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Moonwalking at the Piccolomini Library, Siena

Photography and text © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

Scruffy tennis shoes tread on crescents more than five centuries old. Half-moons fade under the weight of so many soles. Has no one thought of plexiglass? The 16th century ceramic crescents on which tourists so casually trample represent the emblem of a powerful Sienese family, the Piccolomini.

The Piccolomini Library honors 15th century humanist and scholar, Enea Silvio Piccolomini, also known as Pope Pius II.

The ceiling and walls, with their luscious scarlets and blues, remain vibrant as ever, shockingly, when one discovers that they have neither been cleaned nor retouched.

Bernardino di Betto, more commonly known as Pinturicchio, created the glorious frescoes depicting the life of Pope Pius II. If you walk closely enough, you will observe glittering textures of gold emanating from the robes, collars, and belts of Pinturicchio’s subjects, a window to Renaissance splendor. The sculpture of the Three Graces, its effective juxtaposition of sacred and profane, underscores the secular Humanistic spirit of the age,

Piccolomini or “Piccoli uomini” means “Little Men” and Pinturicchio translates as “the Little Painter.”

Once you enter the library doors and begin your moonwalk, you will instantly forget these misnomers. Greatness abounds.

 

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St. Francis and the Cappuccino

Photography and text © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

Okay, so this photo isn’t a cappuccino. But an espresso macchiato from Badia a Coltibuono, Gaiole In Chianti (where I had the most scrumptious Aubergine Terrine on the planet, but I digress...)

After years of living as a fashionista playboy, St. Francis took a vow of poverty. Of celibacy. Of Abstinence. He even poured ashes on his food so as not to taste its flavor.

But did you know that the Franciscan saint unwittingly influenced the frothy concoction imbibed by so many coffee lovers today?

The Capuchin order of friars emerged in the 16th century as a reformist group devoted to following the original ideals of Saint Francis. The Capuchin hood, or Cappuccino, symbolized this spartan order of hermits.

Legend has it that the coffee derives its name from the rich brown color of their hoods (although some will argue that the foam itself forms a hood-like peak).  

In fact, this year, Capuchin monks in Poland decided to use the famous drink named after their order for the greater good. “Cappuccinos for Africa” raised money for children in Chad and the Central African Republic.

So next time you have a Cappuccino, raise your cup to Saint Francis.

(And please don’t tell him about that delectable eggplant terrine, thanks!)

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Assisi, Night and Day, August 2013 by Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Photography © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez

 Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark





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Greetings from Umbria!

Photography and text © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

Greetings from Umbria! Artists including Cimabue, Giotto, Perugino, Fillipo Lippi, and Piero della Francesca spent time in this verdant oasis. How could they not be inspired? Even the crickets in Umbria are creative types, performing a rigorous daily and nightly symphony. Insomniacs needing a quick fix in the US actually pay to hear this chirping sound on their Sound Soothing machine. 

Leave the sound soothers at home.

The Crickets and everything else in Umbria (the divine Bufala mozzarella, for instance!) are all real. All natural. Alleluia.  


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Cultural Cocktail Hour heads to Umbria


Cultural Cocktail Hour heads this summer to Umbria, which is known as Il cuore verde d’Italia‘, “The Green Heart of Italy.”

Check back in September for photography from Umbria, including the Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi, seen in the photo at the left.

In the meantime, please enjoy this excerpt of a prayer attributed to Saint Francis.

“Make me an instrument of your peace

Where there is hatred, let me sow love

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

Where there is sadness, joy.”

Similarly, Cultural Cocktail Hour believes that the highest goal of art and culture is to

illuminate,

inspire

create joy, and

forge human understanding. 

Wishing my readers a glorious summer!

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Cultural Events LA: June 28, 29, & 30

This weekend’s Cultural Cocktail recipe includes 1 Part Architecture, A Splash of Schubert, and a Blaue Reiter Fusion!

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark

Color, Line and Form: Alexei Jawlensky and the Music of His Time

Fri. June 28

7:00 – 8:00 pm

Dr. Polli Chambers-Salazar, pianist

Norton Simon Museum of Art.411 W. Colorado Boulevard Pasadena, CA 91105 626.449.6840 http://www.nortonsimon.org/

 

A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. 152 North Central Avenue. Los Angeles, CA, 90012

http://www.moca.org

Image ©Gehry Partners, LLP National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) Proposal, West Elevation 2012

Capitol Ensemble

Sun June 30. 6 pm

Schubert: Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667, Trout.

