01 Feb 2014

They’re Just People

01 Feb 2014

By Lori Hope Baumel

Originally appeared in Around Wellington Magazine on February 1, 2014

Sams Eye

Sam’s Eye                 iPhone Artistry by LH Baumel

“Peoples is peoples… frogs is peoples”

– From the film The Muppets Take Manhattan

As your cultural arts columnist since April 2013, I have been fortunate to meet a wide variety of noted artists, performers, writers, curators and other well-known personalities that I would not have had the opportunity to converse with without my press pass. Of course, meeting creative people is what interests me most about writing for this column.

In December, I wrote several articles about the Miami Book Fair International (MBFI). The interviews were conducted by appointment either by telephone or in the pressroom on the day I went to the fair. I found that the authors at the MBFI were just as nervous about meeting me as I was of them. Of course, as a member of the press, I intended to reprint their thoughts and comments as accurately as possible. Too often the media twists their words and intentions causing a tremendous mistrust between interviewee and interviewer. Granted, that really is something to be nervous about.

On the other hand, I did not want to appear ignorant. I chose my questions carefully and assured each author that the purpose of my interview was to promote their work and get to know them better. In this case, I had the luxury of choosing authors whose work I enjoyed and admired. To me, they were celebrities. Admittedly, I was slightly starstruck. But after I finished my seventh interview I was reminded of the fact that they’re “just people.” We all snacked from the same buffet together and washed up in the same restroom. I realized that “going on the road” to promote their work was just part of their job.

The more people I meet, the more places I experience, the more I satisfy my insatiable curiosities about life. I ground myself by reflecting on the fact that everything that surrounds me, beautiful or otherwise came from the minds and physical labor of people. People like you and me.

Carolyn Stanford, vocal coach and professor at the University of Miami had a plaque on her studio wall that read, “The longer I live, the longer I live.” During my undergraduate training, I visited her studio once or twice a week as a piano accompanist for some of her students. Occasionally, I’d gaze at the plaque. It was placed next to several photographs depicting her days as a world-renowned opera singer. In my younger days, I didn’t take those words very seriously, but as time passed, I started to get it… “The longer I live, the longer I live.” Over the years, I appreciate learning and traveling much more. I am in constant amazement of those who can cultivate their talents and share them with me. I have also learned that “famous” doesn’t necessarily mean talented and talent doesn’t necessarily bring you fame.

For a majority of notable figures, fame and notoriety have a very short shelf life. Opera singers hone their craft until they are about 35 years old and, if they are lucky, they are privileged to perform at their peak for about 20 years. After that, they often teach within a system of higher education. Then there are the one-hit wonders, a term occasionally used to refer to an artist, who is best known for a single work. Examples in literature include Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill A Mockingbird and author Margaret Mitchell whose first and only novel was Gone With The Wind. Did their careers fail, or did they simply reach their goal and felt satisfied?

In this column I will leave you with questions instead of answers:

What are you noted for? Do you have a talent of your own? Do you run an organized household? Are you a creative cook? Are you a loving parent or grandparent? What are you proud of? What are you passionate about – what puts a fire in your belly? Does it necessarily bring you fame and fortune or simply put a roof over your head and food on your table… does it matter?

Whom do you want to be most proud of you? Is it your parents, friends, children or grandchildren? If you can achieve the goal of making as many of the people you value appreciate your talents, then you have your own circle of fame and notoriety.

Remember, people are just people.

Exude confidence. Put your chin up. Put your shoulders back… You’re on!

 

Live… Go… Do!

************
The following video (edited exclusively for Around Wellington) includes excerpts from my interviews with authors Mitch Albom, Delia Ephron and Greg Bellow (son of the late Saul Bellow). Fascinating thoughts from fascinating people. Enjoy!

The following video, A Conversation With Inaugural Poet, Richard Blanco contains excerpts from our interview. Mr. Blanco reflects on poetry and how it affects the reader or listener. He also discusses the importance of diversity.

