Monday, May 31, 2010

YAP 50th Gala Reunion

When I was in high school, I was a member of the Stamford Young Artists Philharmonic, a youth orchestra founded by Salvatore Princiotti. Mr. Princiotti, or Maestro, or Mr. P, has been running SYAP for 50 years, and 50 generations of students have been under the direction of only one conductor for the entire duration of our time with this group. And so hopefully you can imagine that celebrating the 50th year of this organization is one extraordinary event. I bought my tickets home for this show months in advance, and could hardly contain my excitement! I had not been home in a year and a half, so not only was I excited to visit friends and family, but I was so excited to attend the reunion concert to honor my conductor, Mr. Princiotti.

Sal is now 75 years old, looks like he's 60, and has the heart and soul of the 25 year old young man that founded SYAP. Over 100 alumni returned to Stamford to perform on stage under his direction, and even more us attended the concert. I was not able to perform with the group, but I was far from disappointed to be able to sit in the audience and hear them perform. The concert was a wonderful tribute to Sal, and it was a wonderful chance to catch up with the other Yappers of my class! I had a wonderful time, I'm looking forward to the next reunion concert :o) Stay strong Mr. Princiotti!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wisconsin Trivia State Championship

Several states around the US have trivia competitions. Wisconsin has one of the biggest participating groups for trivia, while some states only have a few representatives from one or two big cities. So in case you think that it's a bunch of dorks sitting around playing trivia, well, you're only half right because apparently Wisconsin has at least 5 major cities FULL of these dorks (us included!). Tim and I started playing a couple of years ago with some of our college friends, but that group disbanded when people started moving away from Madison. More recently we started playing again with our neighbors across the hall in our apartment building. It has become such a hit with this group that we go at least once a week, sometimes more than that! It's a great social activity, and I feel I'm learning lots of useless facts.

So how do you play trivia? In Madison, you can play Monday through Thursday night, with several bars to choose from each night. There are 6 rounds with 3 questions per round (18 total questions), as well as a half-time question and a final question worth more points. You get to wager points on each question, so it is a game of strategy as well as a game of who knows more useless shit! If your team is ranked in top 20 in your area at the end of the season (usually a couple of months), then you automatically get to participate in the State Championship (with a $1000 prize!). If you are in the 20-40 top teams, you get to participate in the Wild Card game for a chance to go to the state.

Enter Team Suicidal Puppies (my neighbors idea). We qualified for the Wild Card round, and halfway through the tournament we had essentially ZERO points. We realized we had no chance of making it to state, but we were going to keep trying anyway. Going into the final question, we were in dead last place (I kid you not). The final question is worth up to 15 points, and if you get it right you get 15 points, and if you get it wrong, you lose 15 points. We wagered everything, and on that single question went from DEAD LAST to FOURTH PLACE and qualified for the State tournament!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

Unfortunately we got destroyed at the State tournament, but still managed to finish middle of the pack. However it was the comeback of the century, and we have been trying to have a repeat performance ever since with no such luck. Alas, we still enjoy trivia, and love to play. Our team is currently ranked 17th! Check out our league standings ;o)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Lion King

For Christmas my parents got us tickets to see the Lion King when it came to Madison. I have been trying to get Tim to see more shows and plays with me, and luckily we both have the same taste for theatre. We both love musicals if they are funny, and so the Lion King fell right into that category. I have never outgrown the cartoon phase of my life, and my favorite movie is currently Finding Nemo (I kid you not, I never get tired of that movie!). So in May we got to go see this amazing show right here in Madison. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take pictures during the show (my camera is not good enough, and I wanted to watch it!), but here are some of the images that I pulled off of the internet.

The costumes were just as amazing as everyone claimed, but they were not what I was expecting. It's not exactly people dressed up as animals. It's actors and actresses on stilts, swaying headpieces that mimic African wildlife, masks that move up and down depending on the position of the wearer, elaborate colors and scenery! It was absolutely incredibly, and Tim said it was his favorite show by far of all the ones we've seen! If you get a chance, we would both highly recommend seeing this show!

Thanks Mom and Dad!

These are the costumes from the lion actors and actresses.

The Timon and Pumba costumes. They were hilarious!

Rafiki was amazing. The show opened with an entire monologue in a native African language, and the quirkiness of the Rafiki from the cartoon was amazing!