Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Manuscript of Curious George Saved During WWII

The manuscript of Curious George was placed on the back of a bicycle while Margaret  and Hans Rey escaped  before Nazis invaded.  They were both German Jews who wanted to create art in the inspirational city of Paris.  But they feared for their lives as they constructed two handmade bicycles while German planes flew overhead.  They journeyed to Spain, Portugal and Rio.  The couple sailed to America and saw the Statue of Liberty, representing freedom.   After one week of being in Greenwich Village their talent was discovered and the beloved Curious George became a household name.   Curious George appeared in 1941.

Hans Reyersback was born  in Hamburg Germany in 1889.  He later changed his name to Rey.  He loved going to the Hagenbeck Zoo where he drew animals.   He later painted circus posters to make a living.  His original drawings of Curious George were in watercolor.

Margaret Walstien was born in 1906 in the same city and they knew each other briefly.  She studied art at the famous Bauhaus School.    She left to become a photographer in London.  They met as adults and eventually became married.  They started an advertising agency in Rio de Janeiro.  They later moved to Paris where the idea of George was created.

"In June 1940, on a rainy morning before dawn, a few hours before the Nazis, entered we left Paris on bicyles, with nothing but warm coats and our manuscripts, Curious George among them...tied to baggage racks, and started pedaling south.  We finally made it to Lisbon, by train, having sold our bicyles to customs officials at the French Spanish border."  Margret tells in her own words.

The couple didn't have children of their own so they enjoyed knowing so many children enjoyed their stories.   H. A. drew the pictures and Margret wrote the words.  They were devoted to each other throughout their lives.

Their inspirations for stories came from every day experiences in life.  But knowing  the character of Curious George was saved on the back of a homemade bicycle make the books even more precious.

 Even though George gets into trouble because he's curious,  he ends up helping people.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Dallas Blooms at the Arboretum

Dallas Blooms feature the largest floral display of tulips, daffodils, Dutch Iris, pansies, violas, poppies, hyacinths and other spring blooming annuals between February 25 though April 9,2017.

 As you walk into the gate it feels spring blasts your soul with vibrant colors of red, orange and yellow primary colors.  Dallas Blooms is named one of south's best botanical gardens by Southern Living Magazine.  Each weekend during Dallas Blooms a different 1960's theme will contain headlines from TV, fads, music and fashion.  Henna tattoos are part of the festival.
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden's horticultural staff planted 500,000 spring blooming bulbs throughout the 66 acre garden to prepare for this amazing event.  It takes 11,000 hours of labor and weeks of work to prepare the beds of floral display.
There are 3,000 azaleas that bloom in colors of pink, red and purple.  There are many places to sit and relax in the beauty of spring.
Enter the Lay Family Garden to a grotto and waterfall, designed by Dallas Landscape architect Warren Johnson.
The warm winters have provided extra color with a six week display of winter annuals with a combo of spring Cherry Blossom Trees blooming early.
It's fun to watch the bees zip the nectar of so many blooms.  The honey will be extra sweet this year.  

Purple Wisteria adorns the top of waterfalls with large fragrant blossoms. 

Splashes of water pours down in waves of refreshing movement.

Nature Yellow pansies bloom with gold edges tulips to the entrance of the DeGolyer House.   Crates filled with bulbs of tulips were shipped from Holland to complete the orange and red display of color.  The bulbs were planted in December so they have time to grow and bloom in the spring.  
Join historians for Historical Chats in the DeGoyler House on Thursdays at 11a.m. to listen to stories about history and happenings in the area surrounding the garden in the 1960's.  Guests can also view 1960's fashion from 10 to 5p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Tulips come in so many varieties and shapes of petals.

Fountains rise splashes of joy to say spring is here at the Coke House.

The home provides a place for weddings and special occasions.
Hula Hoop contests are held on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn on Saturdays from 10 to 12 a.m.  

Vibrations of a Nation called Peace Love Freedom Fest happens March 25 to 25 from 9 to 5 pm.  Many concerts happen in the gardens as a celebrations of life.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Short Films at SXSWFilm Festival Thrilling Entertainment by Sandra Kent

If  you want to be thrilled and entertained go to a film festival and watch short films.  Shorts different categories are; documentary, narrative, animation and experimental.  They are usually eleven minutes long and pack in a narrative with power by the force of a story.  I am overwhelmed by the amount of talent seen.  The filmmakers were chosen by a sea of five thousand submissions.  Length can be a tricky issue when it comes to short films. Some narrative shorts have been as long as forty minutes and as little as fifteen seconds.  The filmmaker  only has so much time to tell their story so they do it with passion.

