webcowgirl: (flower)
This was such a great weekend that I'm hoping I can make it my "Groundhog day" and just do it over and over, or preserve it in amber so I can enjoy it at my leisure.

Friday was Pinter's Moonlight at the Donmar Warehouse with [livejournal.com profile] dreamsewingmiko. Not only did I get a really engaging, intelligent play, but I got four hours with someone who's company I really enjoy. Lots of girlie bonding time and catching up and discussing plans for the future, like the Jerez flamenco festival and that trip to Patagonia I'm dreaming of (after seeing the article in the New York Times). On top of it we had Mexican food at Lupita and then gelato at Scoop, and the weather was amazing.

Boat on banks of River Stour, Fen Bridge in the background (n... on TwitpicAmazing weather was the theme for the weekend as [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy and [livejournal.com profile] wechsler and I went to Colchester (awesome ruined monastery!) to canoe on the River Stour with Nomad Sea Kayaking. Not only did we get a lovely paddle on the river (with flowers blooming everywhere!), we saw some gorgeous country, literally right out of (or in) Constable paintings, and we had so much fun afterwards we went and took a walk down the banks of the same river, from the Dedham boat house to the Fen Bridge to the town of Dedham. It was a gorgeous little wool town that looked like a movie set. Then it was taxi to Colchester, nap to London, taco making and Alhambra. Really, it was such a nice, nice day and evening.

Sunday was London time, starting with the recording of the "As Yet Unnamed London Theater Podcast" that I'm getting involved in. It was nice talking shop about shows with people that I mostly know, and much easier (if less social) than meeting up in a pub. Then it was off to the Southbank for the London Chocolate Festival with [livejournal.com profile] exedore. We had a nice visit with each other and wound up sitting around in the sun doing nothing at the Victoria Embankment besides admiring the tulips and talking BS - we both had time to kill before seeing our next people of the day. I tried (once he left) to squeeze in the "British Art in the Age of the Comet" at the Hayward, but either it wasn't very exciting or the sun was just too awesome for the gallery to compete.

Beautiful wisteria covered house in Dedham #fb on TwitpicAt any rate, next stop was Euston to pick up Lisa Crispin, a very nice lady I met at a testing conference last year. I took her and her husband to the Wellcome Collection to see the Dirt exhibit, which was a nice collection of narrative, medical specimens, literature, and some nice fresh art (includingn a piece by Bruce Nauman). I thought it was fairly thought provoking but am afraid I had to rush through the last room due to running out of time! Then we headed over to Angel to see the puppet theater version of the Tempest they're doing in conjuntion with the Royal Shakespeare Company. People, do not be mistaken: this is not a puppet show, it's a cut down version of the Tempest with world class actors that just happens to have puppet versions of Ariel and Caliban (most appropriate ways of depicting them, I think). Tickets are only £12 and it's a STEAL at the price, I tell you, a STEAL. Buy yourself some tickets while they're still available and go go go. I think it's probably suitable for 8 and above (it's about 90 minutes long, no interval) - I haven't had time to write my review up yet but I was embarassed by how little I paid.

I forgot to mention: we ran into a pirate while we were canoe... on TwitpicAnd then it was home and a nice long chat with my new roomie and dishes and laundry and MAN I was tired. What a great weekend it was though! I had fun, I was happy, all my self doubt and self loathing were nowhere to be seen ... Where is the amber that it's hidden in? All I have is a few photographs ... but at least I can share them with you. Just imagine our terror as this pirate-captained boat bore down on us as we headed upstream ... yes, the weekend was just that fun.
webcowgirl: (snow)
I have actually been going like mad for a week - party Saturday, movie Sunday, hard hard work Monday and Tuesday (with a trip to Anansi's Tales at Southwark Playhouse and On the Twentieth Century at the Union Theatre afterwards, even though I was nearly falling over from exhaustion), chillax at home with David Attenborough and [livejournal.com profile] wechsler after the work lunch on Wednesday (Private Life of Plants molto bene), Christmas concert yesterday, and incredibly bad Original Nutcracker with Exedore tonight. I am now three behind on the number of reviews I have to write, or could write. The one show I have written up is On the Twentieth Century, which was the best of the plays but possibly not as good as the choral concert, which had music from Britten and Gorecki and nearly made me cry probably twice. I blame this on the lack of sleep this week and physical exhaustion but you all gotta know the truth, emotions run high in the holidays. Speaking of which I wanted to share this post from [livejournal.com profile] mr_sadhead that I think bears rebroadcasting:

