Friday, March 30, 2012

The "Dark Shadows" Feature Trailer...*insert eye-roll*...

Don't know how long this trailer has been out, but I caught it on YouTube. All I have to say is...

"Mr. Burton, you have yet again decided to skirt the line of 'really good' and 'really bad'." Tim Burton is a favorite director of mine. It pains me to think that he might just have made another...well, bad movie. The original series of "Dark Shadows" is something I have written about before. It hasn't seen an equal in it's subject matter within the realm of day time soaps. (No, I do not count the horrible 'Passions'.) The story was engaging in that regard, but it also was completely watchable for another reason. It's many flaws. Acting that bordered on 'community theater' level. As Master Thespian would say, "Acting!" One could create a drinking game based on the number of times actors flubbed their lines. Shaky set walls. Boom mics hanging in plain sight. Shadows of crew members on set walls. The entire package was so...special. There was a magnetic charm that kept viewers coming back again and again. What would Barnabas do next?

Then I saw this (cue trailer):

Tim Burton is in a tough spot. As I touched on before, this movie is either going to be 'really good', or 'really bad'. I see the presence of some of the old characters, but so many liberties appear to have been taken that (from the trailer) it looks like he could have just as easily produced a film independent of the "Dark Shadows" story line. Actually, it looks like he might have done that. Taken such small nuggets of plot and character from the original to make an entirely new plot line and world. The tough element in all of this is Johnny Depp.

Johnny is on my short list of favorite actors, and I have loved every performance I have seen him give. He is one of the few American actors I think of that has 'chameleon-like' qualities. He takes chances with the characters he steps into. His performance of Willy Wonka in "Charlie & The Chocolate Factory" was appropriately creepy, but the film was terrible. I have no doubt that his portrayal of Barnabas will be great, but...the laughs look like they are going to be rammed down the audiences throats. I have a huge sense of humor that appreciates its share of over the top fun. That being said, there is a line where a films humor level can try too hard. John Waters might want to chuck me in the back of the head for this, but there is such a thing as too much 'camp'. I LOVE camp. However, there is good camp, and there is bad camp. Everything has it's evil twin, and I think that this "Dark Shadows" film might be the evil counter-part to the original. 

I also have to mention an actress on my short list, Helena Bonham-Carter. She is also a 'chameleon-like' actor.  I have been a fan of hers since "A Room With A View" came out (I am a sucker for period pieces like that).  It is a beautiful thing that she happens to be Burton's significant other, and as such is cast in just about everything he does.  She is a gift to any movie she is attached to.  I know she will put her heart and soul into the role of Dr. Julia Hoffman, like she obviously does with every part she plays.  Actors work can sometimes save a film, but if this is a bomb, can it happen here?  

When it hits DVD I will see it. Johnny and Helena are in it, so I have to see it. I will have a cringe locked and loaded as the movie starts, but I do hope I don't have to use it. I am so hoping that my predictions are wrong. I kind of wish that I had never watched the trailer. These days, trailer's show way too much of a film.

True, I am just one person with my own opinions. However, Burton has a huge army of die-hard fans of the original to contend with. The success of this film really rests in the hands of younger people who were too young to have watched the original, or who weren't born when it re-ran and never saw the rather lame night time remake. The greener the movie goer, the better.

I know it's hard to see from this post, but I am trying to be open minded. Really! I was a fan of the original, even re-watching the episodes a few months ago on Netflix. I also wrestle with a philosophy I have always had regarding TV shows and movies being remade in any form : "Don't fix it if it ain't broke."

Aside from the two actors previously mentioned, there is a cast of talented actors.  Jonny Lee Miller, for one.  (Most will most likely know him from the '80's 'cool computer nerd' film, "Hacker's".  Some lucky individuals will have caught him in his 26-episode run starring in the TV series, "Eli Stone"...great stuff.)  Who knows?  I could be completely wrong, and "Dark Shadows" the movie will be great.  It is set to be released on May 11th, so I'll wait and cringe locked and loaded...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Back To The...Futuro...

As an artist, I appreciate artistic design and expression of all types. From painting, to sculpture, to music, to architecture. Creativity is not a single minded attribute. Creativity has many facets, like a gigantic ever evolving gem. A creative style/aesthetic I have always loved is from a niche carved in the 1960's-70's. A very prominent area of design known as Modern and/or Space Age. The section I am going to tap into for this post is the 1970's.

