Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cunning Little Vixen at Long Beach Opera

For the first time ever, we purchased season tickets to a performing arts group! Long Beach Opera convinced us to sign on with their ingenious and clever productions. Even for people like us who know pretty much nothing about opera, we always enjoy such fresh performances. Plus, for a brief time they offered 50% off season tickets, so we signed up.

This past Saturday's was LBO's first (of only three) productions this year. All we knew going into the performance was the title: "The Cunning Little Vixen." We had no idea what is was about, thinking it would be fun to just be surprised. When the first performers appeared in animal costumes - a dragonfly, an owl, a mosquito - my initial thought was "An animal opera? Really?" But we were quickly swept away into the story of a charming, Chaplin-esque "vixen" (apparently a female fox) and her adventures in both the forest and the land of humans. It was so lovely and clever. The costumes were just amazing; the costume designer brought together what looked like a thrift store full of discarded clothes and somehow turned them with great effect into chickens, foxes, birds and other critters. Written in 1924 by Czech composer Leoš Janácek, "Cunning Little Vixen" is charming and colorful.

You're in luck, there's one more show, this coming Sunday, January 25. Click here for information. There was a great review of the show in the LA Times on Monday - I love how they drew a metaphor as LBO being the cunning little fox in these tough economic times. Click here to read the review.

Even in these tough times, LBO is finding a way to give back - $10 from every LBO ticket purchase for The Cunning Little Vixen will provide 5 meals for the hungry at the Long Beach Rescue Mission.

The Day is Finally Here

It's such an unusual feeling - excitement, anticipation and pride about our President! I still have to pinch myself. I'm so thankful to be alive during such an important historical moment. GOBAMA!!

I have friends from Texas who are on the National Mall today - I'm so jealous! I got a text from Kate yesterday, saying she saw Malia in a motorcade. :)

You can order a commemorative edition of this fabulous New Yorker cover, just click here. It's free!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Project Have Hope

When I was in Cambridge, my sister-in-law took me to a really great holiday boutique in a lovely old home. There were six or seven vendors there, each selling things they had hand crafted - except for one gal, who was selling gorgeous beaded jewelry on behalf of Project Have Hope.

I had never heard of this before, and now I love the concept! The beads are actually paper, and are created by a group of 100 women in the Acholi Quarter of Uganda (one of whom is our model here - aren't the beads so lovely?). Proceeds from the sales help these women feed their families, send their children to school, and to establish business opportunities to promote economic stability and sustainability.

So, you can purchase this fabulous jewelry (it became Christmas gifts for many of my girlfriends), AND help women who are working to better their lives! Their web site is terrific. You can read about hosting your own bead party, or you can purchase jewelry, photos and music directly. I love how they photograph their jewelry wrapped around fresh vegetables - like this lovely bejeweled corn!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Where's a bailout for the arts?

I recently read a commentary by Michael Kaiser, president of the JFK Cener for the Performing Arts, that perfectly summed up my feelings about what's happening financially in the art world (and what has been happening for years). This country has a terrible track record when it comes to public support for cultural aspects of our lives, and we're starting to pay the price.

Click here to read Kaiser's insightful piece. I do hope Obama's administration is able to put even a tiny bit more focus on the arts, which are as invaluable - if not more so - than all these other sectors we keep hearing about teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.