Friday, October 31, 2008

Photo Scapbook: Prague, Part I

In additional to the intriguing, varied architecture, Prague entertains tourists nearly 24/7 - whether it's talented street musicians in concert along the Vltava River, in the opulent Rudolfinium Concert Hall or performing Vivaldi and Mozart in one of the two Municipal House theaters.
On our first evening in Prague, a few us went to the Pilsen House restaurant in the basement of the historic Art Nouveau Municipal House for a casual meal and traditional Czech entertainment. (from left - Pam, Gordon, Heidi, Doug, Nancy, Liz and Doug)

A delicious buffet breakfast was served each morning in the original theatre area of the previous hotel, which opened in 1901 and was also used as a cabaret venue and theatre. The hotel/theatre was closed during the Communist take-over, but eventually restored and reopened in 2004.

Our 4-night stay at the K + K Hotel Central in Prague was wonderful. It's one of the oldest Art Deco buildings in Prague and located in the heart of the historic Old Town. (Notice the detail on the staircase and elevator.) It was only a 10-minute walk to the Czech National Museum on Wenceslas Square.

On the way to Prague, our tour stopped at Czesky Krumlov, ranked as one of the most wonderful medieval cities in Central Europe - the castle complex is the second largest in the Czech Republic. We did some shopping at the market square.

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Photo Scapbook: Salzburg, Part II

The Mozart 3-course candlelight dinner/concert at the Baroque Hall St. Peter featured arias and duettos from "The Magic Flute," "Don Giovanni" and "Figaro." In the church of St.Peter monastery, Mozart's c-minor-mass (KV 427) was presented for the first time in 1789. His wife Constance sang one of the soprano solo parts, and the Mozart family used to dine at St. Peter's restaurant. Doug and I thoroughly enjoyed Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute," performed in the world- famous Salzburg Marionette Theatre. Today's marionettes are nearly 2' tall; in the lobby a number of displays feature earlier figures, which are about 12" tall. The Salzburg Marionette Theatre employs 12 puppeteers who stage some 160 performances annually at home and from 60-100 on world-wide tours.

Several participants in our Imperial Cities' tour also took an optional trip to the Eagle's Nest, located at 6,148' on top of Mt. Kehlstein. Despite an early morning dusting of snow, Doug decided to walk the path to the summit above the mountain-top hideaway built for Hitler's 50th birthday. On the trip back to Salzburg, we had lunch at the Golden Bear in Berchtesgaden.

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Photo Scrapbook: Salzburg, Part I

Salzburg celebrates the life and music of Mozart. After touring the Mozart Residence, we walked out back to sit in the courtyard behind the house.

Doug and I walked through the Mirabell Gardens, laid out in the 18th century, daily during our 3-night stay in Salzburg. The first night there we walked from the Hotel Imlauer to a wonderful violin concert in the Mirabell Palace Schlosskonzert.

Although we didn't take an official "Sound of Music" tour, visitors to Salzburg can't overlook the significance of "The Sound of Music" when visiting the beautiful countryside outside of the city. The front exterior of Leopoldskron Palace, built in 1736, was used as the Trapp family home. After WW II, Harvard University invested in renovations to Leopoldskron Palace; today it's a conference center.

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Photo Scrapbook: Vienna, Part II

At the Upper Belvedere museum complex, we visited the Gustav Klimt exhibition highlighted by "The Kiss" and "Judith" from Klimt's "Golden Period." The 1907 portrait of "Adele Bloch-Bauer I" is also from the "Golden Period." We saw it at the Neue Galerie New York, 1048 Fifth Avenue, while we participated in the New York Comic-Con April 18-20, 2008. The 3-day convention is scheduled for Feb. 6-8, 2009.

One afternoon we toured the Kunsthistoriche Museum, which holds the Hapsburg's personal art collection.

Twenty-three people participated in the Imperial Cities tour. We enjoyed the camaraderie, whether grabbing a quick meal - a salmon entree for Doug and whitefish for me, including wine, cost $32.95 euros - or enjoying a 4-course dinner at the Schonbrunn Summer Palace restaurant before attending a Viennese classical concert. (from left to right: Liz from Toronto, Heidi, Doug, Elaine and Gordon from North Bay, Ontario)

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Photo Scapbook: Vienna, Part I

We spent four nights in Vienna at the Hotel Austria Trend. The first evening we attended a Strauss-Mozart concert in Redoutensaal Hall in the Hofburg Palace complex.
The Vienna Opera House was built between 1863 and 1869 on the new Ring Boulevard; on March 12, 1945, the interior was mostly destroyed. It reopened in November 1955 with the facade and main foyer restored; interior renovations were modified due to cost. Doug and I toured the opera house, which presents more than 60 operas and ballet works on 285 days for the 2008-09 season. We attended Holy Mass at the Hofburgkapelle in the Hofburg Palace complex; the Vienna Boys' choir sang that morning.

We toured the Hofburg Palace, residence of the Habsburg dynasty for over 600 years until 1918. The Imperial Silver Collection was magnificent as were the 19 state and private rooms of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth. This table was set for a "typical" family dinner at the Hofburg Palace.

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Photo Scrapbook: Budapest, Part II

The Palace of Arts concert hall, part of the Millennium City Centre of Budapest, opened in March 2005. I'm in the lobby of the 1,700-seat concert hall; audiences that night listened to Mahler. Our tour attended a contemporary performance of the ballet "Romeo and Juliet" in the small theatre. The Palace of Arts is praised for its near-"perfect" acoustics.
On our last day in Budapest, we visited Castle Hill in Old Town; Buda's neo-Gothic Matthias Church on Trinity Square is under renovation. Behind the church is the Fisherman's Bastion. Its 7 turrets commemorate the 7 Magyar tribes that founded Hungary in 896 A.D.

