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An Evening of Culture
Way back in October, I purchased one ticket to go see “Riopelle Symphonique” at the Théâtre Wilfrid-Laurier (the largest of the five halls) within Place des Arts and the day finally arrived for me to go a week ago, today. I had just seen “Sans Paroles Harmonium Symphonique”, with my buddy Julie, which was a symphonic interpretation of the the music of Harmonium, a Québécois group I was very into in high school. It was an enjoyable experience, so I figured why not see what the same co-creators, Serge Fiori (formerly of the said group) and Nicolas Lemieux and new guy Blair Thompson did with this one. My father had admired Jean-Paul Riopelle’s work as an artist so I knew the name, and I figured, hell, if nothing else, I’ll learn a bit about this artist and, if I don’t care for it, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is always a treat. This year is the centennial of Riopelle’s birth, ergo, the celebration.
I skipped dining downtown and went directly to the show, which started at 8:00. Some putz blocked the street I needed to go up to to park in the underground parking lot so I drove around and was lucky enough to find one on the street. Bonus! $15 saved (providing I didn’t get a parking ticket!)
I live on the South Shore of Montreal so I don’t always know what’s going on in town. I might hear of something but outta sight, outta mind, and all that. What a pleasant surprise to see a bunch of bright lights! I determine immediately that I would meander after the show and take in the sites.
Got to my nosebleeder seat…. Oy! With no zoom on my phone, this is how far I was to the stage…. hellllloooooooo down there….
The curtains opened and we had the whole MSO and two choirs (Petits Chanteurs de Laval and Choeur Temps Fort) on either side of it! I couldn’t quite understand the conductor, Adam Johnson’s outfit… It was not a classic tux and tails, It was a white tux with… um… feathers? Apparently, Riopelle was a huge fan of geese and.. yeah, I don’t get that part.
The music started and it was quite lovely, two of the three screens descended and… ah hell. All of us up in the balcony start murmuring our displeasure. It bugged me to no end that, in creating this piece, they did not take the time to come up to the balcony and see what we would see. I promise you it is the only “illegal” photo I took during the show because I was thinking of you, dear readers, and wanted to show you what I saw. Oh, and thankfully, that fat head to the left sat a little lower later on…
Those damn spotlights.
I know, I know, get over it. But still.
How much more enjoyable it would have been to see the above, eh? It took us a while to resign ourselves to not seeing the art properly and just enjoy the music. I did. Mostly. This was like a play in five acts, with the disembodied voice of the artist, through various interviews joining two sections. You could hear him drawing on his ever-present smoke as he spoke.
He was a “stream of conscious” painter. He worked on one piece from beginning to end in one session. No touching up, no coming back to do anything whatsoever the next day. And he could not stand to be watched while painting either.
“Dans l’exécution, je n’ai pas de temps à perdre à chercher. Il faut que ça marche tout de suite. Je n’aime pas faire le spectacle. S’il y a un spectateur, il y a une distraction. Je ne pourrais pas le supporter.”
My translation: In the execution, I don’t have time to waste searching. It has to work right away. I don’t like to perform. If there is a spectator, there is a distraction. I could never stand it.
I had to laugh at one point when we heard him explain that he was an EXpressionist and not an IMpressionist (having a complete disdain for the genre) “..as they are liars. Unlike them, I paint what I see…” Nkay…
He was an interesting artist and extremely successful in his lifetime – way back in the 60’s paintings could go for anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 and more.
He also got into sculpture. I’m not a fan but hey, art and subjectivity and all that 🙂
I am happy I went to see this, though in all honesty, I am not sophisticated enough to appreciate the joining of the music with the art. The music changed for each of the five sections to purportedly match the different eras of his art, but, to me, it didn’t feel quite so. I read a few reviews after the day after, and it appears I was not alone. One said, and I paraphrase : “The music could have been for anything, including a biopic of Maurice Richard (hockey player) or some historical saga. The music, while competent enough, does not detract from the lovely visual, but that it would not be the reason to see the show, nor buy the soundrack.” Maybe I am not as unsophisticated as I thought?
I made my way down the crowded staircase and finally out the door for some welcome fresh air. There was much gaiety all around. I discovered that it was “Montréal en lumières” or Montreal in Lights. Quite the fête, let me tell you. It was still going strong at 9:30 p.m. on a Thursday night. And since I’ve already taken up way too much of your time, I shall just leave you with a few pics 🙂
And a short video. There was dancing and skating, too (I didn’t go up to the rink…)
On my way home, I passed in front of this sculpture. The traffic light serendipitously turned red, so I opened my passenger window, leaned over and… click! (I had never seen it lit up, couldn’t pass up the chance, eh?)
