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Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Smoky Mountains 2016 wildfires 18 months later

Burned trees from the Great Smoky Mountains 2016 wildfires on Ski View Drive, April, 2018, Gatlinburg, Tennessee/Photo by Patricia Leslie

At the packed Great Smoky Mountains Sugarlands Visitor Center in Gatlinburg last Saturday, a National Park Service Ranger told us the 2016 fires had swept about 10 percent of the park with winds gusting at 87 mph and hopscotching from one mountain top to another.  On our weekend trip everywhere we saw natural and human destruction.
A view on Ski View Drive from the now obliterated Gardens cottages looking down on the burned out Highlands Motel on Ski View Drive, April, 2018, Gatlinburg, Tennessee//Photo by Patricia Leslie

On Ski View Drive, blackened trees stood near remains of homes and a motel, burned to their cores.

The ranger said it would take 80 years for the area to return to its natural state, but already, healthy greens cover many pieces of ground, in contrast to burned out trees and blackened bark. 

The former Highlands Motel on  Ski View Drive, April, 2018, Gatlinburg, Tennessee/Photo by Patricia Leslie


The former Highlands Motel on  Ski View Drive, April, 2018, Gatlinburg, Tennessee/Photo by Patricia Leslie
The former Highlands Motel on  Ski View Drive, April, 2018, Gatlinburg, Tennessee which would make a great movie site or Halloween adventure in its present condition/Photo by Patricia Leslie
The former Highlands Motel on  Ski View Drive, April, 2018, Gatlinburg, Tennessee/Photo by Patricia Leslie


Parts of Ski View Drive were reminiscent of cemeteries, quiet and sad, with no signs of life, save the sprouting greens on the ground quickly coming back.
Remains of the Gardens cottages on  Ski View Drive, April, 2018, Gatlinburg, Tennessee/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Remains of the Gardens cottages on  Ski View Drive, April, 2018, Gatlinburg, Tennessee/Photo by Patricia Leslie
 
A view from the Gardens cottages on  Ski View Drive, April, 2018, Gatlinburg, Tennessee/Photo by Patricia Leslie
 Burned trees from the Great Smoky Mountains 2016 wildfires on Ski View Drive, April, 2018, Gatlinburg, Tennessee/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Remains of the Gardens cottages on  Ski View Drive, April, 2018, Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  This one used to be for rent at Mountain Rentals and Chalet, according to the sign/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Remains of the Gardens cottages on  Ski View Drive, April, 2018, Gatlinburg, Tennessee/Photo by Patricia Leslie

Fourteen people and one bear died in the tragedy started by arson by juveniles. The ranger said jurisdiction over their crime is still in a squabble between local authorities and the federal government. About 2,400 properties were damaged or ruined and 150 persons, injured.
From the Gardens cottages on Ski View Drive, April, 2018, Gatlinburg, Tennessee/Photo by Patricia Leslie
At the Gardens cottages on Ski View Drive, April, 2018, Gatlinburg, Tennessee/Photo by Patricia Leslie
At the Gardens cottages on  Ski View Drive, April, 2018, Gatlinburg, Tennessee/Photo by Patricia Leslie
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said only one bear was known to have been killed in the 2016 wildfires, and we saw this yearling with its mama upending trash cans at a cabin at dusk on Ski View Drive in Gatlinburg. The cabin occupants blew a whistle to frighten them away.  Poor bears!  Searching for food, bold enough to approach human activity during daylight hours/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Scarred hillsides with reconstructed homes coming up as life returns to overtake desolation, a view from Ski View Drive, April, 2018, Gatlinburg, Tennessee/Photo by Patricia Leslie

Where there is life, there is hope for recovery and fun, like hiking  the Alum Cave Trail to Mt LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains. and climbing through Arch Rock. Hiker were aplenty but not too many to reduce the pleasures of being outdoors on a spring day!//Photo by Patricia Leslie
 A bridge over Alum Cave Creek on the Alum Cave Trail/Photo by Patricia Leslie
I believe this is Inspiration Point on the Alum Cave Trail about a half hour beyond Arch Rock on the way to Mount LeConte.  In the distance are burned out mountain tops/Photo by Patricia Leslie

Tourists have returned, thank goodness, but the stark pictures remind us of what man and weather can do to our valuable natural resources.  

Another reminder on the eve of Earth Day to take care of our planet, and Mama, don't let your young ones grow up to be arsonists. 

