Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bye Bye Blackbird


(I’m still woefully behind on my blogging as is evident from this Labor Day Weekend post I’m just now getting up.  Things have been pretty busy at the gallery and I’m in the process of moving further into the city [yay!] this weekend so I basically get home from work and pack and pass out… sorry.)

For those of you who aren’t exactly up to date with your hunting calendar then I’m thrilled to let you know that, in Texas at least, Labor Day weekend is perennially the opening of dove hunting season… or as it’s known in our family: The Roberts’ Annual Bird of Peace Murdering Dove Hunt Extravaganza Weekend.  I kid, I kid of course.  Some of you may take issue with hunting but I don’t… and for many reasons: population control, shooting guns is generally quite fun when in a safe and controlled environment, and of course, dove tastes delicious.  

The festivities are always held in Midland, TX (where my fraternal grandparents live) and this is the first year I have been able to get out there in well over ten years.  Little J.D. Joseph wasn’t as interested in hunting as I am now and being away in the foreign lands of Michigan didn’t help that much either.

At any rate… due to a snafu with my license I wasn’t exactly able to hunt, per se, so I had to stick to shooting pictures as opposed to birds this year.

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The hunting lease our family always uses is about 25-30 minutes outside of the city and at the second entrance to the property was a fence lined with coyote tails… “a warning” I was told by one of the workers.

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I also couldn’t help but notice the property had an outdoor “venue” for performances. 

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I’m totes doing a recital here!


All of the hunting takes place on the dirt roads surrounding a large sunflower field (the birds come to eat and are shot when entering/exiting) and dawn is one of the better times to go out.

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Dad and uncle David getting their gun on


Brett, my brother’s friend and college roommate (of recent wedding fame), and his dog, Millie joined the party and a large portion of my time was spent with the latter: the perk of not being able to hunt means that it’s absolutely acceptable—even expected—to have an early morning aperitif! That’s what hunters call it, right?

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Speaking of dogs, Matt brought along Scout as well to do a bit of bird-doggin’ and she was quick to find some moisture to cool off in.  And what fun is a sopping wet dog without a bit of a roll in the dirt?

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Scout just loves a good action shot!


We also got a little visit from the game warden… just to make sure everyone was licensed up and not exceeding their respective limits.

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During some of the slower bits, not that there really were any, I figured I’d take a self portrait of sorts.

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It looks like I’m holding the tree BUT I’M NOT!!!  (How sad for me)


By the end of the hunt everyone had their limit and the ground was littered with shell casings and feathers:

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So perhaps this doesn’t qualify for “littered” exactly but you get the point.


All in all it was a great couple of mornings and hopefully next year I’ll have my act together a bit more regarding the license! Group photo time!!!!

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L to R: Uncle David, Granddad, Dad, Scout, Matt


And finally, one parting shot:

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Artist: John Kander and Fred Ebb, Liza Minnelli/ Album: Liza with a Z

BONUS:  Ever wondered what it sounded like to go dove hunting but did feel like getting up before the sun did just to find out!? Well you’re in luck because I recorded a bit of audio while out there!! Now that I think about it I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t move it into the 21st century by taking a video but I suppose that’s the lot you’ve been cast today.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bicycle Race


I have mentioned before that I tend to shy away from birthday posts for friends and family… mostly because it sets a precedent and I don’t want anyone getting upset that I didn’t do one for them on their birthday.  There are rare exceptions, however, and they always come about rather circuitously.  So, behold the rube goldberg machine that is my mind:

Monday would have been Freddie Mercury’s 65th birthday and Google celebrated with an animated homepage doodle yesterday (putting it off a day because Monday was Labor Day).  Watching it inspired me to make a Queen playlist at the gallery while doing some cleaning and the song “Bicycle Race” came on which then immediately made me think of my friend Heather, whose birthday is, wait for it… … … TODAY!  (The connection being that Heather and her husband, Bo, are avid fans of bikes).  Still following?

First, I planned on putting up the music video for the song until I actually watched it and realized it might not be exactly blog appropriate.  Nothing too scandalous, just nekked people riding bikes and all.  I opted instead for just the audio so enjoy and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HEATHER!!


Heather and I have been dear dear friends since high school and, along with the third part of our trio, Jamie, is basically the reason that I got through high school in Crockett.  Her house was like my second home (she was literally right across the street) and I am happy to count her among the elite of my friends… and you know how elitists I can be!  Also, she had a fan.tastic blog of her own called Lost in Drawers and I suggest you check it out.

So for a quick jaunt down memory lane here are a couple of pictures of us from her wedding a couple of years ago!

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Artist: Queen/ Album: Greatest Hits I

Bonus!!  For those interested, here is the animated Google doodle:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Piano Man


Last weekend I had the chance to meet up with my dear friend Jeremy (he was getting his doctorate under Martin Katz while I was at U of M) and help him drive across country and set up his new apartment in Bloomington, Indiana, where he is just beginning a post-doctoral fellowship and teaching classes at Indiana University.  He’s basically one of the smartest and most talented people I know so it’s no surprise one of the largest and best music schools in the country caught on as well.

After flying into Hartford, Connecticut I was picked up by Jeremy, who had just finished up working at a camp in Lenox, Massachusetts and we were off to Buffalo, New York to go to his parents house, have a quick dinner and get a bit of a nap in before the 13 hour overnight drive.  As nothing particularly interesting occurred during the trip there really isn’t that much to report on.  Towards the last four hours of the drive we would switch off sleeping and driving and arrived in Bloomington relatively refreshed. 

