Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fantasy Trail @ Cape Henlopen State Park 2010

Dear Reader: look up the 2009 Fantasy Trail post for the event overview and then please, read on.
I'm the "Official Crazy Outdoor Greeter", a fourth year returning volunteer. Like try and stop me! Without a doubt this is one of the highlights of my Beach Season!
A few weeks before the event I check out my Fantasy Trail Disco-Era-Psycho-Stay-At-Home Mom costume: pouffy black and neon-pink streaked pig-tailed wig, costume of starched cotton color-printed apron and jogging suit, and my extras: crazy Halloween decor garlands worn as necklaces, slap bracelets with dolphins and serpents, my dinosaur finger-puppet, and my magic strobe light!
The costume works it's magic into my psyche and by "opening night": I'm READY!
As I roll into the parking lot: I'm already in my character. The Park Police who know me from my Summer as "Bird Police Volunteer at The Point" took one look at me and were in instant hysterics. My role is simultaneously to get the kids excited and organized for the fun ahead! ;-)
To get even more psyched for the evening I run ahead of the event the 300 carved and lit pumpkin trail! At this point I am in storybook-land. I'm now living each and every fairy-tale.
The public arrives early and we had 30 minutes to entertain until "show time". The Returning favorite entertainer Lollipop The Clown and I have fun dancing together, bidding the children to do the same. Lollipop's ferret wore a sparkly green top-hat and again kissed my dinosaur finger puppet! Later Lollipop holds court in the entertainment tent where she has everyone in the palm of her hand while singing, telling stories, and making adults into mummy's; winding them in rolls of toilet paper!
Over the three nights ~ 2,500 children and adults were not just entertained but enthralled upon high. Their beloved State Park transformed from bright-and-beachy to spooky-silly with even the aquarium tanks of sand sharks becoming part of the display "trail".
After two nights running my voice became raw but my spirit resided at Fantasy Trail, and lived well it did.
Small Kitchen Story Note: What to have for dinner at 9 PM after entertaining the masses? Big Fish to the rescue: Pumpkin Crab Bisque purchased early in the day.... served with rice crackers and my own-made applesauce.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Big Fish: Local Time

How many times during the Summer did I want to dine at Big Fish and knew it would be an impossibly long wait, and thus opted instead to purchase fish from the market and make dinner at home? A-LOT!
Last weekend we had plans to dine at Dewey Beach's Scraps and at the last second opted for Big Fish. Yes, I thought: maybe we have half a chance to get in for dinner!
I headed in to get the table reservation, looked around at the crowd and was told the wait was 30 minutes..... and then thought to check out eating at the bar. I scored the three needed seats at the back of the house "secret" Tikki Bar.
The bartender confirmed my guess that this was now Local-Time! Time for the locals to enjoy their own town and get into the venues of choice.
I decided to try something I'd never prepare at home: split lobster stuffed with crab imperial! I did two sides of mashed sweet potatoes and stewed tomatoes. Gloriously gorgeous was the dish.
Big Fish is known for huge portions, but the 1/4th of a pie Peanut Butter Pie serving was gob-smacking! It was enough to serve 4 for a Birthday Party. So I sang out loud the song and the bar patrons who were downing champagne joined in!

Beach Blessings,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jazz Fest 2010! Very Chill.

I so much wanted to attend a Rehoboth Convention Center Saturday Night Jazz Concert, but as I had heard the booked group at least three times before, I passed and decided to do the "non-official" venues.
Interestingly, I heard the same from other devoted Jazz Fest attendees: they always come for the weekend..... but wanted new performers, and they as well opted for the local scene.
Jazz Fest: spend the money $$$,$$$ and bring in new heart-stopping performers. We are all yearning for a repeat weekend as thrilling as the one with both Dionne Warwick and Queen Latifah!
I took in Dewey Beach's Cove twice: for the Friday Happy Hour and the Saturday Night 9 PM set.
The Happy Hour was a big happy crowd and Johnny Neel, was fine even if the sound was muddy. The mistake was that the group's sound tried to play to the entire complex; which is a somewhat awkward set up.
Saturday Night there was a $5.00 cover to see Fred Hughes Trio with Peggy Raley. This group got it right and played a "lounge-y set" to the dance floor. When Peggy Raley broke from the trio: they let loose and the crowd responded.
The Cove is successful when the music is "clubby" and plays to the dance floor.
Dewey Beach really hates a cover charge........ even if it is only $5.00. I think this subdued many who thought of attending.
I think the same might have happened for the Route 1, Bethany Blues $40 cover for a buffet and six hour jam session.
Many that I met at the Cove then went into Rehoboth to stroll the street and take in any venue that appealed. The odd favorite was non-Jazz Karaoke at The Purple Parrot!
Sunday Night, The Forgotten Mile's, Just In Thyme's, David Zipse review and final- jam brought in the core in-the-know musicians and local crowd. So funny as we pile into the bar where you can not see the musicians, but the tunes find their way in to the space just the same!
This was a chill-ax way to do the Jazz Fest....... and it was OK. Next year, Jazz Fest Producers: please make my heart go thump with a new line-up.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