This holiday season is rucking up a lot of ugly feelings in people it seems like. A lot of the old self-hatreds and memories of mistreatments are coming back out. I'm not immune to it. People, don't let the whispering evil voices get to you this time. You are good, you are worthy, the past is dead, you can allow yourself to be happy.

Back to me: if you feel like getting down with some tears trickling down your snow covered cheeks, let it be for something beautiful, like the following, Gorecki Symphony No. 3:



Alternately take yourself on a walking tour of the snowy streets of the city of London and find the locations of Susan Philipsz's "Surround Me" sound installations. She set out to "convey a poignant sense of absence and loss in the contemporary City of London" - and based on the four I've seen, she succeeded. The exhibit is only up on weekends and there are only three more weekends when you can experience it. Go, I say, go. I will be out tomorrow with all of my layers on because I love beautiful sad things.
webcowgirl: (Default)
At page 614 of Vanity Fair. I was too busy to read much today, though. First thing I did was spend some time writing up last night's trip to see Shunkin at the Barbican. Mental abuse, puppet sex, codependence, self-disfigurement-it was essentially perfect and I wound up not feeling so resentful about the extravagantly priced tickets.

Review done, I headed out the door at noon and met up with [livejournal.com profile] wechsler at the Market Coffee Shop in Spitalfields for lunch; then we wandered around a bit killing time before our scheduled tea time at the Teasmith shop. We were given about six kinds of tea paired with various sweets - it's all a bit of a blur though I remember Pi Lo Chun and whisked Matcha among the options.

After this we found ourselves with an hour on our hands and I was able to convince W to go in search of a few of the locations of Surround Me, a multi-sited art installation consisting of recordings of 17th century songs projected in 20th century locations, done in such a way to create the strange feeling of standing put while time moves backwards around you. I'd found one a few weeks back on my ill-fated trip to meet [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy for a movie at the Barbican: as it turns out, they are only "on" during the weekend. So it was a Saturday and we were in the city, so off W and I went off to Tokenhouse Yard, Change Alley, and then the northern underside of London Bridge to soak up some intense atmosphere. It was really very great, even though it was a bit disconcerting that most of the music was on a 10 minute loop, with a great deal of that being silence; but to be honest it made for a better effect having to wait and having all of that lack of noise surrounding it. I have two left to have heard the set; no real reason not to go tomorrow, I think, since they are only on during the weekends. I did a video recording at two of the spots:



Done, we headed to Gipsy Hill and [livejournal.com profile] lolliepopp's house, where we spent the next four hours eating, drinking, and playing Rock Band. It was a good night, really, and the day had a lot of good bits in it, including a very happy moment while I was watching the sun set over the river and hearing the echoes of John Dowland floating up to the bridge.
webcowgirl: (Travel)
Today was my last full day in New York and I started with a big plate of pancakes at a restaurant called Farm in Brooklyn. Service was good, the pancakes were large, but I was really turned off by the bacon, which was almost entirely fat with a shocking lack of meat in it. I guess it was gourmet by American standards but ... has living in England turned me?

Then it was off to Lincoln Center (after a few shopping stops) and my last trip to City Ballet. I got lucky in that the middle piece (by Millepied) was replaced with "Glass Pieces," the one piece of rep I really wanted to see but had decided to pass on in favor of getting to the airport at a more reasonable time. Trying to pack as much in as possible, I dashed from Lincoln Center to the Whitney - walking the whole way as I was unable to find a cross town bus (though this meant I got to hear a Beatles singalong at Strawberry Fields as I crossed Central Park) - but then discovered they were a "pay full price place" instead of "by donation" at least until 5:30 when they were free - but I picked up a map to figure out what I wanted to see and I got in for free, hurray!