Luckily for Jeremy (and by proxy myself and my back) his parents had gone down earlier in the month to accept and unload the Pod that had been packed in Minneapolis before Jeremy was gone for the Summer.  Prior to tackling the re-arranging and decorating, however, we grabbed breakfast at one of Bloomington’s most well known eateries—the Runcible Spoon!  I think I can comfortably say that breakfast is mine and Jeremy’s favorite type of food

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“They dined on mince and slices of quince, which they ate with a runcible spoon…” ~ The Owls and the Pussycat, by Edward Lear


After breakfast it was back to the apartment for a quick nap then off to shop for the necessaries!  For the next couple of days we slowly pieced the place together, with Jeremy taking care of his responsibilities (faculty ID, class schedule, etc) in the mornings and coming back in the early afternoon.  I basically would wake up and think to myself: “Okay, if this were my place how would I decorate it?”… and then I would just do it.  Luckily he didn’t take too much issue with my work so it worked well for both sides!

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Jeremy, lording himself over his new dominion in true Lady Strauss mode. (Umm, by the way, that coat rack was only $12!)


While in Bloomington I also had the chance to meet up with another fellow U of M friend and have lunch.  Lenora and I both did our Masters degrees together and it has been a while since I have seen her!

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I also had a chance to check out Jeremy’s new office (he has a grand piano!) and on my way to the music building I noticed that, though he had only been there for a scant few days, they had already erected a statue in his honor:2011-08-30 13.07.57 - Copy

They even got the coat right!!


I leave you finally with the “advertisement” Jeremy made for his class, in which he will talk about different styles of singing, the singers who were great at it, why they made the musical decisions they did, and what is appropriate to do in our day and age.  Sounds a little dry, right?  Well… as this video is proof, it will be nothing of the sort.

I kiiiiinda wanna apply to Indiana University just so I can take this class.  (Though, I suppose I could just call him up and ask any pertinent questions if I really needed to.)


Artist: Billy Joel/ Album: Piano Man

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Salt of the Earth


The house belonging to Josh and Leah happened to be right on the water overlooking Muskegon across the divide and I was reminded of a picture I stopped to take once when going into town one day during intensive week. On the way to Meijer I passed a giant mount of sand (?) salt (?) something (?) and was reminded of the work of one of the gallery’s artist, Tom Hawkins.

My poor imitation (it’s the sincerest form of flattery, right?):

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The real deal:

Salt Mound Bonaire

Salt Mound, Bonaire



Salt Harvest #5, Bonaire


Salt Harvest No 3- Bonair

Salt Harvest #3, Bonaire


For information about the artist or to see more of his work, check out his website here or contact the John Cleary Gallery here!


Artist: The Rolling Stones/ Album: Beggar’s Banquet

Friday, September 2, 2011

Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?


After my brief stay in Ann Arbor it was back to the campgrounds at Blue Lake for one more final round of concerts.  Sabrina and I were fortunate enough to get to stay with Leah and Josh as our host parents!!  Leah was technically my boss (though I do consider her a friend now) and was responsible for hiring me last year for the Elijah tour. Truth be told the only reason I returned this year to do the Brahms was because I failed to get one single picture with her in 2011—and you all know how much I love a good photo op!

As I feel I have already exhausted myself on talking about the camp itself I’ll just focus on all the fun we got to have in North Muskegon… starting with THE FOOD.  Bernie O’s is a local pizza joint that has been ranked nationally and even appeared on the Food Network (did you hear that, Jan?!).  One of their claim's to fame is the Firebird pizza, which isn’t so much an homage to Stravinsky as it is to the fact that it uses ghost chili peppers.  There is a competition to eat the pizza (at the third level of crazy heat) within a certain time limit and if you win then you get to go on the wall of FLAME!  Josh and I joked about doing it but you need a third person and neither Leah nor Sabrina were up for it.

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Please notice how the wall is completely empty :(


We, however, opted for a couple of more sane options and they. were. DELECKER!!

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Before Sabrina and I had to part ways again we needed to get a picture we’d been talking about taking for the whole summer.  It was noticed very early on that our computers appeared to match our respective sizes and here is the evidence to prove it:

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Yeah, I’m pretty sexy in argyle sox and shorts.


Now, some of you may notice a certain toy of the equine persuasion trying to get in on the photo action.  Sabrina found it in the basement and naturally neither of us could resist a good opportunity to prove our ages.


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Apparently we’re not very coordinated… It looks like I’m trying to speed up while BriBri is slowing down


There aren’t really words to describe how appreciative I am for Leah over these last two years doing the international tour.  She didn’t go to Europe this summer (she was busy coordinating all nine of the Blue Lake tours while concomitantly organizing over twenty European groups that were coming to the states to do tours themselves!) and was greatly missed by everyone.  I’ll never forget last year when sweating my way through 3 hours of Elijah in the summer heat every other day she was always there on the front row acting as our cheerleader.  I’m pretty sure she was contractually obligated to do so, but she at least did a good job of pretending to enjoy it each time ;)

Finally, as is customary for the last picture of these such posts, we got a family photo!

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Leah and Josh: host family first timers NO MORE! I finally got to get my picture with yooooouuuuu!!!


Artist: U2/ Album: Achtung Baby

Put on Your Sunday Clothes


This video has been floating around recently on several blogs I read and I thought it would be appropriate for a new edition of the now mostly defunct DANCE PARTY FRIDAY (it also happens to coordinate quite well with Jan’s weekly installments of Fashion Fabulous Friday). 

To celebrate the opening of the Westfield Stratford shopping center in Britain, a video of 100 years of fashion in East London in 100 seconds was put together in this lovely little package for your viewing pleasure. ENJOY!


Artist: Jerry Herman/ Album: Hello Dolly