Monday, April 30, 2007

Castellana Grotte's Festival for the Madonna of the Vetrana

Castellana - Madonna della VetranaBusy weekend with local festival and the usual family activities. Angela's mother is from Castellana. This weekend marked the beginning of the festival which honors that town's patron saint, the Madonna della Vetrana, pictured here. Every town in this region has a patron saint and, on the appointed day, launches a particular celebration.

To mark the opening of the festival, there was a procession on Saturday evening which departed from the Castellana convent and finished in the center of town at Parrocchia San Leone Magno, which is the town's main church. Each year, Angela's mother joins the procession, and this year was no exception, so we went to watch. Angela, Vito (Angela's father) and me found a nice place to stand along the route of the procession and waited for Anna to pass. The procession was not very long, starting with the town's various brotherhoods carrying banners and lanterns as well as the Madonna della Vetrana, and finished with a long train of candle-bearing women.

One of the highlights of the festival is the exuberant adornment of lights (luminarie) on display in Castellana's historic center of town. Yesterday, after spending the day in the countryside, we returned to Castellana to have a walk around the carnival and along the old streets of the town (Angela's parents went to church). We all met up again before returning home late in the evening.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

i-outlaw 2.4 featuring Catherine Daly

It's finally here. Listen to the new show! It's not much different from the old show, but, well, every show is different! Let me know what you think...

powered by ODEOCatherine Daly
The Dalys, a family founded in 1963, designed Catherine Daly in 1966. She was introduced on January 28, 1967 (thus she is an Aquarius), though her name and biography are continually expanded. She is a fifteen year post-grad living in the center of Los Angeles, CA, USA, with her family surnames Daly and Burch. She published DaDaDa with Salt Publishing in 2003; that trilogy has now become the first portion of a long project entitled CONFITEOR. Tupelo Press published Locket in 2005.

Download Catherine's e-books:
Secret Kitty
Paper Craft
Episode 2.4 also features fine poetry by:
Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore
Linda Benninghoff
John Sakkis
Peggy Eldridge-Love
Jordan Stempleman
Kaya Oakes
Miranda Gaw
Andrew Lundwall
Larissa Shmailo
Spread the word far and wide. Don't forget to enter our contest to win a free book of poetry! Listen now and find out how...

Catching Up

I got paid on Monday, which was nice. I had forgotten about it. Even though I'm only earning a pittance right now, it covers the little money I've been frittering away on sweets and other incidentals. Angela and me went to the movie theater in the evening (movies are only two Euro every Monday) and watched Bobby, not a hot new movie, but we enjoyed it. The speech at the end of the movie was particularly interesting following in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre.

Yesterday was Liberation Day here and so a holiday. The weather was grey and misty in the morning so we ate lunch in the apartment, but, by the end of lunch, the weather had cleared up spectacularly and the four of us rolled out in Vito's silver Peugeot to spend the rest of the daylight in countryside.

When I woke up this morning, it started thundering and began raining heavily. It has been off-and-on strong rain all day long.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Days come and go. It's hard to believe we'll add new little dude to our family soon...

As the weather has been stunningly sunny and clear during the day with wonderful sunsets and brilliant stars sprinkled in the evening, it's hard to differentiate one from another. I'm fighting a little sickness, now, and spent the entire afternoon in bed.

On a more positive note, I think I've found another job here. I talked to one of the screeners yesterday (she's a friend of my current boss), and learned that I was the only applicant. I don't want to celebrate, yet, though. Additional applicants have a way of materializing. I'll find out more about it next week, although it won't be nearly enough keep me here. At least, it's a foot in the door and the pay is considerably higher.

Diligently working on i-outlaw with Josh Hinck, the new poetry show which should be released soon. Keep checking in for updates...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Day in the Life

There's not much out of the ordinary to write, but I find myself here forcing it onto the cyberveneer.

My usual day plods on in this fashion: wake up, make coffee, drink coffee with wife and television at kitchen table, greet mother-in-law, leave wife watching television and mother-in-law tinkering around in the kitchen to read e-mail in bedroom, zombie at the computer plunking down this or that in one virtual document or another, shower, return to kitchen table when father-in-law returns for lunch at 12:15PM, eat lunch, return to computer, work until dinner (a less well-scheduled meal), watch TV for a little while, hit the sack. Sprinkle in cigarette-breaks on the balcony at random intervals and conversations with wife.

There are some some regular deviations in this routine, for example, I work on Tuesday evenings. Wednesday is market day for Angela's mother and we usually meet her before lunch to help bring the groceries home. Saturday evening the in-laws hit the supermarket for supermarket stuff and I usually have to help carry something up the stairs when they return. On Sunday, the midday meal occurs a little later, usually around 1:00PM.

