Portuguese Tapas and Scandalous Affairs

I am subscribed to the Place des Arts newsletter.  Which is great because I know what’s coming, what’s on pre-sale, what’s on special…  I say great but not sure if this is a good or bad thing! Ka-Ching!  On September 20th they had a 45% price reduction on Les Grands Ballets Canadiens’ “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”.  Hmmm….  I checked to see what sorts of seats were available then contacted my ever-willing- partner-in-all-things-cultural, Julie, to see if she was interested.  If she wasn’t, I was going to go it alone.  However, it is always way more fun to share these things.  Lucky for me, she said yes and I purchased the tickets in a loge.  Number 13.  Maybe that should have been a warning.

We agreed to meet just outside of the interior parking lot (both of us felt lazy) around five-ish giving us a good almost three hours to eat and catch up.  But where to go?  Many options in that hood, lemme tell you!

There are two restaurants, one in back of the other, built right on the sidewalk of Jeanne Mance Street.  They are like glassed-in “pop-up” style restaurants. Only permanent.  At least, I think they are!  Coolest thing ever.  Both of them are the “offsprings” of high-end restaurants in the city.  We stopped first at Brasserie T (baby of Toqué!), checked out the menu… looked interesting.  We decided to check out the second one.  There was no menu posted outside so we had to go in and ask to look at it.  This one is Taverne F (baby of Café Ferreira).  We chose this one.

The hostess asked us if we had a reservation.  You see, on nights where there are events going on at PdA, they are booked solid.  However, if we were willing, there was a place at the bar.  Ever the uncomplicated peeps we are, Jules and I accepted.  What a great thing that turned out to be!

Our barman/waiter, Simon-Pierre, was excellent, plus he had a little of the Chris Pratt look to him 😉  It was suggested we order 2-3 items per person.  So we ordered 6 in all.  He then suggested a bottle of red (Boina) to go with.  I have no knowledge of Portuguese wines so his suggestion, based on our tastes, was essential.  No.  I did not take any pictures of our food (d’oh!) however should you wish to, just click on the link above and you can see all sorts of beautiful pictures.

We started off with Pastéis de Bacalhau (the quintessential cod fritters with a red pepper piri-piri sauce), Sardinhas (roasted sardines with pickled veg) and Camarão e Amêijoas (shrimp and clams).  Perfect trio to start us off and we had lots of time to enjoy, so we did!

Simon-Pierre asked if we wanted a little break before the next three and we agreed….  We then had Polvo (grilled octopus with potatoes, confit tomato, chouriço and shery vinaigrette), Feijoada (lima bean cassoulet with chouriço sausage and fried pork) and finally, Arroz de Marisco (seafood rice, sofrito, calamari, shrimps and mussels).  With a little (maybe more than a little) bread to sop up the various sauces – for both trios – we were feeling just perfect.  Not too much, not too little.  We leisurely finished off our wine and chatted away.

It was then suggested we have a little dessert.  Looking at the time, we still had over half an hour to kill.  What the hell! Pastéis de Nata is a classic Portuguese pastry (custard tartlet, cinnamon, caramel sauce) and then that handsome feller went and gave us each a glass of Moscato!

Simon-Pierre in action

Now we were properly stuffed!  We made our way back to PdA and settled into our seats.  They were not as great as I had hoped.  If we had been on the other side of the theatre, we would have seen everything.  We did have a great view of the orchestra pit.  Snark, snark. The stage was built on an angle, to represent hills, so any action happening on the left-hand side was out of our view.  Thankfully, not too much happened in that corner, but still.  Quite annoying.  During the second half, the two sitting ahead of us and to the right (where the water bottle is and which had a better view) did not show up and we considered taking their seats but by the time we realised they were not returning, we, didn’t want to disturb…

View from our seat

I was a good girl and did not take any pictures of the ballet.  It was a pretty ballet but it was so slow in the beginning, us two chicas, satiated on food and wine, both struggled to stay awake (I was relieved at intermission when Julie admitted to me she was struggling as much as I was!)  A bottle of sparkling water each and we were ready for the second half!

