Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Christmas Carol at the Monmouth College Theatre

Here you are with a chance to see over seventy members of the Monmouth Community strut their stuff when the Monmouth College Theatre and the Buchanan Center for the Arts present their production of "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. Performances are Thur., Fri., and Saturday Dec. 8-10, 2005 at 7:30 PM in the Wells Theatre on the Monmouth College campus.
For more details see http://

Only 24 more shopping days till the big one. Shown below is a photo of Mom and Dad with David de Young at Christmas 2004. Since then David has become a movie star. Sort of!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Original Story by Arthur Laurents

Just finished a show-biz autobiography titled "Original Story" by Arthur Laurents. A bit too much coverage of his sex life for me, but the sections devoted to his involvement with some of his most lasting successes were interesting for their behind the scenes information. To read a bit about "Home of the Brave," "The Time of the Cuckoo," "West Side Story," and "Gypsy," you might want to dip selectively into this volume. Reports about his personal interactions with folks such as Barbra Streisand, Katharine Hepburn, Shirley Booth, Leonard Berstein, Jerry Robbins, and David Merrick also more than fulfill the vicarious tastes of show biz gossip devotees.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Woo Woo Wireless

What do you do with the wonderful world of wireless internet connection? Why you sit in the dining room with your laptop and tap away as you watch the Bears play Tampa. Multi tasking makes you semi guilt free as you while away the Sunday on your butt. Where's the brew and chips?

Did manage to get off the butt long enough to put up the Christmas lights. We won't actually turn them on for another week, but it's done before the arrival of snow, sleet, ice, wind, etc.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving 2005

Turkey day is over. Black Friday is upon us. We shall celebrate by not shopping. Biggest news of the day is that son David arrived and started to do some maintenance on the family computers. The wireless router that had been gathering dust for some months now comunicates with the laptop so we have two internet capable machines in the house. He promises a few other smoother bells and whistles before he leaves.

Other thoughts. Ted Koppel retired. In his closing statement he asked the same question I have been asking for some time. Why is it that the only people who are expected to sacrifice in the war against terrorism are our troops and their families? I can still dimly remember the ration books, tin can crushing, and the quarter a week war bond stamp books of WWII. If this is a war and it does affect each of us, why not some kind of surcharge to help pay for a bit of it now? There are few belts in this country that could not survive one small notch of tightening. One wonders if those ubiquitous "Supprt Our Troops" banners would be so common if the cost of displaying one was a couple of hundred bucks directly to the US Treasury. The sad fact is that too many citizens would prefer to battle fellow consumers for the latest photo phone at Wal Mart and complain about high gas prices than pay now for their president's commitments-- whether right or wrong.

After all isn't that what grandchildren are for?
We all might want to remember that shoes only pinch when we walk in them ourselves.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Third Annual Taste of the Arts

This past weekend the Buchanan Center for the Arts in Monmouth, IL sponsored it 3rd annual Taste of the Arts. We admit to a bit of bias, but have unashamedly declared it the most successful of the three.

There was a nice dinner, a charming wine presenter by the name of Randy Pelotte, and lots of tasty Australian and New Zealand wines. Our favorite of the night was a Black Opal chardonnay.

This was also the evening we announced our Spirit of Grace Buchanan Arts Patron of the Year for 2005. The winner was long time Monmouth resident David Flemming who won $5000 dollars for the Center in a Fantasy Golf tournament set up as part of the John Deere Classic Birdies for Charity program. Mr. Flemming is pictured center flanked on the left by Mike DiFuccia, the Executive Director of the Buchanan Center for the Arts, and on the the right by Jim De Young, president of the Board of the Directors.

Anyone wishing more information about the Buchanan Center for the Arts and its programs is invited to visit our website at http://bcaarts/org

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Rotary International Exchange Students Visit Monmouth

We hosted a lovely young lady from Brazil this past weekend. Patricia Ottaiano was one of around 20 inbound exchange students who visited Monmouth to get a taste of midwestern family life. We had a lovely dinner with our student and then went to see "She Stoops to Conquer" by Oliver Goldsmith at Monmouth College. The show was delightful and made all the better because the director, Doug Rankin, dedicated the performance to me. I directed the piece in 1974 when Doug was in high school and he attributed that production to fostering some of his first interests in theatre. Ms. Ottaiano spent the night in our home and then rejoined her Rotary group at the YMCA for a day of touring that culminated in a hayride and a sleepover at the Y on Saturday night.

Jan with Patricia Posted by Picasa

Rotary Exchange Students at the Y Posted by Picasa

Jim and Rotary Exchange Visitor Patricia Ottaiano Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 05, 2005

A Frank Lloyd Wright Gem

Just outside of Cedar Rapids, IA is the Lowell Walter House called "Cedar Rock" designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was an upgraded "Usonian" hour that was the summer riverside home of the Walter family for many years and now belongs to the state of Iowa. It seemed the ideal side trip to compliment our visit to the Grant Wood Show and the Grant Wood Studio in downtown Cedar Rapids. Whether painted, constructed on, or just there for the looking, the prairie was clearly the star of our two day stay. The Blums, the Waltershausens, and the De Youngs were quite lucky to have a personalized tour of the house and grounds just before they were closed down for the winter.

Welcome to Frank Lloyd Wright's Walter House outside of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Posted by Picasa

Where indoors and outdoors seem to merge. Posted by Picasa

The approach to the front door is absolutely Wright. Posted by Picasa

The Entrance Hall begins tight and opens out into the living spaces. Posted by Picasa

The Living Room Posted by Picasa

The wood is polished grace. Posted by Picasa

The Kitchen is small but efficient. (Only the stove is an original appliance.) Posted by Picasa

Wright's Boat House is a small gem along the Wapsipinicon River Posted by Picasa

Wapsipinicon River from the Boat House Posted by Picasa

Color everywhere Posted by Picasa

Lampposts made from old farm implements dot the property  Posted by Picasa

Parking area and guest house Posted by Picasa

The stone was hauled in by Wright Posted by Picasa

A walk on the grounds is fall perfect Posted by Picasa

Iowa at Harvest Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 04, 2005

Cedar Rapids, Iowa Home of Grant Wood

Cedar Rapids, Iowa may not set your fires aglow at its very mention, but the Grant Wood Exhibit at the Cedar Rapids Institute of Art is worth a special trip to this Midwestern town if you can manage it. The actual exhibition is beautifully mounted and the display of multiple works in addition to American Gothic (on loan from the Art Institute) will bring you quickly to a new appreciation of Wood’s range and eclectic talent. Within walking distance of the museum are Wood’s carriage house studio, and a delightful urban display of American Gothic satires. Jim and Jan highly recommend the whole experience.

American Gothic Midwestern Size Posted by Picasa

American Gothic by the Seine Posted by Picasa