One of my favorite retro shows that aired in the '70's is the first live action series production by Gerry Anderson, "U.F.O."  (You may know him for his puppet driven films, "The Thunderbirds", "Captain Scarlet", etc.) His wife at the time, Sylvia, designed all of the wardrobe. The show did first air in 1970.  It was a big hit with my older brother, so that was pretty much my introduction. The video above is of the opening sequence of the show. It will kind of illustrate the aesthetic I speak of. Plastic blocky dishes. Blow up furniture. Sideburns. Go-go boots. Nehru collars.  Blocky sunglasses and cat-eye make-up.  One of my favorite parts of that intro is when it says "The Future...1980". If 1980 had been more like the show, I would have enjoyed it more.  (*grin*)  In addition to the design aesthetic, I have always had a fascination with the subject of UFO's, or more specifically Flying Saucers.  (A side-bar:  Something that has always irked me is that people have a tendency to call a 'flying saucer' a 'UFO'.  UFO means "unidentified flying object".  If you are calling something deemed to be a flying saucer a UFO, why?  You have seemingly identified it, so call it what it is.  *sheesh*)

Flying saucers.  Real? Not real? Some swear up and down that they have been abducted.  Taken aboard an alien craft by little green (or grey) men for some serious 'probing'.  Betty and Barney Hill.  Travis Walton.  Both are recorded in the Blue Books, the Hills' account being the very first.  I am starting to get away from where I am going with this post, so I am going to veer back a bit.

(Malin House)
I remembered a house in the Hollywood Hills close to where I lived in West Hollywood, California.  It was known as both the "UFO House", and the "Flying Saucer House".  Not so much round as it is hexagonal, it was designed by John Lautner, and is officially known as the Malin House/"Chemosphere".  I went in search of a photo of the house, which of course led me to pictures of other flying saucer shaped abodes.  Didn't discover many, but the ones I did are Interesting, and very cool.

My next discovery is really cool.  A UFO room in the "Tree Hotel" of Sweden. The design of the UFO "room" is really effective (as you can see in the picture above).  Actually, all of the rooms of the hotel are hidden in a forest, perched high in the trees.  The architecture is really beautiful.  I have never seen a place like it before.  I had to include the UFO room in this post for obvious reasons, but I am also including a link to the official page of the hotel.  It is worth checking out, especially from an artistic perspective.  If I am ever in Sweden, I will definitely look it up.  The Tree Hotel, Sweden

(Although all of the above rooms are in the Sanzhi District, you can  see a distinct difference in the photos posted.  The upper-right, and lower left pertain to this entry about the resort.  The upper-left, and bottom-right look like the Futuro structures in the last section.)
One UFO/saucer shape influenced home is cool and sits way outside of the norm, but an entire complex of them?  Built in 1978 in New Taipei City, Taiwan, their original intent was as a vacation resort for US Military officers stationed in East Asia part-time.  They would later be converted into a commercial seaside resort for vacationers.

Sadly, no one would ever stay there, and they would remain uninhabited until their demolition in 2008 (according to several articles I read).  The reasons given are financial troubles, some "unfortunate events", and superstitions about the land being a burial ground.  I could find nothing about more specific info on the "events".  Perhaps they were caused by the unhappy spirits of those buried there?  (Some words from the movie "Poltergeist" spring to mind: "You son of a bitch!  You moved the cemetery, but you left the bodies, didn't you?  You son of a bitch, you left the bodies and you only moved the headstones!  You only moved the HEADSTONES!  Lies!  Lies!"  Movie reference concluded...)  It appears that superstitions might have attached a supernatural stigma to the site. Stranger things have happened.  I would be curious to learn more.

Now for my favorite "UFO" themed architectural masterpiece.  (For me, anyway.)  The Futuro.  Designed by architect Matti Suuronen, in Finland, 1968. These roughly 525 square foot, saucer shaped homes, were designed with vacationers in mind.  Actually, Suuronen's intention for them was as a ski cabin.  They were designed to be easily reconstructed, and easy to heat. Rough terrain was no problem.

