It is so simply done. Actors sitting side by side sharing an earthly soul-to-soul saga.~Daily Freeman

Winding Down

As we wind down our 2012 visit to Ashland, Oregon, we are once again struck by the notion of Gateways (see Post #3) and the relative swiftness of the passage of time. The anticipation and planning that went into this two-week journey has been eclipsed by the speed with which the actual two weeks have passed. Time is certainly relative, right? How long is a three hour matinee of a play that really excites and moves you? (We are talking about the OSF production of All The Way.) Or how long is a one mile hike UPHILL to the reservoir on a day that the temps are predicted to reach 104? Or how long is the hike back down? How long is a toothache compared to a couple of hours of chatting with a good friend or playing with the cousins and/or granddaughters? How long is two weeks? Depends.

Here’s the activity run-down since our last post:

Thursday, August 9 – evening performance of The Very Merry Wives of Windsor, Iowa. An interesting adaptation of The Merry Wives of Windsor, set in Iowa and complete with gay marriage and Mitt Romney.

Friday, August 10: Some of us took the day and went to Crater Lake. (Photos to follow as soon as we can get them from Michael’s flashdrive.) Some of us stayed back in Ashland and attended the matinee of All The Way, probably the very best thing that we have seen at OSF this summer. A wonderful production of a new play by Robert Schenkkan. From the OSF description: “Right out of Shakespeare’s playbook – 1963. An assassin’s bullet catapults Lyndon Baines Johnson into the presidency. A Shakespearean figure of towering ambition and appetite, the charismatic, conflicted Texan hurls himself into Civil Rights legislation, throwing the country into turmoil. Alternately bullying and beguiling, he enacts major social programs, faces down opponents and wins the 1964 election in a landslide. But in faraway Vietnam, a troublesome conflict looms. In the Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright’s vivid dramatization of LBJ’s first year in office, means versus ends plays out on a broad stage canvas as politicians and civil rights leaders plot strategy and wage war.” We loved everything about it.

Evening saw us in different places. Some still on the road back from Crater Lake and later at Zoey’s Cafe for ice cream. Some had dinner at DragonFly and then a movie. Some worked at OSF and some saw MMC for the second time – just to make sure that he saw all of the complexities.

Saturday, August 11 – A no theatre day – except for the boys (Noah and Josh) both of whom had to work. We climbed to the reservoir and got (some of) our feet wet in the cold waters there. Another great family dinner. Ice cream at Zoey’s. Drinks with my friend of many years, Michael Maag and the a short chat with Josh on the back deck. (He had stopped by our home-away-from-home on his way home from running an evening performance of Party People. That’s one of the pleasures of this trip – our place is right in town and people just drop by all the time.)

Today is our last day in Ashland and we are spending it in the theatres and with family. And then tomorrow morning (at some horrible hour) we will get on a plane, pass through another set of gateways, and find ourselves back in New York. But for today – there is still more time here in Ashland. We don’t plan to waste it.

OSF’s production of All The Way. Photo by Jenny Graham.

Posted in All The Way, Ashland, Crater Lake, General, OSF, Reservoir Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Chocolate, wine, and blue cheese

We are rounding the bend. (Just like in the Olympics.)

Tuesday, August 7 – some spent the hot Oregon afternoon swimming at the reservoir in Lithia Park while others spent it in shops on Main Street in Ashland. For some, Tuesday night was spent in the outdoor Elizabethan Theatre, seeing OSF’s production of As You Like It under the stars while others had a wonderful dinner with Michael Maag and Gwen Turos. (As you will remember, Michael is the Lighting Department Manager and Gwen is a Stage Manager extraordinaire here at OSF.) The report on As You Like It (from those who attended) was that it was good. “Beautiful night.” The report on the dinner with Michael and Gwen? “Beautiful night.”

Wednesday, August 8 – morning coffee in town, trip to the Rogue Valley Creamery to buy blue cheese, the chocolate shop to buy (wait for it) chocolate, and then to the Weisinger Winery to sit out on the back deck to sip wine and chat. The time at Weisinger’s ended with a lovely performance by a local wind quartet. Very nice. Dinner at Past Piatti and then more hanging out.

