A “Dog-umentary”

“Pick of the Litter”, an award-winning documentary that follows five Labrador puppies born in the Guide Dogs for the Blind breeding program from birth through their training to become guide dogs will be at the Gateway Film Center on Friday, September 21, 2018. Audio description is available for download for iOS users on the Actiview app. More details about the length of the movie’s run at Gateway and access for non-iOS users will be available on the Gateway Film Center’s website sometime next week, after the film has been delivered to Gateway.

Information about the film itself, including trailers with audio description, is available at the Guide Dogs for the Blind website.

See you at the movies!

Program Notes for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Saboteur”

Please note that this movie was filmed in black and white so colors will not be mentioned in these notes.  For those of you who are interested when Alfred Hitchcock makes his cameo, I will identify him by name and give his location at the time.

The action in tonight’s film occurs during the days of World War II.  The costumes are typical of what Americans were wearing in the mid-1940s.  Both men’s and women’s clothing styles borrowed from the current military uniforms.  Shoulders were reinforced with pads for a wide and boxy silhouette.  The rest of the contour was a bit narrower thanks to wartime restrictions limiting, among other things, the width of pants legs and the length of  hemlines.  Epaulets, strips of fabric or leather that ran along the tops of the shoulders and fastened with a button, were a common embellishment.  A popular style of jacket, sometimes called an Eisenhower jacket after General Eisenhower, was short and came to the bottom of the waist or top of the hip with a band around the bottom. This type of jacket was very popular with workmen and for casual wear. Variations of the Eisenhower jacket were used widely for both men’s jackets and women’s clothing such as suits or two-piece dresses.  Wide lapels were found on both men’s and women’s suits.  Many men still wore suits and ties for all occasions.  A knee length dress coat similar to what is worn today would be worn over that attire.

Women’s dresses came to just below the knee although floor length gowns were still worn for formal evening attire.  Women’s evening gowns were often ornamented with elaborate designs made of sequins, small shiny disks that were sewn onto the gown, across bodices and along the shoulders and/or bottoms of the sleeves.  Evening wear for men meant white or black tie for civilians (again, similar to what is worn today) and dress uniforms replete with ribbons and medals for the military men.

Hats were commonly worn.  The fedora with its high crown dented at the top and pinched in front and a 2.5” brim was the most popular style for men. Workmen, such as truck drivers, would wear a flat cap with a soft slouchy crown and small visor.

Hairstyles for women were somewhat different from what is worn today. Hair was worn long.  Shoulder length was popular with younger women and was frequently worn with   the front or sides of the hair rolled away from the face and the back worn loose.  Older women also may have worn the hair around the face rolled but the back would have been pinned up as well.  Curly or wavy hair was considered desirable and many men also sported wavy hair. Their hair was worn short on the back and sides and a little longer on the top, generally with a side part before the hair was brushed away from the face and slicked down with Brilliantine or some other hair pomade that held the hair in place and gave it a great amount of shine.

Some the places in which the action occurs are an airplane factory in California, a cabin in the woods, a mansion in New York City and the Statue of Liberty.

The airplane factory has walls of corrugated steel.  The narrow folds of the metal are vertical and it resembles corduroy. The wide space of the factory floor has ceilings high enough not only to house the rows of airplanes being built but also to allow workers to work on the upper portions of the planes and for the necessary lighting to be hung from the ceilings.  The ceilings themselves are obscured by the system of girders and bracing necessary for its support.  The area where the planes are constructed is very light and bright. The mess hall or canteen area is various shades of grey and has rectangular wooden tables and benches for the workers to eat at.  The canteen area is defined by welded wire partitions and a low corrugated steel roof.  In the background, soldiers carrying rifles with bayonets upon their shoulders are seen marching back and forth as they patrol the area.

