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Broken Wings: The Ballet Inspired by Frida Kahlo

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My admiration for Frida Kahlo began when I was 18. My mom took me to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit. At the time, I had not the faintest idea of who Frida Kahlo was. However, I instantly became enamored by her artwork and life story. As the years progressed, Kahlo’s popularity has grown. Now, it seems that Kahlo’s image is emblazoned everywhere. Her image can be seen in just about every medium--from t-shirts, puzzles, magnets, dolls, and, now, dance.

The English National Ballet premiered the performance of Broken Wings on Wednesday, April 22 and will premier different performances every Wednesday. Broken Wings depicts pivotal moments in Frida Kahlo’s life and was choreographed by Colombian-Belgian artist Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. The ballet provides viewers with a colorful and vivid performance.

The ballet begins with the tragic bus accident that greatly impacted the rest of Frida Kahlo’s life. Frida’s recovery from the bus accident was marked by periods o…

Personal Historian

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The year has certainly been one for the history books and one which you can help write the history of, even if just for your family members to recall what life was like living through a pandemic, murder hornets, wildfires, and the fight for civil justice. As a new school year begins, stretching our year of uncertainty into a third season, keep in mind that it is not too late to stop and assemble a personal or family recollection of this time in history. Many of us have taken plenty of photos, posted to social media, sent texts and emails, or even written short passages in journals about the pandemic experience, as well as our reaction to the myriad of other events that have taken place, from derechos to hurricanes to protests. Locally, we have even seen some more minor, but unusual events as well, from snow squalls in May to the recent earthquake that shook central New Jersey. These mementoes and memories can be saved in various ways as a reference for future generations to explor…

Looking for a New Fur-ever Friend

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Since I’ve been a little girl, I’ve always grown up with dogs. We’ve had small dogs, big dogs, goofy dogs, lovable dogs. The list goes on and on. Having dog as a companion is nothing like any relationship you can have with another individual. As I got older, moved out of my parents’ house, and eventually got married, I was ready to have my own dog. So one bright morning a couple months after we got married, my husband and I brought home a small little fluff ball we named Libby.


She became our world. Libby was always there to listen. She was there when I was home alone, so I would feel safe. Libby was my 12 pound security system. She would snuggle with me when I might have had a bad day and protected me through two pregnancies. She later became a part of my children’s lives. Then last fall she became ill, and by Halloween we had to say goodbye. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. We are slowly approaching a year without her and I still feel her a…

Sanford Meisner On Acting

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Sanford Meisner On Acting Vintage Original, August 1987
792 in the Dewey Decimal System will get you to a stack of titles that may look a little unusual or specialized. Stage Presentations. Lots of thin paperbacks maybe twenty, thirty years old. Has arts education has been cast into the shadows by other fields that promise earning power, marketability, and “staying power” (STEM-- Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, for starters)? Actually, film and (cable) television have never been more eagerly consumed, here in the 21st century. Theater, if not as “sexy” as it once was, when there was less competition for attention, is still held in great esteem by performers and devotees as a noble and rich terrain for the true measurement of talent.

Wandering these stacks, I picked up Sanford Meisner’s On Acting because the cover drawing is of the author in a dated overcoat with a raised faux fur collar. He is balding and wearing heavy plastic-frame glasses that are very much of a c…

Molokai

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For many years, I have shelved and pulled for hold requests the book Moloka’i by Alan Brennert. I often thought about reading it, but then other titles would come up that I was excited about and it was always put on the back burner. With its sequel just released, Daughter of Moloka’i, my interest was again piqued and I checked it out. Perfect timing, as it turns out - I was able to read it during New Jersey’s stay-at-home order.

In 1999, I visited Hawaii for the second time. I went to the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, and Molokai. I did a lot of hiking (about 50 miles worth) and saw a lot of sights. One of the best parts of the trip, however, was touring Kalaupapa Peninsula on Molokai – where Hawaii had sent people who were diagnosed with leprosy, now referred to as Hansen’s disease. Between 1866 and 1969, about 8,000 people had been taken to live there. Little was known of the causes of leprosy and it was believed to be highly contagious. There was no cure. The stigma of having leprosy …

I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Grief

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Grief. It’s a subject that many of us don’t like to talk about. It can make us feel uncomfortable, angry, depressed, or just plain sad. Why shouldn’t we avoid thinking about grief unless it is absolutely necessary? Why read about it or discuss it unless there is no way around it?

Our discomfort with grief leads many of us to say things like “It’s time for you to move on.” “This isn’t healthy.” “It’s been long enough already.” “When are you going to get over this?” Often, we kick ourselves for not resolving our feelings of loss quickly enough.

I was living and working in New York on 9/11. Every year, as that date approaches, I find a sense of sadness welling up inside me. Then it slowly lessens as the month moves on. Even nineteen years later, random memories or simple conversations can suddenly bring up a well of tears that literally leaves me unable to speak. The haunting, palpable sense of pain and loss was like a cloud that had settled on the city, with no plans to depart…

Learning Through Play

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As the new school year approaches - in whatever format it may take - I can't help but think about September 2019 when my nephew started Kindergarten. During Back to School Night, his teacher announced that the children would be expected to learn 90 sight words by the end of Kindergarten. Throughout the year, he struggled with various aspects of school; who could have guessed that the toddler that refused to speak would be such a chatty 5 year old! By March he had settled down and was doing really well. Then life changed for everyone. Like most parents, my sister-in-law turned into a full time teacher to a Pre-schooler and Kindergartener, in addition to everything else that she does. Trying to teach those sight words became a bit of a trial. We brainstormed a ways to make reinforcing them fun. Here are a few ideas that may help make learning letters, numbers, shapes, and sight words a little more playful: Use play dough or shaving cream to make letters, numbers, or even spell out si…

Books to Get You Thinking

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For over fifty years, the Booker Prize has been awarded annually for outstanding literary works of fiction penned in the English language. The award process starts with a limited number of nominations submitted by publishers, from which a panel comprising several literary icons make selections for the Booker Longlist. The much-anticipated Longlist, comprising thirteen works of fiction, was announced earlier in July. What is fascinating is the large number of debut novels and women authors that feature in the selections this year. A shortlist from this collection is expected in September and the final winner of the Booker Prize will be announced during a ceremony on October 27th. Speaking about the thirteen books in the Booker Longlist, Margaret Busby, Chair of the 2020 panel of judges, eloquently says:

“Each of these books carries an impact that has earned it a place on the longlist, deserving of wide readership. Included are novels carried by the sweep of history with memorable char…

Backyard Wildlife Habitat

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What lives in your yard? This is a question we don’t think about too often, but we should if we’d like to be eco-conscious. Backyard creatures are facing habitat loss and we can easily help by taking a few simple steps to make our yards more friendly to small creatures such as birds, rabbits, bees, butterflies and frogs.

Below are some things to consider in order to create a wildlife-friendly habitat in your yard. They are easy to do, are generally inexpensive and don’t require a lot of space. Many of them can even be accomplished on a balcony.

Food: Food sources can be man-made, such as birdfeeders and hummingbird feeders, or natural, like pollen and seeds provided by plants.

Water: A simple birdbath is a great water source. Of course, man-made ponds or naturally occurring ponds or streams can provide water as well.

Shelter: Backyard creatures need places to take shelter, live and raise young. Rock, stick or brush piles create nooks and crannies that small animals can find refuge in. Y…