesting. We then emailed everything and in the morning at breakfast we were able to see the final blog entries at the Chronicle site.

We usually drank Chinggis beer at the bar and one night we sampled the local wheat beer.

On Thursday early evening we were finally able to do a bit of shopping. We went to the huge State Department store which sounds like it kept its name from Soviet times. The souvenirs were on the 8th floor so we spent time there. I also ventured down to the cashmere floor to find a sweater for my aunt Zita and was successful. (Cashmere is an important Mongolian export) We were some of the last people in the store.

Friday (last full day in Ulaanbaatar) was spent at the theater preparing for the evening performance. The uneven wood plank floor delayed warmup and rehearsal. The 4 dancers and I walked around a bit and ate at the Grand Khan Irish Pub which was pretty good. The floor was eventually covered with felt and the a marley (vinyl) dance floor. The dancers said that dancing on it was other-worldly but they did fine.


The performance was by embassy invitation only (not sure why) and was about 3/4 filled. US Ambassador Addleton (who grew up in Macon, GA) and his wife attended and stuck around for the little reception afterwards. We took a group picture of embassy staff and translators, Tumen Ek dancers and other guests before heading back to the hotel to eat and blog at the bar.



Out and About in Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar is the largest city with a population of over a million. It was founded in 1639 as a Buddhist center but moved around as a nomadic society tends to do for about 100 years until it settled on the current location. It is an interesting city but not necessarily pretty. There is a large river bank that runs through it but the amount of water that runs is more of a creek. There are large fenced areas of gers (yurts) mixed with houses that house migrants that have come from rural jobless areas to find work in the mostly jobless city. The country will see a rise in jobs when they increase mining (coal, gold, copper) activities over the next couple of years. Large high rise housing is going up in anticipation but there seems to be no urban planning. Garbage on the streets is common.


Sukhbaatar Square - the centerpiece of Ulaanbaatar. The statue on the left is of Sukhbaatar, who helped free Mongolia from the Chinese but in the center of the building is a huge impressive statue of Chinggis Kahn, the hero of Mongolia and the namesake of some excellent beer.

Some traditional outfits worn by mostly older Mongolians, I suspect the fellow in red is a monk but I like the Burberry scarf (I think dancer Connie - whose photos are mixed with mine -took that shot)

Ger district in town and spreading up the distant hillside and new high rises. You can see the river bed with water flow that never fills the bed even in springtime.



The folk dance company we worked with were called Tumen Ekh and we spent a lot of time at their studio/theater space.

The top pic is the entrance with dancers Sarah, Kelly and Dana and one of the many translators we worked with. The red door inside (with Dana) is just inside the building and through the door and upstairs is an art gallery with this giant traditional musical instrument called the horse head fiddle. Later in the week we bought some of the calligraphy works you see on the walls from the fellow next to the fiddle.

To the right of the red door is the studio where Dana, Sarah and Kelly taught and choreographed. Dana choreographed a duet and a group piece in an amazing short period of time. The duet was with two very talented (and nice) male dancers (with Dana in one of the pics). One was the only dancer who spoke a small amount of english. Dana did not have a translator for most of his choreography sections so he was was a real help, but demonstration was the language mostly used. There are other pics of the dancers on the DTSB&Co blog

Near the studio is a Korean restaurant that actually served great coffee and lots of different Asian cuisine - the best Chinese food I had in a long time. On the way to the restaurant was this building with the English name "Happiness Land". This building was photographed by the group more than any other.


The first night we were there we were able to see a performance of the Tumen Ekh dancers, singers and musicians - very impressive. The female singing was a similar to Chinese singing (like in the movie Raise the Red Lantern). The males did some throat singing. The dances were very energetic. The costumes were gorgeous. The contortionists were a bit odd. The bottom pic is of the Tumen Ekh dancers, directors, the embassy cultural attache (Marissa) and DTSB&Co group. The two males in the fur hats are the males in the duet.

Mongolia - the trek to UlaanBaatar

Austin picked up me, Dana, and dancers Sarah and Connie at 3:00am and drove us out to Dulles airport. Kona coffee was served in the car - nothing but the best. Top notch service, highly recommended.