The cabin sits in a clearing at the edge of a forest of redwood trees.  Its low single-story profile contrasts with the soaring trunks of the surrounding trees.  Mountains are seen in the distance behind the house.  The house is a log cabin with a rough fieldstone foundation that comes up the to the bottom of the multi-paned windows.  The shingled roof has a shallow pitch and the eaves are at the tops of the windows. A wide chimney sits in the center of the roof.  The front door is to the far right. Inside, the main room has a large stone fireplace opposite the door.  Dark gleaming wood and cushioned upholstered furniture contrasts with the roughness of the fieldstone surrounding the fireplace and the rough-hewn split logs and chinking on the far right wall.  The far left wall is paneled in knotty pine.  Log beams span the width of the room below the peaked ceiling.  A baby grand piano sits at one end of the room, to the left of the front door.  A sofa sits below a window, between the door and the piano, opposite the fireplace.  Club chairs with plaid upholstery flank the fireplace.  A low round coffee table sits in the center of the room.  To the right of the door is a rectangular dining table with four chairs around it.  Tall candlesticks stand on either side of the fireplace opening.  A silver candelabrum rests on the dining table. An assortment of bric-a-brac is displayed on a shelf above a sideboard to the right of the fireplace, behind the dining table.  Framed pictures hang on the walls.  A kitchen is seen through a door at the left end of the room.

The mansion in New York City is a large well appointed home and decorated in a very “Old World” style:  antique chairs with gilded exposed wooden frames and needlepoint upholstery, heavy ornate carved and gilded tables and cabinets, tapestries and large elaborately framed oil paintings hanging on the walls. The ballroom is a large open space over seen from the low balustrade of the second floor corridor.  A wide curving double staircase leads down to the ballroom floor. Several large crystal chandeliers hang from the two story high ceiling.  A low bandstand is at the far end of and a parquet dance floor is in the center of the room.  The study is a spacious room with a sitting area around a large fireplace. The fireplace has a carved stone mantle.  Figurines, vases, small dishes, boxes, and lamps cover every flat surface in the room.  The room has wood paneling with large panels that are covered in a flame patterned jacquard silk fabric.  A large intricately carved and gilded desk of dark wood sits in front of wall of bookshelves.  The kitchen is large and utilitarian, like a restaurant kitchen and has several workstations in the middle and around the edges of the room.

The Statue of Liberty is a colossal statue that stands on a tall rectangular pedestal upon a large starburst shaped base on a small island in New York Harbor.  The figure of Liberty is woman, standing, holding a torch above her head in her right hand and cradling a book in her left arm. She is dressed in toga knotted over her left shoulder worn over a loose long-sleeved, floor-length robe. The toga has diagonal folds and the robe has vertical ones.  She wears a seven-pointed crown on her head. The narrow triangular points radiate outward like a halo.  Below the points is a band composed of 25 arched windows.  She stands erect, her right arm raised straight up with a flaming torch in her hand. The wide loose sleeve falls down to her shoulder into deep folds.  Her left arm is at her side. It is bent at the elbow as she cradles a book. The book is inscribed with the date July 4, 1776 written in Roman numerals (the word July followed by IV, MDCCLXXVI).  Her bare foot is seen stepping out beneath the drapery of her robe pooling on the ground. According to the National Park Service website, the Statue of Liberty is 305 feet 1inch from the ground to the tip of the flame or the equivalent height of a 22-story building.  Some other measurements, also from the National Park Service website, to give an idea of scale are:

Heel to top of head:  111’1” or  the equivalent of 19 average height men

Head (from chin to cranium): 17’3”

Width of head:  10’

Width of eye: 2’6” (two and a half feet)

Length of hand:  16’5”

Index finger: 8’

Liberty holds the torch aloft by a shaft that is a little longer than her hand.  Atop the shaft is a circular dish that surrounds the flame. The wall of the dish is open metalwork and looks like interlocking upside-down heart shapes.  The flame flares out of a short cylinder that rises above the edge of the dish.  Today the torch has been replaced and the flame is gilded in 24 karat gold but in the 1940s, the torch still sported the original copper flame that had earlier been pierced with mostly rectangular holes and fitted with glass.

Although made of copper, the Statue of Liberty is a matte green due to natural oxidization.

And now for a few words about the main characters in tonight’s movie:

Barry Kane: A black haired man in his early 30’s, Barry Kane has short, wavy, slicked back hair parted on his left.  He has dark slightly arched eyebrows and dark eyes. Barry’s mouth is full lipped.  We first see him wearing a dark leather bomber style jacket over a dark shirt and striped tie worn with flat front work pants.

