Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mother's Markets - March 3 & 17

Come see the show, and do a little shopping at the same time!

Patrons who attend the March 3 or March 17 shows (2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.) will have a chance to browse our Mother's Market, located adjacent to Merrimack Hall's theatre! Enter for chances to win fabulous prizes from local stores and boutiques. Patrons can make a donation to Merrimack Hall's Johnny Stallings Arts Program for individuals with special needs. Every donation gives you a chance to win prizes, offered by every participating business!

Participating Businesses
Book Vendors
Costco Wholesale
Deep Roots of Alabama
Dogwood Manor Bed & Breakfast
Dove Chocolatiers
Huntsville Athletic Club
Hot Yoga of Huntsville
In Bloom
Juice Plus
The Little Gym
Loletta's Jewelry Store
Mary Kay Cosmetics - Kristi Huskey
Miche Bags
Nothing Bundt Cakes
Radiant Day Spa
Rocket City Mom
Rodan & Fields Skincare
Simply Fun Games
Tennessee Valley Moms
U.S. Space & Rocket Center
Vintage Couture

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Merrimack Mommy Chronicles: I Dream of COSTCO Queens

I’ve had dreams about becoming a COSTCO Queen. I’m a third generation COSTCO descendant but just can’t wrap my brain around going up and down the aisles, buying 87 of anything at a time. Is that horrible?

And for all of you coupon clippers trying to get a deal – it’s just so much easier (to me, of course) to just buy what I need when I need it. Because again, who wants 112 bottles of barbecue sauce if you only barbecue once a year?

And yes, I’ve heard of the hundreds of dollars you can save by taking out your crown and owning up to your “Queen” status at COSTCO, but really, who has room for the 52 mustard bottles, 200 mini quiches, 47 Heinz bottles, 27 Dawn dishwashing detergent bottles, 43 boxes of Kleenex, and 82 mini hand sanitizers plus your regular groceries? I would feel cluttered, feel like I needed to clean, and end up accidentally throwing half of my COSTCO shrine away!

But for all of you COSTCO Queens out there, Motherhood the Musical is in agreement with you, (not me) as they have dedicated an entire segment of the musical to you, the COSTCO Queen. So, you don’t want to miss it!

Check out this sneak peak below and please, when you see me here at Merrimack or at the show, I know it’s possible that I have embarrassed generations of COSTCO Queen descendants. But please, don’t throw anything at me. I really dream of being a COSTCO Queen, I really do. Maybe one day, but until then, don’t forget to purchase your Motherhood tickets by visiting www.merrimackhall.com!


Monday, February 20, 2012

The Merrimack Mommy Chronicles: Give And It Shall Be Given

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day last week!

And in case you didn't ... do something awesome for yourself this week. Get a manicure, a pedicure, a massage – do something to love on yourself!

According to a recent Chicago study, 77% of moms don’t take care of themselves. That’s huge Here's an excerpt from that study - the Suave Motherhood vs. Womanhood Report. It reveals that about one-third of moms believe that being a mother and a woman actually conflict.

Furthermore, one in four moms (23 percent) can't remember the last time they did something that made them feel like a woman -- while 42 percent report it was more than a month ago.

More evidence that moms' needs are low on the list:
- Although 67 percent of moms would rather get their pre-baby body back than their pre-baby sex life, exercise opportunities are tough to come by. After shopping for themselves, exercise is the second most desired activity to pursue during coveted "me" time.

- 66 percent admit they sometimes don't have enough time to take a shower or bath

- Some 80 percent have gone weeks or months without a haircut (even though they felt they needed one)

- Over half (53 percent) say that they've forgotten to brush their teeth in the morning.

And I know we sometimes are struggling between being a good mom, fulfilling our dreams, meeting career objectives, and a wife, a volunteer, but underneath all of those titles, lies you – the real you. I often struggle with this as well. As a mission driven individual, I spend a lot of time helping others, but often neglect myself. After I’ve given on my job, in ministry, to my husband, and my children, I’ve often got nothing left for me.

