Monday, September 23, 2013

Balinese Mask - Spiritual Force Behind

Bali is an island, which throughout the ages has been influenced by many other cultures. While Bali's religious root stems from animism and ancestral worship, Hindu mythology and Buddhism have been major influences. However, regardless of what they were practicing, one factor has always remained constant: "Life in Bali is governed by religion" . Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the art of mask making derived as a religious act, rather than a quest to create aesthetic beauty. Masks thus give form to godly and chthonic forces and are used in theatrical performances to teach adaptations of Indian Sanskrit Texts . In addition, theatrical mask dances are used for, "planting and harvest celebrations and at times of transition in the lives of individuals and communities". Mask dances, such as Topeng, also discuss politics of the past and present, and morals. I will further discuss the masked dances in another section of this article.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Baseball, Apple Pie and Polka - The Mass Appeal of Polka in the United States

America, home of the Polka! In this land of the melting pot, where all cultures and crazes are welcomed Polka is an unequivocal hit! Google the term “Polka” and your search will yield a bevy of fan sites dedicated to this centuries old dance. Polka is so widespread that it has its own Grammy category. Shania Twain, U2, Kanye West and Jimmy Sturr? Yep! Jimmy took home the 2005 statue for his album “Shake, Rattle and Polka”. Only in America could a folksy hop-step-close-step dance share a platform with a hip hop group who penned the ditty, “Its Hard Out Here for a Pimp!”

Monday, September 9, 2013

Birthday Banners Convey Heartfelt Wishes

Birthday banners are an important part of any birthday celebration. Not only do they add a lot of festivity and solidarity among the guests, they make you look good. Such banners show that you're thought of everything, in covering all your bases to make the birthday boy or girl a day they won't soon forget. Also, they inevitably become a sentimental party favor for the main guest - a take home prize to treasured, to remember the special event forever.

Birthday banners can be used for Job or Wedding Anniversaries, Retirees, Baby Showers, Congratulations Graduate, Happy Mother's Day or Happy Father's Day greetings, and so much more. No one can deny that a celebration is so much better when birthday banners are part of the balloons and decor.

These kinds of banners may be printed in long-lasting vinyl, fabric, or any other flexible material. The main thing is that the name of the person is listed plainly and clearly and that the colors are bright and festive. You can add pictures and designs, like balloons, flowers, suns and moons or whatever strikes your fancy. They should be long enough to provide space for lots of well wishers to sign their names and express their devoted birthday greetings if they so wish. It should not be too huge, but not too small either. Ideally, birthday banners can be hung from the back of a bar area, somewhere long and deep that will be a good backdrop for the appropriate banner dimensions.

A birthday banner doesn't have to cost a lot. Having one at your next party for a friend, family member or loved one shows you put some forethought into the planning of their successful birthday celebration. More and more corporate party planners wouldn't dream of celebrating a birthday without using these type of banners. It has become something of a standard for those who like do it up right.

So what makes a birthday banner attractive and festive? Well, color and durability. In the early days of computer programs, novelty birthday banners were printed on computer paper with a dot matrix printer. At that time computer X's would punch out a neat design, like a Teddy Bear or Happy Face images. How far technology has come in only a few years' time! Nowadays, most birthday printers use digital printing and can provide a quality banner that was only a figment of someone's imagination a decade or two ago.

Using dye sublimation or digital printing, the colors are printed with the latest print technology, with colors which are both strong and deep. They are considered the best available on the market today, though a 100% guarantee for exact color matching can't be made.

Like other banners, birthday banners can have pole pockets. They can be printed up to be single or double-sided, hung from a high place or stretched out on the horizontal. They can be as complex or as simple as you prefer. The main thing is that the name of the person and the Happy Birthday greeting is included in the message. No one wants to be forgotten on their birthday!

