go to the malvern retreat house art show on thru sunday afternoon

They don’t publicize this the way they should and this is a great show this year!

This show benefits their outreach at Malvern Retreat House.

10 AM – 7 PM Saturday, February 4, 2023
10 AM – 4 PM Sunday, February 5, 2023


315 S. Warren Ave Malvern, PA and there is ample free parking onsite. #art #freeevent

Seriously, this show is so terrific! And the price points are better than Yellow Springs Art Show which I love as well. And some of the same and comparable artists. Some of my favorites include New Hope Stained Glass and the fused stained glass artist whose name escapes me.

The Malvern Retreat House Annual Art Show has more than 2,000 fine art pieces including paintings, sculptures, photography, jewelry, and so much more.

For more information please visit: www.malvernretreat.com

The grounds of Malvern Retreat House are also gorgeous and have an increasingly rare naturalistic beauty about them.

when scrooge pens an op-ed in the land of fake news…or much ado about theatre

📌Beth Ann Rosica resides in West Chester, has a Ph.D. in Education, and has dedicated her career advocating on behalf of at-risk children and families. She enjoys drag queen shows and chooses to leave her children at home for those performances.📌

Do you just feel my eyes rolling to the back of my head? Yes, we all know her name. She is a frequent flyer at West Chester Area School District School Board Meetings and West Chester Borough Meetings and ran unsuccessfully as a Libertarian for Mayor of West Chester Borough. (Kindly allow me to digress a moment and mention that Dan Truitt is now head of Chester County Libertarians. ANYWAY, also wonder aloud if his East Goshen Supervisor wife Michelle Truitt’s gal pal failed politician Heidi Vander Waal has conceded yet? She lost a month ago, so what is taking so long? I really genuinely like both Truitts, but I marvel at whom they think is hunky dory, don’t you?)

Enough digressing, back to this weird thing about now they all hate theatre.

If Lewis Carroll were alive today, “curious” might be the word he would use to describe the People’s Light Theater performance of his world-renowned novel, Alice in Wonderland. 

The theater, located in Chester County is currently running a holiday, pantomime rendition of the classic. The website says the show is appropriate for ages five to 105 and includes a drag queen performer in the cast. Eric Jaffe, according to the theater’s casting page, “is a genderfull [sic] glamour monster and the recipient of the 2018 Philly Drag Awards, Best Host, Best Alternative Drag Queen, And Drag Queen of the Year as well as 2020’s Performer of the Year.” 

Just as curious is the fact that multiple school districts in Chester County are sponsoring field trips for students to attend the performance, including West Chester Area, Tredyffrin/Easttown, and Downingtown. Students as young as second grade and up to sixth grade attended the performance. 

~ beth ann rosica, theatre critic

So Beth Ann had to have an opinion. Hey that’s her right. But it’s also my right to say, West Chester Borough residents should count their blessings she is NOT mayor. We already know she doesn’t like drag queens, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. Above is a screen shot of her op-ed in Broad and Liberty.

Now as an educator one would have thought that Beth Ann Rosica would have at least been familiar of how theatre evolved from it’s early days when you know men routinely played the part of women because it was considered unseemly etc for women to be actors. Has she heard of William Shakespere, etc?

A panto is a traditional fairy tale complete with songs, dances, jokes, exaggerated characters and lots of audience participation. The British started this centuries ago and love a good panto. In fact, panto began thanks to actor manager John Rich, who introduced it in 1717. Panto or pantomime has an again centuries long theatrical history in western culture dating back to the dawn of classical theatre. Commedia dell’arte.

See above? Dan Leno and Herbert Campbell in Babes in the Wood, 1897, at the Drury Lane Theatre in London’s West End. And below? Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret of England in a Windsor Castle wartime performance of Aladdin…as in the recently deceased Queen Elizabeth II of England.

