Archive for the ‘Candles’ Category

Service of the Comfort of Vintage

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

La la Land movie poster

Whatever “vintage” means to you—if you’re 20, 1980s films, fashion and décor might describe it while if you’re 50, it could be all things 1950. For some there’s comfort and perhaps a soothing visual to live with a grandparent’s furnishings; for others, reminiscences shared with an uncle while watching Audrey Hepburn on Turner Classic Movies brings smiles.

I thought of this after seeing “La La Land,” a movie I enjoyed. The writer/director Damien Chazelle is 31 yet he picked the 1940s/1950s romantic musical genre for the setting of his story. He added zero pyrotechnics, violence or gore and none were missed. The film set a record at the Golden Globe Awards winning seven including recognition for best motion picture—musical or comedy—performance by an actor and actress, director, screenplay, original score and original song. ran a article about what’s in or out in fashion. Nikkitight jeans Ogunnaike reported we should “anticipate a shift toward contrast denim styles in vintage silhouettes.” [This look is in contrast to skin- tight jeans popular today.]

I’d saved a December, 2016 section of The Wall Street Journal‘s “Off Duty,” because of its cover story, “Presents with a Past,” that featured 50 nostalgic gifts “whose origins date back decades and beyond.” The subhead continued that the gifts will “conjure a simpler time when the holidays were lower-voltage, but just as bright.”

Sidney Garber bracelet

Sidney Garber bracelet

Speaking of voltage, most of the suggestions would burn a hole in most wallets. There was a gold bracelet by Sidney Garber reminiscent of flexible metal coils first popular in the 1930s for $12,200; a 3-day slumber party at a historic English country estate @ $15,600/night for 16; Prada’s jewel encrusted mules for $1,150; a $685 pair of retro headphones; a mink stole for $5,500 and a chauffer to drive you from Paris to Versailles in a period Citroen starting at $370.

I don’t spend that kind of money for the loved ones on my list. The Wall Street Journal editors chose a few things under $100 too. There was a box of Turkish delight [$35]; a rubber band-propelled toy car [$25]; an apron [$47]; a ‘70s popular fondue pot [$95]; traditional Belgian speculoos cookies [$20]; a Mickey Mouse wall clock featuring a 1930s style rodent [$65], and an Italian knit necktie [[$90].

The J. Peterman Company catalog seems to be going strong with its focus on vintage-inspired men and women’s fashion.

Have you noticed vintage influences creeping back more now than in recent years? Do you welcome them or consider them old fashioned and therefore not worthy of your attention? Do you think that in turbulent times people look back to what they recall or think may have been a calmer period?

 Belgian Speculoos cookies

Service of Lit Candles

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

One candle

Disasters, disease, misfortune, war, rampant selfishness and news of criminals in all industries are enough to turn the most passionate optimist into a cynic. It’s easy to get stuck in negativity and hopelessness. Fortunately there are talented, inspired people who tirelessly buck the deluge. Organizations such as The Christophers and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra are two.

64th Annual Christopher AwardsI’ve written several times about The Christophers–I help promote its annual awards about this time of year. If at 5 a.m. you’re tuned to 710 WOR AM radio in NYC you hear Tony Rossi, the organization’s director of communications, share the Christopher Minute he writes. In addition to these segments, that also play around the country, and the awards, the charity’s publishing and leadership programs are inspired by the ancient Chinese proverb—“It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”

This year 19 feature films, TV/Cable programs, and books for adults and young people won Christopher Awards. “The creative forces behind the projects we’re honoring are improving our culture by telling stories that awaken hope instead of despair, acknowledge the necessity of sacrifice in the service of a greater good,” said Rossi.


From the left are: Arthur Fleischmann, “Carly’s Voice,” Mary Ellen Robinson, vice president/COO, The Christophers, Colleen Carroll Campbell, “My Sisters the Saints,” and Nicole Lataif, “Forever You: A Book About Your Soul and Body.” Photo Credit: Paul Schneck.

From the left are: Arthur Fleischmann, “Carly’s Voice,” Mary Ellen Robinson, vice president/COO, The Christophers, Colleen Carroll Campbell, “My Sisters the Saints,” and Nicole Lataif, “Forever You: A Book About Your Soul and Body.” Photo Credit: Paul Schneck.

The books for children tackled sophisticated, tough, grownup subjects. In “Forever You: A Book About Your Soul and Body,”  (Pauline Books and Media), Nicole Lataif tells children as young as pre Kindergarten what it means to be fully human and about building character. Jo S. Kittinger describes the loss and shock so many children face when they have to move to unsavory living quarters when their family has lost their home or a parent a job. In “House on Dirty-Third Street,” (Peachtree Publishers), the community helps the child and her mother rebuild. In another book a bullied fifth grader with a facial deformity learns to appreciate the gifts he brings to the world in R.J. Palacio’s “Wonder,” (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House Children’s Books). Palacio called it a “meditation on kindness.”

Three of the books in the adult category address autism, Alzheimer’s and drug abuse. “Carly’s Voice,” (Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster), by Arthur Fleischmann and his autistic daughter Carly reveals their family’s astonishing journey from believing Carly would never develop intellectually beyond the abilities of a small child to her current status as a smart, perceptive and funny high school student. 

Eric Blehm shares the troubled life and heroic death of Navy SEAL Adam Brown, whose early life was derailed by drug abuse before family, faith and the U.S. military gave him the courage and strength to fight his inner demons. His book: “Fearless,” (Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group/Random House).

While dealing with her father’s descent into Alzheimer’s, author/journalist and Catholic television network EWTN broadcaster Colleen Carroll Campbell demonstrates the modern relevance of saints like Teresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux in her quest to find personal fulfillment and professional success in her spiritual autobiography, “My Sisters the Saints,” (Image Books/Random House). Starting this summer Campbell will be anchor of “EWTN News Nightly with Colleen Carroll Campbell,” the global network’s first-ever daily newscast.

West-Eastern Divan OrchestraThe Christophers celebrate hope in books and film while the Argentinean-born Daniel Barenboim turns to music to shed light on peace. The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra [photo right] that the Jewish conductor and pianist co-founded in 1999 with [the late] Edward Said, a Palestinian scholar, is scheduled for a seven city European tour starting in July.

Wrote Anthony Tomassini of the orchestra originally made up of young musicians from Israel, Palestine and various Arab countries of the Middle East: “The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra takes its name from a book of poetry by Goethe exploring the concept of world culture. In 2002 the orchestra, adopted by the Andalusian government in Spain and a private foundation, set up its summer headquarters in Seville. Since then a number of European players, especially from Spain, have taken part.” 

Continued The New York Times critic: “From the project’s start, Said, who died in 2003, and Mr. Barenboim made no great claims for the transformative potential of the orchestra. But dialogue is a precondition to understanding. And dialogue is unavoidable when young musicians play music and live together.”

Do you believe that light–as small as that shed by one candle or the synergy among musicians in a single orchestra–will overcome darkness? Can you share the names of other organizations in the business of hope?




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