Michelle Kei Ishuu

By Norman K. Plummer

By Norman K. Plummer

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Michelle Kei Ishuu

By Norman K. Plummer

By Norman K. Plummer

Michelle Kei Ishuu

By Abigail Cuevas

By Abigail Cuevas

Michelle Kei Ishuu

By Abigail Cuevas

By Abigail Cuevas

Why any company would be lucky to hire a Performing Artist

By:
Robert Aaron Taylor &
Michelle Kei Ishuu Taylor


We’re some of the most determined people you’ll ever meet
Artists are accustomed to rejection. We put ourselves out there every day in an attempt to get gigs. That’s how we pay the bills. We are the product we’re selling, so every rejection is personal. Yet we persevere! We get back on the horse and keep trying until we get a “yes” and then we go out and try some more.

We’re highly educated
Performing artists are Renaissance (Wo)Men. In order to understand and communicate the plights of the characters we play on stage, we must do copious amounts of research on the various details of many cultures and periods in history. We often speak multiple languages. We build our own websites and do our own taxes. We read… a LOT! Usually it’s literature but we also keep up with current events. We like to stay on top of trends and new technologies and we talk to each other about ways we might adapt them to improve our performances.

We value tradition, but embrace innovation
Most artistic traditions have stood the test of time for centuries, but that’s no excuse to let things stagnate. We happily embace innovations that work in harmony with and improve the quality of our performance. Every performer is on at least one social media platform and we all have videos that we’ve uploaded to the web. If we can reach a broader audience by using an iPad as a prop instead of a quill and parchment, then why not use the iPad?

Creativity is our business
Thinking outside the box comes naturally to us. No artist is ever satisfied with the explanation, “because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” If there’s a way to improve a concept or process, we’ll find it. Oftentimes, the moment of inspiration hits us when we’re in front of an audience and we’re able to seamlessly adapt it into our well-rehearsed performance. Your colleagues think you’re a genius and those in charge make it a permanent part of the show. It’s just another day at the office for us creative types.

We work well under pressure
You know that horrible feeling you get right before you step out to talk to a big group of people? It’s like your stomach is turning summersaults and there’s a voice inside your head screaming at you to run away as fast as possible. Well, that’s where we artists shine! We’ve learned to put that nervous energy to good use. Pressure is just another part of the process, and it helps us do some of our most inspiring work.

We thrive in the spotlight, but don’t pull focus when it’s someone else’s time to shine
A good performer knows how to own a room. When we turn it on, you just can’t look away. Luckily, we have an intensity adjustment for our charisma, so when it’s a colleague’s turn to take center stage we can fade gracefully into the background. We’re still there to give them our full support because this is, after all, a team effort. We all have to cross the finish line together.

We save the drama for the stage
Most people think that artists are moody and dramatic all the time, but that’s just not true. We get our fill of death, deception and melodrama on the stage. We don’t need any of that in our daily lives. You’d be hard-pressed to spot an incognito performing artist out in public. “Why is that?” you ask. It’s because we’re just normal, witty, unpretentious people who like having fun with friends and who do our best to have a positive impact on the world. We portray villains and their helpless victims too often to not want to be a force for good in our own communities. If you give us a chance to show you what we can do, you’ll truly understand why performing artists make the best employees!

This list is by no means exhaustive. Have something to add? Leave it in the comments section below.

About the Authors:

MKIStatueSquareCrop

Michelle Kei Ishuu Taylor, a charismatic leading lady on the stage and in the office, is in great demand for her contagious positivity and her ability to organize, energize and mobilize. If you’re looking for someone to help reinvigorate a stagnant work environment, you can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Robert Aaron Taylor is a Performer and Business Owner who is transitioning into the corporate world. A creative and confident Problem Solver and Strategist, he offers a natural ability to dive deep and craft innovative solutions to complex problems. Connect with him on LinkedIn or email him at robertaarontaylor@gmail.com .

Go Purple!! #PaintItPurple

Around the world March 8th was International Women’s Day.  In the United States the whole month is Women’s History Month!!

