Monday, July 31, 2023

Why the Theater Camp Movie was more than just another opening and another show


When I saw previews for the new movie Theater Camp, I thought it looked interesting since theater played a large role in the lives of each of my children. My son’s love for the stage started at about age six, initially with magic shows and subsequently live theater.  


By third grade, he was the first of my three kids to pursue an interest in acting and thus applied for enrollment to a local theater camp.  Soon this inspired my two daughters and their first cousins to also follow suit.  The love of live theater was entrenched in our family and led to the co-founding of Open Fields in Dover, Mass, a children’s theater program. For over ten years our family was involved in all aspects of a musical theater with this group.


I grew to love the production aspects of a show while my kids shined in the spotlight and my husband did set building behind the scenes. As the kids grew from elementary to high school, my primary volunteerism expanded to the parent support group for Dover Sherborn High School’s Friends of the Performing Arts , the Dover Foundation and then continued with the local Cultural Council. In addition, as a community building activity I helped produce a few musicals with our family synagogue (Fiddler on the Roof in 2015 brought the entire congregation together in celebration of the synagogues 50th anniversary and our Yente created a successful post production  "match").


Those who know me, know I am a connector and am always seeking out ways to do so with those around me.  I detail how I use coffee as a tool to connect with colleagues in my Coffee Connections book and this was well known during my involvement with each show I have been involved with.  Many a production meeting was held at a near-by Starbucks.


When my son Greg was in his first main stage musical of Oliver with the Dover Foundation, I began to more about community theater. There was a sense of comrade and purpose like no other activity I had ever known.  For athletes, this can be similar for a competitive team sport although a theatrical production involves many team players through each phase of a production. A production team works together from show selection and auditions to team selection. Then all players become involved in their areas of expertise including acting, set building, costuming, stage design and house management. 


During Oliver there were potluck dinners every Sunday night before rehearsal. These were great opportunities to build friendships on and off the stage. Although the audience only sees the result of a show, there is so much that goes into a production Everyone works together as a community and if a success strong bonds develop. It is often anti-climactic at the final curtain.


I became a lover of theater after this production, and this became an impetus for helping start Open Fields. This was over 25 years ago, and I have stayed involved in some aspect of theater ever since.  Most recently I volunteer with the Cotuit Center for the Arts and joined the Mashpee Cultural Council.


I learned each aspect on the job as I was assigned to be a producer for the first Open Fields show, The Wizard of Oz in 2001. The first read through of the show was scheduled on September 11, 2001, right after airplanes struck the World Trade Center and Pentagon Buildings.  We paused for an evening but decided it was important to move forward the next night with rehearsals to bring a sense of normalcy to the 60 plus children cast in the show. 


That fall I totally immersed myself into the show and as the Director stated during auditions, learned that each part no matter how large or small was an integral part of a show’s success.  In subsequent years, I have experienced similar experiences in shows I’ve produced. Each show starts with a group of random people who are put together to create a production.  Differences seen at the onset often become commonalities as each person learns to work side by side with each other. 


A show becomes the sum of each person’s parts, and a successful show is the result of a synergy of people working together to build a polished production.  Often there are personality disputes, drama and then cooperation when the end vision becomes real. Although a day before tech night there can be a meltdown and disbelief that the show will be staged often, in the end, the show opens successfully. There is a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment beyond everyone’s dreams. 


Theater Camp was based on a summer theater camp in the Adirondacks and like my story the founder of the camp had a vision to create a safe place for children to be accepted and build community. The movie goes through a hardship which almost jeopardized the mission of the camp and their mainstage end of summer show. 


I won’t give any spoiler alerts but enjoyed the opportunity to reminisce about the roots of my theatrical experience. Although much different that the main antagonists of the movie the key take away is the value of the arts in creating a sense of community. Different energies are needed to keep the original intent together and in the end the individuals again realize the sum of the parts are needed for success.  


Perhaps the lessons learned from these types of experiences can be applied to other aspects of one’s life.  Although we strive for our individualism there are many times when it is more valuable to work as a community to the benefit of all.  