I want one!  No, I don't have space for one right now, but...another art studio fantasy of mine.  The perfect self contained pod.  Sitting area, dining area, kitchen, bathroom, and a spot smack dab in the middle of it for an elevated fire pit.  I also love the stylized interior.  The modern/space age aesthetic I mentioned before. It looks like fixtures you would find in any SHADO ("Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation") employees' home. Yes, another "UFO" television series reference.

Well, I may want one, but not suprisingly they are fairly rare.  Made in the late-'60's to early-70's, there were less than 100 actually built.  It is estimated that these days there are probably only around 50 that exist.  What's even more unfortunate is the state some of the original structures are in.  I found several pictures of abandoned, and vandalized ones.  So very sad.

By the time the mid-70's rolled around, the Futuro was taken off the market. The main reason was the Oil Crisis, and the exorbitant price of gasoline. Futuro's were constructed from fiberglass reinforced polyester plastic.  The hugely inflated gas prices made plastic expensive.

The above book about the Futuro can be purchased, but you could expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $600 for one.  Also, Finnish Director Mika Taanila made a documentary about the homes called, ""Futuro - A New Stance For Tomorrow", 1998.  I did find some download sites that have it, but the sites are European and only have the PAL format.  Bummer on both counts.

An original proto-type does exist.  It's home is the Museum Boijmans Van Beunigen in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.  I found the following video on Youtube.  It appears to be of a museum docent who is explaining a bit about the history of the futuro, and how it came to be there at the museum.  The information is interesting, but be warned...the gal is rather boring...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Art of J.W. Waterhouse...

("Saint Cecelia", c. 1895)
John William Waterhouse has been one of my favorite painters since I first laid eyes on one of his paintings many years ago.  Even if someone doesn't know his name, they most definitely know his work.  Although some describe him as being "loosely associated" with the Pre-Raphaelite movement, the color, subject matter, mood, and life he injected into each painting more than qualifies him. Some also describe him as being part of the Romanticism movement, and the Neoclassical movement .

(J.W. Waterhouse)
Known as "Nino" for the better part of his life, Waterhouse was born in Rome, Italy, in 1849. His father worked as a painter there.  In the 1850's, the family would return to England.  Nino assisted his father, and would develop a great interest in painting.  In 1870, he entered the Royal Academy Schools.  Some of his early inspirations were the paintings of Alma Tadema (Romanticism), and Leighton (Academicism).

His main medium of choice was oil paints, but he also worked in watercolors.  His interest in the Pre-Raphaelites grew.  (I have included a couple of links at the bottom of this post to sites that explain the Pre-Raphaelite movement, and give a list of painters and their work.)  His main subject matters were the strong and/or tragic femme fatale, and "plein-air" painting (French for "in the open air").

(Left: "Pottery Painting", Lawrence Alma Tadema, c. 1871;
Right: "Flaming June", Frederic Leighton, c. 1895)
Waterhouses' history with the Royal Academy spanned many years. The accounts/bios I read differed slightly as to what happened what year, but not by much. He was elected as an associate in the early 1880's, becoming a full member in 1895.  

His Royal Academy diploma work was the painting "A Mermaid", but it wouldn't be completed until 1900.  Waterhouse offered up his 1889 painting "Ophelia" as a temporary substitution (look below for the trio of "Ophelia" paintings). Interestingly, "Ophelia" was lost for the better part of the 20th Century, but is now a part of the Lord Lloyd Webber collection.

("A Mermaid", c. 1900)
Some life bullet points:  He began exhibiting his paintings in the mid-1800's, throughout England and abroad.  In the 1890's he started exhibiting portraits.  In 1900, he offered up some of his work to be auctioned as a contribution to the Artist's War Fund.  In 1901 he moved to St. John's Wood, where he joined the Arts Club, a social organization that included such painters as Alma Tadema.  

The last 10 years or so of his life he was quite ill.  Cancer made him increasingly frail.  However, it didn't keep him from continuing to paint until his death in 1917.  That period produced a series of paintings based on the "Persephone" legend, and the mythological piece "Tristram and Isolde".

At the time of his death, his one final work "The Enchanted Garden", was left unfinished on his easel. (Scroll down the page a bit for the painting.) The Royal Academy exhibited it upon his death.  It is now part of the Lady Lever Art Gallery collection, in Liverpool, England. 