If you are expecting to celebrate a birthday in the very near future, don't wait till the last-minute to order your birthday banners. Like other products, time is of the essence. Birthday banners in particular have an even more sensitive deadline, so allow the time necessary to place an order and get the design approved so that both you and your birthday baby will be pleasantly surprised and pleased at how well birthday banners convey heartfelt wishes!

Barry Brown has been in the Sign, Banner, Decal and Display Business for over 20 years. It isn't what he thought he'd do with his life, but he says he knows too much now to do anything else!

He has been marketing these products online since 1998, and the company he was general manager of in 1998 was the first sign company to be listed on Yahoo!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Burning Man - Annual Arts & Expression in the Simmering Sun

Every year in late August, thousands of people gather together to form a community, or rather, a community of sorts. A temporary community is founded in a matter of days, and disappears a week or so later in about the same amount of time. The event is called Burning Man. It's a festival that prides itself on self-reliance, self-expression, art and community. To someone who has never heard of Burning Man, it's hard to explain. However, here are the facts about Burning Man:

What is it?

In 2009, the festival is happening from August 31st to September 7th. There isn't such a city as "Black Rock City", that is, until Burning Man starts. People from all over the country and perhaps even all over the world come to this piece of desert, called a playa. People must bring their own shelter, food, water, comforts, supplies, basically everything they will need to live for a week. People set up art installations and different types of theme camps. Others bring vehicles or costumes that they have made just for the event. On the final night of Burning Man, a giant sculpture of a man is burned during the Nevada night, creating a spectacular display of light and symbolism.

What's the point?

People gather to create a temporary community, but also to make friends, have fun, party, visit art installations, display their own art and participate in events or other activities. Some people may run a radio station, some people ride around on their bike all day, some people create and display their own art, everyone is welcome and can do their own thing. One of the central themes of the event is that it is all inclusive, everyone is welcome, everyone has something to offer and you are welcome to be yourself. If that means getting completely naked and painted from head to toe in body paint, so be it. There are no vending machines or booths with things for sale, commerce is generally not accepted at Burning Man, with the exception of the coffee and ice available at the Center Camp area.

How did it start?

In 1986, two men at Baker Beach in San Francisco built a wooden male figure and burned it in honor of the Summer Solstice. This is generally regarded as the first event. The event grew each year and in 1991 the event in Nevada started taking place. That first festival Man had about 250 participants. This first event was a far cry from the 2008 event which had nearly 50,000 participants. There was over 240 art installations or art projects. Heavy dust storms almost canceled the burning of the Burning Man figure, but they let up with enough time for the figure to be burned and the event to end on a good note.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Books And Why We Read Them

Recently, I was minding my own business eating two books a day. Granted, they weren't large ones and I didn't actually ingest them. Nope, I just read and read and read and read and read. This makes sense to me because I love books but every once in a while I LOVE BOOKS. I think there should be a name like this like Book Binging or Book Vacations or Book Escapism.

But when I was done and the thirty odd books were packed for shipping to a good friend who also eats books, I felt good. A little like Super Woman. It's like I had absorbed something from all that reading. I smiled more. I laughed more. It was truly a great leftover feeling of peace and calm.

Which got me to thinking, what do people get out of reading books? I know this questions sounds very utilitarian but stick with me here. Books have been around since before movable type and the Lithiograph. They were hand-copied by Monks for example centuries ago. They held common knowledge for the future. And while I couldn't say that two hundred years ago, everybody was linked by Satellite or TV or Radio, I could say that most families owned a book.

What is it about us that makes it impossible to leave books behind? And yes, back to the question, what do we get out of it? Armed with my curiosity, I took out my notebook and asked around.

Reason One

Entertainment ranked ahead of videos and TV by most avid readers, a book can go anywhere, anytime. Books are so popular for long journeys they are stocked in airport stores and train stations, not to mention bus stops. Reading in the car isn't advisable for obvious reasons. Books are even sold in camp stores and department stores as well as gas stations and mini marts. I can't say the same thing about videos or games.

