Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: creativity

And for those “Les Miserables” fans who can’t quite make it to the theater today…
here’s a great video where one guy sings all the parts, in all of the voices, of the best songs
from the best musical ever. It’s kinda long, but well worth it.

For some reason, I just kept thinking it’s the “Brady Bunch” meets “Les Miz.”

Click here for the video – “One Man “Les Miserable” Medley.”

Categories: cirque du soleil, friends, movie, movies

Like I haven’t had enough stuff to keep me busy, what with all the “glitter gigs,”
the Home Shows and getting ready for Christmas. Most people would kick back
& relax on the day after Christmas. But not us… we had planned a great day of fun
with some of my friends!!!

Pam & I met up with Sarah & Julie for breakfast at “Yolk” downtown in the Streeterville
neighborhood. We all had stories to share about our Christmas adventures and some
-adventures for others. Besides hanging out with friends, the highlight was the pancakes
we ordered as our group appetizer! They were multigrain pancakes with granola & blueberries
mixed into the batter, then sliced bananas & honey on top! So yummy, that I got another
stack of them with my omelet!!!

Cirque du Soleil : Worlds Away 3-D
Next, Pam and I met up with Nancy and we made it to the new Cirque du Soleil movie.
It was beautifully filmed – and the 3D effects were not too over-the-top like most movies.
The film has a very loose plot following a couple as they try to find each other while traveling
through the “worlds” of the permanent Cirque du Soleil shows that are in Las Vegas. After
awhile, I must admit that it seemed a little like a travelog advertisement to get you to go to
Vegas! The movie was beautiful, but being at the actual show is SO much better!!!
But if you can’t make it to Las Vegas, by all means, go see the movie!
Click here for the official Cirque du Soleil : Worlds Away 3-D movie trailer.

The three of us had some time to kill in between movies, so we went to the Grand Luxe Cafe
for lunch. I had never been there before, nor did I know that it was a “kitchen cousin” of
The Cheesecake Factory. So we sat around, relaxed and had some good food. Again, sharing
stories of our Christmases and plans for the New Year. But it was a little hard to focus…
I was too anxious for what was next…

Les Miserables
Finally. The highlight of the day that I had been waiting forever for!
My FAVORITE musical ever has finally made it to the silver screen. Sure, there are other
movie versions of “Les Miserables.” But none of them are the movie version of the stage
musical production! Which has always been my favorite. So I was just a little more than
excited to finally see it. We got to the theater a little early to make sire we got good seats.
And we did… smack dab in the middle!!! The commercials & previews seemed to go on
forever. When you finally hear the first few notes of the musical, my heart skipped a beat.
And I was mesmerized for the duration of the show. Which is fantastic!!!
Sure, it’s no replacement for seeing it live on stage, but it is a whole ‘nother version of it
with all of the grandeur & spectacle. It definitely did not disappoint.

Overall, it was incredible. When Anne “Fantine” Hathaway sings “I Dreamed A Dream”
towards the beginning of the movie, I had goosebumps and was choking back the tears.
Her performance was incredible. As was Hugh Jackman as “Jean Valjean.” He did an
incredible job of telling his story, singing the demanding songs and aging through the film.
Also loved Helena Bonham Carter & Sacha Barn Cohen as the Thenardiers. Brilliant casting.
Actualy, I think most of the casting was spot-on, and all of the voices were great. With one
exception… okay, I’ve never been a fan, I’ve never figured quite out his appeal, and I was
fearful of his singing abilities… not to mention any names…
Russell Crowe. For those of us
who have been fans for so many years, and have memorized every word to every song, you
know that the role of Javert is pretty strong. For some reason, Russell Crowe never quite
showed any depth or emotion, and his singing was fairly monotone as well. I kept waiting
for him to open up and belt out my second-favorite song “Stars.” But he never did. It wasn’t
until his “final” scene that there was some emotion in his singing voice. Finally.
But by then, it’s too late if you know what I mean…

But still… my favorite is Eponine. With “Les Miz” stage actress Samantha Barks securing
the role instead of some big Hollywood name, she delivered on all accounts. And when she
sings my favorite song of the entire show, “On My Own,” I must admit there were more than
a few tears welling up. Brilliant… so brilliant, that here’s a little sneak peek for you…
Click here for the Eponine “On My Own” version of the movie trailer.

So there it is. Finally. A beautiful film version of the stage musical “Les Miserables.”
And well worth the wait. I can’t wait to see it again. My only other “complaint” besides
Russell Crowe was how dark the film was. Sure, I know it’s supposed to be dark & moody.
But there were times when it seemed that the film was so dark that it was a little tough to see
what was going on?! Sure, a lot happens at night, I get it. But there are also some movie-
making tricks they could have used to I could at least see the characters singing. I’m just sayin’.

Also, so much has been said about how, for the first time, all of the actors in the movie are
singing live as they are being filmed. No dubbing. No sound stage mixing. How every word in
every scene was recorded live, along with breathing, background noises.
Click here for a special featurette about the special recording process for “Les Miserables.”

