Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts

Friday, November 17, 2023

Neil Diamond Tribute Band


David Jericko as Neil Diamond
Lyric, Stuart, FL
November 16, 2023

It was concert night. We went to a see a Neil Diamond tribute band performance at the Lyric in Stuart, FL.

It was a windy and stormy evening, but that did not take any energy away from the crowd or the band. 

The band, Solitary Man: A Tribute to Neil Diamond, provided a solid two hour show, with a break, and played Neil Diamond hits all night. 

The Lyric is an intimate venue and the band filled the house with Neil Diamond tunes all night. David Jericko does a good job as Neil Diamond, and I have seen Neil in concert multiple times. The band encouraged the audience to participate and sing along although some of the concert-goers perhaps got into the night a bit too much, which is not a bad thing; just distracting. 

I was touched by couple of the songs, one in particular, America. I was torn singing these great lyrics about how America is the shining star for immigrants, yet against the current political backdrop that is no longer true. The lyrics say:


To a new and a shiny place

Make our bed and we'll say our grace

Freedom's light burning warm

Freedom's light burning warm

Everywhere around the world

Somehow, I don't believe we are the shiny place that welcomes immigrants trying to escape from a dismal life anymore. 

But, all of that aside, the band was great and I took a video of them doing the song Desiree to remember them by.

It was a great night and I recommend seeing this tribute band if you like Neil Diamond's music.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Universal Orlando Resort - A Review

Chris, Luke, and I in Harry Potter Land
Universal Orlando Resort
April 3, 2023

 It was a very full day. Chris and I departed home at 7:30 AM and returned home just after 9 PM. In between was four hours driving with the rest of the time spent at Universal Orlando Resort. 

Let's begin with the cost. We bought a two-park one day pass for $209 per person. We knew we would be visiting both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. We made the transition on the Hogwarts Express--definitely worth the ride, but not the posted 75 minute wait. To miss the wait, we also bought the two park Express passes at $314.99. Total admission cost for the one day jaunt for two people: $1116.12 (with tax).

First Observation. The resort is incredibly expensive and that jaundiced my objectiveness even before we arrived. I paid less for a 7-day cruise in November than one day at Universal. 

Second Observation: Driving to the resort is relatively simple. It is right off Interstate 4 and there are large parking garages close to the resort. I was not happy that after paying over $1K to visit the resort for the day that they gouged me for $30 to park my truck. Ugh! Really? With the price of admission being astronomical, parking should be included. 

Street Sight
Universal Orlando Resort
April 3, 2023
Third Observation: It took 45 minutes from parking the truck to finally get through security and the admission process and actually be inside Islands of Adventure. This meant navigating the crushing crowds on City Walk and getting scanned and admitted. The actual admission process is cumbersome, even with passes on the phone because there are so many people who are unfamiliar with the process.

When we finally met up with family, who proceeded us to the resort, we began to have some fun. We went first to the Jurassic Park area and our first ride was the VelociCoaster. Even with the express pass we had a very long wait and it was almost 90 minutes from arriving at the resort's gates until we were actually on our first ride of the day. 

As the day progressed, things got better. I was told, but unable to confirm, that the park was a maximum capacity while we were there. It was clear that they were unprepared for the crush of people and the crowds were evident all day. 

Fourth Observation. Use the mobile app to order lunch. It took about 90 minutes to get burgers and eat them because we did not use the mobile app. The automatic Coke dispensing machines are a joke. They were not dispensing drinks reliably and I saw many people put their daily paid cups in the dispenser only to be turned away. I found that beer was a much better choice. Overall food prices are not bad. The burger platter was $15.49 and beer was $9.50. Coke was $4.49 per glass or they had a plan for an all day drink package--which seemed a bit pricey to me. 

So let's talk coasters. I love coasters and I got to sit in the front seat on two of the best. We did not get to experience Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure due to long lines and it does not accept the Express Pass. But here is my ranking of the four coasters that I experienced:

1. Hulk - old, yes, but smooth and like flying a jet fighter (P.S. I did fly a jet fighter trainer, once) (I was in a front seat)

2. Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket - really cool vertical start and music to enjoy while riding (I was in a front seat)

Men In Black Alien Attack
Universal Orlando Resort
April 3, 2023

3. VelociCoaster - Fun, but not smooth and the turns are rough although the maneuvers are creative.

4. Revenge of the Mummy - Nice special effects, but I always think a coaster in the dark removes the fun of seeing the world spin around.

