Friday, July 31, 2009

A Nashville 4th

All Images © Stuart Pearl 2009

Some front yards have simple flower beds. But this particular Nashville lawn had been taken over by a 40 person brass orchestra. That's how they celebrate the 4th in some Southern towns.

Band Leader Jay Dawson

Jeanne and I had driven to Nashville to spend the recent holiday with our youngest daughter and new husband. We were also meeting friends at a dinner theater where one of them was the star. Her name is Betty Davis - seriously. She changed it to "Davis" a couple of years ago when she married our friend G.R. Davis.

G.R. and Betty Davis

G.R. is a professional musician and man of many talents. His expertise includes the tuba, string bass and electric bass. He plays with a couple of bands and also teaches music at Vanderbilt University.

G.R. Davis - Computer programmer by day, teacher by evening, musician at night.

He had invited us to this block party which is now in its 33rd year. Pat Burton is the gracious host who volunteers her front yard and other resources for the event.

The block party is not advertised or actively promoted. In spite of that several hundred people attended, something which happens each year.

Singer Nan Gurley

Adolpho Birch - Former Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, speaking to the guests.

The first activity is the 4th of July Parade which lasts about 15 minutes. Decorated bicycles, children and their parents first march one way down the street in front of the band, make a U-turn and return a few blocks later.

Mom pointing out what happens to children who misbehave.

After the parade, residents enjoyed cold drinks from ice filled canoes as well as a large hospitality tent containing fried chicken, fruit, pastries, and other regional food.

By three that afternoon residents were returning to their homes and we started making our evening plans. G.R. and Betty have a three bedroom cabin on five acres just outside of Nashville. There is also a pasture and small barn on their property for the two horses.

That evening we grilled burgers and whipped together some homemade peach icecream. G.R. has the old fashioned hand churn for this purpose.

You first add the following to the churn: ice, rock salt, cream, several raw eggs, a bit of sugar and some frozen peaches. Then you have new son-in-law Drew vigorously crank the mechanism for a little while. The end result was delicious and unlike anything I have had in a restaurant.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Late afternoon it began raining, with a brief break for a few quick photos of the pasture and barn as the mist was rising. Thunder had spooked the horses so they weren't coming out of their shelter.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Soon after these were taken the rain restarted in earnest. Any plans of going downtown to see fireworks ended when tornado watches and warnings began scrolling across the TV. We settled for watching the the celebrations from D.C and Boston on G.R's 47" flat panel. That was very satisfying and much drier.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Globe In A Glass

"Photographs Copyright Stuart Pearl 2009"

Globe In A Glass is one of the annual WVIZ/PBS fundraisers held in Cleveland's IdeaCenter. This year's event was attended by about 400 guests on July 18.

Attendees were able to sample a hundreds of wines from around the world, a seafood bar provided by McCormick & Schmick's, as well as a variety of creative desserts from a pastry buffet.

"Chefs and Manager from the Beachwood McCormick & Schmick's"

Floral arrangements provided by Flowerville of University Heights.

Normally the WVIZ Smith studio is used for broadcast and programming functions. For the Saturday event it had been converted into a reception buffet and coffee bar.

A pastry bar was set up in the Gund Dance Studio.

You can see a short video clip of the event by going to this WVIZ link and clicking on the image.

Producer Jane Temple and Vidographer Milan Jovanovic

President/CEO Jerry Wareham, Special Events Mgr Ella Fong McCormick & Schmick's Mgr.

A silent auction was held at the fundraiser with jewelry, wine, glassware and a variety of products donated by local vendors.

While photographing the event I met a number of people from around the United States as well travellers from Europe. Events like this provide a nice addition to the variety of activities that can now be found in Cleveland's Playhouse Square district.

If you didn't have a chance to attend Globe In a Glass, you may want to consider coming to the World Series of Wine which will be held November 5-7, 2009. Check the WVIZ website for further details.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fountain Playing - Decatur, Georgia

"Celebration" by Gary Price. (Click Image to Enlarge )
All Photos Copyrighted 2009 Stuart Pearl

I do little out of town travel for my job, but enjoy taking my camera when the trips become necessary. A change of venue is always good for an active lens. Most of last week was spent in Decatur, Georgia in a training class. Evenings were spent exploring the restaurants - and taking pictures.

I'd never visited Decatur and didn't know what to expect. It's about a half hour east of Atlanta. You can't fly there directly from Cleveland. It's necessary to take one of those sardine can commuter jets into Atlanta/Hartsfield which claims to be the largest airport in the world. Based on how much we had to walk I can believe that; the terminal has it's own subway system between concourses.

Decatur is an extremely charming city. It's residents are friendly and the beer is excellent. Tree covered winding roads connect beautiful neighborhoods of old mansions, with urban areas and commercial districts thrown into the mix. It's easy for the non-resident to get lost. We proved this several times with the rental car.

The old town center is built around the Dekalb County courthouse. Late afternoon views of the classic architecture remind me of scenes from Back to the Future.

Adjacent to that is a newer pedestrian mall and shop area that features some beautiful public art and sculpture. I talked to a resident who didn't care for the newer deco look, but to my eye it offered an interesting contrast in differering shapes and textures.

Most interesting was "Celebration" by Gary Price which is featured at the top of this article. Part of this statue's inscription is dedicated to Elizabeth Wilson, who was Decatur's first African-American mayor with her election in 1983.