Unfortunately I didn't get to see any Kienholz or George Still (though some Hoppers & a few other modern masterpieces, including a lovely Claus Oldenburg floppy toilet), but I went down to the temp exhibition area and saw an awesome show by Charles Burchfield, who did kind of psychedelic landscape paintings (at least that's what I saw in his work). It was the kind of really inspiring show that made you want to get out there and start doing art. (My favorite painting was The Sphinx and the Milky Way, but I can't find a picture, alas.) I was inspired enough to buy the book, then was chased out of the museum. Oops!

With almost two hours to my show, it seemed like the perfect time to ... go shoe shopping! I took [livejournal.com profile] koaloha's advice and went to Harry's Shoes, which was, for me, the ultimate shoe shopping experience - a whole store full of brands I like, with many I did not know but developed a craving for, salespeople who knew their stuff (she went EXACTLY to a low heeled, waterproof boot available in wides), and YUM I could have really dropped a packet. As it was, I got replacement boots for this winter and managed to make it to New Pizza Town on 78th AND get to Times Square in time for my show.

Time Stands Still had a celeb heavy cast but a story I was not enjoying: basically, a couple that's been together for a long time has their relationship fracture as they want different things and both are failing to make the other happy. The man has unresolved anger at the woman. The show ends with them going their different directions. A real pick-me-up, eh? To make it worse, the young woman played by Christina Ricci was nauseating as a character, too sweet to be believed. Bleah. Laura Linney's character was great, though. Ah well, with my last seat at the top of the balcony for $25, I guess I got what I paid for.

After this it was back to Brooklyn with my ill-gotten gains (candy from Walgreens, boots) and time for bed! Tomorrow I'm skipping shows in favor of spending more time with folks and not rushing around so much. K needs me to get up at a reasonable time as she's heading off to the airport and needs to return the part of the flat I've been sleeping in to a less bed-like state ... and I am tired. Man, I am actually looking forward to getting home - wish I was leaving earlier!
webcowgirl: (Darger)
Oh, I was a happy, happy girl sleeping until nearly 11 o'clock today, straight through my hostess's departure and well beyond, as I was a bad girl and did not go to bed until 2 last night. Such pain and no actual theater blogging was done! I wound up having to hustle my ass to get out to the Folk Art Museum, though (skipping breakfast altogether - I wound up getting a Philly cheese steak at a food truck near Rockefeller Center), as I had a 2:30 Date With Destiny (or rather with [livejournal.com profile] koaloha).

The Darger exhibit (my icon is a picture by him) itself was quite small, and I actually was kinda aggravated by the captions. So much of what they had to say was based on the authors' trying to interpret Darger's emotions about his life: "he liked little girls because he wanted to have a family" "these were very sad because he was a lonely man" "he collected art because ..." I mean, really, they had NO IDEA how he really felt about anything - none of these people knew him personally, as near as I know the only person who has ever been interviewed and even kind of knew him was his landlord, and I'm positive he did not talk to her about being traumatized by being orphaned as a child. I also found the entire assertion that he was an "art collector" most spurious. I mean, people put shit up on there walls pretty much everywhere, that does not make them "art collectors." (Hmm, maybe I should go back and come up with my own ideas about the works and possessions of his on display - the Folk Art museum runs a scholarly stipend to study Darger and I could probably say more than these people.) He did, however, make collages and then frame and hang them, and they were cool. There were also two or three full panels of his Vivian girls work on display, and they were most enjoyable, especially as they had some of the source work also on the walls.