This was the start of a 30 hour plus trip to mongolia. We flew 6 hours to San Francisco and then flew 12 hours to Seoul, South Korea, The Seoul airport was the first highlight of the trip. We had a 4 hour layover so we snooped around and found a "Rest and Relax" lounge that served Korean Air customers. For a fee we could sit, eat and drink with free wifi for as long as we wanted. We could also pay a reasonable fee to take a shower, and get a manicure and or a massage. Sarah, Connie, Miyako, and Dana took a shower and got a foot massage. Kelly got a full body massage. It was such a nice break.

These are not linked to larger images.

Seoul Airport - cultural center with performances and crafts. Treats at the Rest and Relax center

Fun bathroom sign. We could not resist the shower
Dana and Sara getting a foot massage

When we arrived in Ulaanbaatar we were met by the embassy Cultural Specialist Otgon (I thought she might be Klingon but I was wrong). Otgon organized all the activities and performance venues and she really packed our schedule. She gave us a packet of information and included a box of official embassy chocolates.

These ARE linked to larger images:


This is where we eat breakfast. Omelettes made-to-order, so-so coffee and great yogurt.


The outside of the hotel looks like a typical soviet era building but the inside is quite lovely. Dancer Sarah Halzack and I are on the 3rd floor probably the second window from the left looking into the sign. The pic on the left is the bar where Dana and I have been blogging every night. (He's getting paid to blog for the Chronicles of Higher Learning) We have enjoyed local beer and wheat vodka

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We are driven around in official State Dept vans

Some food pictures - cappucino with a lovely spoon, mutton dumplings and tongue, a local dark beer (Otgon is in the background)


Recent History (October)

I went to a board meeting at the country home of one of the other board members. It was about one and half hours outside of DC. The drive got prettier and prettier and ended on a large piece of farmland on top of a hill. Lovely home with lots of glass and beautiful views. We passed a road called Snikersville Parkway and I made Dana pull over so I could take a picture. Snickersville is what we call the street where my mom grew up. The real street name is unpronounceable by humans. Anyway this Snickersville was named after William Edward Snickers (born about 1735 - died 1790) who owned land in the area and operated a ferry and a tavern on the Shenandoah River.

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Here are some late fall flowers that were hanging in there on my balcony

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Several family members and high school friend Karen were in DC for Dana's concert. We went to the National Gallery East Wing to see a Munch exhibit and then had lunch at the American Art museum.

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This is a magical little causeway going from the backstage area of the dance theater to the front entrance. It seemed like a secret.

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June into July

If you have not seen pictures from Graeme's Graduation/Parent's birthday weekend go here now!
I did not include this nice picture of Graeme and Lynda's cat, Willow.


The local farmers market started. It is a block way. The first weekend I was front and center buying squash for our favorite chipotle squash casserole (which is like the Go Green and Gold! (high school colors) casserole we used to make in high school only with that pepper twist). Here is my favorite vendor.

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I have not updated this blog recently because I was busy doing a music collage and video for Dana's new piece that was shown as one of the evening performances at the Smithsonian Folklife festival. The performance went well. Here you can see a bit of my video work on the TV. The piece is called "Charlie Chan and the Mystery of Love". The other picture is of his piece "Island" that I took from side stage. I love that big fan!

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I took this picture of Dana's rehearsal mistress's baby Marie Elizabeth (my two middle names!) at one of Dana's rehearsals. She might be about 10 months old.

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This past week/weekend I bought four new tires, cycled twice, took two long walks, did a little shopping, swam, watched fireworks from the balcony, saw 3 bats flying around near the balcony 2 nights in a row and prepared for my trip to Edisto next week (yay!).



Halloween and some other stuff

The little girl on the 3rd floor has not put up any artwork on the past couple of holidays so I thought her artistic aspirations were over. I was surprised when I saw something on her door at Halloween but a little disappointed at the uninspired decoration. But then I looked closer and was pleasantly creeped out

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And we saw some nice old school paper Halloween decorations on a walk around the neighborhood.


