7 Days in Tibet

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Aurua Tibetan Medicine Billboard in Caojiabao Airport in Xining

A hundred people or so mill drowsily about the baggage claim area at the Caojiabao Airport in Xining, China at 9:45 on a Sunday night waiting for the whirl of the conveyer belt to start again signaling the arrival of more baggage.  Mounted on the wall over the snake-like luggage delivery system hangs a dark red billboard touting  Arura Tibetan Medicines in large yellow characters and Latin letters. Arura with its medical college, traditional Tibetan medical hospitals, pharmaceutical manufacturing company, chain of drug stores and Tibetan Cultural Museum is a big dollar industry in these parts and sponsor of my trip to the Tibetan Plateau. As I feebly stand with the group of seven other Americans that are with me on this junket, the effects of the 22 hour trip from Charlottesville and several bottles of water to keep hydrated on the plane take hold and I am called to visit the loo. Twenty feet from the Women’s Restroom door the sour smell of a Chinese bathroom assaults my nostrils and I recall the defining factor of travel in Asia – the toilets, or better put, the lack there of.

China and the United States are located on opposite sides of the planet and in many ways are as opposing in cultures.  What often is considered polite behavior in China is considered vulgar in the U.S. and vice verse. Value of space, time, material objects and food is dispersed differently making travel in each other’s country a mind-blowing experience. It is rather like turning one’s brain inside-out.

For all the differences between the United States and what is called mainland China, echoes of the traditional Tibetan nomadic way of life still heavily influence the social mores of the mixed Chinese/Tibetan populations on the Plateau. Xining is a bustling city that looks like Seattle with an Asian flair.  It is the capital and largest city of the the Qinghai province with a population just shy of 2,300,000 the vast majority of whom live inside the urban area. In fact one distinction of Xining is its lack of suburbs. Four minutes drive outside of the high-rises and one is amongst vast scrub covered fields with brownish mountains looming near by. Impressive in size by day, the city is best viewed at night when its heart is lit as brightly as Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World – a beacon in the vastness of the dark Plateau.

The view from my room at the top rated, Qinghai Hotel (thankfully, outfitted with Western style toilets in the posh marble bathroom) confirmed the density of the city. As a thread of cigarette smoke from a neighboring room sneaks in through my open window, I am reminded that the Chinese smoke like its 1965. Wafts of cigarette smoke are everywhere – restaurants, work spaces, even in elevators. But that doesn’t stop the residents of Xining from healthy activities like exercising which they do each morning and evening in public parks. The Qunghai Hotel is located next door to a major city park which stretches along the banks of the Huangshui River.  At seven in the morning music and news are broadcast all over the city via loudspeakers mounted on buildings marking the start of the day in a Communist Country.  People then flood the parks to power walk, jog, dance, practice tai chi and chi gong before heading to work. But the Chinese, unlike Americans, are much less serious about exercise and much more physically conservative. The gestures of the 100 or so participants  in the outdoor Zumba class I joined one evening, were so conservative the group more closely resembled small children learning ballet than grown women performing steamy Latin dance moves.

Due to its altitude (Xining is 7,464) the Tibetan Plateau is arid, low humidity and fairly cool temperatures so that even in July high temperatures hover between the mid-fifties and low-seventies dropping into the low-forties at night. So jackets and the consumption of several cups of Yak butter tea, a murky concoction that tastes like liquified buttered popcorn and is served everywhere in this part of China, are necessary for comfort.  Since very little vegetation grows in the climate the main native food sources are Yak (which tastes like a cross between beef and venison) and sheep. Even the Buddhist Monks eat loads of Yak and drink rivers of Yak butter tea dispelling a preconceived notion that Buddhists are automatically vegetarians. “What else would we eat, if we didn’t eat Yak?,” laughed our tour facilitator, Dr. Kunchok Gyaltsen, a Tibetan  Monk.

