Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dance Concert 2013

You need to know about this thing they call DANCE CONCERT. It's SOTA's annual dance showcase for the 100+ dance majors in the school. Typically you have instructor pieces and student choreographed pieces. The older students begin showing off their choreography to the dance faculty in october. If their piece gets accepted then they have tryouts along side the faculty. So Grace has to go to the tryouts last fall if she wants to be in the showcase...she goes out for 4 pieces...as a 7th grader she can only be in 2 max. She does very well and lands 2 student pieces. The students that pick can pick anyone in the school..yes many pick friends but they want their dances to look good so they have to get good kids as well. I guess it is a pretty big deal for a 7th grader to get in so kudos to Gracie for going  for it and getting in. The show was three nights...it was awesome. The teacher pieces were usually a little bit better but the student pieces were really good too! These are some of the best dancers in the county I imagine...the guys looked like pros with their barrel turns...the dances ranged from ballet to hiphop and the mix is quite amusing.
so here we are at Friendly's for a little post Dance Concert fun...the 4 away from me are the 7th grade dancers...Maya next to Grace is also in her classes and lives a few doors down from her on Yarmouth and across from her in the cowhat is McKenna and next to her Jannalis?...I think .
This is one of Grace's Choreographers and 10th grader Laura Rich... she is stretching Grace out and doing her hair...as a choreographer you apparently wear a lot of hats. These pics are from East high last weekend where they did some demo dances as part of the fitness/health fair.

 Here are a few of the girls going over some last minute changes. I think the thing I like about all of this is the caring of the younger students by the older ones...truly an amazing environment to thrive in...learning from peers/friends...support and friendship within a larger school...these kids genuinely love each other an it really doesn't get better than that.
I have more pics I'll add tomorrow.

I was able to convince SWBR to buy an ad in the program since one of the partners had/has 5 daughters in or go through SOTA...the screen/projection system is brand new and will become very handy when they figure out what they can do with it

Here is Gracie and me after the Saturday show...I always get weepy when I see her after a performance but I told her she nailed her triple spin in the first piece and she said "I know ...I was like yes" (insert fist pump here). It's good to watch closely so you can compliment appropriately...

No show is complete until you have had pictures in the lobby...here's Adiene, Grace, Meredith and Maya...Mereda, as she seems to be known, is the only non-dancer...apparently she is a theater - tech major (EEEEEWWWWWE). I told her I was good with that and we have bonded on a theater tech level. imagine these 4 with cow hat girl and one more dancer at the Strathallen for Grace's 13th....wahoo...Actually they are really nice kids and I actually had fun too...I imagine we will have many SOTA posts to come.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Clock Tower Time Lapse

The Crothers Clock Tower at the Roberts Wesleyan College is complete!

Here is the whole construction Phase in about 4 minutes....very fun.

I was pretty pumped about doing this little project because it was truly a functional piece of sculpture. I doubt it's something we get to do again as most of our other University clients already have these things...RIT, Nazereth, UofR....

However it was a battle to keep the designs I wanted...I was coerced into showing them a tradtional scheme to go along with my curvy , cantilevered suggestions so of course they wanted a traditional tower. I had to then work the design within those confines to hopefully still be something that was attractive, at least in my mind. So we explored 20 different variations on what you see now...ultimately we worked with the scheme that had cast stone panels, brick and light with a metal roof...all of which were already present in the campus architecture. I used a more modern massing to give it a less tradtional beaux arts feel. Thankfully the art professor, Scott, was able to appreciate the design gestures I was making and he then convinced the President and the Board to build this.

Many mistakes and problems during construction were encountered because the facilities guy used  his "pal" to do the work. The mason was asking me how to set the reinforcing pins...not good. He asked me to order his anchors for him...not good. In the end I told the Owner we had a serious problem and then things got better...if you get close you can see many issues with joints that are uneven but overall it came out pretty close to the design intent. The concept was to make this a place of discovery and reflection. Hopefully it will take on a sense of PLACE and become an iconic campus symbol.

It looks great at night and the plaza redo and new landscaping are going to have a huge impact on the everyday life on the campus. Scott is going to track the "collisions

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thank you Aunt Betty

The fear of an Aunt armed with Iodine

A recent article in a favorite tech blog last week brought back some vivid memories from the past and forced a thankful revisit. The article is coming up but I'll just repaint the picture in my best 1973 memory mindset.