The fall colors were nice this year. Here are some pics at work and from my balcony.

At work


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At home

The night before Halloween I had drinks with Dana and Tati and Dana's new dancer Hala. Here's Tati and me matching the couch fabric so nicely.


And then there was the fun halloween party at Dana's where I dressed up as a 60's go-go dancer. Take a look.

Public Speaking

Last weekend I was busy helping Dana and his company with their concert here in DC. It was great to see Sara and Susan from MIT who I have not seen since we went to Peru. Two pieces were performed - Hyphen which premiered last year and for which I created the video projections and music montage and Island which premiered last weekend and for which Sara created the video projections. The new piece was about the Immigration station/detention center off the coast of San Francisco. Sara used haunting historical images from the Angel Island archive and projected them from above the dancers. The effect was amazing.

After two of the three performances Dana, Sara, Connie (dancer), Judy (costume designer) and I took questions from the audience. I am not real comfortable with this. Dana thinks it shows me that he appreciates my design work but mostly it just shows the dance audience that I am not very articulate. I am getting a bit better at it but I still do not enjoy it. I did get some nice comments/questions after the performance from people who like me do not want to speak in public.

Here are some pictures from the theater and at Dana's after the Sunday night performance where he treated us to dirty martinis and pizza.

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The dancers getting ready. Anne, Dana's rehearsal mistress and her new baby, Marie Elizabeth.

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Ann and Sara. Pulling the projector down.

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Martinis and Pizza at Dana's

Dancing Fools and Ornaments

I finally got my hands on the little performance that the non-dancers did for the dancers in Peru. Sara, Susan and Richard (from MIT) and I put together a dance, mostly based on dance movements from Dana's choreography. We put it together in about an hour which is obvious but the dancers loved it.

Also if you missed it as the Picture of the Week, the 2009 McDonald Family Christmas Contest has been announced:


The theme is Christmas ornaments! How fun is that! It has been on the list of suggestions for a while and we've had a lot of literary themes lately so I thought it was the right time. This year is a big anniversary of the contest. I started the contest 20 years ago to try and climb out of a pit of depression. I never would have believed we would still be doing and that it could be so challenging, frustrating and stressful yet so ultimately fun and creative. 20 years, can you believe it?

So as we say to each other every year: Let the procrastinating begin!

Incas, Dragons and Finches

Happy Birthday, Lenore!!

I am off to Peru next Wednesday with Dana and his dancers and am very excited. We will visit 2 cities - Cusco and Lima. From Cusco we will take a ay trip to the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu, 8000 ft above sea level. I am looking forward to seeing architecture from both the Inca civilization and Spanish invasion, good Peruvian food, Pisco sours (too bad we wont be there for National Pisco Sour Day). My only concerns are altitude sickness, pickpockets and my spanish speaking skills, which are probably at a pre-school level. I will try to blog but I don't know how easy it will be to find internet access.

Recent activities:

Lyla, Tracy and I headed down to the Potomac River to watch the Washington Dragon Boat Festival. We met up with Golden but we were not able to stay to see him race.

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The dragon boats launched in front of the Watergate and Kennedy Center.

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Here are boats racing heading to the right and returning to the launch are going left. Lyla, Tracy and Golden hanging out.

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Web-footed and non habit-wearing spectators (I think they are nuns).

I usually would have planted flowers on my balcony by now but the weather has not been that pleasant. I do have some rosemary and marjoram that Zita gave me when Lyla, Tracy and I spent last Saturday working in her garden so that's a great start. But the upside of a late planting is that the birds have been stopping by to grab some of my dead twigs from last year's garden to build there nests. One day last week purple finch couple foraged through one of the planters:

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My car passed DC inspection this past week!


Thanksgiving 2008

Quiet day - good for catching up. This is a long one.

I got some good news yesterday. The injury that I sustained during my first Bollywood class and that has prevented me from going to ballet class was not a hip labral tear. This means it is something I can mend using physical therapy rather than surgery. And I now know that an MRI with contrast means a needle is going to be stuck into your thigh and then god knows what happened then to get the dye spread out. All I know is that it went on forever and I whimpered a lot and the students observing had horrified looks on their faces.

