Sunday, August 6, 2017

Culture in Ashland

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

The main reason for spending time in Ashland is for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The Festival is one of the largest theater festivals in the USA, perhaps in the world. Running from February to October, more than 300k tickets are sold each year. This year we are seeing seven (!!) plays:

Off the Rails did not really work -- every politically correct stereotype was thrown into the play in a very clumsy fashion. At the other end of the scale, The Odyssey was enthralling for all of its 3.5 hours.

Waiting for the start of Henry IV, Part I.

Britt Festival

The Britt Festival runs in Jacksonville, OR from June to September. The venue is on a hill above the goldrush town of Jacksonville. The music starts at 8pm so we see the sun go down during the performance. Many bring food and wine to the concert -- all very civilized.

This is our first time to the Britt Festival. We are really enjoying these innovative concerts -- taking in five concerts across the season.

In August, classical music takes over with the Britt Festival Orchestra. The orchestra draws its members from across the USA. This year there are 121 (!!) musicians in the orchestra. Ignace (Iggy) Jang is the concertmaster -- and also the concertmaster of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. We have heard Iggy many times in orchestral and chamber music settings in Honolulu. 

The near to full moon behind the stage


On to Oregon

Prior to an extended trip, we are spending a couple of months in Oregon. Most of the time we will be in Ashland -- for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival -- and Eugene along with Portland and Bend.

 With Glen Gray on the Pacific Crest Trail at Mt Ashland.

On a very hot day, a hike to Roxy Anne Peak, with a great view of the Rogue Valley.

Glen Gray making his way up the trail, with Mt Shasta in the background.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Building a bamboo house

A couple of new bamboo houses are under construction at the Gusde House. The smaller house is a traditional rice storage hut. The larger structure will be for traditional Balinese massage. Not a nail in site .. only stainless steel bolts, handmade pegs and lots of traditional rope to hold everything together.

Food in Ubud

We mostly ate at the Bali Pesto restaurant in Ubud, which is the sister restaurant to Gusde House. The food was just excellent.

Braised duck

Crispy duck


Suckling pig

Museum Puri Lukisan

Downtown Ubud is very busy, even in off-season May. Museum Puri Lukisan is an island of tranquility on Jalan Raya Ubud. The museum has several pavilions set in lovely gardens. We spent most of the day at the museum, having morning tea and lunch.

There was a special exhibition of miniaturists from the village of Keliki Kawan. Most of the adults in the village are artists. One of the striking paintings tells the story of Bhima Swarga from the Mahabharata. Bhima travels to hell to rescue the souls of his parents and sees many punishments in hell. Reminiscent of medieval art, such as the Last Judgment from Hieronymus Bosch

Here are some details:

On to Ubud

After a week in Candidasa, on to Ubud, or more accurately Mas. We stayed at the Gusde House and Villa, which was an excellent choice.

Barong and Lelong Dance

The Barong is an important feature of Balinese mythology and dance. This lion-like animal predates Hinduism.

We were fortunate to see a performance in Candidasa. The Barong must be very heavy and requires two very fit men.