Other rides as I remember them:

Dudly Do-Right's RipSaw Falls - A classic log ride with a scenario that has outlived its time. A great ride to enjoy getting wet, but the story is dated.

Jurassic Park River Adventure - Great ride, you will get wet. It seemed that parts of the ride were not fully operational when we were on it. 

Men In Black Alien Attack - A great fun ride to play "shoot the outer-space aliens." I won the car with 75,000 points. Sorry Luke!

The Simpsons Ride - Not worth the time. They paid too much for this ride. The story is not compelling and the 3D graphics are cheesy.

The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman - nice ride, good 3D graphics, great story and put together pretty well. Enjoyable.

Hogwarts Express - already mentioned. 

Harry Potter The Forbidden Journey - great ride but somewhat intense. Great story and graphics.

We probably did a couple more, but these were the memorable rides. When you divide it out, I paid about $45 per ride. 

We departed the park about 6:30 PM to allow us to get home at a reasonable hour.

It was a fun day filled with thrills and the joy of being with family. Some of the rides were memorable, BUT the overall park experience needs improvement. Given the amount of money being collected, I expected a first class experience--I do not feel as though I received that. 

Fifth Observation - The Express Pass is a requirement! That written, the pass is expensive and in a perfect world I would do away with express passes and increase the capacity of the rides. I felt bad walking in front of families with kids who could not afford an extra $300/per person and had stood in line for 75 or 80 minutes for a 90-second ride, while I stood in line for maybe 10 - 20 minutes at the most.  As the day went on we actually almost walked onto some rides, for the same 90-second experience. 

Bob's Recommendation - Visit but only after fully understanding the cost! Universal Orlando Resort is overpriced; offering mediocre service in every venue. Some of the new rides are first class, but looking around, many of the others require maintenance and the warts are showing. The day I visited, the park seemed to be over capacity.

Important note--this was not my first visit to Universal Orlando Resort. I remember the days before Harry Potter when one of the marquee rides was the Jaws boat ride and there was a dueling rollercoaster, both now gone. Express passes were not a requirement in those days. I believe express passes are a result of running the parks above capacity.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Note: I updated the ride list and amount per ride because I had forgotten one. April 4

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Rodney Atkins Concert - March 26, 2023

Witham Field, Stuart Airport,
Stuart Florida
March 26, 2023

 As I mentioned in my Monday Musings this week, Chris and I attended a Rodney Atkins concert in Stuart, Florida, on Sunday night. 

The concert was in a field at Witham Field, the Stuart Airport, and it was a fun venue. The concert was staged to support the Farm Dog Rescue charity and I felt it was a well attended event. I very much appreciated the reasonable prices for beverages, including adult beverages, and the presence of food trucks on-site to provide a variety of dining opportunities. 

Maggie Baugh was the opening act and went onstage right on time. She covered a range of classic country and sang some of her own compositions. Her vocals were strong, but she really showed off when she grabbed her fiddle. She covered Charlie Daniels' The Devil Went Down to Georgia and while the vocals were a bit rough, the fiddle playing was excellent. She provided a great and enjoyable opening act. 

Rodney Atkins
Witham Field, Stuart, FL
March 26, 2023
Rodney Atkins' portion of the show was solid. He saved his hits for last and I was almost afraid that If you're going Through Hell was going to be left out--but it was his final number and also his strongest performance of the night. His portion of the show lasted about 90 minutes and highlighted especially the expertise of his band. During the first portion of the show I felt that Rodney's vocals sounded tired. He strained for the high notes which were mostly unsupported. I never felt he connected with the crowd except in the most superficial manner. The second part of the show was much improved vocally as Rodney really seemed to enjoy singing and telling stories related to his hits.

Rodney covered a classic 1967 Buffalo Springfield song, For What Its Worth (a/k/a/ Stop Hey, What's That Sound). I enjoyed reliving the experience of the 1960's right up until he changed the words to reference "not let them take our guns" or something like that. The is no reference to taking guns away in the original song and while the sentiment may reflect his personal political views, and played well to the Florida crowd, in light of the gun violence related tragedies happening across America I felt it inappropriate.

