Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sweetness


Cammy serves in the Special Needs Seminary this semester.

Since our youngest daughter came into the world
I have had a special nickname for her:
Sweetness.
And she has lived up to it in every way.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Sophomore, A Senior, A School Play, and A Serial Killer

 He was standing by the wall next to the drinking fountain, his arm in a cast supported by a sling. Our eyes met, and he gave me a smile. He was handsome in a dark way. He didn't speak, just looked at me. I took a quick sip from the fountain and hurried into the girl's restroom, which was serving as a make-shift dressing room. Quickly I changed into another costume. After putting on my red wig and applying more make-up, I was ready to return to the stage. As I walked back into the empty hallway I glanced over by the fountain and he was still standing there. Once again he flashed that smile. For a moment I felt uneasy. Strange.

 Why was he standing in the hallway behind the auditorium and not watching the play with the rest of the audience? The chorus of the cast was on stage performing a big dance number. It was time for my next entrance. I smiled back at him and opened the stage door and headed for the side wings.


It was Friday, November 8th, 1974. It was the fourth performance of our high school musical, 'Redhead.'
As a sophomore, I had been cast a few months earlier in the title role.
I remember clearly the day the cast list was posted. As I approached the doors of the choir room there was a crowd gathered around. People were pointing at the list excitedly. I heard people saying things like,
"But she's just a sophomore." And "Mr. C. has never done that before."
As I made my way through the crowd I felt the stares of several seniors and wondered what all the commotion was about. Suddenly one of my friends saw me and called out, "You got the lead!"
My face felt hot and I felt like all eyes were on me.
I made my way to the list and sure enough, there was my name listed next to the character Essie Whimple.
A wave of elation and nervousness came over me.
Some of my new friends from Drama Club were congratulating me and giving me hugs.
It was unexpected and surreal.


 Rehearsals soon began in earnest. Everyday after school for several hours as well as Saturday mornings.
One-on-one dance rehearsals with our choreographer Mrs. S. for my solo numbers.
Singing rehearsals with Mr. L. for the many musical solos, duets and ensemble pieces.
It was exhausting and exhilarating.
I was thrilled to be working with so many talented new friends, especially the seniors that I looked up to.

 The original production of 'Redhead' opened on Broadway in 1959, the year of my birth. It starred the legendary 'triple-threat' Gwen Verdon and was the directing debut of master choreographer Bob Fosse (Gwen's husband). The show ran for over 400 performances and won 6 Tony Awards, among them Best Musical, Lead Actress, and Lead Actor (Richard Kiley).

The premise of the show: When a young actress is murdered in 1900's London, the enterprising Simpson Sisters' Wax Museum installs a tableau of the grisly deed. Tom Baxter, the murdered woman's friend comes to the museum to complain, and there he meets the niece of the Simpson sisters, Essie Whimple, a plain girl with a hyperactive imagination. Smitten with Tom, Essie pretends to have been attacked by the murderer, as well, and crazy things begin to ensue, complete with cunning disguises, spine-tingling escapades and chases, and a show-gone-wrong at the Odeon Musical Hall. 





The evening of November 8th, the play was sold out and the auditorium was packed. Our drama director never watched his plays once they opened. After the final dress rehearsal Mr C. would say to us, "We have all worked hard. I have given you my best direction. The play is now yours and I turn it over to you with all my trust." After cast call Mr C. would stay in the chorus room, listen to the audio over the monitors and chew on his neck tie. Mr. L. was of course directing the orchestra and Mrs. S. stood in the back of the auditorium to take notes for cast meeting. That evening during the performance a man approached Mrs S. in the back of the auditorium and after some small talk told her he needed help jump-starting his Volkswagon which he was unable to do by himself because of his broken arm. She declined saying she was taking performance notes. A few minutes later a student told her parents that since she had seen the play twice and knew how it ended she would be happy to drive over to pick up her younger brother at the roller skating rink and would meet them afterwards. When the play was over she had not returned. Her parents found their car in the parking lot with their daughter's purse and keys on the front seat.


The following Monday the story would unfold at school.
Some of us were called down to the school office to answer questions about 
any unusual activity or persons we had seen that night.
I told of seeing the mysterious stranger, as did a few other students.
A police sketch artist was called in to take descriptions.
Police officers were on sight at the school all week.
Mrs. S. had police guarding her apartment across the street from the school.
I would later learned the name of the man who had smiled at me.
Ted.
Ted Bundy.


His victim that evening; Debra Kent.
Debi was one of the seniors who had congratulated me on the morning the cast list was posted.
We had met in Drama Club. Several of her friends were dancers in the show.
She would often come to rehearsals.
Debi was always smiling, sweet, unassuming, helpful, a bit shy.
Such a lovely person. She was always kind to me.
I liked her.
I have not shared this story much over the past 40 years.
It affected many people deeply and in many different ways. 
Today I think of Debi's family and of another anniversary passing without her coming home.

