December 9, 2009

CSN Fall 2009 Dance Concert

      This performance could have gone seriously wrong—a hyper-religious topic that ends with the heroine being burned at the stake, performed by student dancers, some well-trained and some new to the game, along with a first act of chirpy selected short subjects completely unrelated to the main piece.
     The evening’s centerpiece, Archetype: Images of St. Joan, choreographed by Artistic Director Kelly Roth, follows the career of St. Joan, the young French peasant girl who led the armies of France against the English during the latter half of the Hundred Years War. She claimed she did so at the instruction of various saints, which came to her in the form of visions and voices. For political and religious reasons, she ended up as the grand finale for the prison fireworks display.
     The dance work had the slow, measured pace of a silent film, which is not surprising, as the accompanying music, Voices of Light (1994) by Richard Einhorn, was designed to be performed with Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent film masterpiece The Passion of Joan of Arc. Its pace reinforced the somber subject material.
     The dancers matched the dramatic impact of the solo voices, chorus and orchestra. Alison Marsh was perfectly cast as Joan, displaying a solid technique matched by strong acting chops. Marko Westwood as the Soldier, Kelly Roth in a dual role as Archbishop and Inquisitor, and Jerrett Runnells as Charles VII all handled their assignments with conviction and security.
     The surprise of the evening, however, was the students, some of whom had been dancing just two months. All the performers, were invested in their roles, maintaining character and hitting their marks. In a professional production, this is to be expected. But college and university dance departments vary greatly from year to year, depending on the talent enrolled. This group is one of Roth’s best.
     The first opening act was Time Can Pass Us By, a romantic duet by choreographer Westwood celebrating the wonder of new love. Westwood and Jenna Tolentino were charming as the lovers. A second duet, Husbands and Wives (Couple One), choreographed by Ann Ludwig and elegantly performed by Kelly and Leslie Roth, explored the graceful yet playful nature of mature love.
     The final work, LO2VE, also by Westwood, was an accessible group piece to music by Jordin Sparks—imagine So You Think You Can Dance, but good. Westwood is in terrific performing and choreographic form these days. Rumor has it that he is pulling together a new dance repertory company. Worth looking out for.

Originally published December 9, 2009, Las Vegas Weekly

June 18, 2009

Celebrating Roth

Dancers Kelly Roth and Angela Palmeri-Davis

    Thirty years after Kelly Roth & Dancers’ New York debut, the company will present a retrospective of dances and multimedia projects created by its choreographer and director, Kelly Roth.
   The Onyx Theatre’s intimate performance space offers a different perspective on dance works usually seen in larger theaters. More exposed due to the viewers’ proximity, dancers have an opportunity to personally connect with audience members.
    The varied program focuses primarily on Roth’s extensive career experience as a partner, ranging from the lyrical and abstract Mozart Duet—an homage to Roth’s mentor Murray Louis—to Songs My Mother Taught Me, a nostalgic and wistful tribute to his parents set to popular music from the 1950s.
   Two special guest artists will join the company. Neo-burlesque comedienne Emily Lauren, an Onyx audience favorite, appears in Mein Kampf, a quirky black comedy featuring Hitler and a Chaplin-esque foil. And the prize-winning Sentience will reunite Roth with his former partner, Middle Eastern dance scholar and performer Angela Palmeri-Davis.
   These duets are made-to-order for the cozy Onyx stage. More challenging for the company in this space: a reprise of the group work Hernaeus and Taphea, Part 3, billed as the “World’s First Wet T-Shirt Contest.” Local choreographer and dancer Marko Westwood is the featured satyr, whose hot pursuit of the local Greek maidens takes an unexpected comic turn. Feel free to laugh out loud during that one.
The Details
Kelly Roth & Dancers
June 24-27, 7:30 p.m., $10
Onyx Theatre
953 E. Sahara Ave., 732-7225

Originally published June 18, 2009, Las Vegas Weekly 

May 2, 2009

The Audacious Ink Interview: One Editor’s Thoughts on Writing, Low-Ball Bids, and the Importance of Sweets.

   Below is an interview I gave to Audacious Ink conducted by Donna Jolly in May 2009. Granted this is all just my opinion, but I have found these things to work for me. I enjoy her blog and recommend her posts if you are interested in marketing and public relations communications and writing. — Geri

     If you write for a living, you’ve been edited. If you are lucky enough to stumble across an editor with real skill and passion, you may have learned something about yourself as a writer. I had the good fortune of working, albeit loosely, with Geri Jeter, an editor who loves editing and is passionate about quality writing. Geri is an old-school type of editor, yet she is generous enough to understand that sometimes marketers just have to start a sentence with “And” or “But” because they want to emphasis a point (she and I had had this conversation, obviously). While she is generous enough to understand, she might not necessarily be proud of you. And that’s why she’s a great editor. But she’s much more. (I couldn’t resist.)
    Like most great editors, for the last fifteen years, Geri has had to do double-duty as a writer, as well. She has been responsible for producing written material for publications ranging from a luxury trade quarterly to technical theater magazines, to detailed course material prepared for trade certification. She also is an experienced advertising copywriter and provider of content for websites.
    Currently editor and production manager for La Voce News Magazine, a Nevada regional Italian-American magazine, Geri is also the dance and classical performing arts reviewer for the Las Vegas Weekly. In between deadlines, Geri agreed to an interview with AI to discuss her loves and pet peeves and to impart some words of wisdom for writers struggling to get by in the recession.