I have some pictures collected that I've been meaning to show. These two are from the theater at Towson University where Dana performed last Spring. The lipstick marks are in the stairwell leading from the stage to the dressing rooms. The other is from the dancers warmup class.

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And here are some pictures from the neighborhood

A decoration probably for Diwali outside a local Indian restaurant and the line I stood in for voting (It took 45 minutes)

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Here's some neighborhood graffiti at Howard University Law school and a nearby post office.

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This my office where I have several Graeme Rock originals.


TV show reviews

Mad Men
The design of the sets and costumes is amazing and the story line is so riveting. Every character is just so interesting. Roger Sterling has the best lines. Joan is the best bitchy-on-the-outside/vulnerable-on-the-inside secretary ever. I want to be Peggy (except for the hospital stay part). Don Draper is so cool even when he is a tortured soul.

Chuck: When it ended last season I thought it had lost its charm and seemed to be concentrating more on girl spies in sexy clothes. But this season there is more fun stuff going on with Chuck's co-workers at More Buy and there are fun disguises for the guys and gals.

Fringe: I like it most weeks especially the interaction between the mad scientist and his world weary son. The lead is pretty and tough.

30 Rock: Except for the first episode of the season it rocks!

Samantha Who?: Not anywhere near hilarious or ingenious but I still like it. Sidekick Andrea is the best thing since Patsy on AbFab.

And finally, a little video of a recent video chat. Little T, who seems to have learned a mischievous thing or two from his dad, figured out how to disconnect from the chat at one point.

Tough Times

Lenore had a rough week. She had been experiencing some stomach pain the past month and the doctor said she should get a CAT scan ASAP. She went to the emergency room and despite some incompetence that resulted in her waiting FOREVER a CAT scan was done and a mass was found. She had surgery on Monday to remove two tumors, one small, one the size of a orange. The pathology results are somewhat still a mystery but it is pretty clear that she will have to go through chemo again. The only upside to all this is that we get to add another picture to the family Scars & Scabs page (Viewer discretion advised, seriously). Get well soon, Lenore.

I had a busy Saturday. Dana performed at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and so I tagged along to make sure my audio and video worked and to participate in the post-performance discussion. I had to speak into a microphone and everything! Nam June Paik's nephew Ken Hakuta (some may know him as Dr. Fad and the inventor of the wacky wall walkers) was there and he very casually told stories about his uncle (whose videos we used in the piece). After the talk someone actually came up to me to talk about the video and music. I almost felt like a professional.

When we got to the theater the museum had put down a floor covering for dance but it was in terrible shape - dangerously loose and rumpled. So the dancers and the crew got busy to smooth it down and tape it. No lighting person was provided even though they have state of the art equipment so Dana ran the lights on (he's taken a lighting course so he knew somewhat what he was doing). Despite all these difficulties it all went well and we had an audience of about 200 people. Most stayed for the talk.

Here's some footage of the dancers at work:

My dance friend Brooke and I went by Dana's house for a little get together with Ken Hakuta (he told more stories of his uncle and some of the famous people he has met like Yoko Ono) and then headed out to the far suburbs of Virginia to the ladies -only dance party organized by my Pakistani work friend Saima's sister and some of her friends. Many of the women (who were predominantly Muslim) arrived all covered up in scarves but within minutes of arriving were on the dance floor shakin' their groove thang. The shades of the rec center were drawn, the french doors were covered with black plastic, no cameras or alcohol was allowed. The dress ranged from conservative traditional to modern "western" cocktail dressy. There were women from ages 12 - 70. They played American, Hindi and Arabic music. The DJ was actually the girlfriend of a real DJ who specialized in World party music. The party was OK. If there had been other rooms at the rec center or a break in the music Brooke and I would have been able to talk to the women that Saima tried to introduce us to. It was just too loud to make any sort of personal connection. Brooke and I tried to do some of our Bollywood dance moves but were had trouble remembering them and no one else was doing them. It was still interesting though.