Purple Butterfly and Flowers

Birthday Flowers Photo by Michelle Kei Ishuu

As the International Women’s Day website explains:
“From 1908, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in Great Britain adopted the color scheme of purple, white and green to symbolize the plight of the Suffragettes. Purple symbolized justice and dignity—two values strongly associated with women’s equality. The three colors were used for banners, flags, rosettes and badges to show solidarity.” #PaintItPurple, #MakeItHappen, #IWD2015, #internationalwomensday.

In commemoration of International Women’s Day, Emma Watson, United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador and representative of the organization’s HeForShe Campaign, a movement that calls for both genders to advocate for equal rights, participated in a Q&A with the Facebook office in London to stress, how vital it is for both women and men to build a unified movement in order to fight for gender equality. 

Emma Watson highlighted numerous issues facing female gender worldwide, including violence, wage discrimination and stringent gender roles that are ingrained into society.  Also stating that these roles are also imposed on the male gender, and addressing them is an important step toward creating a world in which both genders are treated as equals.  

Getty Images

Getty Images

“It’s not about men saving women, and I think that’s a misunderstanding. Women are already in the club. We’re already in the club because it’s our movement. It’s not a men’s club. It’s an equality club for both genders.”

“We’re never, ever, ever going to be able to fly as high unless we’re both in support of each other.” 

“If you stand for equality, then you’re a feminist. Sorry to tell you, you’re a feminist.”  

HeForShe Campaign is a solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other half of humanity, for the benefit of all. A Solidarity Movement for Gender Equality.

St Gallen, Switzerland: Abbey of St Gallen Cathedral and Library

The monastery of St. Gallen was the heart city by the same name in the valley near Lake Constance. As the story goes, in the year 612, an Irish monk name Gallus, stumbled and fell at the edge of the Steinach River. He saw a bear eyeing him, hungrily. He offered the bear some of his bread and, in return, the bear brought him a log to help him build a shelter.

Many churches in Switzerland are depressingly plain, thanks to the Protestant reformation, but the Cathedral at St Gallen, built between 1755 and 1766, shines as a rare example of late Baroque architecture.

The high nave is opulently painted and adorned with elaborate stucco reliefs. The rich painting of the dome portrays Paradise and the eight Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount. The tomb of St Gallus, containing a piece of his skull, is in the east crypt. Look for the seated figure of St Gallus, always seen holding his bear.

Library of the Abbey of Saint Gallen

Library of the Abbey of Saint Gallen

Even more ornate in style and of perhaps more historical importance is the Abbey Library, one of the oldest and most stunningly beautiful in the world. Located in the west wing of the former monastery, the library was built between 1758 and 1767 to house the already priceless collection of manuscripts from the early and later middle ages. In addition to the religious manuscripts are documents from the Renaissance and later from the history of arts, music, literature and medicine. Containing 150,000 volumes the library still serves as a scientific and religious research center, but for tourists the main attraction of the library is its elaborate, richly molded main room, one of the most beautiful rococo interiors in Switzerland and perhaps the world.

An inscription in Greek over the entrance reads “Medicine of the Soul”. A couple of curious attractions in the library are a 7th Century B.C. Egyptian mummy, in her wooden sarcophagus, and a giant astronomical globe, reconstructed from an earlier one (at a cost of over a million francs). Manuscripts on display change from time to time, among them an original of the legends of the Nibelungen, which inspired the ring fantasies of both Richard Wagner and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Abbey of St Gallen Cathedral 5

Abbey of St Gallen

 

 

The Beautiful world of Teufen, Switzerland

The Teufen municipal Coat of Arms.

The Teufen municipal Coat of Arms.

Teufen is a municipality in the canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden in Switzerland.

Teufen was first mentioned in 1272. By 1300 the place consisted of only five farms. In 1525 the assembly ruled that each parish could decide whether or not to remain Catholic. This led to the division of Appenzell in 1597.

In 1841 Teufen offered their new school building as a present to attract the government of the canton. The assembly refused the present.

Weaving was important for Teufen and the Swiss economy. Around 1820 a new loom was invented in Teufen, allowing embroidery in one go. This led to a large boom in the embroidery industry, particularly between 1880 and 1890.