Patricia “Pat” Martin:  Pat is a young woman in her mid-to late 20’s. She has wavy long blond hair that is pulled up, back and rolled away from her face in a pompadour before it falls to rest in soft, billowy curls upon her shoulders.  She has light colored eyes beneath gently curving eyebrows. Pat’s lips are full and dark with lipstick; the lower one is a little pouty.  We first see Pat wearing a light colored suit with a knee length skirt and platform shoes.  A wedge of a dark, collarless top can be seen in the open V between the pale broad lapels of her suit jacket.  She wears a sparkly pin on the left lapel.

Frank Fry:  A slight man with blonde hair, Fry has a high forehead, prominent nose and receding chin. He is in his late 20’s/early 30’s.

Charles Tobin:  Tobin is an older gentleman in his late 50’s. His salt and pepper hair is brushed back from his high forehead in flowing waves.  He has a thin mustache that comes straight down from his nose before curving off on either side to follow the line of his upper lip. He is very thin and has narrow shoulders.

Freeman: A man in his mid-30’s, Freeman has a high forehead with a receding hairline.  His hair is a medium tone.  He has a neat mustache over his upper lip that is lighter than the hair on his head.  He wears rimless eyeglasses with round lenses and metal stems.  Freeman wears a suit and tie beneath an overcoat.  He wears a fedora on his head in most scenes.

Live Audio Description of Hitchcock’s “Saboteur”

This movie is part of the 49th CAPA 2018 Summer Movie Series

Saboteur (1942)

Thursday, August 2, 2018 @ 7:30 PM

Military aircraft factory worker Barry Kane goes on the run after being falsely accused of setting a fire that destroyed the plant and killed his best friend. Determined to clear his name, his cross-country search for the truth uncovers a sinister plot that culminates in the unforgettable final scene at the Statue of Liberty. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

6:30 PM Doors open

6:45 PM Program notes

7:00 PM Organ recital (Clark Wilson on the Mighty Morton Organ)

7:30 PM Movie begins

Program notes will be repeated, as time allows, during intermission.

The movie is at the Ohio Theatre, 39 East State Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215. Day-of-show tickets to individual films are $5 and go on sale one hour prior to show time at the Ohio Theatre kiosk. Senior citizen tickets are $4. Kiosk sales are cash only.

Patrons wishing to use audio description at this August 2nd performance of “Saboteur” need only show up at the theatre and request the audio description headset at the door. Please test your headset before entering the auditorium to ensure that you are receiving sound.

Black and white photo of Robert Cummings (on left) and Priscilla Lane (on right) in Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Saboteur”.

This black and white photo a man and woman is twice as wide as it is high. It is of a black haired man wearing a dark leather bomber style jacket and a blond woman in a light colored wool coat with notched lapels. They are standing in a room with vertical knotty pine paneling.

The man, on the left, stands facing the woman. His head, turned to his right, faces out at us. The man’s dark, slicked back hair is mussed and a short curling lock falls forward above his right eye. His dark eyes look toward the left. The closed lips of his mouth are set in a straight line. The lower portion of the man’s face is covered with the shadowy stubble of his beard and mustache. His arms, bent at the elbows are held straight out in front of his body. His fists are clenched.

Visible between his wrists are the bracelet of a set of handcuffs on his left wrist and the chain restraining his wrists. The edge of the right bracelet is barely noticeable just below the dark knit cuff of his jacket.

The woman, on the right, faces the man. Her body, angled gently to her left, turns slightly towards us as she leans toward the man. Her face is also turned a little towards her left as she faces out at us. Her light colored, widely opened eyes look straight ahead. Her full dark lips are barely parted. The woman’s wavy long blond hair is pulled up and back and rolled away from her face in a pompadour before it falls to rest in soft, billowy curls upon her shoulders. A wedge of a dark, collarless top can be seen in the open V between the pale lapels of her coat. She wears a sparkly pin on the left lapel.