"The dark, impersonal atmosphere is enhanced by Ryuichi Sakamoto's music, Laura MacDonald's sound montage..." says the Washington Post

"...and multimedia artist Laura McDonald..." says the Washington Times

"... a Laura Macdonald montage ...." says the DanceViewTimes

All three were positive reviews of Dana and his dancers and I am happy that I was part of it.

And here's a panoramic shot that Joe took of the new Chinese embassy that was just completed. He has walked past the huge construction site every day for the past three years


It's Over

For the last couple of months I have had my nose in my computer working on a music collage and video for my dance friend Dana's performance. I used 3 music pieces by Ryuichi Sakamoto, manipulating the songs by extracting parts to be used in later and previous sections and adding voices by the the dancers. The videos we used were very early (1960s) pieces by Korean video artist Nam June Paik. Dana was given access to all of Paik's films by Paik's nephew and we were free to do anything we wanted with them. I put in a lot of hours on this but I think it paid off. Everything turned out well. We haven't seen any newspaper reviews yet but Austin, William, Lyla and Tracy liked it.

Here's an excerpt from the music.

Here are some pictures from the performance taken by a professional photographer, not me.

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That Cone Thing That Dogs Wear

This weekend was hot! It was 80 degrees at 8:00 am this morning when we left for our bike ride but luckily when we descend into Rock Creek Park the temperature drops by over 5 degrees. Unfortunately when I am struggling to climb up the hill out of the park the temperature is also rising 6 degrees adding insult to humiliation. I was dying. But the warm weather has warmed up the pool so the water temperature was perfect when I took my first swim of the season. Last weekend the pool was not warm enough for me but at least someone was enjoying it.


And in other animal news, Dana's sweet dog Pico hurt his leg and has to wear a cone to keep him from licking, biting, irritating the wound. I felt so bad laughing at him but could not help it.


And here are some neighborhood pictures.

One of the Chinese construction workers building the new embassy has pimped out his hard hat.


And we found some plum trees.
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And finally I tried something new this week. My dance friends, Brooke and Marcia, and I went to a great Indian restaurant called Indique and I had appam, a rice flour pancake, with chicken curry. It really was delicious. Appam is from the Kerala region in southern India which is somewhat familiar to me because it is where one of my favorite books The God of Small Things is set and where Vasanth, the most talented dancer we met on our trip to India, is from.

Not burning down the house

I took Zita to Dana's concert in Baltimore where my "music construction" for the new dance piece he is working on premiered. It went pretty well. It was in a nice theater and the audience seemed to appreciate the whole concert. Here are two pictures I took during dress rehearsal. My camera cannot take pictures of movement in the dark so I have to settle for "artistic effects".

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We like candles but we don't like fires so we have purchased the next best thing - LEDs that look like candles but won't be burning down the house. We have two types - the sleek candelas and the playful candeloos. Here is a candeloo with a friend.


Spring Things

Paula asked me to take some pictures of the cherry blossoms and a movie of the petals falling off the trees. Now we could have gone downtown and risked falling into the tidal basin but we played it safe and just went across the street to the University of the District of Columbia.Now I realize there was no real onslaught of cherry blossoms there but there were some nice sightings.

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Quicktime movie (5.2 MB)
I should have added the sound of crickets chirping.

I come from a predominantly non-musical family (I was in the Virgin Islands when Graeme was born so how do I know he was not adopted?) so it may come as a surprise that I have been asked to create a musical score for a dance piece. Luckily it involves mostly computer work - using existing song samples, vocal recordings, special effects. Could be fun, could be the downfall of a highly-praised choreographic career. I'll keep you informed.

More Beer reviews
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Stone IPA is brewed in California and is mighty fine with lots of hops and a nice clean taste.

Something New For The Resume

For the last 6 months I have been working on a series of images that were to be used as projections during my friend Dana's new dance work. I have been editing fun home videos for the last 5 years but this was serious. I could ruin someone's 15 year career as a dancer/choreographer if I did not do it right. Well last night was the performance and as far as I know Dana's good reputation is still intact.

