Wednesday, July 9, 2014

City of Night - Whatever Wednesday #11

 By Vicky Nardone

 On June 28th, Buffalo held it's third annual City of Night Festival.  This was actually my first time attending but I'd talked to friends who'd been in the past and they said it was very cool to see.  I'll start with a brief history of Buffalo.  Back around the turn of the century (1900s), we were a happening city.  We were especially known for our grain elevators.  Fastforward 114 years and we're no longer the boom town that we were back then.  We still have the General Mills factory here (My city smells like Cheerios!) but a lot of the old grain silos and grain elevators  sit in disrepair now.  For City of Night, a whole bunch of artists come in and set up cool art installations in the Silos, many of them based on cool light and sound designs and people can walk through the old silos.  They also have bands and performance art and lots of food trucks.  This even was so popular we had to park about 15 minutes away from the festival.  It goes from about 4pm to 2am and it's free - there's a $5 suggested donation.

The first thing we did when we got there around 7pm was to eat.  I don't know about the rest of the country but Buffalo loves it's food trucks.  We must have 20 to 30 different food trucks that come to all the different events.  The biggest one that I've seen so far is a weekly one that they do at Buffalo's Larkin Square on Tuesdays.  Every food truck in Buffalo is there.  There was about 10 different ones at City of Night.  I got a pulled pork sandwich at R&R BBQ (right middle photo) to start.  Matt had a scallop slider from the Knight Slider Food truck.  My friend Lauren came back with a cheese pirogi and truffle brownie from the Betty Crockski (Bottom Middle photo) food truck and it looked so delicious that I had to go get one for myself.  While we were in line, they started releasing all of these mini luminaries into the air (corner photo).  They're hard to see in that photo but they looked super cool in the air.  Later a number of us got snacks from House of Munch which has carnival foods including fried dough, birch beer, lemonade and cheesy fries.  And of course a lot of our friends made trips to the beer tent.  Not pictured here but probably the best food truck in Buffalo is Lloyds Taco Truck - they've made tacos like you've never had before and they are soo delicious.  At big events like this though they usually have 30 people in line and they are definitely not the fastest food truck in Buffalo.  They have a website that tells you where they are parked every day so we usually try to hit them on week nights when the line isn't so crazy.

 After we ate, it was time to check out some art.  This mask was my absolute favorite exhibit.  It was a huge mask - probably about 10-15 feet tall and it was hung on the the wall and there was a projector constantly projecting different images onto the mask.  Some of it was video as well.  I had a couple other pictures of it but they came out a bit blurry.  The installation itself actually has a webpage if you're interested in learning more about it.

There was a ton of different exhibits in the art and sound silo.  The large picture in the collage above was Matt's favorite.  This girl had attached a circular wheel with images to the middle of the grain tube and had it lit up and spinning to project the images onto the wall.  She also painted a number of images on the wall and was dancing around projecting her own shadow on the wall.  Unfortunately all my pictures with her in them came out blurry.

In the picture on the top right you can see what one of the grain tubes looks like.  This particular one had bumpers around the edges so you could actually go and stick your head in the tub to see what it was like in there.  I didn't go in but people said it was very quiet.  In this photo, our friend Brandyn was pretending like he was getting sucked up the tube.  You can only see his feet poking out.

Below that is a cool projected image that they had high on the wall of one of the silos.

The top right photo is some neon mosaics made on recycled paper.  They almost looked like designs that I used to color in mosaic books that my mom bought me when I was growing up.

The bottom right sculpture is made out of laundry baskets.  It was starting to get really dark by the time we walked through the art exhibits but the lights from the exhibits themselves still allowed me to get some good pictures.

I also really liked the planet exhibit they had in this silo (large picture).  It was hard to get a clear picture since the light in the room was so low so I gave my camera to Matt.  Yay for filmmakers with steady hands.  The top two smaller pictures and the lower right picture were from this really neat interactive exhibit.  These pictures had strings on them that were hooked up to a speaker and you could strum the strings in different ways to produce different sounds.  Kind of like an artistic electric guitar.

The bottom left photo looked like a map.  It was in this small little tunnel in one of the silos that had a little window on either side.  They had two of the maps set up that you could look through the little windows to see.

There were also a lot of performers at the event.  The top left picture was from a couple of musicians playing in one of the silos.  The silos go up forty or fifty feet so the acoustics are really cool for music.

The top middle picture was this crazy interpretive dancer.  Her dancing wasn't too crazy but her outfit was.  Her hair was all in her face and she was wearing a mask over her mouth.  I saw her after the dance with her wig and mouthpiece removed and she looked totally normal!

