Art and Nature

I love the ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright.  “Nature is your book of reference, you must study and learn from it.” I love his idea that buildings should be organic and should integrate into the environment.  However, I don’t like the architecture of Wright.  I’ve tried.  It seems so severe to me. His simple lines seem harsh. I imagine that sitting inside Fallingwater, Wright’s most iconic house, in the living room perhaps , you would feel part of nature, you feel the water falling around you.  Being inside a Wright home is maybe where the magic is.  The integration comes from…

Back on Track

Early this morning, 3:30am to be exact, Ani the dog woke me up. After letting her out and back in again I laid awake for a while. My blog, Off the Chalkboard clearly came to mind. I have not posted anything in a month and since I hate leaving things undone or unsaid I knew I need to take action. I needed to get back on-line and start writing again or gracefully close the chalkboard down. This month has been absolutely remarkable. Milwaukee has gone from being a place where I’m just hanging, to becoming a place where I live.…

The Brewcity Bruisers

Okay, so, the jammers line up behind the jammer line and they start the round on the second whistle behind the rest of the pack. When the jam begins the jammers try to move up and through the pack. The pack, made up of 8 blockers, 4 from each team, block the opposing team’s jammer. The blockers try to create a wall with their bodies. They can’t actually use their elbows, contrary to popular belief. If the jammer is fast on her feet and has some fancy footwork she can break through and out in front of the pack. Once…

Boreal Conversations

Up north, in Canada, I own a house on a lake.  I have lived in it for 8 years, spending summers, falls, winters (always long) and springs looking out over Eagle Lake.  It is a stunning view of the boreal forest, rising up from the Canadian Shield.  Spindly jack pines mingle with towering red and white pines and glacial formed rocks punctuate the shoreline.  It is a stunning yet harsh and isolating landscape and it is my home. The Tory Folliard Gallery, located in the Third Ward (233 N Milwaukee St) offers “artwork of museum quality by regional and national…

Woodland Pattern Book Center

TO BE A POEM all day and night, music, a quiet, bright reedsong. If it fades, we fade  Rumi BEAUTIFULLY STATED, SIMPLY UNDERSTOOD  [poh uh m] a composition in verse, especially one that is characterized by a highly developed artistic form and by the use of heightened language and rhythm to express an intensely imaginative interpretation of the subject                         dictionary.com   A LYRICAL VERSE OF IMAGINATION AND PASSION 720 East Locust Street IMAGINE  A PLACE WHERE POEMS THRIVE  dedication to the discovery, cultivation and presentation of contemporary  literature and the arts  www.woodlandpattern.org   AND GROW STRONGER 17th Annual Poetry…

Fencing in Milwaukee

Jim is downstairs. He has his foils spread out around him and he is painstakingly getting them competition ready. Jim is a fencer.  He has been fencing for 6 years, he took a break for a year and a half and he is now getting back into it.  Jim loves every part of fencing. He loves the physical workout, the analysis of the bout, working with other fencers and the camaraderie of the club. I have been fencing with Jim a few times. I have taken a couple of lessons and I have observed him on the strip (where the…

The Road to the Super Bowl

It is a cold, January afternoon in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and we are doing what I imagine everyone else in Wisconsin is doing, yoga….  just kidding. Like, just about everyone else, we are watching THE GAME. I’m not really a football fan but you can’t be here at the moment and not be at least a little bit swept away by the Packers. They are on fire. Jim is a fan. He grew up in Milwaukee and has followed the Packers his whole life. So I thought I’d get to know the Packers and Jim a little bit better by asking…

Movies in Milwaukee

Milwaukee has some great movie theatres. There is the Rosebud, on North, where you can have a pizza, a glass of wine and watch a movie from the comfort of your very own couch. There is the ornate and magnificent Oriental on Farwell Avenue. And there is the Downer on, well, Downer. This weekend, Jim and I spent quite a lot of time at the Downer catching up on a couple of movies we wanted to see. On Friday night we headed to the eastside and had dinner at a very busy Café Hollander. We finished our meal just in…

The Witch of Fox Point

When I was little I remember driving from Whitby to York one winter day.  Just after leaving Whitby, out on the Yorkshire Moors, I looked back towards the North Sea.  I caught sight of a house.  It was windswept and lonely.  I thought, “you would have to be an artist to live there.” Inspired by the land and the sea, you would have to be completely fulfilled by your art to be able to live in such an isolated place.  This morning, peeking through the chain linked fence that surrounds Mary Nohl’s house, I remembered that lonely house in England.…

Christmas in Milwaukee

Each year Christmas arrives and leaves so quickly.  Just as I’m getting in the groove, it’s over.  This year, even though it was my first in Milwaukee, was no different.  Sadly, it is over already.  It was good though. It began and ended with two of Milwaukee’s long running Christmas traditions, Manheim Steamroller and The Nutcracker.  Both events were worth getting spiffed up for, both were worth heading downtown for and both events made Christmas away from Canada a little easier. On December 23rd, Jim, Jim’s dad and Jim’s dad’s girlfriend and I headed to The Milwaukee Theatre for the…