Monday, August 11, 2008

An A+ Weekend in Manty

My satellite dish went psycho last week, just in time for the Olympics! The picture freezes periodically, so I have to unplug the dish for one minute, plug it back in and wait for 3-5 minutes for it to find the satellite signals again. That works until the next freezing, which is usually in 15-30 minutes. Dish Network is sending me a new gadget, and in the meantime, I am able to watch channel 26, and only 26, with a trusty old pair of rabbit ears. I did get to see the spectacular opening ceremony, and have caught some swimming and gymnastics.

With this lack of TV catastrophe looming and no "Big Brother" to feed my reality TV addiction, my only option was to leave the house and enjoy Manitowoc. I had a grand time doing so! I started off by attending the Peter Quince production of "Fame" at the Capitol Civic Centre. This was a double treat. First, I was reminded of how stunning the Capitol is, thanks to a hardworking, selfless group of individuals who powered though much opposition to preserve this building for our community. They spent hours fundraising, scraping gum off the floor, doing general demolition work, painting...and they remain on hand, along with many new preserve and protect.

Then there was the Quince play itself. What a bunch of troupers. As a sometime theatre director, I know what they face year after year - the scheduling nightmares, the set pieces that don't work, missed rehearsals due to illness, fundraising woes, the difficulty of learning lines, blocking, lyrics, harmonies and dance steps - I could go on and on. Despite the challenges, they thrive. 2008 marks year 40 for this group comprised of 12-23 year-olds. Reading their bios, I see that many plan to study theatre in college. Others want to go on to be engineers, teachers or business owners. Some will leave Manitowoc and make their homes elsewhere. Those who choose to stay will have many opportunities to continue to hone their theatre skills here in the Lakeshore and make our arts community even richer through their contributions.

I also went to the local artists' exhibit at the Rahr West. There was no end to the variety and quality of talent displayed there. Two pieces were standouts for me. One was of a pensive sea captain painted by Sandra Murzyn. The other was Tim Woodcock's reinvention of the "Casablanca" movie poster, with Tim and his wife, Jo's, images as the stars. It is a complete mystery to me how a blank canvas can evolve into something so evocative. Get there before the show closes.

The last stop on my all-Manitowoc weekend was the West of the Lake Gardens. Breathtaking and serene. Serene - until I was yelled at by the on-duty gardener for stepping too far into a garden to get a picture for you! But I understood. These gardens are perfect, and surely don't need my big old footprint messing up the details.

Now...turn off your TV's, and go out and experience your community. There's so much to do you'll have to cancel sleeping to take it all in. Here's a short list ...

Wednesday, Aug 13

At LaDeDa...Gypsy George, L.A. based singer songwriter playing in the backyard beginning at 7:00

Thursday and Friday, Aug 14 and 15

Showtime '08. check out some fine local talent on a floating stage near City Hall. This annual fundraiser is organized by Tom Drill. You gotta love that guy, and you gotta support this event.

Friday, Aug 15

Not far from the showtime site is Persimmons, an addicting little art and vintage shop (located across from the Strand ) . Stop in and check out Tina Kugler's solo show. She'll be debuting her Sputnikfest poster - a whimsical retro design with a clever homage to Evergleam Aluminum trees snuck in

Speaking of Sputnikfest....Be there. check it out at

Masquers has a great season lines up, and be sure to watch for A Taffetas Christmas at UW-Manitowoc, December 4, 5, 6 and 7 (matinee). This is the same group that brought you "The Taffetas" and "The Honky Tonk Angels." Watch for tickets to go on sale and get them early. These shows sell out fast. I'll post rehearsal photos once things get moving on the show.