But then I saw Beth Ann’s little thing about leaving her “children” at home while she enjoyed drag shows. Very funny statement. Made me wonder if she had LITTLE kids. Umm nope. They are like in 8th and 10th grade now, right? Don’t you think they have seen/heard worse? Found an online interview. Note the screen shot excerpt:

This all started recently over a People’s Light current production. The production has rave reviews, truthfully.

A LAND WHERE EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE
People’s Light presents Jennifer Childs and Alex Bechtel’s Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Panto

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer Nov 22, 2022

A bedazzled, sparkling drag queen Cheshire Cat. A Mad Hatter with a real set of pipes who gets down to “Everybody Dance Now.” A Red Queen and White Queen who resolve a rivalry by voguing in a Pose-style dance off.

This world-premiere Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Panto might—as its opening song suggests—cause Lewis Carroll to roll in his grave. Carroll lived and wrote in the Victorian era, but his timeless Alice has endured through each generation who invents her as an archetype. Who amongst us, children and adults alike, has not experienced the world as a strange and surreal place, full of both wonders and dangers? We all feel Alice-like at times…

The panto tradition brings us all along into Alice’s journey; we audience members get to cheer for Alice and the new friends she makes, boo at the villainous Queen of Hearts (the marvelous Mary Elizabeth Scallen), sing, clap, and even eat candy handed to us by the ensemble during the Mad Hatter’s (the amazing Alexis Tidwell) raucous tea party. It’s jubilant fun for all of the generations: the kids who were present were having a blast, but so were the many adults who came to the panto child-free.

A world of acceptance

Jennifer Childs’s script and Alex Bechtel’s music and lyrics reach just the right balance of silliness and irreverence, pop-culture references, and moments of real emotional depth. We want Alice not only to save the White Rabbit (the excellent Justin Jain) and escape the Queen of Hearts but also to learn that it’s okay to be uncertain. One of the show’s most poignant moments is the song “Impossible Things,” an intimate duet between Alice and her beautiful, glamorous, often absent Mom, AKA the White Queen (Altamiece Carolyn Cooper), when they finally come to a moment of understanding…Every aspect of this production is impeccably done. The artists working behind the scenes to support the excellent acting ensemble have brought their A game to this Wonderland: Rebecca Kanach (costumes), Sapphira Cristal (wigs), Pi Queen (makeup), Mike Inwood (lights), Robert Kaplowitz (sound), and Chris Haig (scenic design). Kudos to director Bill Fennelly and music director Abdul Hamid Royal (who plays piano, accompanied by Jimmy Coleman on percussion).

Every member of the performing ensemble brings energy and flair but I do want to especially recognize People’s Light veteran Tom Teti, whose understated Dormouse is simply the perfect balance to Jaffe’s ebullient Cheshire Cat.

If I haven’t convinced you yet to make Alice in Wonderland part of your family (biological or chosen) holiday plans, consider the potential for important conversations that this panto can open up between parents, grands, kids, teens, and adult friends: when do you feel alone like Alice? Stuck in the middle? In your biggest dreams, what do you imagine is possible for your life?

So when this started a few days ago as the latest issue of the collective idiocy, I sat back and though, well they can just not let their kids go, right? Nope, we all have to hear about it.

These people just never stop. Look you guys, it’s kind of simple: if you’re so upset about public education you can homeschool your children or you can put them in charter schools or religious schools.


The second thing is, this is a theatrical production. It’s not doing anything dirty to your children.


The third thing goes back to choice again. Just like you have the choice to pull your kids out of public school because you hate public school so much, you also have the choice not to send your child on a field trip. They will, of course remember that you did this and they won’t remember you and say mommy and daddy protected me. They will remember you and say mommy and daddy punished us, and made us freaks with the rest of the class.


If you don’t want to go, if you don’t want your children to go, that’s fine, but why does the rest of the world have to hear about it?


However, what you don’t get to do is to tell everyone else how to live their lives.

