A Whole String of Adventures

Full disclosure, this is a super lazy post. I’m tired…I’ve been doing a lot…

It’s been an eventful week for me, filled with theater and movies. And I’ve been really bad about blogging about them. I’m not going to write long reviews of everything, mostly because I don’t want to, but here were some highlights:

The Golden Apple from ENCORES! at City Center

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I didn’t know anything about this show going when my New York godmother invited me to take her extra ticket last Thursday. But after reading this wonderful article, I was intrigued. I’ve always wanted to go to an Encores show, and this was a really fun discovery all around. The show is a lighthearted retelling of Homer, and I loved the choice to recreate Paris (Barton Cowperthwaite) as a silent ballet dancer. One because I love ballet and two because it allows the show to sidestep taking any stance on the character’s culpability.

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Lindsay Mendez as Helen with Cowperthwaite (Photo Credit: Joan Marcus)

Badlands at Videology Bar and Cinema

I’ve written before about how much I love this dark, weird little fable. So for now I’ll just share my friend Arely’s thought at from some angles young Martin Sheen looks exactly like Charlie and from others exactly like Emilio Esteves. It’s sort of crazy.

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An Emilio moment

Also, the queso hot dog at Videology was a pretty tasty way to end a week.

Six Degrees of Separation (with Allison Janney!) 

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Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

It was raining a lot on Saturday. So I almost refused my lotto win ticket to Six Degrees of Separation. But I’m so glad I didn’t. Obivously the biggest draw is Janney and she is as fabulous as you expect her to be. But the play in general, which I had only ever read before, is surprisingly funny and heartwarming. It’s sad how relevant the racial issues (and CATS hatred) still are 26 years on, but the 1990 setting does lend a delightful pre-Google detective story element to the plot.

Also on Saturday I met an actress in the audience whom I’m a big fan of and she was very sweet. 

Mother’s Day trip to Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

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I’ve wanted to see this show for a long time. I love Carole King, and so I was so excited to get to share it with my mom on Sunday. And it was the perfect Mother’s Day show. (I’m pretty sure the entire audience was there celebrating the holiday.) We were unable to stop ourselved from singing along. We briefly felt bad but everyone else was also clapping and dancing. Highly recommend it. Bring your mom, or your most mom like friend. (I’m happy to play the role of mom like friend in your life for this occasion.)

Wakefield at the IFC Center

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A perk of my membership at the IFC is monthly free screenings. I generally go to all of these, even when I know nothing about the film (obvious caveat for avoiding horror/extreme violence), which was the case with this one. It’s…strange. Adapted from an E.L. Doctorow short story by writer/director Robin Swicord, it tells the story of a man (Bryan Cranston) who abandons his wife and family, only to live above the garage and spy on them. It works more as a conceit than it has any right to, but it also has some really icky undertones I’ll be processing for awhile. Cranston is great though.

 

Weekly Adventure: Mini-Break to Salem

The idea of witches has always been pretty fascinating to me. I’ve always loved reading Alice Hoffman novels, in high school I wore out my copy of The Probable Future, and I still return to her sprawling tales of New England women with complicated “gifts.” It’s no surprise that this was my favorite sign at the Women’s March in January:

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Because so much of the moral panic of witch trials can be tied back to women who didn’t fit into the idea of what a woman should do. Which is why its surprising that I actually hadn’t been to Salem, MA until this past weekend. Well, this weekend I took the Megabus up to visit Hanna in Cambridge (well actually Somerville…) and we took the train out to see what Salem had to offer.

And…it was awesome! For a few reasons:

1. It’s a super cute little New England harbor town, which is a particular kind of charm I really enjoy.

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2. The history, both of the witch trials and otherwise (it’s also Nathaniel Hawthorne’s hometown)

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3. The witchy wonderfulness. There is so much camp, and so much earnest Wiccan stuff. It was just exactly what I wanted it to be, and it was also incredibly strange once I stopped to think about it. The actual historical trials were about the paranoid superstition of a group of people who were wrongly accused of witchcraft, which is obviously a tragedy. But now the town is forever associated with witchcraft, and is a Mecca of sorts for the Wiccan and neo-Pagan community. Which is cool in that it’s sort of the ultimate fuck you to the Puritan authorities, but it also leads to a strange tension where the town can’t decide if they believe if witches are real or not, which opens the uncomfortable question about the (obvious at least to me) innocence of those executed. This narrative is most confused at the Salem Witch Museum, which I wish I could describe to you but it is beyond my power. Please just go, it costs $12 but you will never experience anything quite like it….