Most Westerners don’t visit Xining when traveling in this part of China usually heading directly to Lhasa but there are a few places that make it a worthwhile destination. One is the Qinghai Tibetan Medicine and Culture Museum which gives the visitor an idea of how the current culture was shaped. The museum houses artifacts like a complete set of Tibetan medical instruments and diorama’s of traditional nomadic life. The most spectacular display however is The Great Thangka, an impossibly long  (618 meter or 2018 feet)  painted history of Tibetan stories, religion, culture, medicine and art. Brilliantly displayed in a winding glass case, this masterpiece took 400 artists 4 years to complete and if one really examined each frame’s intricate details it might take 4 years to view.

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Entrance Hall at the Qinghai Tibetan Medicine and Culture Museum

Another important cultural site is Kumbum Monastery, one of the six most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries located twenty-six kilometers south of Xining. Once housing thousands of Buddhist Monks, Kumbum which means Image of a hundred-thousand Buddhas, is the birthplace of Lhama Tsong-kha-pa (1357 – 1419), the founder of the Yellow Hat Buddhist sect.  Legend has it that a sandalwood tree grew on the spot he was born with an image of the Buddha on each leaf. There is a small temple and incense burning stupa marking the. spot  Squeezing between multiple gaggles of visitors, through the Great Hall of Meditation where silk fabric hangs like Spanish Moss from the cross beams, I think about the 600 monks in current residence and what is must be like to live in such a huge tourist destination. With hundreds of people visiting daily, Kumbum is hardly the isolated, quiet retreat one might envision. In fact most Monks in the crowds surrounding us were quite well connected to the outside world via the magic of iPhones and iPads, the technology of choice due to its Tibetan language option.

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Tibetan Monk, Dr. Kunchok with i Phone at Kumbum

Since most of my time in Xining was spent indoors in meetings with our excellent Arura hosts, it was a wonderful treat to get outside for a lunch in the grasslands and a visit to the Qinghai Lake. On 100 km trip from Xining to “The Blue Lake” we stopped for a traditional Tibetan meal in a yurt-like tent. Tibetans, like many nomadic peoples, are warm, welcoming people who tote little furniture but who love to entertain. We sat on the grass floor of the tent at low tables, the wind flapping the thick canvas walls and were served course after course of Tibetan fare – in this culture more is more when it comes to food. Among the many dishes served up with Yak butter tea were sweet rice, a  rice dish with sugar,  droma (something like bean sized sweet potato) and Yak butter; fruits, vegetables, corn, dumplings with yak meat, lamb dishes and ingredients to make our own tsampa.  Tsampa is a staple of traditional Tibetan diet made from barley flour, yak butter, water or yak butter tea and sugar expertly mixed with the hands into a malleable dough ball and eaten. It is easy to make, portable and durable making it the ideal food for people on the go. Entertainment is an important part of the culture so after lunch we sang (I think there is a version of me trying to teach everyone to sing a round on YouTube somewhere- not worth watching) and learned Tibetan dance moves then took some time just laying in the long soft grass absorbing sunlight as the constant wind blew over our bodies.

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                                On the Tibetan Plateau

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      Making Tsampa at lunch

A short drive to the Blue Lake revealed a huge azure body of water covering over 1700 square miles fed by 23 rivers and streams. Though it was mid July, the water and the air are still too cool for swimming but given the distance of the ocean it is a hot vacation spot.  Though it is not overwhelmingly touristy, there are some hotels and campsites along the water’s edge in places with vendors waiting to take tourists money like any other resort. My favorite were the photo ops with a Yak which sadly I had to forgo in order to get to our farewell dinner back in the city.

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Blue Lake

The next day we began our travel to Lhasa. Many people think that taking the train to Lhasa is a romantic prospect or that a perceived gradual incline of the train route from Xining will help with adjustment to the altitude. Both of these concepts are a myths. For many Westerners who are accustomed to space and privacy, overnight travel on Chinese trains is grueling. Sleeper compartments accommodate six travelers in stacked bunk beds and are open to the hallway (no doors) so that any passer by has access. Toilets, which are thankfully private, are basically steel basins set in the floor that flush onto the train tracks on more modern trains and simply openings in the floor on older ones.  Sinks are in the hallway so that in the morning there is a symphony of loud hocking and spitting, a Chinese ritual for clearing the throat. In terms of altitude adjustment the train moves along at an almost level altitude until about halfway through the journey then makes a rapid ascent to 17,158 feet above sea level at the highest point then lowers to Lhasa (11, 450 feet above sea level) debunking the gradual climb altitude adjustment theory. 

