Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cleveland Museum of Art: (My Last) Solstice

Yesterday was an interesting day -- starting in Minneapolis where my original flight was delayed to the point where I literally had a United Airlines employee running with me through the airport to a new gate, where I was then dragged down the jetway for a new flight just before departure and told to take any available seat so that I wouldn't miss my onward connection to Cleveland from Chicago. I'm very thankful for that agent.

In Chicago our flight to Cleveland was delayed because, according to the captain's announcement -- I kid you not, "The airplane was plugged in to electrical power and the outlet broke when they unplugged it".

I made it to Cleveland collected my bag and went speeding towards Solstice at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

While I was not in the best shape when I made it to Solstice I was looking forward to it, hoping that some lessons had been learned from last year. I've attended each of the Solstice Parties since the first one in 2009.

The 2009 party was fantastic; the 2010 party was even better, 2011 was about as good as the previous years. 2012 was lousy. 2013 will be my last. Rather than boring you with a list, I can point you to the post from 2012 and say that it was about the same.

Primary objection holds true -- there was essentially no discernible "art" component to this years festival -- even less so than last year as neither Rachel nor I could find a photobooth much less any of the various art activities that had been staples of pervious years. Performing artists (aside from a few balloon creations) were noticeably missing.

But what made 2013 worse than previous years was the sheer level of noise. The volume in the atrium was so high that you couldn't carry on a conversation with friends 6 inches away -- and if you tried to find solace (or just peruse the art) in the new North galleries -- you would be blown away each time someone had the misfortune of passing by the motion activated doors.

It also seemed this year that the number of obnoxiously drunk people was through the roof. While alcohol has always been fairly free flowing, and there are usually very "happy" people, it seemed like more people were drinking to excess

The result continues to feel not like an event highlighting, or even supporting, the Cleveland Museum of Art, but rather a completely unrelated music event that just so happens to be taking place at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Based on my later arrival, rather than dealing with parking I had valeted my car at Tudor Arms Hotel (a DoubleTree by Hilton property on Carnegie at MLK I've been curious about since it opened about a year ago) and at the end of the night Rachel and I walked back over and enjoyed an "in town" vacation and a leisurely start to a Sunday. That part was at least enjoyable.

Solstice, however, just wasn't enjoyable. At all.


Friday, June 21, 2013

A Week In the Life of SkyWest Ship 707 (Or: I'm not Dead Yet)

Ok, so this has been a particularly blog-free month: Not only because the Cleveland Orchestra is on hiatus until the beginning of July but also because I'm at the tail end of one of my longest stretches of "On the Road" in my career:

The month started with a week in Northern California; I came back to a day in the office before heading to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, I came back from Minnesota for the weekend and to take care of a local client at the beginning of this week before heading back to the state of 10,000 lakes for a different project at Mayo.

One of the things I enjoy doing is tracking my flights via a website called Flight Memory* (the public version of my Flight Memory can be found at In addition to tracking origin and destination, Flight Memory is also handy for tracking specific aircraft -- for example, I've ridden on ExpressJet (Continental/United Express) ship N11121 as well as Continental/United 737-800 ship N12238 and 757-300 ship N74856 three times each -- the latter, coincidentally, flew me home on the same red-eye LAX-CLE flight 3 Christmases in a row.

Another eighteen (yes, 18!) aircraft I've had the pleasure of riding twice.

SkyWest CRJ-700 ship #707 (N707SK) is the latest addition to that list of 18, but in a freak coincidence it happened to fly the CLE-ORD (Cleveland/Hopkins International Airport to Chicago/O'Hare) portion of both of Cleveland to Minneapolis trips (CLE-ORD-MSP) -- both flown as flight UA5169, and I was in first class seat 2A on both of those flights.

So I thought it would be interesting to see where Ship 707 spent the time between flying me to O'Hare the first time on Tuesday, June 11th and the second time on Wednesday, June 19th.

So... After dropping me off in Chicago it went South to San Antoino, TX (SAT), before making it West to United's San Francisco (SFO) hub and bouncing up and down the West Coast. It left the West Coast for Houston Intercontinental (IAH) via Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and then bounced around the Midwest, before deciding it would like the Denver (DEN) better, bouncing around between DEN and IAH for a few days, it headed back West (Go West, Young Airplane, Go West!) and then went East, hitting Washington/Dulles (IAD) via SAT, then leaving the country for the first time, hitting Toronto (YVR), then ORD, back to Cleveland, and the second time it would fly me from Cleveland to Chicago in the week.

For the actual routings...

In that time, there were 51 unique flights, totaling 32,892 nautical miles of flight time-- in 7 days.

Or for the map:
Map of destinations for ship 707 OR for more detail, (including a larger map) here's the routing at Great Circle Mapper: Here
* - The information for FlightMemory is extremely accurate (all flights represented with times to the minute) for my professional carrer since roughly 2005. Before 2005 only one flight per route is represented. So for example, I flew from SAN to FAT countless times as a youth, yet I only have one of those entered.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Theater Ninjas: Telephone

My schedule of late* has contributed to a distinct lack of theatre in my life of late. Tonight Rachel and I traveled across the bridge to the Ohio City Masonic Temple to attend Theatre Ninjas' production of Ariana Reines play Telephone.

The common  thread linking each of the Theater Ninjas  productions that I've attended -- as far back as 2007-- is that they are anything but conventional -- unique venues, unconventional story telling and unusual stagings.

Telephone (Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays through June 15th) continues that tradition although it would seem to fall on the "more dense" end of the spectrum.

The three well-defined acts span about 90 minutes with no intermission, but rather than pieces of the same whole they strike as three independent wholes, and Jaime Bouvier's Director's Note alludes to it being a "...forced mishmash of ideas and stories about the telephone as a synecdoche of all communications technology" (bonus points for being the first director's note that warranted use of for synecdoche).

The first act, featuring Ryan Lucas as Bell and Ray Caspio as Watson, offered the dynamic interaction between the two inventors, the evolution of communication, and the relationships between two individuals and the evolution of understanding as communication technology was introduced, and the subtle nuances in those relationships and the difference between "come here, I want you" and "come here, I need you".

The second act, with Holly Holsinger alone on and around the stage as Miss St, a woman trapped in her own thoughts an struggling with uniqueness and interruption.

Rachel and I both struggled with the third act -- featuring all three artists -- for me I think I spent so much time trying to link it with the first two acts that I was distracted from appreciating the act itself and would have been better off enjoying the moment.

Something that I hadn't considered but Rachel pointed out as we were retreating to the East Side was that the nonsequeter nature of much of the script must have made the show that much more challenging for the three actors to learn -- and the fact that I hadn't given pause to consider that demonstrated the talent of the trio.

Telephone also features generous but not excessive use of audio and video technology -- both audio and video -- to both propel the acts and to illustrate the prevalence of communication technology in the modern world.

*- And, to be perfectly honest, the inertia caused by the inconvenience of doing business with Playhouse Square (and The Cleveland Play House now in residency there) has not helped either.