Wendy is a Realtor and freelance writer residing on Cape Cod. She recently published her first book, Coffee Connections: Finding Common Ground Through My Daily Brew.  Wendy enjoys networking and writing to connect her ideas and curiosities with people she meets.   She welcomes your comments. 


Thursday, July 27, 2023

My Brief Journey Back to the World of Barbie

 



Like most women of my age, I saw the new Barbie Movie this week with intrigue. I grew up in the 60's as one of the first-generation Barbie owners.  I had the basic Barbie, a pink plastic wardrobe and many interchangeable outfits to fill it.  


The fun of Barbie was dressing and underdressing her in many chic outfits. Often, I would crochet miniskirts with my grandmother to expand her wardrobe.  This was a wonderful bonding activity I shared with her as a little girl.


By the time I was a close to preteen years I added a Ken to my collection.  My younger brother Max had a G.I. Joe but I thought Ken would be a more suitable soul mate.  I also had Skipper, Midge, and a dog. 


My Barbies mirrored the social norms of the late 60s with pretend dinners and dress up.  The role of Barbie didn’t go beyond that and was soon outgrown once I entered the real world of boy-girl parties and teen fun. 


As a teen I was exposed to the feminist movement and increased fights for women’s equality. We had real role models who fought and created the vision for our generation of equal status to men.  It is hard to believe that the Ivy league schools did not begin admitting women to their campuses until the late 60s and early 70s. Careers were starting to be defined by skills not stereotyped by gender.


My Barbies were stored in the attic for many years until I became a mom and had two daughters.  The generation of Barbie dolls became much more complex by the time I pulled them out in the late 1990s-2000s. By then there was a different Barbie for each activity and possible career. I often likened it to seeing a general practitioner doctor as a child vs. a specialist for each health care genre.


We would walk into Toys R Us or Kay Bee Toys overwhelmed by the selection and with limited budgets and buy the one that resonated most with activities my girls enjoyed. I wasn’t a big believer in buying a different doll for each activity although these were often received as birthday gifts. The doll did not take a major role in their childhood.   


While being raised in Dover my daughters ended up with the Equestrian Barbie, although they never wanted the Ken dolls or other major accessories.  Barbies appeared in their lives for a miniscule window of time.


My daughters were raised with the understanding that women had equal status in the workforce.  STEM programs were emerging and college admissions to top schools were a close tie for both genders. It wasn’t beyond imagination that women could become professionals and leaders in the workforce.  The women’s role was not defined by her body or domestic family roles. 


Fast forward to 2023 with the release of the new Barbie movie. Women’s rights have been turned back.  The right to choose is not legal in many states. The Supreme Court recently ended Affirmative Action. Many of the freedoms we celebrated at the birth of Barbie are being taken away from us with each Supreme Court session.  


Before seeing the movie, I saw an interesting interview with the Director, Andrea Blaugrund Nevins of a documentary Tiny Shoulders, Rethinking Barbie about the evolution of Barbie and Mattel. She suggested watching her documentary before seeing the movie.  Ruth Handler, Barbies inventor created Barbie to empower young girls to visualize identities beyond being just nurturers to others.  


I went to the movie last night with a group of friends.  We each wore pink to relive a “Barbie” moment.  Many of the women are part of an amazing group called Cape Cod Females over 50.  A year ago there were under 600 members and now there are close to 7000. Members come from across Massachusetts as well as the rest of the states.

When I saw the scene in the movie with Barbies everywhere I thought about the importance of female friendships. We are able to meet for coffee and social activities where we learn from each other and gain a wider appreciation for different perspectives due to the variety of our backgrounds.  Uniquely we embrace each opportunity to meet as an expansion of ourselves by sharing life experiences and commonality without judgement or predefined images.  We joke that we have our Cape Cod Barbie World.  


I enjoyed seeing Barbie and don’t want to give any spoiler alerts as it was both nostalgic and timely. Perhaps the biggest takeaway I got is the importance of the empowerment of women. Each of us provides a unique value to the world and by combining forces we gain from each others strengths. Perhaps now more than ever our voice is important to ensure the original vision created with the introduction of Barbie over 60 years ago.


