Waterfront: August 2005

Resting Weary Rockin' Bones

NorVa performers treated to dressing room soak.

Concert venues, especially smaller ones, typically offer bands a dressing room with little more than a restroom and a place to change clothes. But The NorVa in Norfolk, Va., with a capacity of 1,500, offers artists who play there a dressing room with a hot tub, sauna and four showers.

"That's pretty much unheard of for a building this size," says A. William "Bill" Reid, president of Rising Tide and NorVa Productions, which owns and operates The NorVa. "All the artists say it's the best dressing room they've ever been in."

But Reid didn't stop at the dressing room. When The NorVa was converted in the late '90s from an athletic club into a concert hall, Reid not only built the dressing room around the hot tub and sauna in what was once the women's locker room, he also turned a racquetball court into a basketball court and created a TV room and a catering room for the performers. "We spent a lot of money to not make it outlandish, but make it functional and comfortable."

To road-weary touring acts, that's an understatement. And their appreciation is clear — no one has trashed the amenities. "We come from the school of thought," says Reid, "that if we treat people with respect, we get that back, and that's been the case."

These backstage amenities plus a top-of-the-line sound system have made The NorVa a desirable destination not only for smaller acts, but also for some big names. Bob Dylan has played The NorVa. So have Elvis Costello and Ringo Starr. Even Prince called. "He heard about The NorVa and he wanted to play here. Nothing is more satisfying," says Reid.

The attention is well deserved, as Reid has shown he cares about the performers. "We want to create a place that's as great for the artists as it is for the audience. A lot of times, people create buildings and take the artists for granted. We don't.

I mean, they're the ones that sell the tickets, so we appreciate them and we try to create a really neat environment, one that they enjoy and want to come back to."

Hot Tub Sell Out

Even when it's tough to fill the stands, it's easy to fill hot tub seats at the ballpark. These young ladies are enjoying a soak in a HotSpring Vista installed by the AQUA Company, Easton, Md. The tub sits just beyond left field at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium, in Salisbury, Md., home of the Delmarva Shorebirds, a Class A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.

Danny Morris, vice president of the retail and spa division at AQUA, says AQUA is giving away four tickets to each game through local radio stations, and winners get to hang out in "The Hottest Seat in The House." The promotion will culminate at the end of the season, says Morris, when the hot tub is given away.

Native Intelligence

Visitors to the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., can't help but notice the water. The impressive building, inspired by the Native cliff dwellings of the American Southwest, sits on 4.25 acres, but its footprint occupies little more than 25 percent of the land. The grounds are landscaped in four habitats indigenous to the local region, and are considered an extension of the building and a vital part of the museum experience.

The dominant water feature acknowledges Tiber Creek, a tidal creek that originally ran through the site before the National Mall area was developed. Water begins as a powerful cascade tumbling over large boulders at the northwest corner of the building. It continues to flow beside the entry path, greeting visitors until it ends in a quiet pool beside the main entrance of the museum.

Burglar Bungle

Oklahoman finds robber took property — and a soak.

When breaking into a house with the intent to steal, most thieves want to get the job done quickly. However, the 27-yearold man who robbed Oklahoma City resident Nathan Sassamon certainly didn't feel rushed — he not only broke into the home and stole thousands of dollars worth of property, but he also soaked in Sassamon's hot tub, ate a meal and left his dirty dishes for Sassamon to clean.

Too bad he left his driver's license behind when he got dressed after relaxing in the warm, bubbly water.

When Sassamon got home after a weekend-long absence to discover he'd been robbed, he told the Associated Press, "It's not a pleasant feeling to know someone has been in your home, especially when you see these people made themselves comfortable."

Sassamon believes the intruder crawled through a dog door in the garage and pried open a door to enter the house.

 A Retreat For Spirit And Body

An ancient form is the template for modern designs.

While the Roman aqueducts are celebrated for their civil engineering genius, and their terminating fountains that supplied water to the public are elevated as works of art, in the rugged, mostly arid landscape of Persia, the manipulation of water had a spiritual, contemplative aspect from the start. Gardening was synonymous with water, and the Persian paradise garden has inspired garden design throughout history and across cultures.

Garden historian, designer and lecturer Penelope Hobhouse's lavishly illustrated volume explores the development of the Persian garden starting with Cyrus the Great's 2,500-year-old garden at Pasargadae. With its use of architecture, water, planting and shady pavilions, it serves as the archetype for subsequent garden developments.

Following chapters proceed chronologically, tracing the evolution of the form through the present, and illustrating design concepts with specific gardens. For the truly inspired reader, Hobhouse provides advice for traveling to Iran, a glossary of Persian terms and an extensive bibliography.

With its mix of history, geography, travel advice and detailed descriptions of modern gardens, this book would interest most readers. For pool designers, it offers a wealth of inspiration. It only makes sense to heed the collective wisdom of two and a half millennia of designers who used water to delight, soothe, enchant and nourish the spirit.

A Crowd Pleaser

Polo shirts provide professional credibility for retail stores.

You've redesigned your showroom with the advice of a professional interior decorator, you've installed the latest CAD technology and you've taken top-notch courses to further enhance your skills and services. But if you don't look professional, these improvements won't help when trying to impress your customers.

Aquawear polo shirts come in three different styles, and combine computerenhanced images of underwater photographs with Aquawear's unique Aqua-wick fabric. With cotton on the outside of the shirt and polyester on the inside, Aqua-wick quickly removes moisture from the skin.

"Aquawear polo shirts are the marriage of water with fabrics," says Jerry Tlucek, president of Aquawear. "When they are embroidered with a company logo, these unique shirts help our clients in water-related industries increase brand awareness, build customer relationships and boost employee morale and performance."

The Aquawear polo shirts are available in two two-tone color options and a variety of sizes.

For more information, call 888/2782932 or visit aquawear.biz.

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