Storing up energy for tomorrow which will feature a theatre double-header for the Chervs (MMC matinee and The Very Merry Wives of Windsor, Iowa in the evening). Bob and Chris are also headed for the evening’s performance in the outdoor Elizabethan Theatre.

Trip is winding down, but there are still plays to see,  dinners to be had, and hanging out to be done. More to come. Stay tuned.

Will try to post recent photos from the past several days.

Posted in Ashland, Family, General, OSF, Rogue Valley Creamery, Weisinger's Winery Tagged with: , , , , , ,

As You Like It or Yogurt 5-Ways

Welcome to Week #2.

We have been having so much fun (and the internet service so poor) that we have been neglecting our blog postings. Although in certain Ashland circles, our blog has taken on critical acclaim of epic proportions, we remain cautious and (somewhat) selective in our photographic choices. Certain members of the team are now taking photos on their own in the hope of achieving Blog Status. We will post them for your viewing as soon as we have access to them. In the meantime…

Friday, August 3 – no theatre. Serious family hanging out time.

Saturday, August 4 – no theatre. Shopping. Hanging out with the kids. Fabulous fish tacos by the incredible Chef Jacqui. And we are joined late in the evening by the Ohio delegation, our niece Sandi Chervenak and her family. (More of the Chervenaks in photos and later posts.)

Sunday, August 5 – we are joined by Bob’s niece, Andrea Swift. She drove down from her home in Bend to see what we were up to and to join our visit to the Yogurt Hut. Ah, the Yogurt Hut. One of those fix-it-the-way-you-want-it and then pay-by-the-pound places. More toppings than a haberdashery and a variety of frozen yogurt flavors. And a second floor with sofas and air-hockey. Wow. Finale of the day was a big family photo on the steps of Carpenter Hall on the bricks at OSF.

Monday, August 6 – dark day in the theatre. (Dark day meaning no shows and therefore a day off for our OSF family). A grand backstage tour for the group, conducted by SoundGuy and LightingGuy. (pictures to appear in a future post.) And sadly, Liz returns to New York in the early morning hours and Andrea departs for Bend in the evening.

Tuesday, August 7 – on today’s docket – chocolate, wine tastings, blue cheese, and As You Like It on the outdoor stage for the Chevenaks.

Hope we can get on the internet long enough to upload this post. Stay tuned. We have rounded the halfway point and are bringing our visit to a close, but there is still much to see and do.

PS: We seem to be having difficulty uploading images to this blog post. Check back later for the latest images!

Posted in Ashland, Family, General, OSF, yogurt Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Catching Our Breath

The entrance to the elizabethan stage / allen pavilion. Ashland, August 1, 2012.

Too much to see and do. Too little time to write a daily post. So, here is the quick run-down of the past two days of family, food, hanging with the lighting and sound guys and some serious theatre-going at OSF. On the theatrical menu for this day? Animal Crackers with the zany Marx Brothers on stage at the Bowmer Theatre.

Green Show Banners, On The Bricks, Ashland, August 1, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Early morning coffee with Chris, Bob and Liz (and for a brief moment our SoundGuy Josh before he had to go to work) at the Starbucks just off the OSF campus. Everybody who is anybody stops there eventually. So, we thought we would too.

Then a walk down Main Street to take some photos for the blog,

And then on to the OSF campus to take more photos for the blog.

And finally, back to the co-op to shop for dinner items. On the menu? Grilled veggies and chicken caesar salad. Thanks to Liz and Jacqui for the grilling and the dinner prep. Dinner guests included Bob, Chris, Liz, Josh (SoundGuy), Jacqui, and eventually Noah (LightingGuy).

The evening’s entertainment was Animal Crackers in the Bowmer Theatre. Oh, those zany Marx Brothers. Funny, fast-paced. And almost totally out-of-control. On the night that we saw the performance there was a special unscheduled on-stage appearance by Henry V (John Tufts) who helped Captain Spaulding (Groucho), The Professor (Harpo), and Ravelli (Chico) present an official St. Crispy Chicken Day chicken to a very surprised audience member. Fortunately we escaped all of the audience participation segments unscathed (and as non-participants.)

