Stuffed grape leaves, and fancy cheeses. Goat cheese and fig jam on bruschetta. Green grapes. Some bubbly to toast. M and D brought the most drinkable wine. A secret in the carafe, a blind test. Carlo Rossi. No kidding. Beat out the pricey Portuguese wine. What do we know?
Dates and nuts in a chocolate South African pudding recipe, topped with whiskey whipped cream, created by his wife Janice. Happy Birthday to Peter. Live music at a party makes the evening rhyme. Marc on harmonica and Peter and Doug on guitar. Kim sang a number with the lyrics on her cell phone.
A fun surprise party. Well done, J.
So I got home from my weekend in Ohio, Sunday night with no chance to photograph the neighborhood for the weekly photo challenge as it was dark outside. Changing the clocks didn’t help me with enough light by the time I pulled in the driveway
-but in my inbox I found a message from my son Matthew who lives in Zagreb, Croatia (9 years already!)
The subject of his email: Guest blog The dilemma of what to post? SOLVED!
—————————————————————————————————————————–Dear Ma, Yesterday I spent the evening with the Kaplowitz family. My dear friend Joe Kaplowitz is pretty much the only American I know over here and he invited me over for an American-style chocolate cake. Not only is he a brilliant jazz musician but he is quite an accomplished baker to boot! His beautiful wife Lela is a marvelous singer and they recently came out with a big-band album of original compositions called With Every Breath that you can hear (and buy!) here After enjoying a generously-sized hunk of cake chased by a glass of milk, Joe, Lela, their daughter Lucija and I played a cut-throat game of Name That Tune. Lucija is also a budding musician, so as you might imagine the competition was pretty stiff. Then we headed to the parlor for a concert. Joe and Lucija, who plays the violin, teamed up for a set of traditional Croatian melodies played over some soulful blues piano. Perhaps I was witnessing the concept for the next album being born. Joe’s cake was so tasty that I plan to go back over tomorrow for another sliver. In keeping with the spirit of the blog, will get the recipe tomorrow and send it to you! Love, Matthew p.s. Here is the recipe, just in from Zagreb this morning
Laura really, really wanted a ukelele. She thought her husband was getting one for her. He gave her birthstone earrings instead!
She and James came to Mark and Erika’s today after having been at James’ family Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. We had a festive time opening presents and watching the kids play with their new toys. Preparing a nice dinner, too.
So this was one of the fun moments of Christmas for me. She wasn’t expecting her mom to get her a ukelele. But I did!
Thanks Pittsburgh Guitars on Carson Street, SouthSide!
The man who sold it to me suggested I put her face on the box on top of the model’s and I added James’ face from a photo I cut up of the two of them.
He told me he was selling at least a ukelele or two every day. This one came with a gig bag and a tuner.
It was just a good time as I sat on the floor, grabbed the camera and caught her excitement. Laura learned a couple of chords and Matthew accompanied her on the guitar. Seeing her so excited felt wonderful.
(and yes that is Cardinal Donald Wuerl, born in Pittsburgh, in the right hand corner of the television and the photograph)
Bumper stickers have been around a long time but I haven’t seen them on too many cars lately. Until I drove home from school.
Saturday night, Christopher Mark Jones accompanied by David Hart on Mandolin.Expert musicians played two sets to an appreciative audience. Their music made the house come alive.
Laura and James came in from Columbus to help host. I couldn’t have done it without them. We made a Gourd Tree on the cupcake stand my friend Joanne sent last birthday. I baked a New York Cheesecake, the kind with no crust where you start at 500 degrees then turn it down to 225 and let it bake undisturbed into the night after you turn the oven off.
L said it was the best house concert she had ever attended! Everyone seemed to be in agreement that it was a wonderful concert and lively evening. Friends and neighbors joined in singing a few choruses with the sing along portion and the house lent itself with a warm, welcoming spirit and ambience.
They left their umbrellas at the door. The threat of five days of rain with Sandy coming up the East Coast didn’t prevent anyone from coming.
It was a lovely, musical event. Thanks to Christopher and David! The candles provided a warm glow.
Shot with my iPhone after the piano recital, no camera with me tonight-
The music filled the beautiful church, St. Andrew’s in Highland Park. Pianist Linda Morgan-Ellison played Haydyn, Liszt, Schubert and Debussy Saturday evening. I can’t imagine the number of hours and weeks she had to practice the complicated pieces. She played expertly.
The concert was dedicated to the memory of her friend, Bernadette G. Callery who passed away a few months ago.
At the reception in the Parish Hall was a photo of her friend, propped up under a gorgeous bouquet of dark red roses. I was told the name of the color of roses was Black Magic. Lots of candles flickered in the window sills as some form of bubbly spirits was poured into stem glasses. There was cake, cheese and fruit to share after the recital.
We were talking afterwards and my friend V recognized the first musical piece by Haydyn as the opening and closing credits for the 6 Part BBC Mini-Series Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth.
After the concert, several members of the audience gathered around the piano to try to figure out how she was playing from the iPad.
Ahhh, there was a foot pedal to scroll to the next page of score. Her husband told me it was an app you could buy for $4.99, called forScore app. Amazing!