Wendy is a Realtor and freelance writer residing on Cape Cod. She recently published her first book, Coffee Connections: Finding Common Ground Through My Daily Brew.  Wendy enjoys networking and writing to connect her ideas and curiosities with people she meets.   She welcomes your comments. 





Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Cape Cod Cape Verdean Museum and Cultural Center Is An Amazing Connection to Our Past




When I wrote my book, Coffee Connections the initial intent was to share a love for coffee and how it became a tool to meet and connect with others.  Since publication, the connection part has taken on a life of its own. I have been on a quest to meet  people and learn about my new home on the Cape. 


In my book,  my approach was to have an introductory meeting with a new contact over an initial cup of coffee. Since moving to the Cape I have expanded the approach to make new connections through social networking groups.  Subsequent to the initial introduction to someone I am interested in getting to know better, I follow up with exchanging contact information to then arrange a coffee meeting.  Over coffee we have the chance to better acquaint and learn about each other ie: what brought each of us to the Cape and why.  Through conversation we soon realize we have more in common than initially expected. Many of us have had similiar journeys or can share interesting stories about our past.


A few weeks back, I read an article in Cape Cod Explore about a new museum opening near me in Falmouth called the Cape Cod Cape Verde Museum and Cultural Center.  At the time I has zero knowledge of Cape Verde but thought this sounded like a venue worth checking out.  I am part of a women’s networking group and created an event there as a field trip.  A group of 12 women joined for the visit last Friday, not knowing what to expect when we arrived at the small building housing the museum in East Falmouth. We anticipated spending an hour at most at the venue and then would follow up with coffee or lunch.


The Museum Founder and Curator Barbara Burgo greeted each of us when we entered the front door.  She was extremely friendly and an incredibly passionate orator.  Once she began to speak, we were spellbound and had a thirst to learn more with each word she shared.  She became aware of her Cape Verdean heritage at a young age and built the museum contents from family artifacts and explorations she has taken over the past several years. Many of the key facts she shared were attributes to the foundation of Cape Cod as we know it. The early explorers on the Cape are tied to both Portuguese and Cape Verdean heritage. 


Until this visit, I didn’t know the history of Cape Verde and the intrarelationship between these cultures.  After two hours at the museum and listening to much history shared by Barbara, we each gained a greater appreciation of the valuable contributions the Cape Verdean ancestors brought to the Cape.  


This visit was the tip of the iceberg and I plan to go back to continue my conversation with Barbara and spend more time looking at the wonderful artifacts she has displayed at the Museum.  Although a small venue it is rich with history.  



Perhaps the greatest lesson I learned that day was the importance of finding new ways to connect with others.  Whether it be over coffee or just listening to other histories we begin to enrich our own lives.  Everyone has an interesting story and by exploring their backgrounds we become more aware of a tapestry intertwined with each of our own lives. I felt enriched after the short visit and now have more to explore.   I hope my readers will add the Cape Cod Cape Verdean Museum and Cultural Center to their bucket list when they visit Cape Cod this summer. 

Wendy is a Realtor and freelance writer residing on Cape Cod. She recently published her first book, Coffee Connections: Finding Common Ground Through My Daily Brew.  Wendy enjoys networking and writing to connect her ideas and curiosities with people she meets.   She welcomes your comments. 


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

It’s Spring, are you ready for a reset too?

 


Last week we turned the clocks ahead. This symbolizes additional daylight and a time to move forward and set new goals. We have all gone through the winter blues.  According to Total Health Magazine, a spring renewal is vital to our overall well-being both physically and mentally.


What steps will you take to re-energize your life and take advantage of the warmer weather?  At the beginning of each season, it is a good idea to take an inventory of what things create positivity in your life. Spring cleaning can be a metaphor for getting rid of the old and finding new inspiration. (Perhaps getting rid of an old pair of shoes and replacing them with a new pair of fun sneakers will motivate you to get outdoors).  



Ask what behaviors make you feel good about yourself?  Have you been hibernating in your warm home? The weather is warming up and covid numbers are going down. Now is the time to create positive energy. It's great to be able to do more outdoors. Go for long walks and enjoy the rebirth of life surrounding us. In nature the leaves are growing, and flowers are blooming.  Become a part of this rebirth.


