Archive for the Life in Belgium Category

Back to the Bubble- Highlights from T&F 2 and 3

Posted in Dragone, Life in Belgium with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2010 by Yarn Over New York

After a 3 month hiatus (summer 2009), all of us Dragone people descended upon Lint and Eurocam (again) to begin (again) our training for the showGiven that it is currently summer 2010, we are all now living in Macau and the show is set to open in September, I will give a speed-through version of the events of Fall 2009 and Winter 2010.

When we first returned to Belgium, the plan was to train until the middle of December and then move to China and begin Creation with the New Year.  Unfortunately, due to delays in building construction, we ended up staying in Belgium until the end of March and not beginning Creation until the middle of June.

When we first arrived, the weather was still warm and even a bit sunny

Soon the wind began to blow and the temperature began to drop

Halloween was a particularly fun occasion in the Bubble.  We had a big party in the catering area.  I helped many of the artists make their costumes (using my normal clothing).  Costumes included: Aerobic Instructor, Hippy, Guy Who Just Finished Taking a Shower, Surfer Party Girl and Jessie K.

Kris G as Hippy

Anna as Jessie K(me)!

Three of these ladies made their own costumes, but the pink one is Cecilia as Surfer Party Girl.

I went as Tigger with a hand-crocheted hat and tail, Magic used his wheelchair and went as R2D2.

We re-christened the Month of November to be “Movember” and almost of all the guys grew out their mustaches.  Apparently, this is an Australian tradition and often used to raise money for testicular cancer.

Mo' betta Mo' boyz Mo'stache

On the last day of Movember, even the girls joined in the fun.

In December, the US Ambassador to Belgium came to visit our studios.  He watched some training and posed for pictures with his entourage and the Americans working for Dragone.

Don't I Look Patriotic?

Snow Snow Snow- Fellow SM Dean and I are very cold in this picture

Getting ready for Christmas with my Sexy Advent Calendar

Also in December we had a big holiday party before everyone went off on their brief holiday vacations.

Santa visited our studio!

Me with Chicken the Acrobat and the 6 Contortionists

We all had 2 weeks vacation for Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s.  I took my holiday in Maryland with my family and NYC with my friends.  After the break (again) we all came back to Belgium (again) and resumed our lives in the Bubble (again).  In January we celebrated our one year anniversary of Training and Formation.

Cesilie in the rubbish bin

(Needless to say, after a year and all living and working in the same building, we may have gone a little bonkers.)

Me and Anna at the Studio

We passed Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and all the other days in between.  And on one special day in March, we celebrated the wedding of one of our acrobats, Martin, and his new wife, Petra.  They got married at a church in Brussels and then we held a small reception in our catering area.

In a traditional Slovakian wedding, the bride breaks a plate and the groom must sweep up all the pieces. The other men at the wedding try to kick the pieces away so that the groom cannot complete his task.

Martin and Petra cut the cake!

Tasty tasty cake

In addition to all of the on-site adventures and plenty of work, I did make several trips abroad during this time period.  I will write about those in another blog entry.

I will leave you with the “before” and “after” shots of our group.

A group shot of the artists on our welcoming first night in Jan 2009

A Group Photo Taken for Our Going Away Party- March 2010

What I Do at Work 6th Edition

Posted in Arts and Crafts, Dragone, Life in Belgium, Painting, Work with tags , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2010 by Yarn Over New York

I am on TV.  I am on TV in Belgium.  Belgian people watch me on TV.  I am even in the trailer (view here).  They show me strapped to a spine board and running up to an ambulance.  This is very surreal.

Our lovely documentary/reality TV channel

I have actually watched the first 44 (of 120) episodes.  I am shown quite a bit.  My favorite episode absolutely has to be the episode where we paint our office.  Other things I do “on the show” are: hand out bathing suits and chamois, tell people to get on a bus, the whole “victim”-for-a-rescue drill-strapped-to-a-spine-board-thing, run up to 2 ambulances, look very serious at meetings and make a schedule.  I episodes not yet released I will go to the Zoo and ride a boat, I will go to chocolate factory and make chocolate, and I probably run up to another ambulance (though they might use stock footage of that since I ran so beautifully the first two times.)