In my case, the 23 hour train ride was booked for our group in order to see the grandeur of the great Tibetan Plateau and the budding of the Himalayas on the planes but at the last minute I was culled and sent on a train solo. Since the journey began at 10:00 o’clock at night, I saw only a few hours of stunning terrain in the morning hours before succumbing to altitude sickness which had me flattened on my middle level bunk without a view for the remaining 9 hours of the trip.

Arriving in Lhasa, I met Dolma, my charming Tibetan guide and chauffeured via van to the stunning St. Regis Lhasa Resort where I was greeted by name by every staff member I saw and escorted by Anthony, my St. Regis Butler, to a beautiful suite with a garden view.  The contrast between this sumptuous hotel and the stark utilitarian feel of the train put me in a state of mild awestruck shock. The St. Regis is a stellar example of how modern luxury can intermingle with native architecture and decor to create a tasteful, respectful environment to house sophisticated travelers. The design of the hotel itself is reminiscent of the Potala Palace with white stucco walls and dark tiled pagoda roof lines and there are gorgeous views of the actual Potala from the large picture windows in the lobby. Tibetan artifacts, Buddha sculptures, a mural of Lhasa and contemporary Tibetan themed paintings grace the lobby area lending a museum-like feel to the experience. A bath in the deep freestanding ceramic bathtub followed by a deep sleep snuggled between high count cotton sheets were much needed perks following the train ride and critical elements in perking me up for the following day’s sight seeing.

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Devotee turning prayer wheels at the Potala

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               Suite in the St. Regis in Lhasa

In the morning I walked with Tibetan Buddhist devotees around the parameters of the Potala, which for centuries was the home of the Dalai Lhama but vacated by the 14th Dalai Lhama who was exhiled duing the Tibetan uprising of 1959. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Potala is sacred to Tibetan Buddhists and several hundred circumambulate clockwise around the base of the palace each day often spinning the large brass prayer wheels that line almost half of the parameter as they go. I was too late to get tickets for an interior tour as they sell out fast so I headed to Jokhang Temple, a Buddhist monastery and sacred site that was once a palace built for the two wives of king Songsten Gampo in the 7th century. Jokhang stands out in the old part of Lhasa with its gleaming white walls and golden rooftop statues of deer flanking a Dharma wheel. Once the visitor enters through the courtyard, the temple becomes a dusky incense cured maze of chapels lined with tongkas and glass cased statues of deities illuminated with yak butter candles and lamps. People bring white or gold silk katas, flowers and money as offerings to the various gods to fulfill prayers. My last stop before a sumptuous traditional Tibetan feast in the Si Zi Kang restaurant at the St. Regis for the day is the Tsamkhung nunnery located on a skinny back street in historic Lhasa. Not a major tourist stop, it is a charming place with cheerful nuns working away at making jewelry and other small items to sell in the gift shop their major source of income yet holds the distinction of housing a precious statue of Gampo who died in 650AD. This is where I did the majority of souvenir shopping for folks back home, picking up some beautiful handmade pieces for considerably less than shops that line the streets or the open market place.