Be adventurous and find new places to explore.  Ask what you can do to expand your horizons.  Perhaps it's a good idea to find activities to partake in.  Maybe you can try pickle ball or or consider an art class.  If you explore you will find others who share common interests with you.


Renewal requires internal reflection to see how we are growing both emotionally and developmentally. Exercise and walking are important for your physical health. Making new connections and expanding current ones are also vital for our emotional well-being.  Participation in fun activities are a great way to cultivate new friendships with others. It's always a good idea to suggest a quick meet-up before or after the activity for a cup of coffee.  As shared in my book, a coffee connection can go a long way to begin the renewal process.


Wendy is a Realtor and freelance writer residing on Cape Cod. She recently published her first book, Coffee Connections: Finding Common Ground Through My Daily Brew.  Wendy enjoys networking and writing to connect her ideas and curiosities with people she meets.   She welcomes your comments. 



Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Bright Holiday Gift Ideas from a Cape Cod "Washashore"

This time of year can be overwhelming for many.  Are you befuddled about creative gift ideas this holiday season?  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas most of us are consumed with finding the perfect items for family, colleagues and sometimes the good old fashioned Yankee swap.  As a recent “washashore” I have learned that Cape Cod is the perfect place to begin holiday shopping.  

Before you start, however, you should ask a few questions.  Let's face it, how many people on your list need another bottle of wine, a sweater or hand lotion?  Since the pandemic there has been a shift from big box retail shopping to a more creative gifting approach. 


Each village in the Cape has local artists and small boutique type stores.  Love Live Local Cape Cod is an organization that represents small individual businesses and offers a gift guide for those who like online shopping. They also sponsor a holiday fair Saturday, December 3 in Hyannis to introduce consumers to many great local vendors.

Do you need a Gnome for Your Home?  One of a Kind Gnome has custom-designed gnomes for pet owners, newlyweds and other original requests.  These can be ordered on their facebook page. 

If you are a dog lover for $5.00 you can find the 2023 Patriotic Pooches of Cape Cod Calendar at local shops in Sandwich or on their facebook page.  The Sandwich Arts Alliance on 6a features several local artists and author works in their gift shop.  The Plum Porch in Marston Mills offers online live shopping for those who want to buy Cape Cod treats from their laps.

Each weekend between now and Christmas there are festivals and holiday bazaars with plenty of handmade crafts in almost every Cape village from the mainland to the Islands.  Check Cape Cod Xplore for up to date postings of events.

If you are a foodie there are many creative ways to gift from homemade to farm to table meals and desserts. Down the Cape Concierge has put together a great site featuring some great Cape Cod focused foodie gift ideas. 

Perhaps you want to spread a little culture through your gift-giving.  The Cape is home to many cultural and creative arts venues.  How about season tickets to a musical? ArtsCapeCod is a great way to check out upcoming shows and venues. Also did you know the Cape has over 25 museums and most offer season memberships as well as gift shop items for an education themed gift.  Check the Cape Cod Museum Trail for quick inspiration.

Don’t forget to be good to yourself this holiday season. Perhaps you may want to look at these gift ideas and treat yourself to some theater tickets or a museum pass.  Many of the venues offer discounts this month for enjoyment that can be spread throughout the year.  

Lastly,  my book Coffee Connections is an original idea for your coffee lover giftees and pairs well with a coffee shop gift card or mug.  It can be purchased here or for a signed copy ($20 with shipping in the U.S.) email 1bellacose@gmail.com to order directly.

I wish you a wonderful holiday season and welcome any other creative ideas you may want to share in the comments section.  


Wendy is a Realtor and freelance writer residing on Cape Cod. She recently published her first book, Coffee Connections: Finding Common Ground Through My Daily Brew.  Wendy enjoys networking and writing to connect her ideas and curiosities with people she meets.   She welcomes your comments. 