Anyway, it was also just a great first real Spring weekend up here in the Northeast, and Hanna and I had a delightful time being silly through the streets:

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I did not buy any, but I’m really regretting that now…

Weekly Adventure: I’m Nobody Who Are You at the Morgan Library

I love Emily Dickinson. I didn’t always. When I first read her I found her cold and distant and overly formal. Which looks ridiculous to me now. Imagine, thinking of a poem like this as reserved:

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But I also love what I know about her as a person. Not the mythical figure of the ghostly pale woman upstairs in her New England attic scribbling away and never leaving her house, but the weird and wonderful, and yes unmarried (gasp!), woman that I’ve pieced together over the years. The most clues for me came not from a biography but this collection of her “Envelope Poems.” I feel like that book made it the most clear how integral writing poetry was to her daily life, but also showed that she had a life beyond poetry. She was cooking or going to a concert or reading a letter when had these flashes of inspiration.

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Poem draft on a program card

The small show of her letters and drafts on view right now at The Morgan Library does a nice job of depicting Miss Dickinson’s quiet, but not empty, life. I especially liked the way they presented her interest in botany, with a digitized version of the plant catalog she made while a student at Mt. Holyoke. (It’s really beautifully designed and lets visitors flip though the pages, which obviously could never be done with the fragile original.) I also liked the way she wrote up and down on the pages of her letters, like she simply had too many thoughts to contain them to one direction:

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I had never been to The Morgan before, and I really appreciated the design of the exhibition. There was a lot of contextual information, but it was presented in a clear, uncluttered way. Also, this was the correct paint color:

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Though it doesn’t photograph very well apparently. It’s much greener than this in person.

It’s also just a beautiful space, J.P. Morgan’s library had me swooning (as my Instagram followers can tell you), and while I was there a classical duo was playing in the central courtyard, which was a lovely addition. I highly recommend a trip as a way to pass a gray Sunday afternoon.

The exhibition is on view through May 21st at The Morgan Library & Museum at 225 Madison Ave

Images from the Women’s March on Washington

I tried to write up my reactions to the Women’s March last night, but I couldn’t manage to be coherent. (Partly because it was a wonderfully overwhelming experience, and partly because I’m still pretty exhausted.) So, instead, here are a lot of photos I took of my parents and our friends and a bunch of strangers with their signs:

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At Starbucks on the drive down, with our pussy ears. It felt like everyone we ran into on the way down seemed to be heading to the March

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Mom and Allie up and ready to march

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Dad after I asked him

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Mom and I are still bad at selfies

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We were under a parachute of a giant boob…

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GLORIA

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Dad watching Gloria

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This was my favorite sign

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I left my sign near Leia

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This fence wrapped around the whole ellipse

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Women dressed as suffragists

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Rest stop on the way back, also filled with marchers

Bonus Adventure: The Met at Night

If you follow me on Instagram then you know that I spent my Friday night with my friend Alex and her husband Zach were in town from Austin last night. It was so much fun to see them, and I didn’t know until she told me that the Met stays open until 9. I’ve been there a bunch of times since I was a kid, but it was sort of magical to see it at night, and with fewer people in it.

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Selfie with Alex in an antique mirror

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Zach felt at home with the bears

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I found my armor for the battles to come, complete with flower!

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Alex found her helmet

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Hair goals…literally flower

Weekly Adventure: Chill Thanksgiving Edition

I love Thanksgiving, complicated history aside, it’s a pressure free day where the point is to gather and eat a lot of food. This year lived up to my expectations completely.

