Meeting filmmakers at Annapolis Film Festival

Angela Gibbs wrote and directed the short film “The Ties That Bind” shown at the Annapolis Film Festival yesterday in at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. I saw a number of thought provoking films, but what I didn’t anticipate were the opportunities to meet and talk with the film makers, writers, and actors. The presence of phenomenal actress Marla Gibbs  (remember her from the television series The Jeffersons?) took me by surprise. My friend Catherine Davidson texted me afterwards and told me Marla is 81 years old! Hard to believe. Her daughter Angela wrote the script inspired by the true story of her friend Sandra Davis who has an abusive alcoholic mother, but overcame her past and became a successful businesswoman.  Today the festival continues. At noon over at the Bay Theatre. one of the short films showing is a”A Younger Man”. I had the opportunity to interview the screen writer earlier in the year and here is the link to the related article.

Angela Gibbs and Marla Gibbs at Annapolis FIlm Festival
Angela Gibbs and Marla Gibbs at Annapolis FIlm Festival
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Opera, Flowers..Plenty of Choices This Weekend

Two young people very much in love are about to tie the knot, but instead everything gets tied up in a confusing tangle, as the plot twists and turns in Amadeus Wolfgang Mozart’s “Marriage of Figarro.” Count Almaviva and Countess Rosina, residents of Seville Spain do not have an entirely satisfactory marriage. The Count has a wandering eye and wants to make love to Susanna a maid in his household who is about to be married to her true love, Figaro, the Count’s servant. Meanwhile, Cherubino the pageboy of the Countess is starting to fall in love with Rosina the Countess.
While it is all fine and well for the Count to chase after other women, it is not okay for his wife to take a lover. Together, Figaro, Susanna, and the Countess plan together to embarrass the Count. Pandemonium ensues in this classic tale being performed at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis by Annapolis Opera tonight and Sunday afternoon. Contact them at annapolisopera.org to see if tickets are still available. And if you didn’t get over to the International Philadelphia Flower Show there is still time this weekend and maybe you’ll see some familiar faces. After my Wednesday blog posting, I was contacted by Sarah Campbell asking me if perhaps I’d seen the Intrique Floral display booth. Melissa Huston, of Annapolis’s own Intrigue Floral Design, just completed her first solo showcase at the largest floral show in the world. Intrigue Design and Décor was one of six florists chosen to participate in the “Floral Showcase” section.

Melissa was also a member of the Schaffer Design Team, led by Bill Schaffer and Kris Kratt. Schaffer Design’s display “An American in Paris” is the 2011 winner for Best in Show award along with the Emile H Geschick Memorial Award, and Society of American Florists Flower Show Award.

A new feature of the 2011 Philadelphia International Flower Show is the Floral Showcase. Melissa Huston, an Edgewater resident, represented Intrigue and the Annapolis region with her sculpted modern floral display. According to the Intrique news release, each designer was given access to supplies, a different set of flowers in their own color story, and three tall metal platforms. Melissa, embracing the challenge to create an interesting display, took her structures and stacked them on their sides to create an alternative view. Using purple, green, and blue flowers with wire accents – Melissa created a linear design using new materials provided by Smithers-Oasis Supply Company. Besides her creative use of wire and space, Melissa’s display has two unique features. First, she created composite flowers by gluing green button mums to the center of fuchsia gerbera daisies and the coolest feature of the display was how she used carnation calyx with the blooms removed as a flower. The texture creates a unique pave design, which has people guessing just what is that mystery flower.