We made our regular trip down to my Grandparents house in the sumer time, all loaded up in our 1972 Vista Cruiser station wagon. I think it was the whole family and of course - our black labrador - Donegal.  This trip was a bit different because our neighbors from back home were with us or met us at   my grandparents house. The Boises were there as well in their big 70's station wagon.  As we pulled up the cinder driveway, the minute the car came to a halt - there was an immediate disembarkation /scramble from the boat. Of course - the shortest attention-spanned were first out - which typically was my siblings and I. However - in this case - the A.D.D. prize went to the dog. The happiest, friendliest Mutt you'd never trust to protect the house from a burglar.  Donegal LOVED all people and the only mean bone in his body was reserved for other dogs and Cats.  I would like to think he loved them as well, he just liked to show it by roughhousing / nibbling on them.

Did i mention Grandma had a Cat?   Not a house pet really.  More like an outdoor / scruffy / greasy  Feral cat that you were never tempted to touch or be friendly too. Smelled a bit too. Grandma usually had a old pie tin on the side porch to feed Smellycat ( which hung out under the porch )

SO, as I mentioned - Donegal was first out of the car and immediately spotted SmellyCat and kicked into warp drive for an side porch Pet Dust-up.  I remember several of us - quickly stepping in to stop Donegal from playing "Shake the Baby!" on SmellyCat .  And I , in a rare act of bravery - stepped in the fur spin-cycle to physically pull them apart and promptly got a Cat Fang through my finger.

Which...being 5(?) years old.... I am sure I was not quiet about.

Lucky (?) for me - other guests at my grandmothers included several aunts with Nursing backgrounds. This included my Aunt Betty. I am pretty sure either my aunt Catherine or aunt Clare was there as well as a co conspirator - but the memory of which has faded.

Well, apparently this whole  Cat Bite thing ~  was a cause for serious concern amongst the family medical staff and prompted immediate RADICAL treatment.   Which...in the following years I wrote off as some kind of Over-zealous sadistic Old School Nursing.

Being brought into my grandmother's kitchen - I was forced to produce my wound for disinfection. And by this I mean - having someone hold my arm out while Aunt Betty poured half a gallon of iodine down the gaping hole in my finger. The Iodine was basically Hot Lava Battery acid.  Seriously -  I was screaming louder at the treatment than the wound.

And it got worse!  Aunt Betty insisted on a 3(?) times a day repeat disinfection!!  The whole weekend!!    I was seriously convinced she was doing this just to be mean to me. To this day - to speak the word iodine - brings this all back.....

So it was a bit of shock last week when I spotted this article online where the author got a friendly nibble from her pet cat.   ( click on title for article - its pretty startling....)

Why Cat Bites Are Pretty Much the Worst Thing Ever

It is interesting to take a burned-in childhood memory and make a needed revision. It is unfortunate the memory was written in the prism mentality of a 5 year old.  Sadly my aunt passed away just a short time ago. It would have been nice to make the revision together.

Thank you Aunt Betty


Tuesday, September 04, 2012

the kitchen renovation - a retrospective


Click the link above to see the movie I made from the powerpoint show...was it three years ago now?? A hot summer week like this one...The 7 day renovation that took 4 months...

Grace and I are sitting in the kitchen now having lunch. It's great to enjoy the fruits of your labor and design....to create  your own place...to create your own world.

Thanks to Pop for the trips back to help and to Mot for all the appliance work and Joe for helping with the silly sheetrock and Gracie for her patience/ excitement and help painting and laying tile.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hey Pop...thanks...it still fits 30 years later

Hey Pop
I think you bought me this in the early eighties at Ben's in Johnson City...yes?
I think we went wild and spent $90...well
Thanks...I still wear it some times and I got a compliment today so...
I get a kick that I am still getting mileage out it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

little project

Here's a fun little project...Robert's Wesleyan College is one of our important clients that I tend to...they wanted to celebrate the past president's achievements by building a clock tower and dedicating it to him and his wife.  The design work was my job as well as the Con docs.