His wife, Esther Kenworthy, whom he married in 1883, would survive him, living another 27 years.  They had no children.  The photograph of the grave is that of Waterhouse.  It can be found at Kensal Green Cemetery in north-west London.  
(Top:  "Consulting The Oracle", c. 1884;
Bottom left:  "The Crystal Ball", c. 1902; Bottom right:  "The Magic Circle", c. 1886)
One of the main focuses for me in looking up biographical info on Waterhouse, was any personal information.    If he had any specific interests away from his painting.  More specifically, what were his spiritual or metaphysical views? More than a few of his works have the flavor of mysticism.  I'm curious as to what that stems from.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything online.  The sites I visited said that there really isn't any personal history on him.  It appears that my mystery will remain unsolved.

The above photo is of Waterhouse in his studio at 10 Hall Road, St. John's Wood, London.  He is working on the 1909 version of "Lamia", which is pictured on the right.

The photograph is of Mary Waterhouse, Nino's half sister.  She is said to be his model for the well known painting, "The Lady Of Shalott", c. 1888.

(Top left:  "Ophelia", c. 1910;  Top right:  "Ophelia", c. 1894;
Bottom:  "Ophelia", c. 1889)
("The Enchanted Garden", c. 1917 ~ his last work)

I have included quite a few paintings in this post because it was difficult to choose one over another.  Waterhouses' paintings are so involving.  They really pull you into the world created.

The remaining paintings below appear...just because...  They are all so beautiful.
(Left:  "Tristram and Isolde", c. 1916; Right:  "Miranda", c. 1916)
(Left:  "Circe Invidiosa", c. 1892; Top right:  "The Charmer", c.  1911;  Bottom right:  "Boreas", c.  1903)  
("The Mystic Wood",  couldn't find a year for this one)
(Left:  "Psyche Entering Cupid's Garden", c.  1903;  Right:  "The Soul of The Rose",  c.  1908)

LINKS for Pre-Raphaelite information:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New Moon in Aries & Astrological New Year...March 22, 2012...

Thursday, March 22nd, at 10:37 AM/EST, is the Aries New Moon.  Aries is the first sign of the Zodiac, and this New Moon rings in the true beginning of the Astrological New year.

The Sun, Moon, Mercury, and Uranus are huddled in a Stellium under Aries. This is making a tension creating aspect, or wide square, with Pluto in Capricorn. We might feel the desire to be who we want to be.  Freedom is desired, but a number of road blocks are making it difficult to attain at the moment.  We might see people from our past who will bring old issues with them.  The issues are reappearing for us to deal with, and gain mastery over. Mars (Aries' ruler) is still retrograde in Virgo, Mercury is retrograde in Aries, and Saturn in Libra is inconjunct the New Moon.  Although this is a good time to move ahead with plans, and start new projects, be prepared for possible delays.  Have other options available just in case.  Saturn in Libra says to stay calm and be cooperative in matters pertaining to money.  Compromising may be in order.  Mars in Virgo is firm on the need for order.  Mercury retrograde Aries says to be sure to think before you speak, which is always a good bit of advice at all times of the year.

A semi-Sextile Neptune in Pisces, to retrograde Mercury, stresses caution. Not everything is at it seems, and doubly so here.   There is a potential to take some hits financially.  Don't let personal feelings get in the way of constructive and sensible decisions.  Keep dealings under the heading of "strictly business".

We still have the supportive energy of the Grand Trine of Mars in Virgo, Pluto in Capricorn, and Jupiter in Taurus.  An inconjunct from Mars in Virgo is attached to the New Moon.  This gives us the ability to tap into the Trine's energies. Finances come into play here, too.  Take extra care in problem solving in this area.  Being practical can make all the difference.  Again, there are more situations for delays in getting the ball rolling on projects related to finances, so get those back-up plans together.

The energies of this New Moon are full of creativity and new ideas.  Take your time, so that you can reap the benefits.  If you go plowing ahead, you most likely will fall on your face.  This time can be used as an exercise in patience. Seed planting for the long term is a good bet.  Don't repress yourself, and be strong and assertive.  Having a take charge attitude can transform things for the better before they have a chance to blow up in your face.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Vernal Equinox & Ostara...

Today, March 20, 2012, is the official first day of Spring.  Actually the Vernal Equinox centers around a specific time...a moment.  As I write this, the moment has already passed.  The time of the Equinox was 1:14 AM/EST.
In that moment, blazing Sol centered itself directly on the equator.  Earth's axis did not tilt toward or away from the Sun.

