2014 SHEEP & WOOL FESTIVAL

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For several years now, my significant other and I have been attending the Sheep and Wool Festival every May at the Howard County Fairgrounds in suburban Maryland. This may seem like a far cry from the musicians, tattoos, guitars and other fringe gatherings that I usually train my camera on, but believe me, it is as visually absorbing and culturally stimulating as any other event I attend. This time out, I tried to focus on doing a bit of lamb and ram portraiture, as well as the usual carnival parade.
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The irrepressible Lynn Zwerling, founder and driving force for “Knitting Behind Bars”. photo ablogsheep4.jpg
“What’s that smell?” photo ablogsheep5.jpg photo ablogsheep2.jpg photo ablogsheep9.jpg photo ablogsheep8.jpg
Fun for all ages! photo ablogsheep3.jpg

THE ART OF CONDUCTING

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Yesterday, I spent the evening freely sharing my time at a rehearsal for the Anne Arundel Community College Symphony Orchestra, with guest soloists Frank Vignola & Vinny Raniolo. The Orchestra was put through its paces under the able guidance of Dr. Anna Binneweg, who has distinguished herself in the areas of symphonic and operatic conducting early in her career. She is the Music Director/Conductor of the Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) Symphony Orchestra (Arnold, MD) where she also serves as Associate Professor of Music, and is the Music Director/Conductor of the Londontowne Symphony Orchestra (Annapolis, MD). Like all accomplished conductors,the beautiful & talented Dr. Binneweg communicates with her Orchestra in a variety of ways, both subtle and dramatic as well as entertaining. Here is a brief photo essay of an evening with the leader of the Anne Arundel Community College Symphony Orchestra. Tomorrow night’s concert should be a smash!
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THE GREAT GUITARS

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There are a lot of great guitarists plying their trade as 6 string gunslingers these days, in every musical genre from rock to pop, classical to folk, from metal to jazz. A world of talent to choose from, and enough diversity to cover the globe and reach out to the heavens! Back in the time before ipods and cell phones, when vinyl ruled the world, three supremely gifted guitarists recorded and toured the world as good-will ambassadors of sound, calling themselves “The Great Guitars”. Charlie Byrd, Barney Kessel and Herb Ellis. ……and truly great they were, as anyone who ever saw of knew them can attest! ( myself included) Alas, these giants are no longer with us. Today, we have a new generation assuming the roles, and (deservedly so) the title of “The Great Guitars”. Peppino D’Agostino, Vinny Raniolo, Martin Taylor and Frank Vignola. These four monsters of the guitar tradition have filled the very large shoes of their mentors and inspirations and filled them with grace and a musical verve equal to the originals. They proved their mettle at a recent concert sponsored by the Levine School of Music held at The Church of the Epiphany in Washington, D.C. on a warm spring evening and set the stage on fire with fretwork that stunned the ears and eyes, from the sublime to the incendiary.
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Martin & Peppino
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Vinny, Frank, Martin & Peppino
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Tearing it up with Vinny & Frank
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Martin, how do you do that?
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Peppino D’Agostino
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The Great Guitars
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The very gifted, Martin Taylor

ANTIQUED

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On our recent visit in a southerly direction, through Winchester, Harrisonburg and Staunton, Virginia, we happened upon various reminders of these town’s genteel and charming pasts. While the usual strip malls, big box stores and detestable chain eateries were very much in evidence, churning out their oh, so regimented and reliably bland totems to mass consumerism, we also encountered the quaint and polite charm of a by-gone era, along with the reminders of the individual American spirit that is so often overlooked today. photo ablogold9.jpg
The Scales of Justice, Harrisonburg, VA. photo ablogold7.jpg
The DIXIE Theater, Staunton, VA. photo ablogold1.jpg
Home after a hard day’s work, Winchester, VA. photo ablogold5.jpg
George’s, Harrisonburg, VA. photo ablogold2.jpg
Cleaning up in Winchester, VA. photo ablogold3.jpg
The skies the limit in Staunton, VA. photo ablogold4.jpg
When a car dealership really meant something, in Harrisonburg, VA. photo ablogold6.jpg
Now this is a home worth coming home to!

THINKING OF YOU

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On a recent roadtrip to Staunton, VA., we came across yet another tranquil oasis and resting place of the departed on the outskirts of town. Here are but a few of the interesting bits of funerary art that helped fuel my creative mind that day. photo abloggraves2.jpg photo abloggrave8.jpg photo abloggrave6.jpg
They do love and respect their dogs down here in Virginia- photo abloggrave4.jpg photo abloggrave7.jpg
A more apt name was never seen photo abloggrave3.jpg
Crossing Over photo abloggrave1.jpg
Remember the Maine! Don’t see many of these photo abloggrave5.jpg
Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door

THE DINER ART of MICHAEL G. STEWART

Although it seems that I am primarily a photographer, back in the day I was first and foremost an artist. My hands were permanently stained with India ink, and my second finger had a divot that took two years to regain its normal shape. While searching through some old files, I came across these examples of my old craft, and now, with renewed vigor, I hope to once again create images in pencil and pen. Enjoy! photo afbIMG_1743.jpg
The Short Stop Diner, in Wheaton, MD. Long gone, the building awaits yet another owner photo afbDSCF1704.jpg
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The Silver Spring Tastee Diner, 1985 photo afbIMG_1739.jpg
Christmas Card with The Summit Diner, Somerset, PA.

THE HIGHTSTOWN DINER EXPERIENCE

On our way to cover the NEA JazzMasters in NYC every year, the intrepid Miss Julie and I always make a point to stop along the way, take a break from the New Jersey Turnpike, and have an invigorating breakfast at the Hightstown Diner. It may not be the original, classic structure, pictured on so many vintage postcards, but it is friendly, charmingly local, the coffee is good, and the experience is what we all go to diners for! Just off exit 8, the sad and long abandoned Mom’s sits in the shadow of the new exit overpass, the reminder of tasty pancakes from my youthful trips to Maine, but an extra 5 minutes into town still yields the goods of small town eats in a wasteland of fast food franchises. Check it out, it’s a great treat! photo ablogdiner2.jpg
Long closed, Mom’s! the name said it all! photo adinerblogIMG_7005.jpg photo ablogdiner3.jpg
You gotta love the art at Mom’s photo ablogdiner8.jpg
Even though the new “Enviornmental” style facade can’t really compete with the original, it still has certain charms photo ablogdiner5.jpg
A great breakfast and never-ending coffee,with plenty of bacon  photo ablogdiner6.jpg
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We only stop here once a year, and run into this fun & friendly father and son every time! What are the chances? Dad, checking out the chicken sandwich on a diner’s plate- “Somethings wrong with that chicken!” Son “What?” Dad- “It’s DEAD!” Same joke every year, too funny.