Reason Two

Being able to drift away into another time and place is entertainment similar to all other forms.

Reason Three

Personal growth is often an answer. How does the reader grow by reading a book? A good book has character growth so naturally you read about it, watched it and to some degree felt your own personal growth. The dastardly characters may or may not be admired but the protagonist has to be identified with in most stories. Underdog or not, it is the protagonist we watch.

Reason Four

Perspective switching. Readers can walk those proverbial miles in the other person's shoes. It leads to greater understanding of individuals around us.

Reason Five

A Darn Good Yarn. Yes, the desire for hearing stories starts in our childhood and continues. Even in grade four or five, start your lesson with Once Upon A Time and they'll all be quiet. Stories are the ways we connect as cultures. Even in preliterate societies, stories educate, teach, entertain, enthrall and there is no other comparison.

As a child, I used to hang on my dad's every word when he talked about family. It didn't matter if he made half of it up. I still sat there and was enthralled.

Reason Six

Curiosity of how others life. We have an innate curiosity about other people. For all intensive purposes, fiction offers us a glimpse into others' lives.

I'm sure there were more but let's keep it simple. I need to get back to my book!

Best of luck.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Love Letters in Flower

Every couple of weeks I write a letter to my girlfriend, Sabine, in Berlin. Despite thinking of her often and missing her dearly, each succeeding letter has become more of a strain to crank out. Usually, I can't come up with much more to say than, "I think of you often and miss you dearly." Beyond that, I re-read her most recent letter in order to write something to her about what she wrote me.

Colin Firth Biography

Colin Firth will always be remembered as the sexiest Mr Darcy ever after he emerged from the lake in a wet shirt in the 1995 TV adaptation of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice."

But Firth is just as romantic in his private life. In 1995, just after the series was shown on television, he met Italian film producer Livia Giuggioli on a film set, and it was love at first sight.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I Want To Lose Weight But I Am Just Too Lazy!

Then there is not much I can do for you. Being healthy doesn't have to be hard, but if you aren't willing to take action and put in any effort well then clearly your health is not a priority for you. For me to convince you means I care more about your health than you do.

ICT Modernization Planning

The current technology refresh cycle presents many opportunities, and challenges to both organizations and governments. The potential of service-oriented architectures, interoperability, collaboration, and continuity of operations is an attractive outcome of technologies and business models available today. The challenges are more related to business processes and human factors, both of which require organizational transformations to take best advantage of the collaborative environments enabled through use of cloud computing and access to broadband communications.

Gaining the most benefit from planning an interoperable environment for governments and organizations may be facilitated through use of business tools such as cloud computing. Cloud computing and underlying technologies may create an operational environment supporting many strategic objectives being considered within government and private sector organizations.

Reaching target architectures and capabilities is not a single action, and will require a clear understanding of current "as-is" baseline capabilities, target requirements, the gaps or capabilities need to reach the target, and establishing a clear transitional plan to bring the organization from a starting "as-is" baseline to the target goal.

To most effectively reach that goal requires an understanding of the various contributing components within the transformational ecosystem. In addition, planners must keep in mind the goal is not implementation of technologies, but rather consideration of technologies as needed to facilitate business and operations process visions and goals.

Interoperability and Enterprise Architecture

Information technology, particularly communications-enabled technology has enhanced business process, education, and the quality of life for millions around the world. However, traditionally ICT has created silos of information which is rarely integrated or interoperable with other data systems or sources.

As the science of enterprise architecture development and modeling, service-oriented architectures, and interoperability frameworks continue to force the issue of data integration and reuse, ICT developers are looking to reinforce open standards allowing publication of external interfaces and application programming interfaces.

Cloud computing, a rapidly maturing framework for virtualization, standardized data, application, and interface structure technologies, offers a wealth of tools to support development of both integrated and interoperable ICT resources within organizations, as well as among their trading, shared, or collaborative workflow community.