The Vernal, or Spring, Equinox marks a point of the year when Earth experiences a day and a night that are the closest to being of equal length. The term 'Equinox' is derived from the Latin, "aequus nox", which translates to "equal night".

A wide spread belief that is more Chinese folk lore than fact, deals with the positioning of the Sun and the planets during an Equinox.  It is said that incredible feats of balance are possible, the more popular items for the balancing act being eggs and brooms.  The truth is that it is possible to stand an egg on it's end with the required finesse, but it is just as difficult or easy to do it during an Equinox as any other day.

The first day of Spring is also known as 'Ostara', so named for the pagan goddess, Eostre (the Teutonic goddess of New Life).  The day may see a balance between dark and light, but it acknowledges the lengthening of days. Longer days means more light.  What was dormant during the Winter months is now starting to grow and thrive again.  It is a time of a new cycle and new fire.  A season of growth and fertility.  Of rebirth.

This Equinox also marks the beginning of the Sun God's journey across the sky.  The energy filled light he brings with him dispels the dark chill of Winter.  The warm light grows until it's peak meets the Summer Solstice at Midsummer in June.

Early pagans celebrated the new crop seasons, and the accompanying planting. During the month of April, the feasts held by pagan Anglo-Saxon's were to honor Eostre. Rabbits are sacred to her, and it was believed that Eostre would take the form of a white rabbit.  It is easy to see where Easter got its name.

Eventually, the feasts died out and were replaced by the Christian 'Paschal Month', the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.  (Actually, quite a lot of the special dates and accompanying celebrations that are claimed by Christianity, come from pagan origins.)    

Whenever 'Spring' is mentioned, I immediately think of one of my favorite paintings, "Spring", by Dutch painter, Lawrence Alma-Tadema c. 1894.  The picture of it to the left doesn't do it justice.  One of the paintings hanging in the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, I always had to spend some time studying it whenever I visited there (I used to live in L.A.).  The detail is exquisite.  There is so much life in the faces of the celebrants. They look as if they could just step out of the painting.  There are some accompanying paintings that focus on different angles of the balcony areas, but this is my absolute favorite.

Here on Georgia's southern coast, Winter never really paid us a visit.  For the most part it has felt like Spring got here some time ago.  I am glad that it has officially arrived though. The azalea bushes started to bloom a few weeks ago.  I look forward to the other seasonal flowering plants joining in.

Wishing all a happy and blessed Ostara!

Monday, March 19, 2012

NASA & 2012...

The year 2012 is here.  December 21st is less than 300 days away.  People the world over have been lamenting the alleged ancient signs of imminent disaster.  So far the fanatics have been fairly quiet out there.  When I watch TV, I catch a mention of the dreaded date from time to time, but nothing major. Some of the cable networks have been running the mediocre film based on the now infamous date, which is to be expected.  I imagine there will be an increase over the next several months of shows on Discovery, The History Channel, etc., that cover the dread scenarios.  Nat Geo (a.k.a. The National Geographic Channel) has a new offering called "Doomsday Preppers".  It features people who have gone to the extreme in preparing for the disaster they are convinced is coming.  Bunkers and shelters; food and water; clothing that will protect against the predicted horrible conditions.  I read an article about the show where one of the producers was sharing his hopes for viewers.  He said that he hoped it would empower them to prepare themselves.  Having lived in California for about 18 years, I understand the need to be somewhat prepared.  I went through the North Ridge quake of the early '90's, so I know the importance of a working flashlight, etc.  I would imagine some will take away some helpful tips, but the trailers I have seen show people who have gone over the deep end.  Honestly, if they are predicting the world will go through the changes they are preparing for, their preparations will be for naught...I doubt anything will be able to live in that kind of environment.  It's kind of like putting a Band Aid on a decapitation.

This makes my third post regarding the 2012 grumblings.  (You can find my other posts in the 'Labels' section of the right hand column.  Just click on "Mayan".)  I've said it before, and I'll say it again...I'll find out what happens when everyone else does.  My prediction is that nothing will happen.  However, if any of the predictions do come true, I vote for the more 'crunchy granola' entry on the list.  A change in more of a spiritual/metaphysical sense. Definitely something I can jive with.