If you like her writing and want to support these efforts, please  CLICK HERE

Sunday, October 23, 2022

There's more to a Book than Its Cover

 


I grew up in a library. Instead of wallpaper, our living room d├ęcor was a wall-to-wall bookshelf. My Dad had each book perfectly lined up and inserted exactly one-half inch from the shelf line. If someone removed a book, it had to be replaced to the exact spot. To be sure, he would double-check with his tape measure. 


It was ingrained in both me and my younger brother Maxwell that books must be treated like a best friend. One should always respect a book and never write inside the book or overforce it's binding. A read book should always look brand new. 


I have followed these rules for most of my adult life and came to appreciate the importance of books as I matured.  I never wrote in a textbook until it became the norm in college and then only when the book was used with some prior writing in its margins. 


To this day I am an avid reader and book.  I can get lost for hours in the rows of books at a bookstore or local library. I agree with my dad that books are like best friends. A good book can entertain or broaden one’s perspectives on life. A good book can transport the reader to new places and ideas. There is nothing like reading a novel until the wee hours of the night because you can’t put it down. A beach read enhances any vacation and a cookbook brings memories of home meals to your sense. After finishing a book, it is great to share the content amongst friends, book clubs, and random people you see holding a copy while waiting in line for coffee at places such as a local Starbucks. 


Perhaps this explains why I was so excited to see a part time position posted at my local library. I think this would be a dream job at this stage of my life and applied immediately. Although I don’t have library science skills, I have grown up amongst books my entire life. As a child I learned to respect and appreciate the physical book. As an adult, good content has been incorporated into everything I do.

Books have been a constant companion in my daily life. I read both for pleasure, education and self-help. I read fiction and non-fiction, eBooks and hard copy. A position at the library would allow me to be amongst the great writers of the world and readers who also share my love of books.  I will share if I am considered for this position.  

Wendy is a Realtor and freelance writer residing on Cape Cod. She recently published her first book, Coffee Connections: Finding Common Ground Through My Daily Brew.  Wendy enjoys networking and writing to connect her ideas and curiosities with people she meets.   She welcomes your comments. 

If you like her writing and want to support these efforts, please  CLICK HERE




Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Life Beyond the Roc

My niece moved to Rochester this past April and suggested I visit  once she settled in.  I planned a trip this past weekend to see her having low expectations of what to expect in this area unknown to me. I have since learned that one should not prejudge, there are many great American cities to explore and Rochester is high on the list. In fact, it was just rated as the top most neighborly city in the US.



Rochester was a very wealthy demographic in the early 1900s to mid-century and considered one of the first Boomtowns with industries including Eastman Kodak, Bausch and Lomb and many large flour mills.  as well as 2 major universities.  There are many great older homes that have been converted into apartments within the original structure.  One of my favorite places to visit was the George Eastman Museum (founder of Eastman Kodak).  He was an amazing inventor, philanthropist and visionary who has impacted each of our lives (how often do you take photos on your phone, these days?). Wandering the streets is a step back in time to the grandeur of the past century. 

As a former industrial city many of the older warehouses and factories have been converted into residential or commercial spaces featuring boutiques and upscale restaurants.   There are beautiful parks throughout the city and a great Public Market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays to buy fresh produce and amazing apple cider doughnuts. If you are a foodie like me, keep exploring as you will be truly find nirvana. A few I examples include NOSH, BRANCA Midtown, and Locals Only (of course the name was a huge draw). The city is constantly being revitalized and amazing restaurants are abound. The cost of living is a fraction of lower New York and many other New England destinations although the quality of life may be much higher.

There is culture, arts, and wonderful places to walk around through the city and one can walk from a beautiful neighborhood to downtown safely with minimal traffic. Many corners boast local coffee shops and honestly I didn’t even seek or find one Starbucks.  I tried a few great roasts at Equal Grounds and Locals Only.  If you have read my book you know I am always on the search for new coffee connections although the venue with that name in Rochester didn't make my go-to list.

Perhaps the greatest discovery is how easy it is to get to Rochester. Direct flights take under two hours; if you have the time, it should be a fairly easy drive from most Northeast bases.  By planning ahead you can find great stops along the journey.  