I have a one minute video of the night from during the first part of the show. Lighting was a problem. The stage had a couple of bright lights that often were blinding. The sound, however, was expertly mixed and provided a clear and balanced experience.

Overall, I enjoyed the concert and am looking forward to supporting the Farm Dog Rescue next year. It was fun to see the performer of some of my favorite songs in person.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Eagles Tribute Band - Hotel California


Hotel California - Eagles Tribute Band
Lyric Theater, Stuart, Florida
March 3, 2023
I like the idea of tribute bands. They bring the authentic music of famous groups live to the people at a reasonable price. And they are fun.

Last evening, in Stuart, Florida, at the classic Lyric Theater, Chris and I enjoyed the Eagles Tribute Band called Hotel California. The were excellent and each of the band members demonstrated an incredible amount of musical versatility. The Eagles songs they played were true to my memory of the songs and the band had a "big" sound. 

The Lyric is a small and almost intimate theater and the band played very well to the crowd. We walked to the 8:30 PM performance after enjoying a fantastic dinner on the waterfront at the Stuart Boathouse. The weather was perfect and the table, service, and meal selections were second to none. 

But it was the band which provided the entertainment by filling the evening with familiar songs. The band closed with an encore performance of songs not performed by the Eagles' which further showcased their diverse talents including a religious medley that worked very well and played excellently to the crowd attending the concert. 

I videoed a portion of Peaceful Easy Feeling to capture the tight vocals and musicianship of the band. During the evening the band played the biggest Eagles' hits and the crowd could be heard singing along. 

I highly recommend this tribute band and will definitely see them again sometime. They bring the music of the past to life with energy and excitement. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Friday, February 17, 2023

Trying New Places - Dive Bar Restaurant

Dive Bar Restaurant
Jupiter, FL
February 16, 2023

 We did not make it to the beach yesterday, even though it was a beautiful day, but we did enjoy Happy Hour at a new location, the Dive Bar Restaurant,  along the Intracoastal Waterway.

In an effort to widen our knowledge of local watering holes, Chris and I are trying some new places for Happy Hour and possibly dinner. Happy Hour is a creative way for restaurants to bring people in and have them stay to enjoy dinner. Although we did not order dinner last evening, the apps that we enjoyed became our last meal of the day. 

Being on the waterway, the bar was very enjoyable. There was a lot of activity and both the apps and service was great. This place is definitely a keeper and that explains why it was so busy. The Happy Hour prices are fantastic. 

The restaurant also boasts very nicely presented salt water aquariums. 

For a great Happy Hour to head off into the evening, I recommend this place.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Flamingo Gardens Return

Flamingo Gardens, Davie, FL
January 28, 2023


It being a new year, we journeyed to Flamingo Gardens yesterday to enjoy the animals and plants. Chris and I realized that we had not been to the gardens since last March and it is a place that we very much enjoy. Of course, the over an hour drive does deter us from more frequent visits, but even so, we decided to join the gardens so that we could head there whenever we had the itch to wander around the 60 acre piece of heaven that sits right here in South Florida.

Orchid Bloom
Flamingo Gardens, Davie, FL
January 28, 2023
I also enjoy the Flamingo Gardens because I get a chance to take a lot of images that I will never use again. I also play with some of the features on my camera (iPhone) that I only rarely use. For instance depth of field, which allows me to blur the background while keeping the orchid bloom in full focus. And there are many potential subjects for my photographic interests. 

I have determined that taking images of birds and animals in enclosures is not desirable. The enclosure gets in the way and takes away from the scene. The nice thing about Flamingo Gardens is that many of the birds wander around the grounds or are enclosed in natural settings. 

Ibis on the Rocks
Flamingo Gardens, Davie, FL
January 28, 2023

I enjoy taking images around the pool where the flamingos and other water birds are on display. Its open area provides a natural background as do the rocks and waterfall. The area is next to the food stand and having lunch or a snack while watching the birds, and especially the Flamingos, continues the experience. Of course the numerous peafowl which wander the grounds also provide amusement and photo opportunities, but how many images do I really need of a peacock on full display?

Even though the sun was hidden behind the sky full of clouds, it was a very enjoyable afternoon. I look forward to returning again, soon.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Friday, January 27, 2023

Busch Wildlife Sanctuary


Chris and I did something a bit different yesterday. We visited the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, which is very close to us in Jupiter. 