Most of the films I saw had a conflict that needed to be resolved.  In the Shorts Film , "The Mutt," the conflict was confronting a family member about their addiction to alcohol without offending them.  The film starts with the sister trying to help in her usual way but what got the alcoholics attention is when she said, "I'm not coming back."  His eyes revealed fear and abandonment as if to say I can't do this alone.

A short film's character usually has a choice to make.  For example in the film, "Submarine,"by director Mounia Aki,  Hala had to decide whether she was going to leave the town she loved in Lebanon.  She clinged to what remained of her home after garbage was piled so high it looked like a wall of waste.  Yet she had relationships in the town that made her want to stay.  The window in her home fell down but she didn't give up, she looked for a new one.

Single moments are played out in a short story., but they usually have a ticking clock.  In the story about a shooter at a school the secretary had to talk him out of it.  She acknowledged his pain and treated him as a human being.  The actress who played the office worker was so believable, I cried when she cried because it was over.  I wanted to take her photograph to remember her performance. The writer took the story from a 911 phone call.  A short story should have a hero with a goal or obstacle/antagonist in the way.  The office worker was truly a hero in a real life situation.
Special Jury recognition for acting went to Tarra Riggs in DeKalb Elementary Short Narrative Film.

Documentary Short films also tell a story.  In the Documentary Short film, The Watchmaker, by director Marie Cecile, the story was a portrait of a Persian watchmaker who weaved his philosophy of life as he repaired watches.  Marie Cecile had to gain his trust as she filmed in his home to gain a sense of who he was.

The story of Nidal, was compelling about a fourteen year old dealing with the effects of conflict.  Nidal is one of 4.8 million Syrian refuges who have been displaced by war. Tarek Turkey, the director, did a masterful job of interviewing family members who were trying to survive after an attach killed all of the male members. The women had to gather together to pick crops for a dollar an hour so they had food to eat.

 In the Documentary Short Film, "The Collection," by Adom Roffman, he located two friends from a newspaper article in Omaho, Nebraska.  The two friends stumbled upon 40,000 Printer Blocks used to make newspaper advertisements for movies.  The practice was stopped in 1980 so the collection became very valuable,worth more than a million dollars.   I loved how the artistic creations of movie advertisements were weaved into the story.  Many would have been forgotten without the discovery.  There are so many creative people that go unrecognized.

The winner of the shorts documentary division went to, "Little Potato" Director,  Wes Hurley's autobiographical tale of growing up in Soviet Union Russia. Nathan M. Miller, Cinematographer and Director filmed interesting interviews of Wes's mom who was a mail order bride to a man living in Seattle.  They wanted to find a better life for themselves.  Wes and his mother discuss their love for American film.  It was a driving force on their journey.

In the Documentary Short Film, "Perfectly Normal," Jordan is a middle aged  man with Asperger's Syndrome who lives in Los Angeles.  He has found a stable job with routine which makes him feel comfortable.   But he reveals his inner feelings as he eats in the workroom, sometimes alone.   love the filming of his relationship with Toni as they go on adventures together.  They seem to both need each other.

So if you go to a film festival don't forget the Shorts Division.  They are the heart of the film industry where creativity is revealed.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Tradition of Giving Flowers

My mom went to be in heaven recently.   I so appreciated all of the beautiful flowers given in her honor.  I wondered when the tradition started.  No custom helps in communicating human emotions than a bouquet of flowers.   The Lily is the flower most commonly used for funeral services because they symbolize the innocence that has been restored to the soul of the departed.  The white lily expresses majesty and purity.

Archaeologists have found proof that this custom of giving flowers  dates back in ancient times.  Flowers have been discovered in ancient ruins from Rome,
Egypt, Greece and China.  Legends and folklore also reflect the custom.
The tradition of giving flowers passed on to the Middle Ages.  Turkey decided to give meaning to different flowers and was passed on to France and England.  Pink flowers signify love, grace, appreciation and gentility.   Pink was my mom's favorite color.

The Victorians didn't express their feelings openly, so giving flowers was a way to communicate feelings without a lot of words.
Red roses convey respect, love, and courage.
A single rose expresses enduring love for the deceased.
Tulips and daffodils are a symbol of renewal and fresh starts.  They are believed to bring encouragment and hope to a person who is grieving or unhappy.  

Purple tulips represent royalty.
In 1014 C. Austin Miles wrote the famous funeral hymn "In the Garden."
I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses.
An He walks with me and he talks with me
An he tells me I am his own.....
Flowers are a visual expression of love, sympathy, and respect.  

Since my mom loved pink I decided to plant pink geraniums.  They are native to southern Africa, but some species originated in New Zealand, Australia, and the Middle East.  The leaves release a lemon or citronella scent which repels mosquitoes.  

I  wanted it to look like spring so I planted pink flowers all over the patio.  My sons put together the fountain for a  peaceful sound.