I have to admit to not having read D.H. Lawrence’s book – yet – so I did not know the storyline, except for the obvious part.  I also like to NOT read the synopsis of the ballet because I like to see if I can figure out what is going on.  And I did, mostly, so that says a lot for the choreographer, Cathy Marston.  It was easy enough to figure out who was who except for two characthers:  Lady Chatterley’s sister – though I was fairly certain that’s who she was.  (A little aside on this character… At intermission, I turned to Julie and asked:  “Have you ever seen such a busty ballerina?” To which she responded: “I know, right?  I couldn’t help but notice, too!”  One of those stupid things you can’t help but comment on because it truly is outside the “norm”.)  There was another dancer that we thought was maybe a lady of the evening but, it turns out, was the lover’s (Mellors) former wife.  Oops. My bad.

Taking a bow

All in all, we did enjoy it – way more than the last one we saw which was Stabat Mater – a whole lotta hype that disappointed us.

What we both were wondering is why in the hell do they put this image on the cover of the programme and all other advertisements?  We kept waiting to see this superbe costume!  Nope.

They do the same with their videos… not anywhere near what we saw, costume-wise…

 

What Determines Beauty?

“Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.”
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Three years ago, at a get-together of eight former classmates (and a few spouses) I met Tania Cong.  Tania is married to François, not only one of the said classmates, but the one who organised our reunion.  It was a wonderful happening and one that I felt extremely privileged to be a part of.  You see, I only briefly hung out with but a few of them back in the school days and yet, I was included in this, what turned out to be, fortuitous event.

Class of ’81:  Marc H, François, Tania (welcome intruder), Chantal, Martin, me, Sylvie. Marc G., Dany

This first get-together gave birth to a desire to keep it going and not lose touch.  We have reunited, minus or plus a few, depending on people’s schedules and health, many times per year since then.  François and Tania were part of quite a few of these.

You know that image of a smiling, laughing little Oriental we have been fed through TV and the movies and various other media?  Well, you cannot help but add Tania to that image.  Please note I am by no means denigrating this lovely lady at all when I write this.  She is a beautiful woman, born in Vietnam, who has found her way into François’ heart and thereby, into our circle.  And we are all blessed for it.  I have yet to see a frown mar her pure face.  This little video I taped in error shows that…

While I have met Tania a handful of times over the past three years, this past Saturday, at Giselle and Dany’s annual BBQ, we really got a chance to chat more than usual.  Or rather, she was even more talkative than ever.  It just so happened all the women were at the same end of the table and subjects morphed from one subject to another.

Sonia, Deirdre, Linda, Tania, Gisele, Caroline, Me

Other than that youn’un Sonia (who’s I think, not even forty), we are a mighty fine looking group of fifty-somethings, don’t ya think? 🙂

Talk turned to twins – Deirdre has twin girls – and we learned that Tania is a twin.  She was saying they are so connected that when her sister gave birth, she felt her sister’s pain.  We marvelled at that.

Talk turned to Tania’s wedding to François about ten years ago. For the first time in her life, Tania was being coerced into putting make-up on her face.  We all looked at her in disbelief.  No way!  “Yes,” she said in her very heavily accented English.  She was informed she needed to get a facial and have her brows plucked and her ‘stache waxed and for heaven’s sake, put some lipstick on! She said that stuff felt weird on her lips and she was made to feel that maybe she was not enough.  And she resented that.  And refused to look at herself looking like this.

She then shocked us even more.  She informed us that she never looks at herself in a mirror.  Ever.  As a matter of fact, other than the one in the bathroom – which she won’t use – there are no mirrors in her house.

Stunned?  Not strong enough to describe our reaction.  Dumbfounded.  Astonished.  Stupified.

Surely, she was joking!  She shook her head. “I don’t need to look at myself when I wash my face, brush my teeth, comb my hair.  Although I wasn’t sure with that make=up on how to remove it!”