Following the performance we met up with SoundGuy (Josh) and LightingGuy (Noah) for a drink at the favorite company watering-hole, Martino’s. Found many of the AC cast members there, watching the Olympics and blowing off steam after the show. Ran into another of our favorite OSF folks, Gwen Turos. Gwen is the Stage Manager for Animal Crackers and has been a friend for many years – pre-OSF, if you can believe it. She is also married to Michael Maag, OSF’s Lighting Manager and another of our great good friends out here.

Good day. Good bye to Wednesday, August 1, 2012.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Another day filled with food, family, and a double-header of theatre.

Breakfast at Dragon-Fly with Josh, Jacqui and Liz. Bob had breakfast with our friend Tony Heald, but they sat at a separate table. Wonder what they were talking about? We can only guess.

Matinee of Party People with our very own SoundGuy Josh running the front-of-house soundboard. Really, really good. Here’s a bit of the OSF description: “… a high-energy mix of theatre, poetry, jazz, blues, hip-hop, boleros and salsa as UNIVERSES digs into the story and legacy of an American revolution. Four decades ago, the Black Panthers and Puerto Rican Young Lords were young activists providing food and health care in their impoverished communities while in a desperate struggle to survive the systematic dismantling of their movements. Now they are 60-somethings untangling a traumatic past and an unclear future. In ensemble, OSF actors and UNIVERSES toggle between then and now in this meticulously researched, compelling work of fiction.” Wow. Just wow. Did we mention that we loved it?

Dinner at Pasta Piatti with Josh, Bob, Chris and Liz. Discussing Party People over red wine and mushroom risotto.

All-too-short visit on the back deck with Noah and his girls (and Buster), and Jacqui.

And then on to the second show of the day. (Ah, Ashland.) On the menu for the evening? The very ambitious Medea, Macbeth, Cinderella. OSF refers to MMC as a “A three-ring tour de force”  Here’s their description: “A jealous wife sends an unthinkable message to her cheating husband. A lord, urged on by his aggressive lady, murders his king. A mistreated stepdaughter engages with magic for love and happiness. Three plays from two millennia of populist theatre—Greek tragedy, Elizabethan drama and American musical comedy. .  separate stories of ambition interweave into one revelatory whole that builds to an unexpected climax.” Another opportunity to see our SoundGuy in action, mixing all of those actors as they play out the three separate stories, playing out simultaneously. Yikes! Good job Josh. A visually stunning production as well. Beautiful to just sit back and watch.

SoundGuy at the MMC board. Totally rogue photo, taken by sister Liz, at the back of the Bowmer Theatre, without the knowledge of the usher, on August 2, 2012.

Back to our little home away from home. Late. Tired, but happy to be here.

Tomorrow? No scheduled theatre. Time with the family. Lunch with old friends. Aware of how quickly the time is passing. Stay tuned.

Posted in Animal Crackers, Ashland, Family, General, MMC, OSF, Party People Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, Henry V and a Band of Brothers

Michael Maag, OSF Lighting Department Manager, and Noah Beauregard, OSF Master Electrician, on tech set for OSF’s production of Henry V in the outdoor Elizabethan Theatre. Photo by Jenny Graham.

From this day to the ending of the world …
We in it shall be remembered,
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother…
Henry V, William Shakespeare

Suddenly it has become Tuesday. How did that happen? Did you ever notice how much faster time goes by on a vacation? At the beginning of your time away from reality, your adventure seems to sweep out in front of you with dazzling possibilities. You will most certainly have time to meet up with so many friends, so many times, and do so many things because you have all the time in the world, right? Maybe not. So, it is good that this blog at least allows us to chronicle our comings-and-goings and at the end of our time here, maybe we will be able to say “Oh, that’s how we spent all of that time that seemed to have slipped away.”

Liz enjoying a beautiful morning – checking her email in the gorgeous cool morning air out here in Ashland – on the back deck of our little abode.