We met another pianist, Henry Spinelli, who will play a recital at St. Andrews on March 16th at 3 PM.
Friends of Music and the Arts at St. Andrews sponsors many free musical events throughout the year.
Young and trendy. Stylish and chic. These fancy shoes separate the youthful fashionable and the older woman’s footwear. I wore brown clogs. Quite a different look!
It was a good party. The live music made it great. The singing, the piano playing. The friends. The snow was falling as the night wore on. We’d seen a bad pileup on Bigelow Boulevard and the exit ramp due to black ice on our way to the party. Wondered if we should turn around and go home and avoid the first treacherous driving of the season.
But we were almost there so went forward with the evening’s plans-
the weather discussion goes on forever around these parts and it is usually not good
……Vanessa said she is 5’1″ and that these shoes are really comfortable. I had to ask. I was fascinated with the glamorous high heel.
I can’t even imagine. She seemed to maneuver perfectly. Vanessa and Nina sang and Luke played the piano and sang, too. He can transpose into any key. Incredibly talented young man looking at colleges now.
I had asked to blog the women and they agreed but didn’t get permission to show Luke on the blog. Nina has a website here. I’ll email and ask so it may be up with the three of them.
If you want to hear some good music in Pittsburgh this Friday night, head down to the Club Cafe on South 12th Street for the Early Show.
Christopher Mark Jones- Songwriter will be performing with the band. You might remember two of his tracks from his Heartland Variations CD were featured in the poet bio I filmed- Michael Wurster: CIty Books Session.
Christopher’s new CD Suburban 2-Step will be released in Spring 2012.
Eve Goodman will be performing with John Caldwell, too.
You can listen to some samples here and also see another photograph I shot of Christopher. Tickets are $10 at the door. Show is 7-9 PM.
Still in the COSI Progress exhibit. Last week we had a nice day trip to downtown Columbus, driving around the city to check out Laura and James wedding venue, reception and the hotel where we’ll be staying. When we went through the Columbus Science and Industry center the kids showed me their favorite room. There is a vintage soda fountain and in one corner the jukebox and the other corner a pinball machine which you can play if you have a dime.
Actual VINYL plays inside this gem of a coin-operated jukebox . Seems everything is moving to a digital file. Records, 8-tracks. cassette, CDs.
I wanted to post this picture and you may remember the floor from another post of the portrait class that meets on Monday nights. Panza Gallery (in Millvale) had a cool show called Big Love, no artwork was priced over $100. i saw the record player spnning and I had to photograph it. Fun night.
Two more weeks of class, so two more posts of South Side after my Wednesday late afternoon adventures. It was raining. Had a single slice at Sola Pizza again. Then found my way into Pittsburgh Guitars. Floor to ceiling. Acoustic, Classical, Electric, (even a bright pink one!) and the cutest GuitarLele you ever saw on the wall. The guitar bodies gleam. And of course every accessory for your instrument–metal, nylon strings, capo, picks, gig bags and cases, amps and cords and straps and music and whatever else you might need or want . Did I mention knowledgeable staff? Sam helped me. ALL musicians. You can meet the entire Pittsburgh Guitars staff on their website. Not a big box store. Personalized attention. No pressure, No rush. They know they have a good thing and isn’t it great to handle and play before you buy? Superior to internet ordering. They have a very creative website which is extensive and fun. You can go in and play the different instruments and check out the sound (please ask for assistance! on yellow tags like baby road signs) If you don’t play guitar yet, it is not too late to start!
Saturday night. Where we ended up after driving around the city, and dinner out with James (my SIL2B) and my sister Mary in from NYC to visit the family in Columbus. Mark and Erika had gone out and had a sitter so we went out, too. Cocoa and coffee, lemon poppyseed cake and finger-picking acoustic music we enjoyed so much that Mary bought 2 CD’s, one for Matthew in Croatia and one for James, who picked this spot to round out our evening together. Scottie’s Coffee and Tea House was a welcoming venue and the live music was a bonus. Shohei Toyoda played well to an appreciative crowd, lots of energy and enthusiasm and lively music. Great sound. Played some of his own compositions and they were quite good. I asked him if I could blog him during the break and he agreed.
Sitting with family
sipping a hot drink.
Listening to live music.
Makes for a satisfying
Aspinwall Beans “N” Cream was the scene last Saturday. Cool decor, lots of record album covers and posters and photos and Beatles memorabilia adorn the walls of the coffee house. Fun to watch a lava lamp in the corner. Peter added an expertly played instrumental combining three classic jig and reel tunes, complete with an occasional foot tap that made one want to get up and dance along to the beat. Peter invited harmonica player Marc Reisman to join him onstage for a few numbers and the two paired nicely. Peter will open for singer-songwriter Jeffrey Gaines, whom the Chicago Tribune calls “extraordinary and timeless,” at Club Cafe on Feb. 26 at 7 pm. Check out Peter King website and see the photos I shot for his latest CD cover. For tickets write to firstname.lastname@example.org ($13 in advance). If you live locally, Peter teaches guitar lessons privately and at Chatam University. You can contact him and sign up now to learn to play away the winter blues.