Archive | December, 2010

It’s been a quiet week here at the blog. I only got one post up, despite having several more in the pipeline. I literally couldn’t be bothered to hit “publish” with all the craziness of this week, and I figured most of you are already in gingerbread-induced comas, and probably don’t have time to read what I put up, anyway.

I say this without a hint of resentment. That tightening in my voice? It’s pride.

Because I hope you are all already off enjoying the holidays, and not bothering with my silly old blog. That’s what I’ve been doing, and it’s been fabulous. But on the off-chance that a few of you are still hanging out here in internet-land, I thought I’d send you off with some holiday-themed links. They should tide you over until I’m back (and spreading the same vitriol and spite to which you’ve grown accustomed) sometime early in January.

Until then, have a safe and happy holiday and new year.

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“He pleaded, but I ate him anyways.” (via reddit)

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The work of French Street Artist JR has me pretty rapt. Over time, his pieces are designed to fade and decay, just like the walls of the buildings on which they can be found.

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I am not an art critic.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m massively critical. Of like, everything. And I love visiting galleries and museums. But art critic? That sounds like nearly as douchey a profession as music critic. Perhaps more so, because, for the most part, music is supposed to be enjoyable. Art doesn’t necessarily have to achieve that same end. If you absolutely hate a piece of work, or simply don’t get it, it could very likely be that that was what the artist intended. And if they wanted you to hate it/be confused by it, doesn’t that mean it’s a success? How do you then criticize it?

“I don’t get it.”

“You’re not supposed to.”

“Whoa. I get it.”

“No, no, no. You don’t get it. That’s the whole point.”

“Right. I don’t get it.”

“YES.”

“Got it.”

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Folks, I am rejoicing, because my Christmas/Hanukkah shopping is DONE (ignore how long ago Hanukkah was). I now am devoting my time to other things I can panic about, like how I’m going to pack/ship all of these gifts to their intended destinations in time. While I go navigate the sixth circle of hell that is the U.S. postal service, I’ll leave you with these links to amuse you on this chilly Friday.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what, exactly, the blogging schedule will be in these coming weeks (because, really that’s what’s on your mind right now, right?) fear not: I will be around for a few posts next week, and then perhaps even a few after Christmas. I’m shooting for a crazy blogging goal for the year, which means I can’t simply lapse in an egg-nog induced coma.

In the meantime, enjoy …

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Perhaps it’s because it’s so damn chilly outside that I found this collection of photos by Álvaro Sánchez-Montañés so damn wonderful. He visited a ghost town in Namibia that had once been a thriving mining village. After many years, the surrounding Namib desert has started to reclaim the town and the buildings – creating a surreal scene: an indoor desert.

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Looking for ways to impress folks at your next holiday party? Just check out the random fact generator (via mentalfloss). You’ll be spouting so much useless information, people will bring you drinks and hors d’oeuvres just to get you to shut up.

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A dried-out Russian waterpark? An empty subway station in New York City? This collection of photos of abandoned buildings has me alternating between “Creepy” and “I want to go to there.”

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Hello. My name is Geraldine, and I am a drama geek.

It’s been nearly a month since my last play. I’m handling it okay, but I really, really want to see a show. I’ll take whatever you’ve got: off-off-off-broadway, improv, even a secular “winter concert” at an elementary school. SOMETHING. Anything.

Over the years, I’m scrimped and saved, even hawked clothing to be able to afford theater tickets. I’ve even dragged my friends and family into my addiction, forcing them to go to plays and shows with me.

And I know that, no matter how hard I try, I will be a drama geek all my life.

It’s what compelled me to do the backstage tour at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival last summer; it’s why I dragged Rand and our friend Ben to a miserable performance of Endgame in London’s west end last year; and it’s why I finally made a pilgrimage to Shakespeare’s Globe theater in London a few weeks back.

It's hiding behind those trees there. Apparently the theater is camera-shy.

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I thought I’d continue with my U.K.-lovefest and present 10 photos from our last trip to London, in which we roamed around, ate dessert, and made juvenile jokes about the human anatomy. Which, if you’ve been paying attention, isn’t all that different from what we do at home.

  1. Long-necked giraffe, Giraffe Cafe, London.-

    This is in no way Freudian.

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  2. Checking out the under-carriage of the London Eye.
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    If the bottoms were made of glass, things would have gotten really interesting.

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Dear San Francisco,

I love you. I really do. Despite the fact that, at different times over the course of my visits to you, your residents have robbed me blind, pressed me for money, nearly spat on me, and expressed their dementia through screaming in my general direction, I still find you endearing. Your parks are fantastic, your weather is deliciously manic, and your mayor looks like Remington Steele.

And of course, you are one of the most inclusive, tolerant, and wonderfully liberal cities on my coast. That may be why I found this so damn disturbing:

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I should warn you right now: I am feeling miserably sentimental.

Seriously – my brain is a squishy pile of emotional goo right now. I can’t quite identify the source. But going through my photos from our London trip, I am finding myself with the overwhelming desire to pack up my bag and hop on the next flight to Heathrow. Yes, this would be ill-advised. Yes, this would be expensive. No, I do not think, in any way, shape, or form, that this would be a good idea.

And yet, and yet, and yet.

Sometimes my heart and my brain can’t agree.

Rand and I left for London directly from New York. We were gone for more than two weeks. During that time, the oft-neglected plant that I’ve had for years managed to cheat death once again. We were gone so long, I forgot what our house smelled like (inexplicably, it’s melted crayons, garlic, and cinnamon. Do not ask me what I’ve been up to in the kitchen). And right now it is very, very good to be home, for the brief span of time that we’ll actually be here.

So why do I miss London so acutely? Why do I want to go to a country that’s so gray and miserable, and full of strangers, and so damn far away from home?

For once, the answers come easily …

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The rich are different from you and I.

They have more art. (They also have smaller dogs, but this is a post about art).

When Rand’s grandparents made us an appointment to visit the Barnes Museum outside of Philadelphia  few months back, I had a vision in my head of walking into a crazy person’s home and finding priceless works of art mixed in within old newspapers and piles of laundry. After all, by the standards of the day, Albert Barnes was a nutter (though now he’d just be considered slightly colorful). He grew up in a working class family in Philly, earned a medical degree, amassed a fortune selling compounds and antiseptics, and spent a large amount of said fortune buying up paintings from then-up-and-coming artists like Matisse, Renoir, Cezanne, and Picasso (many of whom he called friends).

He had grand ideas about art – some of them reasonable (that educating the impoverished and the uncultured about art would help to improve their lives) and some of them outlandish (he insisted that the works he purchased be on display in an old, damp house (adjacent to his own home), stipulating in his will that they could never be moved). His oddness and curious behavior are the stuff of legend among art aficionados. I expected the museum to reflect this weirdness, finding it somewhat akin to stepping into The Addams Family mansion. In this respect, I was slightly disappointed. While the Barnes Museum is unlike any other I’ve been to, cluttered and haphazard by comparison, it is still a far cry from an episode of Hoarders.

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