The Institute for Enterprise Architecture Development defines enterprise architecture (EA) as a "complete expression of the enterprise; a master plan which acts as a collaboration force between aspects of business planning such as goals, visions, strategies and governance principles; aspects of business operations such as business terms, organization structures, processes and data; aspects of automation such as information systems and databases; and the enabling technological infrastructure of the business such as computers, operating systems and networks"

ICT, including utilities such as cloud computing, should focus on supporting the holistic objectives of organizations implementing an EA. Non-interoperable or shared data will generally have less value than reusable data, and will greatly increase systems reliability and data integrity.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR)

Recent surveys of governments around the world indicate in most cases limited or no disaster management or continuity of operations planning. The risk of losing critical national data resources due to natural or man-made disasters is high, and the ability for most governments maintain government and citizen services during a disaster is limited based on the amount of time (recovery time objective/RTO) required to restart government services, as well as the point of data restoral (recovery point objective /RPO).

In existing ICT environments, particularly those with organizational and data resource silos, RTOs and RPOs can be extended to near indefinite if both a data backup plan, as well as systems and service restoral resource capacity is not present. This is particularly acute if the processing environment includes legacy mainframe computer applications which do not have a mirrored recovery capacity available upon failure or loss of service due to disaster.

Cloud computing can provide a standards-based environment that fully supports near zero RTO/RPO requirements. With the current limitation of cloud computing being based on Intel-compatible architectures, nearly any existing application or data source can be migrated into a virtual resource pool. Once within the cloud computing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) environment, setting up distributed processing or backup capacity is relatively uncomplicated, assuming the environment has adequate broadband access to the end user and between processing facilities.

Cheap and Fun Things to Do

There are always things to do within your own hometown. No matter your age or gender, there are countless ways to have fun, learn, and explore. And you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for true enjoyment either. Just look through the local newspaper for a list of events. Or you can search online. Whether you like to have fun solo or spend time with family, there are tons of exciting ways to keep each individual happy. If you're tired of sitting home every day watching television and reading books, you can change this today.

Music makes the world go round. Whether it's on the radio, a CD player, or an MP3 player, everyone listens to music. But there is a better way to enjoy the flavorful sounds of the city. That's by attending festivals and live performances. There are always concerts and fests taking place right around the corner. Take the Jazz Fest for instance. Not only can you listen to the best bands in town, you can also enjoy the best food you will ever taste. Rich with culture and spices, you will surely get the full experience of what the city has to offer. The Jazz Fest highlights the best local bands but also widely popular mainstream artists. So there is something for everyone. The Jazz Fest is just one of many festivals that take place each year. There is the French Quarter Festival, The Po-Boy Festival, and the Seafood Festival too. Those are just a few.

Interesting things to do can include simple activities. Sightseeing is a good way to learn about the environment and different communities. A streetcar ride will offer all the best sights and sounds of the town and will also take you to the heart of the city. Shopping on Magazine Street is fun. There are so many boutiques, shops, and cafes, that everyone will be happy. You're bound to run into the Audubon Zoo and even City Park. You can take a nice walk or have a yummy picnic. Family friendly activities thrive all around the town. Bright and sunny weather is all you really need to make the experience perfect. You can also ride a ferry along the Mississippi River to gain the ultimate experience.

No matter what the time of day or night, there are always things to do. Many families enjoy going to the aquarium as well. Imagine seeing the wildest sea creatures up close and personal. There are even animals to pet. For great dining there is a food court nearby. And the IMAX Theater is always open for those who want to sit back and enjoy a good show. You can purchase tickets at prices that can't be beat.

Of course the night scene is always active in the city. There are clubs and bars galore. But for those who want to enjoy fun, informative, adventures in broad daylight, the options are endless. You can have a great time even when you're on a budget.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Shouldn't We Reinvent the Pizza Cutter?

