Tag Archives: church

Day One: Lucerne, Switzerland

Business travel can suck…

but not when they send you somewhere breathtaking.

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I arrived in Zurich this morning and hopped a train to nearby Lucerne, a beautiful city that has everything you probably associate with Switzerland.

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Moutains. A gorgeous lake. A slice of history around every corner. And a slice, too. (There are a lot of pizzerias…not that I’m complaining ).

I spent the day walking around this compact little town. I quickly abandoned my map and decided to see what I would see.

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I saw an amazing art installation at a local school.

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Historic churches.

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And a proud pup or two. (This is Figo.)

I also noticed that, in this pedestrian city, no one jaywalks. They don’t smile at passersby,  either. And the church bells peal on the hour, which was rather beautiful.

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Tomorrow I have to work (what?) and there is talk of rain, but I hope to fit in some indoor sightseeing during my brief visit.

Day Four, Milan / Padova: a masterpiece

Today was all about art.

And really, shouldn’t every trip to Italy have days like that?

We started back in Milan at the Pinacoteca di Brera, a lovely museum with over 30 rooms of paintings by the classical masters. Of course, I spent most of my time in the one room filled with modern art.

You can take the girl to Italy…

In the afternoon, we trained our way to Padua, or Padova as everyone calls it here. This will be our home base for the next three days, so we walked around to get the lay of the land.

We also attended a viewing of the Scrovegni Chapel.
It contains a fresco cycle by Giotto, completed about 1305, that is considered one of the most important masterpieces of Western art.

Now I have already admitted that I prefer modern art, but this church blew me away.  To think that the entire thing — it’s enormous — was completed in three-and-a-half years!  Every detail painted; all the trim and faux marble.  Dimension was even added with paint to make elements look 3-D.

It was truly incredible.

Then we came outside, and it was raining really hard.

Back to earth.

Day Three, Turin: city with a view

I didn’t know it at the time, but when I used to think about Italy, the city that I saw in my head…

…was Turin.

This is a shot of that gorgeous Italian city from the viewing station on the Mole Antonelliana tower atop the National Museum of Cinema.

Everything about Turin charmed me — the piazzas, the churches, the architecture.

I’m so happy we added this stop to our trip at the very last minute!

Checking the gate

I happened upon a documentary the other morning on Sundance Channel that I highly recommend.  I should be less surprised that it is about a church.

(It was Sunday, after all.)

An Audience of One follows Richard Gazowsky, a Pentecostal pastor from San Francisco who used donations from his congregation to found a movie studio and production company.  He said he received a vision while praying on a mountaintop to spread the Gospel through filmmaking.

Stone tablets are so B.C.

The documentary begins as Gazowsky and his followers are in pre-production on their full-length feature, Gravity: The Shadow of Joseph, described as a ‘biblical science fiction.’

The movie poster tagline reads “filmmaking is hard.”  Gazowsky would no doubt agree.  During principal photography, the novice director only manages to get two scenes in the can during their five days on location in Italy.

Cameras jam. Cranes freeze. Cords snap. Tempers flare.  Of course, you see that kind of ‘tech diff’ on film sets all the time.

What makes Audience of One a must-see is watching Gazowsky lead his congregation on this journey.  Despite the setbacks, the lack of funds, and — let’s face it — the project’s absolute and total failure, the preacher constantly spins the story in such a way, his followers never blink.

Even though the movie is never been made.  Even though their major investor never comes through.  Even though the city shuts them down.

They call it faith.  But on camera, under the harsh glare of the lights, the delusions are harder to disguise.

Spoiler

How quickly glee can turn into gloom.

Cameron left The Glee Project last night.  Voluntarily.

Even after Ryan Murphy, the show’s creator, met with him one-on-one and asked him to stay.  Told him he could go all the way and win the competition.  That they really wanted to write a role for him on Glee.

Cameron? He just wanted to go home.

I am so bummed.

But if reality shows have taught me anything, it’s that I shouldn’t believe what I am seeing.

While I do think Cameron’s reasons for leaving the show are sincere — especially his clash with directors regarding acting choices he refused to make — I have to wonder if he was later convinced to use his dilemma to add drama to the competition.

A change of heart and surprise reappearance at the eleventh hour would make great reality show fodder.  And Cameron on Glee?

Heck, I cast him weeks ago.

Science inspires…church attendance?

Neuroscientists have developed fingerless ‘smart gloves’ that act as imaginary pens. They translate your gestures into words and save them on a wireless device.

I love this!

When I was a child, I used to sit in church and ‘write’ the words to the priest’s sermon on the pew with my index finger.  It was just something to do to pass the time and kept me focused on the topic (in case Mom asked).  Imagine if I had had a pair of these ‘smart gloves’…I could have begun multi-tasking at a much earlier age!

I could have begun writing the Great American Novel…about a priest living in the Australian Outback who falls in love with the daughter of a station manager, but loves God more than he loves her — oh wait, Colleen McCullough already wrote “The Thornbirds.”  Damn.

But still…imagine all the great comedic material that a church sermon inspires. And I could have gotten it down — with a flip of the wrist — while it was still  fresh in my mind.

Heck, it almost makes me want to go back to church now.

Well…almost.