The rest of the museum was: two floors of quilts (I liked the hollyhocks quilts but this is not my area of enthusiasm); a floor of representations of people: and ... hmm, carved duck decoys, weathervanes, etc. I blazed through the gift shop and then ran over to my hotel; they did have my computer plug there. Then it was BLAZE BLAZE up to Lincoln Center. I arrived 10 minutes late but all was well and I got a tour backstage at the Koch Theater. Highlight was seeing Ashley Bouder rehearse; lowlight was ... well, there wasn't one, really, and as an extra prize I got a pair of tickets to Saturday's matinee. Yay!

Afterwards [livejournal.com profile] koaloha and I went to Old John's Luncheonette, where she had a salad and a burger and I had a slice of real New York cheesecake. And a vanilla shake. Yum. Then she headed out and I went to the Barnes & Noble to kill time before the show (and get the new William Gibson book, 50% off hardcover) and have a cup of tea. 6:30 and back to the Koch, where my brother in law appeared fairly close to time, then in for the show. It was only a two hour deal as it was the big gala, with all sorts of folks in fancy clothes and paparazzi to take pictures of them; sadly, the dances were kind of dumbed down to suit them (in my opinion). I enjoyed Balanchine's "Tarantella" and "Western Symphony" but could have skipped the first two pieces.

The good news about it being done by 9 (in time for the suits to have some kind of fancy hoo-hah after the show) was that it left us time to go have dinner in Chinatown: Congee Palace, here we come! I was unable to resist a $5 lychee martini on top of my also very cheap dinner. We had a good visit then headed back to Brooklyn for the evening. So overall, a good day!
webcowgirl: (Darger)
So we don't seem to be getting as much done as we would have liked to.

Today we went to Battery Park and the Staten Island Ferry (it's free!) but it was misting and had got a lot cooler so it wasn't really as good of a view of the Statue of Liberty and what have you as I would have liked. We just did the round trip, no visit to Staten Island per se, because we were going to the ....

South Street Seaport! This was our goal after the ferry, though as it was now lunch time we diverted to the DaVinci pizza restaurant on Water Street (good pie, lots of selections) on our way. When we arrived, we discovered.... it is closed on Monday, so no seeing the Alfred Stieglitz New York photos I'd wanted to see. And no seeing rather a lot of museums (such as the Whitney) that were also closed.

It started pissing down rain, so we went to the subway to visit ... The Neue Museum, which is open Mondays, but had a touring exhibit I did not care for and a mere two rooms of Klimts and Shieles, a real shame as it seemed like a big space but I thought the permanent collection would be just a bit bigger. (I discovered right now that I've missed a Henry Darger exhibit, but I can remedy that in the next day or two.)

We then did a bit of shopping at Macys - or, rather, looking, as I found nothing I wanted to buy. We then headed back to the flat (as S was worn out) for tea and cupcakes (courtesy of the Cupcake Truck parked nearby), then headed out to see Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, a fairly freaky rock musical which I will right up soon. Then Mexican food, home, and an early bedtime!
webcowgirl: (SpaceBubble)
I spent yesterday in a boat being toted from island to island in Croatia's Elaphite chain. The first, tiny island we passed looked like the setting for The Tempest: wind swept oak trees, flowering thises and that's, with some giant agave plants to add to the otherworldliness. It wasn't that it looked bizarre; it was just so very Mediterranean, and not piney. It was cool.

Higlight of the trip for me was, not the swimming on Lopud (which was nice, with super clear water and few people) but the Thyssen-Bornemisza modern art there. I'll look it up later but the exhibit was something like "My horizon" or "Infinite Horizon," and was a dark room with a narrow band of LED florescent type lights seamlessly around the room. I walked up into it from a ramp during a bright bit and fumbled my way to the center of the room, where I watched the colors slowly changing and the room getting darker; suddenly all the lights fused together and I was no longer in a box with four walls, I was staring into infinity _with a horizon line_ everywhere I turned; it felt like a circle now. I got a little disoriented. I could hear Amy leaving and walked to where I thought the exit was; suddenly the horizon line was wobbling madly and I felt dizzy and thought I was going to fall over. Then I realized I had just, in fact, walked to within about 4 inches of one of the walls, and the wobbling was caused by my walking. So really, a very cool exhibit & really glad I made the effort to see it. The little hermit crab that crawled out of the shell I picked up off of the sandy sea bottom, he was cool, too. (I did put him back.)