Not long ago, I was trying to use one of those cheapo one-dollar type store pizza cutters, you know the ones; stamped "made in China" on them, with a corrugated pizza blade cutting wheel. Well, to make a long frustrating story short, it didn't cut well on my thick crust pizzas. This was upsetting because I really don't each much pizza these days, but my favorite two teams were playing during the NCAA March Madness championship games. So, I invited my local friends over and of course, you know, you have to order several pizzas, because that is the traditional thing to do.

Okay so, the pizza cutter failed the taste test, miserably or distastefully I might add. Then one of my friends said; "You are always trying to build a better mouse trap at your think tank, why don't you once and for all design a decent pizza cutter?" Ah, nothing like a real live prototype challenge right? Sure, and he was right. During the half-time break we got into a small brainstorming like session, completely ad hoc, and everyone was throwing ideas around about how to make a better pizza cutter. Most of the ideas had to do with the handle and a way to put more leverage on it without breaking or bending the rotating blade.

Other ideas had to do with a better chopping system, or a secondary blade, or a tandem axle pizza cutter, if you can imagine that in your mind. Then, one of my friends started sketching out a different concept. We then went on to Google to look up "new pizza cutter designs" and there were a ton of interesting patents which had been filed, most of which were the very ideas we had come up with in our brainstorming session. Obviously it doesn't make sense to file any patents on any ideas which have already previously been thought of.

We wondered if we might get a hold of some of those pizza cutters, try each one of them out, and put all those prototypes through the test. Some we've seen in the stores, others we haven't, and still others we don't even know if they ever got made, in other words they may not even be available in the real world. This is a job for 3-D printing, and lots of pizzas and inviting a ton of friends over to test various new pizza cutter prototypes on different size crusts (eating the slices as we go), and indeed, we'd have to order different pizzas from different companies.

Trust me when I tell you building the best mousetrap, or even a better one, or anything else will always be a challenge.

Of course, that's why innovators, entrepreneurs, and inventors press on. I suggest they never give up, that they strive for perfection, and one day, sometime in the future, someone will have invented a pizza cutter which actually works and is affordable, and mass-produced and readily available to the current pizza consuming public. Please consider all this and think on it.

Moving With the Times, Moving With the 21st Century

I remember getting a quote in 1993 from the printer who I entrusted my first book to, the least amount that could be printed was a 1,000 copies, I had no choice but to accept the terrible offer.

When the books were printed I had to find a distributor, offer consignments to book stores and had no hope of reaching an international market. I also had to organize collections, ET AL.

Back then I thought that "Literary Agents" were Gods. How things have changed, now an online retailer publishes all my books that exists as paperbacks and eBooks, all available to the whole world due to the internet and its distribution platform. Yes, everything is "Print on Demand" for my paperback publications. And, with my customers shopping in the e-book store they can download the books in a minute from nearly anywhere in the world. My royalty cheque goes straight to the bank. Yep, we are in the 21st century.

On my last trip to Toronto I was surprised that so few bookstores were there. At one point I tried to get a business book but it was not in stock, it had to be ordered and I had to wait for a week for pick-up, which I did. But I could have done that myself, I did not bother too though, I was on holidays, and I did not think of it. But, the 21st century has put the spot light on the power shifts taking place in the online shopping paradigm.

Since I have started publishing and marketing my books online I basically run my own publishing company, I set my own prices, I am the designer, writer, proof reader, sales force, everything and I could do a better job than the finest book publisher out there and I have checked. I took a directory and visited over 10 publishers in North America and I was not impressed. Seriously, I would not trust them with my books, especially when I am doing it my self already.

Yep, I am online.

If someone's book is not good it will never get traction. Those type of books call for massive marketing and in most cases they don't succeed, because they are lacking something.

Like everything else you need to put out quality work, and spend some time in distributing your work for circulation. Once you get traction you can be your own boss, your own publishing company.

