Saturday, November 24, 2012

"Greetings" from Miners Alley Playhouse

Mid-November and the festive holiday mood is just starting to hit me, helped along by driving through downtown Golden’s glittery trees hung with fairy lights, and anticipation of the Christmas play, “Greetings” at Miners Alley Playhouse.  It is Members’ Night, and even though I’m not a member, there were still a few seats on the side available when I booked online at the last minute.
Miners Alley is a member of the Lakewood Arts Council and offers wall space for LAC-arranged exhibits.  For a few weeks in October and November, the Ken Caryl Art Guild has contracted with the LAC to hang a Holiday themed show, and since I had two paintings hanging, that was another reason to visit the theater. 
After enjoying the artwork, we were ushered into the theater for the play by Tom Dudzick, directed by Rita Broderick.  As the lights went down, an announcement was made and the audience was introduced to four individuals who are taking over for Rick Bernstein, founder of the Morrison Theater Company that became Miners Alley Playhouse.  He is handing over the reins after 24 years, but plans to remain active with the playhouse in a smaller capacity.
The play itself is about a conservative Catholic family thrown into disarray by the arrival of the son with his Jewish but atheist fiancé.  As you can imagine, beliefs and morality are tested, with comedic and  miraculous results.  Amazing things happen within the hearts and minds of the rest of the family.  I took away from this play a message of unconditional love, a broadening of perspective and experienced a range of emotions teased out by relating to the characters, their personalities and inner battles.
Members’ Night at the playhouse gives the added advantage of the cast “talk-back” where they discuss the play and field questions from the audience. Rita Broderick, director, was all praise for this ensemble cast, none of whom (except Rick Bernstein) had performed at Miners Alley previously.  It was her intuition that chose these cast members and allowed for their natural characterizations to mesh with the other actors.  Her favorite line from the play embodied that we don’t all have to believe in the same thing, but we have to believe in something.  When Rick (who channeled a grumpy old Italian New Yorker for his character, not unlike Archie Bunker) was asked what he took away from this play he said it was that he appreciated the opportunity to learn to love. And we can all use more of that – especially during the holiday season!  “Greetings” runs through December 23rd. Tickets are available at or 303 935-3044.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

LAC Planning Meeting

Running an organization as comprehensive and orderly as the Lakewood Arts Council requires not only a large group of volunteers and paid staff, but a lot of brainstorming and planning ahead.  And that’s just what we did the morning of Saturday, November 17th at the home of Kathy Berls, artistic director for the LAC.
       Even the drive up the hill to Kathy's house was inspiring.

Incoming and current board members were invited to attend the LAC planning meeting where we discussed the Council’s budget, membership numbers, long-range plans, exhibits and events for 2013, and of course, fun fund-raising ideas.  Welcomed were new members-at-large for 2013 Gail Firmin, Christina Taylor and Katy Haas, while outgoing members Marcia Brill, June Davis and Cindy Haase will be missed.
      Did Kathy plan the meeting agenda to match the coffee cups?

2013 is a big year for the LAC – it’s our 25th anniversary.  That’s quite an accomplishment for a group that started out with just a few people intent on supporting the arts, that now has over 270 individual and group members.  A special 25th anniversary art exhibit will start out the year, parties, a picnic and other creative options will follow throughout the rest of the year to offer fun times and show appreciation to all of you who have supported this organization throughout the years.
                                                   Getting down to business.
An events calendar was presented and discussed, which included popular and successful events that have become tradition at the Community Center and Gallery, such as an evening of Soup Tasting, a Members’ Holiday Party, and Art and Music collaborations.  Some exciting new ideas have also been added to the 2013 calendar, which I’ll leave as a surprise for now, but look for these events when you receive your flyers in the mail.  Hint: Yummy food, creative ideas, engaging conversation with friends!
                                                         Marje Walsh and Gail Firmin

Fundraising is always a big concern for a non-profit agency.  Once again the summer Garden Tour and Garage Sale will get the community involved, and art supply and holiday basket sales will help bring in needed funds.  But I can’t wait to see what our council and members come up with for a fall “Country Fair”!

Discussing all this official business started stomachs growling, so when it was time to break for brunch, we all filled our plates with a sampling of pot luck dishes. There are a lot of good cooks on the LAC board, I’ve discovered.  From hash brown and sausage casserole to blueberry buckle, we enjoyed our feast.  Hmm, perhaps an LAC member recipe book might be a good fundraising item. 

  Sweet,  savory, and a mug of coffee fueled more input to allow us to wrap up the planning meeting.  With all these creative ideas and valuable help from volunteers, next year will offer exhibits, events, projects and workshops that will make the 25th Anniversary of LAC a celebration to be proud of!

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Tasteful Event

 One of the LAC’s most popular events, the annual Soup Tasting, held Thursday evening at the LAC Community Center and Gallery was once again a well-attended gathering.

It was also a feast for the senses as savory aromas drifted from the kitchen, lively jazz tunes filled the air, there was plenty of artwork for viewing and of course, delicious tasting soups warmed our bellies.

Tables were set up throughout the gallery to provide enough seating for the large crowd, and it was fun to visit with neighboring tables as guests refilled their sample mugs with the various soups.
Twelve different soups – how best to approach this?  My tactic was to try the non-cream based soups first.  Italian Wedding Soup with its lovely little meatballs, spinach and pasta, the perfectly spiced Gumbo, a vegan soup made with butternut squash, leeks, rosemary, and a vegetable broth made from boiling the leek greens.  Now that’s really made from scratch! 
 Loraine Miller’s Borscht was a beautiful red-hued mix of tang and sweet.  “A painstaking process to make”, she explained to Lynnette, who deemed it her favorite.  “You must slice the cabbage very thin, then the potatoes”.  I also identified beets, carrots – I’ll have to ask for the recipe. 

 Next came the potato soups – some with ham, or cheese, or bacon – how to decide which I liked best?  Chicken Enchilada, two types of Clam Chowder.  Oh boy, I’m getting full and there’s delicious looking cookies for dessert that I can’t possibly pass up!  Hopefully my Black Bean and Pumpkin soup was good as I didn’t even taste it.  But by the looks of the empty crock pot, I guess it was.  
As more pots emptied and tasting slowed, the fully sated guests said their goodbyes and Geoff Cleveland’s keyboard closed up.  Kathy and Jan cleaned up the kitchen and thoughts strayed to the next big event coming up – the Holiday Fine Art and Crafts Sale.  “Tis the Season!