Eastern Screech Owl
Busch Wildlife Sanctuary
Jupiter, FL
January 26, 2023

We had an enjoyable couple of hours walking through the exhibits and talking to the volunteers. The Sanctuary is planning to move to a new larger 20 acre location later this year. They currently occupy 9.2 acres. One of the volunteers indicated that they rescue about 6,000 animals per year. The ones on display are the permanent residents which cannot be returned to the wild due to either injury or domestication. The animals being rehabilitated are kept away from the visitors so that stye do not become accustomed to human interaction.

Barn Owl
Busch Wildlife Sanctuary
Jupiter, FL
January 26, 2023

We last visited the sanctuary about 10 years ago on a hot summer's day which also was filled with a multitude of mosquitoes. Yesterday was almost idyllic. Temperatures were in the mid-70s and there were no flying annoyances to worry about. 

With the impending move to Jupiter Farms, which was planned for March of this year but reportedly has been delayed until September, I felt that some of the enclosures are not being maintained as would be normal. The site looks a bit rundown, frankly, but the animals seem well cared for. Chris did remind me that it is the middle of winter. There is a good variety of animals to view and we saw a Florida Panther, a bobcat, two Black Bears, turkeys, deer, fox, an alligator in addition to numerous species of birds and a few reptiles. The otters were not in view! All-in-all we cruised through the sanctuary in about an hour and a half. 

The entrance fee is by donation and the staff was very welcoming.

I recommend a visit to gain an understanding about Florida's native and non-native animals and plants as well as to support the sanctuary's animal rescue work.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Break in the Action : Cranes


A much needed break from the house preparation happened last evening. Along with two other couples, Chris and I experienced Cranes, a restaurant in D.C. specializing in the intersection of Spanish and Japanese cuisine. 

It was a good evening to head into D.C. because of the Federal Holiday the traffic was light. It only took about 45 minutes to arrive at a parking garage and then just a few minutes more to walk to the restaurant.

The restaurant is easy to find and it is very large. The staff was friendly and accommodating. The food options provided something for everyone. I noted that the prices have significantly increased since the web menu was posted. This is a One Michelin Star rated restaurant. So be prepared to be wowed and enjoy the experience. 

By the time the three couples departed we had enjoyed a bit of most of the menu. Everything was presented in an eye-appealing and tasteful manner. The flavors from some of the items literally exploded in our mouths and provided a symphony of tastes to enjoy as we savored the offering.

We met Chef Pepe and could immediately understand why this restaurant is a Michelin rated restaurant. He is charming and dedicated. The kitchen runs like a well oiled machine, but everyone looks as if they truly enjoy their work.

A great evening and I recommend visiting and enjoying this restaurant. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, June 10, 2022

Golden Girls - Review


Last evening we took a break from baseball and downsizing. Chris and I escaped to the Hippodrome theater to enjoy Golden Girls!

We last went to the theater while we were wintering in Jupiter, Florida, and saw, Why I Hate Hamlet. I have to admit, I am not a fan of the theater. When I am crammed into the too small seats of the Hippodrome Theater, as I was last evening, I can't help but think that I'd be more comfortable at an Orioles game. At least the theater allowed me to enjoy a glass of wine while seated.

Golden Girls was great. I thoroughly enjoyed the show. Important safety tip--the actors were men doing the parts of the four famous women and they were believable and enjoyable. Second safety tip, the sexual comments and jokes could be considered offensive to some, but may also expand your vocabulary. The show done just like the TV show with two sets: living room and kitchen. All of the action took place in one, or at times both, of the rooms. The audio was clear, I was near the rear of the theater, but could both see and hear without trouble. 

Parking, which can be a problem in Baltimore, was not an issue last evening. I believe it was because the Orioles were out of town. After the show, Chris and I were able to exit the theater, get to the car, and were home within about 30 minutes--and it is a 19 minute drive. 

Great escape and great evening. 

Third safety tip: This show is not suitable for children.

Recommendation: See Golden Girls.

-- Bob Doan, ELkridge, MD

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Walking Down the Yellow Brick Road

Yellow Brick Road
Big Cork Vineyards, Rohersville, MD
May 28, 2022
One would think I was off to Oz, but in fact I was at my favorite East Coast Winery to enjoy a night of Elton John music performed by Yellow Brick Road. 