Needing a day of rest before the long journey back to the states, I spent the last day of my time in Tibet luxuriating at the St. Regis. And when it comes to luxury, the St. Regis knows how to do it right.  A tour of the property revealed that the property boasts 22 luxury guest rooms, 28 private villas and 2 very impressive apartment-like suites complete with stunning views, outdoor decks, full kitchens and dining areas and lavish master suites. A rare shallow pond graces the interior courtyard, the ions and humidity emitted from it supposedly offer healing properties in the dry climate. The gold-tiled indoor pool located in the full-service Iridium Spa also purportedly offers healing qualities. I enjoyed a private yoga session in the Spa’s yoga studio then an excellent hot-stone massage at the to get the travel kinks out of my system before embarking on the 32 hour journey back to Charlottesville, Virginia the next day. I ended my day in Decanter, the Haut-Brisson designed wine bar. Good wine is rare in China, thus the Decanter is place to begin my transition back to Western life. Sitting outside on the garden deck, I sip an excellent Bordeaux and contemplate the joys and challenges of the last seven days. A giggle emerges as I realize a newfound appreciation for Western plumbing that will carry me cheerfully through the experience of an airplane restroom on a long flight in the coming hours.

Would I be willing to return to the so-called rooftop of the world despite the sketchy restroom situation? Undoubtedly, yes.

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Tibetan artifacts in the lobby at the St. Regis in Lhasa

Earnestly fun!

The Free Dictionary defines Earnest thusly:

ear·nest 1

(ûr′nĭst)

adj.

Showing or expressing sincerity or seriousness:
The paradox of Oscar Wilde’s Importance of Being Earnest  is that there is nothing serious about it- except that it is earnestly mocking the shallow social morays of  late 19th century England. The play includes all of the entangling issues of two young gentlemen using false names wish to marry different young ladies while questions of origin and unyielding loyalty to a first name keep them from matrimony.
As expected from the white Wilde, hilarity ensues.  As expected from the company at American Shakespeare Center, that hilarity is deftly executed.
The entire cast was great but my favorite performance was Susie Parr’s Cecily Cardew (odd- since I am partial to Gwendolyn Fairfax whom I depicted in a High School production.) Parr’s delightful innocence and naivete served the play perfectly, making her mercurial moods believable as they are silly.
This is a wonderfully simplified version of a great classic that everyone should see.
More info here.

Cultural Assessment for 2015

Hello Culture Nuts!

Yes, it has been a long time since my last post and I am late with my cultural review for 2015 … please forgive me, I offer the lamest of excuses- I have been really busy.  I finished a ghost writing project (only 2.5 years of work), and started writing some content for a local University’s many publications while holding down a few other jobs and being a single mom.

OK. Enough. We are all busy, I know.

Even though I barely blogged a word last year, I did get a handle on a considerable amount of culture and this year is proving to be just as fabulous so far.  So here is the Culture Maven’s summary of cultural experiences based on the ticket stubs I saved last year.  Of course I attended first Fridays ( local gallery walk in Charlottesville) a few times, hung out at some cool events at the IX Art Park and spent many hours at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson which is right by my house and were I work part time as a guide- but none of those things had ticket stubs.

So here it is:

Last year I attended:

1 film premier (Cheatin’)

1 television show premier (Mercy Street)

visited one historic home that was not Monticello (Montpelier)

1 classical concert (Behzod Abduraimov)

4 regular films -in a real movie theater (fav: Me and Earl and The Dying Girl)

1 MET opera -on screen at a local movie theater (Madoma Butterfly)

3 National Theater Performances -on screen at a movie theater (fav: Coriolanus – AMAZING!!!)

6 museum exhibitions (fav: Rodin at VMFA)

17 plays – live (fav: Patrick Earl as Hamlet at American Shakespeare Center)

I have already seen some great exhibits and plays this year including, Bad Jews at Studio Theatre in DC and The Other Place at Live Arts here in Charlottesville so 2016 is looking like an extra culture-full year.

So I am offering up this challenge- arts and culture journalists excluded- see if you can top me this year.

All best and belated Happy New Year!

The Culture Maven

 

 

 

Brick and Mortar: A Local Restaurant Review

Once upon a time, there was a charming Italian restaurant on the outskirts of a college town where locals could get very good food at a relatively reasonable price. The restaurant was semi-conscious of its vegan and gluten free patrons, offering dining opportunities for each that were both satisfying and tasty. Then one day the owners of that delightful little neighborhood stronghold decided to go “trendy” and changed the restaurant format to poorly executed, ready- to-descend -down-the-bell-curve-of-current-food-trend dishes in an unimaginative atmosphere.