After shopping at the Herend store for handpainted porcelain, visiting the House of Terror at 60 Andrassy Boulevard - headquarters in 1944 of the Hungarian Nazis and the Communist organization AVO from 1945-1956, and having lunch at the Callas Restaurant, we toured the Hungarian State Opera House. Two marble sphinxes guard the driveway; statues of Liszt and Erkel, the father of Hungarian opera, are near the main entrance.

The Hungarian State Opera House was slightly smaller than the opera house in Vienna, but many feel that it is more beautiful. It opened to the public in the fall of 1884 after nearly 9 years of construction in the neo-Renaissance style.

The 125th season of performances at the Hungarian State Opera House - with 33 operas and 13 ballets - was to begin about a week after we were scheduled to leave Budapest. The magnificent chandelier was lowered at the time of our tour so bulbs could be replaced prior to opening night.

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Photo Scrapbook: Budapest, Part I

After checking into the Hotel Mercure Korona for a 3-night stay in Budapest, we visited the 3-story Great Market Hall at the south end of Vaci Street, now a tourist zone with restaurants and retail shopping. That evening we had a wonderful dinner at Restaurant Karolyi, located in what was formerly the Karolyi Palace. In addition to the restaurant, one can enjoy the beautiful gardens and visit the Petrofi Literary Museum, founded in 1954 as the national museum of 19th and 20th century Hungarian literature.
The Parliament was built between 1885-1902. Pest - the economic, political and financial center of the city - is spread out in the flatland on the left side of the Danube. The banks of the Danube region of Budapest is registered as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Inside the Parliament our tour guide described the building as "a living landmark" with 691 rooms, 10 courtyards and 29 staircases. This was the most impressive of the staircases; the rotunda dome is 96 meters high.

Doug is standing in Heroes' Square at the 118' stone column with a statue of the Archangel Gabriel at the top; at the base ride 7 bronze horsemen.

After visiting the Millennial Monument, a semi-circular twin colonnade with statues of Hungarian kings and leaders, Doug and I spent the rest of the afternoon at the Museum of Fine Arts, located at the north side of Heroes' Square. We were especially interested in seeing the special Egyptian exhibition.
(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fan Expo Canada - It's a Great Way To Spend the Day in Toronto

(top) Taylor and Sonny enjoyed wearing costumes at Fan Expo Canada; their friend enjoyed meeting Doug and buying one of his limited edition prints. (bottom) Bruce and Betsy each now have a personalized copy of Unpublished Sneyd.
(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Calfornia Artists Exhibit at Fan Expo Canada '08

Artists always enjoy the cameraderie at conventions. (top) We met Stephen Silver at the 2008 New York Comic-Con and always look forward to getting together; it was also a pleasure talking with Hye Kim, who had a table next to Stephen in Artists' Alley.
(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fans Keep Doug Busy with Personalized Sketches in Unpublished Sneyd

During Fan Expo Canada '08 in Toronto, Doug was busy doing personalized sketches in copies of Unpublished Sneyd. He enjoyed meeting (top to bottom) James, Nicholas, Malcolm and Fez during the 3-day event, scheduled next year for August 28-30.
(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Doug Sketches Fan Expo Canada Attendees

Doug sketched a number of attendees when they purchased a copy of Unpublished Sneyd. (top) Nancy from Toronto; (middle) Jackie from Saskatoon; and (bottom) Pat from Buffalo, New York.
(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Unpublished Sneyd Is a Great Souvenir of Fan Expo Canada '08 in Toronto

Stefan (top), an illustrator from Toronto, David (middle) from Hamilton and Garry (bottom) from Oshawa each bought personalized copies of Doug's 52-page book Unpublished Sneyd.

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Expo Fans Dress the Part!

(blog photos by Heidi Hutson)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Caricature Artist Jason Seiler

Before the doors officially opened August 22 for the 14th annual Fan Expo Canada, Doug had a chance to walk around and meet other artists. Right down the aisle, he met Jason Seiler, who would be doing live caricatures during the 3-day Expo. His June 2008 book, Caricature, was published by Imaginism Studios in Toronto.

Philip Chalk from The Weekly Standard remarks, "It's hard to say whether we use Jason more because of his amazing virtuosity, his startling speed, or his felicity capturing a likeness. What I can say is that he's one of the best illustrators I depend on, and his ability to create delicate, intricate images without ever wetting a brush is simply breathtaking."

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

Friday, October 17, 2008

It Was A Fun Time in Toronto!

Robert (top), a lawyer in Toronto, shared some great jokes with Doug and offered me photography tips. (middle) Jodi's an animator in Toronto. (bottom) Anita and husband Tony drove in from Kitchener, Ontario.

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Doug Enjoyed Meeting Attendees at Fan Expo Canada '08 in Toronto

Jamey Ordolis (top) is a producer, host and writer with Empirella Productions.

Mike (middle), who has a masters degree in astro physics, is originally from Newfoundland but now works at the University of Toronto maintaining a computer cluster of 200 computers for astro physicists.

Barry Oehm (bottom) and his wife from Oshawa, Ontario were helping out at a friend's booth Sunday, and while taking a break to check out other exhibiting artists, they "discovered" Doug. They bought a copy of his 52-page book Unpublished Sneyd and while reading his bio, they learned that he lived in Orillia, Ontario. The adage "It's a small world" is so true sometimes - Barry told Doug that he was born in Orillia and still had family living there - in fact, not too far from where Doug lives on Lake Couchiching.

(blog photos by Heidi Hutson)