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During food prep, Mom and Charlie had important crossword duties to attend to

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Dad made sure everything was safe for the rest of us to eat

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While Phia and Charlie actually cooked everything for us

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Nancy’s beautiful centerpiece (and the traditional scratch off tickets)

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Negaro/Dennett Thanksgiving selfie (though I personally like last year’s better…

The next day, while recovering from our food comas my mom and I watched all of the new Gilmore Girls and I have a lot of feelings about it. (Some spoilers below the picture.)

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  1. I continue to disapprove of Logan. Strongly.
  2. Rory may actually be (read is probably) a bad person.
  3. Emily Gilmore can be cruel, but she is also incredibly strong. (And I love her attitude towards the D.A.R.)
  4. Luke Danes, and Jess Mariano, are the best. It’s that simple.

We took a break in the middle to go with Dad to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Which is pretty wonderful. (Full review to come in the case of awards nominations and/or sequel reviews.)

On Saturday, I got to meet up with some Chicago friends in town visiting family and lay round watching football.

Sunday, my parents drove my back to Queens and I was able to show them around the museum where I work, which was pretty special.

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Mom in Noguchi’s garden

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I don’t think they tried to match…

And now it’s my favorite time of year! Happy Holidays every one!

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My neighborhood gets pretty into the season. In addition to these lights there are also speakers piping in (very loud) Christmas carols, which I’m sure will get old fast, but for now I find whimsical.

 

Weekly Adventure: West Coast Wedding Edition

I meant to post this earlier in the week, but I was so tired from my trip to Portland that I never got around to it. (Well that and for some reason my computer needed to update forever. Did that happen to everyone with a PC this week?)

Anyway, exactly a week ago today, my brother married the love of his life in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I was so happy to be there and pretty emotional, so rather than a full post here are a lot of pictures from the weekend:

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View from the Bridge on my quick tour of Portland with Kate

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Stalker shot of the bride and groom a few nights before the wedding

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The drive through the Gorge to the venue was breathtaking 

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Like seriously gorgeous

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The venue was also incredible. (Also love that I caught G taking the scenery in…)

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The couch at the rehearsal dinner venue tried to eat mom…

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Adorable cottage where the bridal party got ready

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Bridesmaids gowns in the light

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The beautiful bride

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Her beautiful bouquet

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The reception was like something out of a magazine

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G was clearly thrilled to see me taking pictures

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Head table with blurry fairy lights

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Best Man mid-toast

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First Dance as a married couple!

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G and Baboo breaking it down on the dance floor

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G dancing with the aunts

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Doug and Dad having a moment

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Boarding the bus to the after party 

Then my phone died and I stopped taking pictures…

It was a really great weekend, and as I’ve already said a bunch of times, I’m so excited that Kate is my sister (in-law) now. And I can’t wait to go back to Portland sometime to really explore without all the (delightful) wedding hubbub.

An Adventure Filled Month

I just realized that it’s been a month since my last post! And what a month it has been: I graduated from UT, drove across the country in a minivan with my parents…and all of my furniture, read a lot of books hanging out at both my parents’ house in New Haven and our lake cottage in the (fictional sounding I know, but very charming) village of Higganum. (Hilariously, spell check wants me to change that to Michigan.) As usual when I have a crazy long hiatus, I’m not going to do a full play by play of my May. Instead…photos:

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Going away party in ATX. One last round of probably too drunk for photos photo shoots at our hidden wine bar on Rainey.

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Feeling official right before convocation with my parents (and the couple in the background who is in every single one of our pictures.) (And yes, I know I look like my mom.)

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Post ceremony we met the Cassetta women to watch Joe (on the right here) and his crazy good blues band Matthew Robinson and the Jelly Kings at Antone’s

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Day after graduation, rolling out, with tons of extra space

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This country is pretty I guess (I think this was Virginia, but honestly it all sort of runs together in my brain)

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Words of wisdom from Amy Poehler

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Connecticut is particularly pretty (but I may be a bit biased)

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Salt always looks upset in pictures I take of him. But, he likes me, I swear

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Parental planning session at the lake

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#lakelife

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More back porch reading

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Oh, yeah…I live in New York now

Weekly Adventure: Spring Break Getaway Edition

It’s South by Southwest time here in Austin, and like a true local, I spent most of it out of town. (This isn’t a slam on SXSW, I find people that complain about it more insufferable than festival goers, I just had other places to be.) Mainly, one of my dear friends was getting married in Chicago last weekend and because plane tickets into Austin spike in price for the festival I chose to take a detour through Dallas. And just in case you were ever in doubt about whether or not I’m a huge nerd, I spent my time there visiting a couple of presidential history museums (oh, and taking advantage of my hotel’s cable to watch Shadowhunters in real time…).

