Posted in Culture, Events, flashback, Music, Quotes

The Importance of Play: A Mysterious Lion Captivates

As we grow older, our playgrounds change – where do you go to play?

Shelley @ Quaint Revival
Created a word cloud with Background Image from Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

Hello there! Hope you are all well and safe!

Shelley’s quote peaked my interest today. How often do we neglect this area of our lives dismissing play as being infantile and frivolous? Throughout history, many influential people asserted the importance of play.

  • Albert Einstein: “Play is the highest form of research.”
  • Mr. Rogers: Play gives children a chance to practice what they’re learning.”
  • Johan Huizinga: “Culture arises and unfolds in and as play.”
  • Abraham Maslow: “Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.”
  • Roger von Oech: Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father.

Play relieves stress by releasing feel-good endorphins. It improves connections with your relationships which can help ward off depression. Play helps increase vitality and helps replace negative beliefs and behaviors. For adults it can be something small like flirting with your partner, joking with your coworkers, or enjoying spontaneity with your relatives.

A Young Adult’s Playground

There are patterns which emerge in one’s life, circling and returning anew, an endless variation of a theme.

Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel’s Chosen

A few days ago, I received a gift in the mail. As I unwrapped the box, I was stunned by the beauty of “Mysterious Lion”, a wooden Unidragon puzzle. I found out my thoughtful siblings mailed it to me as a surprise for my birthday. Mom called the night before and laughed when I told her I received a “toy”.

My eyes got watery. Unintentionally, the gift was rather meaningful and symbolic for me. VJ invited her readers to think about circling this week. For me, the invitation to play again was coming back full circle. I remembered the joy I felt to complete a puzzle as a child. Even though it’s been a while since I physically completed one, I was always attracted to things resembling a puzzle. Circling around the idea of solving a mystery.

My heart swelled a bit when my Facebook wall was flooded with lovely messages from local friends. It’s a strange sight to behold since I’m typically not active there. Since the quarantine however, all sorts of groups popped up to hang out. I had trouble choosing a non-profit to invite donations this year. So, I created a short video featuring non-profits that help the local community to drum up support.

Google Arts and Culture partnered with more than 2000 museums all around the world. I virtually explored some of these spaces and their exhibits. In the evening, I watched Verdi’s opera, Un Ballo de Maschera, a free nightly streaming at the Metropolitan Opera.

I had a very small gathering to celebrate in my cozy home. My roommates created a tasty meal of BBQ ribs, asparagus, mashed potatoes, ambrosia salad, chocolate cake with coconut-pecan icing. My boyfriend helped me build a desk as we enjoyed chatting with one another. My friend gave me hilarious t-shirts, Hawaiian floral hair clips, makeup which I’ll probably feature soon on Instagram.

Creating this banner made me feel pretty happy and features my bright personality. 😉 Sometimes it’s the little things that can bring a smile to your face. 😊

Posted in Culture, Dance, Events, flashback, Music, poetry, Quotes

A-to-Z Challenge: Madrigal

It’s a wonderful time when you sit down around the table for dinner and discuss life. No matter where you are, it gives the semblance of normalcy to my crazy world.

Melina Kanakaredes

I have been blessed to have experienced a madrigal dinner twice in my life. The first time was in high school. It was a beautiful night. I created a burnt orange Renaissance gown for myself to prepare for the occasion. It was a marvelous sight to see my high school English teacher dub me lady as she took a Styrofoam sword and tapped me on either side of my shoulders. We drank wassail and clinked our glasses as we wished each other a great year ahead. The warm cider tasted wonderful as we chatted with one another about our plans after graduation.

Photo Credit: Tiny New York Kitchen

The second time was during college when I quietly served as a waitress during my college’s annual madrigal dinner in the ballroom. Various directors have primed the students for various roles throughout this interactive dinner. As I helped out in the background, I enjoyed the student thespians dancing between the tables, listening to the choir’s melodies, cheering on the fencing entertainment, and embracing the poetry that was recited.

The Texas Union Ballroom was transformed into a medieval world where magic and dragons exist for the 33rd annual Madrigal Dinner. Joanna Lyles gives us a glimpse into one of UT’s oldest traditions.

What is a Madrigal?

Source: Translation Directory

“A madrigal is a type of secular vocal music composition, written during the Renaissance and early Baroque eras. Throughout most of its history it was polyphonic and unaccompanied by instruments, with the number of voices varying from two to eight, but most frequently three to six.

Elizabethan musicians
Image Credit: Hank Whittemore’s Shakespeare Blog

The earliest examples of the genre date from Italy in the 1520s, and while the center of madrigal production remained in Italy, madrigals were also written in England and Germany, especially late in the 16th and early in the 17th centuries. Unlike many strophic forms of the time, most madrigals are through-composed, with music being written to best express the sentiment of each line of a poetic text.

The madrigal originated in part from the frottola, in part from the resurgence in interest in vernacular Italian poetry, and also from the influence of the French chanson and polyphonic style of the motet as written by the Franco-Flemish composers who had naturalized in Italy during the period. A frottola generally would consist of music set to stanzas of text, while madrigals were through-composed.

However, some of the same poems were used for both frottola and madrigals. The poetry of Petrarch in particular shows up in a wide variety of genres. The madrigal is related mostly by name alone to the Italian trecento madrigal of the late 13th and 14th centuries.

The madrigal was the most important secular form of music of its time. It reached its fullest development in the second half of the 16th century, losing its importance in the early 17th century, when forms such as the solo song became more popular. After the 1630s it merged with the cantata and the dialogue, and the solo madrigal was replaced by the aria because of the rise of opera as an important genre.”

Johnston High School, Johnston, Iowa. 22nd Annual Madrigal Dinner, December 13, 2001.

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  • FOWC with Fandango: prime
Posted in Culture, Dance, flashback, Music

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 4

Many people enjoy going to the opera during their leisure time. Though an acquired taste, costumes and overall story is enjoyable! I visited my first opera when the weather was balmy. I still remember my dress swaying in the breeze.

Conflicted because it’s an incredibly beautiful opera, yet reminds me of an individual who always made me feel beneath him figuratively speaking. *sigh* He can go ahead and have the top bunk anyway! See if I care! Okay, I’m off my soap box now… Learned a lot from the experience. Time to move on! 🙂

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

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