University of Delaware's Lewes Coast Day 2010

Something happens to me every time I drive on Pilottown Road going towards the University of DE. I get spine-tingles. I'm elated; enchanted. With each and every drive I promise myself: here is where I will live out my days.
Even with threatening weather...... and did it ever later let-loose-the-rain, driving the road I was full of spine tingles and excitement.
Never before have I attended Coast Day; this year I was scheduled to be in the "merchandise free" DNREC Tent to work the Friends of Cape Henlopen table. I arrived early for my shift and dressed for squalls: parka and knee-high boots!
Despite or maybe due to the rain, the event and our tent was jammed pack! The idea was to rope in new members. I smiled broadly, a circus barker I became, and pleaded for the passerby to become OUR FRIEND! Could we PULLEEZE be FRIENDS? I got huge laughs and brochures were gladly accepted.
I admit it. I'm a DNREC "Groupie"! What a privilege to be in the DNREC tent! After my volunteer gig: I went around the tent to greet my Fish and Wildlife DNREC directors and explore other divisions.
Attendees were cold and soaking wet so off I went to join the crush inside the University buildings. Gleeful intense interest described the crowd..... except for some sleepy-headed students in the video-screening room. From a video, I later recognized and met the Dean!
Every lab and hall hosted a fun activity for kids and adults. My favorite was a before-your-eyes extraction from mushed strawberries, making visible DNA strands! For me it was amazing and creepy all at once!
The attendees were Coast Day "true believers"; a sunny day might not have revealed this.

Beach Blessings,

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dewey Beach Music Conference 2010

The Dewey Beach Music Conference is a signature "Dewey Beach" event. Our town enthusiastically offers up for 140 bands: 9 venues with ~ 14 stages. Thankfully the rain stopped for Friday and Saturday so all were able to crawl the venue route.
At the Bottle and Cork, ( not so at The Rudder ), I noticed that only 30% of the attendees were with beer-in-hand, signaling this as a serious Music Group.
The first thing I do is to take in the musician's fashion trend as it speaks tactically to our future mode. Gone was the 2009 look of long, long shiny hair and British Invasion. Facial hair and dreds were the exception. Gone were the girlfriends' stiletto shiny S&M heels.
This season it looked like everyone had day jobs at a bank! Clean cut looks with hair way above the collar. Preppy ruled in the most ironic-way. Purple was a favorite color.
The Fat Daddy Has Been lead singer still had his dreds but wore a striped Polo shirt! Tiva Tiva's group sported suspenders and ratted-out formal orchestra wear.
Girlfriends went back to their 2008 boots, this time nearly knee-high with a heel to match, with a decidedly glamourous and polished 1970's look.
Friday was my favorite night. My Bottle and Cork evening started with "The Little Invisibles". I tried to dismiss the music as the sound was quite muddled.... but then I concentrated and found the grooves: Pop-Gothic! A contradiction in terms, but that is what they did mixing in bouncy pop musical-lines with monster-in-the-house darker moods. Their fashion mode? Preppy Goth!
Next up was Frank Vielle & The Manhattan Project with their very city look and sound; and their smooth jazz given over to perfectly handled rock.
Crawling to the The Rusty Rudder I found on the inside stage, Club Rudder, Dynasty Electric! Jenny Electric is a Pop Queen Diva who perfects Electronica Dance and took us from Blondie to Britney. With her sequined and spangled futuristic costume, I think she could head-line for Star Trek!
My goal for the evening was to hear: Brother Joscephus & The Love Revival Revolution Orchestra! The crowd was ready to party Mardi Gras New Orleans style! This group of 12 entertains in high style N'awlins costume and sound and put forth (and threw forth a slew of Mardi Gras beads) a perfect concert in 50 minutes. The last song demonstrated their masterful musicianship taking a traditional New Orleans Jazz sound transformed to Funk to Grateful Dead Acid Rock to Trance and slowly reversed the same back again. See my October 2009 blog to read even more on their style and approach.
I walked home very happy and placed on my bedroom curtain-rod my Mardi Gras red-bead necklace.