In the photograph, both figures are seen from the chest up. The man is centered on the left side of the photo. The top of the man’s head is cropped by the top edge of the frame of the picture. The top of the woman’s blond hair comes up to the man’s eye level, two-thirds of the height of the picture. She is positioned just to the right of the center of the frame. Behind the couple, is a narrow shelf running along the wall. The few items on it are blurred and it is difficult to make out exactly what they are. The shelf ends at a corner behind the woman. On the wall behind and to the right of the woman is a large framed drawing of a bird. The bird’s breast, neck and head are visible behind the upper right of the woman’s head. The white background of the picture is framed by a black mat and dark grey frame. To the right of the picture is a narrow sliver of a window with a dark frame is visible. A plaid curtain covers the window.




Live Audio Description for “Gone With The Wind”, July 15th

I will be providing live audio description for “Gone With The Wind”, part of the CAPA Summer Movie Series this coming Sunday, July 15th at the Ohio Theatre.

Gone With The Wind (1939)
Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 2:00 PM

Fiddle-dee-dee! Winner of eight Oscar Awards including Best Picture, Margaret Mitchell’s Civil War masterpiece set the standard for epic film-making. This Library of Congress treasure featuring the love/hate relationship of Rhett and Scarlett was also ranked as the #6 Greatest Movie of All Time by the American Film Institute.

The program is as follows:
1:00 PM  Doors open
1:15 PM  Program notes (more detailed descriptions of the characters, costumes and sets as well as information from the printed program)
1:30 PM  Clark Wilson’s performance on the “Mighty Morton” organ begins
2:00 PM  Movie begins

Here is a description of Tara, the O’Hara family home:

The O’Hara family home at Tara is a large whitewashed brick house with dark green shutters, framed by two large trees with wide trunks and gnarled branches that support a thick canopy of green leaves. It has a wide front porch with tall white columns. Margaret Mitchell describes it as “a clumsy sprawling building that crowned the rise of ground overlooking the green incline of pasture land running down to the river …”

The house is asymmetrical. The main portion of the house is two stories high. It has three tall windows on the first floor. Inside the house, the windows would reach from the floor to the ceiling. Two of the windows are to the left and one is to right of the front door. The windows are as tall as the arched transom window above the front door. There are four shorter windows on the second floor. These windows are half the height of the windows that open onto the porch.

Off-center and to the left of a single tall window on the porch is the front door. It is paneled and painted white. The front door is flanked by narrow glass sidelights. Slender wooden columns are on either side of the sidelights. Resting atop the four wooden columns is a large transom window. It spans the combined width of the sidelights and the front door. The window is flat on the bottom and curved on top. The glass is divided into V-shaped sections by thin wood bars or muntins that radiate from the center of the bottom of the window. An arched bar echoes the outside top arch midway of the height of the window.

Five red brick steps lead up to the two-story porch that spans the main part of the house. The porch has four white square brick columns. Its roof slopes downward from the shallowly pitched gabled roof of the house.

A smaller two-story wing is set back slightly on the left. It has a single shuttered window on each story that match the ones on the main portion of the house. Another one story wing sits to the left of that, with just its roofline visible to us as Scarlett runs down the drive.

There are two tall white chimneys rise above the roofline of the house, one on either gable end of the main part of the house.  Four small windows are on either side of the chimney visible right side of the house.  Two are on the first floor and two are on the second. The chimney juts out from the side of the house.  Its outline indicates the large fireplace on the first floor and slightly narrower one on the second floor. At the top of the second story windows, the chimney angles inward and continues straight upward, like an upside down Y.

Clouds, As Seen From the Window of the Plane (or Smoke and Mirrors)

This is for my friend who likes a little poetry with his description:

As I look out the window of the plane, I see an array of white clouds below. Large banks of clouds rest in mounding heaps. They occupy the same horizontal plane in space as though they were arranged on a tabletop of clear glass.

At the edges of the large mounds of clouds are smaller clusters followed by yet smaller clumps until eventually there are tiny individual clouds around the edges. The landscape below is clearly visible between the banks of clouds.

The surfaces of the mounds are lumpy as though they are built up of many balls of cotton. The mounds look like small mountains suspended in the air. They look substantial, like the hillocks of snow at the edges of a shoveled sidewalk. The cloud mountains slope downwards and have diffused edges of smaller clumps which resemble several loose cotton balls stuck together. The small clumps give way to what look like single cotton balls where the heaps of fluffy white clouds peter out along the edges. These smallest bits have raggedy edges as though they have been gently teased apart.