I speak of the tragic transformation of the beloved Pizza Bella on Mill Creek Road in Charlottesville to its new incarnation, Brick and Mortar. Same owners yet a total abandonment from the formula that made Pizza Bella successful.

Let’s start from the beginning…

I entered the half full restaurant and no serving staff greeted me. Strike one – all guests should be warmly greeted in a restaurant. OK, I am not the Queen of England so why should I expect to be noticed -except that I might be a paying customer- whatever.  Once I have the bartender’s/hostess'(?) attention I ask about a table for two but self-select seating at the bar. There is no hook for my purse. I remark on it. The bartender informs me that many people have commented on the lack of purse hook but the GM has ignored the request. How horrifying that such a simple request has been ignored. Strike 2- customers are paramount. I order a Moscow Mule that is presented to me with mint in it which totally screws up the ginger/vodka/lime harmony. It is undrinkable so I ask for a blush vino verde instead. $8 for a few ounces of a consumable yet much less-than-fabulous wine. OK, to be fair, I have probably paid more for worse wines but this is a neighborhood hang out not a four star establishment.

The burger I ordered came with grilled onions, pancetta and cheese (I fail to even recall what type of cheese it was, it was that unmemorable- maybe a swiss?) The onions, watery rather than actually grilled and luke warm rather than hot. The burger was cooked the way I requested and was just fine yet a bit dull in taste (I had to request salt and pepper). The salad that came with it (because there are no gluten free bread options offered) was refrigerator warn, meaning, slightly dried and not exactly fresh. It was served with a common ranch type dressing I could have easily  purchased from the Food Lion next door. When the burger was served, I had to request cutlery even though we had been at the restaurant for at least 20 minutes by that time. Strike 3. The fries…obviously from a previously frozen batch with a smattering of parmesan semi-melted atop were…well….. boring. They reminded me of a very poor version of the amazing parmesan crusted fries drizzled with truffle oil at Keswick Hall. I wonder if the KH fries were the inspiration…?

My dining companion ordered the same burger with the sweet potato wedges. The burger “was a bit bland,” according to her while the wedges were prepared with the skin on and, “mushy with uncooked bits throughout”. The most interesting thing about the meal was a spicy mayo served with the wedges, which my dining mate had to request, even though it is listed on the menu as condiment served with the dish. Strike 4- it is important not to make assumptions about your clientele. I am guessing that the server thought that a kid would dislike a condiment with a kick. Either that or the it was improperly plated in the kitchen.

Overall: My dining experience at Brick and Mortar was as exciting as staring at a brick and mortar wall. It seems to be simply copying the hot items on other successful restaurants in town without the culinary talent or the level of service to complete with them. I hope the owners quickly end this game of dress-up and go back to the yummy Italian food they do so well.

I also felt undervalued as a customer, something that is deadly in a town jam packed with good restaurants.

Ash Lawn Opera’s MADAMA BUTTERFLY flies high

“Get your hankies out,” warned Michele Krisel, Artistic Director of the Ash Lawn Opera, at the end of her curtain speech Sunday afternoon. “It is never too early to start crying during Madama Butterfly.” And she was right.  By the last ten minutes of the performance sniffles could be heard from all over the audience (including several from yours truly).

Once again Krisel and her hand picked artistic team have managed to pull off a champagne experience on a beer budget with this production.  Charles Murdock Lucas’ set is simple yet effective in depicting Cio-Cio San’s Japanese house of paper in which this story of clashing cultures is set. Lauren Gaston’s costumes are effective in developing a contrast between the sumptuous softness of the geishas and the apparent tastelessness of Pinkerton’s American wife.  And Dan Ragazzi’s minimalist direction allows the story to flow through the music- as it should. (I particularly enjoyed his use of ninja’s that flow on and off the set with necessary props.)

