The Botany of Brews, and the witches and warlocks who make them

October is known worldwide for being all about beer. I’m not a big chugger, so I celebrate by taking brewery tours and botany classes.

The Great Experimenters

October is the month of beer festivals. Inspired by the season, my Beer Experimenter husband, Mike, has declared October the Month of Beer. Although I’m no beer aficionado  I am an experimenter, so I have been tagging along to learn with him.

Learning about the botany of beer (and much more)

Our first stop on this frothy tour was a class at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix called Brewing and Botany. It was taught by award-winning home brewer, Danny Foley. This class helped our knowledge of beer to expand from novice to true hobbyist. We learned the underpinnings for the variety of beers–why stouts have a coffee-like flavor, why IPAs are so bitter (it all has to do with the sweetness or roast of malts and the bitterness of citrusy hops). We learned a bit about the history of beer and how the different varieties got their starts (different…

View original post 785 more words

“Botanica” by Momix articulates Nature through dance, music, and lighting

The plant strains its whole being in one single plan; to escape above ground from the fatality below; to elude and transgress the dark and weighty law, to free itself, to break the narrow sphere, to invent or invoke wings, to escape as far as possible, to conquer the space wherein fate encloses it, to approach another kingdom, to enter a moving, animated world.

~ Maurice Maeterlinck, “The Intelligence of Flowers”

The quote above summarizes the show “Botanica” by Momix, a company of “dancer-illusionists” who, with their bodies, movements, lighting and music, express the beauty of Nature and leave the audience breathless.

During the show on Friday night at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona, audience members sat on the edge of their seats–in some cases, literally–as dancers posed, rolled, hopped, twirled, and gyrated around a colorful, constantly changing stage. It was a show meant to represent the seasons and, with everything from spinning sunflowers to hopping hornets to shivering trees, it did just that. It’s no wonder this company of dancers, under the direction of Moses Pendleton, has such distinguished partners as the Desert Botanical Garden and Ballet Arizona.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In the flood that happens when a group of people try to exit a building civilly at once, the comments most overheard were, “That was amazing.” “I’ve never seen anything like it.” “Stunning!” Even the children in the audience–and there were surprisingly many–were quiet throughout and did not complain about the lack of intermission for this 90 minute show.

For those not in the Phoenix area, fear not. In April, they will be making their way to Pennsylvania, Las Vegas, New Jersey, California, and Nebraska after returning from a tour in Italy. For more information about the show and their calendar, go to their website.