It was a great evening at Big Cork Vineyards in Rohersville, Maryland. The lawn was packed with Elton John fans by the time the show began and the wine was flowing freely. The weather was nearly perfect. The temperatures remained moderate, the skies cleared during the show and the winds were calm. It made for a great night of music and fun.

Yellow Brick Road
Big Cork Vineyards, Rohersville, MD
May 28, 2022
The band generated energy which the crowd reflected back to them as the show continued. The first set was relatively slow punctuated by long, almost too long, instrumentals and highlighting some of Elton John's lesser known hits. The highlights of the first set were Rocket Man and Candle in the Wind.

After the intermission, the show began to really rock with every song being a classic. This is where the band energy increased as did that of the crowd. I found myself near the front of the stage dancing for most of the set--and singing as loudly as I could and slightly off key as I could. There was good interaction with the band as they at times encouraged the crowd to sing the refrain from some of the songs. As darkness fell, the excitement grew with each familiar song. The highlights I remember were Benny and the Jets, Philadelphia Freedom, Crocodile Rock, Levon, Tiny Dancer, and a great rendition of Pinball Wizard. 

I was able to take a short video of the band doing Philadelphia Freedom which also shows the crowd. 

Yeah, we had a good time! I recommend an evening with this band if you get the chance. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 27, 2022

Highway to the Danger Zone


Last evening, I returned to the movie theater for only the second time during the COVID era. The event was to see Top Gun Maverick on the big screen.


What a ride and what a movie. The sequel, 36 years in the making, pays homage to the original Top Gun by continuing the storylines, but it is much more than that. A taken from the news world situation, a should-be but not over-the-hill renegade pilot, the music, and all of the drama you might expect are rolled into the plot to create a movie experience that should draw people back into the theaters. 

Yes, the movie is a formula movie. It is predictable, but wow, the plot twists and the flying action are definitely not green screen. 

If you like the original Top Gun (and the music, did I mention the music?) and have been waiting for a reason other than a Marvel superhero movie to go back to the theater--this movie is it. It must be seen on the big screen to be fully appreciated. 

At the conclusion of the movie, Chris commented, "I wish I could stay here and watch it again!" Chris does not generally watch movies more than once in the theater.

One reviewer wrote: But mostly, honestly, it’s two hours of sheer, visceral fun on the big screen, which feels very retro. In the best possible way.

Bob's recommendation: A must see! 

Side note: If it has been a while since you saw Top Gun, watch it before you go.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Flamingos to Enjoy


Flamingo Gardens
Ft Lauderdale, FL
January 4, 2022


What is my favorite bird? 



Flamingo Gardens
Ft Lauderdale, FL
January 4, 2022
Chris and I found a small piece of paradise called Flamingo Gardens Botanical Gardens and Wildlife Sanctuary close-by in Fort Lauderdale. 

We spent a relaxing afternoon touring the gardens and enjoying the wildlife most of which roams freely around the grounds. 

The variety of waterbirds and local animals is fun to enjoy as well as seeing multiple tropical plants and trees that we might never enjoy in person. The history of the area is engaging and I found out that originally the farm was planted as an orange grove and the clementine and tangelo were both developed on-site. 

The tour of the original house constructed by the owners, which is now a museum, was very interesting and enjoyable as it is furnished in original and period furniture and accessories. It provides a snapshot of a working farmhouse of the 1930's. I was most impressed with the correspondence from President Eisenhower upon the receipt of a case of oranges for his personal use. 

And the multitude of botanical plantings on the property are not to be ignored. It is not often that I see a real coffee tree with beans and a huge grove of banana plants and I had never driven through a mango grove before. 

Flamingo Gardens
Ft Lauderdale, FL
January 4, 2022
But it was the birds, the huge flock of ibis and the roaming peafowl, that were the stars of the show. The display of flamingos really stole my heart and time and became the subject of a large number of images. 

As might be expected, this spot  is now on my visitor tour list. It is a long-ish drive from Jupiter, about one-hour-and-a-quarter, but definitely worth the time investment. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Sunday, June 27, 2021

1964 The Tribute

1964 The Tribute
Big Cork Winery
Rohrersville, MD
June 26, 2021

On a beautiful summer evening, perched on a grapevine covered hillside as the sun was setting down the valley, Chris and I attended a no kidding real concert last evening in Rohrersville, Maryland to enjoy the music of 1964 The Tribute. The band plays primarily the music of The Beatles and dresses the part. The advertise themselves as providing a Beatles concert experience as it was 50 years ago.

