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I was visiting The Space (a makerspace located in Beltway Plaza Mall in Greenbelt, Maryland) when I saw that a local dance school known as the D’Amour School of Dance was giving a dance recital on that very day. So I hung around and checked it out.

The Space, December 8, 2018

The Space was decorated just for the holidays.

The Space, December 8, 2018

The young dancers were gathered before the recital began.

The Space, December 8, 2018

There was also a toy drive for underprivileged children where people could donate toys on a Giving Blanket.

The Space, December 8, 2018

As the day went on, the Giving Blanket became more filled with toys.

The Space, December 8, 2018

Here are some photos from the dance recital itself.

The Space, December 8, 2018

The Space, December 8, 2018

The Space, December 8, 2018

The Space, December 8, 2018

The Space, December 8, 2018

The Space, December 8, 2018

The Space, December 8, 2018

I shot a video showing the highlights of that dance recital.

There was a spread of food for the planned reception after the dance recital ended.

The Space, December 8, 2018

The Space, December 8, 2018

The participants and those who were in the audience participated in the reception.

The Space, December 8, 2018

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This year I decided to check out the opening ceremony of the Festival of Lights that was held at Roosevelt Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. As you can see from the photographs, it was a well-attended event. The weather was cold but it was pretty clear with no rain or snow. (My area has been getting tons of rain this year and it gets pretty tiresome after a while. Thanks for nothing, global warming!)

Festival of Lights Opening Ceremony, November 30, 2018

Here is what the official Festival of Lights tree looked like before it was lit for the first time. The box that held the tree had Santa Claus decorated on all sides.

Festival of Lights Opening Ceremony, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Ceremony, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Ceremony, November 30, 2018

The local orchestra played a variety of winter holiday tunes.

Festival of Lights Opening Ceremony, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Ceremony, November 30, 2018

Santa Claus arrived on the back of a fire truck.

Festival of Lights Opening Ceremony, November 30, 2018

Once Santa arrived the tree was lit up. Here is what it looked like with its lights on.

Festival of Lights Opening Ceremony, November 30, 2018

Here’s a short video I shot of the opening ceremony.

After the opening ceremony I walked over to the nearby Greenbelt Museum, which opened its door to the public for free as part of the opening ceremony festivities.

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

I shot photos of that same museum during Labor Day weekend so I decided to focus on its special exhibit on how people celebrated Christmas and Hanukkah during the Great Depression. It included vintage decorations of the period. I found it very interesting.

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

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I arrived at yet another Campfire Sessions, which is a monthly series of special performances that are held at The New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland. Basically the performers play a set lasting around 15-20 minutes then take questions from the audience about their work. I arrived a bit late because earlier I was taking part in a weekly crafting event known as Fiber Fans (where people can bring their knitting, crocheting, or sewing and socialize while working on their latest piece) that’s held at the Greenbelt Makerspace. The Campfire Sessions are hosted by Joey Campfire, who’s known as one-half of The Bachelor and the Bad Actress. This month he decided to do his emcee duties wearing an American flag long johns.

I arrived just in time for the last act of the evening. They are known as The Chromatics and they are an a cappella group consisting of people who are all employees at the nearby NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. They sing songs about science and space. I found them to be a bit quirky. I shot a video of The Chromatics singing some of their songs.

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I thought I said everything that needed to be said when I wrote my original post on the 90th anniversary of Mickey Mouse. What I didn’t realize is that the photos I posted of various anniversary stuff (ranging from cookies to waffle irons) was just the beginning. I went back to Target last week and I saw that the store had more 90th anniversary Mickey Mouse stuff that I hadn’t seen before, starting with this 90th anniversary remote control Mickey car.

Target had a special box of small Mickey Mouse plushes that depict him in the various stages of his long and distinguished career.

The box even had a cute handle shaped like Mickey Mouse heads.

There were small vinyl 90th anniversary Mickeys that I hadn’t seen before.

Plus there were 90th anniversary Mickey Mouse Christmas ornaments.

There’s one surprise I found out about a Mickey item I had previously blogged about. I saw Mickey Mouse Steamboat Willie plushes at Target. What I didn’t realize is that this particular plush is also animatronic. If you press one of his hands, he’ll rock side to side and sing Steamboat Willie‘s opening theme song. I shot a short video showing this.

I wouldn’t be surprised if more 90th anniversary Mickey items will arrive in stores in the near future. In any case, I’m not going to write any more posts about the 90th anniversary Mickey Mouse unless I see something that’s incredibly unique and interesting. One could easily spend 40 hours a week trying to keep track of all of the 90th anniversary Mickey items that are out there and I just don’t have the time to do that at the moment.

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It’s been a few months since I wrote a post about The Campfire Sessions that are held once a month at The New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland. I’ve attended a few other Campfire Sessions since March but I basically just attended the shows without taking photos or shooting videos. And there were a couple of sessions that I either skipped entirely or I only showed up briefly towards the end because I had a scheduling conflict.

Last month’s Campfire Session promised to be Halloween-themed so I decided to show up and start shooting photos and videos.

The first performer featured was a performing act known as Mystr Treefrog. I shot a few photos of the duo.

I also shot a short video of Mystr Treefrog.

If you like Mystr Treefrog’s music, you can check out the rest of the songs right here.

The next act was a woman known as Sad Veiled Bride. She played an electric ukulele, which made her unique. She also performed in front of a screen where video footage of various images play behind her while she played. Here are a few photos of her set.

I also shot video footage of her set. I basically shot more footage of Sad Veiled Bride than anyone else who performed that night mainly because of the videos that were playing behind her while she performed.

If you like Sad Veiled Bride’s music, you can check out some more stuff from her right here.