The landscape far below the clouds is miniaturized. Tracts of fields and wooded areas appear as an assortment of jigsaw pieces in multiple shades of green ranging from the yellow green of chartreuse to the blue greens of forest green and several shades in between. Fields where the rows are just beginning to sprout are reddish brown like cocoa powder and have thin straight lines of light green. Fields that are a bit more filled in have a breath of green over the red brown of the dirt. Roads appear as cream colored threads outlining some of the puzzle pieces. Irregular lines of dark green outline others, where trees or shrubs have either been planted or not cleared. Buildings are dispersed singly and in groups as bright specks along the roads and more occasionally in the fields or amongst the trees.

Here and there a shiny ribbon of river snakes its way through the scene below, a dull silver accent below the clouds.

As my plane makes its final approach for landing and descends through the clouds, I see that they are just areas of concentrated fog and that the rivers are moving and muddy.

Audio Described Touch Tour at Ohio Craft Museum

We have added an additional tour on June 19th at 6:30 PM. There is plenty of space available for that tour at this time. Reservations are required for this free event.

The Ohio Craft Museum will offer an audio-described touch tour of The Best of 2018 exhibition. This juried collection features 76 contemporary fine craft works by 51 artists working in ceramics, wood, metal, fiber, glass and more.

Designed for visitors with visual impairments and their companions, the tour offers the ability to experience the richness and diversity of the works on display. The guide, Jane Ehrenfeld, will combine verbal descriptions of the works with the tactile experience of touching samples of materials, facsimiles or the artworks themselves.

The hour-long tour will take place Tuesday, June 19, at 6:30 pm . Space is limited for this free program; save your space by registering online at https://bit.ly/2FHGQb6, or by calling the museum at (614) 486-4402 or email info@ohiocraft.org.

The Ohio Craft Museum is located at 1665 West Fifth Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43212. Hours: Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 1–4 p.m. Admission and parking are free. For more information, call (614) 486-4402, or see our website at www.ohiocraft.org.

Happy Birthday, Louis Braille!

On this day two hundred and eight years ago Louis Braille, the man responsible for devising the system that bears his name of six dots to a cell for each letter of the alphabet, was born in a small village in France. But did you know that he was only a teenager when he did this groundbreaking work? The link below is to a half hour audio described and captioned docudrama video about Louis Braille:


When I Grow Up

This past winter, I had the opportunity to design a touch tour and write verbal descriptions for an exhibit featuring the work of Ohio artist James Mellick.  Here is one of his more lighthearted dog sculptures.

Wooden sculpture of a little dog with very tall skinny legs.
When I Grow Up                     James Mellick jamesmellick.com

When I Grow Up, 2007


 This abstract sculpture of a very small dog on very tall legs stands about 4’ high. The body looks like a breadbox on stilts. The four legs rise up as four separate elements and are joined by a rectangular mid-section of two pieces with a wide gap running horizontally along its side. The legs are slender and elongated with knees and elbows about a third of the way up from the floor. The muscles, tendons and joints in the legs are subtly indicated by the gentle swelling of the stick-like limbs that then flare out at the thighs and shoulders. They appear to have been stretched as if they were elastic. The four pad-like paws with their carved front toes standing squarely on the ground seem large given the thinness of the legs.  Behind each of the front legs, the dewclaws are represented by teardrop form attached at to the limb at its upper tapered neck and the globule hanging in high relief.

Two large bat-like ears resembling large pasta shells growing up from the back edges of the head mounted at the front end of the boxy body. The brow sits well below the ears. The muzzle tapers toward the blunt rectangular nose. The mouth is a narrow downward slit toward the bottom of the muzzle.

Rear view of a wooden sculpture of a very small dog on very tall skinny legs.
When I Grow Up  (rear view)  James  Mellick

At the other end, a long thin tail curls down and around the rump, between the hind legs, where it then arcs downward beneath the middle of the torso.

The shapes are very simplified and there is minimal detail. The surface is smooth and polished with a soft sheen.