Once arriving in Rochester, if you fly you may want to rent a car.  You can’t possibly see everything in a short time as there is a  lot to see beyond the city limits.  For instance, if time permits within less than a few hours drive are Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and Wine Country with over 200 small wineries.  Lastly



Toronto and Niagara Falls are perfect for weekend trips.  

I spent three days in Rochester and now know it is a place to return for a longer stay.  As such I am planning to plan a visit next May for the Lilac Festival and will hopefully visit some of the nearby wineries.

Perhaps the greatest thing I learned this past weekend was how many places there are to explore in our own backyards.  It is much easier to fill your car with gas and pick a new place to visit than many other tourist "fly to" destinations.  You may find other great places that truly "ROC" like Rochester and if so I welcome you to share them in the comments section.  

Wendy is a Realtor and Freelance writer residing on Cape Cod. She enjoys networking and writing to connect her ideas and curiosities with people she meets.   She welcomes your comments.  

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Fall Activities on Cape Cod.

I write blogposts for Cape Cod Xplore and wanted to share them on this platform as well for my followers. Below is my latest.

It's fall and there are a lot of great activities for kids of all ages.  Check my post here to learn more.  



Sunday, September 4, 2022

Interview by Matt Robinson from the Writer's Block with Wendy Bornstein, Author of Coffee Connections: Finding Common Ground with My Daily Brew

    


Click here to buy a copy of Coffee Connections Book.

Wendy is a Realtor, freelance writer and first time author. She loves walking her dog, traveling, cooking, theater arts, meeting new people and connecting with family and friends over a cup of coffee.  

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Our Bodies, Our Selves- a delayed book review

When I was a student at Newton South High School, I took a course with Ms. Hansberry, an English teacher who taught an elective course focused on a newly published (1970) book Our Bodies, Our Selves. The book has since been revised several times and most recently has been updated to serve as a comprehensive women’s health care guide. The 70s were a time of sexual revolution for women. We had been granted the right to abortion and choice in 1973.

At the time I took this course as an elective to meet my core graduation requirements with an easy “A”. I admit I wasn’t an all-out feminist at the time and really just wanted the credit. I didn’t need to be because the difficult fights for my freedoms were fought by the brave women a generation or so ahead of me. It was eye-opening to learn about the struggles of women’s rights in context of this course but the right to choose was now a given as I was about to enter the age of potential sexual activity.

Reflecting on the granting decision of Roe vs Wade this was a monumental right of equality that needed to be set. Many of my generation and future generations took this decision for granted as our fundamental right. We expected to be equal in all our freedoms. The "Women's Lib Movement" had done the hard work.

Once a constitution right is given, how can it be taken away? The consequences of this past week's Supreme Court decision to uphold Roe vs. Wade will affect the lives and health of millions. All people should have the fundamental right to make their own health decisions. It astonishes me that a fundamental health right can be rescinded. 

Women should not be forced to live in an alpha-male dystopia like The Hand Maid’s Tale. Women should not be considered vehicles that can be impregnated and forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. I do not think abortion should be used as a method of birth control, however I do think that if a women’s body is violated or she has personal reasons or health concerns she should have the right to choose if she wants to carry a pregnancy. This should be a human right in any civilized society.

It is now up to each of us to stand up and fight for our individual freedoms. I went to my first rally yesterday on the Cape. Our voices must be heard.  Many ask where can we do right now? Here is a link from today's NYT with some immediate guidance


State elections are more important than ever. Organizations like Vote Save America will share important information at the state level. 

Each vote will count on the local level. If you are not registered to vote it is your obligation to vote if you want change. Please click here to register. Every VOTE will count. I now understand the IMPORTANCE of LOCAL ELECTIONS. 

When I read Our Bodies, Our Selves over 50 years ago, I took the course as one of my less serious “electives” to get an easy “A” but honestly can't remember if I did. Although my ultimate grade is not significant, I now realize it was one of the most monumental classes I took before graduating. I now appreciate Ms. Hansberry and her ability to open the eyes of me and my classmates. This book should be on everyone's summer reading list. 

Wendy is a Realtor and Freelance writer residing on Cape Cod. She enjoys networking and writing to connect her ideas and curiosities with people she meets.   She welcomes your comments.