So, ladies, let’s take some time to smell the roses, catch up on some good reading, and relax, breathe, exhale, and meditate. You’ll be glad you did! You and I both know that we are better givers when we’ve first given to ourselves.

P.S. Don't forget to purchase your Motherhood Tickets today by calling 256.534.6455 or online at www.merrimackhall.com/motherhood.html. Tickets are going fast! Tickets as low as $37! We want to see you there!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Men Behind the Official Blues Brothers Revue

Kieron and Wayne with Dan Aykroyd

Wondering about the men behind the music of The Official Blues Brothers Revue? Read on to learn more about the stars, Kieron Lafferty and Wayne Catania! Plus, another fun fact - the new musical director of the show is none other than Paul Shaffer, David Letterman's sidekick!

Wayne Catania (Jake Blues) began his entertainment career in the mid 1970s as a drummer and vocalist touring rock and R&B bands including the international sensation, The Stampeders. Touring throughout Canada, Wayne gradually established the compelling stage persona that is now his trademark. Writing and recording for movie soundtracks — most notably for Jim Carrey’s first movie All in Good Taste — established Wayne as a popular writer, drummer and vocalist. Besides establishing a successful music career, Wayne became a member of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) and has been cast in numerous acting roles including Tia Carera’s Relic Hunter, Billie Ray Cyrus’ Doc and a principal role in 15 Minute Death which won a Canadian Golden Sheaf Award. After being hand-picked to play Jake Blues by Dan Aykroyd and the John Belushi Estate, Wayne found a natural fit. He is now on the writing team with Judy Belushi Pisano, Anne Beatts (Saturday Night Live) and stage partner Kieron Lafferty writing a TV show based on the continuing adventures of Jake and Elwood.

Kieron Lafferty (Elwood Blues) was influenced by sneaking into his father's nightclub, The Electric Circus, where he witnessed great acts like Sam & Dave, Credence Clearwater Revival and The Doors. He spent his youth playing the blues, R&B and jazz circuits and doing session work. In the ’90s, Kieron released his own CDs, including the critically praised “Sensible Religion” and “Seven Sisters.” He performed in several independent art films including the sci-fi musical Synchronicity for which he and brother Sean contributed the songs and musical score. Kieron made his debut as Elwood Blues in 1998 in the award winning Las Vegas show Legends in Concert. Film producer Paul Jay (Hitman Hart, Return to Kandahar) cast Kieron as himself in the A&E docudrama “Lost in Las Vegas” for which he and Eric Schenkman (Spin Doctors) wrote the musical score. Besides his stage work, Kieron puts his versatile vocal abilities to work in commercials, narration and animation and he is now co-writing the pilot for an action/comedy/musical TV show based on continuing adventures of Jake & Elwood with Judy Belushi Pisano, Anne Beatts (SNL) and Wayne Catania.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tune Up Your Soul with Some Blues

Although this rainy, cold weather can trigger some winter time blues, Merrimack Hall has a cure for that gloomy doom. Kick off those galoshes, and relive the Blues Brothers adventure this week with Jake and Elwood in The Official Blues Brothers Revue!

In the hit movie, The Blues Brothers, John Belushi, who plays Jake, and Dan Aykroyd, who plays Elwood, find a redeeming story through rockin' rhythm and paying off their debts. This revue that will be at Merrimack Hall this weekend is actually sanctioned by Aykroyd and the Belushi Estate. You can't get much closer to the sweet and soulful bromance than this performance.

Tickets are $37 Seniors | $40 Adults | $35 Groups
Get your tickets at http://www.merrimackhall.com/ or
call 256.534.6455.

Coming this weekend, February 17-19, 2012.
Friday Performance: 7:30 p.m.
Saturday Performances: 5 p.m. & 9 p.m.
Sunday Performance: 2 p.m.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jello Shot Recipes from Dixie Longate!

Hey Hookers! In honor of our favorite Tupperware lady's appearances this week, Dixie Longate is passing along her favorite Jello shot recipes to our patrons!