Yes, but….We clearly, all six of us, still cannot comprehend.  It is beyond us to even contemplate the absence of a mirror in our lives.

“Why would I look in a mirror?  What will I see?  Will I find fault with my appearance?  Will I think I am not good enough?  Not beautiful?  No.  I don’t need to look in a mirror.  François tells me I am beautiful.  So. I believe him.”

Happy birthday, Tania!  You are a beautiful light to all of us who have had the privilege of meeting you!

 

 

Ridiculously Optimistic or Foolishly Delusional

“See me for who I am, and then you’ll see the real me.”
Anthony T. Hincks

I have had many adjectives assigned (allotted? thrown?) to/at me over the years.  Most, I believe, are positive:  athletic, strong, caring, generous, beautiful, smart, intelligent, cultured, interesting, resilient (why do I cringe with this one?), open, accepting, helpful, talented, optimistic, realistic, honest, funny.  Some, I know, are negative:  bitchy, cold, heartless, naive, disorganized, lazy, delusional, ridiculous, foolish, sarcastic (on the fence on where this one belongs) – there are surely more but why focus on the negative?  And some fall somewhere in-between; or rather, I know they are not necessarily negative per se, but when they were thrown at me, were not meant to be complimentary:  eccentric, weird, different.  Many, as you can see, are contradictory because perception is, well, what you perceive.

One day I will get to the point in my life where I can say this is my philosophy as well.  I am working on it.  I like to think I’m a good 75% there.

What has this got to do with my title?  Everything.  And nothing, to tell the truth.  I am, and have been, at various times in my life, every single one of the adjectives above – and more.  And will again in the future.  Because that is who I am. What you see, is what you get.  No one is all good, all the time, no matter what people say or think (ridiculously optimistic)?  Nor are they all bad, all the time either (foolishly delusional)?

I’m blathering.

Because I have been thinking lately about friendships and romance.  And won’t lie.  Have been rather frustrated and kinda lonely at times.  Maybe I’ve been thinking too much!

We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap.

And, much as I say I have no expectations, it’s really hard not to have at least a little…

Friendships:  We form all sorts of friendships with people.  Some are surface-type and of lesser import and others go much deeper.  With the deeper ones, we like to think (and can’t help but expect) the other feels the same way about us as we do, them.  It is heartbreaking when you realise that no, you are not on the same wavelength at all.  Sometimes the other plays along to your tune to make you happy until they finally admit to themselves that this is not what they wanted in the first place and slowly drift away or immediately cut ties.  You are left standing wondering what the hell you did wrong and why the music stopped.  The truth is, you did nothing wrong.  And neither did they.  The other had different lyrics in mind.  To be fair, it goes both ways.  And to be even more honest, there rarely is malicious intent (this may be naive of me but I’ll keep that trait, thank you very much).  Of course, it would be wonderful if each communicated to the other their desires from the get-go…

“When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as
the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.”
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Romance/Sex/Love:  This one is a hard one.  I can say all sorts of things but losing Mick put me in a position I was frankly not that interested in finding myself.  I remember telling him once that I would prefer to keep the devil I knew then to find myself out there on the “market” again.  Thanks a lot, Mick.  What’s a woman to do? 51, working in her own kitchen, all her friends (mostly) are coupled…  How are you supposed to meet people guys?  So I signed up for a couple dating Apps.  Yes, those ones.  And I won’t lie.  I had a lot of fun.  And a lot of headaches.  I was not looking to become part of a full-time couple – not permanently, anyway and not at that particular time 😉  I wanted to go out, do stuff with someone, date.  Not that I have a problem with taking myself to the movies and such; but let’s face it, it is much more enjoyable à deux.  This dating shit is not for the faint of heart, lemme tell you.  I could write a book.  Point is, I go off and on these stupid sites every time I get fed up of being alone and in the hope of meeting someone who wants to do more than have a one-night-stand.  That old optimism thing.  Which I quit again.  Was exhausting.

