Community Theaters Rock!

Judy Garland was born on June 10, 1922 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. I imagine her parents and the residents of Grand Rapids had no idea the impact that tiny little girl would have on America’s film history. I wonder if Judy Garland herself in her later years had imagined that when she made the movie Wizard of Oz it would live on in the generations to come.
I knew who Judy Garland was because The Wizard of Oz was made in 1939 and I was the first generation after my parents to view the iconic film which was re-released in the theater. Later on it was always on television at Easter so my kids could experience the magic of Dorothy, Toto, the Tin Man, The Cowardly Lion, The Scarecrow and of course the Wicked Witch and the Glinda the Good Witch. We also cannot forget the great Oz.
Many movie icons are not known by future generations. My kids know who John Wayne is because their dad is a John Wayne fan. My grandchildren have no idea who Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable or who Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue are. My grandchildren know who the Three Stooges are because it is being brought back in film. My grandchildren know who Judy Garland is because Judy was Dorothy.
A couple of weekends ago I had the pleasure along with my daughter –in-law and granddaughter to attend The River Valley Theatre Company’s production of the Wizard of Oz in Shakopee, Minnesota.
I was ready for the usual version. I hadn’t seen the advertisements and although I love live shows and musicals I have seen the Wizard of Oz many times. Occasionally when I see something many times I get a little bored. However this time I was wowed.
This was River Valley Theatre Company’s version of the Wizard of Oz. This was the steam punk setting. Things were out of the ordinary. Dorothy had gold sparkly boots instead of red slippers. Steam punk incorporated elements of science fiction and fantasy. It incorporated fictional brass and steam machines found in the works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.
This version was exciting, toe tapping and hand clapping. The costumes were out of this world. Everybody was sparkly and colorful and the wicked witch’s costume of black leather, spandex and corsets was awesome. My granddaughter will forever remember this version of the Wizard of Oz. This version made me want to go back again and again. No longer did I think I may doze off because I had seen Dorothy make it back to Kansas many times. What could possibly be different? Dorothy made it home but with a few twists.
Why am I writing about my awesome experience at a community theatre? We never know what in today’s world will still be passed on to the generations that come after us. We never know what is going to influence the culture of our grandchildren and great grandchildren. We never know what might influence the culture even beyond them. What icons will still be remembered 100 years from now? If we knew something would be remembered long after it was presented would we change as a culture what we put before our society today? How do we want to be remembered? How do we want our actions to affect the future?
I also want to praise and complement community theatre companies that aren’t afraid to change and use their vision of a production to inspire all of us. The creativity used in creating a twist in theatre to change the humdrum of what we are used to should be applauded.

by Julie Seedorf © July 2012

Something About Nothing

I write a column for The Albert Lea Tribune. It is called Something About Nothing. Most of the time I write about nothing. My articles are about whatever pops into my head. I hope you enjoy them. I usually post them once a week. Comment if you would like. They are copyrighted so please share them but please observe the copyright for other commercial purposes.  Thanks.


Addicted to My Kindle
by Julie Seedorf © July 2012

I am addicted. I don’t know how it happened but I am addicted to my Kindle Fire.

When e-readers first came out I was skeptical. I watched as one by one my children succumbed to the e-reader craze with both the Nook and the Kindle. I protested loudly. I could not imagine wanting to read from an electronic gadget.

I am the person whose ideal day was a day at Barnes and Noble. My girlfriend and I would plot and plan so we could have a day away to meet at Barnes and Noble for a day of lattes and book browsing. We would walk into the store and inhale the smell of new books. We would gently touch the bindings and sigh at the pleasure and anticipation of reading a new book. We would scour the aisles and load our arms with books and magazines that perhaps we would want to buy. We never left the store with just one book and it was hard to stop ourselves from spending and spending and spending.

At home I would pick up the book I wanted to read and caress the cover. I would cuddle in on my couch and let my books take me away to a fantasy world. I would never, ever give up the world of paper pages.

Then I bought my Kindle Fire. The only reason I purchased this electronic device was because of my business. I have to keep up with the trends and know how they work. The first weeks I had it I would pick it up, play around with it and not understand what all the hype was about. Then I downloaded my first book.  I adjusted the text so I could read it.  I adjusted the lighting and I started to read.

I subscribed to a couple of magazines to read on my Kindle Fire. They were delivered immediately to my Kindle. How easy it was.

I found that there were many free books that I could download from various sites. I signed up for library books to be downloaded to my Kindle. Wow!!

Now I am addicted. When I run out of something to read, there it is at the touch of my fingertips. If it is 2:00 a.m. and I am out of reading material the touch of my finger can get me something to read fast.

Therein lies the problem. I am addicted to downloading new books. I used to have piles and bookcases full of books that I bought because they were interesting but didn’t get the time to read. Now I have been downloading new interesting free books that are waiting for me to read. I start to get stressed because I have all these books on my Kindle to read and I seem to keep finding more. I can’t read fast enough.

My magazines get delivered monthly to my Kindle and I don’t have to do a thing. It is so easy and so addicting to want to subscribe to more magazines. No more magazine clutter. Receiving a magazine on my Kindle is the same excitement I experience when I am waiting for an exciting piece of mail.

I do read much more with my Kindle. I think it has something to do with eye comfort and the ease of finding a book for my mood.

I use my Kindle Fire for my morning devotions. They are delivered to me wirelessly and each morning when I wake up they are there ready to help me start my day. No more hunting for where I misplaced my devotion book the day before.

I have found browsing the bookstore on my Kindle is like being at Barnes and Noble every single day and browsing their aisles. Maybe I should have got a Nook. Maybe I could have two. Yes, I would like a Nook too. Then I could have two e-readers. I could have one for my car when I am riding (not driving) and one in my house. I would not have to tote my e-reader with me. Yes, I like that idea. I wonder why I didn’t think of it sooner.

When we travel I have one less suitcase and a happier husband. I always took a bag full of books and magazines. I never knew what my mood would be and what I would want to read. Now I carry my books in my purse on my Kindle.

The only thing missing from my daily bookstore jaunt is the lattes and the smell of the freshly printed book.  I guess I must buy myself a coffee machine and there must be someone out there that makes a candle that smells like freshly printed books. Now if somehow the Kindle could come up with that feeling of touching and running your fingers over the freshly printed page.  It would make my Kindle experience complete.

Yes, I am addicted to my Kindle.


Making New Out Of Old.

I love to creatively paint. I am not very good at it but I have a very vivid imagination. One of the best ways for me to relax is to find an old object and make it new again. This is a bench that I repainted. I bought it at a garage sale for a dollar. It sat in my basement a long time. It was an ugly gray with paint spots on it. I love sparkles so what you maybe can’t see in the picture is the sparkle paint on the butterfly.

“Everyone is like a butterfly, they start ugly and awkward and then morph into beautiful graceful butterflies that everyone loves.” Quote by Drew Barrymore

That was my ugly little stool that turned into a butterfly.

First I sanded my stool. Then I did a base coat and then I painted it bright yellow. I used a shiny paint because I like shine. I never know when I start to paint  what the finished product will look like.  I keep painting and tweaking until I like what I did. I also used some glitter paint to add my sparklies that do not show up very well on this picture. I finished it with a couple of coats of varnish for the tough wear and tear of kids.

Painting old things is a great way to use up old odds and ends of paint. It helps you declutter your paint collection too.

You don’t have to be a good painter to paint. It is your creation and it doesn’t matter what others think as long you are happy with it and you can lose yourself in your creativity to relieve your stress. Paint on.