All of these, of course, can be transported in your handy Tupperware Jello shot caddy! Also known as the cake caddy, this is just one of the many "alternate" uses for Tupperware Dixie has introducted us to!

And don't forget - we know a lot of people get confused, but YES, this is a REAL, live Tupperware party onstage at Merrimack Hall!

(Psst ... don't forget to purchase your tickets. Some of the performances are already close to selling out!)

Dixie's Jello Shot Recipes!

The Jolly Rancher
1 package of watermelon Jello
1 cup of boiling water
1/2 cup of sour apple schnapps
1/2 cup of Watermelon Vodka (can substitute apple)

Ahoy Matey!
1 package of orange Jello
1 cup boiling water
1 cup of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum

The Merrimack Mommy Chronicles: The Melting Pot

In honor of Black History month, I would be remiss if I didn’t share this hilarious story that is a “staple” in our family.

I was in the 3rd grade, right here in Huntsville at Jones Valley Elementary. I even remember my teacher’s name: Mrs. Smith. She was doing such a phenomenal job with explaining Black History month to us during the month of February. She showed compelling videos about slavery and about phenomenal African American men and women who paved the way for so many African Americans today.

Mrs. Smith would go on and on, not just about the bravery and triumph of people such as Harriet Tubman or Frederick Douglass, but about other African Americans who did some pretty awesome things! Sidney Poitier was the first African American to win an Oscar, Marian Anderson was the first African American to become a part of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and George Washington Carver invented the peanut!

I was in utter amazement. Being the only African American student in the class, my eyes lit up with all kinds of stamps of self-identification and self-esteem boosters. Mrs. Smith ended the discussion one day by saying, “Kristen, if you have anything that you would like to share, or any history that would be valuable to the classroom, please feel free to share it or even bring it in.” I thought to myself for a moment. And then, I had the best idea ever (or so I thought). I raised my hand, waving it back in forth in the air until I caught the eye of Mrs. Smith. “Yes, Kristen”, Mrs. Smith said. “My grandmother was a slave! I will ask her if she will come in and talk to the class!” I yelled, with confidence. Mrs. Smith replied, “Well, Kristen, that is outstanding. We would love to have her!”

My mom came to pick me up from school that day. I got in the car, excitement bubbling over, to the point where she can see it. She said (as she always did), “Hey baby, how was your day?” “Awesome!” I said, “I’m going to ask grandmommy to come and speak to our class for Black History. With her being a slave, and all ... I mean I’m the only one in the whole entire class with a grandmother who was a slave!”

My mother exploded into uncontrollable laughter. She was laughing so hard that she had to pull over the car. I didn’t understand. I’m trying to get her attention: “Mommy … mommy … mommy, why are you laughing?” She doesn’t stop for one breath. Tears are streaming down her face as we are parked on the side of the road.

I guess it didn’t dawn on me that since my grandmother was born in 1922 and slavery ended in 1860, that there would be no possible way for my grandmother to be a slave. My mother would later inform me, (after she stopped laughing) that my grandmother’s mother was half Portugese, one quarter Indian, and one quarter African. Her husband was half Indian and half black. Because back in those days if you had what they considered a “drop” of black blood in you, you would be considered black, even if you were primarily another race. So while some of our history experienced slavery, some didn’t. Who would’ve thought?

Huge shout out to all of the “melting pot” Americans whose heritage is rich in many different cultures. And a huge shout out to all of the African Americans that continue to make history each and every day!

P.S. Get your Motherhood tickets today! Visit www.merrimackhall.com for more information or call me at 256.534.6455.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Give it up for A.G.D.!


If you are reading this blog, you probably foster the knowledge that Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3). A nonprofit is a charitable organization that is tax-exempt and exists to serve the public through a variety of different ways. In this decade, and even past millenium, nonprofits have popped up around Huntsville as well as around the Heart of Dixie - Alabama. Several nonprofits have made their impact for over a few centuries! The Alabama Association of Nonprofits is responsible for bringing many of these nonprofits together for one day in support of these organizations, ALABAMA GIVES DAY.