So after the school rejected my cool designs they narrowed the choice down to a traditional look...I think it gravitated towards a stone obelisk vs a metal tower due to permanence and and the strong stone context on campus. The brick reveal compliments the historic brick buildings right nearby. The white glazing in the middle of the brick is a light channel we added to give the CT  life at night. It is backlit milkglass with 200' of LED lights.

The overall mass is derived from a modern skyscraper like the empire state building. The brick reveal and light channel are both part of the clocks revealing or discovery process. The CT will read more simply at a distance of 300' but if you stop and sit the more subtle design elements are revealed and the viewer can further explore the stone/brick and light relations. It's a reflection of the educational process. Probably more importantly our Master Plan for the college a couple years ago revealed the need for more site accoutrements and collision spaces within the campus pathways. The CT sits at the hub of 8 buildings and right on center of the main north/south  pathway.

I think this will become one of the places where all of the graduates will have their pictures taken. The goal was to create a place...I think we did it...it is a little project by all of our usual measures 8'x8' (base)x 30' high, but a huge project in terms of everyday impact at the campus

It's about 1/2 done now...the stone and cap go on next week...hopefully it actually came out the way I drew it....

Proof of smartyness

Well I never got one of these here pieces of paper which apparently is proof that grace is smartierer than I...well I'll be derned it's even signed by thar Obama guy....the one that got that Osama guy.

Monday, July 23, 2012

New York New York

A road trip adventure this week!  Nephew Thomas and James, Sister Catherine and myself headed to the big apple to celebrate Thomas's high school graduation.  We headed into NYC on Sunday evening in the hope of skipping most of the holiday tourist crowd.  We did pretty well on that front - but managed to run head on into a NYC heat wave.  OH BOY was it a warm weekend to hustle around the city.    We headed out on Sunday night to Time Square to see the Photon Tourist splendor.

Monday morning - we headed straight out to the Empire state building to gape at the splendor in 360 degrees. ( It almost felt that hot too..) 

Afterwards, tt was off to Central park to continue the march of sweat and tears - where I nearly lost the entourage to heat stroke. We did get a pic with the angel Bethesda ( one of my favorite spots )

After Central park - a quick detour to FAO Swartz and the 5th ave Apple store to wonder at the Glass elevator. It was almost like Willy Wonka!  That evening - we topped by a pinnacle of Kitch - the famous Trailer Park lounge.   We were lucky to get seated at the Elvis and Hula shrine.  There were Cheddar cheese Bacon and chili tator tots.  Nom Nom NOM!!

Tuesday morning consisted of a Double decker bus tour of lower manhattan and a stop at World Trade Center.  We wanted to tour the memorial - but did not have reservations. So planning to return the next day, we headed back up town to catch a boat tour of lower manhattan.

And the march continued after a much needed nap!  We headed to our dinner destination in the meat packing district by way of the newly opened Highline.  A elevated train track running part of the length of manhattan that is now a popular park.  From there it was on to Thai dinner! nom nom NOM!

Wednesday morning we headed down again to the World Trade center for an 11:00 tour of the WTC memorial site. On our way, we took a detour to visit Chinatown in search of "Rwolexes"  Our previous day guide pointed us to "Mott street" for the real china town experience". Well... it was too real in my opinion.  The street was an open air food market and there was ( too) much to see. It left me a bit Scheving.  We stopped in several stores to shop the wares.  I was in the back of one store when I spotted someones lunch on the back table
Pizza, take out and a soda right?

While moving on to the racks of Cats with waving paws and Lead painted toys, I thought I could hear a distinct scratching noise. After looking around from where I stood, I glanced back at the lunch table. With a little squinting, it became clear I my pizza assumptions were in error.
The WTC memorial was very inspiring and quite sad. I thought it was interesting to see certain names in the memorial with their finish rubbed off.  A must see for anyone.

From the memorial, we grabbed a cap to head uptown to stop back at FAO Swartz for a candy stop. I *thought* the cab would be more efficient than a 3 connection subway ride. But is was midday and I was in tragic error. But as an upside, The rest of the group found the cab ride to be an adventure in itself while I dozed off on our trip. So I guess it was a bonus right?  

A fine trip!  Hopefully more to come  :O)