Tuesday morning – spent just hanging out, writing a blog entry of our weekend adventures, and eating a delicious breakfast out on the back deck. Eggs and turkey bacon, lovingly prepared by Mr. Bob (or Groovy to those who know him best.) And then – on with the day.

Noon and it is an OSF Park Talk, featuring our very good friend Michael Maag (who is OSF’s Lighting Department Manager) and our son Noah Beauregard (who is OSF’s Master Electrician). Sitting outside in the beautiful Bill Patton Garden, we heard all about LEDs, intelligent lights, and the future of theatrical lighting. Some good questions from the audience, but there is always that person who just has to ask “what was your worst lighting disaster?”

Michael Maag and Noah Beauregard, Park Talk, July 31, 2012.

Following the Park Talk, we hung out with Michael and Noah having lunch at the Standing Stone Restaurant. Great lunch, good conversation,  but the best part was Michael bringing along that sample LED-thingy which he had used during the Park Talk.

It made a stunning table arrangement and Michael had several offers to purchase it.

Michael Maag, Standing Stone Restaurant, Ashland, July 31, 2012.

Afternoon spent window shopping (Chris & Liz), napping (Bob), and working (Noah, Josh & Jacqui).

LED table decor, courtesy of Michael Maag. Standing Stone, Ashland Oregon. July 31, 2012.

Noah and Groovy Bob at lunch, Standing Stone, July 31, 2012.

Late afternoon spent hanging out on the back deck with a little wine and cheese, followed by sandwiches from the new deli in town. Best part of dinner? We were all together – Bob, Chris, Noah, Liz, Josh & Jacqui. Our own little band of brothers and sisters. Much laughter. Nothing better. Nothing at all.

Tuesday evening, our first taste of OSF 2012. Up to bat: Henry V on the outdoor stage of the Elizabethan Theatre.

Beautiful evening. Gorgeous breeze.

Sitting in the balcony (on an aisle seat – thank you, Noah) and watching the sun set behind the stark, stunning OSF production of this inspiring play.

Having read the play several times but never actually seen it performed, I am happy to say that this is a really good production. Well-directed. Well-acted. Moves right along, no muss, no fuss, just the plot ma’am.

OSF’s production of Henry V, Ashland, July 31, 2012.

And THE speech was beautiful, absolutely well-done. Take-your-breath-away good and very different from any other delivery of that speech I have ever heard. Well-done you few, you happy few, you band of brothers. What a great start to the theatre portion of this summer trip to Ashland.

John Tufts as Henry V, OSF, Ashland, July 31, 2012. Photo by Jenny Graham.

And so ends our Tuesday. Now it’s on to Wednesday, another lazy blogging morning, lunch with Noah, dinner adds in  Josh & Jacqui (hopefully), and then ending with the Marx Brothers and Animal Crackers.

But that’s tomorrow’s entry.

Until then, we will just enjoy our own little band of brothers (and sisters).

Wednesday’s adventures will include Animal Crackers.

Posted in Ashland, Family, General, Henry V, OSF Tagged with: , , , , ,

Family, friends, and hanging out


Lunch on the deck of Greenleaf Restaurant, July 30, 2012. Table #1: Josh, Jacqui, Liz, Stella, Zoe & Nellie. (Not shown at table #2: Noah, Bob, Chris, Irene Berner and Helen)

The first two days of our visit have been dedicated to some serious hanging out with family and friends.

  • Sunday Brunch on the deck of our little home-away-from-home with Grandma Chris, Grandpa Bob, Jacqui, Noah and the girls.


    Grandpa Bob relaxing on the back deck with the girls on our first Sunday in Ashland. July 2012

  • Sunday Coffee at Starbuck’s with Josh and Jacqui. (Josh had to depart shortly after to run a matinee performance of MMC at OSF. Details on MMC will follow in a later post.)
  • Sunday Dinner on the front porch ofJosh and Jacqui’s apartment, overlooking the beautiful Ashland Springs Hotel and the surrounding mountains. (Dinner, by the way, was Jacqui’s famous fettucini alfredo.) Followed by a round of home-made doughnuts at Noah’s apartment (including Jacqui’s newest doughnut creation – the Groovy Bob – a sugar doughnut filled with home-made lemon curd. Please note: this is a comment on how much Bob loves lemon curd, NOT a comment on Bob’s personality! And BTW – Jacqui says “thanks” to Auntie Nan for all of her help with the lemon curd recipe.)


