Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Once Upon A Time (In Pittsburgh)

There are some days that make you so happy, it actually starts to hurt.  Smile headaches are real, people. Last Friday I had myself a yin/yang kind of day… there were some truly stressful and terrible moments, but they were balanced out (and ultimately defeated) by the sound of a cello, a giant yellow duck, and one pumpkin cupcake.

When you work with the public, you’re bound to have some horror stories. One of mine yelled at me for a good twenty minutes. But it’s ok. Because every now and then you come across someone so nice it restores your faith in all of mankind. My faith came back disguised as a pumpkin (how very Cinderella of it).  Namely, a delicious pumpkin cupcake from Oakmont Bakery.  There was nothing I needed more at that moment than a smile and a sugar fix.

This is how you make friends. 

If only I had some glass slippers to go along with that pumpkin. It would have been very appropriate for the next part of my day. A friend had called the night before with an extra ticket to see Yo-Yo Ma perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.  It was something I had really wanted to see, but with all my other concert shenanigans this summer, I initially passed on. However, you give me a call last-minute to see a sold-out show and of course I’m going to say yes. I had no idea what the program was going to be, but apparently the universe occasionally likes to see how giddy it can make me before I explode. “Once Upon A Time” was the theme, and the hall was decorated like a fairy garden, and all the lucky (rich) people were in tuxedos and ball gowns for the Gala Soiree.  Sigh.

Even the paper felt magical. 

The music was amazing. You could have heard a pin drop in that hall; everyone was so entranced by the quiet power of that cello.  There were also several pieces by Tchaikovsky, and a general giggle went around when everyone realized Disney had forever ruined the ability to listen to The Sleeping Beauty without trying to hum along (“I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream” …I dare you not to sing it).

On the walk out, I got to talk to some other singers about our love for Yo-Yo Ma and the amazing director, Manfred Honeck. I was lucky enough to work with him earlier in the year when he directed 2,000 voices and the PSO for Singing City. His movements are mesmerizing…  I literally spent hours one day watching You Tube videos of him conducting.

I'm adorable!

Then it was time to go see the star of the weekend. The Duck!! For The Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts this year we have been given the gift of happiness incarnate. And by that I mean there is a forty foot tall inflatable rubber duck floating in the river.  Just look at it, it’s so stinkin’ cute! Designed by artist Florentijn Hofman, it exists to make people smile, and it does a spectacular job of it.

Just watching everyone on the bridge walk by...

I overheard someone this weekend say that the duck has no purpose, as if creating happiness and joy in the world is a pointless exercise. This ruffled my feathers (couldn’t help it!). Political and social commentary is fine and good, and beauty is a wonderful thing to strive for, but bringing happiness to as many people as possible seems to me an excellent use of your energies. If more people sought only to create happiness, I’m sure the world would be a much better place. More ducks please!

Mr. Duck Goes to Pittsburgh

We were actually out late enough to see them pull the duck down to his current home by the point. Being me, I got a little distracted taking pictures, and started doing some light painting. I’m kind of in love with what happened.

Just light on the water... and magic.

So next in my infinite list of projects, I think I want to get them printed on canvas, or divide one into a triptych, or just make a really awesome series. This could be the thing to finally motivate me to get my Etsy shop up and running. So many possibilities!  I should probably take a nap first…

Modern Monet. Purrty!

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