The process was interesting. The piece was partly inspired by a world war II love story by Marguerite Duras. I searched the National Archives web site for images of war and death and planes. I video-taped the dancers at one point and did a lot of Google image searches. I put together a lot of little videos for Dana to look at and eventually we decided to use the still images from the National Archives, images of telegrams I found on Google, and some film clips of war planes flying in formation and of typewriters being typed on. The images appeared at the beginning and then towards the end of the piece totalling about 7 minutes. The whole piece was about 75 minutes long.

A highlight of the process was going to the National Archives storage facility to scan and print the original photos. I am now an official reseacher and I have a picture ID that is good for 2 years to prove it.

Here are some fuzzy pictures of the performance with some of my images in the background. I took these during dress rehearsal.

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And here's a fun picture from the snowfall a couple of weeks ago.

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The Reviews Are In

There were two reviews of Dana's concert last week, one in the Washington Post and the other in a Dance magazine called Dance View Times. Both showed that the reviewers thought alot about the piece acknowledging the complexity of the piece and the beauty of the dance movement. My images were mentioned in both, which is cool. I have been asked to show some of the images so here they are. I am sorry they are so big. They will take a while to download.
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These are the opening images that introduce the theme of love and loss and war (9.9MB). Dancers appear onstage with actual old typewriters as this sequence starts. (6.9MB) These are first and last images from the last section of the dance depicting war. (7.7MB)

So when we were growing up we had things we were identified with and that was what we got as gifts. Lenore's thing was pigs, lynda's was mushrooms, mine was owls but that somehow changed into frogs. So I still get frog-theme gifts and sometimes I buy them for myself especially cards. One morning this week I noticed, somewhat to my horror, a "gift" deposited next to my car. I have no idea how it got there. It seems to be made of plastic.

frog in garage

New Mexico

So I traveled with Dana and his company to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. They performed at the University of New Mexico as part of a alumni reunion weekend. The performances went really well. At the after performance discussion several people asked questions about the images I created. That was cool. I stayed with Dana's parents in Santa Fe 2 nights and 1 night in the home of a local Albuquerque patron of the arts. Needless to say the accommodations were wonderful. I learned from my visit to Florence, Italy that you really cannot imagine how beautiful or interesting certain places are by just reading about them. Santa Fe is also one those places. The architecture, the weather, the landscape, the American Indian art were all so interesting. I traveled a lot between Albuquerque and Santa Fe and saw exit signs for various pueblos. It was neat to see jewelry and pottery from those pueblos at the stores and museums. I also learned that the word camino is the spanish word path or way. Some memories:
  • The mountains and mesas on the highway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe
  • Bright shiny colorful lowriders on the highway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe
  • Talking to and buying jewelry from the Navajo and Pueblo Indians in Santa Fe. Learning about Pueblo pottery at the Penfield Gallery in Old Town Albuquerque.
  • Discovering sopaipillas and eating a frito pie for the first time
  • Spending Lyla's money on turquoise jewelry
  • The bunny family in Anna and Joe's yard
  • A 5 minute rain, hail, wind storm followed by an afternoon of beautiful sunshine
  • The exhibits on sleep (pillows, beds, quilts, sleep rugs through the ages) and dichos on trucks at the Museum for International Folk Art.
  • Watching lightning across the prairie while sipping beer with Dana in his parents' back yard
  • The mariachi band playing in Old Town Albuquerque
  • Here are some pictures  statue part

Spending Other People's Money

Dana is getting about $28,000 from the DC Commission on the Arts to buy hardware, software and spiff up the company's PR package. One stipulation is that board members have to attend meetings and be involved. I have attended 2 meetings, one to discuss our hardware/software needs and one earlier this week to network with other grant recipients about databases. It's been pretty cool, especially building a fantasy computer system. This week's meeting was in an art gallery and the antendees included others from theaters, art galleries, dance companies and the head of the DC commission and experts in fundraising. And there were coffee and bagels.

The Tour de France is going on and without Lance Armstrong (due to retirement) and other big names (due to suspician of doping) the race is very interesting.

A recent picture I took:

Ice Cream Update
The bread machine has been put away and the ice cream machine is out. We've made two delicious batches so far - vanilla and cinnamon.