Ori Gersht - The Fine Art of Photography Comes to Life

The Fine arts photographer, Ori Gersht, works out of the United Kingdom, producing multilayered photographic and film works that strongly resonate the destructive, violent and disturbing nature of historical events such as the Spanish Civil War, The French Revolution, Hiroshima and even the suicide bombs which the artist experienced directly during his childhood in Israel.

Contemplating life, destiny, chance and loss, the artist often conjures up images of sites with historical significance to explore the grand and unrestrained themes of life, beauty, violence and death. All through his work, The Landscape is used as a motif and symbol hinting to the catastrophic and violent events that had once taken place within the landscape being shown. Gersht's work carries a strong suggestion of the emotional and psychological disturbance caused by the events of the past, arousing a feeling of violence and haunted by the ghosts of war, The Refugees.

In his still life series, Ori Gersht, explores the relationship between photography, technology and perception at a critical and important point in time when technological advancements have influenced photography, changing the medium forever. In this series, the artist touches on early photography history while introducing a theoretical discourse around his subjects. The images literally and figuratively explode the genre of still life as the artist captures the beautiful but destructive images with advanced cutting edge technology.

Constantly working within the challenging space of pushing photography to its limits, while at the same time employing such innovative techniques with film and video, truly differentiates the artist from his peers. Moreover, his researched aesthetic takes an innate and imaginative approach to the medium of photography, as a result, contributing to the impact that his work has on its viewers.

The artist's photographic work and films can often be compared to paintings in their display with the use of frames around monitors showing films as well as photographs that are unobstructed by materials that often separate the viewer from the works that are being viewed. Many times Gersht's work refers to romantic notions of the sublime influenced by the works of photographers such as Andreas Gursky and Sally Mann and painters such as Mark Rothko and J.M.W Turner.

Ori Gersht's works have been displayed and exhibited in galleries and museums around the world including the famous Tate Modern and Victoria & Albert museums in London and the Guggenheim museum in New York. The artist is currently represented by Angles Gallery in Los Angeles, CRG Gallery in New York, Mummery and Schnelle Gallery in London and Noga Gallery in Tel Aviv. Recently, in 2012 Gersht's exhibit "History Repeating" was displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and another work of his, "The Storm is What We Call Progress" was mounted at the Imperial War Museum in London.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Chinese New Year - Get Chinese New Year Eve Celebration Around the World

The Chinese New Year is a fifteen day celebration that falls on a different date each year as it is a combination of lunar and solar movements. It usually falls in the month of January or February. This year marks the 'Year of the Horse'.

The Chinese New Year's date varies every year and falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. The date for the occasion is decided according to the calendar which is a combination of the solar and the lunar calendar. Rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, cat, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and boar are the animals that are considered to be auspicious. Each person is believed in the Chinese calendar to resemble an animal and this reflects their traits.

The Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival as it is also known is the most revered holiday of the year. This is the time when family and friends gather and offer prayers to their ancestors and deities followed by a lavish dinner to usher in the New Year. During this time, families clean their homes while feng shui believers decorate their homes accordingly. On Chinese New Year Eve, members of a family stay up late as legend goes that long ago; the gods in heaven would give gold to each family so they would keep awake, active and ready to accept the gold gift.

Families decorate their homes with pretty vases and colorful flowers symbolizing that nature has reawakened. Oranges and tangerines are placed in the house as a sign of happiness and prosperity. A tray of candies made of eight different types of candies are placed along with these. The candies are made of lotus seeds, longan, peanuts, coconut, cumquat, red melon seeds, candied melon, etc.

The traditional food that is a significant part of the Chinese New Year party includes Jai, Fish and chicken, noodles and desserts. The dinner has a symbolic meaning in which the Chinese dumplings imply wealth as they are in the shape of ancient Chinese gold or silver ingots. Jiu is the traditional hard liquor in China symbolizes longevity as also Daikon, a white radish. Red chilies symbolize good luck while rice ensures harmony.