Switzerland has the best maintained hiking trails.  It is very easy to do a daily hike around the neighborhood and farms.

Day hiking in Switzerland after the first snow = muddy.  Walking through the cow pastures = interesting smells.  View of the Alps = priceless

Day hiking in Switzerland after the first snow = muddy. Walking through the cow pastures = interesting smells. View of the Alps = priceless

Birthday in Vienna, Austria

Had the wonderful birthday in Vienna Austria, with my love.  We even continued my favorite birthday tradition.  An art museum and out for a bite to eat.  This year we got to go to the Kunst Historisches Museum in Vienna.  Next Cafe Central for cake and a Melange.  Finally ending with the Rathaus Christkindlmarkt.  Great day for both of us.

Vienna, Austria

Nothing puts you in the mood for the coming Holiday season like the beautiful Christkindlmarkts in Vienna.  It is so amazing to be wandering the local streets in the cold, with a warm mug of Glühwein, as you look at all the beautiful homemade or handmade gifts.

Europe Again!!

Arrival

Arrival

An eventful first week.

It’s been just over a week, and so much has happened already!

The weather has been quite nice in Switzerland, and I have had plenty of time to get out and enjoy.

I have met some of the local musical community by attending a couple of rehearsals of the St. Gallen Choir. And I have made a few new friends while getting out and getting to know the local arts scene.

Auditions are looming in the near future here in Europe.  So keeping focused and diligent with my rehearsal process is a must, but I must say the view around me is like, “Heidi-land”.  Last night I enjoyed my first snow of the season.  I guess this happens when you are so close to the Alps.

Success at the Kennedy Center for Noli Me Tángere

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Green Room in the Eisenhower Theater

After an exciting week of technical and dress rehearsals at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., this beautiful group of people – singers, instrumentalists, technical crew, producers,  MAFFAA, and the exceedingly capable Union Crews of the Kennedy Center –  came together to make two solid, moving, amazing performances in the Einsenhower Theater.  Noli Me Tángere, the novel by the Philippine national hero, Jose Rizal, was set to music by the composer, Felipe Padilla de Leon. It is a very powerful story that lends itself very naturally to the operatic stage. We had such wonderfully receptive audiences with a large turnout by the Filipino community.

I will miss these wonderful people who have become like a family to me. We had great times on the stage and off. We made something very exciting and I really hope that we get the chance to do it again very soon. This is a work of art that deserves more attention, and I hope that this successful run in our National Theater is only the beginning!

We even had a wonderful review in the Washington Post.

Watch and listen to us in this video review of the Opera from a Philippine news channel from the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

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My character was Doña Victorina de los Reyes de Espadaña, commonly known as Doña Victorina, is an ambitious Filipina who classifies herself as a Spanish. She also mimics Spanish ladies by putting on heavy make-up and combining European fashion with Philippine styles. The novel narrates Doña Victorina’s younger days: she had lots of admirers, but she did not choose any of them because nobody was a Spaniard. Later on, she met and married Don Tiburcio de Espadaña, an official of the customs bureau.  However, their marriage was childless.

Her husband assumes the title of medical doctor even though he never attended medical school; using fake documents and certificates, Tiburcio practices illegal medicine. Tiburcio’s usage of the title Dr. consequently makes Victorina assume the title Dra. (doctora, female doctor).  Apparently, she uses the whole name Doña Victorina de los Reyes de de Espadaña, with double de to emphasize her marriage surname.  She seems to feel that this awkward titling makes her more “sophisticated.”

Enjoy to seeing a Virtual Tour of the Einsenhower Theater.

More News: Noli Me Tangere

 

 From the Washington Post :

‘Noli Me Tangere’ Filipino opera will tell moving tale at Kennedy Center

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NEWS: Next Up on My Schedule: “Noli Me Tangere: The Opera”

Noli Opera posterOpera: “Noli Me Tangere” by Felipe De Leon and Guillermo Tolentino

Role: Doña Victorina

Where: Eisenhower Theater, Kennedy Center in Washington, DC

When: August 8 and 9, 2014

“Noli Me Tangere: The Opera,” a landmark adaptation of the Jose Rizal novel by two Philippine National Artists, composer Felipe de Leon and Guillermo Tolentino who wrote the libretto.

