I especially was impressed with what the new director had chosen to do to improve the display and presentation in the gallery. Not only did it look more professional, but it seemed to have grown in spaciousness with the changes. The display of our guest speaker, including his ceramic ware and his wide variety of children's books were a joyful collection. African art is so straight forward and playful, how could it not adapt to children's books perfectly. Bubba Wagua's presentation was more educational than I'd anticipated. He included tales of how and where he was raised, Africa, France and finally the U.S. in addition to history and geography of his village in Africa. Following the tender and funny stories he sweetly read from his books, the slide show he presented taught us that Timbuktu (what we Americans use to infer a "nowhere" land) really was, and still somewhat is, a bustling trade center between Egypt and the Mideast. I don't know if it was his intoxicating African accent or the magic of his stories, but I could have listened to him all night.
Now I'll divulge the wilder evening on the town. All summer we'd talked about adding more live music to our life and finally, come August 5th (hey, the summer isn't quite over) we did. We agreed to meet friends at the Eden Vale Winery (also the grounds of the lovely Voorhies Mansion) for their weekly free Thursday music night. This evening presented the powerful and award winning local blues singer, Karen Lovely. We arrived a tad early, and good thing, as the tables with sun shading canopies were all already taken. We positioned ourselves with a nice view of the stage and nested in to indulge in the Eden Vale food offerings. We shared a chicken salad and a salmon en croit. Both pleasant for a winery menu. Mid-meal Karen took the stage and began warming up the crowd. She's brassy, balls-ey with an incredibly beautiful "Janis Joplin/Bonnie Raitt" voice.