Nimble to Zen
Fingers laced through the handle of my coffee cup
warming my hands
I gaze out through my patio door
It’s a colourless February day
Yesterday’s rain and wind have melted the piles of snow
But I know, winter is far from over.
I look up and see a squirrel scamper nimbly without a care
along the wires that criss-cross my backyard
From there he jumps onto an outstretched tree limb
runs along it then up and around the trunk, making
his journey all the more interesting
as no other beastie, two-legged or four
is chasing him and I see him no more
Was it that long ago that I was so intrepid?
Without a thought I would climb
to the top of the monkey bars
and stand on the summit, arms outstretched
fearless, though heart thumping
(there is no proof as no way would
mom or dad have approved)
There is not enough money in the world to get me to do that again.
Just last September, I gingerly made my way to my roof
stepped onto the rusty little table, then up onto the fence
(around my propane tank)
holding on for dear life to the house roof
as I hauled myself up onto the garage roof (lower)
I stood up, legs wobbly, heart pounding
but feeling exhilarated
(No matter that I have watched my son
hop, step and jump his way up with nary a care
I am not so feeble that I daren’t try
And how it was worth it!
I may not be as nimble; I may not be as quick
but that’s okay because I still do things
that make my heart quicken and me feel alive
I have also learnt that it is quite okay
to step back, centre, stretch, meditate
and find my Zen
Even the squirrels find the time
A Little Something for Sheree
*Wow, just realised this is my 1200th post!
Yesterday afternoon I went for a nice two-hour walk, camera looped around my neck (no camera bag, so no zoom lens, as my back was barking), hoping to find something for today’s Wordless Wednesday, over on Sorryless. Of COURSE, there was more than one occasion where I would have liked to have my zoom. Live with our choices, I say. So what if I couldn’t get a nice closeup of this tree filled with robins and one blackbird who was lording it up top, and that I had to manipulate the hell out of to help you see their red bellies?
The forecast was for partial sun and lemme tell you, it was partial a’ight (or ayt, as my kids write it). I walked around the corner towards my usual park (which feels like an eon since I last walked to it) it started to lightly snow. By the time I turned to the next street, snowfall had become nil. But the sun was a tease. Or maybe it was the clouds that were just too damn possessive and wanted to keep the rays all to themselves?
The clouds did open their jaws for a brief moment…showing some blue
Allowing a small area to light up for a short period of time…
Oh no, wait. Not that light! This one.
And the one that made trees cast shadows, added sparkle to pine needles, and pop to playgrounds.
It got me to thinking man, oh man, where is the golden hour from last week. LAST WEEK! Oh! How could I forget? I promised Sheree, from View From the Back, the church bells! After last week’s Wordless Wednesday on Sorryless, she said how much she enjoyed church bells and I promised her some…
I had shared some images without including the Sainte Anne de Varennes Minor Basilica, so why not share them now, right?
The video is a tad long but hey, I was in the moment and the light was so beautiful and the wind crisp and when the second person was headed into the video, I stopped. Plus, they were dying down.
Hope you enjoy, Sheree!
When You’re Feeling Beyond “Meh”…
Even though the temps were ridiculously warm on this November 5th, 2022 – I mean, c’mon! When was the last time it was 25℃ on this date? (I always use the “feels like” rather than the posted – it was officially 23℃ but, whatever.) My goodness. I googled it and it happened – never! Yesterday’s temps broke the previous record. It was still 23℃ (yeah, yeah, yeah 21℃) at 5:30 pm, for goodness sakes! And yet, I still needed to almost physically kick my butt out of the house. Mind you, I DID go run for the first time in five weeks in the morning so it’s not like i had completely wasted the day!
I knew I wasn’t going to be productive in the house so, further to a loving nudge, I picked up my camera bag, filled my water bottle and out the door I went. I hadn’t been to Michel Chartrand Park this year and, even though I knew it would be very “peoplely”, I went anyway. Maybe there was still something to see and I could get out of these annoying doldrums.
The light was beautiful. As for the colours, they were a mixture of pale yellows, beiges, browns with pops of bright here and there. The muted beauty of November.
“The thinnest yellow light of November is more warming and exhilarating than any wine they tell of. The mite which November contributes becomes equal in value to the bounty of July.”
~Henry David Thoreau
My mood was steadily lifting as I made my way to a special section of the park (where I brought my mom and a friend at two different occasions) knowing that I would find me some chickadees. What I found was a noisy young family that followed me from one section to the other, annoying me to no end. I finally sat down on the bench and waited for them to leave. It wasn’t too long, thankfully.