Free, no reservations

LACMA. Bing Theater. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90036. 323 857-6000

http://www.lacma.org/

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Cultural Events LA: June 14-16

This weekend’s Cultural Cocktail recipe includes 1 Oz. Jazz and a double dose of Opera! Enjoy!

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark

Billy Childs Quartet

Fri. June 14th –6 pm

Free, no reservations.

BP Grand Entrance. LACMA. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90036. 323 857-6000

http://www.lacma.org/

Los Angeles Dream Orchestra

Sat, June 15 7:00 pm

In celebration of the 200th birthday of Giuseppe Verdi & Richard Wagner, this Award Concert is presented by Bohemians, The Opera Association of Los Angeles, and The Dream Orchestra

La Forza del Destino Overture/Tannhauser Overture/Clarinet Concertino/ La Donna e Mobile/ O Mio Babbino Caro/ Toreador/ Au Fond du Temple Saint

Immanuel Church. 3300 Wilshire Blvd. LA, CA 90010

For information on tickets/Donation – 323. 636. 2788.

www.ladreamorchestra.com

Free Community Opera Recital at Santa Monica Library

Sat June 15 3:00-4:00

Reservations Not Required

Highlights from LA Opera’s 2013/14 season, featuring soprano Lori Ann Fuller, tenor Ashley Faatoalia, and pianist Paul Floyd.

601 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica, California 90401

For more information, see:

http://www.laopera.com/calendar/Free-Recital/

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Young Verdi: Altar Boy

Verdi

By Leticia Marie Sanchez

      Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark

In honor of the 200th birthday of Italian Composer Giuseppe Verdi, Cultural Cocktail Hour will be sharing anecdotes about the life of this illustrious maestro.

In his Book of Musical Anecdotes, Norman Lebrecht relates a revealing incident from Verdi’s childhood.

The seven-year-old Verdi, born into a modest family, once served as an altar boy at the church of Le Rencole. During Fête Day, the young boy heard the organ for the first time. Transported by the emanating musical harmonies, the child did not hear the priest’s request for water. Three times did the priest make his demand, to no avail. Enraged at the child with his head in the clouds, the priest struck a severe blow, pushing young Verdi down the three altar stairs, knocking him into unconsciousness.

When the child thankfully awoke from his ordeal, what was the first thing for which he asked his parents? A painkiller? A glass of water? A restraining order on the belligerent priest?

No.

Young Verdi asked for music lessons.

—–

To learn how an older Verdi handled a brazen opera-goer, please read:

http://culturalcocktailhour.com/verdi-a-bold-request/1117/

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Cultural Events June 8th and 9th

This weekend’s Cultural Cocktail recipe includes a Splash of the Renaissance and a Dash of the heart-breaking Tosca!

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark

Gardens of the Renaissance

An Illuminated Manuscript Exhibition

Getty Center.1200 Getty Center Drive. LA, CA. 90049. (310) 440-7300

http://www.getty.edu/

 

LA Opera presents Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca

Sat. June 8th 7:30 P.M.

135 North Grand Ave. LA, CA 90012 (213) 972-8001

http://www.laopera.com/   Photo: Robert Millard

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LA Cultural Events May 24th, 25th, & 26th

Memorial Day weekend’s Cultural Cocktail recipe includes 1 dose of Doheny, 2 dashes of Balanchine, and a swirl of Medici Jewels. On the Rocks!

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark

Da Camera Society

Horszowski Piano Trio

May 24, 8 pm Doheny Mansion

Shostakovich Trio No. 1 in C, Op. 8; Dvorák’s Piano Trio No. 3 in f, Op. 65; Piano Trio No. 1 in F by Saint-Saëns

8 Chester Place, LA, CA, 90007. 213-477-2929

http://dacamera.org

Balanchine Festival: Red

May 25, 7:30pm

Valley Performing Arts Center. 18111 Nordhoff St. Northridge, CA 91330-8448

May 26, 2pm

Alex Theatre, Glendale. 216 North Brand Blvd. Glendale, CA 91203

http://losangelesballet.org/

Gems of the Medici

Bowers Museum. 2002 N. Main Street. Santa Ana, CA, 92706. 714.567.3600

http://www.bowers.org

 

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