Chinese people are usually out on the roads, especially kids who wear Chinese dragon masks and go for the Chinese New Year Dragon parade. Dragon dances are a vital part of the Chinese New Year. One man who has a 'Pearl Of Wisdom' on a pole entices the dragon to follow him to the drum beats as though searching for wisdom and knowledge. The lion dance is an equally important ritual in the consecration of any auspicious time in China. The Lantern Festival is an amazing visual display of multicolored paper lanterns created by craftsmen in designs of butterflies, dragons, birds, dragonflies and other insects or animals. The Dragon Boat Festival marks the day of a certain Chinese scholar who threw himself into the river over a political protest.

Chinese New Year is not just a festival of fun and part, but also a time to welcome the new season, pray for prosperity and well being and cleanse away the any thing evil.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Choosing Among Potential Wedding Venues

You have a wide range of options when it comes to choosing where you and your fiance will become a married couple. In fact, you basically have an endless choice of wedding venues. When you think about it, you could be married just about anywhere. Whether you decide on a church, your home or a friend or family member's home, a place specifically designed for ceremonies, or even your favorite bar or restaurant, you'll be able to enjoy the festivities and relish the moment for years to come.

There are still other unique choices as well. Some people choose venues such as a cruise ship or a yacht, a beachfront hotel or a resort, or even a lawn next to a swimming pool. In some locations such as a beach or a park, a special permit is needed. Whatever you choose, you want to make sure that you carefully pick the right location for you and your soon-to-be spouse.

Typically, people choose places such as a home or church for the marriage ceremony and then hold the reception some place else. In many instances, that means hiring a caterer, a photographer, a band or a DJ, a florist, and so on. However, there are many places that provide all the amenities and facilities needed for both the wedding and the reception. Most of these facilities are located in scenic, beautiful locations, such as near a lake or other body of water. The ceremony is held outside while the reception is held in a nearby building.

If you choose one of these wedding venues you'll need to ask a few questions to make sure that you are making the right decision. Find out how long it has been in business, how often they handle marriage ceremonies and receptions, and how much space is available for your guests. Also, make sure that the heating and air conditioning systems are working properly so that all of your guests will be comfortable.

When couples get engaged, they are usually married between six and 12 months later. While that seems like it would be ample time to choose among different wedding venues that are available, you'll be surprised at how much life can actually get in the way. Make sure you carve out the time to visit each location you're considering with your fiance to make sure both of you will be happy.

Closely look over any sort of contract that you receive to ensure all of the services you want will be included. If any family members are helping to pay for the ceremony and reception, make sure they are involved in your decision-making process. Take some relatively simple steps and you'll be on your way to a truly memorable occasion that you'll cherish for years.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Planning a One-Day Art Gallery Event

Most artists hang their art in galleries for a period of time. However, there may be a time that you need to plan a gallery for one day only. You may compare this type of exhibition to setting up and tearing down for an arts & craft show, but you may want it to be in high-end, professional venue, such as an arts council or organization. Because a one-day gallery is unusual, it's important to plan extensively for effective execution of your event.

1. Think about the theme of your collection- Why do you want to have a gallery? What is your motivation or inspiration behind it? What will the theme of your gallery be? And why have it for one day? Examples of one-day galleries could be to raise money for charity, take part in an organizations art event, or simply to gain some experience.

2. Contact a venue- decide where you want to hold your gallery and what kind of venue you're seeking. Think about your market, or demographic, when choosing a venue. If your art is very modern and abstract, a college campus may be an option. If your art is more realistic- landscapes, portraits, still life- a traditional art gallery may be an option. Think about the type of people who typically go to the venue, then think about what type of people your art attracts.

3. Book the venue- Often times, venues fill up months in advance. Think about what date you would like to hold your gallery. Visit the space you're looking at displaying your work, take measurements, look at what type of hanging devices the venue utilizes, draw a diagram and ask questions.