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I seemed to have brought the gray weather north with me, but nothing can ruin this view for me. It gets me every time I come around the curve on LSD.

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As previously stated, this is not a wedding blog, but I’m just so incredibly proud of Julia and my gift to the happy couple. It seems Pinterest worthy, so I’m uploading here so we can make that happen. (Basically it’s a basket full of booze for them to mark milestones in their marriage. And Jules did the bow, I have no crafting talent.)

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The happy couple at their wedding brunch at Farmhouse

 

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Jules expertly Vanna White-ing the delicious pastries

The next day, I went for a good old fashioned urban hike through a long stretch of Lincoln Park, and stumbled upon the Lincoln Park Conservatory, which is currently hosting the Chicago Spring Flower Show. I didn’t know that was a thing, but it’s right up  my alley.

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I took a million pictures, many of which you can see on my new all-flowers Instagram account.

It was one of those Chicago spring days where it can not decide if it’s gray or bright or cold or warm. But Grant looked pretty good in the afternoon light:

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My destination on the walk was the Chicago History Museum, which I had somehow never been to before. (I know, it makes no sense.) But I’m glad I went, it was a lovely mix of traditional and socially conscious, and I nerded out a lot.

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The 1893 Columbian Exposition as depicted in the diorama room. These have been on display since the 1930s.

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A suffragist in the exhibit on social protest

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They have a temporary exhibit right now called “The Secret Lives of Objects,” which is essentially a hodgepodge of intriguing things curators found in storage. Some fun and some ssurprisingly poignant. Like this lamp, it started the Iroqouis Theater Fire (which is the reason we have doors that open out in public spaces.) A really cool exhibit if you’re in Chicago.

The old part of the CHM building is gorgeous:

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In the permanent exhibit, I learned that the Harlem Globetrotters were founded in Chicago (and remained headquartered there until the 1970s but have been named after the NYC neighborhood since the 1920s, which doesn’t make sense), and saw these important historical artifacts:

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They also have a really well designed, small exhibit of some of Vivian Maier‘s street photography, which I really loved:

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What I loved about the exhibit was the way I felt surrounded by the faces of the people Maier captured. It felt like being on the street with her. Very transporting.

That night I got some post-work Bourgeois Pig with Jules and then enjoyed The Bachelor finale with the girls I started the season with. (Such a treat to see them all again so soon!) And then the next morning it was off to Dallas.

Despite the swing in temperature & humidity, it turned out to be another lovely day for a walk, and I was surprised by how pretty the part of downtown I was staying in was. And they had cool, historical photo based, public art:

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I was walking to Dealey Plaza.To pay my respects as a longtime Kennedy fanatic (I won’t go into that now, this post is long enough) and to visit the Sixth Floor Museum (which is a great mix of tribute to Kennedy’s legacy and examination of what happened on 11/22/63).

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The Plaza itself was a WPA project, and is really pretty. But it’s sort of surreal to walk around it. I’ve seen footage and photos of it so many times, and other than the models of the cars and the heights of the trees not much looks that different. It was very surreal.

Also strange, the amount of men walking around carrying strange homemade signs trying to convince you to pay them for their tour of “what really happened”

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Very high tech conspiracy HQ

They don’t let you take pictures inside the museum, but it was a moving and thought provoking experience for me. (For the record, I think Oswald did it. I’m not completely sure how to explain Jack Ruby, maybe the mob was involved, maybe not. Oliver Stone is full of shit.)

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I took the DART light-rail to get around. I found it clean and easy to navigate. I also could have rode for free the whole time, but chose to pay, because I believe in supporting public transportation.