There are times when things have to get really bad, before they can get really good.  There are those who say that this is the case with the 2012 date.  Are things really bad right now?  Yeah.  They are.  Our economy is in the crapper. Unemployment is up.  Not only do the current presidential hopefuls look bleak, Washington DC is full of career politicians who are more concerned with themselves than 'we the people' who elected them.  If one were to sit down and really analyze the state of things over all, well it is insane making.  Some say that we are going through such taxing times because there is going to be a shift happening at years end.  In a previous post, I shared an online video regarding "Ophiuchus, The 13th Cycle" because I thought that in the midst of all the doom and gloom talk out there, the theory outlined on the video was a bit more compelling.  Here is a link to that post.

My main reason for posting again about 2012...well, it was bound to happen anyway, but the main reason for this particular post is the following video.  One of the primary Doomsday predictions is the one surrounding a certain planet. A planet that belongs to another solar system, and travels its orbital path right through our solar system.  There are a few popular names for said planet: Planet X, Nemesis, Nibiru.  Many say that it truly exists, and NASA has been keeping the truth from the public.  Why cause a panic, right?  NASA employee, Don Yeomans, of the "Near-Earth Object Program" has decided to clear some things up.  Check it out...

He makes some good points.  Especially the one about Nibiru being kept secret.  How could such a planet exist and not be a huge topic on the news? NASA certainly doesn't employ the only astronomers on the planet.  Whether astronomers are professionals or hobbyists, if a planet were heading towards us, the news would be out on a much bigger scale.  

Yes, Mr. Yeomans is a man of science, and of course his views are based there.  Science can explain some things, but not others.  Nibiru and solar storm activity...I think science can safely explain those.  But what about the intangible?  Those things that can easily fall into the realm of the metaphysical?  Some things defy explanation, but just...are.  That's what I find intriguing.

I don't really expect anything to happen on December 21st.  I suspect it will be a cool winter day, and many of the carbon based life forms on the Earth's surface will be scrambling around trying to get their Christmas shopping done. If planets do align and something heavy happens on a spiritual front, I will relish every moment.  If something horrible and catastrophic happens, I'll...well, I won't relish every moment of that...I'm just going to shift into 'wait and see' mode for now.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Green Water & Moon River...

(Shaded Sidewalk of Gaston Street by Forsyth Park;
Photo: Lisa Erin Brown)
On Friday, March 9th, the local news aired the "official greening of the Forsyth Park fountain".  St. Patrick's Day is a huge deal here in Savannah.  There is supposedly a large Irish population here.  Business names (many of them pubs) can be seen in parts of downtown that sport Irish names.  I would say that the majority of Savannah citizens speak with a southern accent, with a fair share of drawls in there, so it might be hard to identify just who is "Irish", and who isn't.  I guess I'll just have to take the Savann-ians word for it...

(Photo: Lisa Erin Brown)
I have heard about the "greening" of the fountains over the years, but had not actually seen one with it's St. Pat's dye job.  I had talked about checking out the main fountain at Forsyth Park, and since the weather has been nice (in the 70's) we decided to venture forth.

Checking it out on a weekday was the best way to go.  Parking can be near impossible on the weekends as the majority of spaces are metered and along the streets.  The fountain is situated at the north end of the park, and we were able to find a spot less than two blocks away.  Not bad at all.

Savannah is beautiful on the whole, but the historical district that makes up most of downtown is just gorgeous.  Old row houses, moss draped trees, neatly trimmed bushes, ivy, and azaleas line the streets (several laid with cobblestones).  Driving through the web of small streets to get to the park was a tad tedious, but well worth the trip.

(Photo: Lisa Erin Brown)
A wide stone walk encircles the park, a canopy of large trees shading the walkers and joggers.  The park itself is very well kept.  The above picture doesn't do the green of the grass justice.  A really pretty park.  We could see the fountain through the bushes and trees, so we headed in that direction. There were other people strolling around, but not enough to ruin the sense of calm that filled the park.

(Photo: Lisa Erin Brown)
Forsyth Park was the first large park in Savannah.  It's design was influenced by the 19th century urban renewal of Paris.  The fountain was created in 1858, and made of cast iron.  It's a pretty fountain, but I hate to say it...I was envisioning something a bit more spectacular.  The pool seems a bit large for the design.  The ducks and mermen that encircle it are spread rather sparsely.