So I think people should go out of their way to make a donation to People’s Light. They are a wonderful theatre company and part of our extended Chester County Community. Tell the no fun collective I refer to as Stepford Wives for Totalitarianism that they can do as they choose with their own children and lives, but their choices should be everyone’s choices. This is about their comfort levels, not care for the community. This has all gone too far and now that they lost in yet another election, it’s like they have to manufacture issues to desperately try to stay relevant. But it does once again highlight all of their phobias and prejudices quite nicely.

https://www.peopleslight.org/support/donate/

Follow the links posted to support our beloved regional and in some cases, local theatre company.

https://tickets.peopleslight.org/donate/contribute1

I sign off saying, here’s hoping everyone can find the magic of the season in their lives.

Pax.

other things

Today is just one of those days that makes you think. I had to be home today, so I used Instacart. I will be honest I like this as a service. And for the most part I also really like the people that work for them. Today my person was a woman new to the area. Why and how she’s new to the area gave me pause.

This woman is here because of Hurricane Ian. Her husband has a job that requires a lot of travel. He spends a lot of time in this part of the Northeast. But they were living in Florida. Until hurricane Ian took everything. So she and her husband have relocated for at least the near term. His job is based out of the suburban Philadelphia area at this point, and well they just lost everything in a hurricane.

So as we’re sitting in our houses, apartments, townhouses, condos, wherever we need to pause a moment. Forget about all the hate and vitriol, think about people that go through things like this. And they go through it with a smile on their face and a positive attitude.

Also today I got to spend a little time with a friend of mine I don’t get to see very often. Life kind of intervenes and there are people that you just don’t see it as often as you would like. But again this is a person who has had quite the year, and is still positive and smiling and happy.

Today I also got to meet a Brazilian artist. She also has relocated to this area. And another person who just radiates niceness and positivity. The artist is Fer Caggiano, and I was introduced to her through a mutual friend. For this post I borrowed a photo of one of her paintings because it’s kind of how I’m feeling today, right or wrong. The link to Fer‘s website is embedded in the caption of her painting above.

The painting you see above made me check out a video of one of her shows, a show called “Like a Girl.”

Fer Caggiano is now calling Chester County home. It is kind of amazing that she is here. Her work is interesting, thought provoking, imaginative. I am not an art critic, I am just someone who likes things which strike me in some way The portraits in her Dare to Dream are cool. They aren’t traditional, they aren’t abstract, they are an interpretation of life and the essence of her subjects. Fer is also part of the NFT artwork movement.

What is an NFT artwork? NFT art is a digitalized piece of artwork that a person has tokenized onto a blockchain. Admittedly, that is not my jam as I like to look at art more traditionally. But Fer is multi talented, so she is an artist you can buy actual physical pieces from.

Fer is based out of Malvern now and Hands In on King St. They are located at 346 E. King St, Malvern. Now this business is owned by my friend Susie De Rafelo. Susie and I became friends because of a common love of gardening. Susie is amazing, (truly) and so multi talented and artistic. We are very lucky that this Chester County born woman returned to her roots and brought her business and imagination with her.

Hands In is a fair trade business. I am a fan of fair trade, as my long time friend Sherry Tillman has always practiced this through her business, Past*Present*Future , which is in Ardmore, PA.

Today started out like more of an average day. I also had hate mail in time for election day from some woman (a Stepford Wife for Totalitarianism) who should be ashamed of herself and her lack of intellectual ability, but she won’t be. She is a bless your heart and move on. You can read what she sent to me in my post this morning.

As humans, we are not designed to be mirror images of one and other. But in today’s hate and vitriol filled world, if you aren’t exactly like someone, you are bad. Ok, so to people like this morning’s fan, I am bad. If I don’t agree with someone on social media, I am bad. But I am tired of these people, and increasingly intolerant. I wasn’t born to live in a beige, beige world. I like color. I accept life can be messy, yet glorious. If you can’t, I am sorry, but that’s on you. These people are far too plentiful these days. And that is sad. But today, ugliness was once more balanced out with good. I appreciate that divine intervention, so to speak.