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Across from my hotel there was a place called Thanksgiving Square, it had murals and interfaith scriptures, and this ring you were meant to pause under and give thanks. It felt sort of stuck in where it was, but I said a little prayer under the ring. (I didn’t go into the chapel, but I sort of wish I had, it looks really cool.)

On my second day in Dallas I took the train out to SMU to visit George W. Bush’s Presidential Library and Museum. I did this, because of my life goal to visit all of the President’s landmarks (see LBJ and Lincoln).

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Although, I was not and am not W’s biggest fan, I’m not going to go into a political rant here. Mostly, because most of my experience at this museum was apolitical and nice. The staff were all really lovely. They had a temporary exhibit about how campaigning has changed that included this carpet that showed all the results of every presidential election:

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On loan from his library in Little Rock

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And this awesome looking board game that I am not allowing myself to look up on eBay, because I will buy it

The building itself is really beautiful:

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And, while I found myself disagreeing with the emphasis of the permanent exhibit there were some pieces that were done unquestionably well.

For instance, the 9/11 memorial, which includes a part of one of the Towers and a lot of very moving archival news footage:

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And the recreated Oval Office (one step up from LBJs because you can step in, walk around, and even take pictures at the desk!):

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There were also some nice lighter moments featuring the First Family. Hilariously, when I went searching for a statue to take a selfie with, I couldn’t find one, but these were prominently displayed:

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The only part of the whole thing that made me truly angry was the “Situation Room” simulation.

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Basically, you sit down in rows with a bunch of strangers, and vote on a screen in front of you on which “crisis” you want to tackle. (My group chose Hurricane Katrina. Other options include Saddam Hussein and The Financial Crisis). They then give you a briefing and 3 options to choose from. You can track what others in the room are thinking with a CNN-like approval line on the big screen. Then you vote on what you would do. Then they tell you what Bush did. As I was walking out of the room it felt like a cool multimedia experience, and I was surprised that I had chosen the same response that Bush did to the crisis. (I do not generally think I agree with how he handled Katrina.) And then I started to feel queasy. The flashiness and official look of the presentation makes it seem like in each of these situations, Bush had exactly 3 options, none of which were all that good and that’s why he made some of his least popular choices. Now, I do agree that being the President is an impossible job, and perfection is not an attainable goal, but I think this presentation simplifies the most important failures of my government during my lifetime to “well things are complicated, you couldn’t do any better.”

What sucks, is that this was right at the end of the exhibits, so I left with the bad taste in my mouth. As you can see from the newest addition to my Presidential Photo Collage:

Post W

Now that I’m back in town, I’ve mostly been lying around exhausted. Though I did go see Midnight Special yesterday. It’s amazing. I want to go see it again. Like I want to go pay full ticket price a second time. That’s an extremely rare feeling for me. But like, I may go see Midnight Special again tomorrow if anyone wants to join me.

A Month of Adventure: Winter Break

So, I’m back at the ACC desk for my first evening shift of the year after attending my first class of my last (ah!) semester at UT. I realized this morning while getting myself organized for the craziness that is about to start up again that I never wrote a blog update about anything I did on my winter break. And I did a lot. I crossed a quadrant of the country. (Quadrants are how we measure these things right? Sorry, inside joke.) And saw a lot of my favorite people (and missed some others). I’m not going to try to write a play by play of nearly a month long trip, so instead here are pictures, with minimal captions (mostly just to attribute art to its creator.)

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I call this piece, “A Blur of Salt”

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Care packages from Portland

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Post-storm Paddock Lake, WI

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in the North Shore room

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Dancing in the New Year in my old neighborhood

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The Field Museum of Natural History

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From “The Greeks” exhibit at The Field Museum

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From the “Dionysos Unmasked” exhibit at The Art Institute of Chicago

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“Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres in the Art Institute’s Modern Wing

(This is one of my favorite pieces of contemporary art of all time. You should Google it to find out why. Or even better go see it.) 

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“Lifeboat” by Jeff Koons on view as part of the “Surrealism: The Conjured Life” exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art

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Museum staff member in the “Run for President” installation by Kathryn Andrews also at the MCA

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Entrance to the “Pop Art Design” exhibit (where photos weren’t allowed) at the MCA

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