Dazzle me

Mar. 31st, 2010 02:17 pm
webcowgirl: (disco ball)
In this strange place where 80s music, costuming, history, and the new security society meet:

"Dazzle makeup" to fool facial recognition software ...

based on the "dazzle ship" camoflauge of early 20th century. (Love the painting from 1919 in the article.)

There is, of course, no mention of OMD in any of this, but it's the obvious next thing to think about, with appropriate earworm.
webcowgirl: (Darger)
I want more art. I am thinking that I will have to look at getting some when I go to Seattle. But when I see David Kroll's paintings at the Grover/Thurston Gallery, and Darren Waterston at Greg Kucera, I think that my income has in no ways kept touch with my tastes.
webcowgirl: (Default)
I spent all day working on my feet doing retail, basically. I'll do a post about it someday when I don't desperately need sleep. I have a cold and that plus the work means I'm completely exhausted.

In other news: my pick for Best Artist won the Turner Prize! Go Richard Wright, you can paint shiny wallpaper inside of my apartment any time you want to. I'll even paint it over if you'll do another wall to make up for it.
webcowgirl: (Darger)
Two years ago, on my birthday, Michael Manning posted this picture on his LJ page ([livejournal.com profile] metalweb):




which I later bought, because, to me, it really represented me, greeting the sun on my birthday, the longest day of the year. (Or, indeed, saying goodbye to the New Sun, as per his commentary.)

This year, for a birthday present from [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy, the print was framed. In our old house, we couldn't put pictures on the wall, so there was no point framing it (not that we could afford to at the time; buying this was an exercise in hope and patience, but Mr. Manning was willing to wait for me). But now it's ready to hang and we can enjoy it regularly instead of just when I dare take it out of its envelope. And I opened the package early so I could show it off to people tomorrow

I'm kind of excited. I'll settle down in a bit.
webcowgirl: (Movie reel)
I want to get through all of this online gallery of Walker Evans, but I can't just relax and do it at work today ... trying to get some stuff done before I go home. I was attracted by this article about a new exhibit of how postcards influenced his photography that's on at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It's really cool and I wish I could go.
webcowgirl: (ProustSwirly)
First, there's a three day event this weekend, "The Big Draw," taking place at the Wellcome Collection and other sites, that I'm pretty excited about.

The website says, "Drawing on Life' is a free interactive festival celebrating drawing and life, with leading artists and scientists, in a jam-packed programme of events and activities exploring what it means to be human."

Doesn't that sound like fun? I'm especially interested in "Paper Diseases: the Little Theatre of Disease and Desire presents a theatre of bodies, bones and operations; a stage on which diseases perform, where quack doctors and grave-robbers play the hero and bodies are excavated, dissected, investigated, formed and re-formed through drawings, animations and paper cut-outs." "Snails in Art, the Art of Snails and the Joy of Camouflage" and "Deadly Pretty Things" (aka draw your own flow-in-the-dark disease) also sound like fun.

I can really only go on Saturday due to plans on Sunday and, er, work on Friday. Does this sound interesting to anyone else?

Second, this quote from Proust is perfect for autumn: "The patches of white in beards hitherto entirely black rendered the human landscape of the party somewhat melancholy, like the first yellow leaves on the trees when one is still thinking one can count on a long summer, when before one has started to enjoy it one sees it has already turned to autumn." (Finding Time Again p. 235.)
webcowgirl: (Default)
Stained glass - St. Catherine , I think.
picture.jpg
webcowgirl: (Crowned T)
I decided to switch gymming this week to Thursday and Friday and went to the British Museum to try to catch the end of the American Prints exhibit at the British Museum. Well, I can make it there, but somehow I can't manage to get all the way through anything, ever. This time I managed the middle third of the exhibit, which was great.

