A late March post

As hard as this is for me to believe, March is almost over. I welcome April with open arms, eagerly anticipating warmer temperatures making it comfortable to return to woodworking in my garage. I guess what they say is true about March coming in like a lion and leaving like a lamb. Thursday night we had a ridiculous amount of snow which has stuck around even until today (at least the large piles are still around). Come tomorrow we are expecting 61F and rain. So what's been new? I'll go through events in reverse chronological order as my mind can remember...

The Odd Couple: A very good friend of ours, Dave Kish, had a chance to make his acting debut playing Speed in a production of The Odd Couple in Bowling Green, OH this weekend. Dave is no stranger to public performance as he and a group of his friends have been performing a comedy sword fighting act called The Rogue Blades at various Renaissances Festivals throughout the tri-state area for a number of years now. The play was very well done and quite comical even given it's 1960's release date. Many of the jokes and situations have withstood the test of time. The show was followed by coffee and laughs at a local coffee house in BG with many of our mutual friends who also came out for the performance.

The Lion King: The Lion King has made a home in Toledo for the past couple of months and wraps up this weekend. We acquired tickets for last Thursdays performance (the night of the big snow). I have heard many accounts of how well done the production is and I couldn't agree more. Jen and I had a wonderful evening amidst a packed Stranahan Theater. The creativity in the costume design was amazing, and the music and choreography were also very well done having been adapted from an animated show. The audience does sometime disappoint me though. It never ceases to amaze me how people will carry on normal voice conversations during the production or even worse text message. Nothing like having the mood derailed by the sudden appearance of a bright back-lit LCD screen in the sea of darkness. Despite that, the show and the evening was still wonderful. By the time the show ended, it was late into the evening. We left the main auditorium to see several inches of snow on the ground and more coming down at a very rapid pace (even accompanied by thunder and lightning). Needless to say it was a very slow ride home, turning a twenty-five minute trip into over an hour.

Il Trovatore: Jen and I decided to experience our first Opera. Neither of us had been to a production before, and it seemed Verdi's Il Trovatore would be a good entry into this world. When Jen purchased the tickets, it was supposed to be performed at the historic Valentine Theater in downtown Toledo. Recently, a boiler explosion closed the theater while renovations/repairs were made. Sadly, the repairs were not completed in time for the date of our show. Rather then reschedule or refund, I feel the Toledo Opera made a poor decision in relocating the production to the Maumee Performing Arts Center. While a nice and modern auditorium, it is certainly not equipped for such a production. The Toledo Symphony had to share the stage with the opera performers, making a very cramped and confined set. Although to call it a set would be misleading. Granted, they did try to make the best of what limited space they had, but the complete lack of any visual elements to the show, combined with very poor acoustics left both of us with a feeling of indifference. I can accept that the Toledo Opera did try their best with what they had to work with, but it was very lackluster. On the positive side, we were not turned off to opera, and will perhaps attend something next season when we can see one in it's element in a proper opera house.

Symphonie fantastique: For Valentines Day, I purchased tickets to the Toledo Symphony's presentation of Hector Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique with Mozart's Sinfonia concertante at the Toledo Museum Peristyle. I purchased tickets as something fun to do the week after Valentines, and you can never go wrong with tickets to the Symphony. It turns out that it is one of Jens favorite symphonies, so good points there. The performance started with Mozart's concertante. Being very structured and disciplined, it was a bit of a sleepy piece. When they switched to Berlioz, the pace picked up and was amazing to behold. As Jen told me: any piece that requires two large church bells is going to be amazing.

So what's on the horizon? In a word: Yellowstone

Jen and I are taking a road trip to Yellowstone Park in May. We have a route planned out to take us out over a three day span on I-90, four days in Yellowstone, then three days back taking I-80. We have out hotels booked, staying in Jackson, MN the first night, then Custer, SD the next, then Cody, WY before making our way to West Yellowstone for three nights. Then it's on to Laramie, WY, followed by a stop near Newton, IA, then a final stretch to home. We should have enough padding in our schedule to take in sights like the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, and Devil's Tower on the way out. Then the Grand Tetons on the way back. I found a splendid travel sight www.roadsideamerica.com where we have been adding all sorts of quirky roadside attractions and oddities to break up the driving. As always, plenty of pics will follow!