As Smokey the Bear used to say more often than we hear now:  

Only you can prevent forest fires.

 patricialesli@gmail.com

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Russians came to town


While the officer sleeps during the opera, a back seat irritant a la Buster Keaton keeps tabs in  Lady With a Lapdog With Jokes and a Happy Ending by Russian Arts Theater & Studio at the Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars/Photo by Patricia Leslie

I loved, loved, loved it!  

"It" would be the Russians who came to D.C. and threw a hilarious party of ten Anton Chekhov short stories at the  Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

At the door, proof of Chekhov scholarship was not required.
Lady With a Lapdog With Jokes and a Happy Ending by Russian Arts Theater & Studio at the Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars/Photo by Patricia Leslie

Non-stop laughter filled the SRO auditorium for 90 minutes with a promised "happy ending" as in the title, Lady With a Lapdog With Jokes and a Happy Ending.  

It was.

Washington, D.C. needed it.
The reflections in the picture are "ocean waves" in Lady With a Lapdog With Jokes and a Happy Ending presented by the Russian Arts Theater & Studio at the Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Lady With a Lapdog With Jokes and a Happy Ending by Russian Arts Theater & Studio at the Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars/Photo by Patricia Leslie

From scene to non-sequitur scene the transitions flowed as smoothly as clouds changing colors on a March day while Chekhov played on. 

Excellent music, sound effects, lighting, and costumes all contributed to the dynamism of the production beginning with a beach scene where an actor in swim gear sang on the shore, soon occupied by other beachgoers, some to doff their clothes and "dive in."

Splashy lighting magnified the reflections of ocean ripples amidst the always welcome sound of waves that echoed throughout the chamber.

And there was music.
The wife and the mistress fight over the goods in Lady With a Lapdog With Jokes and a Happy Ending by Russian Arts Theater & Studio at the Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars/Photo by Patricia Leslie

Although the actors promised a "happy ending," alas, there was none until they made it so:


"You have a splinter in your finger? Be happy it's not in two fingers!"


“You don't live in downtown DC?  Be happy you live nearby!”

All this and more (Buster Keaton slapstick, action, opera, lots of sex) by a cast which wove in and out of changing sets and roles in gaily colored costumes wearing huge smiles.
It's not what you think (and certainly not at the Kennan Institute!) but merely a dentist extracting a tooth in Lady With a Lapdog With Jokes and a Happy Ending by Russian Arts Theater & Studio at the Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Lady With a Lapdog With Jokes and a Happy Ending by Russian Arts Theater & Studio at the Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars/Photo by Patricia Leslie
It was all a very happy ending at Lady With a Lapdog With Jokes and a Happy Ending by Russian Arts Theater & Studio at the Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars/Photo by Patricia Leslie

They do have a good time which rubs off on the audience and doesn't that make for a fine performance? Enjoy!
 
The Russian Arts Theater & A Studio are based in New York City where members direct acting classes and present old and new works at the new soon-to-be home at the former McAlpin Hall, West 86th and Amsterdam.

Their mission: “To preserve, promote and advance Russian arts and heritage in New York City” and “train a new generation of imaginative, innovative, and sincere artists capable of servicing the mission for generations to come.” TRATS was founded in 2004 and its studio is modeled after the Moscow Academy of Theater Arts. 

Aleksey Burago adapted Chekhov's stories and directed Michael Dona, Roman Freud, Conor Andrew Hall, Ariel Polanco, Flavio Romeo, Luisa Menzen, Tom Schubert, Lana Stimmler and Di Zhu, managing director

These are Russians? Sad, colorless Russians? Nyet!

My next stop in NYC:  86th West and Amsterdam! 

patricialesli@gmail.com

 



























Monday, March 26, 2018

Palm Sunday concert at Church of the Little Flower, Bethesda

Choirs from Church of the Little Flower, Saint Bartholomew, Saint Louis, and Annunciation parishes with the Apollo Orchestra at the Church of the Little Flower Palm Sunday concert/Photo by Patricia Leslie

If I get to heaven, I know the music I hear will be the Agnus Dei movement from Gabriel Fauré's Requiem in D minor, Op. 48, which, according to Wikipedia, is the Catholic Mass for the Dead, the best-known of the composer's large works with a focus on "eternal rest and consolation."
Soprano Madison Leonard with Stephen Czarkowski, director of the Apollo Orchestra, at the Church of the Little Flower Palm Sunday concert/Photo by Patricia Leslie