I wrote posts on a few of these events.  See office painting post 1 and post 2, zoo and (of course) spine board.

Here below you can read the Google Translation of the blurb from Exqi’s website.  You can read the original Flemish version here.

“Plus on Monday EXQI “Dragone”

The Monday of EXQI Plus promises much news. It is the start of “Dragone,” the television program at the rehearsals and training for the big water show of Franco Dragone…

..During 2007 and 2008 is Franco Dragone across the globe in search of athletes and gymnasts with whom he has a unique water show would create. The show is meant for the City of Dreams Theatre in Macao, the Las Vegas of China. Because the theater is still under construction in Macao, a location must be found for the rehearsals and training. Franco Dragone’s eye falls on the media site of the Eurocam Media Center and give the command to a ribbon of water studio custom build.

On January 9, 2009 the studio was ready and on January 10, 2009, the team of 80 athletes and their crew, who come from every continent, in Lint on.

On that day also begins the story behind the scenes of the show. The viewer makes the joys and sorrows with a number of artists such as the Polish Klaudyna gymnast, diver informed the Brazilian Sandro, the Tanzanian WABO clown, the Chinese athlete Xu Tao, the passionate Englishman Kirk, etc.

Every day, the athletes at the creation of the show facing new challenges, problems and dangers. The viewer will learn them one better know as a person and simultaneously experience what it’s long without family and friends to live in a foreign country, another culture and a difficult language.

“Dragone” takes you on a fascinating way into the show world and let you look into the hearts of artists and creators.

“Dragone”, from March 1, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 20:00 on EXQI Plus. A compilation follows on Sunday. Get a taste in this trailer.”

EDIT: Here is the opening credit sequence for the TV Show.  I cannot embed the video, so here is the link.

Leaving in less than 2 days

Posted in Getting There, Life in Belgium with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2010 by Yarn Over New York

GOOD-BYE BELGIUM

So indeed, I have 2 sleeps left in Belgium, one day of work and one morning; one presentation and one party, and I still gotta to finish all those last minute tasks one does one one moves across the globe.

I am clearly not going to finish the European Summer Adventure posts.  I will have to pick it up again once I get settled in Macau.

Here are a couple of Belgian pictures to say good-bye.

Sunset from my window

A Sculpture in Antwerp

Next post will be from the other side of the planet.

One Last Night

Posted in European Summer Adventure 2009, Life in Belgium, Travel Europe with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2009 by Yarn Over New York

A few days before we at the City of Dreams Project all went our separate ways, I asked Julian (one of our automation dudes) if he would miss his temporary home here in Belgium.  He responded, “Yes, I will miss it so much that I’m going to burn it down so that no one else can have it.”  Witty, right? Funny, right?  Remember those words.

After our trip to Amsterdam, Marshall, Emily, Mike and I returned to the Bubble for one last night before setting out for good.  Mike and Emily had to fly back to the USA the next day and Marshall and I were heading to Paris to visit our friends and see the Catherine Lara show.

We had a few last minute things to take care of.

I did laundry

I did laundry

Marshall buried his spider plant Jeremiah in the shade for safekeeping

Marshall buried his spider plant Jeremiah in the shade for safekeeping

Then we had a nice little dinner and drinks on the terrace.  This was an event more peaceful and serene than I had experienced in the last six months as we were totally alone in the studio (locked of course) and adjacent apartments.  Only the [subtle] roar of the train to keep us company.

Toasting our final night in the Bubble: Mike, Emily, Marshall and Me

Toasting our final night in the Bubble: Mike, Emily, Marshall and Me

Does it look like my head is disappearing into the sky or what?

Does it look like my head is disappearing into the sky or what?

Okay, celebration and sunset aside, the real meat of the story happened later in the night.  We were chilling in my apartment, packing the newly clean laundry and gathering last minute items, prepping for the immanent international travel.  We had some candles burning to set a mood.

