Thursday, November 7, 2013
Excellent. Extraordinarily entertaining evening.
I just can't say enough good things about the Natalie MacMaster/Donnell Leahy show I saw last night at the City Opera House in Traverse City.
The very pregnant MacMaster -- baby #6 is due in April -- presented her usual high energy, fast fiddlin' of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, complete with interludes of her high stepping jigs and her amazing knee spins. She was joined by her husband of 11 years, Donnell Leahy, whose fiddling style is more classical, with showy, broad strokes and long, lingering notes. Then for a real treat, three of their children came out and played their little violins and danced some pretty fancy steps. The oldest daughter is following the MacMaster tradition, and will be giving her mother competition before long.
Add outstanding piano accompaniment and guitar picking by the members of their band, and it was a footstompin' fanfare of music as good or better than any I have ever seen. All this in the beautiful, intimate setting of the City Opera House. Extraordinary evening.
Posted by Sue Merrell at 7:59 AM
Monday, October 14, 2013
Don't expect Civic's production to be as shocking as "Fifty Shades of Gray," but expect a story with surprising depth about the choices one must make when facing adulthood. Director Pamela Steers recommends the show for middle school and older. She is pictured above with Jim Chervenka in the title role and Jake T. Goldberg, who portrays Jonas, the young man chosen to learn The Giver's secrets.
Posted by Sue Merrell at 4:19 PM
Friday, October 4, 2013
It's all because of "Jersey Boys." I saw the show Tuesday at DeVos Performance Hall and it won't let me go. I had seen it once before in Chicago, but if anything this touring show was even better. More electric.
I sang a couple bars of "Big Girls Don't Cry" and "Walk Like a Man" for my mom on Skype and it was good enough that she quickly remembered the songs of The Four Seasons. "Oh, yeah, I know those songs," she said.
Last night I woke up at 3 a.m. and all I could think of was "Late December back in '63, what a special time for me, as I remember, what a night."
If you didn't catch this show, the good news is you have five more chances this weekend: tonight and double performances both Saturday and Sunday. But be warned, the music will follow you home.
Posted by Sue Merrell at 6:20 PM
Friday, September 13, 2013
I was reminded of Jane today as I left the day-long Ted -X Macatawa meeting in Holland. "Do good" people said to each other instead of "goodbye."
The day had been overflowing with "good" ideas. Improvements in our education system, a company run by retired executives aimed at providing clean water for third world countries, tips for the perfectly "imperfect", breaking out from the 'hood, creating products intended for reuse instead of waste, telling our stories, helping injured veterans be creative.
It's hard to decide what "good" to do first. Little things like taking my morning tea on the deck and watching the sunrise instead of at my desk reading emails. Finding that dulcimer I put away and giving it another try. Calling an old friend to see how I can help. I was inspired with several major project ideas that will take longer to implement, but today, listening to all that enthusiasm, my ideas sounded doable.
In the impersonal tech world of Facebook and Twitter, it's inspiring to see people coming together simply to hear people talk about ideas. And then to talk to other people about what they heard. Talk. Talk about good. Better. Now. We can.Good.
Posted by Sue Merrell at 12:13 AM
Friday, September 6, 2013
But I couldn't take my eyes off "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," the latest offering at Circle Theatre. It's a horrifying story, yet there's an unspoken pact somehow between actors and audience that there will be no blood. The murders will be hinted, even laughed about, but never actually seen.
Instead we see the eyes. The fear. The hate. The greed and plotting. The helpless vulnerability. And you just can't turn away from it. It's mesmerizing. Oh, my skin is still crawling.
See it ... if you dare.
Posted by Sue Merrell at 2:12 PM
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
|Peanut gallery high above the stage.|
As media members wandered through the props stored in the labyrinth basement, Dr. Watson popped up. He was more than a little agitated that Holmes had stuck him in the basement. Holmes himself popped out of the fancy stage right dressing room which was added in 1979 for Tony Award-winning actress Julie Harris when she presented "The Belle of Amherst" at Civic. Harris, who died Saturday, is also featured in a photo in the lobby.
But the spookiest part of the tour was a trip to the "peanut gallery" on the third floor, high above the balcony that most guests see. This is where blacks and other minorities were seated until the 1920s. Now the bleacher seats are used for storage and spotlights. But it was an ugly peek into entertainment history that was particularly meaningful on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech.
Posted by Sue Merrell at 11:04 PM
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
|The capris (pre-stain) at Coast Guard Festival|
I managed to find a few things in my closet that worked well with the green jeans as I called them. They received several compliments at the Asparagus Fest in Empire, Mi., where I looked painted green for the occasion.
On a July shopping trip, I bought two new shirts to go with the green jeans which were fast becoming my favorites. I'd only had a chance to wear one of the new shirts when disaster happened: I spilled a glass of red wine on a camping trip and ruined the green jeans.
I stripped them off immediately and washed them in cool water. No luck. Someone said they had seen a TV spot that made a wine stain disappear with a spray of Dawn detergent and peroxide. I made a trip to town, bought both, and treated the stain again. Still no luck.
Once I arrived home I used my favorite stain remover: Oxyclean. Still no luck. The stain was getting lighter and I imagined I could wear the capris around the house or camping and no one would notice much.
Then I decided to give it one last try. I filled my washer with hot water. Added 1/2 a cup of bleach and a little detergent. Agitated it nicely so it was well mixed and added my capris. Well, you know the result.
Good ol' bleach took out the stain.
But it also removed most of the lime color. The only thing green now is the pockets which didn't bleach out for some reason.
So now that I've spent a small fortune on tops to go with lime capris and cleaning preparations to remove a stain, I no longer have any lime capris.
There's a lesson in there somewhere.
Posted by Sue Merrell at 11:05 PM