Exquisite New Piece of Gothic Décor at the Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art is proud to have on display the most complete, surviving example of a Gothic table fountain. This particular piece of medieval automation is dateable to between 1320 to 1340. It was likely made in Paris, France and almost certainly created for a person of very high status, perhaps even a member of the royal court.

Such fountains existed in the 14th and 15th centuries in substantial numbers. They assumed various forms but were always made from precious metals and sometimes embellished with colorful enamels or semi-precious stones. Table fountains were probably returned to the goldsmith s shop for conversion into vessels or coinage once they ceased to function or the fashion had passed accounting for the scarcity of surviving examples today.

This exhibition will for the first time present this unique and special object as the focus of a single study. The table fountain will be placed at the center of a group of objects including luxury silver hand washing vessels, illuminated manuscripts and a painting. Each item will inform some aspect of the fountain s history, functionality, and presumed use.

The exhibition will include important loans from international lenders and is co curated by Stephen N Fliegel curator of Medieval art and Elina Gertsman professor of art history at Case Western Reserve University.

This exhibition will close on February 26, 2017.

The Cleveland Zoo: Free Admission Thanksgiving Day

If your family isn’t into football or shopping or if they are and you all need a break check out the Cleveland Zoo. Admission to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Rain Forest is FREE for everyone on Thanksgiving Day! In addition to your Thanksgiving Day feast, head to the Zoo for a fun day with the whole family. Free admission on Thursday, November 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visitors can warm up by the fire in Wolf Wilderness Lodge while watching the Zoo’s pack of wolves, and beat the cold weather with complimentary heated transportation through the Zoo on Thanksgiving and throughout the winter.

The weatherman is calling for warmer temperatures in the Cleveland area with a high of 50 degrees, but is also predicting rain (about a 40% chance).

However you choose to spend your holiday we wish you a happy and safe one!

NOCA Gallery Extravaganza February 1st – May 30th

Visit Cleveland’s charming Little Italy along the Murray Hill historic red brick cobblestone road. NOCA Gallery is sponsoring the event that includes many locally owned galleries, boutiques, art studios shops and restaurants. This is a great family event to get out of the house and explore a historic part of Cleveland…and enjoy some fabulous Italian food.

The new NOCA Gallery, located in the historic Murray Hill School House, features unique jewelry, ceramics, contemporary art and tribal rugs. The NOCA gallery will be feature a show of contemporary abstract paintings by Deb Lawrence.

Prior to her move to the Murray Hill School House, Lawrence was an artist coordinator for the Tower Press Building, growing live/work/loft artist community in downtown Cleveland. She has also written for the Collective Arts Network Journal.

Orchid Mania: Botanical Garden, Cleveland OH

Up until March 7th the Botanical Garden at University Circle in Cleveland will be overrun with Orchids . This show presents Orchids of all shapes and sizes, some artfully arranged, while others are displayed simply.

Orchids comprise almost 11% of all seed plants – with well over twenty thousand currently accepted species in the orchid family it is no surprise. The number of orchid species is almost equal to that of bony fish, is twice the number of birds and four times the number of mammals.

Familiar plants like Vanilla and commonly cultivated plants such as Phalaenopsis and Cattelya are all part of the Orchid family. Over the years, since tropical species went into cultivation, horticulturists have created over one hundred thousand hybrids of the plant.

Many Orchid varieties are analyzed by perfumers to look for desirable scent chemicals in plants. And beyond the very familiar Vanilla, orchids are also used in other food stuffs—the tubers of orchis mascula (early purple orchid) are ground up and used in such things as the hot drink salep and the Turkish frozen desert dondurma. The dried leaves of Jumella fragrans is used to flavor rum on Reunion Island. The potato-ish tubers of some orchids were eaten by Aboriginals in Australia and other varieties have long been a part of traditional Chinese medicine.

The world of orchids is quite fascinating and many of them are on display at the Botanical Garden, so get out and cure your cabin fever.

Jody Victor

A Christmas Story

You know, that one about the kid who wants the Red Ryder BB gun that they play a zillion times each Christmas? Well, what about the story behind A Christmas Story? And what the heck does it have to do with Ohio?

A Christmas Story, directed by Bob Clark, was released a week before Thanksgiving in1983 with no great expectations, but has slowly grown into a Christmas cult classic. In fact, the movie would have never been made had Bob Clark’s 1982 raunchy teen comedy Porky’s not done so well. A Christmas Story’s success, however, is due in equal parts to the plot’s nostalgia (sometimes sickeningly sweet) and dark holiday humor making it feel both real and hyperbole simultaneously. Though set in the late 30’s or early 40’s the film so well captures the tropes of an American Christmas the film continues to age well.

Heavily based on the short fiction of Jean Shepard, many of the famous scenes come from anecdotes in Shepard’s collections In God We Trust, All Others Must Pay Cash and Wanda Hicky’s Night of Golden Memories. Shepard worked with Bob Clark and Leigh Brown to create the screen play. Shepard stars as the films narrator “adult Ralphie”.

After ending scouts to many cities, Bob Clark settled on Cleveland Ohio as the primary shooting location for the film. Clevelanders were so excited about the film many of them donated the use of their antique cars for the film.

Higbee’s Department Store, located in Downtown Cleveland until 1992, was one famous location for three important scenes. The opening scene were Ralphie first sees the BB gun in an elaborate window display of toys. The parade scene was shot outside Higbee’s in Public Square. Finally , the famous “visting Santa” scene inside Higbee’s were Ralphie and his little brother have a misadventure visiting Santa. Highbee’s was known for its elaborate Christmas decorating that catered to children, with a live Santa centerpiece, and actually kept some of the set, including the slide and used them for many years.

The exterior shots and some interior shots of the family’s home were done at a house in Tremont on Cleveland’s West Side. This house has been restored and turned into a museum honoring the film’s cult status and is open regularly for touring. The Chinese Restaurant where the family has duck for Christmas because the neighbor’s hound dogs ruined their turkey also still exists, in a more modern form, not far from the home.

Whether you have or have not seen this now classic film, its worth an annual rewatch cuddled up with the family on a cold night sometime before Christmas.

Jody Victor