Prose-Poetry Creative Writing
Workshop by Gini Grossenbacher
In October 2016, Gini Grossenbacher conducted a Prose-Poetry Creative Writing Workshop at the inn. I was kindly invited to join the other ladies in the morning writing exercises. Gini would assign several short writing exercises each day. When Gini asked us to find an object and write about it, one of the attendees, Judy, was inspired by a vase in the Jardin room. She wrote a cute short called “Antique TV”, for your reading pleasure here it is:
by Judy Vaughn
I knew I would take it to the Country Roads Antique Show audition if I ever got the chance. The day the wildly popular TV show came to Stockton, I packed it up in bubble wrap and a recycled Amazon box. What was it? A vase, I guess. Some sort of pottery piece glazed and fired in greens and browns.
The line stretched around the gym at UOP. I shamelessly gawked at a woman pushing a merchandise cart with a Homeboy Depot label peeling off the handle. A hideous — oh—I mean abstract sculpture of black wrought iron poked through the sides like the limbs of a spider monkey bent on escape.
Was that a hat or a lampshade held high by the man who wore Tommy Hilfiger with pink socks?
The volunteer at the registration desk directed me to the China/Pottery table. I added my treasure, stripped of its wrapping, to the Havilland demitasse set I’d seen last week on E-Bay, several fruit bowls and a collection of plump black animals. Native American or netsuke?
The curator’s eyes widened as she fingered the ridges of the tulip-shaped opening of my piece. She touched the frog on the base. A suppressed giggle escaped her as she traced its tiny hands.
“I need to show this to a colleague,” she said. “Put on your make up, honey.” She sent me to a curtained off area of the gym labeled Green Room. “Wait there until the director calls you.” A frisson of cool tingle swept over me. I was going to be on the TV show.
The furry microphone brushed my forehead. Would the lights make me sweat? The curator preened as the director counted down the scene to Action. “This wonderful pot glazed in earth tones has a funnel-shaped opening that gives us a clue to its use. The palm leaf frieze around the bottom hints at a Greek origin. What’s amazing are the figures on the base, the cunning frogs and these grey and tan figures. Do you know what they are?” She thrust the microphone into my face.
I stammered. “Flower buds?”
“No … my colleague and I think they are copied from fourteenth century motifs from the Wee Wee province of China. Can I ask how much you paid for it?
I pictured the pot on the shelf of the nightstand in the B and B in Ashland, Oregon. “Uh.” I tried to think of a polite way to describe concealing it in the underwear section of my suitcase the day I checked out.
The curator didn’t wait for my answer. She upended the vase, “It’s signed,” she said and that’s really unusual in a piece like this.”
A dramatic pause ensued before the reveal.
“Do you know how much it’s worth?”
“A few hundred dollars, I guess. It’s been on the shelf over our Steinway for several years.”
“Well. I’ve shown this to my colleague from Kristi’s….See this oval sticker above the maker’s mark?”
“The one that says Made in China,” I asked?
“Yes, you can see it’s gold leaf, one of the first occasions for such a adhesive appendage. The piece itself is most likely a chamber pot, possibly a cuspidor. Auction value now is astronomical. You should have it insured for as much as your Steinway.”
“Wow … That’s amazing…I had no idea!
Gini Grossenbacher also asked us to choose a Place, and then in about 15 minutes write about it. It will come to no surprise to many, I chose the B&B’s garden. Here is the poem:
by Ellen Campbell
I garden alone, but it’s not a solitary task.
Plants talk in long sentences that stretch over seasons and years. Gardeners must adjust their attention span.
Scrub Jays repeatedly dart in and out of the hedge. Note to self, prune carefully near that spot
Pine cone cobs scattered and tossed about, squirrels make more work
Invasive carpeting of weeds. I can never remember its Latin name, but appropriately it rhythms with ‘damn it’.
Snowy Morning at the Chanticleer
Snowy morning at the Chanticleer, today. Not the usual sight for most of my B&B guests who visit during the summer months, so I thought I’d share what the garden looked like this morning.
Luckily the streets are clear and safe to drive later in the morning — no need to shovel, just enjoy a snowy morning at the Chanticleer while sipping piping hot coffee.
The dusting of snow stayed on the ground, but the sidewalks cleared up soon. The mountains however are a different story, they are covered with lots of snow. Skiers are definitely doing the happy dance. We all hope the snow pack builds up over winter, so we can recover from last year’s drought conditions.
For now we all can enjoy a quiet snow morning in Ashland
“Head Over Heels”
A Review by Desiree Remick
“Head Over Heels”, true to its name, throws you head over heels into a world of enchanting musical madness, where entire kingdoms can pack up and hit the road on vacation, where a man disguised as an Amazon can be mistaken for a dainty lady in the dark, where the ability to dance is mandatory, and where everyone embraces her (or his) inner goddess. The play is three hours (with intermission), which in my opinion is a little excessive for a musical – but entertaining the whole way through. It blends old-fashioned themes and archaic language with modern speech and politics for a unique timeless flavor. Someone who struggles to understand Shakespeare and another who abhors twenty-first century lingo could find equal enjoyment in this theatre piece.