Suddenly. Emily [calmly] says, “Fire.”  I say, “What?”  She says, “Fire!”  Sure enough a paper bag containing the last few slices of bread from our favorite Frenchy has ended up too near one of my vanilla scented votives.  The bag is officially on fire.

Marshall (my hero?) picks up the flaming bag and heads for the window.  I manage to stop him, thinking of the curtains and the world of flammable elements outside in general.  At this point, Marshall’s arm hair catches flame and he drops the fiery paper bag onto the floor and runs shrieking to the loo.

I quickly stomp out the fire but not before some [significant] damage happens to the carpet.  Of course, said damage is conveniently located right in the doorway between the hallway and the living room. We contemplate moving the sofa to cover the damage, but ultimately decide that a sofa wedged into a doorway is slightly less than subtle.

At least no one was [badly] hurt.

Marshall sweeping up the ashes

Marshall sweeping up the ashes

For the record, I emailed the appropriate people to inform them of the accident and accept responsibility.  At this point it has been only two weeks shy of 3 months and I have received no response to the holes in my carpet.  I wonder if this means I am not in trouble after all?

Anyway kids, don’t try this at home.  You could burn some valuable arm hair or some cheap Ikea carpet.  And remember the words of Julian, “I love it so much . . . “

Planckendael Zoo (including Name That Bird edition 5)

Posted in Life in Belgium, Travel Europe with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2009 by Yarn Over New York

Exqi (the documentarians) planned a trip the Planckendael Zoo in Mechelen for our group.  About 20 of us (artists, technicians, and families) met early on Sunday (19 April) to take a boat to the large zoo/ animal park.

Once at the zoo, we split into groups and wandered around the park (trailed by a camera crew, of course).  All in all, it was a really fun day.  We got to see lots of cool animals and birds (Elise can name them for you).

A rare specimen indeed

A rare specimen indeed

Upon request from the camera crew, we played in this boat.  (Andy, Lidia, Me)

Upon request from the camera crew, we played in this boat. (Andy, Lidia, Me)

Lazy Camel

Lazy Camel

Gibbons!

Gibbons!

There were also two BABY giraffes, but I didnt really get a good picture

There were also two BABY giraffes, but I didn't really get a good picture

Now for the birds.  Go Elise!

There were in fact more birds and more animals.  Find them here.

Countdown to Vacation . . . or when the Bubble Bursts

Posted in Life in Belgium, Travel Europe with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2009 by Yarn Over New York

After our four day holiday when I visited Prague, things at The Bubble (as we affectionately call our home/ studio) started to heat up.  We were prepping for our final presentation to show the bigwigs what we’ve been working on.  We were prepping to move out and head home or wherever.  We were working like crazy with longer and longer hours.  We were also still trying to have as much fun as possible.

A rousing game of football

A rousing game of football

As the evenings grew longer and longer, we started hanging out on the Terrace more and more often.  Just to share a beer or two after a long day.  As mentioned, we all live and work in same building.  Therefore to talk to one another, we just stick our heads out of the window.

The sunsets got later and later but kept on being beautiful.

We still had time to make a few quick trips to nearby places.

Sailing with the Doctor

Our Clinic Doctor invited a group of us to join him and his friends on a sailing trip on the Oosterschelde.  It was WINDY and COLD but we managed to have fun.  We sailed until we got to a small town (I forgot to write down the name and now I have totally forgotten).  We walked around the town and then stopped for a lunch time treat.

After lunch and a quick handstand from Marshall, we were all revitalized enough to sail back home.

I even got to drive (steer, sail, whatever) a little bit!

I even got to drive (steer, sail, whatever) a little bit!

More photos from the Dutch sailing trip can be found here.

Visit to Oostende and the Three Masted Ship

On the first of June, a large group of us (including the ever-present documentary team from Exqi) went on a trip  to the Belgian town of Oostende to visit the Mercator, a three masted ship.

