Vino and LOTS of Vittles.

It's been a week since I've been back in Hoosier land - so it's about freakin' time I get in touch with you folks. Things have been pretty busy (what else is new). The main, main focus on everybody's mind is the Wine Tasting event we have coming up on Friday. vino-vittles-small.jpg

There was some discussion about the word vittles. There are two ways of spelling it - I'm accustomed to 'victuals' which I think is the more British spelling. So we had to do some research to make sure we weren't making up a word! And let's face it.

Debbie and Rich and Ann have been working overtime getting this great big event ready. We already have 200 people attending it. The main goal of the event is to raise enough money to put the new roof on the Opera House building. And since the interest has been so great, they think we're going to meet our target. They've been meeting constantly planning this thing for months and everyone's really excited. They have this great idea that is the core of every fundraising idea they have for the Arts Initiative. Rather than just do a run-of-the-mill fundraiser, we are going to work to make sure every event is, in itself, something people would like to go to (whether or not they cared about it being for a good cause). Each event, hopefully, will be a diversion and an entertainment in it's own right. So that hopefully, before the building is even open, the Initiative will already be making a contribution to the social and cultural landscape of the area. It's really nifty. And so this wine tasting is going to be really nice. Please - Debbie and Ann are making most of the food and they make Paula Dean look like the Swedish Chef. And Rich is making what Paul Sigfried dubbed 'the best stuffed mushrooms ever' - Margaret's recipe of course :) - Here he is at home makin' a test batch for us this weekend: stuffed-mushrooms.jpg There going to be sooo much yummy food. I'm excited and I don't even drink wine! We're also going to have the auditorium open for people to mingle for the first time... and let folks see what it looks like in there before we really dig in.

All the seats are out. And in order to prep for the wine tasting, and make space for us to begin construction the false plywood stage has been dismantled and removed... dismantle-stage.jpg

And almost the entire auditorium has been completely cleared out. It's unbelievable how spacious it seems without all that stuff in there.

So anyway - if you haven't got tickets for this thing yet, please come. It's going to be really lovely and Debbie and Ann and Rich can't wait to tell people all about the plans for the building. Call 454-0449 (one of the trinity will answer) for tickets, orrrrr you can go online to the website - www.huntingtonartsinitiative.org It's only 20 bucks (if you get the ticket before Friday) and normally wine tastings are at least twice as expensive... but we really wanted it to be an economical event and encourage as many people to come out and learn about the project and the Opera House. So - if you can't make it, and you'd like to just make a donation to the Opera House roof - you can use that link too!

I've had my first week of classes at IPFW and I seem to be keeping my head above water. I had the class tell me the best lie they've ever gotten away with (the point is that acting is the same as lying... and it demystifies the process for people). Well, there were quite a few doozies, lemme tell ya. I've also gotten quite used to driving back and forth to Fort Wayne - and by the end of the semester my goal is to be able to find my way there and back without the use of the GPS. At present - I am no where near success. One of my students, as they were leaving the other day, said to another one "this is the funnest class ever". So I'm a) glad she likes it; and b) glad I'm not teaching her English.

I'm going to New York to do a one day workshop of that Nixon/Eisenhower play that I worked on when we first came to Indiana. We have a lot of the same great actors returning, and I'm really excited that Barbara Walsh (who is a two-time Tony nominee) is gonna join us and play Pat Nixon opposite the incredible Patrick Page who was the Grinch on Broadway. We've also got David Garrison who played the Wizard in Wicked and was a regular on "Married With Children". It's gonna be a fun day. Plus, I'm treating myself and I've got a ticket to see the matinee of Little Night Music with Angela Lansbury and Catherine Zeta Jones. It's one of my favorite shows, and my very favorite director. So it should be a real treat.

Like I said last time, I didn't have hardly ANY pictures when I was in Bermuda - because they were all on the bigger camera which I didn't pack. So here are some serious catch up shots of the past month-ish...

The week we were named Business of the Month, the Lieutenant Governor of Indiana, a really impressive lady named Becky Stillman, came to town for the ribbon cutting of The Huntington Main Street Program. She came by the theater for a reception and was so gracious and excited about what we were doing with the renovation and the shows... cutting-ribon.jpg

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Here's a great pic of Nate churning out one arrangement after another... nate-at-computer.jpg I love this picture of the cast hanging out before the show... Nate has our old keyboard on the carpet taking them through some notes, and Po, of course, is supervising. dressing-room-xmas.jpg

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Gretchen's sweet Sixteen. Didn't it look cool? sweet-sixteen.jpg

We had all our presents under the Supper Club Christmas tree. Po got presents too. unwrapping-gifts.jpg

our-xmas-tree.jpg Janice is tired of the brown and bronze ornaments for a while. So we're giving them a rest and the day after Christmas the Najuch's apparently stocked up on red and gold for next year.

While I was home... Dad managed to cut his head. Takes talent. dad-boo-boo.jpg

All the new windows are installed in the house... and apparently, as of today, the heat is working too. Which means hopefully we can get some work done over there. But Rich said the windows went really quickly. The first one took a couple hours - but after they figured out a system, they zipped through them all! OUT WITH THE OLD... intall-windows-3.jpg

IN WITH THE NEW! install-windows-house.jpg

And they've started insulating as well... insulation.jpg

Rich's favorite new investment is the rental of a dumpster which gets emptied twice a week. It eradicates most of those time-consuming (and costly) trips to the dump... and with so much stuff to get out of the auditorium it's been invaluable. He's gotten rid of tons and tons of junk already... including those old windows. dumpster.jpg

Po was using Rich as a recliner one day and it cracked me up. She manages to find positions which prevent you from doing anything constructive whatsoever. And then she attempts to look really comfy so you feel guilty moving her. I think it's her way of forcing Rich to take a break every so often! po-destal.jpg

Okey dokey. That's it for now. I'm in the middle of trying to cut down Treasure Island to an hour for a dramatic reading we're hopefully doing for the teachers convention that's coming into town in April. The full novel is 209 pages - and I've got it down to 66. But I've still got a ways to go for it to be the right length. It's slow goin' but hopefully it will be something that we'll get to do for schools every so often, so it's worth it. :)

Ok kids... bye for now, love Jo Jo.