The opera will be sung in the Philippine national language, Filipino, with English subtitles.

Description:  A compelling novel about Love, Betrayal, Oppression, Vengeance, and Hope. An adoring love story set against a repulsive political backdrop of tyranny, torture and murder.

The musical presentation, an opera in three acts, follows the story of Juan Crisostomo Ibarra, who returns to the Philippines after pursuing scholarly studies in Europe. He plans to open up a school and marry Maria Clara, his betrothed. However, parish priest Padre Damaso, the archenemy of the Ibarras, is out to hinder Crisostomo’s plans, which creates “a dramatic storyline of forbidden love, betrayal and revenge.””Noli Me Tangere” (Touch Me Not) depicts the abuses suffered by the native Indios at the hands of Spanish tyrants.  The opera paints us a clear picture of the so called “social cancer” that illustrates the rotten system of governance, the illicit ways of the church and the unfavorable trade of the privilege class.
More Information can be found:

Official Email : nolimetangeretheopera@gmail.com
Facebook : Noli Me Tangere Opera Manila
Twitter : @nolioperamanila
Instagram : nolimetangereopera
Youtube : Noli Me Tangere Opera

 

Get your tickets here at the Kennedy Center: http://www.kennedy-center.org/events/?event=ROXCM

Inspiring Composer Quotes, Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein

Marian Anderson, Opera Singer

Paris France

Paris France

 

Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson: “It is easy to look back, self-indulgently, feeling pleasantly sorry for oneself and saying I didn’t have this and I didn’t have that. But it is only the grown woman regretting the hardships of a little girl who never thought they were hardships at all. She had the things that really mattered.” “A singer starts by having his instrument as a gift from God . . . when you have been given something in a moment of grace, it is sacrilegious to be greedy.” “When I sing, I don’t want them to see that my face is black. I don’t want them to see that my face is white. I want them to see my soul. And that is colorless.”

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Opera Matters = The Arts DO Matter to our Humanity!

Hello Everyone,

Save San Diego Opera

Save San Diego Opera

As someone who worked for San Diego Opera and lived in San Diego for 5 years, I am San Diego Opera.  I can’t be there to help campaign to SAVE my beloved company, but I can implore you to help.  I love the community, the city, its people and its Opera.  Please sign the petitions, view the videos, visit the websites, Facebook page, and Twitter and help spread the word to all your friends; Even if you have never been to San Diego or even seen an Opera.  If we can help prevent the unnecessary closure of one Giant opera company, we can send a message to the WORLD that “Opera Matters = The Arts DO Matter to our Humanity, Economy and as a Culture!”

View here to see my wonderful Opera family fighting to save their livelihood:

Sign the Petitions here:  (And NO you will not be asked for ANYTHING else)

SAVE San Diego Opera Petition:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/827/516/648/save-san-diego-opera/

General Director/Artist Director, It’s time to retire with “DIGNITY” Petition:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/628/921/897/resign-with-dignity-mr-campbell/?cid=headerClick#sign

For Details and Up to Date Information:

https://www.facebook.com/savesandiegoopera

http://savesandiegoopera.org/

We can’t stop now! And every little bit can help.   Whether it’s a signature on a petition, or writing a letter to SD Opera or San Diego City Officials from all around the world or spreading the word to all your friends. When we all unite to say, “No, this is not right! We must Fight to SAVE this!” We can make a huge impact.  Thank you.

With my Sincerest Gratitude,

Michelle Kei Ishuu

San Diego Opera Ensemble, Soloist, and Chorus Member

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Inspiring Composer Quotes, Bela Bartok

Inspiring Composer Quotes

Inspiring Composer Quotes, Gustav Holst

Inspirational Quote from Composers

Please Sign the Petition to SAVE San Diego Opera Today!

