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Halloween 2016 – (Hey, that rhymes!)

Halloween is here once again, and that means it’s time for Lumos Studio’s Halloween Drop-In!

First things first: go and vote in the costume contest! There are albums on Facebook for kids and adults. Like your favorite photos and feel free to like more than one in each album. The photo in each category with the most reactions on Thursday morning at 8am will be the winner of an awesome, hopefully-age-appropriate book.

I won’t keep you waiting–here’s the mural Wendy drew on our kitchen chalkboard wall:

halloween-party-2016-055

In the past, Wendy and I have dressed up as characters from hit movies and as historical figures. This year, we decided to go as art. However, since no one knew exactly who we were without prompting, here’s some help. Wendy was a character based on the work of Roy Lichtenstein

wendy-as-a-lichtenstein

…and I was a very, very curly-haired Vincent van Gogh.

jp-as-van-gogh

She’s sad because she thinks I made a bad impression.

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We were assisted by the lovely Belle.

halloween-party-2016-249

The food was creepy, crawly, and yummy (even the mummy).

halloween-blog-2

Yes, those are white chocolate mice, so we shouldn’t have been surprised that we attracted a cat.
halloween-party-2016-215

…and a Catboy!

halloween-blog-1

…and a Bat-Man!

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And it wasn’t just the Caped Crusader who was on hand to lay down the law.

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And though many of our munchies were sweet, some of our guests were salty!

halloween-party-2016-223

You do not want to mess with her…I’m pretty sure that’s a prison tat.

halloween-party-2016-134

I promise, we’re not shipping these guys, but fire and snow go together so well!

halloween-party-2016-212
This witch brought along her pink-nosed familiar. Terror has never been so snuggly!

halloween-party-2016-122

I tried to take a picture here but all I caught was the flash of cold steel and cold, steely eyes.

halloween-party-2016-222

Believe it or not, these next two photos are a whole bunch of Vikings. Go figure.

halloween-party-2016-175

halloween-party-2016-169
More art!

halloween-party-2016-108
This is what it looks like when impressionists hang out.

halloween-party-2016-128

We had some sweet family costumes, too! Whether you’re going on a safari, raiding ships, um, stealthily for, uh, catnip, or exploring Jurassic Park we’ve got you covered!

halloween-blog-5
Basketball players these kids couldn’t possibly remember, the Boy Who Lived, and the girl who lived in a house on the prairie (though not not necessarily a little one) were all in attendance…

 

 

halloween-blog-4

..and if you were looking to catch a Pokémon, you could try your luck here.

halloween-party-2016-247

And all of this happened in our home on Saturday, not long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

halloween-blog-3

Last of all the Monsignor showed up with his…lady friend, but I’m not even sure we were supposed to mention that…

halloween-party-2016-256

We hope everybody had a wonderful Halloween!

Halloween 2016 – (Hey, that rhymes!)

Halloween is here once again, and that means it’s time for Lumos Studio’s Halloween Drop-In!

First things first: go and vote in the costume contest! There are albums on Facebook for kids and adults. Like your favorite photos and feel free to like more than one in each album. The photo in each category with the most reactions on Thursday morning at 8am will be the winner of an awesome, hopefully-age-appropriate book.

I won’t keep you waiting–here’s the mural Wendy drew on our kitchen chalkboard wall:

halloween-party-2016-055

In the past, Wendy and I have dressed up as characters from hit movies and as historical figures. This year, we decided to go as art. However, since no one knew exactly who we were without prompting, here’s some help. Wendy was a character based on the work of Roy Lichtenstein

wendy-as-a-lichtenstein

…and I was a very, very curly-haired Vincent van Gogh.

jp-as-van-gogh

She’s sad because she thinks I made a bad impression.

halloween-party-2016-196

We were assisted by the lovely Belle.

halloween-party-2016-249

The food was creepy, crawly, and yummy (even the mummy).

halloween-blog-2

Yes, those are white chocolate mice, so we shouldn’t have been surprised that we attracted a cat.
halloween-party-2016-215

…and a Catboy!

halloween-blog-1

…and a Bat-Man!

halloween-party-2016-168

And it wasn’t just the Caped Crusader who was on hand to lay down the law.

halloween-party-2016-096

And though many of our munchies were sweet, some of our guests were salty!

halloween-party-2016-223

You do not want to mess with her…I’m pretty sure that’s a prison tat.

halloween-party-2016-134

I promise, we’re not shipping these guys, but fire and snow go together so well!

halloween-party-2016-212
This witch brought along her pink-nosed familiar. Terror has never been so snuggly!

halloween-party-2016-122

I tried to take a picture here but all I caught was the flash of cold steel and cold, steely eyes.

halloween-party-2016-222

Believe it or not, these next two photos are a whole bunch of Vikings. Go figure.