    The view from the porch of Josh and Jacqui’s apartment. Ashland, July 2012.

  • A late night airport pick-up, involving Chris & Josh (the picker-uppers), Liz (the pick-upee), and a Special Hand-Made Greeting Sign (made by anonymous).


    At the Medford Airport, Grandma Chris and Uncle Josh, picking up Show Biz Liz. July, 2012.

  • Monday lunch on the deck at Greenleaf Restaurant, following a  back-stage tour of OSF, personalized especially for a friend visiting Ashland from – what for it – New Paltz. It was good to see Irene Berner and spend a little bit of time with her out here on the Left Coast (as she calls it).
  • And finally, a wonderful Monday Family & Friends Dinner at the home of our long-time friends Tony and Robin Heald. (Tony has been a friend for many years and has also been an actor with OSF for years as well as NYC, films, tv, etc. and Robin’s pre-school has been a sweet home for two of our three granddaughters.) Everyone was there. Tony and Robin and their children, Zoe and Dylan. And all of our brood, Noah and his girls, Josh and Jacqui, and our daughter, the famous Show Biz Liz.

So, that’s just the first couple of days. Tuesday we start adding in the serious business of theatre-going with an evening performance of Henry V in the outdoor Elizabethan Theatre. But more of that anon.

Until the next post, we leave you with a few more photos from these first few days.

Thanks for joining us.

Grandma Chris and Grandpa Bob and all of the good folks at MMSC!


Jacqui at Starbucks, Sunday, July 29, 2012


Josh at Starbuck’s, Sunday, July 29, 2012


Lunch at Greenleaf, Monday, July 30, 2012. Liz and Bob.


Noah and the girls (Stella, Zoe and Nellie), Ashland, July 29, 2012.

Posted in Ashland, Family, General Tagged with: , , ,


So, there we were. Finally, it was Saturday, July 28, Departure Day,  and we were finally heading out. The substance of our lives for the next two weeks packed into two small suitcases. Much thinking about “do I really need this?” comes into play when facing the restricted space of a suitcase. But I digress.

I found myself thinking about gateways.

  • Do gateways lead us out of a place or do they lead us in?
  • Do we find ourselves walking away from something familiar with a sense  of loss or toward something else with a sense of wonder and anticipation?
  • And interestingly, how many gateways do we encounter in the course of our day and just never stop to think about the process of leaving and entering, going and coming, departing and arriving?

Here are but a few of the many gateways that Bob and I encountered as we made our way from New Paltz, New York to Ashland, Oregon on July 28, 2012.
Here’s Gateway #1 for us as we departed from our home in New Paltz. This is an example of a Leaving Gateway.

Sad Mia in Gateway (New Paltz, NY 2012)

This is our Rhodesian Ridegback, Mia, sitting on the “being left” side of this particular gateway.

She was highly suspicious of those creepy suitcase things.

Little does she know however that she will be spending the next two weeks with her very good friend, Craig Chapman. Craig is not only house-sitting, but plans to take Mia on her very first New Paltz Kayaking Tours adventures!
Bye, bye Mia. We will miss you.

We started out, bright and early, at 7 am (EDT). Our good friend, and fabulous driver, Don Wildy took us all the way down to JFK. (Wait a minute. Isn’t “all the way” supposed to be LBJ, not JFK? Never mind.) We breezed through ticketing and security and walked through many a gateway on our way to find our Gateway to Minneapolis.

Gateway to Minneapolis.

Oh, yes. The pathway from New Paltz to Ashland is not particularly straight: New Paltz – JFK – Minneapolis – Portland – Medford – Ashland. So, this is only one of many stops and gateways.

One of the last Gateways of the Trip – our Gateway to Medford, Oregon. Almost There.

Only one more leg of today’s trip once we land in Medford.

A quick car ride from the airport at Medford to the wilds of downtown (???) Ashland and our little home-away-from-home on B Street.