Sam Cooper performed the third and final set of the evening. He stood out from the performers for his Halloween-themed suit that he wore on stage, which was black with a pattern of jack o’lanterns.

I also shot a short video of Sam Cooper performing onstage.

If you like Sam Cooper’s music, you can check out some more songs from him right here.

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A fundraiser event for Ben Jealous took place at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland nearly a month ago. I only held off on writing about this because I was waiting for this video to be made then uploaded. I was also distracted by taking part in Inktober and a side project that I’m still currently involved in. Since tomorrow is the midterms elections, I finally decided that it’s time for me to write a post about this since no one will care after the polls close tomorrow.

Here’s the gist: A day-long fundraising concert was being held at the New Deal as a benefit for Ben Jealous’ campaign to become the next governor of Maryland. It started out with being a typical concert with local acts performing.

In the middle of the concert a music video touting Ben Jealous was shot. Here’s some background, a couple of years ago a musical duo known as The Bachelor and the Bad Actress made a music video at the same venue called “Be a Believer” and it was about Bernie Sanders and his ill-fated candidacy for president of the U.S. I took part in making that video and I had a blast making it, even though my own appearance in that video was no more than two or three seconds (and you’d have to strain hard to see me wearing a flying pig hat that I purchased when I was a vendor at the Pigtown Festival in Baltimore back in 2010).

A few days before the Ben Jealous event I saw a notice on Facebook from The Bachelor and The Bad Actress saying that another music video was going to be shot in the middle of that concert and they needed people. Apparently they were going to use that same song “Be a Believer” and they were going to alter some of the lyrics so it’ll be about Ben Jealous instead of Bernie Sanders. I showed up wearing the same flying pig hat but I wore a different shirt because it was a relatively warm day that day. Here’s a selfie of me in the bathroom wearing that hat.

So I waited patiently until it was time for the music video to start filming. While I was there I shot this short video of a drumming jam session featuring this little girl who was dancing to the rhythm.

Eventually those of us who were participated in the video were instructed to walk outside to the front of the cafe where we did a brief rehearsal of that song then we walked back inside. At one point the candidate himself, Ben Jealous, showed up where he gave a brief speech.

His running mate, Susie Turnbull also showed up and she jointed Ben Jealous on stage.

Susie Turnbull gave her own speech.

Ben Jealous had another engagement so he left. But Susie Turnbull stuck around and she even joined in when it came time to shooting that video, which was pretty cool. The video was eventually uploaded only to Facebook but I somehow missed that notice. For whatever reason, no one had gotten around to uploading it on to YouTube and Facebook doesn’t have a way that anyone can embed its videos into this blog. Just click here to view the music video for “Be a Believer” featuring Susie Turnbull. (If you look hard enough, you could see me wearing that flying pig hat in the background but, like the earlier video, I’m hard to spot.)

I left the New Deal Cafe after the video shoot ended. As I walked outside, I saw Susie Turnbull meeting with a few locals where they expressed their concerns to her.

The next day I saw these signs and masks in the New Deal Cafe window.

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This year I attended the Oktoberfest celebration that’s held at the St. Hugh of Grenoble Catholic Church in Greenbelt, Maryland. I generally like the food and it’s a festive atmosphere. I took a few photos but I didn’t take many this year mainly because I took photos for this blog in 2014 and 2017 and, to be honest, there haven’t been any major differences in the decorations as previous years.

The food is as good as always. There was an incident where I went to the table so I could order a drink. I decided to purchase a soda because I wasn’t into drinking beer that night. (I know it sounds sacrilegious to not drink beer at an Oktoberfest celebration but I’ve been consuming far less alcohol ever since my husband left me, especially if I’m driving because I just don’t want to get into any kind of drunk driving-related drama with the authorities.) So I ordered a Diet Coke and the guy who was working the table began to grouse over the fact that he had to get up and walk just a few feet further in the back to get a soda instead of pouring beer from a keg that was located next to his chair. If he had been smiling and laughing when he said this, I would have assumed that he was kidding. But he seemed grouchy and I decided that this Diet Coke would be the only beverage I would order that night because I just didn’t want to deal with this guy.

So I ate the food and enjoyed it. (I ordered the Cardinal Wuerl’s Platter, which had two Nurnberger sausages, a side order of sauerkraut, and a slice of rye bread.) Once again they had an accordion player provide the music. He played a lot of ABBA songs. Last year I shot this video where he played his ABBA repertoire.

For this year I focused on photographing the dancers in their traditional German outfits. The guy in the next two photos was the emcee for that evening. I really liked his fancy outfit he wore.

I took a few photos of the dancers before they began their performance.

I also shot a short video of the German dancers in action.

Once the German dancers finished their performance, there was a section where the general audience was invited to dance along with the German dancers. I was alone and I wasn’t interested in dancing with a total stranger so I was satisfied with just watching. But then the emcee said that people should be paired as man and woman because, as he said, “that’s the way God intended.” Okay, I know that I was in the basement of a Catholic church and the church isn’t exactly tolerant of LGBTQ people. But I still was taken aback by what he said because it just seemed inappropriate to mention what God may or may not intended when it’s supposed to be a fun occasion.

That emcee would freak out if he had ever attended any of the dances and parties at my Unitarian Universalist church where men dance with women, men dance with men, and women dance with women and no one bats an eye at the same-sex couple dancing.

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Today’s prompt word for Inktober is “muddy.” It was yet another prompt word that I struggled with mainly because the only thing I could initially think of was a pig wading through the mud. Unfortunately, I had already done such a drawing for last year’s Inktober and I drew that one in response to that day’s prompt word, “filthy.” So I was undecided on what to do about that “muddy” prompt until I hit upon the idea of drawing famed blues guitarist and singer Muddy Waters.

Only eight more days to go until I am through with Inktober 2018.

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