1964 The Tribute
Big Cork Winery
Rohrersville, MD
June 26, 2021

Of course the concert was hosted by our favorite winery, Big Cork Vineyards and we were seated on the lawn with hundreds of other people who appreciated the music of the Beatles. It was a fun and fast moving evening. 

The band covers not only the music of the Beatles, but added in some other period songs as well. The band attempts to be authentic in the way they speak and the musician playing there part of Paul McCartney even plays the bass guitar left handed. We were seated along the area where the band entered and departed the stage. It was fun to see the performers up close. 

By way of a review--the band did an authentic job of trying to represent the Beatles during their early years. The first set was well put together with a nice mix of songs. The second set dragged in the middle as if the band was trying to save energy for the final songs and the encore. Covering a Buck Owens song, Act Naturally, in the middle of the second set did not fit the mood of the evening. If the band wanted to pay homage to an American song writer/songer something by Johnny Cash from the period might have played better. The finale and encore were worth the wait, however, as the crowd did finally enthusiastically dance as the band played it final music of the evening.

It was a great evening and we enjoyed the well-balanced wines of Big Cork along with the music. The staff at the venue was superior. The only comment on the venue would be that pop-up dining canopy's should be at the back of the seating area. In the middle, as many of them were, caused for obstructed viewing of the band and the show. I was told that people started arriving for the show early in the day! 

Great weather, great music, the best wine in Maryland--what could make for a better evening?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Lunch and a Movie

 We did it!

Our first post-COVID movie and food. 

Chris and I went out to lunch followed by a movie at a no kidding movie theater on Sunday afternoon. It was a freeing experience. Our first post-COVID movie.

We saw the movie "A Quiet Place Part II." It was a great afternoon and the theater was practicing both good physical distancing and enforcing facial coverings. 

We felt safe and even though we are both fully vaccinated we did not mind wearing the facial coverings. 

We felt normal for a while. 

I recommend the movie, but ensure you see the first installment before seeing the sequel. There are some references that are cleared by remembering the storyline.

And--go to the movies!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Billy Coulter and Arch - A Concert Evening

Billy Coulter (L) and Arch (R)
Cellar Music House Concert
January 25, 2020
Last evening, Chris and I attended a house concert featuring Billy Coulter and Arch. The concert was the revival of the Cellar Music House Concert Series which had been dormant for a few years. 

It was a nice evening for a house concert as the weather was nice and did not present difficulties for driving. To make the evening even better, the music was fabulous. Billy Coulter has a nice easy rock sound with lyrics that come from the heart. He is well known in the D.C. area and has won many local awards. He related a story where one of his songs was even used in by a national news outlet. Billy and Arch make a great duo and it is clear that they have played together often and they work together as a smoothly functioning team to create enjoyable and compelling music. 

I added a short video to help visualize the venue and highlight the performers. 

Cellar Music House Concerts creates an intimate forum with close access to the artists. The room allows for good viewing and easy access. It is in the basement, or cellar, and so there are stairs. The crowd last evening was friendly and enjoyed the performance. The exchange of food and drink made the evening a perfect--good food, great drink, and fabulous music. 

What could possibly be better? 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Star Wars - The Rise of Skywalker, Review

In short, if you have seen, or in some cases suffered through, the other 8 Star Wars movies you MUST see the latest installment, which is also touted as the last installment of this fantastic series that began during 1977. 

Think about it--42 years of Star Wars--and the official end has been announced. 

Rotten Tomatoes critiqued the film: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker suffers from a frustrating lack of imagination, but concludes this beloved saga with fan-focused devotion.

Let me say that while I can see some truth in the critics assessment, the film completes the story in a creative and consistent manner. I found the movie filled with action, although the "flight" scenes seem to be almost continual, they did not drag and added to the story. There are surprises and tears. Laughter and groans. I experienced a wide range of emotions as I watched the heroes of my adult life conclude their saga. I have learned about good and evil and the force form these cinematic heroes. They have been consistent if not at times unwilling heroes through these 42 years.  

