Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Political Rally

I'm no stranger to the political rally, but today I experienced the most fun one I've ever been to.
Let me start at the beginning. Maybe you remember these guys.

Yup, that's Sha Na Na, the group that recreated the fifties for the seventies. Believe it or not, they actually played Woodstock (just before Hendrix!) Well what could be more fun than a political rally with one of the original members - Jon (Bowser) Bauman?

Mr Bauman came out to Minnesota to help Tarryl Clark raise money to replace Michelle Bachmann in Washington. Bowser sang and joined Bobby Vee on "stage" to support Ms. Clark's efforts.

No, that's not Bobby, it's his son Jeff, but you can sure see the family resemblance!

My friend Jim Read helped organize the fundraiser. Here he is with candidate Tarryl Clark at the Fisher's Club in Avon.

Here is Tommy Vee's bass. I really like this image - I like the vibrant colors, the composition and the subject matter.

Tarryl gave a rousing speech about what she hoped to do in Washington.

and Jim encouraged us to get out the vote, before introducing the bands.

The band set up in the front of Fisher's Club in Avon.

Jeff played drums and look who else was here.

Yes that's him!

He still has that gorgeous smile! Bobby Vee came out and sang a lot of his great hits, including Rubber Ball, Take Good Care of My Baby and The Night has a Thousand Eyes.

Here Jeff plays his brother's bass with his brushes.

Then it was time for the piece de la resistance: Bowser. We were entertained in fine Bowser tradition, but also got to hear some classical piano - some lovely and difficult Chopin pieces. Mr Bauman, it turns out, had studied at Julliard and was a bit of a child prodigy.

Bowser also sang the songs we remember him for, music from Grease and his version of Blue Moon and Hand Jive.

Then we got some more wonderful music from Bobby Vee before the big finale.

It all ended (as it always did on the Sha Na Na show) with Goodnight Sweetheart. My father was such a fan of Bowser. It brought me a strong sentimental feeling to hear and to meet Mr. Bauman as if somehow I could return for a moment to those happy days of yore and laugh with my father at the posturing and silliness of a more innocent age.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Saying Goodbye to Romania

The last day of the conference had come and I got up and took my last daylight walk to the University.

It was beautifully sunny. St Michael's positively glistened. Here is a shot of it with the so-called shot pillars commemorating the martyrs of the 1989 revolution.

This is the birth home of Matei Corvin in the daylight.

It was a good day with very interesting sessions.

Here were two presenters from Italy.

A third Italian presenter speaks with the conference organizer.

Here is the keynote speaker form Germany with his assistant.

The exhibition had been changed and represented a kind of Romeo and Juliet story between a Hungarian boy and a Romanian girl. (The images below are from the boy's side.)

Here is the Italian keynote speaker talking about Star Trek and Sociability.

At the end we had presentations on some of the publications of presenters.

When the session was over, it was dark and we saw the celebration by Hungarian citizens of the spontaneous 1956 revolution by Hungarians against the Soviets. The had lit candles in front of Matei Corvin's house and had a very very short rock concert.

We were able to visit Matei Corvin's house and garden which is now used by the Art school.

It is a very old building with a lovely garden in back. Unfortunately by battery wasn't really strong enough to capture the beauty of the garden.

On the wall outside near the restaurant where we had our goodbye dinner there was this homage to Janis without any explanation whatsoever. There was a Jazz Club across the street from the image, but we really couldn't tell why they had put up a picture of Janis.

We had dinner at the Matei Corvin restaurant across the street.

The meal was an excellent Hungarian affair with two kinds of meats and potatoes with polenta.

Then it was home to pack and get ready for the morning flight. Since my plane would leave at 5:50 in the morning it meant I had to get up by 4:30 to get to the airport in time. I had very little sleep but made it to the airport fine. The flight to Bucharest was less than an hour and then there was along wait in the Bucharest airport. I met a very interesting woman on the plane who coordinated the Romanian Paralympics. She was taking 3 men in a wheel chair and a man with a cane to Korea for the Paralympics table tennis tournament. We spent a little time together waiting and picked up some stuff at the grocery store in the airport.

This is the Paralympics coordinator and one of the team mates. Soon it was time to go through security once again and head on to Amsterdam.

Last Days in Romania

Since I went to Romania for work, I knew eventually I was going to have to settle down and go to my conference. Of course the weather turned gorgeous the moment the conference started, but I was a good girl and went to all my sessions. My paper was well received and even highly praised by the keynote speakers. I was very happy. Unfortunately with all the rain my lens started freezing up on me, so most of these are not in focus because the auto focus was catching. Here nonetheless are a few images from the first day of the conference.

So I walked over in the morning to Sapientia University.

The keynote speaker was excellent

And this Romanian photographer taught at the University and took even more pictures than I did.

