Last year started out a little slow. Looking at my calendar which is meticulously color coded and detailed, I couldn’t find much that really stood out. I think this is probably blow back from my declaration last year that I was going to take pictures of everything in 2012. I didn’t. Not even close. But I did have a rollicking good time. And even though there might not be anything huge to note from January I did have my every day nights. The dinners and shows and movies and hang outs with friends that define a life. One of these was the Pretty Things Peep Show at the Beachland Ballroom. I love burlesque and vaudeville and couldn’t be more pleased that it’s been coming back lately and that Cleveland has a relatively active scene. The Pretty Things Peep Show consists of a small troupe that combines sideshow tricks, burlesque and comedy to great result. This was the best show I saw all year. So great, in fact, that I saw it twice.
This year I did a tremendous amount of traveling, visiting nine places (some more than once). In February I drove to visit my friend D in Greensboro, North Carolina. He moved there for work and even though the move was shortlived I’m still glad I made it down for a visit. I would have never been to Greensboro otherwise. Not that that would have been a terrible terrible loss, but I love nothing if not visiting new places. And there was a tea house that was adorable. This picture is of Pilot Mountain on the drive. I think it’s fairly amazing looking, definitely a landmark, and if you look up the work “monadnock” on Wikipedia it shows a picture of the summit.
A lot happened in March but not much that warrants photographs. There was the roller derby, though I didn’t get to as many bouts as I have in previous years, which is always a good time. There was the Cleveland International Film Festival, but no one wants to see a picture of a dark theatre. There was Saint Patrick’s Day, but it was a Saturday this year and I had to forego the parade because I had to work and had Irish fare at K and J’s house before going to our regular hang, Parnell’s.
K and J and I went on a mini-roadie to Toledo to check out the Art Museum there. I saw a whimsical Fragonard, we learned what K thought Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry probably sounded like, and we made tentative plans to see the Manet exhibit later in the year (never happened). I love the art nouveau Métropolitain entrances in Paris and was happy to see one alive and well and living in Toledo. J got very into his dapper look, of which I heartily approve.
I worked a lot in May since my hideous job moved from a very convenient location to a very inconvenient location and we had to set up the new store. For about a month I worked nine hours a day doing that, which was great for money but bad for my general sanity. I did manage to take a time out for the Bal Ingenieux, an event done by IngenuityFest as a throwback to the Kokoon Club balls that took place in the earlier half of the twentieth century. I love love loved the idea, but I thought the execution could have been carried out a bit better. For example, the dance area insisted upon behaving like a high school prom, I wouldn’t have minded if they got rid of some of the techno and focused on making it a throwback event closer to what it might have been at a real Kokoon Club event. I also wouldn’t have minded if people got into it a little more. Still, our outfits were amazing and I loved the building where it took place.
Oh June, the beginning of summer, really. K and I started our weekly beach trips in June. I went to New York with my mother and met my sister. We saw ‘Newsies’ and explored the Highline. But June also had my favorite event of the year the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Solstice Party. It always seems like the whole city is there and dressed up in their most creative. They have free photo booths and bands. Food trucks were posted outside to take care of everyone’s appetites and the collection is open inside. The only downside was that I wore shoes I could only walk in for two hours.
The Pretty Things Peep Show came back in July and I enjoyed it this time with Co-Worker C, who I no longer work with. Opening was the incomparable Pinch and Squeal, who I always enjoy seeing. At the end of June the Art Museum opened an exhibit called Youth and Beauty in the American Twenties so when they decided to have a Speakeasy Cocktail Hour I was all over that. It gave me a chance to wear my Gatsby Party outfit again and see the exhibit in one fell swoop. Plus they had the added bonus of a Dr. Sketchy’s event at the same time where the models dressed up like some of the paintings. It was great, and the best part was the decision by the museum to make this sort of thing a monthly event, called MIX, with a different theme every time.
More beach in August, of course, but there were several other standouts. Geneva-on-the-Lake being one. K, J, and I jumped in the car and drove the hour away to Geneva-on-the-Lake, a cheesy lakeside resort filled with mini-golf, arcades, and fatty snacks. There was also the Medieval Faire, which K and I had missed the past two years but made special effort to visit this year. Archery, jousts, and turkey legges were abundant. But the main event of August was my yearly vacation. I decided early in the year that 2012 would be a year for touring houses (I’m not sure this will ever really end) so I decided to make a trip of it. First I drove to Cape Cod where I stayed in lovely (read: cheesy but I love it) West Yarmouth near the Kennedy’s in Hyannis. Next I headed to Providence, Rhode Island where I visited camp friends and saw a statue of founder Roger Williams, who I am related to somehow. After that I drove down to Newport where I started my intense house touring. I visited five of the Gilded Age mansions held by the Preservation Society of Newport County. They were all incredible, especially The Breakers. Then I went on to the Hudson River Valley where I saw more houses up and down the river including FDR’s home, Springwood, and the Rockefeller’s Kykuit. It was an amazing trip.
Once I got back from my trip it turned cold almost immediately. But not too cold that we didn’t have a nice little au revoir to the beach. I got there first, as always, and discovered that a recent storm had littered the beach with dead fish, not pleasant, and that turkey vultures were having a nice chow down. I stayed well away until they’d cleared and got a few gorgeous pictures. Once K joined me we toasted a lovely summer with cupcakes, beef jerky, and our preferred beverages (Vanilla Coke and Pepsi Max).
In the beginning of October I headed east again, this time towards New Hampshire for the Fall Family Festival at camp. My sister runs the thing and it’s become an alumni event as opposed to the kids only day it used to be. We stay over two nights and have a really great time. Seeing camp in the fall is a change, since I only used to be there summers, but it is beautiful at that time of year. But more importantly, it’s great to see people from times past. When at camp all the years seem to fall away. Afterwards I took a side trip to Lenox, Massachusetts to see two properties; Ventfort Hall, the home of Sarah Morgan (sister is financier J.P. [Pierpont!]), and Edith Wharton’s gorgeous The Mount.
In November I went on two mini-trips. The first on our annual pilgrimage to K’s family’s property near Nellysford, Virginia. Every year, usually in the fall, we travel down there and have a nice relaxing weekend that involves beautiful foliage, a trip up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, local breweries with lots of smoked meats, and a terrible attempt at a campfire. This year was a little different since many of K’s extended family made the trip as well. I slept on the floor in a room with a couple who snore like chainsaws, but a good time was had by all. This month I also made my way to visit my sister in Chicago. I usually make it there once or twice a year but this time in particular was because Les Misérables was in town and since it’s my favorite everything (book, musical, what have you) we made the trip. The picture is from the Blue Ridge Parkway, because, really, that is some view.
Between Christmas and yet another trip to New York I didn’t think I’d have much money left over for fun. But when I found out that Patent Pending was coming to Cleveland in mid-December I knew I had to spring for a ticket (and a drink or two). Patent Pending is, basically, music I would have listened to in high school and early college. The sort of fun rocky pseudo-punk that was popular at the time. I’m sure somewhere it still is, but I don’t listen to it. Except, Patent Pending is one of the greatest bands ever. I went to my first concert of their unwittingly as a result of some cajoling from my bestests. I was NOT disappointed. These guys put on one hell of a show, and their lyrics mean much more than the average band, ranging from hilarious to heartfelt. We’ve been to enough of their concerts now that we get recognized, which is great because it means sometimes I get free posters, and a lot of jealous stares.