“…sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I get bored. And sometimes all I want, more than anything else in the world, is to go on a freaking date.”
Kiersten White, Paranormalcy

I shall call this my little rant.  It shall pass.  It always does.

 

Forever – What Pegman Saw

This week Pegman is in Resolute, NU, Canada. Your mission is to write up to 150 words inspired by the location. Feel free to use the image supplied in the prompt or snag your own. Both streetview and photospheres are available in this location.

Once your piece is polished, you can share it with others using the linkup below. Reading and commenting on others’ stories is part of the fun.

Thank you to Karen and Josh for hosting this most interesting of challenges.  I really enjoy stretching myself…

Soooo… I cheated and totally did NOT go to Resolute.  But I went to Pangnirtung, NU – same Territory, just further east.  And I went there in memory of Joanne Nakashuk, a beautiful little girl from this region.  Born less than a month after Austin, her mother, Margaret, and I formed a bond as only mothers who live through something similar can.  No obligation, but if you want our little story, you can click here.

Forever

Why is the glow brightest and more colourful on either side of darkness?  Yellows to oranges to reds fill the sky with breathtaking beauty, oft-times leaving you holding your breath or sighing deeply.  Between both spectacles you have the blues that turn to indigo, to black — a beauty all it’s own, sprinkled with sparkling stars, yet, too often, unseen.

So then, why so bright?  Because, dear heart, when the moment comes and you find yourself in that dark place, and cannot see the twinkle of the stars through your tears, remember the light is coming.  The light that was my time here on earth.  The light I am now sharing with you from the other side.  And know this, I would never have been able to shine so brightly without the gift of your love.  I know, it wasn’t enough. But now we have this, forever, I shall be here.

**********************

Joanne Nakashuk June 16, 1995 – March 24, 2008

Woodstock – Fare Thee Well – You Rocked Us

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Last one in my little Woodstock series… Time to wrap it up and move on to the next adventure… Since I didn’t really share any pictures of the official town of Woodstock, I thought I would here as a fare thee well…

Thursday morning came way too soon.  The end of our little getaway-from-reality-and-live-in-the-moment escape was almost over.

We – okay, I – made one last breakfast using whatever leftovers from our little grocery expeditions:  smoked turkey, peppers, cheese, bread, and made a variation of a high-end grilled cheese.  B, of course, had a couple extra crêpes as well.  Any leftovers were going home with him and since I had made a ridiculous quantity, he was sure to have himself another breakfast back home; and, if his daughter was lucky, she might have some too!  (I did learn later that he did share…the pancakes but not the garden vodka!)

We had to pack up and be out of the Airbnb by 11 am so, after breakfast and a shower, we packed up and loaded our cars.  Then, loathe to part so soon, we took one last drive into the town proper, parked the car and strolled, while we chatted and I snapped pics.  We marvelled at how easy our three days had been.  We had become friends on line and our three days together just solidified that friendship.  We had found our beat and went with it.  A suggestion here, an idea there and we were in total cahoots. So very glad I can never say I shoulda, coulda, woulda.

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

The town really does have a nice artsy vibe to it and shows how it has been, not just a hippie town (though, of course, it still is) but a town that welcomes artists of all kinds.  They still hold various festivals to this day.

You have the requisite head shops because, you know, Woodstock!

And there are lovely homes and buildings of all sorts.

As well as really funky joints and places to sit.

Though this sign explained the reason for the sad state of the flag, it was the car that drew me.  I had the feeling the car has been there as long as the flag has in memory of 9/11.

One last one before I go…  A lovely stream goes through part of the town, so I had to capture it.

There was still much to see but no more time to do so.  B drove us back to my car, we hugged and kissed and went our separate ways, basking in the memories we created.

“The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye…until we meet again”
Jimi Hendrix

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Woodstock For Real – Wait, What?

This is the way to hear music, I think, surrounded by rolling hills and farmlands, under a big sky.