Mr. Blanco read his poem “One Today” at the inauguration ceremony in January 2013. To see Mr. Blanco read One Today on January 20, 2013:

Top 5 List For February 2014

February is a short month; we’re going to keep it simple. Time to reflect – stay close to home. Appreciate what we have here in our own Wellington winter haven. Most importantly, it’s gorgeous out. Be with people. Go outside and play!

1) Take in a Polo Match:

International Polo Club Palm Beach is a return to the way the game of polo is meant to be enjoyed, where polo players and fans of all ages can gather together in a world-class venue for the sport and the lifestyle. Located in the heart of South Florida’s legendary horse country, International Polo Club Palm Beach is a world-class polo club designed to showcase the finest the sport has to offer. Beginning Sunday, January 5th, thousands of fans will be on hand to kick-off the 2014 Polo Season at International Polo Club Palm Beach. The season will feature a series of renowned polo tournaments attracting the world’s finest players. The line-up includes such prestigious high-goal competitions as the Joe Barry Memorial Cup, Ylvisaker Cup and Piaget USPA Gold Cup®, culminating with the playing of the coveted 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship®. We invite you to experience some of the best polo in the world taking place at one of the most beautiful clubs in the world.” – IPC Website

For the calendar of events see: www.internationalpoloclub.com
 

2) Hop over to:

The Wellington Amphitheater
Films, tribute concerts and performances under the stars:
For the full calendar of events see:www.wellingtonfl.gov/community/amphitheater.html

 

3) It’s Movie time!

Rent, download or view on Netflix:

For the kids: The Muppets Take Manhattan – The film’s dialogue and message remains the same for both children and adults. “Peoples is Peoples.” See it before the new Muppet Most Wanted movie comes out on March 21, 2014.

For the Grown ups: Watch Gone With The Wind again! Before The Butler or 12 Years A Slave, this epic was a social commentary ahead of its time. I saw parts of it recently on AMC and couldn’t tear myself away from the screen.

Then be sure to get out to the movie theaters and see the Oscar contenders. The Academy Awards will be airing on Sunday evening March 2, 2014

 

4) Read: something old, perhaps To Kill A Mockingbird – and then read something new…

The Last Call From Heaven

By Mitch Albom

Albom books - PBIA

Bookshelf at PBI Airport         Photo: LH Baumel

I particularly enjoy reading Mr. Albom’s books when en route to a new city. His stories are page-turners and make a plane ride go by very quickly. This month I urge you to grab a copy of The Last Call From Heaven and sit on your patio, near a pool or beach and enjoy the fresh air while you read.

Also: As mentioned previously, see my interview with Mitch Albom at:

 

5) Listen:

… To some of your old records (yes, records), CD’s, or MP3’s that used to make you feel like singing out loud at the top of your lungs or dance in your living room. Get out and go for a run and listen to an old playlist on iTunes. Ask yourself, “Are these still great songs?” Does the music still evoke the same emotions in me that it used to?” Besides production quality, ask yourself, “Have I changed as much as the music has?” Think about who you were then and what you have accomplished since.

 

6) Bonus – one “extra” this month! Go on a photo safari at:

Okeeheelee Nature Center:
Bring your “point and shoot” or fancy DSLR and try your hand at photographing the foliage and natural habitats at Okeeheelee Nature Center.

“Okeeheelee Nature Center features 2.5 miles of trails winding through 90 acres of pine flatwoods and wetlands. Highlights of the center include hands-on exhibits, animal encounters and a nature related gift shop. Marvel at our birds of prey, touch a live snake or prowl for owls during one of our many programs scheduled throughout the year for families, youth and adults.” – pbcgov.com website

For information and hours of operation see:
http://www.pbcgov.com/parks/nature/okeeheelee_nature_center/#.UtcgDvZVpM0
And, for some good old-fashioned non-digital fun, enjoy all that Okeeheelee Park has to offer. This park is one of the gems of the Western Communities. For more information see:

www.pbcgov.com/parks/locations/okeeheelee.htm#.UtcfgfZVpM1

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