Here he is with his assistant.

The other keynote speaker was from Milan. Here he is with the Italian contingent.

After the sessions we went in search of a cozy place to talk. This was supposedly a famous place but I didn't notice the name.

It was too crowded though, so we ended up in a place called Insomnia.

There was a piano player and singer, but it became too noisy to talk, so I went home and prepared for the next day.

On the way out I noticed the decoration of the entrance.

It had gotten a little cold and I hadn't brought a jacket, but I made it home safely and collapsed into bed!

Monday, 25 October 2010

An Afternoon in Sighisoara

The first thing one sees when arriving in Sighisoara is this street.

If you turn back the station looks like this.

One walks a bit of a zig zag path to get to a bridge across a river, but then you can begin to see the fortress on the top of the hill.

Before the river, one passes this beautiful large Orthodox Cathedral. It was built in 1934 and is quite striking with its black and white detail.

As one approaches the walls of the medieval city, one can look up and see the huge clocktower looming over the city.

The clock has 12 figures in total, but there are 7 on a wheel such that a different one can be seen every day of the week. These 7 figures are Roman gods.

Since I was there on Thursday, I got to see the figure of Jupiter clad in his crown. The lower figures are supposedly a drummer and an executioner.

The other side of the clock has six figures visible. The top two women represent righteousness and justice. Under them is a woman on the left with an olive branch representing peace and on the right is a little drummer who strikes the quarter hours. On either side of Righteousness and Justice are figures for night and day (not really visible in my blurry blow up).

The colors of the town were marvelous, clear, and gave the place great atmosphere.

Here is the entrance to the city. One walks up a ramp and then through the clock tower and is inside the city wall.

This is a view of the Orthodox Cathedral from the top of the city wall. (I went into the Cathedral on the way back and it is absolutely beautiful inside.

As one enters the fortress walls, one sees the birth house of Vlad Tepes. He is honored as one of Wallachia's greatest kings, who saved Romania from the Turks. Here is a sculpture of him.

This is the clock tower after one has entered the city walls.

And this is Vlad Tepes' birth house. Tepes is better known to the world as Dracula, although he has nothing whatsoever to do with vampires and it was his father who was given the named of Dracul when initiated into the Order of the Dragon in the 15th century.

Sadly the place has become a touristy memorial to a mystical story that isn't based on much of any kind of truth. The home now has a restaurant in the first floor and souvenir stands abound.

Sighisoara was primarily a German settlement named Schässburg and the influence of Germans is clearly visible in the building style.

Here is a tavern that has an interesting sign (with the sculpted head of the stag coming right out of the building.)

It seems the 7 dwarves are beloved all over the world!

The walls are non squared as with most medieval cities.

The church next to Dracul's house is called the Monastery (or Dominican) Church. It is sparsely decorated inside, but has tapestries on the walls that soften the harsh white of the walls a bit. Below is the interior of a different church (to St Francis.)

There were originally 14 towers on the wall, but now only nine are left. Each guild in the town was responsible for a tower. I think the one below is the Cobbler's Tower (known as Turnul Cizmarilor).

The streets are irregular and a real pleasure to stroll around because of the condition of the city.

Regular people evidently still live within the city walls.

This is a passage up a hill known as the Scholar's Stairs. It was built in 1642 and has 175 steps.

At the top there is the Church on the hill, which stands in front of a very pleasing Saxon cemetery.

This is a building on the edge of the cemetery.

There were lots of graves there from many different time periods.

The place was well kept and clean.

These head stones are probably quite old, but I couldn't read any thing on them .

This is the Church on the hill. It was started in 1345 and not finished until 1525. We were given a nice sheet talking about the altar pieces and various wedding chests that are found in the church.

It was really the most interesting church in the city. On the right below is a tryptich with St Martin and on the left there was a lovely piece to a female saint.

Here are some of the images painted on the walls.

The figure in the middle has three faces to represent the trinity (supposedly).

People are renovating and soon the city will look completely new and flawless (which I'm not sure is such a good thing.)

Here is a picture of the sign for the restaurant in the Tepes home.

I don't really know what this building is, but the cupolas are stunning.

Soon it was time to catch my train home - except it turned out that it was delayed. I headed back to the station only to find there was a 120 minute delay, so I went back into town and had a salad at an Italian restaurant.

When I got back to the station there had been an additional delay. We waited and waited each few minutes yielding more bad news. Finally about three hours late the train did arrive.

I had wonderful chats with these people. Olga (below) was very nice and showed me where there was a small grocer so I could buy something else to eat.

It was SUCH a relief when I finally got home (even though it was well after 1:00 when I finally got back to the hotel room. I learned a new phrase, that everyone says when you tell them about your train delay, "What do expect? It's Romania." This is the self-deprecating phrase that the Romanians say when something goes wrong.