While we were there, the weather went from sunny and mild to windy and wild, and we just barely made it in the door before the rain started dumping down. Now it's sunny and cloudy again. God, living on an island is wierd.

Note to self: buy the album on which Jordi Savall is playing the Karl Friedrich Abel "Prelude in re mineur" - they just played it on the Baroque music station on LastFM and it was great.
webcowgirl: (I Miss America)
I've never really thought of sheep as an accompaniment to world-class sculpture - but at the Yorkshire sculpture park, Henry Moore and woolly critters go together like socks and shoes. Speaking of which, I'm really glad I didn't wear my sandals today, even though we're having spectacular weather - sunny with a bit of a breeze blowing the fluffy clouds over the arch of the big, blue sky. The air smells like roses and clover - it's just gorgeous and it's making me feel glad to be away from the city.picture.jpg

We're picnicking in the park now, a suitable activity for the 4th of July, I think, though it would benefit from homemade ice cream or perhaps some strawberry shortcake. Our fireworks tonight will be listening to Emma Kirkby sing, though truth be told it will be hard to top last night's concert!

Happy Fourth to everyone, and [livejournal.com profile] gkr, sorry to not be seeing you tonight.
webcowgirl: (ActionFigure)
I spent dinner reading an article I've been holding onto for a while with the cover teaser of "Rachel Cusk on the dangers of telling the truth about motherhood." What were these truths? I had to know. And it was a really engaging read, enough to pull me back to it as soon as dinner had been eaten and the plates cleared away. One of the things she noticed was that she was basically being censored by other women, who weren't okay when what she said about her feelings went against the party line on what was an acceptable thing to say about how being a mother made you feel. While I enjoyed a lot of what she had to say, I found this bit especially resonated with me. Why is it that it's so often other women that try to put the brakes on what comes out of women's mouths? Why are they the forces of conformity? Is the price of sisterhood learning how to "put up or shut up?"

Tell me, oh (female) hive mind: has this been your experience?

I've been moody today. I've even come up with a name for the thing that's been causing my moods lately. I'm going to call it The McGuffin. The McGuffin hasn't gone away, although I thought I saw signs of its demise not too long ago ... it's apparently wormed its way into my brain and will now just kind of twitch now and then when something sets it off. I look forward to it dying permanently, but I now realize this may not happen for another three to six months, or longer. Meanwhile I've got yet another pile of poo added to what I've been toting around inside my head to make me act irrationally and obsess on stupid things. Yay!

So the McGuffin was bothering me as I set out today. I was angry about running so late and making [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy and [livejournal.com profile] wechsler sit and wait for me while I tried to find an outfit to wear (a lack of summer weight pants was making this difficult for me). But after we'd made it to West Dulwich station, of all things, Carter's Steam Fair was set up! It was full of beautiful, restored, gilded giant toys that had calliope accompanyment and silly signs on the sides. The swing even blew out a huge puff of steam every time it went backwards. It was great!

Suddenly I was eight years old and the world was full of wonder. I ran around looking at all of the rides, laughing and pointing and realizing that rather a few of them would make me feel quite ill. The carousel was playing "The Lambeth Walk," a song I wouldn't have recognized a year ago, and I felt so proud of myself for being able to grow a little into the local culture. We stopped in the arcade and played some of the silly, old-fashioned machines. I went for the fortune teller, my obsession since reading American Gods. I got the same one I got last time: "Your hand denotes a firm and determined character, one that can be led but not driven .... Very sincere, but too independent to please most people whom you meet." Yep, it's like a badge of pride and yet a knife in my heart - that ever so accurate fortune of mine - I should just change my LJ user description to say what it says on the card.