   Audacious Ink: Many writers need to be their own proofreader. What advice do you have for them?
    Geri J.: Rule No. 1 in publishing is to never proof your own work. That said, sometimes it is impossible to avoid. In my case, there is no one at the magazine who can function as a proofreader. Although I am a good editor and proofreader, I still find errors in my own work after it is printed.
    If there is time (a big if in some cases), put the work aside for a day or two. Then proofread it again. You will be surprised at how much you see when you look at the work after it rests for awhile. However, tight deadlines often make this difficult.
    The trick is to know your own skill level — are you really detailed and focused enough to attempt it? If not, do you have other options? I would prefer to have another set of eyes on the work, but it is out of the question for us to hire such a person. So I just have to be extra careful.

May 1, 2009

Joey Logano: NASCAR’s Rising Young Star

     Joey greets a young fan at Home Depot.
    Photo by Jeff Speer
    On May 24, Joey Logano turns nineteen. The youngest team member for Joe Gibbs Racing, he currently drives the #20 Home Depot Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup series and the #20 GameStop Toyota Camry in the Nationwide Series. In just his third start in the 2008 Nationwide Series, he made history by becoming the youngest driver to win a Nationwide Series race. He was 18 years, 21 days old.
The Basics
    Logano has been racing since 1996, when at the age of six he competed as a quarter midget racer. For the next three years, he won a series of division and regional championships in the Northeast.
    However, Logano is not the only athlete in the family. His sister Danielle was a competitive figure skater who continues to skate professionally. To help further her skating career, the family moved to Georgia. This allowed Logano to take advantage of his new home’s more liberal racing rules. (His home state of Connecticut maintains rigid age restrictions for young racers.)
    During the next few years, Logano raced Legends cars with great success, setting a track record for fourteen consecutive wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and winning a Lions National Championship. He was only ten.
    More success followed as Logano moved up the ranks.

March 10, 2009

60-Second Grocery Shopper: Fresh & Easy 100% Vegetable Juice

   I could’ve had a V8! 
   Sure, if you had a cool $4.50 for a 64-ounce bottle. Still, vegetable juice is a quick way to fulfill part of that daily vegetable requirement—an eight-ounce glass provides two of five suggested servings. When every penny counts, however, the name-brand stuff is a luxury (especially when a foot-long sandwich costs just 50 cents more in some shops).
    A cheaper alternative solution can be found at Fresh & Easy, where the store-brand veggie juice is comparable in nutrition to its more expensive counterpart—it also contains tomato, beet, carrot, celery, spinach, lettuce, parsley and watercress juices from concentrate—yet it sells for less than half the price.
    A quick taste test revealed a similar flavor; plus, the store brand tastes fresher and feels less thick in texture, preferable at our house.
Approximately $2.39 at Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market.

Originally published by the Las Vegas Weekly.

February 12, 2009

60-Second Grocery Shopper: Bumble Bee Prime Fillet® Solid White Albacore in Water

    Canned tuna is one of the most popular protein sources in the American diet. It is considered by many to be an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals and is low in saturated fat. Additionally, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids account for approximately 30% of the fat in albacore tuna packed in water.
    But not all tuna is alike. Some tuna (labeled chunk light) is a lot of shredded tuna shavings with a couple of recognizable bits of meat. It is, however, the least expensive. At the top of the canned tuna food chain are the Italian imports packed in olive oil, which can go for a much as $6.99 a can at specialty food shops.
    A reasonable compromise at around $2.30 is the Bumble Bee Prime Fillet White Albacore in Water. This solid white albacore has good color and texture, meaty chunks of fish, and is truly packed in water (no vegetable broth added as a flavor booster). With its mild flavor, it is a perfect foil for your favorite tuna recipe.
    Note: Bumble Bee is committed to dolphin-safe fishing practices. Although fishing regulations are currently being diluted, according to the company Web site: “The commitment of Bumble Bee to dolphin safety will remain unchanged regardless of any changes to the dolphin-safe law.”
Approximately $2.39 at your local grocery store.
Originally published February 12, 2009, Las Vegas Weekly.


Updated 2011:

Bumble Bee Foods remains fully committed to the 100% dolphin-safe policy we implemented in April 1990. This policy guarantees the following:
  •  Bumble Bee will not purchase tuna from vessels that net fish associated with dolphins. Our purchasing agreements require certification of dolphin-safe fishing practices from all tuna suppliers. 
  •  Bumble Bee will not purchase tuna caught with gill or drift nets as use of these nets can sometimes entrap dolphins, other marine mammals, or birds.
We continue to strictly adhere to our 100% dolphin-safe policy.