Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pillar Boxes in Ireland

Photo courtesy: David Lentell

Travelling around Ireland, David Lentell took many photographs of green pillar boxes. Although the same shape as pillar boxes in England, many boxes in Ireland are painted green rather than the customary cherry red colour seen in England. I believe the colour change took place after the Irish independence in 1922. The pillar box shown in the photograph displays the emblem of the reigning monarch, Queen Victoria.

We owe the concept of the pillar box to Anthony Trollope. Following is an excerpt from Christmas Past in Essex ISNB #9780752444635 by Elizabeth Wallace.

As an adult, he worked as a teacher but then took a position at the Post Office. He quickly gained prestige within that organisation and in 1841, was sent to Ireland where he met and married Rose Heseltine. A happy family life and his new position as Post Office Inspector seem to have agreed with Anthony. He is credited by the postal service for the invention of the pillar box. Over the years, more than 156 designs of the pillar box were manufactured, often with the initials of the reigning monarch. In 1840, the Penny Black made its debut. It was the first stamp to have an image of a monarch, Queen Victoria, and also the first stamp to have an adhesive.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings, Colorado

Native American Indians have performed their special dances for generations at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. The dances are carefully designed to take into account the sun’s rays (see shadow of dancer). The traditional dances have been passed down from father to son and grandson, each bringing new life into their extraordinary customs that continue to this day.

A visit to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings is an excellent way to spend an afternoon. The dwellings are open year round, but the American Indian dancers only appear from June to August. They perform daily at specific times, and, as you wait for their program to begin, a visitor can explore the dwellings, museum and gift shop.

Following is an excerpt from the Manitou Cliff Dwellings site.

Chief Manitou
In the first decade of the 20th century Cayete, a great uncle of Mike's and Bob's grandmother, performed here at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. At a time when Native Americans were more of a curiosity to western tourists, "Chief Manitou," as he was nicknamed by old timers in Manitou Springs, and other Indians would meet arriving passenger trains at Colorado Springs' old Rio Grande Railroad Terminal, now occupied by Giuseppe's Restaurant. He also sold Indian "trinkets" at the Narrows in William's Canyon, below the Cave of the Winds.

Joseph Tafoya, Sr. (Chief Little Deer), 1892-1972
Chief Little Deer entertained and educated Cliff Dwellings visitors from 1916 until his death in 1972, right here in the Pueblo building. A volunteer, he was one of the original Seabees during World War I. He attended Carlisle University with Jim Thorpe. Later, he served as governor of the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico. During the 1940's he was Chairman of the All Pueblo Indian Council.

Joseph Tafoya, Jr. (Whitecloud), 1922-2000
Bob and Mike's father, Whitecloud (okhuwa-tsa in his native Tewa language), died July 19, 2000, at the age of 78. Following in the footsteps of his own father, he performed for decades here at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. He was a man of many talents. While attending Santa Fe Indian School, he studied with well-known Indian artists Pablita Velarde and Allen Houser. Later, while attending high school in Española, one of his paintings of traditional Pueblo life won a national art competition judged by Norman Rockwell.

Mike Little Deer Tafoya, 1948-2001
Cliff Dwellings visitors and staff will miss Mike Little Deer Tafoya. He died on August 4, 2001, following a short illness. He was 53. Born at Santa Clara Pueblo in Northern New Mexico, Mike was already dancing at the age of two with his Grandfather, Joseph Tafoya Sr. (Chief Little Deer), and others at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. He traveled around the world with members of his family, sharing Native American Indian culture and dance with others. In his later years he acted as emcee for the Cliff Dwelling dancers, lacing his descriptions of dance origins and significance with a unique brand of humor.

The Tafoyas are members of the Winter Clan, also known as the Corn People, who are connected to the Hopi. According to their creation story, they are the Ice People, who emerged from the Earth at a point between the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Great Sand Dunes National Monument in Southern Colorado.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Opera House - Central City, Colorado

Central City is a great place to visit, not only for the casinos if one likes to gamble, but also to visit the little shops and diners around the town. It is also known for the wonderful performances that are held every year in the legendary opera house (c. 1877). The following information was taken from their official Opera House site.

Central City Opera’s 2008 Festival Season offers three productions of 20th century works in English, celebrating and coinciding with the National Performing Arts Convention (NPAC) in Denver in 2008.
The 2008 Festival opens earlier than usual, in honor of the Convention, running June 6 to Aug. 10. It features a new production of Benjamin Britten's
The Rape of Lucretia, the rarely performed chamber opera about a faithful woman scorned amongst political rebellion in ancient Rome; a new production of Leonard Bernstein's popular West Side Story, the modern twist on Shakespeare's classic Romeo and Juliet tale of two lovers divided; and American composer Carlisle Floyd's Susannah, the story of an innocent heroine accused of immorality and shunned in the eyes of her rural Tennessee community.
Single tickets start at $45 and two-pack subscriptions start at just $75.
Purchase tickets online now.