halloween-party-2016-175

halloween-party-2016-169
More art!

halloween-party-2016-108
This is what it looks like when impressionists hang out.

halloween-party-2016-128

We had some sweet family costumes, too! Whether you’re going on a safari, raiding ships, um, stealthily for, uh, catnip, or exploring Jurassic Park we’ve got you covered!

halloween-blog-5
Basketball players these kids couldn’t possibly remember, the Boy Who Lived, and the girl who lived in a house on the prairie (though not not necessarily a little one) were all in attendance…

 

 

halloween-blog-4

..and if you were looking to catch a Pokémon, you could try your luck here.

halloween-party-2016-247

And all of this happened in our home on Saturday, not long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

halloween-blog-3

Last of all the Monsignor showed up with his…lady friend, but I’m not even sure we were supposed to mention that…

halloween-party-2016-256

We hope everybody had a wonderful Halloween!

Album Review: Dragon Vox – Bite Your Tongue

All throughout the Valley there have been rumblings about the coming of a new album so rife with unbridled power that the day of its arrival would change the face of rock forever. Ladies and gentlemen, that album is here. I give you Dragon Vox’s Bite Your Tongue.

Dragon Vox - Bite Your Tongue

This album delivers everything a fan could want except mercy. From the thunderous bass of the opening track, “I Took Your Phone (to Hades)”, to the virtuosic and soaring guitar solo of closer “Girl, Take Off That Dress (and Put on Something Appropriate)”, Dragon Vox take their listeners on a ferocious musical journey through the highs and lows of language learning.

Dragon Vox - Promo Photo

Vocalist Rose Lachaleur continues to scream her way into our hearts, bringing such depth and emotion to her performance that I truly believed she was going to literally tear my heart out if I didn’t remember to conjugate the helping verb in “Composé is so Passé”.

Drummer Fiona Fuego and bassist Ember Ablaze keep the driving rhythms going throughout this album, daring you not to bang your head to the anthem “I’ll be the Spark that Sets Your House on Fire”. Meanwhile, guitarists Spark Kraken and Nikki Burns pile on the riffage that Dragon Vox fans know as the band’s signature sound. Kraken’s blues-inspired churning on “You Heard Me the First Time” offers the perfect foundation from which to launch Burns into the stratosphere with her soaring, ethereal solo. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dragon Vox album without the atmospheric synths of Roddie Pyre, whose impassioned playing provides the backbone of my pick for best power ballad of the year, “I’m Not Done With You Yet.”

Bite Your Tongue also opens a new chapter for Dragon Vox with the departure of long-time member Tina Tinder who left the band last year to seek treatment for a Kody-pendant relationship. Stepping up to fill the void is newcomer Yella Flagrante who will allay any concerns about the change with the way she shreds the electric triangle on “You Shall Not (Leave Without A) Pass”.

So, ladies and gentlemen, the rumors were true. With Bite Your Tongue, Dragon Vox has set the bar higher than ever for power, melody, and bangs. I give this album five flaming stars.

 

Halloween 2015

It’s been two years in a row now, so I guess it’s safe to call this our annual Halloween drop-in.

Halloween, if it is not our favorite holiday, is the Lumos-Studio-est of the holidays. It captures the perfect combination of creativity, playfulness, childlikeness, spookiness, decadence, and demanding that your neighbors give you candy. Here’s how the night went down.

[Voting for this year’s Halloween costume contest is closed. Show up next year in costume and get in the running yourself!]

First, it’s no longer springtime in Paris…in our kitchen. No, the cherry blossoms have fallen and given way to the headless horseman.

Halloween-2015-003

Aaaahhhh!!! Cupcakes and apple slices!!!

Your hosts for the evening will be my lovely bride, Cleopatra…

Halloween-2015-048

…and me, Mark Antony.

Halloween-2015-037

(No, not the singer. Yes, I’m sure. No, I definitely don’t speak Spanish. It’s not even spelled the same!)

We’ll be assisted by the beautiful (that’s what her name means) Belle.

Halloween-2015-006

We’ve invited some friends from history (or historical fiction) such as Robin Hood,

Halloween-2015-090

our friend the sailor,

Halloween-2015-081

Jay Gatsby (and his lady friend),

Halloween-2015-175

a jester to keep things light,

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and a family consisting of a couple of lovely witches and either a Roman or John Belushi…we’re not sure which.

 

Here in Columbia we’ve found it’s a bad idea to open the door to yankee soldiers, but this one’s wife was so charming that we relented.

Halloween-2015-069

Fortunately, if things got out of hand we had a number of super heroes to look out for us!