I can't really explain how much this cheered me up. We didn't actually ride any rides or play any more games, but trotted off to the Dulwich Picture Gallery to see the Coming of Age: American Art, 1850s to 1950s exhibit (ends tomorrow). This was a very nice exhibit - good representations of the realist, substantially landscape-type work produced in the 1850s right up through Calder and Rauschenberg. I also really enjoyed the artists' description of their art, and the assertion of the need to develop an American identity for art, one which "embraces the world as it exists today" - a philosophy I feel most art forms should pursue, especially the performing arts. We also got to see an exhibit of photographs from China done at the very beginning of the 20th century which I found fairly interesting (reminded me of Song of the Fishermen as well as the Chinese opera I've been watching). We actually were finished in good time - the exhibition hall is rather petite - and had an opportunity to sit down and have tea and scones. It was lovely.

Afterwards it was off to meet [livejournal.com profile] natalya and [livejournal.com profile] lovingboth up at St. Pancras, with a short stop at London Bridge to wrangle some dinner fixin's (stuffed duck breast at a 30% discount, go heavy bargaining me!) and an opportunity for the McGuffin to take control again (boo). I finally got home at 7:30, popped the food in the oven, and we ate at 8:30 ... and now I'm so tired. So tired! It seems like I really burn the candle at both ends based on how long it takes me to get my engine restoked over the weekend. And I say this, and yet I read that the some Russian ballet company is coming to London in late July and I'm all going, "Oooh! Ooh! How many of the shows can I see?" (the answer is two, but I only really want to see one). I can tell I'm going to put myself in an early grave, but, God, getting there is really fun, except for the sleep deprivation.
webcowgirl: (cards cufflink)
Tonight [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy and I were lucky enough to get to the Tate Modern to see Gavin Bryars and his ensemble perform "A Man in a Room, Gambling," a piece based on a spoken word performance by Juan Muñoz, whom I'd never heard of before tonight as I am a cultural clod. [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy happened to read about the performance randomly online, and as we have been a fan of Bryars since we heard his Titanic piece on WNYC's New Sounds back in the day (by which I mean back in the day when they actually broadcast music on WNYC, as well as back during that very short year in which we lived in New Jersey), we decided to make the effort to see the show.

The concept was pretty cool: as I read it, it was spoken word about a person's thoughts during the course of a night of gambling, or, as described in the program, "strategies employed in card games." In fact, it turns out the spoken bit is about how to cheat at cards, starting with three card monte, then dealing from the bottom of the deck, how to "fake" cutting the cards, and how to hide a card you've palmed after the hand is over. Hah! According to Mr. Bryars, Muñoz's thought was that the various pieces were supposed to be little one off radio slots, rather like "The Shipping News" (for Americans, imagine that poet of the day thing Garrison Keilor does), that stood by themselves but had an air of strangeness to them, meant to be heard as you were going from one thing to the next. In between, there was a piece called "The North Shore," a piece Bryars made in honor of his friend Muñoz, whom he described as "a great artist and a good bloke." It was built off of one of the pieces from the Gambling series, though I couldn't tell which one.

My review of the show was ... well, Bryar's music can be very difficult for me to put temporal order to. One minute you're doing one thing, one the next, and while I might hear little themes that I sort of briefly recognize, or hear stylings that I enjoy, I find it difficult to string it together in my head. This is where listening to a CD can really help, because you can build it up over and over until it makes a structure that you can comprehend. Live music is so very here and now, a series of seconds taking place one after the other, that it can be hard for me to feel like I'm moving rather than just having sound images flashing at me, one after the next. Baroque music isn't like this. That said, the narrative provided by the voice, which called up very striking visuals and was even sequential and goal oriented, was a good companion to the music. And I liked the music, but modern stuff just isn't as easy as earlier stuff.

Conclusion: well, I guess I need to go see who this Muñoz guy is and why Bryars thought he was worth collaborating with in the first place. The exhibit at the Tate goes on through the end of April, so there's plenty of time. And if YOU'RE interested, if you click on the link, you can listen to Juan giving away the trick to dealing from the bottom of the deck.