4. Develop a timeline and stick to it- Take a look at your calendar and develop deadlines. Space out your deadlines so you're not completely overwhelmed. Have a visual schedule will help you manage your time while in the planning process.

5. Market- Depending on when your one-day gallery will be, you can market right away, or closer to the event. You want to market far enough in advance that it gives people time to schedule around your event, but not so far from the event that people forget.

6. Plan- Numbers 4 and 5 can go hand-in-hand. It's important to plan preliminary details of the event so that you can effectively market it, but there is much more to planning a one-day gallery than just that. Remember those diagrams in number 3? Take a look at them. Figure out how many pieces you will need to have in order to fill the space you booked. Are you going to have a reception table with a guest book, coffee/wine, handouts, etc? Other items to think about are:

• Hardware on the back of your frames
• Labels for your pieces and pricing information
• Invitation list
• "About the Artist" write-up
• Having a guestbook

7. Work on your Collection- While there are tons of nuts and bolts to plan related to finances, business and marketing, don't forget to work on your collection, because this is the most important part of the event.

8. Contact PR Avenues- Since it's a one-day event, you probably want a decent turnout. It's up to you to make that happen. Send out a press release to local newspapers, radio stations and magazines. Writing a press release can be daunting, so do some research and look for templates to help you along if you're not used to writing.

9. Create a Checklist- Write down everything you need to take with you the day of the event, down to the smallest detail like pens, notepads and glue dots. Don't leave anything out. Use the checklist when you pack the night before the event.

10. Dress the Part- Plan to look like you've got your act together, even if you don't. Having a one-day gallery event can be stressful and frustrating, but rewarding. It's like being in a wedding- many things can go wrong, but as long as the bride, groom and officiant are there, everything else can go by the wayside. While you want everything to go off without a hitch, as long as you and your art are there and look presentable, that is what is important.

11. Reap the Benefits- After all your hard work, it's time to stand back, socialize and look at your awesomely professional one-day gallery. People will be amazed that you pulled it all together in one day when it looks as though it should be hanging for weeks.

Don't forget to take pictures of your gallery for your Facebook page and website. It's important to document your events.

Choosing Art To Decorate Your Home With

When you go about decorating your house, you'll have many different things to consider. It can be hard to add enough accessories to fill up your walls and surfaces to make them seem less desolate. Once option is to buy art to hang on your walls. The right painting would be a tasteful addition to your wall, giving you artistic value as well as decorative value. Most people don't know the first thing about buying art. If that is true of you as well, then read on as I go over some basics of purchasing art.

Some people have certain "favorite" artistic works that they have always admired or enjoyed. In this situation, it would be a good idea to look for a replica. You can get an exact photocopy of the original, or you can even find a hand-painted copy with the personal touch of another artist. As long as you know the title of the painting, you can search online at auction sites, or for art dealers who have copies that you can buy. Buying art on the internet is relatively cheap, as long as you don't have them ship a frame. A frame increases postage greatly.

If you buy copies of famous art, you are supporting businesses that do nothing but copy art. For many people, this is unacceptable. If you'd like to support some real artists, you should purchase original paintings. You can go to art shows, galleries, festivals, or many other places to find paintings. There are many festivals that invite hundreds of amateur artists who show off their paintings that are for sale. You shouldn't attend with your mind set on getting a painting. Instead, you should walk around at your own leisure and enjoy all of the art. If you see something that really strikes you and is within your price range, then buy it. But don't be afraid to go home empty-handed.

Buying art is fairly easy to do, and once you get started you may find that it is hard to quit. When you hang a beautiful painting on your wall, it adds so much to the room. It gives your house a whole new level of aesthetic value. So even if you've never been interested in art before, you should start to look at some of the options that are available to you. Attend art festivals, talk to painters, and visit galleries. You'll find that along with the items you purchase, you're also getting involved in a vibrant and interesting lifestyle with lots of cool people!