– Michael Lang (Co-creator of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival)

As promised… here’s the next installment of our Woodstock Wander in Mid-July.  How can it be almost mid-August already?

Wednesday morning was THE day.  We were finally going to visit the site of THE Rock Concert of all time!  To say we were excited, is to put mildly.  Two Fifty-somethings all a-giggle, I tell ya…  By now we have watched countless videos about Woodstock, totally immersed ourselves into the whole experience as much as two born-too late-to-have-been-there peeps could be. (And if we had been there, would have been too young to remember and would have had beyond-cool (or crazy) parents… Just sayin’).  One hour, some 60-ish miles away.  I swear, we are still trying to wrap our heads around a Woodstock that never took place in Woodstock.  I think B’s wonderful intro post to our adventure says it best here.

But first, we needed sustenance.  I had brought my crêpe mix so of course I had to make those.  But then, I pimped ’em up.  We needed to fuel up, after all!  A little bacon, some Swiss cheese and a fried egg on top was sure to do the trick – add to that some Québec maple syrup and we had ourselves a breakfast of champions…

No matter how many videos we had watched – and we watched many there (not to mention tons more since our return), we were still amazed to drive through the winding country roads towards Bethel.  We tried to imagine all those thousands of cars simply left willy-nilly to block the road for three, almost four, days.  Insane.  Did you know that 37 rental cars were lost?  Thirty-seven!!  Just one of those little snippets of information discovered…

We finally get to our destination…

… and there are huge, I mean HUGE parking lots… now 😉  We chose a shady area to park the car and made our way to the main building.  How did I manage to NOT take a picture of the outside?  I dunno… So I have nabbed the one on the site…

I don’t know how to explain the myriad emotions this place evoked.  Maybe it was just us.  But I don’t think so.  Maybe we had created an expectation by reading about it, seeing movies, documentaries, listening to the music.  While neither one of us had this destination at the top of our bucket lists, we were still thrilled and awed that our desire to meet had directed us to this place.  Just how did the Universe sneakily direct us here?  Our love of music, culture and history might have had something to do with it.  Whatever it was that did bring us here, we felt we were on hallowed ground.  Or we gave it that descriptive.

Or maybe, just maybe, we each have a little Hippie in our Hearts.

We purchased our tickets and entered, looking forward to – we had no idea what!

“We were ready to rock out and we waited and waited and finally it was our turn … there were a half million people asleep. These people were out. It was sort of like a painting of a Dante scene, just bodies from hell, all intertwined and asleep, covered with mud.

And this is the moment I will never forget as long as I live: A quarter mile away in the darkness, on the other edge of this bowl, there was some guy flicking his Bic, and in the night I hear, ‘Don’t worry about it, John. We’re with you.’ I played the rest of the show for that guy.

—John Fogerty recalling Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 3:30 am start time at Woodstock”

There were so many things to see, notes to read, we could have stayed in there for hours on end.

It’s funny… I didn’t take the picture of the sign explaining the fence but felt this other sign said it all.  This concert was going to be way bigger than anyone could have anticipated (Imagine how parties have gotten out of hand with the advent of Facebook?  Could you even imagine?)  People were not going to let some fence stop them from getting in…  Might as well give in.  And they did!  In the name of peace.  And debt.

So many details, so many stories, so many things to see!

There is a small theatre within the museum that shows a 20-minute movie about the event.  So, of course, we watched it!

So many acts played in those three days, that spilled into part of the fourth.  Sha Na Na?  Really?  John B. Sebastian wasn’t even scheduled to play.  He was a “filler” and, according to Ira Brooker from “A Talent for Idleness” Sebastian was the ultimate hippie.  I dig, I dig.  And, I didn’t know him.  And now I do.

Time to go outside and see just where this party took place.

The grounds around the museum are beautiful and a stroll was in order.

Though he never made a sound, I could sense B was itching to get to the site itself and I quickly snapped a couple more pics before joining him.