Thank you to the unintentionally inspirational women with whom I interacted today. You guys make life and the world a better place.

Now, if you haven’t already, please go vote.

Ciao.

a beautiful saturday in marshallton

Yesterday was the celebration of Humphry Marshall’s 300th birthday and Marshallton was alive with happiness and history. It was so much fun!

These are the events I love. A pretty day spent with friends and family walking around a wonderfully pretty and historic village. I went around lunchtime and we started with lunch at the Four Dogs Tavern (fabulous), and then we explored. This way, I escaped the politicians who like to appear at fall events during election season.

I was a little disappointed the blacksmith shop was closed but thrilled that the Merchant of Menace was open!

I had a lovely afternoon. Enjoy the photos. I will also note that we are supporters of the Marshallton Conservation Trust.

back to the historic village of yellow springs

Today I went back to Historic Yellow Springs. First up was the herb sale in the big field held by the Philadelphia Unit of the Herb Society of America.

The herb sale had not been held since before COVID19 invaded our lives. The sale was a rousing success and they basically had sold out but just a little after 11 AM! The tables were picked clean like locusts had descended upon the field!

After putting my plants in the car, I went onto the Yellow Springs Art Show. I had also not been there since before COVID19. The show was glorious, but some of the artists’ pricing were eyebrow raising.

One of the things I noticed the most was how alive the village was today. That doesn’t happen often enough. The Historic Yellow Springs Executive Director did not seem to be around and I was there for a few hours. I do not wish to be critical of the woman, but today was the kind of day that you get opportune moments. You never know where your next donation is going to come from and two seconds of conversation with visitors to the village means people come back to the village. I also know of people who have wanted to volunteer that somehow are never chosen to volunteer. And I’m not referring to myself because they don’t want a mouthy blogger volunteering there, and I know that.

For this amazing and living and breathing piece of history to remain viable into the future they have to be less insular. Their volunteers are amazing and helpful and nice, but the people that actually run the show (board and others) need to be more visible.

Becoming a member of Historic Yellow Springs is fun. I belong. You can join here.

While I was walking the village today I thought of an event that Meg Veno does at Life’s Patina. As part of Life’s Patina’s holiday events she does a German Market. It’s hugely popular as most German Markets during the holidays are. So I got to thinking since Life’s Patina/Meg Veno has breathed new life into the Jenny Lind House, and is nearing completion of an extensive and expensive restoration (and boy do I hope West Pikeland and Historic Yellow Springs are appreciative, don’t you?), why not pick you one of THE most creative brains in all of Chester County and take full advantage of the fabulousness coming to an amazing historic village?

What am I talking about? It’s simple: when I was walking the village today and I did it a couple of times first with plants and then going to the art show and buying some art it occurred to me that this life that was in the village today is so important for her survival. And I thought as I stood in front of the Jenny Lind house about how much I enjoy what Meg does every holiday season. And I thought that Yellow Springs should really pick her brain about doing a German Christmas village THERE.

Historic Yellow Springs is extra lovely on the outside during the holidays, so why not capitalize on new blood and fresh energy? Today in my mind’s eye I could see a German Christmas village up and down Yellow Springs Village. Christmas carolers and musicians strolling back-and-forth, a cart selling warm chestnuts and brown paper sacks, a vendor selling gingerbread fresh from the oven, and more. Couldn’t you just see someone with a beautiful little booth outside selling hand-painted German Christmas ornaments and nutcrackers ? It would literally be SO perfect!

I mean I don’t know why their Special Events Director, Executive Director, and board haven’t thought of any of these things. I know they don’t want the village to look like Disneyland, but I’m talking about things that are old-fashioned, historically appropriate,wholesome,pretty, and fun.