*NOTE: I have chosen not to sully this post with a photo of Mr. Bundy. If you are interested in reading more about this notorious evil killer of 100's of women there is a fairly concise write-up on Wikipedia (with a few minor inaccuracies regarding the November 8th event) and plenty of other sources online.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Halloween Past


35 years ago.
My college roommate Laura and I won first prize
 in a costume contest.
Groucho and Harpo Marx.
Fun times!
I wasn't always a 'party-poop.'

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"Work is what you do for others...Art is what you do for yourself." ~Stephen Sondheim


 On our recent trip to Chicago
this is where I lived for two entire days.
The Art Institute of Chicago.
And I still didn't see everything within it's walls.


 The museum is just a block from the edge of Millennium Park.


 There was an interesting fountain with images of faces projected
 on large columns facing each other.
Each face would morph into another face.
After each face would smile it would purse it's lips
and a strong stream of water would shoot out.
Little children were having such fun playing underneath it.



This famous painting, 
'A Sunday on La Grande Jatte'
by French painter, George Seurat
has always been a favorite.
One of my most loved musicals is Stephen Sondheim's
Sunday in the Park with George
based on Seurat's life and this painting.
The painting was done in the style of Pointillism,
  painted with thousands of dots.



 I have always adored this painting as well.
'Paris Street, Rainy Day'
by Gustave Caillebotte.


 There were several paintings by Monet.
His famous Water Lilies series and this one called 'Irises.'
It really was a thrill to realize I was seeing the originals
of so many paintings I had studied in my 
arts and humanities classes.


Exciting to see several Degas' ballerinas.
I loved these paintings as a child;
ballet being my first love.


 I got carried away taking so many photos and trying to take it all in
 that I had to take a mid-day break to recharge my battery
 (and my phone battery.)


There was a special exhibit of the work of Belgian Surrealist 
Rene Magritte.
I am not a huge fan of Surrealism
but wanted to see it while I was there.
It was strange and fascinating.

infashionchicago.com
 I recognized many of the images from art books I have read.

timeout.com
 This image is featured prominently in John Green's book,
The Fault in Our Stars.
'This is not a pipe.'


 There was a gallery that displayed all of the beautiful works of
  Tiffany Decor and Glass Company
Especially adored this exquisite window called 'Lilies.' (1892-95)


And, of course, the famous Tiffany Lamp.


 There was an entire wall titled 'American Windows'
by famed French stained glass artist
Marc Chagall (1887-1985)


 This was really exquisite.
A wax on plaster head created by
American artist, Malvina Hoffman (1887-1966)
of the renowned ballerina Pavlova.
She had seen her perform in London
and they became close friends.



'The Old Guitarist'
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)


 'Abraham Lincoln'
Daniel Chester French (1850-1931)
This is the bronzed, smaller version
of the life-sized Lincoln Memorial
in Washington D.C.


 There was an entire gallery devoted to glass paper-weights as art.
A gentleman had donated his lifetime collection.
Several walls had mountings of the weights
 done in  patterns like kaleidoscopes.
They were just beautiful.
If you look closely you will see bees
 surrounding a hive with flowers.


 No museum is complete without a portrait gallery.
I was particularly drawn to this emotional painting,
'The Captive Slave'
by John Philip Simpson (1827)


This beautiful memorial fountain is at the edge of Millennium Park.
The park was finished in 2004.



The day before we were to fly home from Chicago
a distraught O'Hara Airport employee tried to kill himself 
by burning a major traffic control center.
2000 flights were cancelled and
 the entire Midwest was at a stand-still.
It affected the entire airline industry.
Some of my husband's colleagues were at the airport
 ready to board a flight.
They opted to rent a car and drive to Indiana to fly out.
When we arrived at the airport Saturday morning, 
it was like a ghost-town.
Still many cancelled flights.
Our morning flight was delayed 4 times until the evening
but fortunately we were able to fly home.
Quite the adventure.
I will close this post with a photo I took outside my plane window.
Doesn't it look like ice on an ocean?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sidewalks of Chicago

I did this photo in black and white as it reminded me of an old noir movie setting.
A few weeks ago I accompanied my husband on a 
business trip to the grand city of Chicago.
To be honest, it had never been on my list of places
 I was interesting in visiting.
However, I am so glad I tagged along.
It was fabulous!


The waterfront was right across from our hotel.
We enjoyed a stroll along side it on our first evening.
 I loved the architecture.
And, and of course Chicago can boast of having some of 
the greatest in the world.
(Home of Andrew Lloyd Wright.)
This is the home of WGN Radio
 housed in the Chicago Tribune Building.