I don’t know why I never realised how much of a hill it was!  You see the pictures and there are masses of people but somehow, I just never focused on the terrain itself.  This sign gives you such a perspective of the size when you are in front of the field.  I purposefully left just a smidge of said sign in the second pic showing the road (we felt it would be disrespectful to walk on the grass itself – at that time, anyway!) we took to get down to the bottom to show you a portion of it.

As we made our way down, we could see, right in the middle of the field, a huge Peace sign cut into the grass (like a crop circle 😉 )  Too bad they have been suffering from lack of rain because it is a tad difficult to see, no matter how much I enhanced it.

We, of course, went to the official memorial monument (which bizarrely is NOT where the stage was…)

The stage is left of and further down from the marker when looking up the hill.  It was confusing to us at first but then I could see the demarcation of the sort of square where the stage was.

Standing on the “stage”, looking up I could not imagine 500,000 people.  I’m sure the 600 acres Max Yasgur rented out spilled out beyond… Plus, I do not have a wide lens… but still.  It takes your breath away.

I’m a farmer. I don’t know how to speak to twenty people at one time, let alone a crowd like this. But I think you people have proven something to the world–not only to the Town of Bethel, or Sullivan County, or New York State; you’ve proven something to the world. This is the largest group of people ever assembled in one place. We have had no idea that there would be this size group, and because of that, you’ve had quite a few inconveniences as far as water, food, and so forth. Your producers have done a mammoth job to see that you’re taken care of… they’d enjoy a vote of thanks. But above that, the important thing that you’ve proven to the world is that a half a million kids–and I call you kids because I have children that are older than you–a half million young people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music, and I God Bless You for it!

— addressing the crowd at Woodstock on August 17, 1969
Peace and Love…

We made our way back to the car, our souvenirs in hand (of course I got a Tye-died shirt) with new memories created and oh-so happy we had made the trek.  We may have missed out on actually being part of the whole Woodstock experience 49 years earlier, but walking those grounds sure brought us closer to the feeling that we would have fit right in.

Joni Mitchell didn’t make it either, but all say she captured the feeling exactly.  I was torn between the video where Joni explains why she wasn’t there – with a little catch in her voice – or the one she did right after the concert… So I put both!

Part 1

Part 2

Fun Night With The Piano Guys

I have to thank Frank, I think, for introducing me to The Piano Guys on his blog.  If it wasn’t him… no… it was him, I’m fairly certain…  I then caught a video here and there on Facebook, which led me to watching one after another on YouTube.  Well, don’tcha know, way back in February, the 8th, to be precise, tickets went on sale for The Piano Guys.  They were going to be in Montreal for three nights.  Woot!  Without further thought, I bought a pair of tickets.  For Wednesday, August 1st.  Six months away.  Had no idea who would be joining me and it didn’t matter because I knew I would find a willing accomplice.

Only thing is, not many people in my crowd know who they are.  No matter.  I mentioned it to Julie, that kinda friend who is willing to join me for pretty much anything (Cubano Sammy Search? Check!, Ballet tickets sold to me from another friend? Check!) “Who are they,” she asks?  “Google ’em,” I say.  Same day, I get an “I’m in!”  Like I was surprised.  This chick is a lot like me.  We dig good stuff.  We like to explore, we love cultural activities… we were even asked if we were sisters as we walked to the venue!

So, let’s start at the beginning of our evening.  Yes, we went to a favourite restaurant in the Gay Village:  Mozza Pâtes et Passions (where I have brought about 13-14 people so far – I’ve lost count).  It’s good food quality/price-wise, it’s bring-your-own-wine and it’s the best place to people-watch as you sit on the terrasse (terrace for you non-Quebecers) – and lemme tell you, there are some wild ones.  We smiled and nodded at the ones we could not help but admire…. coz seriously, that scrawny guy in the floppy hat, yellow dress, fishnet stockings and platform sandals, not walking but sashaying in a way that said… “This is me, bitch!” deserved a smile.

