Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Any Harry Potter Fans?

I love Harry Potter, actually the books much better than the movies; but regardless....I love Harry Potter! Plus I love theme parks, so now, the best of both worlds with Universal Studios Harry Potter World!! This new addition to Universal Studios is scheduled to open in the spring of 2010.

The new area will be over 20 acres, at the entrance will be Hogwart's Express and of course, towering in the background we be the Hogwarts Castle. Inside this new section of the park, creators say there will be a ride that will exceed the technology and storytelling of the 3D Spiderman Ride, this is pretty awesome stuff, not really, just to a nerd like me!!! Well, I never!! don't believe me, check out the video and this link to see some photos and judge for yourself......

Friday, September 11, 2009

Talented New York artist featured for 9/11

Today is a day for remembering the events that marked our lifetimes forever, 9/11 will never be just another day on the calendar but a day of rememberance.

Since I had posted my memories of 9/11 on the first day of this month, I wanted to feature a wonderful artist out of the heart of the beloved city of New York today.

Mauro is an extremely talented artist from New York who owns the shop Brooklymade where photography and painting intermingle to form absolutely stunning results in which no two are alike. I think of Mauro as being a "green" artist as well for what may have been discarded is recycled and turned into beautiful art work to be admired.

One of my favorites is the Washington Square at Night which shows the landmark arch with the Empire State building in the backdrop. Measuring in at a substantial 16 x 20 this piece is certain to make a statement. Would be perfect talking point in an office as well.

Enjoy the work of this skillful artist and the interview below.

Introduction: ". I have been a photographer for about 12 years. i picked up a camera for the first time when i came to NYC in 1998 and i have been shooting ever since. This is one of the first pictures i took

I was amazed when that picture came out, specially because I shot it with a cheap camera I had bought at Kmart for $40 (it was so cheaply made that the lens eventually fell off the camera, which proves you don't need expensive equipment to express yourself), but mostly because it portrayed exactly what attracted me most about the city: those fleeting moments in which streets are empty or almost empty. they make me feel like the city belongs to me; like i am here to witness it. All of us who live in NYC are packed in tiny apartments and experience the city as an extension of of living grounds, we eat out because we can't entertain at home, we sunbathe in the parks because we don't have a backyard, etc..all of which makes us form strong connections with the space we all share (for better and for worse). My pictures are reminders to myself of my favorite spots which I share with tons of other people, but that they belong only to me at the moment in which I took that particular photograph.

Q) . How long have you been crafting?

A) I have been crafting since I was a child. I was a shy kid who spend a lot of time reading and drawing. Art has always been a part of my life and it doesn't matter what else I try I always go back to's like my default state of seeing and interacting with reality.

Q) What are your inspirations / if you have any thoughts about 9/11, please comment?

A) I'm inspired by everything. it's is kinda overwhelming sometimes. With these paintings, I'm always on the lookout for discarded items -what most people would consider trash- I'm constantly picking up stuff on the street to use on my paintings. even my friends are getting into it! every time I meet with them I get a bag of "treasures" they pick up for me. I don't know, I guess I'm really curious about where things end up, what they had been before I got them and why they were discarded. I love giving them a new life, it gives me pleasure to rescue them from disappearing.

On september 10th 2001 I took my first class on photography. I wanted to lear more about it and to have more control over my camera and not depend so much on chance. Before the professor dismissed the class, he gave us the assignment for the following week: "go out , photograph your neighborhood, document your surroundings, this city is every changing, it is always evolving, just because something is here today doesn't mean it will tomorrow. I wanna see what you bring". Next day the world changed and I will always remember his words. I do not take anything for granted, I am grateful for what i have, and i try to be mindful of the impact things and people have on me and the impact i have on them. I try to respect life and hope it respects me back, so far it is working out fine.

Q) What goals/plans do you have for your shop in the near future?
A) I want to continue expanding on the portfolio, keep photographing and painting and get feedback from people about my work. I have a very faithful client base in nyc, and etsy is providing me with the opportunity to reach one a lot more people. I want to continue to attract a new audience and my presence on line is a first step in that direction.

Q) What is your favorite item in your shop and why?

A) My current favorite item on my shop is this painting of a street in DUMBO, Brooklyn. This is a very interesting area for me because of the level of gentrification it has suffered in recent years and on the abrupt stop the economic crisis has brought to the development of neighborhood. it feels like for a little bit longer at least you get to enjoy here the strong contrast between past and present .

I would like to thank Mauro for the informative and interesting interview. Remember today what is important on this day, our family, our friends, and our fellow countrymen and mankind throughout the world.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Do You Remember Eight Years Ago

I recall driving to work, eight years, it does not seem that long ago. Beautiful sunny South Florida day, heading to my job as department manager in Miami from my Ft. Lauderdale home listening to the radio when they announced that a plane had hit one of the towers, seemed accidental; shocking, but during my hour drive, by the time I arrived to my destination, the shocking had turned into the horrific. A second plane had slammed into the other tower and we were under attack and that nation would never be the same again.

In the days that followed we all cried and mourned together, became angry together and bonded together with songs such as “I’m proud to be an American,” being more considerate of our fellow Americans, purchasing American flags to display on our car windows.

Where are we now as a country eight years later? Do we still have that comradery? Why does it take tragedy to bring people closer together?

My hope on this anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11/2001 is that we all try to not let the worse bring out our best; that we strive to show our loved ones how truly dear they are to us, we try to help our neighbors and treat others the way we would wish to be treated, we try to bring some happiness every day into the lives of ourselves and others, and that we strive to set good examples not by what we own, but by who we are.