Krisel also knows how to cast a show to optimal effect. Pinkerton as played by Jason Slayden is just the kind of handsome devil that could break any girl’s heart.  But the star of this show is clearly Eleni Calenos who plays Butterfly.  Calenos puts forth a beautiful voice and a heart piercing dramatic performance as the naively trusting girl. She had the audience in the palm of her hand in her final tragic aria, To Die With Honor.

If you go, remember to bring tissues.  It is a truly beautiful tragic tale.

Photo by Natalie Krovetz

Photo by Natalie Krovetz

Click here for more information.

White Devils and all

Rene Thornton, Jr. in The White Devil at ASC

Rene Thornton, Jr. in The White Devil at ASC

Tonight, hopefully, I will achieve a goal by seeing the fifth play in the American Shakespeare Center’s Renaissance Season, Daniel Webster’s The White Devil.  And if this play is as good as the season’s other offerings, it should prove to be a good time to be had by all.  By “all” I mean the audience AND the actors.  This particular troupe seems to have gelled quite well (on stage at least as I am incapable of guessing what the behind the scenes situation is) bringing a wonderful sense of fun to The Taming of the Shrew (big shout out to Allison Glenzer for being such a fabulous Kate), Aphra Behn’s The Rover (love, love, love the play and particularly Lauren Ballard and John Harrell’s performances in this show xoxoxoxo), Every Man in His Humor (Patrick Midgley- you are soooo funny when you want to be), and Mother Bombie (not my favorite of the season but they do a good job with it).  Michael Amendola who plays a bunch of parts throughout the season (as does everyone in the troupe), turns every part he “touches” into gold.  His sense of humor is impeccable and I think he is perhaps the best comedic actor I have yet to see tread the Blackfriars recreated boards. And Nathan Crocker goes down smooth as an aged Scotch in every role he depicts.

I was tardy in my report on this season and I apologize but you can still catch all the Ren Season over the next couple of weeks. Plus you will have your chance to catch the cable ASC Touring Company when they return home to roost on April 8th with Hamlet (taking a group of Tibetans with me to see that with me- should prove to be interesting), Doctor Faustus, Much Ado About Nothing and Wittenberg.

See you at the theatre!

The Culture Maven

Writer’s weekend at the Homestead

Here is a great looking retreat for writers at one of my favorite Virginia resorts.

 THE OMNI HOMESTEAD RESORT TO HOST INAUGURAL

“WRITERS’ WEEKEND,” MARCH 21-22

 

Enjoy a weekend of lectures, live demos, book signings, fine dining and more with successful Virginia authors of many genres at the legendary resort  

February 27, 2015 Hot Springs, Va. – The Omni Homestead Resort is celebrating Virginia’s history of great writers with its inaugural Writers’ Weekend, Saturday, March 21 – Sunday, March 22. The thought-provoking program will feature acclaimed authors sharing their personal experiences and insights topped off with a delicious maple-themed dinner amid the beauty of the Allegheny Mountains.

Virginia-based authors who have seen success across several genres will lead the weekend, including:

  • Lynn Seldon began writing while stationed in Germany as a young Army officer. His work has been published in more than 500 publications including Southern Living, TrailBlazer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Charleston Post & Courier and more. Additionally, Seldon has published a half-dozen travel books and his first novel,Virginia’s Ring, was published in 2014. Seldon will lead a Writer’s Session titled “Pat Conroy, Crowdfunding & CreateSpace: How Virginia’s Ring Rang Up Sales” on Saturday at 11 a.m.
  • Learn about the elements of mystery writing from acclaimed writer Mollie Cox Bryan. Author of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbooking Mysteries, the first of which was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2012, Bryan will lead a Writer’s Session titled “Adding Murder to Your Resume” on Saturday at 10 a.m.
  • Kendra Bailey Morris is a food writer, culinary instructor and cooking show host who has been featured in Better Homes and GardensGarden and GunTaste of the South and Richmond Times Dispatch. She also served as a judge for the James Beard Awards and authored The Southern Slow Cooker: Big Flavor, Low-Fuss Recipes for Comfort Food Classics. Morris will lead a culinary demonstration at noon on Saturday where she will share valuable tips, tricks, and recipes. She will also showcase her delectable Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pork BBQ Sandwiches with Creamy Cider Slaw.
  • Beau Beasley‘s Fly Fishing Virginia: A No Nonsense Guide to Top Waters won the prestigious Excellence-in-Craft Award in 2009. He is also the author of Fly Fishing the Mid-Atlantic and an editor at Eastern Fly Fishing, Fly Fish America, and Southern Trout. Beasley will be leading a Writer’s Session titled “Effect Fly Patterns for the Old Dominion” on Sunday at 10 a.m.