Starting at midnight tonight, February 2, 2012, the 24-hour online marathon of giving will begin! Viewers, loyal supporters, nonprofit newcomers, passionate philanthropists, curious on-lookers, and worldwide websurfers will be able to browse through the profiles of all the participating Alabama nonprofits. Think of it as a catalog of statewide charities with an easy "Donate Here" button conveniently located next to each organization's information.

Check out our profile here, and get ready to GIVE IT UP for Alabama Gives Day!
Not sure if donating is for you, check out these 10 tips for donating your money.

Who is Brownie Wise?

In honor of our favorite Tupperware lady, Dixie Longate, appearing here next week, here's a history of Tupperware Parties and their inventor, Brownie Wise! Don't forget to reserve your tickets - tickets are selling fast!

Who started Tupperware Parties?

Tupperware pioneered the direct marketing strategy made famous by the Tupperware party. Brownie Wise (1913-1992), a former sales representative of Stanley Home Products, developed the strategy. During the early 1950s, Tupperware's sales and popularity exploded, thanks in large part to Wise's influence among women who sold Tupperware, and some of the famous "jubilees" celebrating the success of Tupperware ladies at lavish and outlandishly themed parties.

Brownie Wise (May 25, 1913 – September 24, 1992) was a pioneering American saleswoman largely responsible for the success of Tupperware through her development of the "party plan" system of marketing.

A former sales representative for Stanley Home Products, Wise found Tupperware to be a product with broad appeal and soon began selling it at home parties. In 1950 she moved to Florida and created a social networking marketing system through dealers and sellers that quickly outsold Tupperware's store sales. This caught the attention of E
arl Tupper, Tupperware inventor, who invited her to be vice president of Tupperware Home Parties in 1951. She insisted that he market his products exclusively through party plans, where women invited friends and neighbors to a combination social event/sales presentation.

Wise ran the sales division, Tupperware Home Parties, Inc, from Kissimmee, Florida and had the freedom to implement her marketing strategies. Her methods were extremely successful. Her ability to tap into popular culture, the desire for happiness helped recruit thousands of women into a career at a time when a woman's role was conventionally tied to the home. Her noted TV appearances, magazine
and newspaper articles made her a household name. In 1954 she became the first woman to appear on the cover of Business Week.

Wise invented much of the corporate culture of Tupperware and, by extension, other party-plan marketing organizations. She was especially keen on incentives, one of the chief ones being trips to Florida to the annual 'Jubilee' at company's sales headquarters for motivational meetings and socializing with other successful representatives. Top sellers would be presented with exotic gifts such as speedboats, trips and appliances carefully planned in the company of their husbands. She created idioms and rituals such as pilgrimage to a specially designed well in the Tupperware grounds for sellers to cast their wishes, "Brownie Wings" and costumed graduation ceremonies. Dealers would go on treasure hunts where prizes would be buried in the ground. Extravagant shows, parties and motivational talks comprised the four day convention.

Wise was presented to the company's representatives as something of an idealized 1950s woman. Her marketing skill in leveraging the social networking model and motivating thousands of women to come together in their homes to sell Tupperware was unrivaled. The essential liberation of many women through earning their own salary in the context of male-driven post-World War II, pre-feminist culture of the 1950s created many challenges. Her own relationship with Earl Tupper was in constant flux. Soon the private face of Tupper and the public one eventually headed towards irreconcilable differences as Wise's success turned her into a celebrity. In 1958 Tupper forced Wise out. Soon after every reference to her was removed from company literature; it was as if she had never existed. She owned no stock and left with one year's salary.

Wise attempted to form her own party-plan cosmetics company, Cinderella, but was unsuccessful; after this she largely faded from view and died in relative obscurity in 1992.Soon after he parted ways with Wise, Tupper sold the Tupperware organization to Dart Industries for US$16 million.