Just inside the black wrought iron fence is a section of paving bricks that ring the fountain.  The bricks are engraved with the names of those who contributed to the restoration of the fountain in 1988.  Other restoration work has been done over the years due to weather damage and vandalism.  These days, it looks like it is kept up rather well.  The fountain may have paled in comparison to my expectations, but the setting is pretty.

(Forsyth Park fountain, Savannah;
Photo: Lisa Erin Brown)
As for the 'greening', yep!  That water was green alright.  The official "greening" took place around noon that previous Friday.  Apparently, it has become a big attraction in starting off the week of St. Patty's Day festivities.  The local news said that a couple hundred spectators turned out to witness the dumping of the dye.

(Fountain duck,
Photo: Lisa Erin Brown)
The tradition was started in the late 80's, or early 90's.  The exact date changes depending on who you ask.

Actually, the tradition was started to stop illegal "greening".  It seems dumping green 'stuff' in the fountain waters throughout the city had been a late-night prank around here for years.  The 'pranksters' have used a number of substances, including green paint.  Paint, of course, would destroy pump systems, which would then cost the city a lot of money.  The cities goal was to take over the 'greening', make it more of a seasonal event, and take the steam out of the pranksters.  It appears to have worked, and now citizens look forward to "greening" day each year.

(Fountain Merman,
Photo: Lisa Erin Brown)
As I stood there snapping some pictures, it occurred to me that maybe the fountain wasn't as impressive as I had hoped because it was in a pool that was too big for it to handle.  If the mermen and ducks were closer in to the main fountain structure, and the pool were smaller, maybe it would look more majestic?  I suggested this to Glenn.  He seemed to remember seeing the fountain when he was little, and it having more pieces.  Oh well.  I just snapped some more photos and tried to enjoy what was there.

The park itself was another story.  It felt so good to be outside "among them" (as my father would say).  It was t-shirt weather, there was a calm breeze, and the azaleas were in bloom.  What's not to like about that?
Photo: Lisa Erin Brown)

We walked around for a few minutes, and decided to head over towards River Street for some Suds and a nosh.  Another place I have wanted to visit sprang to mind, so we decided to head there.  Next destination:  Moon River Brewing Company.

(Photo: Lisa Erin Brown)
(Photo: Lisa Erin Brown)
The Moon River Brewery has been on my list of must-see locations since moving to Savannah.  It is a micro-brewery, which I dig.  I enjoyed visiting the various micro-breweries in northern California when I lived in San Francisco.  This one has an intriguing difference is said to be very haunted.  Over the years, I have seen it mentioned on various travel shows and ghost hunting shows.  The most recent mention was on a show I refer to as DUUUDE!!!, but most people know as "Ghost Adventures".  The "Dudes" talked to employees and patrons.  There has been some ghostly activity in the bar and restaurant areas, but the 'hottest' location appears to be in the upper levels of the building where the general public doesn't go.

(Photo: Lisa Erin Brown)
We sat in the bar, and after perusing their selection of brews, we settled on the Apparition Ale.  Since I had been drawn to the location by stories of ghosts, we felt it the most appropriate.  Also, the description said that it was most like a pale English ale, and that the ingredients were imported from there. It was okay.  A bit sweet for my taste, but then my favorite ale is Guinness...

(Photo: Lisa Erin Brown)
The table we were seated at was next to windows looking in on the fermentation tanks.  Too bad nothing was going on in there.  If they are going to have the tanks out there like that, it would be nice if they would do something akin to Shakey's Pizza throwing dough behind their big glass window.  I suppose that beer doesn't involve continual steps like the making of pepperoni pizzas...

The bar was decked out with shamrocks of varying sizes, ready for the crazy shenanigans of St. Patrick's night.  I have not been to River Street for the big day since my college days back in the '80's.  I don't plan on changing that fact any time soon.  River Street on that particular night is the definition of "all hell breaking loose".

After enjoying some chicken fingers and fresh cut fries with the ale, we decided to walk down to River Street since it was right there.  An old friend of Glenn's works as a bartender at one of the pubs, so we went by there to say 'hello'.  We had missed her.  Then it started to rain.  Seemed like the time to get the car and head home.  The end to a nice day.

(Savannah's River Street;
Photo: Lisa Erin Brown)