Other ideas? Bring back an updated version of the fall antiques show. There are enough dealers and high-end crafts people in Chester County that do such fine work including right in the studios of Yellow Springs that you could do this no problem. Why not make it a version of not what it was, but more of a blend of high-end crafts and art as well as antiques and collectibles?

Other things would be more children’s events like hayrides through the fall and pumpkin carving. Maybe a Halloween parade with old-fashioned Halloween games for kids?

There are more than enough garden clubs in Chester County so why not ask them to do their plant sales all on one weekend in the spring or early summer in the village? Or invite garden groups to do plant swaps in the village?

The possibilities are endless for this beautiful piece of Chester County history. But they need to extend themselves so people know they’re there a little more.

And all of these events should have membership tables with people asking are you a member of Historic Yellow Springs? Would you like to be a member of Historic Yellow Springs?

Today I was also treated to the clop clop of horses hooves as riders rode through the village. There is just something so nice about that sound.

Just my thoughts. If you can catch the art show before it closes at the end of this weekend, I highly recommend it.

Thanks for stopping by.

spring barn sale weekend at life’s patina!

Life’s Patina is a beautiful, happy place to visit. The seasonal barn sales are fun to go to. It’s a dream of creativity and just pretty things to look at.

Friday, April 29. 10 AM – 5 PM

Saturday, April 30th. 10 AM – 5 PM

Sunday, May 1st. 10 AM – 4 PM

A portion of Life’s Patina Spring Preview Party ticket sales and merchandise sold during our barn sale will be donated to CARE’s Ukraine Crisis Fund, which aims to reach 4 million in Ukraine with immediate aid and recovery, food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support and cash assistance, prioritizing women, girls, families and the elderly.

These events are both indoor and outdoor. The parking is field parking so if the weather looks like it’s going to be funky check their Facebook page or website.

Even if you don’t need to buy anything you may find a little something or a large something that you cannot live without. And you will enjoy every minute that you are there!

LOCATION: Willowbrook Farm, 1750 N Valley Rd, Malvern, PA 19355

al stewart at the colonial

Things we forgot we missed, yet didn’t forget we missed during COVID19 was live music. Last night made up for that. We went to Phoenixville to The Colonial to see Al Stewart courtesy of Point Entertainment.

The last time I saw Al Stewart, it was at The Point in Bryn Mawr. The early 2000s. He actually played there a bunch, and it was a wonderful small venue to experience his music. Fun fact is he played at the original Main Point around 1970.

So much time has passed, and I might be in my late 50s, but if the venue isn’t too large I like live music, and I have always loved listening to Al Stewart.

One of the most fun things about listening to him live is he is a student of history. You would think, in a former life he was a history professor and as my husband points out, history has influenced his music. Truthfully he’d probably be great fun to have as a dinner guest.

Also a word about the opening act, which is also Al’s band for his shows: The Empty Pockets. They are really good, and they invited Phoenixville/Philadelphia favorite Cliff Hillis up on stage for a song! Many will know him from Smash Palace and as part of David Uosikkinen’s In The Pocket.

Last night was a terrific night of music. And The Colonial Theatre is such a gem. I always wonder when it’s fully restored, if it gets fully restored, will the silk damask on the walls be restored or replaced? It is one of the relics of the past of this theater that is one of my favorite things.

Before the concert we had dinner at The Black Lab Bistro. It was amazing! Sadly what isn’t amazing is the parking or lack there of in Phoenixville. It’s worse than Ardmore, and almost as bad as Manayunk.

Support venues like The Colonial Theatre!

discover more in ardmore

I do have to give a shout out once in a while to one of my favorite stores, Past*Present*Future in Ardmore, PA. They are in the heart of the historic business district at 15 W. Lancaster Avenue. They are next-door to Merion Art and Repro.

You can shop in person at the store, you can shop online, and you can shop and do curbside pickup. Masks are a requirement in the store, but I don’t mind businesses that take every precaution for their staff and customers.

The owner Sherry is a long time and very dear and close friend. My favorite present from her ever was shortly after I received my breast cancer diagnosis and she gave me this funky cool sculpture that was an F bomb literally.