International Philadelphia Flower Show Oo La La

2011 Philadelphia Flower Show

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Springtime in Paris was the theme of this year’s International Flower Show which opened to the public on March 6th and continues through March 16th. Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies”, the street art of the underground subway system, intimate cafes, can can dancers at Le Moulin Rouge, and the 1950s musical “An American in Paris” all serve as inspiration for the floral designers and growers competing for blue ribbons and recognition. There was a carousel built of flowers, beautiful daffodils, tullips, and narcissus in a host of sizes and exotic colors along with displays of flower boxes. storefront windows, and window boxes. Dramatic flower arrangements contrasted with displays of green roofs and vegetable gardens filled with ripe tomatoes, green beans, and lettuces ready for picking.
This was my very first time attending the show, has become a yearly tradition for many gardeners. I joined many fellow Annapolitans departing from Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in the bus trip organized by Friends of the Tawes Garden. The kind managers of this trip did everything within their power to make our two and half hour trip comfortable by providing us with home baked muffins, cookies, water, and juice. They even drew for raffle prizes and one of my friends, Eileen Leahy who organized several of our book club members to attend the outing, won a gift certificate to the Wild Orchid Cafe. (Now if only the subject of our book reading this year had to do with gardening, but maybe next year.) We were one of several buses leaving from Annapolis. Another left from Homestead Gardens and another from the Annapolis Recreation Center. From throughout the region garden enthusiasts arrived by bus, car, train, and taxi. Many attend the show for several days, partaking in lectures, demonstrations, and movies that are offered in addition to the exhibits. In the three and a half hours I had available, I quickly walked the show with my friend Susan Eckert, another Flower Show newbie. The lines were too long to see the miniature displays but we were able to view jewelry, handbags, and artwork all created from seed pods, leaves, bark, and flowers (no artificial dyes allowed) as well as water gardens, ikebana, boxwoods in all shapes and sizes, and rows and rows of vendor booths selling tools, spices, seeds, bulbs, ornaments, jewelry, and of course….flowers! In closing I have to make a plug for the Helen Avalynne Tawes Garden, a hidden gem here in Annapolis Tucked in right beside the Tawes State Office Building on Taylor Avenue the garden is Maryland in miniature, planted with native species representing the different regions and growing conditions present in our small but geographically diverse state. Open daily from dawn to dusk, admission is free. It’s a great place to take your small children as the weather gets warmer and have a picnic.

Free Movie Tonight at MD. Hall in Annapolis


From acrobats and jugglers to string musicians and poetry readings, World Wide Artist Experiences provides free arts performances throughout the year at Maryland Hall for the Performing Arts to promote international goodwill and understanding. This year they are presenting an International film festival and tonight the film is from Poland.
Ile waży koń trojański? means “How Much Does the Trojan Horse Weigh? It’s uses the vehicle of time travel aka “Peggy Sue Gets Married” to explore the result of the political and social changes in late 20th century Poland. At 40, Zosia (Ilona Ostrowska) is happliy married and living in Warsaw. She has a daughter and a successful career. But as she and her family usher in the year 2000, she wishes some things in her youth had happened differently, and she’s magically transported back to 1987, when she was still married to her womanizing first husband. Director Juliusz Machulski is known for his successful commedies, but this is a serious film. Machulski uses the film’s plot to chart Poland’s transition from communism to capitalism, a subject even more engaging than the foibles of his plucky heroine. In Polish with subtitles, the showing begins at 7:00 p.m. and is free. Sounds like an interesting evening.

Annapolis Opera Starts Their New Season

Opera is alive and well, here in the Chesapeake Bay Region. Annapolis Opera kicked off their 2010-2011 season with an impressively well attended gathering, entitled “Celebrate Opera”. Held at Wine Cellars of Annapolis on Forest Drive in Clocktower Place, I could describe the scene as “standing room only” but then again, this was a standing kind of event, which is my only criticism of what was a lovely evening. Designed to raise money for this worthy organization, at $125 a head, guests tasted a variety of wines provided by Wine Cellars and dined on gourmet cheeses, pate, and subsequent courses of poached salmon served with a corn and blueberry relish and tenderloin with whipped sweet potatoes. For dessert there was of course, Opera cake. Everything was delicious, although it was definitely a challenge to balance a plate of food, glass of wine, eat, drink, and chat. The highlight of the evening was the entertainment–arias and a duet song by baritone Jason Stearns and soprano Colleen Daly. Of Metropolitan Opera fame, Jason Stearns makes his home in Annapolis with his lovely wife and soprano Suzanne. On October 23, he will be the featured performer headlining what is billed as “Concert of Stars” at St. John’s College Key Auditorium. Also scheduled this season is a performance “Gifts from Grand Opera” at the First Presbyterian Church in Anapolis on December 5th and in 2011 four more events that include the two day run of one of my favorite operas, “Marriage of FIgaro,” performed at Maryland Hall in March. Visit their website at www,annapolisopera.org and