This is another angle of the Chicago Tribune Building.
From here I began my walk on the 'Magnificent Mile.'




Here is a night shot of the famous Wrigley Building.


We enjoyed a delicious dinner at Giordanos.
Famous for Chicago deep-dish pizza.
This was the plaza outside the restaurant.
Perfect weather to eat outside.


 On my Magnificent Mile walk I enjoyed window shopping
at all the famous stores.
I had to make a stop at the American Girl Place.
Two of our daughters owned and loved 
an American Doll in their childhood.
This is the anchor store.
It was fun to see all the 'retired' dolls as well as the new models.


I especially loved this 60's era doll in the bug.


 Striking facade for Burberry, a famous London store.


 Neat to see the Chicago Theatre district as well.


 There were strange-looking horses in Chicago.


 Several boats took architect tours throughout the day.


 One evening we found a 'British Pub'
and had some 'authentic' British food such as
Bangers and Mash, Yorkshire Pudding and Pot Pie.
(My husband is always great 
about catering to my British obsessions.)



 Each day I walked through Millennial Park 
which was built in 2004.
I would sit for a bit and 'people-watch' as they gathered around this
giant silver jelly bean.
Fascinating installation.

Here is an artistic shot from inside and underneath the bean.

Next post I will share photos of where I spent most of my time.
Stayed tuned.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Rooftop (or rather 'Streettop' this time around)



 Photo by my talented friend Justin Hackworth

For those of you who still read my blog
you will be familiar with my association with 
The Rooftop Concert Series in Provo.
 This past Friday was the 5th Anniversary Concert.
The 'powers that be' behind this series had been working secretly
for at least 6 months to get Neon Trees to headline.
Back in 2011 when I was working my first season with the series,
Neon Trees was on deck to perform but had to regretfully back out
because of contract obligations with their record label.
(Their replacement that evening:
Imagine Dragons!
Go figure.)
Because Neon Trees had formed as a band in Provo
and basically started their fan base here,
they had always wanted to do the Rooftop.
Now a world-renowned band, it was a major coup to land them
for this concert. Logistically it was a challenge.
So when the surprise was announced only three days before the actual concert,
everything swung into high gear!


 Cammy and her friend Claire were excited.
We arrived early to stake out our spot.
As the evening wore on however, it didn't matter that we
had claimed a space.
It soon grew into one giant mosh of people.
Standing room only.


 Photo credit: Sam Schultz, owner of Sammy's, from the rooftop above.

It was an unbelievable night!
This is Center Street in Provo, Utah.
The crowds continued to swell throughout the concert.
(In fact, after the sad outcome of the BYU vs. USU football game,
Many fair-weather fans left to join this party.)
Keep in mind that my family attended the very first 
Rooftop Concert in 2010 and there were perhaps
 200 in attendance.
There has never been anything like this in Provo Town!

 
The openers were The Blue Aces, an all-girl band.
They have played the rooftop before.
These gals are a tight, amazing band,
formed in high school just a few years ago.
Now recent high school graduates.
Keep an eye on them.
They will go places.

 photo credit: Justin Hackworth

And of course, my FAVORITE local band:
Fictionist.
They were the original headliners and were such good sports,
(in my opinion) to be bumped.
(It should be noted that they are good friends with Neon Trees
and there was nothing but positive love and respect going on.)
They sounded incredible singing many songs off their new album
which was released to the public that evening.

Photo of my advanced copy with a personal 'love note' for me:)
 I have blogged about this band before, so forgive the gushing.
They are meticulous musicians and wonderful, kind human beings.
I lovingly call them 'My Boys in the Band.'
They all have talented, beautiful wives
 and some have become fathers
since we first became friends.
Their new CD is fantastic and I feel they will have much success.


 I am a fan-girl at heart.
(21 years old on the inside.)
It was a treat to be invited to Fictionist's private preview party
for friends and family a few weeks ago,
hosted by our local music hot-spot Velour.
Robbie (lead guitar/vocals)
 took this silly photo with me at that event.

 Photo credit: Justin Hackworth

NEON TREES.
What can I say?
They rocked the house, or rather, the city!
Since I first heard them in 2007,
it is amazing to realize these four
returned Mormon missionaries are heard on radios stations
around the world and selling out concert venues everywhere.
It was great to hear of their love and devotion for Provo
(and Tyler Glenn made it very clear throughout their set.)

Mayor Curtis gave the band the Key to the City.
Drummer Elaine Bradley was beside herself,
 jumping around like a little girl on Christmas morning.
The energy was electric.
It was a night that will be remembered for a long time.

Blurry duo selfie.