The top right photo is a cool painted jungle gym they had set up for people to climb on.

The left middle pic, though hard to see, is from the performance of our local fire entertainers, Pyromancy.  They do fire juggling, breathing, eating, dancing.  I've seen them at a number of our artsy events.

The right middle and bottom left photos were from a really bad performance piece.  That's all I'm going to say.  45 minutes of my life I'll never get back.  Unfortunately some people in our group knew these guys so we had to stay.

The bottom middle photo is from some aerial dancers doing acrobatics.  They were really cool to watch.

The last photo is this fire torch thing they had going on at the festival.  I couldn't figure out exactly what was going on with the exhibit.  There seemed to be some reasoning behind when and why the torches lit up but I'm not sure what it was.

It was definitely a neat festival to experience.  I don't know if I'd go back next year but I'm glad I checked it out at least once.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Wedding Momento Frame - Memory Monday #11

By Vicky Nardone

My dad and got married to his long time partner Louie on the Fifth of July in Chicago.  Instead of gifts, they asked people to donate to a couple of their favorite charities but I still wanted to make them something to remember their special day.  I settled on the idea of a wedding momento frame.  I knew that I would never find an overlay with holes cut out in the exact sizes I wanted to I used a piece of cardstock and measured all my items and painstakingly cut holes in the cardstock where I wanted to place the items.  It took a while!  Once I had measured out the sizes of my items, I actually used Illustrator to make paper patterns which I then cut out and laid on the frame and then used an exacto knife to cut around the patterns.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Green Goddess Juice - Smoothie Saturday #10

By Vicky Nardone

I have been obsessed with juices lately - ever since we tried the juices at Ashkers on a recent buffalo food tour.  I decided to use the juicer that Matt and I got from his parents for our wedding to try and recreate my favorite juice from Ashkers at home.  Matt and I asked for a "masticating" juicer - it chews up your fruit for you and spits out the juice.  Kind of weird right?  It produces really good juice though!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Blueberry Skillet Cornbread - Whatever Wednesday #10

By Vicky Nardone

I have been wanting a skillet ever since I saw the delicious looking recipes that other bloggers have posted.  I recently got one and of course the first thing that I thought of making in it was cornbread.  But not just cornbread - blueberry cornbread!

Now I had read about how you're supposed to season your skillet before using it.  I wasn't quite sure how to do that so I looked it up online and it takes like 5 hours to season a skillet!  I didn't have five hours until the party I was throwing that I was making this cornbread for so I cheated and sprayed down the skillet with some Pam.  So maybe this cornbread was not as authentic as it should have been but it was totally delicious!  Everyone who came over for the party loved it.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Fourth of July Page - Memory Monday #10

By Vicky Nardone

Happy Fourth of July week!  I'm in full summer mode now.  How about you?  This year my dad is getting married in Chicago the day after the Fourth of July so Matt and I are flying into Chicago on the Fourth for the wedding.  We will be watching the fireworks on Navy Pier after the rehearsal dinner on Friday.  This will be the first Fourth of July since Matt and I met that we won't be watching the fireworks at the local park in Tonawanda NY where we used to live.  Matt's been going to that park for fireworks since he bought his house in Tonawanda back in 2007.  

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Moscato Sangria - Smoothie Saturday #9

By Vicky Nardone

So you may have noticed that Smoothie Saturday isn't always about smoothies.  I have been sharing some of my other favorite drinks on here too.  But Smoothie Saturday has a nice ring to it so I think I'm going to keep it.  This week I'm sharing my Sangria Recipe.  When I drink alcohol during the summer, Sangria is always one of the top choices on my list.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Homemade Salsa - Whatever Wednesday #9

By Vicky Nardone

I love going out to authentic Mexican restaurants and most of the reason is the delicious chips and salsa they bring you as an appetizer. I usually eat enough chips and salsa to make me full and then I end up being super full by the time I finish the actual meal I've ordered. Does anyone else remember ChiChis or Don Pablos? Those were my favorite Mexican restaurants to go to as a kid. Nowadays my husband and I find ourselves at the hole in the wall type places when we're looking for authentic Mexican food.

Most of the salsa I find in the grocery store doesn't come close to being the same kind as you get from the Mexican restaurants. It's too chunky for me and it has something added that gives it a flavor I really don't care for (probably all the preservatives added so that I can sit on a store shelf for a long time). The brand I liked the best from the stores was Herdez salsa and I've had no luck finding that brand in mild lately.