Halloween-2015-051

Halloween-2015-058

(Fact: Batman loves Ring Pops)

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Halloween-2015-223

Halloween-2015-180

Halloween-2015-187

We also had some other friends from movies and television come by, like Elsa,

Halloween-2015-158

(covered in) Cookie monster,

Halloween-2015-103

AAAAHHHHHH! AAAAHHHH! Get them away! Get them away!!
Wait, okay…it’s just a costume. Well, it’s still pretty creepy…though not as creepy as that baby-sun abomination.

Halloween-2015-095

“Marcel Marceau called, but he didn’t leave a message.”

Beth

Dog nappers!

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If this young lady wins the costume contest I’m going to be suspicious–after all, she’s a cheetah!

Halloween-2015-230

A little Day of the Dead action…

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And if your drink gets too warm, perhaps an Ice Cube.
(Thank you, thank you…I’ll be here all week.)

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If your team does badly, blame these guys.

 

Halloween-2015-144

And if your barbecue doesn’t win, blame him.

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“You’re forgetting, Lindsay, that as a psychiatrist, I was a professional twice over – an analyst and a therapist.”

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Happy Halloween, everybody.  :-)

World Language Club

The first rule of World Language Club is you must talk in World Language Club.

The second rule of World Language Club is you must talk in World Language Club.

Welcome to the fourth annual official Spring Valley World Languages Department photo. Over the past few years we’ve paid tribute to Vanity Fair, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and The Big Bang Theory. This year is all about mischief, mayhem, and proper verb conjugation.

Open this link in a new tab and play this song in the background while you read the rest of this post. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

Right. So, with that, allow me to unveil World Language Club.

You must talk in World Language Club

Why would you join World Language Club? Maybe because you realize that your life is ending one minute at a time and every moment that you only speak one language is a moment that you can’t communicate with a huge percentage of the people on earth. Maybe you wonder how much you can know about yourself if you’ve never been in a conversation with someone who speaks a different language. Maybe you’ve been invited to a wedding in Belgium and want to have some idea why there are two ceremonies. Whatever the case, when you’re ready to learn, they’re ready for you.

So get off your Johanneshov armchair in the Strinne green stripe pattern and join the club. Learn a language–it’s more fun than talking to your imaginary friend.

Oh, and if this is your first time at World Language Club…you have to talk.

Alliance Française – Molière 2.0

In March, Columbia’s Alliance Française put on a very special play:

…an original artisanal distillation of Molière’s best known plays, including, in prose: La jalousie du barbouillé, Le médecin volant, Les précieuses ridicules, Le mariage forcé, L’amour médcin, Le médecin malgré lui, L’avare, Le bourgeois gentilhomme, Les fourberies de Scapin, Le Malade imaginaire;  and in verse: Sganarelle ou le cocu imaginaire, L’école des maris, L’école des femmes, Le tartuffe, Le Misanthrope, Les femmes savantes.

Phew! That’s a lot to include in one performance. If you’ve ever seen The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), you have some idea of what kind of ride this is. This script, though, was created locally, by the members and performers of Le Club Théâtre, piecing together Molière’s dialogue to create a coherent (and hilarious) tale of love, lust, deception, and pride. Oh yeah, I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but the play is performed entirely in French.

You see:

The Alliance Française is a worldwide non-profit organization founded in Paris in 1883. It is part of a network of over 1,000 chapters in 133 countries. In the United States, the Alliance Française counts more than 140 locations…The mission of The Alliance is to encourage the study of the French language and the various cultures of French-speaking countries and, more specifically, to foster friendly relations between the French-speaking and American peoples.

The Alliance puts on several events throughout the city including plays put on by Le Club Théâtre , conversation groups (groupes de conversation), a book club (club du livre), and recently, a contest to create original 60-second films performed in French.

Now, if I’m perfectly honest, I (J.P.) didn’t understand everything said in the play…or, well, very much of it at all. (My French is more See Spot Run than Shakespeare.) That said, I was able to follow along thanks to a helpful summary of events in the program and the wonderful, expressive performances of the cast. Speaking of which, here they are:

Moliere 2.0

Moliere 2.0

Moliere 2.0

Do you see those wonderful wigs they’re wearing? They were all hand-made for this performance.

And here is Molière himself, or rather Dr. Jeff Persels, who both assembled the script, wrote the original frame story, and directed the play. (He was also one of Wendy’s professors at USC, and directed her while she was a student as le chat botté in a theatrical performance that was a mélange of various France fairy tales by Perrault. (Antonio Banderas is fine, but I still prefer her interpretation.))

Molière-092

And here is the whole cast, just after their performance at Columbia Museum of Art.

The cast of Moliere 2.0

If you are a French-speaker, would like to be, or would like to move your skills beyond the scope of DuoLingo, I highly suggest visiting the web page of the Alliance Française. Perhaps meet up with them at The Publick House and have a chat in the language of love. It’s a great group of folks and they almost certainly won’t break out those giant syringes…probably.