1,000 words, image eight

5 03 2012

(Eighth in a series of eventually 1,000 images).

A colorful windsock catches a brisk breeze. Did you know that March is National Kite Month?

Blowin' in the wind


In the United States, kite flying is generally a leisurely family pastime. One of the most famous kiting events in the nation takes place each spring in Washington, DC, the Blossom Kite Festival (formerly known as the Smithsonian Kite Festival).

Throughout Asia, kite flying can be a serious contest known as kite fighting, a sport in which opponents attempt to bring down the other’s kite through a variety of means.


The store with nothing for sale

27 02 2012

Situated in downtown Greensboro, NC, is a vibrant store chock full of antiques, unique finds, and who knows what else. The selection is mind-boggling, and you’re encouraged to handle the merchandise or let your kids play the afternoon away. Just don’t expect to walk out with anything because nothing here  is for sale.


Passersby are welcome to sit for a spell at the Elsewhere Collaborative

Known as the Elsewhere Collaborative, this living museum is the collection of inventory remaining in a store operated a husband and wife team of entrepreneurs, George and Sylvia Gray. The collection reflects seven decades’ worth of styles, tastes, and excesses. The Grays were in business from 1937 until Sylvia’s death in 1997 (George died in 1955), when the store closed its doors.

At first glance, Elsewhere may seem like nothing more than dusty piles of junk. But after learning the story of how the collaborative operates, you’ll understand that the entire facility is a display of visual art that envelopes you. It is a collection constantly curated by staff, interns, in-residence artists, and visitors who handle the merchandise and create their own arrangements. Collaboration and shared experience is the norm here; you’ll relive childhood memories and share many “hey, look at this!” moments with your travel companions and fellow visitors.

Elsewhere is open Wednesday-Saturday 1p-10p with special events on Fridays and playshops on Saturdays. Entertaining, informative, and truly an experience like no other, Elsewhere is a window-shopper’s paradise.

A vibrant home to African American history in Macon, Georgia

21 02 2012

For African Americans living in Macon and central Georgia in the early 1900s, entertainment options were few. For entrepreneur Charles Douglass, this was an opportunity. In 1912, the successful African American merchant, banker, and investor opened the Douglass Theatre. It quickly became a popular destination for blacks in the region and is today a popular destination for all.

The original theatre – with 350 seats – opened in 1912 as part of a complex which also included the Douglass Hotel. Vaudeville acts and other live performances were offered as well as film screenings. In 1921, a new theatre opened adjacent to the original, bringing seating capacity to 750-800 and offering a visually stunning space for patrons.

Douglass Theatre exterior

A Macon landmark, the Douglass Theatre offers a range of entertainment options for residents and visitors

The Douglass was an entertainment mecca. Bessie Smith and Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, the Mother of the Blues, performed here, as well as the vaudeville comedy duo Butterbeans and Susie. Other shows included sacred dramas, church benefits, and “handcuff king and escape artist,” M. Martinelli.

Movies, first silent films and later “talkies,” were a staple of the Douglass’s schedule. The films of Oscar Micheaux, the first African American film maker, were shown at the Douglass. Filmgoers were treated to a gold fiber screen, which gave a warmer sepia hue to images rather than the plain black & white tones of most movie screens of the day.

Well into the 1960s the Douglass Theatre remained true to its roots as a showplace of African American talent. Untold numbers of theatergoers witnessed the performances Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington, James Brown, and Little Richard. In 1958, disc jockey Hamp Swain introduced a live Saturday morning talent show broadcast from the Douglass. It was on this show that Otis Redding, born in Dawson, GA, and raised in Macon, was discovered.

The Douglass Theatre closed its doors in 1973, after the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Douglass. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and remained vacant for many years. In 1997, after years of restoration, the Douglass opened its doors and is once again home to a variety of stage & screen offerings for patrons of any race and culture. Jazz, blues, opera, 3D films, dramatic plays, and family-friendly fare await visitors to this treasure of African American history.

For more information and performance schedules, visit the Douglass Theatre’s website. The theatre is located at 355 Martin Luther King Blvd. in downtown Macon.

1,000 words, image seven

8 02 2012

(Seventh in a series of eventually 1,000 images).

This artist’s work is world famous and has been seen in museums, gardens, office buildings, and even a certain Las Vegas casinos. Do you recognize it?

Venetian gondola


Dale Chihuly’s glasswork is distinct and instantly recognizable when you see it – even if you don’t know the artist by name. This is a piece inspired by a Venetian gondola and was part of an exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 2011.

Chihuly’s work is known for bold colors and evocative recreations of nature’s own handiwork, and it is inspiring and accessible to those who see it. Displays may be viewed publicly in places such as Bellagio in Las Vegas or the San Antonio Public Library, or at exhibits throughout the United States and world. To find information about public installations and upcoming exhibitions, visit chihuly.com.


Veteran’s Day is a day to honor, remember, and give thanks

11 11 2011

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the “war to end all wars” – World War I – ended. A year later, President Wilson issued a proclamation recognizing Armistice Day as a day of remembrance and honor for those who died in the name of service to the United States. Thus, the beginning of what is now known as Veteran’s Day in the United States and is still remembered as Armistice Day throughout the world.