The chickadees, who had been invisible up to this point, sang their chickadee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee announcing their arrival. It was the first time I had one land on my hand and just hang out, looking straight at me, then cocking its head from one side to the other, inquisitively. Was very cool.
Another family came by with three little kids. They watched in awe as the birds came and left from my hand. I asked them if they wanted to try, getting a nod from Mom, first. I put a little pile of nuts in each tiny hand. I told them they had to be really still, otherwise the birds would not come. The youngest one was a little, shall we say, in the way, and scared off any chickadee brave enough to think about coming close.
The parents pulled him a little away and the older two patiently waited. I asked the mom if I could take pictures and she acquiesced. Just look at that face!
Her brother was just as thrilled but he was behind his sister and turned his face and I couldn’t really capture it 🙂 The parents thanked me for sharing nuts and the experience and I left feeling a helluva lot lighter.
Which way to go next? All the cool inside trails were closed because of the danger of falling dead trees so I was obligated to go along the regular road-like paths with all the other peoples. This main path goes around the outside, making a full square. Still, I held hope that some of the inner trails would be open and maybe I could spot a deer. Nope.
I walked along, looking for colour, for something, clicking here and there: people walking, berries that popped, leaves still hanging on. and minding my own business, if you will. However, I started hearing this insistent chirp. I looked up and this nuthatch was basically giving me hell. Or begging. Maybe both!
I continued towards my car, still thrilled that I was walking, dressed in shorts, on November 5th, and it was nearing five o’clock! Crazy. Snapped a few more photos and will leave you with these last ones. I love how the little bit of colour really popped.
Thanks for hanging out with me. Hope I didn’t keep you too long!
Walktober 2022 – Parc de la Freyère
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?”
― Anne of Green Gables
Taking the time to write has been most difficult. Taking the time to go out for a walk has been nary impossible. I exaggerate, of course, because we can always choose how to spend our time outside of work. It’s been a tiring time so the want was there but the energy was not.
And finally! Weather, time and energy were all in cahoots this past Tuesday (October 18th) giving me a week to put this together and link up to Robin’s annual Walktober fun. I have a weird schedule where one day I work 9-5:30 and the other 6:15-2:45. Tuesday was the early day and the weather was ridiculously perfect. I stopped off at home, did a few things, changed my clothes, grabbed my camera and off I went. Where would the colours still be beautiful? It had been a very long time since I went to the Parc de la Freyère, and even though I did go there for part of my 2018 walk, it was worth a return. I cannot see anyone complaining. Right? Right. I was out from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. and managed to take about 500 photos, give or take. While I joked that it was impossible to take a bad picture, I took more than a few that were immediately chucked as I uploaded.
“October had tremendous possibility. The summer’s oppressive heat was a distant memory, and the golden leaves promised a world full of beautiful adventures. They made me believe in miracles.”
On my way to the park, I had to stop and capture the three trees below. Could they more represent?
I decided to park on a side street, giving me the option to walk along Marie-Victorin Blvd which follows the St. Lawrence River through at least four towns – probably more but I’d have to check. That means walking by these gorgeous mansions with view spectacular.
As far as boulevards go, this one is rather intimate, shall we say…
Entering the park, I feared, Are the colours already over?
No, but we are definitely at the tail end, I should think.
I had to walk down this pier to see just what was frolicking in the water. Don’t those clouds look like a distant mountain range?
Herons and egrets and ducks and seagulls, oh my!
And a autumn walk would not be complete without some sumac – the first, along with vines – to show off their colours
“What the light looks like in the pear trees, in October, is a hundred teardrops of gold, the whole orchard weeping.”
― The Art Lover
There may be no pear trees here, but the light was just so beautiful.
I was not alone to take advantage of this autumnal perfection. This gentleman was flying his drone, surely taking breathtaking pictures, himself. Was a tad annoying when it flew above me like an oversized mosquito, though. (Hey, maybe he captured me capturing him!)
I had to include these for you, Crispina 😉
At this point, I figured I’d stick around and await the sunset, which was scheduled for 6:04. I continued walking around clicking away because it was all just so gorgeous. No editing is necessary because the light is just perfect!
The sun was starting to make its descent and the air chilled rather quickly. I did curse those clouds that were going to hide most of the sunset!
The sky was so soft (another for you, Crispina! 😉 )
I’m enjoying the quiet when I hear in the distance “Midnight Train to Georgia”. I film it, not knowing where it comes from (apologies – I thought I was going slow!) because for some strange reason, it just fits!
