Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Secrets to Die For by L. J. Sellers

Secrets to Die For by L. J. Sellers delves into issues that remind us of our humanity and our human failings. Sellers explores attitudes toward homosexuality and rape through an investigation into a murder than has Detective Jackson questioning biases he didn't realize he held. As the investigation uncovers one suspect and then another, Sellers keeps the reader wondering what will happen next. As Jackson juggles his personal and professional lives, the reader feels his frustration and desire to do right by all those in his life. Sellers creates three dimensional characters that are all too real leaving the reader feeling as if a visit to Eugene might offer the opportunity to meet the characters who inhabit the pages of Secrets to Die For.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Do It Gorgeously by Sophie Uliano

Front Cover

Do It Gorgeously by Sophie Uliano is a well written and interesting guide to taking on projects instead of buying more or hiring someone else to do them. She focuses on re-purposing as well as making a variety of self-care products one's self. I'm intrigued by the self-care products and may give a few a try; however, I'm not so sure that some of them are even necessary once one moves away from using all the chemical products. As for some of the other projects, I'm not likely to do them simply because they aren't my thing. While she makes things like sewing sound incredibly simple, I know from past experience, sewing is not something I'm good at. The book is worth the read if for no other reason than to inspire the reader to think about things lying around the house in a different way.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Shadows: A Collection of Poetry by Catherine Al-Meten



Shadows: A Collection of Poetry by Catherine Al-Meten starts off with an introduction that left me anxious to get to the poems but also set the mood for the poems contained within. Shadows combines lovely photography that will tempt the reader to stop and ruminate on the image for a while and perhaps discover a sensation of poetry in the image. Al-Meten starts off with a poem titled "War" that leaves the reader pondering not only the question of the wars nations fight but the wars we fight with ourselves on a daily basis. Shadows takes the reader through nature and self-awareness in a ride that comforts, provokes, and uplifts. Al-Meten offers the imagination tastes, sounds, smells, images, and touches that keep the senses alert and awaiting more in this delightful collection of poems written to explore life's simple moments as well as life's mysteries.
(Please click the image above to purchase on Amazon.com.)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Jon Kimura Parker Piano Concert at LaSells Stewart Center in Corvallis, Oregon

Jon Kimura Parker Corvallis-OSU Piano International's Steinway Piano Series featured a stirring piano performance Jon Kimura Parker on April 7, 2013 at the LaSells Center in Corvallis, Oregon. His performance left me with the same sensation I get when I meditate. Watching Parker was delightful. He plays the piano with his whole body. Yes, his fingers manipulate the keys, but he leans into and out of the performance. He seems to almost lift off the piano bench during the performance. He smiled while he described the two longer pieces he played. I'm not a musical person by nature, in that I can't read scales or sing or play an instrument, and I often struggle to recognize a song by its opening notes. I can feel a beat and dance. And, I did. I felt my toe tapping and my shoulders swaying as he played. He played Sergei Prokofiev's Sonata No. 3 in A minor, op.28 (D'apres de Vieux Cahiers) as his opening number. From there he moved on to an invigorating and amazing performance of his own arrangement of Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. It gave me chills!Before he started it, he told the audience how he came to put this arrangement for the piano together. After intermission, he played Sergei Rachmaninoff's Prelude in G minor, op.23, No. 5. Then he moved into his other longer piece, Pictures at an Exhibition. He explained the origin of the piece to the audience before he began. Once he began playing, his friendship with the piano filled the room with its energy and vibration. A beautiful performance that not only energized and relaxed but left me with poetic lines jumping through my thoughts. If John Kimura Parker plays in a city near you, I suggest you check it out!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) by Sarah Ruhl presented by The Majestic Theatre

In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) by Sarah Ruhl is delightfully written. The April 6, 2013 performance at The Majestic Theatre in Corvallis, Oregon offered laughs, serious moments, and a totally immersible experience! Directed by Pat Kight and beautifully acted by the cast, In the Next Room is definitely worth the price of admission. Set in the 1880s and exploring the use of the vibrator to treat hysteria, In the Next Room handles the clinical and the sensual with just the right dose of delicacy, seriousness, and humor in this enjoyable play. Andrew Beck plays the "man of science" with such conviction, I wished to shout at him to lighten up and enjoy life's pleasures more. The rest of the cast is also superb in their individual roles. While the entire play is fantastic, the scene that makes me smile every time I remember it is the one where Catherine Givings, played by Kimberly Gifford, and Sabrina Daldry, played by Kelley Marchbanks, are describing their experience with the "treatment" to Elizabeth played by Chelcye Chambers. I don't want to spoil it, so I'll just say their reaction to Elizabeth's reaction was perfection!!
My only complaint would be there were a few times during the first half of the play where the sound didn't resonate through the theatre as well as I would have liked. That seemed corrected in the second half of the play.
The set, costumes, and lighting provided just the right feel for the play and provided an authenticity I found refreshing. The two rooms visible to the audience with a clear divide between them complete with door that shut soundly offered the audience a true experience of witnessing what was "In the Next  Room".
The Majestic Theatre feels cozy and intimate, perfect for a play such as this. The lobby and welcoming area are bright and inviting with lovely paintings hanging about.
If you're in the Corvallis area, I'd highly recommend checking out this production of In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) before it ends! It's playing from April 5-14, 2013.