Oh yeah, and listening to this show tonight, I thought that I can't ever move back home again.
webcowgirl: (Darger)
I just won a prize from work (two tickets to see an art exhibit at the National - "Van Eyck to Titian: The Renaissance Portrait," which isn't even on until October) for correctly guessing the changes made in this picture. I'm going to make it a little harder and not say how many changes there are or what they are, but ... how many changes do you see between the top and the bottom picture (the bottom is the original), and what are they? Comments disabled until we have a winner. (And apologies for the poor image quality, but it's exactly what they gave me to work off of!) Otherwise stupid chipper for a Monday, not that I'm complaining.
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webcowgirl: (Christmas tree)
Today we were somewhat blowing with the wind. During our discussion at [livejournal.com profile] rosamicula's last night it came up that I was interested in seeing the Millais exhibit at the Tate Britain; I woke to discover Miss Micula had offered to guest [livejournal.com profile] butterbee in to the exhibit. So off we went, at the late, late, post-cleaning-up-the-house hour of 1:45 (but I felt much better for having all of the wrapping paper and presents out of the living room and also for having made little roast beef sandwiches for us to have for lunch).

The exhibit was nice, especially when you consider that all four of us made it in for eleven quid and the price of a round of heavily doctored cups of tea ([livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy is not recovering gracefully from his cold - I imagine it kicking and screaming from its position deep within his sinus cavities). The first two rooms were mostly filled with the paintings of his I've seen a million times before - Ophelia, Mariana, Christ in the House of his Parents, The Order of Release, Autumn Leaves - the really pretty paintings I'm so fond of but .... well, let's be honest, which occasionally have a touch of schmaltz to them. (I still like many of them quite a lot, and enjoyed seeing new works I'd not seen before, such as "Love," pictured, and the studies for many of the paintings I was very familiar with.)

The "schmaltz" factor seemed to more and more take over as the exhibit wore on. I was happy that he found love in Effie Ruskin, but once he had eight kids to feed, I guess he threw artistic purity out of the window in favor of commercial success. Sappy sweet kiddie portraits, random decorative romantic "scenes," society portraits ... the middle three rooms ("The Boyhood of Raleigh," "The Ruling Passion," bleah!) were full of what looked like the kind of crap you need to crank out to keep the bills paid.

That said, the last room was full of lovely Scottish landscapes that he painted when he ran away from London society and went to live "the life of an English gentleman," which apparently involved a lot of hunting and fishing and hiding in little huts for seven hours a day painting water pouring over volcanic rocks. Unfortunately I was a bit too tired by this time to really appreciate this art and just wanted to sit down and have some more tea and recover a bit.

Afterwards, off we went to Liverpool Street Station to meet [livejournal.com profile] spikeylady and enjoy a christmas tour through the Dennis Severs house. All of the house was lit by candlelight and in each room it appeared the occupants had just left - leaving behind a half eaten softboiled egg, a whiff of perfume, some overturned crockery, etc. I found it all quite charming but felt like a little bit of it was passing me by! Apparently the whole house was the artistic project of Dennis Severs, who died some years back, but like my last trip to see a Punchdrunk production (in this case Faust), I felt like I was just a little bit behind getting what was holding it all together. But it was neat, anyways.

That said my big fun was having dinner afterwards at the Nazrul Restaurant on Brick Lane. Of course, the whole thing was an experience, with every damned restaurant having a shill outside trying to drag you in and make you a paying customer. I was insistent that we find a place that had an "English menu" with fish and chips on it so [livejournal.com profile] butterbee could have something utterly unspicey to eat, and managed to escape from the clutches of many proprietors based on needing to fill that criteria (one offered to bring us some from down the street while we ate, which was really just OTT but had me say, "We may be back!"). But we were convinced at last and settled down for a nice dinner (with fried fish, and with the discount I'd been offered elsewhere carried over to this one - 20% off plus free drinks :-) ). It was YAP YAP YAP for about two hours or so and then we all called it a night and slunk back home after getting some sweets down the street (burfi and that fried honey pretzel thing, yum!) and passing through some of the Ripper haunts we'd visited when we did the tour. It seems like we didn't do much today but we are all now very tired.

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And now, cake! ("Cake!")

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April 2011

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