Although the day began as a way to honor the fallen of World War I, in 1954 the official U.S. holiday became known as Veteran’s Day in recognition of World War II and the number of military personnel who served during that war. Veteran’s Day became a holiday that honors the service of all veterans of war of the soldiers who fought in World War II and to recognize all members of the armed forces who served in war. Unlike other federal holidays that are tied to the closest Monday, Veteran’s Day is always observed on November 11 to preserve the historical significance of the date and to acknowledge the men and women who fought, and often died, in service of the United States of America.

Throughout the world, particularly in Great Britain, France, Belgium, Australia, and New Zealand, the day is observed as Remembrance Day with moments of silence, laying of wreaths at memorials and cemeteries, parades and other tributes to veterans of all wars. The red poppy flower is commonly worn as in memory and honor of war dead. According to www.greatwar.co.uk, the flower was common around the battlefields of Flanders in Belgium, Gallipoli in Turkey, and elsewhere, so it came to symbolize the life that sprang forth from these places of death of destruction after war’s end.

Communities large and small recognize Veteran’s Day, making it very easy to participate in the holiday. Visit a military cemetery, attend a local remembrance ceremony, participate in a tribute, or spend time with a veteran and tell him or her how much you appreciate their service.

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1,000 words, image six

8 11 2011

(Sixth in a series of eventually 1,000 images).

Like death and taxes, progress happens no matter what we do to stop it. The image below may cause you to reflect on an era once considered a golden age. Do you know what it is?

Eureka Springs, AR

This is a photo of an early 20th century locomotive’s wheel and the gear which drives it. During this era, railroads were a primary method of moving goods and people throughout the United States. Today, railroads carry commodities over more than 100,000 miles of track* with passenger travel concentrated mostly in the Northeast.

Railroad museums throughout the United States are dedicated to the preservation of the history of railroads and rail travel. This photograph was taken at the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway depot in Eureka Springs, AR. The railway is a living museum that tells the history of rail travel in the region, which began in the late 19th Century. ES&NA Railway offers scenic tours as well as lunch & dinner excursions.

To plan a visit to a railroad museum, visit ES&NA’s website or www.railroadmuseums.com for a directory of locations across North America.

*Source: Association of American Railroads

Cemeteries are places to honor loved ones, learn history, and celebrate life

31 10 2011

Cemeteries range from small, simple church yards with little adornments to well-manicured & perfectly symmetrical national military sites to elaborately outfitted and whimsically-designed Victorian affairs. In Macon, GA, the city’s historic Riverside Cemetery is an example of an elaborate affair where life is meant to be enjoyed. The 125-acre park on the banks of the Ocmulgee River is the ideal setting for a walking tour of Macon’s history and even a peaceful picnic under the shade of a large tree.

Macon, GA

The full moon peeks over distant trees to the right of a family mausoleum

Home to nearly 18,000 residents – 77 of whom are buried standing up – the grounds of Riverside Cemetery were designed by Calvert Vaux, architect of New York City’s Central Park. The private cemetery was established in 1887 and was intended to be a place full of life as opposed to the more common burying grounds of 19th-Century America. The cemetery is designed as a park, with gardens, rolling hills, and magnificent views. The monuments, markers, and mausoleums throughout are architectural & design masterpieces that provide context and information for visitors.

At the main gatehouse, an original half-timber structure, maps may be obtained and cars parked; the grounds are best explored on foot. An extraordinary tale is that of Hugh Smalling (#69, 1919-1943). Smalling was a World War II hero who died when the U.S.S. Nausett was struck by enemy fire off the coast of Italy. His brother dreamed of the ship’s sinking that night and woke his fellow soldiers in the German countryside by screaming, “Swim, Hugh, swim.” Smalling’s body was never found.

Areas of special interest include Babyland, which was established in the 1950s, and Educators’ Row, where many professors and college presidents are buried. Other affiliated groups are represented as well, commonly by special symbols or architectural elements; the markers of the 76 Woodmen of the World buried here are unmistakable for their tree trunk-like form.

A number of structures dot the cemetery and occupy prominent places on its grounds. The Macon Public Mausoleum is the largest with 300 crypts. It sits at one of the highest points in the park and is often home to special events and activities. Near the Ocmulgee River sits Pine Fort, a Confederate redoubt during the Civil War and place where troops once waited for General Sherman on his famous “March to the Sea.”

Riverside Cemetery’s landscaping includes many specimens of trees and flowers, many of which are unique to Middle Georgia. The giant arborvitaes planted throughout were once common features in cemeteries since their name means “trees of life.” Trees from Central Park and places such as Newton, Massachusetts, were part of the landscaping scheme. Flowers such as rose, daffodil, and magnolia are a few of the many species planted here.

The cemetery is operated by a private, not-for-profit corporation. The non-profit Historic Riverside Cemetery Conservancy is the public relations and preservation arm of the cemetery. The grounds are open for public enjoyment year-round, and many events are held on its grounds. A unique night-time photography session, Full Moon Euphoria, is a popular spring activity as is the cemetery’s Spirits in October tour and activity series in the fall.

Across the United States, many cemeteries offer historic tours and events to connect residents and visitors to local history. To find information about a historic cemetery in your area, search for “historic cemetery (city name)” or the city’s visitor’s information bureau.

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