As you may know, the board of San Diego Opera recently voted to close the company at the end of this season.  This is despite the fact that the company is in the black financially.  This closure makes no sense.  The company is not out of money and is certainly not in danger of bankruptcy, so why throw in the towel?

San Diego Opera is one of San Diego’s top three arts organizations, and is one of the top ten opera companies in the U.S.  Local, national, and even international figures [critics, artists, producers, etc] are decrying this action.

They are trying to get the Board to reverse their vote, but time is of the essence [the end of the season is just two weeks away].  Please lend your support by taking a few minutes right now to sign the Petition to Save San Diego Opera.  We all deserve to enjoy Art in all it’s magnificent forms, be it Opera, Ballet, Art, Symphony or Poetry.

And NO, you won’t be asked to donate ANY money.

They also have a new Facebook group that I invite you to join, called Save San Diego Opera.

Save SDOpera

 

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Why We Artists Do What We Do

San Diego Opera, Aida 2008

San Diego Opera, Aida 2008

Written by David Ackert, LA Times:

“Singers and Musicians are some of the most driven, courageous people on the face of the earth. They deal with more day-to-day rejection in one year than most people do in a lifetime. Every day, they face the financial challenge of living a freelance lifestyle, the disrespect of people who think they should get real jobs, and their own fear that they’ll never work again. Every day, they have to ignore the possibility that the vision they have dedicated their lives to is a pipe dream.
Why?
Because musicians and singers are willing to give their entire lives to a moment – to that melody, that lyric, that chord, or that interpretation that will stir the audience’s soul. Singers and Musicians are beings who have tasted life’s nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another’s heart. In that instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever be. And in their own hearts, they know that to dedicate oneself to that moment is worth a thousand lifetimes.”
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The Death of a Giant; San Diego Opera Closing

2014 San Diego Opera Season

2014 San Diego Opera Season

Last night I heard the news from all my friends at San Diego Opera.  I was so stunned and shocked to hear it.  I could not believe what I was reading on Facebook.  Every one of my dear friends and past co-workers were stating the same sad and shocking news, that after 49 years San Diego Opera will permanently turn off the lights on its Grand Operatic stage.

In my disbelief, I started to scour the internet for news reports, texting all my dear friends in San Diego and just hunting for an explanation or for a glimmer of hope.  Maybe this is a ploy to get people to understand how important the Operatic Art form is to the community and we need to help out.  Maybe it really is the death of an “A” house in the USA.   Maybe this is a really bad joke being played out.  But no… it’s a statement of what is happening all around us here in the USA.  An article in the NY Times on the closing of the company said, “Opera companies cannot survive on ticket revenues alone; in the United States they rely on philanthropy, and in Europe they often receive large subsidies from government.”

After being a part of this wonderful company for 4 years, I can say I am brought to tears at this news.  All the amazing talent in San Diego gathering together to make the most amazing form of art is going to have to disband – to cease creating moving performances for the people of southern California.  In a statement from the General Director of the company, Ian Campbell, he said “Although it is a sad day for San Diego culturally, we have to thank everyone who supported us for nearly 50 years. It is better to go out with dignity, on a high note with heads held high than to slip into the night, leaving creditors and community in the lurch.”

Besides the artistic void, which may not be immediately noticed by everyone in the community, there’s the financial ripple effect which won’t be fully felt for some time – it begins with the lost wages of hundreds of employees, musicians and production staff. Then there’s the loss of revenue for the CivicCenter, parking services, restaurants, hotels and other tourism revenue.

I am so sad that another beautiful company is leaving the lime light.

Good-bye San Diego Opera, we will always love you and miss you.

San Diego Opera Don Quixote

San Diego Opera Don Quixote

The Virtual Vienna State Opera Tour

An interactive 360° panorama tour gives visitors a unique look at the Vienna State Opera. A virtual visit to one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world. Have you ever toured the flies or taken a look below stage? These are just two of the highlights on the virtual tour of the Vienna State Opera, which invites you to go on a 360° expedition, from the majestic grand staircase to backstage to the roof of the Opera House…

Vienna State Opera Panorama Tour

The Battle Between Technology and Performances

How might we deal with this current problem? What do I mean? Cell phones. Which nowadays includes cameras, video cameras, Instagram, gaming, web surfing, texting, tweeting, and of course – the worst – your annoying ring tones.

