Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tour of the Brooklyn Museum

I know it's probably just me, but it seems like the weekends are getting shorter. That would be quite a conspiracy if it were true though. Maybe it's some government plot to get more working hours out of the economy to pay for the war. On that note, here's an interesting and on-target column from the Weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal:

Rich Man, Boor Man

Anyway, not to get political or overly negative (two things I try to avoid like the plague), I did have a productive and enjoyable weekend, and it seems like I'm settling into a bit of a groove on weekend with Saturdays being used to clean the apartment, cook and run errands, while Sundays I try to spend time with my family since everyone is off work.

Saturday I went to IKEA to return something and bought a cheap TV stand to use in the bedroom. Since I bought my new LCD TV a couple weeks ago, my old TV has been sitting unused on the floor, so I decided to hook up my spare VCR so I could watch tapes in bed if I wanted to. I think if I had cable, I still wouldn't want a TV in my bedroom because it's just too invasive and I'd end up having it on way too much. But since it can only play tapes, and I don't have all that many tapes, it's just an occasional use set for tapes I might check out of the library or whatever.

I also stopped by Globe Shoes in Paramus again and picked up two more pairs of the Softspots Lilly sandals that I wore to my job interview last week. It's not often that I find comfortable, feminine shoes in my size, so it's worth stocking up, especially when they are half-price for the season. I also stopped by Target and found some nice scoopneck shirts, a new pair of jeans, shorts and a pretty orange skirt in the clearance rack. Unfortunately I've been gaining some weight since my surgery in January so I've needed some new clothes to wear until I can lose the extra weight, which I intend to start doing in the next few weeks once I make some preparations. I lost 60 pounds in eight months back in 2005, so we'll see if I can come close to duplicating that feat. If I lose half that this time, I'll be pretty happy, as long as I can keep it off. Hopefully with no more major medical complications in my foreseeable future, I'll be able to maintain a healthier lifestyle going forward.

Saturday night my family and I watched Touch the Sound, a documentary about deaf musician Evelyn Glennie, a movie I first discovered at the Angelika Theater back in Houston. I had arrived at the theater early to see something else, but I poked my head into this movie and saw the first 10 minutes or so, and resolved to see the rest with Tara (which we finally did last June when I gave her a copy of the DVD). It's a stirring portrait of an artist and another good documentary about improvised music (Keith Jarrett's Art of Improvisation is also well worth seeing).

Sunday we woke to sauna-like conditions to head out to the Brooklyn Museum to see an exhibit of Asher B. Durand paintings that was closing on Sunday, so it was our last chance. Tara and I saw this exhibit back in April, and we wanted to show Bee and Bug before they took it down. It was just as beautiful as we remembered, and we were heartened to see that about a third of the paintings belonged to the New York Historical Society, so they will eventually be on display there for us to revisit. I also got yelled at by a guard for taking this photo of Durand's 1853 painting titled "Progress (The Advance of Civilization)" - but at least I got the illicit photo I wanted.

The hard won photo in the Durand gallery

We also toured the museum's world-class Egyptian section and the rest of their American wing that Tara and I saw last time we were there. Then we went to the mysterious fourth floor (which required a special elevator and age-appropriate advisory) and toured the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art and some installations of colonial period houses and furnishings.

Me and the sarcophagus

An actual mummy on display

A substitute Tiffany window for me and Tara

There was also a beautiful ballroom called the Beaux-Arts Court that is a magnificent space in and of itself. Unfortunately, like many parts of the museum, our enjoyment was tempered by a lack of air conditioning, requiring the use of noisy fans for air circulation.

A great place to put a rock climbing wall

On the fifth floor there is also a visible storage exhibit similar to the one at the New York Historical Society, but quite a bit smaller. However, the dim lighting in Brooklyn makes it a more intimate and evocative space than the brightly lit and sunlight dappled rooms in Manhattan.

I wish my closet was this big

Two of my favorite sculptures I've seen recently are at the Brooklyn - one titled The Greek Slave, and the other is The Lost Pleiad, which reminded me of the character Yvaine in Stardust, a movie I'm looking forward to seeing next weekend. Marvelous work, and the installation of the Pleiad is particularly dramatic, as it is placed in its own darkened room with spotlighting.

The Lost Pleiad

The Greek Slave

On our way out, I bought a poster of John Singer Sargent's work, An Out-of-Doors Study, that I intend to have framed and put up somewhere in the apartment. Amazingly, it was pouring down rain pretty much all day long, except for the few moments when we were coming and going from the parking lot to the museum. Fortunately I didn't have to get soaked twice in one week!

After our return to our respective homes to prepare for another workweek, last night I finished reading Charles de Lint's The Little Country and it's not far to say that this might be a life-changing book for me. I still remember the day I picked it up from the bookshelf, as if I were drawn to it. Tara has some of de Lint's books (including this one) but she couldn't recommend this particular one to me because she hadn't read it yet. But there was something about this book that drew me to it, even before I'd read a single page. I lost my original copy in the recent fire when I was about halfway through it, so I had to replace it immediately (fortunately with an identical trade paperback copy). It reminded me of the ephemeral nature of magick if one does not continuously keep to one's intended path. For those already on a such a path, or anyone interested in finding magick in their lives, I highly recommend this book.