It’s also a great testament to the movie of how silent it was during the entire film. No rustling.
No candy wrappers. And oddly no singing. I found myself quietly mouthing the words. But it
was SO incredibly quiet that I didn’t feel that my singing would be appreciated. Totally silent…
until the very end when the audience applauded for the film! Serious applause. There aren’t
many films I’ve been too where the theater audience breaks out into applause.
It was that good.

So, all in all, It was a very long day. But SO much fun packed in along the way!!!
Squeezing in as much as I could with friends after the Christmas hustle & bustle.
Chatting, sharing stories & hanging out with Pam, Sarah, Julie & Nancy. So much fun.
Seeing two of my passions make it to the Big Screen. Not being disappointed by either one!
A great day…
                     … and now I need to see “Les Miserables” again !!!

Categories: holiday, pottery

Tis’ the season for family, friends, the sharing of gifts… and a lot of yummy food!
I was “assigned” to bring dessert for our family Christmas dinner. So I made a double
chocolate cheesecake with a brownie bottom crust. Pretty tasty if I do say so myself…
and even tastier when served on some handmade pottery!!!

Categories: holiday, pottery

My Christmas Eve is traditionally spent with my parents and their friends The Muellers.
I’ve know The Muellers since fourth grade when Alice Mueller came into my classroom
and gave presentation about joining a 4-H Club. I was hooked and wanted to join, but there
wasn’t a club close by. So I “convinced” my parents to become 4-H Club Leaders!
And the rest is history. They were leaders all the way through my sister’s involvement.
And I was involved all the way into my college Freshman year – when I also won a trip
to the National 4-H Congress for “Arts & Crafts.” Go figure…

Anyway, Christmas Eve once again did not disappoint. When they all return from Christmas
Eve Mass, I’ve got all of my Mom’s snacks all prepped, cooked & ready to serve.
Not surprisingly, my parents to have a rather “vast” collection of my pottery, and she had
already pulled out & chosen which snack was going to go on which pottery piece. So it was
an evening of gifts, snacks, hors’ doeuvres… and classic pottery!

You can almost see that she has some “classics” in her collection. The bowl with the
Chex Party Mix (which we have forever referred to as “Nibbley”) is an example of where
my stamping obsession started. With a simple line of stamps around the rim.  It was a
slippery slope and now there’s a LOT more stamping where that come from.

Categories: movie

Sure, tomorrow is Christmas. But it’s also “one day more” for another big movie event.
I’m going to see it the day after Christmas… already have my tickets… and I can’t wait!!!
“Les Miserables’ AND the Cirque du Soleil 3D movie back to back!!!
Merry Christmas to ME!!!

Categories: holiday

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday with family & friends.
Sharing special times & special gifts with those who make you smile.
And a special thank you to all of my blog followers for being so supportive
& encouraging over the past year. More fun & more smiles to come in 2013!!!

Categories: holiday

All the ornaments are on my advent calendar so it must be Christmas Eve.

Am I all ready for Christmas? Not quite.
Am I ready for a good nap? Most definitely.

Categories: artists, creativity, holiday, inspiration

I found this online and had to share…
Looks like entire cities are getting more and more excited about DIY Christmas trees.
Last year Kaunas in Lithuania had one made from 32.000 recycled bottles and this year
a Belgian town called Hasselt put up a 30-foot high Christmas tree, made from 5,000
porcelain plates. The plates were brought by around 3,000 residents of the town,
which symbolically titles itself as the Capital of Taste.

The idea was presented and implemented by Inge Vanluyd and Stefan Vanbergen from
Belgian company mooz. “At home we all have odd plates and cups which just don’t go
with anything and as a consequence never find their way out of the cupboard. W
noticed that friends and family also had ‘spare’ plates hanging around the house. This
was enough to get us thinking about a creative
destination for these everyday objects,”
explain the creators.
Kinda want to make one of my own now…

Categories: holiday, special events

If the Mayans are correct, tomorrow may be the big day.
But if the Oreo’s are right, tonight’s going to be a yummy “double-stuffed” evening!!!

But then again, what if Michael Stipe was right all along?!
Or maybe he was just the very last Mayan?… he doesn’t look much like a Mayan?

Click here for the video – REM : It’s The End Of The World (As We Know It).
A fun, illustrated rendition complete with lyrics… for those of us STILL determined
to memorize all of the words to this classic, very fast-paced song!

I guess I’ve only got about 9 hours to do it….
since the world’s gonna end at 5:32am tomorrow morning?!

Categories: artists, My Talented Friends, textures

I stopped by Lillstreet Art Center this evening to drop-off a few things, pick-up a few things,
chat with a few friends, water my studio plants… and see what I’ve been missing as I’ve been
too busy to get much done in the studio lately. Too busy with holiday projects & preparations.
But never too busy to get a wonderful porcelain present from Terry Hogan.

Another wonderfully precise, pierced & patterned porcelain beauty to add to my collection!

Merry Christmas to me… and thank you again Terry!!!