A Piece Of History

Close up color photograph of a tall narrow vase on display in a gallery.
Wood-fired stoneware vase by Dick Cooter of Cooter Pottery.


This tall narrow vase stands 16” high and is 5” wide.  The body or lower portion is a little over half the height of the vase.  At the shoulder of the vase, just below the slightly tapered base of the neck, is a strip of clay that joins the neck to the cylindrical body.  It protrudes from the body like an uneven collar.  The bottom of this strip has a rough edge that appears to have been torn.   lug or knob has been pulled from this strip on either side. They stick out like little fingertips.  The tops of these lugs have a small depression as if made by a thumb pressing down while the clay was wet.  Two more lugs with holes in them are also on either side near the top of the neck, below the rim of the mouth. Uneven in size, the one on the right is a little bit longer than the one on the left.  They stick out like two small rectangular ears.

This vase is like a recording.  The depressions on the tops of the lugs at the shoulders, the rings banding the body and the neck, the splitting and cracking where the upper lugs and shoulder collar are attached, and the unevenness of the walls – they way they bow in and bulge outward – are all a record of the artist’s hands and the nature of clay.  The color of the vase is smoky and streaky with flares of lustrous coppery reds, greys and blacks as well as the surface textures that range from glossy to matte, smooth to rough are all reflective of the wood-firing process.

This vase is part of the audio described touch tour for the exhibit “For the Table” at the Ohio Crafts Museum.


Ginkgo Candelabra Set

IMG_5262 2
Ginkgo Candelabra Set by Matthew and Karine Maynard of Maynard Studios, Inc.

Above is a photograph of one of the pieces included in the audio described touch tours I recently did at the Ohio Crafts Museum for the Best of 2017 exhibit last month.  This was one of the pieces we had permission to touch.  The complete description, as given in the tour, is below:

Ginkgo Candelabra Set

Hand forged; mild steel land silicon bronze with walnut support base

Karine & Matthew Maynard

Lawrenceburg, KY

The artist’s words:

The Ginkgo tree has survived since the time of the dinosaurs and its leaves are beautiful in their grace and shape. This piece celebrates light and time by using the Ginkgo as a design motif and as a symbol of life.

This set consists of three pieces: a long, horizontal candelabrum that measures almost three feet wide and 14” high and two tall symmetrical candelabra that measure 12.5” wide and 40” high. All three pieces are 5.5” deep.

The low wide candelabrum sits on the front of the open display stand and is flanked by the two tall candelabra immediately behind. All three of the pieces consist of sinuous ribbons and tendrils of dull grey metal that swirl and curl around a more static form. On the long low piece, the form around which the tendrils travel is a thick arching vine or branch that rises from the far left and touches down several inches short of the far right edge where it curves gently upwards. Growing from the long the shoots that stem from the main arching vine are gold fan-shaped ginkgo leaves. They have a central vein and lightly scalloped arched tops. Their stems echo the left to right flow of the viny growth. Five small grey candle cups rest on five golden drip pans, like handle-less teacups on saucers, at varying heights along the length of the candelabrum.

The two tall candelabra are mirror images of each other so what is on the right side of one will be on the left side of the other. They each consist of a single straight rod-like element that is 40” high, the last 8” of which rise above a tangle of swirling tendrils. These tall forms begin as flattened triangular forms emerging from the base of the candelabrum, less than 1/2” thick. As they rise, the apex of the triangle is stretched upwards and the shape grows thinner and rounder until it becomes a slender rod topped by a candle cup and drip pan. Two more candle cups and drip pans perch on tendrils emerging from the twining growth: one to the outside of the tall rod several inches above the base and the other to the inside of that central rod, about halfway to the top. A few ginkgo leaves sprout from a curved shoot to the inside of the lowest candle cup. As in the low horizontal candelabrum, the main components are dark grey with antique gold accents in the ginkgo leaves and saucer.

All three pieces rest upon low walnut bases. The warm tones of the wood echo the warm notes of the gold accents. The gold saucers and leaves have a grayish patina so that the contrast between the two metals is muted. The metal itself has a hammered texture, tangible evidence of the artists’ tools.