Me, Marshall, Anne-Caroline and Anaelle at our brief stopover in Ghent

Me, Marshall, Anne-Caroline and Anaelle at our brief stopover in Ghent

The ship serves as a museum and you can view the crew quarters, infirmary and mess hall.

A nice collection of sailing knots

A nice collection of sailing knots

For some reason, no one cared that our acrobats went a little crazy crawling and climbing all over the boat.  (And the documentarians loved  it, of course.)

Beata, Janusz and Klodi climb

Beata, Janusz and Klodi climb

Godfrey is Superman

Godfrey is Superman

Janusz puts Beata down the tube

Janusz puts Beata down the tube

I try to rescue her

I try to rescue her

After the ship, we split up to explore the town and grab some lunch.

Marshall, Aya, Anaelle, Anne-Caroline and her sister eat some seafood

Marshall, Aya, Anaelle, Anne-Caroline and her sister eat some seafood

More Oostende photos here.

Still to come our last few nights at the Bubble!

I am so far behind

Posted in Life in Belgium, Travel Europe with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2009 by Yarn Over New York

I apologize that I am so far behind on the blog posting.  I have been working like a dog and doing cool things on the weekend.  Unfortunately, I have not been sharing these things on my blog.

So here is one post to re-cap my last couple of months.

15 March- Amsterdam with Marshall, Aya and Malia

Great trip, wandered the city, saw sites, took in a Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest (Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra) concert at  Beurs van Berlage (follow THIS link for a 360 degree view of the building and its surroundings!) and then found a nice cafe with live jazz.  Did a little thrift store shopping and then headed home.  We got lost both going and coming home.  Go us!

La Femme Cactus and Marshall

La Femme Cactus and Marshall

Find more photos here.

5 and 6 April- Dublin, Ireland with Malia

We hopped a cheap flight from Brussels to Dublin for the weekend.  It was a great adventure.  We met 3 guys on the Ha’Penny Bridge in the morning and ended up hanging out with them all day.  I brought Fiona (one of the ducks from my office) and she got her photo taken all over town.  It was a nice sunny day (for Dublin) and we got to see a bunch of cool pubs.

Fiona meets James Joyce

Fiona meets James Joyce

Fiona enjoys a good Irish Breakfast

Fiona enjoys a good Irish Breakfast

Malia Me Luis and Daniele

Malia Me Luis and Daniele

Fionas favorite part of the day was the drums on the street

Fiona's favorite part of the day was the drums on the street

The next day it rained and Malia did some shopping before catching a flight back home for week.

Malia and Fiona seek shelter from the rain

Malia and Fiona seek shelter from the rain

Fione nurses a hangover

Fiona nurses a hangover

Find more photos here.

13 April- Brussels with Marshall, Lionel and Patrice

Lunch at a nice outdoor cafe.  A little window shopping and a lazy afternoon in the park.  Sunlight and good friends, what a good day.  Fiona came along for the ride again.  She likes meeting new people and seeing street art.

La Femme Cactus avec le cactus

La Femme Cactus avec le cactus

Marshall Patrice Fiona and Lionel

Marshall Patrice Fiona and Lionel

More photos here.

19 April- Planckendael Zoo in Mechelen with a big group

This trip really warrants its own post so I will just throw in a couple photos here.  I promise to write more about it soon.

Me and a Goat

Me and a Goat

White with black stripes OR black with white stripes?

White with black stripes OR black with white stripes?

See more here.

26 April- Ghent with Aya and Marshall

We got terribly lost on the way to Ghent.  It is supposed to be 35 minutes away and we took about two hours to get there.  Ooops.  Once there we took a boat tour of the canals which was a good way to get a little history and some photos.  Then we wandered around, went to a gallery and crawled on some public art.

Me Aya and Marshall

Me Aya and Marshall

Too bad Fiona didnt come on this trip

Too bad Fiona didn't come on this trip

Caught in a web

Caught in a web

More fun photos here.

More posts to come soon.  I promise.