It has become such a common problem in every performance venue – live or film.  How do we teach users of this great new technology the proper etiquette for entertainment?

Even though all entertainment venues, such as movie theaters and concert halls, politely request patrons to silence or just turn them off for 2 hours of their lives, some people either don’t know how or don’t have the discipline not to touch the darn thing while the show is happening.

It amazes and astonishes me when I’m at some movie or performance venue and I see bright lights illuminating people’s faces as a show is happening. At that moment, you have just interrupted my paid privilege to be “in the moment” of the show.  You’ve replaced it with a mental image of me taking your phone and shoving it somewhere where I won’t see its glow or hear it ringing anymore!  I don’t think that your world is going to end if you miss that message. Unless you’re an on-call cardiologist or obstetrician/midwife, it CAN wait until after the show!

I know that some people, particularly seniors who have recently upgraded their phones, don’t actually know how to operate their device. No one took the time to show them how to silence, much less turn off, their new handheld computer. In some instances, they may not even HEAR it ringing, even when everyone else in the concert does. So, perhaps we can get device manufacturers like Apple, Samsung and Nokia to sponsor 10-second videos that remind patrons to silence/turn off their devices and show them how to do it. In venues where video isn’t an option, perhaps the audio announcement could encourage patrons to ask a “neighbor”, who would be only to happy to help in order to avoid an interruption during the show.

This issue recently received national attention thanks to an annoyed movie patron in Florida with an anger management problem. After personally confronting another patron about texting in the theater, they went out to their car to get their handgun, returned to the theater, confronted the cell phone user once more and shot them. All of this happened before the movie even started – further proof that we need to address this issue before anyone else gets hurt!

I do not advocate violence against the perpetrators of technologicus interruptus, but I think we need a set of standard rules concerning the use of these devices in theaters and other performance settings, and we need standard procedures for the enforcement of those rules. It shouldn’t fall on the patrons to point out or punish offenders. Ushers need to be empowered to deal with it as quickly and quietly as possible and there needs to be enough of them to cover the theater – something that can’t happen in your average multi-plex that’s staffed by 5 indifferent teenagers who are glued to their own smart phones.

It also seems that the younger generation feels that it’s their right to be able to take photos or videos during the show. Sometimes it’s illegal! Worst of all, it can be very DANGEROUS to the performers! Yes, your cell phone flash can momentarily blind an actor. They’re walking around in an environment that is dangerous under the best of circumstances, and we all know how it takes several moments for your eyes and brain to fill in the blank spot after a bright camera flash.  Never mind that you may distract the actor from MONTHS of hard work and preparation so that they might transport YOU into the story, but how distracting do you think you are to all the people around you with your stupid phone up in the air.  Don’t do it!! Just don’t!! If you try, you’re probably breaking copyright laws and ushers should be empowered to confiscate your device, erase the offending content and charge a fine before returning the device to you. Theaters are always looking for new revenue streams. Let’s give that one a try!

It’s all part of a larger problem. We’re creating a generation of distraction and immediate gratification.  If anything requires them to focus and work for any long period of time, they can’t be bothered.  Uncontrollable use of technology is a symptom of a public that can’t concentrate, can’t disconnect, and who seem to have a serious lack of self discipline. If a younger person loses interest in something, they tune out and turn on their phone.

Apparently, putting down the cell phone is such a difficult thing to do, that UNICEF is offering to make a donation for every ten minutes that a person can leave their phones untouched. I’m not kidding! Just download the app for their TAP Project and lay the phone down for ten minutes to supply a day’s worth of clean drinking water to a person who needs it.

We, not only as artists, but as patrons, need to demand our right to a distraction-free experience. A place to disconnect from reality for a couple of hours and be transported to another world – one free from the cares of our daily lives. Something which is VERY difficult to do when the bozo next to you is playing Angry Birds on his iPhone.