Friday, June 12, 2009

Museum Mile Festival 06-9-2009!

Another reminder that Pete & I have been in the City of New York more than a year is the Museum Mile Festival, which Pete & I briefly attended in 2008. That day, we only had about 30 minutes to run around the MET Museum of Art and then walked down the closing 5th Avenue. This year, however, I planned on spending at least 2 hours walking around. I had a performance at BMI for an hour (singing the role of Starbuck in a musical version of "Battlestar Galactica" the miniseries, written by Eric March as part of his musical theater workshop class) then hopped on the Subway/bus to 86th and 5th.

Some of the rooms were blocked from view by rope, which sort of made sense. Certainly made me yearn for more, and the man/woman power for extra security might have been an extra cost. In any event, as soon as I walked into the Egyptian rooms (love Egypt!) I instantly thought "Damn, wish Pete was here." Gorgeous!

My set of the evening can be found here.

I walked through the Egyptian, some Modern Art, European Sculpture, and the American Wing Courtyard full of stained glass and romanesque statues. I also went into the ancient African, Rome, and Greece areas. And immediately started taking pictures of the interesting and comically/frightening masks or faces I saw. See, I'm revving up someday to build puppets of my own and wanted to gain inspiration. Some sculptures I saw reminded me of Muppets (Sam the Eagle), while others evoked the almost grotesquely cute style of Labyrinth.

I also visited the gorgeous area of the Egyptian section where they stone-by-stone moved the ancient Temple of Dendur from it's resting place in the Egyptian sand. I didn't go into the structure itself (I wanted to share this kind of thing with Pete), but took some pictures in front of the main arch.

Cleopatra I'm not - not even Elizabeth Taylor.

I had a special moment in one particular room of paintings, where work by 19th and 20th Century Europeans were displayed, brought me back to my childhood. See, I used to have an 8x10 of "The Storm" by Pierre-Auguste Cot (French, 1837–1883), and would just stare at it for long bouts of time. There's something about the couple, what they're wearing (or not wearing), and the tenderness between them. So, when I walked through the gallery and saw it in person for the first time, I got a little choked up. And I realize why art enthusiasts around the world pay big bucks for originals: photographs or scans of paintings never do the original work justice.

Go here to read more about the piece.

I also saw "Oedipus and the Sphinx" by Gustave Moreau (French, 1826–1898), which I was familiar with:

Info here.

But check out what I never noticed before - dead feet and a clawing almost-dead hand trying to reach out of certain death-by-falling-into-the-crevas. Creepy!!!

I had never seen this detail...

The story behind this painting is that it represents the moment when the Sphinx (who asked a riddle of every traveler who comes into her path, and eats him when he doesn't answer correctly) is met with Oedipus, who answers the riddle with an A+ (The riddle was: "What walks on four feet in the morning, two in the afternoon and three at night?". Oedipus answered: "Man; as an infant, he crawls on all fours, as an adult, he walks on two legs and, in old age, he relies on a walking stick".) Oedipus is let free to go, but since he was the first person to answer the riddle correctly, the Sphinx jumps off a cliff and kills herself. Guess she had to tie her own wings in a rope before doing that, or had incredible willpower not to unfurl her natural emergency parachute at the last moment.

Back to the evening: I left about an hour later and still had time to walk around. Started North on 5th Avenue and saw the lovely chalk drawings on the street. Took a few pictures of some of the interesting quotes:

And then something caught my eye: "Fashioning Felt" special exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

I only had 20 minutes to go through the exhibit, but I wanted to see the possibilities and gain inspiration for any felt-based puppet design and building. It was actually very very cool; a lot can be creatively done with felt, from lace dresses to furniture, to a gorgeous internal "tent" of sorts set up within a side glass rotunda. You can read more about it here; it runs until September 7, 2009. We couldn't take any pictures, but I grabbed a shot of what the rotunda looks like from the outside garden:

Felt is versatile!

Lastly, I walked by the Guggenheim museum and noticed a crowd around a large silver ball in the middle of the street. Then I noticed there was a guy in the middle of the ball, allowing kids to climb through a hole and get their pictures taken. It was a beautiful sphere of rounded and humorous human figures in various poses. I grabbed his business card which he handed out to me from within his silver ball. His name is Steve Zaluski and can actually take this ball down the road, hamster-like, if he so wanted to.

He has pictures of similarly-created sphere-sculptures at his website Pete later told me he saw this sculpture and its artist earlier in the day while around the area with our friend Stew. He caught Steve in action and posted it to his account:

Dude inside a metal ball at Museum Mile last night. on

Coming soon: A new theater review, plus some cool Jay/Kay ThePal news!

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