Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Empress Has No Clothes

Since Sunday, I've been on an artist retreat at Belvoir Terrace in Lenox, which is a lovely little town in the Berkshires in the northwestern part of the state.  I was invited to participate with theatre women from New York, Massachusetts and Nebraska via my former theatre professor Juanita Rice.  This was to be a week to soak up the ambiance of the area, visit museums and historic places and for me, work on some scripts that need a bit of tweaking.  The Berkshires have traditionally been a place for the rich from New York and Boston to "summer" and this is evidenced by Belvoir Terrace and the other grand estates in the area. 

Theatre professor Judith Hart had been teaching workshops for young girls in junior high and high school.  She wanted to share this experience with other theatre friends and was generous enough to invite a newcomer to the group because of our mutual friend Juanita.  There was also a chamber music workshop for adults going on at the same time. 

I've had the most marvelous time with the seven other women who accepted me into their circle of long standing friendship and I am most grateful for that.  They are all funny, smart and talented and I've been enriched by meeting them. 

Since the musicians perform for each other in the evenings, Judy wanted us  to "give back" to our little community so we presented some short performances featuring women artists of the area such as writers Edith Wharton, Emily Dickinson and actress Fanny Kemble.  Although we had to follow a fabulous pianist, the musicians appreciated our little performances.

This evening we went to see Red Hot Patriot, a one-woman show about Texas journalist Molly Ivins, who was all about calling a spade a spade.  This was produced by Shakespeare & Co and starred company founder Tina Packard.  To say I was excited to see this show was an understatement.  I have loved Molly Ivins columns skewering the high and the mighty in politics for many years.

This is why it's so lamentable to put on my theatre critic's hat (I was theatre critic for KGNR and KXPR radio stations in Sacramento in late 80s and early 90s) and give the show a lukewarm review.  You don't know me Ms. Packard for I am one of the "little people" and you are the grande dame of Shakespeare and Company.  But it's the little people who can speak the truth with impunity, rather like Ivins did.

While Packard has the "look" for Ivins, she tried to do the show in a Texas accent and failed.  Large sections of the show became "veddy" British in accent and Shakespearean in tone and inflection. The script didn't give us Ivins' best that is easily available in her columns and books, but seemed to take the best parts of her obit instead.  The wall projections could have been used to greater advantage visually to punch both the jokes, the story line and more illustrate the Texas lifestyle that made Ivins what she was as a writer.

But when one is directing a long-time theatre star, what director could say the empress has no clothes? 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mo Better

I should always give myself a week after making something before posting it here.  As you can see, I've added to the Power of Autumnal Equinox and I think it's a stronger piece than before.  What do you think?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

This is a new piece of art I created for a mail art show that my friend Jonathan is doing in Cambridge MA. 
It's called "Power of the Autumnal Equinox"  It's 8" x 8".
Here's the info:

Size, Technique Free - No Jury, No Returns - Deadline 16 September 2011

Documentation to all

To be exhibited during the

Autumnal Equinox Circus Performance

At the Plough & Stars

Cambridge, MA

Post artwork to:



The Plough & Stars

912 Massachusetts Ave.

Cambridge, MA



You really should send some work there...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

La Luna

Ever notice how some days are filled with happy coincidences?  Like today as we were driving back from Montreal, I noticed the moon in her glory as she shined down between telephone poles and I thought of the Power of the Moon - yes that will be my next iteration in the Power series.

Then when we got back to the house and I checked email, I found this profoundly beautiful poem sent to me by my friend Barbara Medaille, a superb California landscape artist.

The Moon

The moon can be taken in teaspoons

or as a capsule every two hours.

It is a good hypnotic or narcotic

and relieves, too,

hangovers of those drunk on philosophy.

A piece of the moon tucked in the pocket

is a better good luck charm than a rabbit’s foot;

It works as a love charm,

to get rich without connections

and to ward off doctors.

It can be given as a treat to children

when they can’t sleep.

A few moon drops in the eyes of the elderly

help them die well.

Put a tender new moon leaf

under your pillow

and you will see your heart’s desire.

Always carry a small jar of moon air

for when you are drowning,

And give a key to the moon

to prisoners and the disillusioned,

to those condemned to death

and those condemned to life.

There is no better tonic than the moon

given in precise, controlled doses.

    - Jaime Sabines (1926-99)

(Translated by Rebecca Del Rio)

Monday, August 8, 2011

And Away We Go....

You know you're getting old when you write headlines for your blog and realize that only people your age or older will actually get the reference - this time to that old TV show The Honeymooners starring Jackie Gleason.  But I am in fact going away to Montreal for my birthday tomorrow.  It will also be a short test run for our new house/pet sitter.  We need to dial someone in now before winter hits and we need to go south for a week or so at a time.  This way the critters get acclimated to her before we take off for a big trip.

But that doesn't mean I'm not working my butt off (if only that could happen in the real world - sigh).  I've been doing some pro bono PR work for a group of young artists with whom I'll be showing later this month.  You can read all about it HERE. 

And I'm preparing the work for the show that Cherie Hacker and I are doing in October at the E Street Gallery.  It's based on the photos of windows we have taken over the years.  I shoot windows from the outside looking in and Cherie shoots from the inside looking out.  Yes, you can guess as to what the name of the show will be.  I'm also working on art for my solo show at Lumen's Store Gallery in November.  Thanks again go out to the Center for Contemporary Art in Sacramento who arranged the show for me.

In between all this, I'm re-writing two scripts for a couple of theatrical opportunities.  Here's a piece of my show that just arrived back here after being in the solo show at Luna's Cafe.

"Pele's Fire"
© Ann Tracy 2011
Can you guess the medium of this piece?