I love the group U2 and found this clip of their halftime performance at the Superbowl after 9/11 and when the backdrop of the curtain falls during their performance, it stirs me every time I see it and I wanted to share this video with you. Let us not forget not only the events of 9/11 but also the feelings they inspired.

I would love your comments on where you were during 9/11 and/or how that day changed your life. Thank you for reading.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Finding Joy with Jane Austen

This blog has provided the opportunity for me to write about one of my favorite authors; Jane Austen. Jane has provided me with not only hours of reading pleasure but has been a source of such joy in three brilliantly done adaptations of her most popular novels. I hope you will take a few moments to read this blog and watch the accompanying videos. If you have not seen the movies, I hope this will inspire you to rent them and watch them. I am certain that you will obtain as much joy out of them as I have.

My favorite has to be Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. Everyone was perfectly cast for the movie, including the spunky mother (Ms. Bennett). The soundtrack spectacular, the acting superb. I have not seen a version that I have enjoyed more and have happily spent many hours watching and re-watching this movie. My favorite scene, where Elizabeth is playing the piano and Mr. Darcy is watching her with such a look of admiration and love.

Here is one of my favorite clips of Mr. Darcy's second proposal.

My next favorite: Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thopmson and Kate Winslet, pre Titanic. I
love Alan Rickman in this movie, of course Alan Rickman plays Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies which is a far cry from the sensitive Brandon. However, were you aware that Hugh Laurie from House was also in this movie! Yes indeed, a stellar cast.

My favorite scene, MaryAnn is heartbroken over the loss of Willoughby and falls ill after walking miles in the rain to the overlook where she can see his estate so she can repeat the poem they recited together:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
--William Shakespeare

Colonel Brandon finds her and carries her through the rain back to shelter. He goes to retrieve her mother because they fear she will not survive. Upon his return, he is told she is better and while he is closing the door to leave her room where her mother is comforting her, she sees him, calls his name softly and says "thank you". The look on his face, ahhh, it'll bring you to, not really! Well, me in my state of being the helpless romantic, it brings me to tears every time. Great movie, here is a clip when he first sees her playing the piano:

Thirdly is Emma the 1996 version starring Gwyneth Paltrow. This movie is sprinkled with outstanding actors as well, my favorite clip from this movie is the proposal under the glorious oak tree. I was so thrilled to be able to find the actual proposal clip...when Knightly says....I rode through the rain, I would ride through worse than that just to hear I might have some chance to win you!!...Oh boy.

There are so many aspects about these movies that I love, the interactions between couples, the love the main characters show towards the women they love, Dr. Darcy, Colonel Brandon, and Knightly all are such wonderful characters. The clothing, the balls and dialogue. It will take all your cares away for a while. I hope you will get a chance to enjoy them as well and please comment on any or all you have seen. I really look forward to your remarks.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday Featured Artist

What initially attracted me to Megan’s shop, Studio M.M.E., was this Victorian tea party because I love Victorian, anything Victorian! What made me enjoy her shop even more was not only her obvious talent as an artist; but, her knack for storytelling. Her descriptions are as engaging as her art; Megan is a creative writing major, and her skills are evident throughout her shop as both an artist and a writer. Obviously plenty of thought into Studio M.M.E. and I hope you will take the time to visit her on Etsy; you will be happy that you did.

Megan’s shop consists of pen inkings such as this haunting print named “Fears Uncloaking” inspired for the story of Little Red Riding Hood. The shop also has interesting prints, notebooks, and cards any of which would make lovely gifts for someone who has it all.

Below is my interview with Megan from Sutdio M.M.E.

Q. Tell me a little about yourself.

A. I'm a senior in the art and creative writing programs at Minnesota State University Moorhead. I love fairy tales, Edward Gorey, and cats. I've been baffling my professors with my pen and ink techniques since I arrived and only started selling prints of my work in January, when my mother set the criteria that in order to pursue my artsy degrees, I had to start a business.

Q. How long have you been crafting?

A. I've been drawing ever since I was a child. My father used to oil paint so I grew up with nude models books all around the house. I started crafting just a few months ago, when I discovered that I could upcycle all the children's books the library was selling into OOAK envelopes.

Q. What are your inspirations?

A. I'm certainly inspired by the books I read. Fantasy is always my favorite. Another great muse for me is my boyfriend, who is always saying weird things like, "I think you'd make a good Saami reindeer herder." And next thing I know, I'm illustrating it. He's also the inspiration for my crafts. It's always him who says, "Why not make ..."

Q. What goals/plans do you have for your shop in the near future?

A. I'd really like to find an artisan who can turn my illustrations into jewelry. I don't have the skills to turn my work into pendants. So, if anyone's interested, please let me know!

Q. What is your favorite item in your shop and why?

A. My favorite item right now is this new notebook I made from the backing of 60 year old film.

I found the old Kodak Duaflex camera in my grandma's closet and was able to use up the last 6 shots from the expired film. Prints of those photos are also in my shop. Then, I decided to use up the film backing too and made this cool notebook. It even has a velcro clasp!

Megan has a wonderful blog to visit as well. With her skill with the pen, it is sure to be an engaging read!

Since this Studio M.M.E. has so many Victorian / period items, what better place for a perfect video; from the Virgin Queen... Enjoy!

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Favorite Films

Favorite Films
These are some of my favorites. Enjoy

All About Eve

Sense and Sensibility

LOTR Return of the King