Opera, Homes & Gardens, Kent Island Days

While you are on the Eastern side of the Bay Bridge head up towards Talbot County for the Maryland House & Garden Pilgrimage Tour that takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. I attended the Pilgrimage Tour that was held last year in Centreville

It’s the middle of May, but with the chill in the air this week it doesn’t seem that way unless magically we’ve been transported to Great Britain where spring weather is both chilly and damp. And if we are thinking of England and our British heritage, what a perfect weekend to spend exploring the past at Kent Island Day, a day that celebrates the 1631 founding of Kent Island . From 10 a.m to 5 p.m there will be lots of activities, including historic interpreters in costume, crafts, food, games and entertainment all taking place in downtown Stevensville. For more information go to kentislandheritagesociety.org, While you are on the Eastern side of the Bay Bridge head up towards Talbot County for the Maryland House & Garden Pilgrimage Tour that takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. I attended the Pilgrimage Tour that was held last year in Queen Anne’s County, focusing on Centreville and it was quite enjoyable. There were some lovely historic homes and gardens along with newer construction. While I didn’t care for everyones’ decorating taste, it’s always interesting to see how the other half lives! For more information about the tour call 410-822-0773.
Sunday, if you enjoy opera or would like to expand your understanding of classical music, don’t miss
ANNAPOLIS OPERA’S 22ND ANNUAL VOCAL COMPETITION FINALS CONCERT. Held at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts at 2 p.m. at . The concert is free and open to the public.
Eight singers chosen from a pool of 80 applicants will be competing for more than $10,000 in cash prizes.
This year’s grand prize winner will also receive a two-week trip to the Amalfi Coast Music Festival & Institute’s Vocal Program in Vietra sul Mare, Italy. Costs for the trip as well as administrative costs of the entire vocal competition are underwritten by Jim and Sylvia Earl’s Helena Foundation who received the 2009 Annie Award honoring them as Patrons of the Arts in Anne Arundel County.
An annual favorite of the vocal competition is the Audience Choice Award, a cash prize given to the singer judged best by audience members. Other prizes, which range from $500 to $2,500, are awarded by a distinguished panel of music educators and opera singers.

For further information contact the opera office at 410-267-8135 or visit theirwebsite, http://www.annapolisopera.org.

Future Vision for Forest Drive in Annapolis

several dozen County and City citizens, working with renowned professional local artists such as Maryland Hall’s Artists-in-Residence Rob Levitt and Mary Jo Arthur, created an impressive collection of paintings, sculpture, prose and poems to express their vision for the future

Can artists and community work together to initiate social change?
The name is Forest Drive, but what exactly is “forest-like” about the four lane drive that connects the Bay Ridge and Hillsmere neighborhoods to Parole.
Interpreting what Citizens see for Forest Drive’s future is the title of a workshop and exhibit being held on
Thursday, April 22, 5:00 PM at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. Graduate students from the Landscape Architecture Department, School of Architecture and Planning at Morgan State University, will present their interpretation of local citizens’ view of the future of Forest Drive in Annapolis.

The project began In February when several dozen County and City citizens, working with renowned professional local artists such as Maryland Hall’s Artists-in-Residence Rob Levitt and Mary Jo Arthur, created an impressive collection of paintings, sculpture, prose and poems to express their vision for the future of this important and often congested roadway.

Six students have been studying the artwork and have been challenged by their professors to interpret the citizens’ expression without interfering or making assumptions about the citizens’ viewpoints. The students will also comment on the benefits of working directly with citizens on personal and community values.

The public is invited to attend the students’ presentation on Thursday, April 22, 2010, beginning at 5:00 PM, at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase Street, Annapolis MD 21403. The citizens’ artwork will be on display until the end of the evening’s presentation at 8:00 PM.

The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

This event culminates a three month project in community-based planning entitled “Art is Community Empowerment: Envisioning Forest Drive”. TThehe Landscape Architecture Department, School of Architecture and Planning at Morgan State University, and the Annapolis Neck Peninsula Federation (ANPF) are conducting the project. ANPF is a coalition of community associations focused on citizen engagement in government planning.

For information, visit http://www.anpf.org or contact forestdrive@anpf.org or Scott Mobley, 410-266-6351.