Aside from the relatively bland play-by-play of a-day-in-the-life above, I'm not depressed or bored or otherwise discontented, as some have back-channeled. On the contrary, I could happily plod on in this fashion until expiring, although the people around me might not think it such a wonderful idea...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Countdown Dies

The Countdown, the poetry radio show I hosted which was produced by Josh Hinck, came to a crashing halt last week. I want to apologize to all of the artists whose fine poetry disappeared along with all of the shows. Nearly one year of work which no longer exists. Backchannel me with any questions.

A less than splendid Easter gift to come home to after a day in the countryside here, but these things happen. I made a little video to put a cap on that project and ring in the new one. Needless to say, Josh and me will continue to put out despite the man's best efforts...

Other than that, it was a fantastic week of strong sun, cloudless blue skies, blooming flowers and white blossoms, virgin leaves curling out and green grasses. I seem to have caught a cold in the midst of all this spring luciousness, but these things happen.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Procession of the Mysteries (I Misteri)

Saturday evening, before eating dinner, Angela and me went out to watch The Procession of the Mysteries (La Processione dei Misteri) in Putignano, a procession in which Angela's father participated. Life-sized statues of the stations of the cross were carried down the main street. The procession moved quite quickly and a priest recited a prayer. It was strange to see the young men interspersed in the procession holding the speakers which were broadcasting the prayer. After watching this procession, we hopped in Angela's uncle's car and drove with zio Gianni and zia Maria to Castellana to watch the procession there, which was much more impressive and more solemn.

A lone drummer led the procession in Castellana and everyone walked very slowly. There were quite a few people participating: altar boys and girls in their white robes, men from the various brotherhoods wearing their emblematic colors and carrying the statues on their shoulders, women carrying giant candles and wearing black veils over their heads. Here, no priest was uttering a prayer unless silently.

Here you can watch a small video of the end of the procession in Castellana, which finishes with the black-robed Madonna at the end of the procession following the mysteries while a band plays A Mia Madre. It was late after watching two processions, and we all returned home and had a late dinner of homemade focaccia together.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Two days in Putignano Approaching Easter

Putignano - Santa Chiara - outsideA busy week as Easter approaches. Apparently, the day after Easter (Pasquetta) is also a holiday here, which does not mean much to me considering that every day is a holiday. The weather had been pretty ugly for a stretch, finally raining its heart out all day on Wednesday, but has cleared up into a brilliant Spring now. Lots of activities, processions, etc. about town as we approach Catholocism's most revered celebration.

Last night, Angela and me went out for a walk as we often do after dinner. All of the churches in town were open late and many of the Putignanese were out on the streets visiting all of the churches. This event observes the last supper (l'ultima cena). I was surprised that there were so many of them in town. In all of the churches, the image of Jesus was concealed, the altars were decorated in various ways, and there were lights outside many of them, such as the lights pictured on Santa Chiara here.

Angela and me visited three churches before stopping for dinner with AnnaLisa who stayed with us afterwards as we continued on our stroll. We talked with many people and visited seven churches in the course of the evening, which included San Felippo, San Pietro, Santa Chiara, Santa Maria, San Cosma e Damiano, San Domenico & the church in which we were married, Madonna del Carmine. I was surprised when we finally decided to head home as it was nearly midnight!

Putignano - Piazza Plebiscito - VIThis morning, there was to be a procession and dramatic recreation in the historic town center, and we got up early to get ready. We made it out the door by 9:30AM and arrived at Piazza Plebiscito by 10AM. People were bunched on the balconies of the surrounding apartments and were gathering outside San Pietro, leaving a large passageway, where the participants were taking their places for the proceedings which were about to begin.

podcastThere were many people involved in the procession in various costume, all bearing the various trappings of their position. One group waited on the steps of the church with a black-robed statue of Mary at the top of the steps, while another group of pallbearers entered following a lone drummer and bearing a statue of Jesus on a well-decorated and veiled catafalque (pictured here). When the pallbearers reached the bottom of the steps, the procession halted and there were a few short public prayers and songs. Then Jesus was carried into the church and Mary was carried down the steps and away.

Tonight, there is supposed to be another procession of The Mysteries, which I think is how they refer to the stations of the cross here. View more photos of the events in the usual place.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

After a rainy week, we thought the weather would clear up by the weekend, and so had planned to go to Bari yesterday. We went, anyway, despite the imperfect conditions and Spring thunderstorms which passed over, and bought some books. The bookstore was quite crowded as Nicholas Sparks was speaking about his recent publication via a translator.

Clear skies today, though, with nary a trace of wind, and a wonderfully bright pregnant moon popping up in the early evening as Angela and me walked through the countryside thick with long green grass and flowers.

Palm Sunday. My nephew, Alessandro, gave me an olive sprig before lunch. They exchange olive branches here as a symbol of peace and not palms. I guess that's a fair interpretation. Anyway, olive trees run amok in Putignano and the surrounding area.

To do something different, we went to a women's tennis match in the afternoon. A professional tournament started today, and we watched a match between Nadja Pavic from Croatia and Stella Menna from Italy.

So tomorrow begins the continued job search...