Plus, where else can you dance in the bathroom?  (Yes, I am sitting on the toilet, looking up!!)

We decided to take a chance (dissing the weatherman’s predictions) and walk to Place des Arts from Mozza – we are talking a good 20 blocks, 1.7 km (a bit over a mile).  Now that is not so bad, a twenty minute walk or so, and part of it in the middle of St.Catherine Street which is closed off to cars during the summer and strung up with balls representing the LGBT flag. Fun stuff.

We made it, with time to spare, and sat in our front-row tickets on the first balcony, right in the centre.

What a show, with each half lasting one hour, a 20-minute intermission separating them.  Time flew.  These guys are hilarious, ridiculously talented and wonderful performers who who interact with their audience as well as each other.

So, why are they called The Piano Guys when there is a pianist and a cellist?  Oh, and two other guys who are officially part of the group, so to speak?  Well, it’s like this, see.  It was all part of a social media strategy… Paul Anderson had a piano store called, you guessed it The Piano Guys.  Jon Schmidt (the pianist of the group) came into the store to practice piano when he was in town.  Paul asked Jon if he could film him and upload it to YouTube to share on Facebook and such to sell his pianos.  Jon agreed.  However, Paul saw a video Jon had uploaded of him and Steven Sharp Nelson (the cellist of the group), doing one of their mash-ups they are so famous for, which had received more than one million hits.  He asked the two guys if they would allow him to make professional videos of them, which would be uploaded to YouTube and the store’s Facebook page, all to promote his store.  Paul then brought in his neighbour, Al van der Beek (singer and music arranger) into the fold.   They chose the craziest locations, places one would never expect to find a piano, to sell his pianos.  Not a single piano was sold.

But.

A phenomenon was born.   They blend classical and contemporary music which they put together as a “Mash-up”, i.e. The Mission’s Gabriel’s Oboe with How Great Thou Art – so beautiful.  They did, thankfully, play this one while the video played in the background.  Gorgeous.

They don’t limit themselves to this mix of genres.  They do straight-up classical or straight-up jazz, as well.  Jon played a beautiful solo piece he wrote when he was 17, called “Waterfalls”.  Hard to believe he was 17 when he wrote it.  Then Steven played his famous “The Cello” piece, as he calls it, by Bach, that he does for 8 cellos.  I was wondering how he would manage to pull this one off as he cannot be on 8 different cellos at the same time in a live performance! He showed us with all his accessories.  I must apologise for my video.  I was trying not to disturb others, so I had my hands covering the screen and was trying to place the phone between the bars.  Not quite so successful but voilà.

They played, they teased each other, they told their story.  Then they brought out the two others.  Al has quite a nice voice and he sang, “Okay”, getting the audience to sing along.

This is the type of concert where you half expect a rather sober experience.  Or a slightly “stiff” one.  So not the case!  Julie said she thinks she laughed more with these two guys then at the “Just For Laughs” shows she went to!

You do not expect four grown men to run around a piano, plucking the strings, banging the cover against the back, three sets of hands on the keys, slapping the sides like a percussion instrument and such.  I kinda wish I had taped it for you to see..

They brought in four local bagpipers to play “Fight Song”

Did one last “run around the piano piece” and took a final bow.

We were just so happy to have had the chance to see these wonderful performers and I highly recommend that you go if they come to your neck of the woods.  It was an unforgettable experience.

Still talking about the show, we stepped outside of  PdA, into the rain.  Remember, we have twenty blocks or so to walk.  Like two kids, instead of fifty-something broads, we gleefully just started walking, chatting away, laughing at those running – dudes! don’t bother!  We got totally soaked.  It was such a warm rain we didn’t care.  A red light, a bus hut, a quick selfie and we laughed the rest of our way to our cars.  A perfect night with a wonderful friend.  Thanks, Jules!  So glad you are my partner in culture and that Michael doesn’t mind me taking you away from him now and again!