RECOMMENDATION: See this movie. It is worth the time investment. The is the triumphant completion to the saga that redefined science fiction moviemaking and has crossed generations of moviegoers. It remains as relevant today as it was in the 70's.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Jesus Christ Superstar

Chris and I attended a Broadway Across America show of Jesus Christ Superstar last evening which provided an interesting juxtaposition of the Christmas and Easter seasons. The Rock Opera, as Jesus Christ Superstar is correctly known as, provides an intimate look into the final days of Jesus's life while of course now we are in the midst of the Christmas season celebrating his birth. 

The traveling Broadway show was nothing short of fantastic. It is the 50th Anniversary of the show and it is touring the country. Last week they were in Omaha, Nebraska. The cast and crew did a great job updating the music. The set was unique. The show reminded me of my youth as the music was first released when I was in high school. The show provided a nice trip down memory lane. 

The Hippodrome, however, while a beautiful theater is uncomfortable. The seats are too close and it is worse than an airline seat in terms of leg room. Last evening I could not see the entire stage because of people sitting in front of me. We were in Center stage seats in the balcony. I do not recommend the Hippodrome as as venue to see shows.

But it was overall a good evening and at least parking  was convenient.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Return to the Flagler Museum

Christmas Tree in the Main Room
Flagler Museum
Palm Beach, Florida
November 13, 2019
I do enjoy good museums and the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach is a good museum. It provides a detailed look into the Gilded Age and how the very upper crust of American Society lived. 

Christmas Tree in the Drawing Room
Flagler Museum
Palm Beach, Florida
November 13, 2019
Unlike when Chris and I visited during out last trip here, the museum is now decorated for Christmas. That surprised me a bit when I first entered, but then upon reflecting a bit, it made sense. The decorations were not lighted--that happens after Thanksgiving. 

It was nice to tour the museum again after seeing it only a few months earlier. I was able to go deeper into some of the exhibits and gain a better appreciation for Henry Flagler and how he created modern Florida in his vision. The key was building a railroad to connect the villages of St Augustine, Palm Beach, and Miami. He then built the Overseas Railroad to connect Key West to the mainland. It was an extension of the Florida East Coast Railway. 

As it rained during most of the day which precluded going to the beach, visiting the museum was a great way to spend time and gain a better appreciation of history as well. 

I recommend visiting the Flagler Museum. It is a must do when in the West Palm Beach/Palm Beach area.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

A-12 on the Deck of the Intrepid
September 29, 2019
We took a lot of pictures during our two-day visit to NYC. It seemed harsh to share just four of them in yesterday's blog. So, I decided to do another day on the city and focus upon on specific stop.
Jax and Chris in Gemini Capsule Mock-up
Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, NYC
September 29, 2019

Amidst all of the fun of walking around in the man-made canyons beneath the towering buildings, there were a lot of fun things to see and experience. We had a very busy schedule and there was almost no downtime. 

Today, I am going to focus on the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. I had never been to the museum before, but I will not miss it again. It is definitely on the stop for every visit to the Big Apple with people who have never been there before. First, the view from the ship of the skyline is stunning! But even more important, the aircraft carrier and its history is presented in spectacular form and the ability to wander around the carrier is a second-to-none experience. the museum represents probably the best nexus for sea, air, and space that I have ever experienced. 
Me and Jax
Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
September 29, 2019

Regulus Cruise Missile
Cold War Nuclear Relic
USS Growler
Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, NYC
September 29, 2019
The exhibits are in great shape and they are, most importantly, accessible. It is east to get close--but do not touch. There are many hands-on exhibits for the young people in your life. 

The tour of the submarine and the the space shuttle Enterprise hangar are highlights--but there are highlights around the entire complex. The museum is truly a gem in the heart of the city. 

It is a must see.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Bourbon Brothers Southern Kitchen

Sometimes, I run across unique places when I am traveling, and last night was one of those evenings. 
Lights in the Bourbon Room

We went to a Bourbon Brothers Southern Kitchen complete with a Bourbon Room for after dinner enjoyment. It was a different experience for me. 

Unique and different places give me ideas for decorating, like the lights in the bar which I found to be unique. 

Dinner was good, the conversation was wide ranging. It was a good evening out in a new location. 

The place was decorated in a fun a visually stimulating manner and I definitely enjoyed the bourbon barrels ad decorations and the rustic old barn boards used to cover the walls in part of the restaurant.

I recommend this restaurant as an enjoyable place to share a meal.

-- Bob Doan, writing form Colorado Springs, CO
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