The play opens in the small kingdom of Arcadia, whose inhabitants are lifted from the 16th century Sir Philip Sidney classic of the same name. Duke Basilius tries his luck with an oracle and receives an unwelcome prophesy in four parts: first, that his eldest daughter will find love, but not with a man; second, that his younger daughter will take a liar to bed; third, that he and his wife will both commit adultery – with the same person, no less; and finally that before the year is out he will have given away his own crown. The good duke, who is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, announces his intent to take an extended ‘road trip’ to neighboring Bohemia, in an attempt to thwart his destiny. But of course, you can’t run away from fate.
There is drama. There is romance. There is comedy (much of it genuinely funny, which is not something that should be taken for granted). There is a lot of innuendo, breaking of the fourth wall, clever jokes and asides tailored to a knowledgeable audience – plenty of references that will slip past the kids – and don’t forget the music! There’s even a sword fight, which ends in the most unexpected way.
I did have some issues with the play as well. It takes an onerously long time to get going (long enough that the actors themselves start joking about it), and the ending also drags a bit. While the message of acceptance is a solid one, there are a few times where the writers allowed their enthusiasm to overflow, which resulted in a few unnecessary scenes and a soliloquy that does not fit with the rest of the script’s tone. Oh, and if your hearing is sensitive or you are prone to getting headaches from too much noise, I advise that you bring a pair of earplugs. The music is quite loud, and I was especially unfortunate in my seating arrangement, which placed me in front of some people who laughed and whistled directly into my ear at every chance.
In conclusion, however, I found “Head Over Heels” to be a lot of fun. If you love musicals or wild tales in the vein of Shakespeare, if you are a supporter of gay rights and the LGBT community, or if you just like to have a good time, this play is an evening well spent.
Chanticleer Inn Garden in Spring
Over the years, more than 1,500 bulbs have been planted throughout the gardens. Some are early spring bloomers, such as those in these pictures, others are mid- and late-spring blooming.
Ever a challenge in the Chanticleer Inn garden, thankfully, the deer don’t like daffodils and hyacinths (yet).
Camelot Theatre “Sunset Boulevard” — a Review
Livia Genise’s version of Sunset Boulevard is a “kinder, gentler version of tale told in classic Wilder movie” says Roberta Kent writing for the Daily Tidings.
I always love to promote the ‘other’ performing arts venues in the Rogue Valley. The town of Talent, just a few miles up the road from Ashland, is the home of the Camelot Theatre.
This community theater does a wonderful job mainly due the untiring efforts of its Artist Director Livia Genise.
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Book and Lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton
Based on the Billy Wilder Film
Starring Livia Genise and Nathan Monks
Directed by Roy Von Rains, Jr.
Go here to read Roberta Kent’s review of “Sunset Boulevard“
Sundays through April 19 at the Camelot Theatre, 101 Talent Avenue, Talent.
For tickets ($25-29), call 541-535-5250 or go to www.camelottheatre.org
Josh Feinberg sitar, with Ravi Albright, tabla traditional Indian ragas
Come and enjoy an evening of traditional Indian ragas with Feinberg and Albright this Saturday.
Saturday, February 7, 2015 • 8pm
Tickets: $20/advance, $22/door, $10/teens 12-17,
children under 12 are free with paying adult.
Unitarian Fellowship, 4th and C Streets, Ashland
Often in the off-season the Chanticleer Inn B&B donates room(s) to Ariella St. Claire Production musicians. This coming weekend, we will be hosting Josh and Ravi.
Lithia Park in Ashland Oregon Listed in American Planning Association’s “Great Places” for 2014
Lithia Park is truly the gem of Ashland. Locals and visitors of Ashland already know and enjoy Lithia Park — it’s truly the town’s heart and soul. A place to meet friends, hike trails, admire seasonal changes in the park, listen to concerts, play and even meditate.
This year Lithia Park is listed in American Planning Association’s (APA) “Great Places” program in the Public Spaces category. This program honors places of exemplary character, quality, and planning. Annually selected, Great Places meet a gold standard and criteria that have a substantial sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow.
According to APA:
APA Great Places offer better choices for where and how people work and live. They are enjoyable, safe, and desirable. They are places where people want to be — not only to visit, but to live and work every day. America’s truly great streets, neighborhoods and public spaces are defined by many criteria, including architectural features, accessibility, functionality, and community involvement.
Chanticleer Inn Staff Raft the Rogue River
For locals, a summer well spent means at least one day on the Rogue River.
Every year, I try to think of something that we all can do together as a way to thank my staff for all their wonderful assistance — and just plain wonderfulness. This year it was an afternoon on the River.
Indigo Creek guided us and did a stellar job. We all highly recommend them. Indigo Creek Outfitters does more than just rafting, they also conduct Brewery Tours, guided vacations and fishing trips.
I love my peeps!