We returned home from running errands and dinner, and we could have hunkered down for the evening inside, doors closed, air conditioning humming, but instead we drifted outside. For our trouble we saw huge lovely woodpeckers and a slew of bats sweeping overhead and I heard a steady stream of most interesting information on members of the animal kingdom who dwell from the deepest points of the ocean to the most arid desert.
The boys watched Napoleon Dynamite for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I hadn’t seen it in years, and of course it lost none of its oddness during that time.
Nor had it lost any of its quotability. Every day, I hear at least one ND callback:
Make yourself a dang kay-sa-dilla, Napoleon!
How long did it take you to grow that mustache? About 2 days.
They don’t, however, quote my favorites, which are:
Do the chickens have large talons?
I caught you a delicious bass.
As I mentioned on Twitter, we watched North by Northwest the other night and I’d forgotten how racy it is. Awkward! Love the Van Damme house in all its Mid Century glory.
Not complaining about Cary Grant in that towel, either.
Aside from the greatness of the film itself, what I found fascinating was the snapshot of American style, from New York westward, in the late 50’s.
But the greatest, most mesmerizing scene has nothing to do with constructed style – it’s those minutes in the midwestern (actually California) cornfield – and not just the iconic Cary Grant-chasing-crop duster. From the moment the bus drops him off..watch the whole scene. A human being alone, without any of the resources his position and status might afford him. He’s dressed, but he’s stripped and he’s alone in that expanse, in the world.
What will he do? What can he do?
While I was in New York, I saw A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which one the Tony for Best Musical this year, and is based on the same early 20th century novel as the Alec Guinness classic, Kind Hearts and Coronets. For copyright reasons, they can’t make any sort of connection between play and film explicit though.
It was enjoyable – if nihilistic, but of course, we can’t blame that on the 21st century because it’s in the source material. The main attraction, as it was in the film, is the fact that a single actor plays all the murder victims, in this case, the amazing Jefferson Mays, who was quite entertaining to watch. If we are going to compare film and play, well…the play wins for having a far more compelling actor to play the murderer, but the film wins for the ending, which I much preferred. In both productions, the villain, it’s clear, will not get away with his crimes, but in the film it’s a subtler and grabbier, if that’s a word, which it isn’t, but too bad. I was told, however, that in order to make the distinction between play and film quite clear (again, for copyright reasons), the endings couldn’t be the same.
Hmmm…about that novel. It’s called Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal and what intrigues me is that is seems to be, in part, a satire of Edwardian anti-Semitism. Looks like I may have to add it to the list…..
If I EVER finish No Name. It’s FREAKING ENDLESS. But – I must say..I am enjoying it immensely. It’s definitely a page-turner, and I will report when finished. So set your calendars for March 2015.
Last Thursday morning, in my NYC wanderings, I wandered Chelsea.
My hotel was on west 37th – just a couple of blocks from Penn Station – and for some reason I had it in my head that Chelsea was down in Lower Manhattan – even though I’ve walked the High Line before and done some gallery strolling with Ann. But when I was trying to figure out how to structure that day, I finally came to some comprehension of basic Manhattan Geography, and saw that I could do some Chelsea wandering, return to my hotel, check out, check my luggage with them, and then go down to lower Manhattan for the rest of the day, and make it work.
I had done a bit of research as to what was happening in the Chelsea galleries and saw that the installations at the Pace Gallery might be interesting.
I am interested in all sorts of art, from any and every era and perspective, because I’m mostly interested in human beings and the world. I’m interested in what the world really is and how human beings live in that world, perceive it and navigate it. Art is an expression of that, and it is what it is. We who live out of a spiritual context might look at much of contemporary (the last century or so) art and scoff because it seems so shallow to us, so superficial. And perhaps it is (or isn’t). That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t attempt to understand it or we should close ourselves off from. On the contrary. If this is how people think, so be it, and we have to understand it – or at least try.
All that is to say…if you make it, I’ll look at it, and try to understand it, and perhaps take a shot and understanding you in the process.
So that Thursday morning, I walked into the Pace, greeted the Straight-From-Central-Casting-Gallery-Vassar-Grads in their black shift dresses, then walked into the first gallery:
I was mesmerized. They are constructed of note cards, they are supposed to make me ponder issues of accumulation, and they did, but they also reminded me, quite strongly, of the tent rocks and hoodoos of New Mexico.
And then you turn the corner into the next gallery and:
It was the most astonishing sight. The sculpture is made of thousands of acrylic rods, but the effect is…fuzzy. Isn’t it?
I stayed for a while, me and the two chatty security guards, but I could have stayed longer, thinking about why spend so much time, piling up tiny bits of life in order to make something else, and how beautiful those things can be.
My daughter is living and working in southern Germany for a while. She bought a drindl because, as she says, you see them everywhere. She sees women wear them to Mass and at the festivals (which are frequent), not wearing one pretty clearly marks you as a tourist..and we can’t have that!
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