To round out the weekend, participants are invited to celebrate the 57th annual Highland Maple Festival that’s taking place in nearby Highland County, affectionately known as “Virginia’s Sweet Spot.” Guests can take a seat for a Maple Bourbon Dinner in the resort’s Dominion Room and enjoy a four-course menu of savory dishes such as Maple Sugar Dusted Diver Scallop and Cherry Braised Duck Leg with crispy maple Brussels Sprouts. Each course is paired with expertly crafted Woodford Reserve bourbon cocktails.

Special rates for the Writers’ Weekend start at $255 for one night, or $230 for two nights. The weekend’s full schedule can be viewed online here. For more information or to make reservations at The Omni Homestead Resort, please contact (800) 838-1766 or visitwww.thehomestead.com.

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ABCD Photography exhibit opening at The Bridge in Cville

This event intrigues me because I think I might learn something about feeling culturally alienated regardless of a specific background.

This info is taken directly from the Bridge PAI website.

HP-FEATURE-ABCD-opening
 February 23, 2015 by 

Photography Exhibition Opening: Friday, March 6 at 5:30

That ABCD Life

ABCD=American Born Confused Desi. That’s what they call American kids of Indian descent. Why are they confused? Are they actually confused? What goes on in the minds of these people, split between two cultures? “That ABCD Life,” a photo exhibit by Madhavi Reddi, seeks to share the sentiments of Indian-Americans from all over the country. Join Madhavi and some of the models in the photos on March 6 and discover what “That ABCD LIfe” is all about.

This exhibition will be open weekdays until March 27.

This program was created in partnership with The Big Read. The Big Read supports organizations across the country in developing community-wide programs which encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. The current Big Read book is The Namesake By Jhumpa Lahiri. With penetrating insight, Jhumpa Lahiri follows the Ganguli family from their traditional life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans.

WNRN Culture Connection for February 23rd – March 1

February wraps up with a theatrical world premier in Richmond, a collection of Chekhov shorts (not to be confused with a collection for shorts for Chekhov – spring IS coming after all) in Charlottesville and an art show in Staunton.

To learn more about these events you can click the links provided or play a podcast of this week’s WNRN Culture Connection by going to wnrn.org> features>culture connection.

The World We Know:

http://www.firehousetheatre.org/this-world-we-know-world-premiere/

Vodka Variations: An Evening of Chekhov Shorts:

http://tickets.artsboxoffice.virginia.edu/single/PSDetail.aspx?psn=4042

Mixed media art show:

http://saartcenter.org/

THIS WORLD WE KNOW

THIS WORLD WE KNOW

Have a cultured week!

Best,

Mary

The Culture Maven

WNRN Culture Connection for Feb 16 – 22

One play, on ballet and some art on display.  Thus is this week’s WNRN Culture Connection- A musical version of Jane Austin’s Mansfield Park, the ballet version of Don Quixote and portraits by Lucian Freud.

To learn more about these featured events, click on the link below.

Don Quixote:

http://www.richmondballet.com/event/don-quixote-feb-20-2015-7pm/

Lucien Freud:

http://www.virginia.edu/artmuseum/exhibition/lucian-freud

Mansfield Park:

http://svu.edu/news/2015/professor-writes-directs-original-musical-mansfield-park-feb-13-14-19-21/

imgres

Enjoy the week and… get out there and get cultured.

Mary

The Culture Maven

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