I have a pillow in my living room that everyone loves of foxes. All hand embroidered it. It came from Sherry and her store. The store when you go in is a feast for your senses because there are so many cool things to look at. If you go to visit her I suggest you take a couple laps around and then focus on areas that you like. She has amazing fair trade crafts from around the world, and she also reps independent jewelry designers who have some of the most fabulous stuff out there. And things you can wear every day not things you have to lock away for safety.

Mostly I shop from online and off her Instagram page these days because I just don’t get to Ardmore very often. But her shipping is always reasonable, and like I said you can do curbside pick up. I encourage in person visits because she has a tremendous and unique card section that you won’t find any place else – there are lots of cards out there for every occasion but it’s hard to find ones that are quality or when you want one that’s funny, to find one that’s actually funny.

And yes this is a place that when I mount and frame some of my photographs I sell them here. Take for example this one you see in this photo below👇

But I am not posting this because I have a photo for sale there. I am posting this because she has so much fun stuff and I love her store. This is a great store to find something really unique and special for Valentine’s Day and any other special occasion you might have. It is also a store used for corporate gifts and in the back there is a section of old fashion children’s toys that are among my personal favorites.

And I will state for the record that I am not being compensated for this post, I was not asked to write this post, I am writing this post because I want to and it’s my friend’s business and I have been a happy customer for a couple of decades. And the fact that this store started originally in Center City Philadelphia many years ago and has been open for so many years tells you about the quality of the items being sold.

Thanks for stopping by!

christmas is ON at frazer antiques!

Frazer Antiques located at 351 Lancaster Ave in Frazer/Malvern is ready for your visit! They also have a 15% off sale until December 31, 2021!

Look at this gorgeous platter!

Frazer Antiques is one of my favorite haunts all times of the year, but there is something magical about an antique store at Christmas! There are so many great vintage ornaments and they are reasonably priced. There are also all sorts of little things to tempt you and catch your eye!

Here is something I found yesterday which is happy in my house now:

Isn’t that little crèche amazing? It’s vintage Oberammergau made in Germany! I was psyched to find it!

Frazer Antiques has friendly staff who are also among the many antiques dealers who fill the store with delightful treasures. As a matter fact I found out yesterday that one of the dealers is someone I went to high school with that I did not know had a stall there !

I hope all of you will take a minute to patronize another local business here in Chester County that’s really lovely.

Frazer Antiques is open pretty much every day 10 AM to 5 PM. 351 Lancaster Avenue Malvern/Frazer. Plenty of free parking in the front and then behind the shop! (610)-651-8299

They ask that the unvaccinated to please be considerate and wear a mask inside. And they have plenty of hand sanitizer right as you walk in the door.

Please note, I was not asked to create this post or take photos, nor was I compensated in any way, shape, or form. I love this local business and merely believe in #ShopSmall #ShopLocal #PayItForward

magnolia cottage shop in malvern is looking magical and holiday bright!

Last year none of us were out much because of COVID19. This year we are taking baby steps. It is sometimes disconcerting being out because face it, we are not used to it. I think that’s why I appreciate the small businesses in our area even more.

One of my favorites, Magnolia Cottage Shop is all decked out for Christmas and Kathy the owner has gone out of her way to make it so wonderful and welcoming. The shop is full of so many fun things right now, I could have stayed far longer than I did!

I found a few things I loved including this little vintage Annalee white elf. I don’t know much about these Christmas collectibles, I have a couple of friends that love them so I have gotten a few here and there over the years and I think this one is a Frosty! He looks really cute on my tree!

Magnolia Cottage Shop has something for everyone and one of my other favorite things were the vintage Pimpernel Santa placemats:

Magnolia Cottage Shop is located at 288 Lancaster Avenue Frazer/Malvern PA 19355. They are closed Mondays. See website and Facebook and Instagram for more!