Monday, January 30, 2006

Dancing over the weekend

This weekend, late on Saturday, I headed out to a party in Astoria in a giant collective house called Wonderland. Mike and Gene, from work, both live there - its a very New York version of Fenway House... very New York.

Happy Chinese New Year!

The weekend the streets have rung with the sounds of firecrackers and drums and the streets smell sweet with incese drifting from the Buddhist temples. It's Chinese New Years - and the celebrations were everywhere here on the edge of Chinatown.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A night at the Philharmonic

Last night, John Corigliano presented his Red Violin concerto at Avery Fisher Hall. Joshua Bell played the solo violin. The music and his playing were wonderful. The composer and violinist worked together in creating the piece. In the discussion beforehand, Corigliano discussed composing for 'Altered States' and 'The Red Violin'. Joshua Bell and the orchestra performed segments of the music during the talk.

The piece opened with delicate layers of sound - rather like light on leaves above a sunlit quick flowing stream. It moved into something that felt prickly and soft-solid like a boiled wool scarf lined with chiffon. I imagined it in colors rahter like a bomb pop after they have bled together a bit. As he plays, Joshua Bell moves, dips and curves, and seems very aware of the orchestra. When the music moved to the close it slows and advances, prickly, light and fast.

I sat in a box, just above stage. It was a lovely night, and I look forward to the rest of the performances in the series.

Grandmother and Grandpa Mckinley in the 1930's

My grandmother, Doris May Blakely, and grandfather, Lee Lemmons McKinley, early in their marriage - probably 1936-9.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Mom and Dad in perhaps 1990

For Grandmother's 95th, cousin Dale collected images from the family. This is one I haven't seen in years - of my mother and father.

Grandmother's 95th Birthday

I went out to Seattle early this month for Grandmother McKinley's 95th birthday party. She's here in white with Uncle Bill and Great Aunt Phyllis.

Many of my McKinley cousins attended. And honestly, most of them I didn't really know at all - so it was a three days of meeting and learning about them.

Ray, next to me in the photo, and (I think) the youngest, had a cake made for the party that replicated the barn and butte on the family farm in Alaska. The baker made it from a photo of the place.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Seattle - the Library

While the staff aren't all that friendly - the new Seattle Public Library is great - skinned with glass to catch as much of the Seattle sun as possible, and well considered interior spaces and a unique flow through the stacks.

Curving through the center of the fourth floor is a vibrant red hall that feels like a combination of the klaxon red glare of a sci-fi space ship in trouble and a late 60's furniture set.

Glowing up the core of the library a neon yellow escalator contrasts to the white walls and brilliant fern patterned carpets. A variety of projections fill the great central atrium. They did not seem interactive.

Capping it all off - once you're on the top floor you realize the ceiling is padded - and filled with lights, fire extinguishers, and cameras.