I do not have words to convey the majesty and beauty of the piece performed Palm Sunday at the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda by the Apollo Orchestra and its 55 members who accompanied Washington National Opera's "young artists,"  Madison Leonard, soprano, and Michael Hewitt, baritone, and choirs of 62 voices from Little Flower, Saint Batholomew, Saint Louis, and Annunciation churches who sang the entire Requiem under the direction of Terry Eberhardt.
Soprano Leah Hawkins sings at the Church of the Little Flower Palm Sunday concert/Photo by Patricia Leslie

The packed audience knew the program would be glorious hearing the first piece, Richard Wagner's Prelude and Good Friday Spell from Parsifal, which was followed by WNO star Leah Hawkins, soprano, and her presentation of Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs
At the Church of the Little Flower/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Members of the Apollo Orchestra at the Church of the Little Flower Palm Sunday concert/Photo by Patricia Leslie 
It was an ethereal afternoon listening to the vocalists and the Apollo, Stephen Czarkowski, directing. Thanks be to all, especially the Downing Family Foundation which made the concert possible.

Not to miss!  These upcoming concerts:

April 15, 4 p.m., Sunday Stephanie Lange and Karla Rivera

May 20, 4 p.m., Sunday Julliard Alumni Ensemble Reunion celebrate U.S. veterans with opera, "oldies and goodies," and Broadway tunes

June 8, 7:30 p.m., Friday, Apollo Orchestra  and Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, Sibelius's Symphony No. 5 and National Symphony's cellist, Steven Honigberg to play Elgar's Cello Concerto

Where:  The Church of the Little Flower is located at 5607 Massachusetts Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20816

For more information: 301-320-4538

Admission:  There is no charge. A thank offering may be made.

patricialesli@gmail.com 








Saturday, March 24, 2018

March For Our Lives in pictures, Washington, D.C.

 March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
  March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
 
March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
His sign says:  "I Don't Want to Graduate Summa Cum DEAD!" March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
Volunteers from St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, distribute water and snacks to participants in March For Our Lives, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
 
In front of the White House, March For Our Lives, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
In front of the White House, March For Our Lives, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
  In front of the White House, March For Our Lives, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
In front of the White House, March For Our Lives, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
In front of the White House, March For Our Lives, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
The Vote411.org had volunteers out galore collecting registrations of new voters at the March For Our Lives Rally in Washington, D.C. This lady at the corner of 15th and Pennsylvania told me the registration materials were good for all 50 states and the District of Columbia/Photo by Patricia Leslie
On 15th Street, N.W. on the way to the March For Our Lives Rally, this salesman had shirts and hats for $20 each, however, returning from the rally, another vendor sold them for $10/Photo by Patricia Leslie
 
On 15th Street N.W., on the way to the March For Our Lives Rally, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
Victims of gun violence are pictured on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. for the March For Our Lives Rally/Photo by Patricia Leslie
March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
The sign says "Not One More." March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
 
At the Trump International Hotel, March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
 Near the Trump International Hotel, March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. For the weekend Trump fled to Florida at taxpayers' expense to play golf and only tweeted about a situation in France on Saturday, neglecting his own nation/Photo by Patricia Leslie
In front of the Trump International Hotel, March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., a participant wears a sign:  "Veterans for Gun Control."/Photo by Patricia Leslie
At the Trump International Hotel, March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
The sign says "Arm teachers with Knowledge and Compassion." March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
 
The sign says "I march so I don't have to fun FOR MY LIFE FOR MY LIFE." March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
The sign says "The Grandmas Have Your Backs!" March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
   March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
  March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
   March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
   March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
   March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
   March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
   March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
The sign says:  "Who Sold This Gun That Killed My Son?" At March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
 
March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
The sign on his hat reads: "Gun Owners for Gun Control." March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
The sign says:  "No Respect At All" at March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. To take this picture I climbed a short stone wall at the back of the White House and hung by one arm onto a wrought iron railing, and no one from the White House chased me away/Photo by Patricia Leslie
  In front of the White House, March For Our Lives, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
 
In front of the White House, March For Our Lives, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
The toddler in the pink on the left holds a sign while napping. See pictures below.  March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
This looks like two families in the March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.with a napping toddler in pink/Photo by Patricia Leslie
 While bent over in sleep the toddler in pink (left) never lets go of the sign in March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
The toddler has risen indeed!  March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
   March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
 
March For Our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie
Near the White House a restaurant offered special pricing for participants in March For Our Lives, Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie


patricialesli@gmail.com