And beyond that final Gateway of the day was this happy little scene. Our reunion with our granddaughters, Stella, Zoe & Nellie. We haven’t seen them since the summer of 2010, so this was a happy reunion indeed. This is an example of an Arriving Gateway.

Grandma Chris, Grandpa Bob & the girls (Nellie, Zoe and Stella) – Ashland, July 28, 2012to Ashlandand the final Gateway of this day’s journey, leading to what lies beyond the Gateways of July 28, 2012.

Stay tuned. Tomorrow’s adventures will include: having coffee, hanging out and stocking up at the Ashland Food Co-op. The fun is just beginning.

By the way, we heard from our faithful house/dog-sitter Craig that the weather in New Paltz was too stormy for safe kayaking. So, Mia’s plans to become the official mascot for New Paltz Kayaking Tours will have to be put on hold for another day. Saturday’s adventures for Mia included napping and napping and eating and napping.

Maybe Mia should start her own blog and share her adventures.

Christine and Mia at Water Street Market, New Paltz, 2010

Posted in Ashland, Family, Gateways, General Tagged with: , ,

So, where are we headed?

Before we head out, where are we headed?

A Little Bit About Ashland

On Saturday, July 28 MMSC’s co-founders, Robert (Bob) Miller and Christine (Mom) Crawfis,  are heading off to Ashland, Oregon. For those of you who know us, you will understand only too well what draws us to Ashland.

  • Our children (Noah, Joshua and Jacqui. Liz is traveling to Oregon with us.)
  • Our grandchildren (Stella, Zoe and Nellie)
  • Good food.
  • Several independently-owned bookstores.
  • And of course, great theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

But for those of you who may be interested, here’s the Quick Facts portion of the program.

Ashland is located in the foothills of the Siskiyou and Cascade ranges, about 15 miles (24 km) north of the California border on Interstate 5. As of July 1, 2011, the city had a total population of 20,255. It is the home of Southern Oregon University and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Ashland is 350 miles north of San Francisco and 285 miles south of Portland in an area once proposed to become the State of Jefferson. It is 90 miles (140 km) from Crater Lake National Park and Oregon Caves National Monument.

And a little bit about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

One of America’s oldest Elizabethan theatres, the Elizabethan Stage is named for a queen and the glorious age in which Shakespeare wrote. Beneath a canopy of stars, in the comfort of the Allen Pavilion. Seats 1,190.


Ashland is well known for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), which brings thousands of visitors to the city every year. The festival has grown from a small summer outdoor festival in the 1930s to a full season which stretches from February to late October, incorporating Shakespeare and non-Shakespearean plays in rotating repertory at three theaters.

  1. The Elizabethan Stage
  2. The Bowmer Theater
  3. The New Theater

OSF sells more tickets to more performances of more plays than any other theater in the country. In a typical year, OSF sells more than 350,000 tickets and attracts over 100,000 tourists.

This summer our plans include OSF performances of Animal Crackers, Medea – Macbeth – Cinderella, Party People, All The Way and The Very Merry Wives of Windsor, Iowa. Details to follow.

So, that’s the low-down. Now it’s time to figure out how to get two weeks worth of clothing into one small suit case a piece. Don’t really fancy paying that $25 per checked bag thing. It’s been a long time since either of us used a laundromat. Might be time to stock up on quarters, eh? Check back again on Friday to see how the packing turns out!

Thanks for checking in…

Chris and Bob

Posted in Ashland, Family, General, OSF

Heading Out

Today brings a beginning for MMSC’s founders Robert Miller and Christine Crawfis. This is our very first post to our brand-new MMSC blog. You may well be asking, “What took you so long?” And the answer is “We’ve been kinda busy…bringing great Readers Theatre performances to NY’s Hudson Valley.”

We are about to head out for a two week sojourn to Ashland, Oregon…to visit family, see great theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and generally re-charge those

Heading Out!

old creative batteries. So, what better time to start our MMSC blog and record our adventures, reactions and photos, and to share them all with you.

So, pull up a seat and follow us as we head out. Stay tuned.

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