It’s starting to get rather cold so I decided to head back, but not before capturing this little seagull making his v-pattern.
The herons drying their wings and the egrets just relaxing caught my eye.
Suddenly the egrets took flight and were circling, trying to decide where to spend the night. Something was disturbing them so they would turn around and look again. It was getting harder and harder to focus and capture them.
As I also circled towards to road and my car, I watched them – all eight! – land in the trees and try to settle. My camera is not equipped for such low light and I had no tripod but I did manage to rest on a the bridge rail and sort of get a half-assed decent shot. Only by manipulating the photo can you see I managed to get 7 out of 8 in the shot. I, for one, am pretty pleased.
I declared myself done but as I got to the other side of that little pond, I figured, I’d try once more, this time leaning on a guard rail. And again, only by manipulating the photo can you see I got all eight. Joy!
I think I have more than abused your time for this year’s Walktober. I hope you enjoyed my walk as much as I did sharing it.
Weekend Writing Prompt #265 – Brevity
A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend. How you use the prompt is up to you. Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like. Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise. If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments. Gotta love Sammi’s giving us so few words for such a word! I half-expected her to be more ironic than literal 😉
Trim the fluff
keep the necessary
some writers feel, is
WWP #264 – Picturesque
A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend. How you use the prompt is up to you. Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like. Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise. If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments. As a photographer, how could I resist this prompt? Thank you, Sammi, for hosting this weekly shindig!
Stop! Lemme get my camera!
You are such a pain in the ass with wanting to capture every last thing. Every picturesque scene, every little moment. Why don’t you just enjoy life?
Picturesque. Like it’s a dirty word. It’s my art. And I take people, too, smartass. You’ll thank me one day. You’ll see.
Soul Swell, Frolicking Fée, Marvellous Moon
I have so many plans. Too bad I’m a lazy bum! Was gonna write my WWP Saturday, then yesterday… but then the whole Blood Flower Moon Eclipse thing… But first, let’s go back…
Thursday evening was girls’ night. A way long overdue girls’ night. Okay, even if we had had one a couple months ago, I’d still feel it was overdue! Our usual trio of Julie, Giselle and me was upped by one with Linda. A very happy case of perfect timing. As the weather was particularly clement (a good 27℃ (81℉)) at suppertime, we sat outside of La Louisiane, a Montreal Cajun-Creole eatery that we have frequented a number of times and which I suggested for our evening. Ah man. It wouldn’t matter where we eat because it’s all about the company but good food just adds to it, right? Plus, Linda had never been so we got to introduce her to the joint. Linda and I arrived first and ordered drinks while we waited for the other two… which didn’t take long.
While we decided what to eat, we decided on a few appetizers: hushpuppies, sweet potato fries and grilled corn bread. Yeah.. um… Good stuff to absorb alcohol, right?
We then went for another round, this time with Cajun chicken wings, Gumbo – so more cornbread, beet and arugula salad, coconut beer battered shrimp. Delicious. All of it.
Giselle was ready for sweets so she indulged in a chocolate pecan torte (which we all took a bit of). However, we (Linda) felt we were still not done with the savoury and we ended up ordering some fried clams and crab cakes.
Lots of love, laughter and feel-good vibes were felt and must be repeated soon… Right, ladies?
Saturday morning I was supposed to run but the pool was in the shade and I thought that would be the best time to vacuum all the crap without me being cooked in the sun in the process. And, after I had done half, my sister Tracy called saying she was going to the barn for just an hour or so to see Fée (pronounced Fay) and would I like to join. She couldn’t ride her as she’d (Fée) had her vaccine so that’s why the visit would be shorter than usual. Um. Yeah! Plus, I promised Gigi from Rethinking Life that I would finally show her pictures of Fée.
Lemme tell you, I was rather glad it was to be a short visit. It was hotter than Hades out there – 32℃ (90℉) to be standing around in the blazing sun.
Tracy went to get Fée to bring her into the little ring. “She’s going to roll around in it.” “Really?” “Yep.” And she did. She ran around, going back and forth and then lay down and rolled. Up again and then rolled again. It was quite the sight to see!
As mentioned in the intro, this post was late because I was going to attempt to capture the Full Blood Flower Moon and Eclipse. And failed miserably. I even went up onto my roof but my tripod is tired and my butt got wet and then the clouds came just when I capture a sliver of it… and not all that well, either.
I did have fun with my phone before, begging the clouds to please be nice and disperse, which they did, before completely taking over.
And the best of the worst with my camera.
Oh well, maybe next time! If you really want to see some beautiful shots, check out Tim’s blog at Off Center & Not Even. Outstanding, I say!