Alt ID: Bates Hall at the Boston Public Library, built 1888-1895. At left, light streams from massive arch-topped paned windows into a grand rectangular study hall with a barrel-vaulted white Ohio sandstone ceiling at the end. The room is two hundred and eighteen feet long and resembles a Roman basilica. The room is divided by two rows of rectangular wooden study tables on either side of the long walls, creating an aisle down the center. Eight curved back wooden chairs sit at each table, some occupied. A brass green glass banker’s style lamp sits atop each table.
Bates Hall at the Boston Public Library, built 1888 – 1895

Amblin’ around Boston

Toward the end of last month, I found myself in the Boston Central Library in Copley Square with my daughter, who enjoys uninterrupted studying there. I read one of its inscriptions as we walked up to that magnificent building. “THE COMMONWEALTH REQUIRES THE EDUCATION OF THE PEOPLE AS THE SAFEGUARD OF ORDER AND LIBERTY.” My grandma Helen instantly came to mind. She was a dedicated lover of the public library system, and when she died, we donated funds for a new bookcase for the Children’s Library at Gresham. I wonder if it is still there. That library is soon to be undergoing significant changes. Since the girls are grown up, I rarely visit the library in person. I love my Libby app and adore finding the latest audiobooks to soften my drives into town now that I’m making more work trips. If you have a library card, you can get Libby for FREE! Public libraries, right? Currently, I’m listening to The Librarianist, by Patrick deWitt, set right here in Portland.

Amblin’ over to Broadway

I did buy an actual book recently. Where? Of course, at Broadway Books, where I’m filling up my latest hot pink punch card. I snapped up The Idiot, by Elif Batuman, and read it at the library, as I mentioned earlier, until I was sucked into my fantasy football app. Surprise! I am in a fantasy football league at Portland Center Stage, and up until that day in the library, I had never spent an entire game day watching the points accumulate — or not — for my team. I’ve been consistent, to say the least, always at the bottom of the league and, often in last place. My team’s name is Balleroom Dancing, which I thought was cute, but I don’t think anyone gets it. I watched my score creep up and down all day. My projected win or loss shifting in seconds. No wonder people love this, the excitement! One moment, you’re winning; then, in a single play, all hope is dashed; then, in the next play, hope emerges again! Sadly, I did lose, and time elapsed like a high-speed touchdown pass. As I watched, I couldn’t help but wish that all the millions of folks watching would make an equal donation — to play in my league is $20 — to an organization they or their families love. Our local library is one of those or any one of our beloved institutions here in Portland, including Portland Center Stage. Can you be a part of PCS’ Stronger Together campaign? Every donation makes a difference. From the board at Portland Center Stage, I thank you in advance.

Amblin around the theatre

Last week I saw Liberace and Liza at PCS; I audio-described the show, and if you haven’t seen it, don’t miss it! Jillian Snow, as Liza, is divine, and David Saffert is a virtuoso pianist. When he embodies Liberace, it’s pure magic. Bo Ayers, Liberace’s Music Director for thirteen years, leads the band on piano. You may need sunglasses to temper the show’s blinding sparkle. There are lots of shows to celebrate with at this time of year. The Portland Revels will be audio-described on December 17; I’ll be a support player there with my CADA colleague Terri Thomas doing the describing. Peruse all the audio-described offerings at Oregon Media Lab’s website. They have generously hosted a page for us on their website. Go see a play!

Looking back

I feel overwhelming gratitude for almost everything I’ve experienced over this last year. If I don’t find gratitude, I encourage myself to search for it. I don’t always succeed, but that’s life. And so my hunt for joy continues. My Daruma Doll will get her 2nd eye. I wrote in January that I wanted to explore consciousness and continue my meditation practice, which I have. I’ve meditated almost every day this year. That’s an accomplishment. Life in this body, on this planet, is complicated, and I’m grateful to you for reading this and for our connection. I hope for beauty, health and happiness for you. And for all of us, I dream that compassion and peace will prevail.

Singing it forward

I’ll be with The Portland Gay Men’s Chorus on December 8 and 9, (and 10 too, but it’s sold out) in Make the Yuletide Gay at The Newmark Theatre. I’ll be at The Old Church in the Moon Series with Howling into the Unknown: A Full Wolf Moon Sound Ceremony with Jessica Wallenfels, Stephanie Lynne Smith and Julia Francis on January 25th.

If you need an audio description provider or a voice-over artist, drop me a line, I’d love to work with you.