Friday, July 27, 2012

Mt. Sharon Cemetery, Middleburg VA

Whilst researching the Civil War in local areas I'd discovered online that there is a cemetery in Middleburg which is home to some Civil War soldiers. I left home a little earlier than usual on my way to work on Thursday to investigate. It's amazing how much you can find off the beaten track. The cemetery was only a few yards back from Rte 50 on which I travel back and forth every work day.
Not a nice thing to see on a gravestone...
Loved the way the rising sun fell on this stone.
Some wonderful examples of the carving skills on the older stones. They don't make them like they used to...
Poor Little Sue...
Lichen creeping over a railing of a family plot.
This dragon guarded another family plot but I could see no reason why a dragon was chosen. I did notice that a couple of the men had been Vietnam veterans and wondered if that was the link.
Then I came across the Civil War graves, the reason I'd sought out this quiet place. I've never seen Civil War graves arranged like this before and I slowly circled around reading them all. The monolith in the middle is in honor of those who are unnamed.
It was interesting to see how some stones had as much information as possible carved into them whereas others very sadly didn't even have a first name, only an initial.
 It was such a quiet morning with cows lowing distantly and birds chirruping in the branches, and I wondered how terrifying the same area must have been when these markers were actually the men they represented, holding rifles and bayonets in an air thick with gunpowder smoke and war cries. Thank God these soldiers have a tranquil, peaceful resting place now.  I felt annoyed that I couldn't stay longer, that my routine had to be adhered to and work was awaiting my arrival. I would've loved to have spent the morning just sitting there while reading a book but it was not to be. I left Lt. John Tiffany and his comrades to continue resting while I walked back to my car and started hurrying about my day.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Flash Mob and Squonk Opera

As well as visual arts there were a couple of stages at the festival where local bands performed. I was impressed by a group of locals that 'flash mobbed' with a dance routine. I managed to video some of it on my phone and the link is here
They were having great fun with their performance and the crowd cheered loudly, but the entertainers I was most taken with were a group called Squonk Opera. They were playing as we left the bar and I had to stand and watch the rest of their show even though the rest of our group went on without me.
For some reason they reminded me of a Cirque du Soleil kind of group; they were unique, polished and as well as having very good vocals, they were all talented musicians who made a wonderful display of their performances. Their website is here
Once you've seen their past show photos or videos, you'll understand why I initially was reminded of Cirque du Soleil..
This piano rotated while she played it.
I filmed a short video of them which is here but there are quite a few on YouTube. I was mesmerized by them and wished I caught the earlier part of their performance. I shall definitely be looking out for this talented group in the DC area.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Artscape, Baltimore MD

Saturday was a very miserable day with rain drizzling down and a high humidity but our Urbexia group were not going to be thwarted. The whole group met up in Baltimore for the annual Artscape Festival and it was fun to all be together. We walked around feeling bad for the hundreds of artists that were surely missing sales from the many folks that chose not to turn up today, but it was great for us as we were able to walk around freely and enjoy the festivities that still played out regardless.
 The festival is such a visual event that I felt my head was almost rotating like an owl's as I struggled to see everything. From the beautiful glass roof in the train station to huge sculptures to aliens to 'art cars'. Even though everybody was getting soaked with the relentless rain, smiles were not dampened and everyone was having fun.
We walked up and down the streets taking it all in until someone mentioned beer. I think it was Emily, so we all piled into a bar for hydration.
Richard and Emily discussing the equally important topic of food. Unfortunately the bar only served liquid refreshment so we'd need to trudge on further for proper nutrition. Marjie's ring is blinking in the foreground, driving everyone nuts. There were many vendors handing out free samples and gifts and we think Marjie found them all. She had a bag full of goodies.
We continued our quest for food in the rain and finally agreed on a kebob restaurant which served Indian style food but no beer. But the owner allowed us to buy beer and bring it in so we were very contented with that. It was liberating to peel off wet jackets and relax in a dry and air conditioned room. The food was also pretty damn good especially as our expectations hadn't been high. Life was good.
We found this exhibition hilarious. It boasted having the world's longest eyelash which we 'oohed' over but I was especially taken with the world's largest crumb, above. The body of the world's noisiest cicada was there as well as a bowl of water which apparently had once been the world's largest snowflake. The proprietor had a story for every exhibit and was extremely entertaining, earning all of our respect and admiration. There were sideshows all over with strange 'creatures' performing weird mating dances or a guy letting people staple $1 bills onto his rather large belly. I wanted no photos of that!
Knitted covers for the porta potties. Awesome!
The festival in our eyes was a resounding success and we were saddened as stalls and buildings started closing down. I so hope the vendors had a better day on Sunday. We all walked back to our cars and on the way decided to stop into one of my favorite places in Baltimore, Graffiti Alley.
But the light was failing and there were no artists decorating the walls so I didn't get my camera out. I took some shots with my phone then helped Lewis and Jason look for a geocache which was located here somewhere. As we were looking a couple of cars pulled up into the alley, some guys got out and within a couple of minutes were rapping while using the walls as a backdrop.
 Another of the group was filming them and the music was blaring from the car. I could see they were going to dub the video and add the soundtrack that was blaring out from the car to it later. We watched as they performed; we think they enjoyed the audience. Unfortunately for Lewis and Jason the cache was now out of reach as it was apparently in a pipe behind the performers. A great reason to return on another day!