Friday, April 29, 2016

Daffodils in Vases

Compliments some of our 2nd graders.

Maryland Science Center - Baltimore

Spent the day filling in for a sick teacher on the 5th grade field trip to the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore's inner harbor.  My # 1 responsibility was to chaperone the two "high maintenance" members of the class--who just happen to BFF's.  I happen to really like and enjoy both boys...what's not to love about two 11-year-olds who go off on topics like which "musical montage" is better when pair with a fantasy collage of images from a specific Japanese Anime character?  The day started with an hour on DNA in one of the most boring presentations I've ever had to sit through, then a cool multi-story IMAX extravaganza involving volcanoes, earthquakes and tornadoes.  Next was lunch with break dancing. and then free roam--We liked the dino's the best.

What I'm Reading #90

Apropos of my recent post on the Pike Place Market in Seattle, I share this volume of poetry by a northwestern poet and which I purchased at a little bookshop at the Pike Place Market.  Tom Crawford was a new poet to me, and in a freakishly sweet turn of events--this copy was signed by the poet.  The inscription reads "For Tom from Tom, Good Meeting You".  And thus I met Tom via his poems through which he explores a deeper understanding of himself and his place in the world.  Stellar.

Here's a sample:


Rain in Chongqing is pretty much
like rain in Portland--
it comes down wet from Heaven
and when it's sudden,
without warning
in both cities people shriek
and scatter.  Newspapers double
for umbrellas,
dirty sidewalks glisten,
a mother runs out
to pull in her little boy.
Flags go up everywhere
in excitement-- "We surrender,
we surrender."

~ Tom Crawford, 1939 -

I feel completely at ease in recommending this poet to one and all.

Spring Break Redux: Pike Place Market

Since the Frye Art Museum was so much less than I had expected, I had time to make my last official tourist act in Seattle a visit to the Pike Place Market. I was there between 4:30 and 5:30 in the PM so most the "action" was over for the day, but that was just fine by me--I'd had enough excitement for one day anyways. So I enjoyed the sights and smells, piked up some books, some souvenirs, a couple of gifts and even dinner for a very low key final evening in my hotel room.

 This guy was very funny. He struck up a conversation with a woman browsing and using her name acted like they had met at friend's party and then implied that they had a good time, but she couldn't remember it and was obviously freaking out...and then he confessed that he was just joshing with her. She asked, "How did you know my name?" He smiled, and said, "It's right there, on your Starbuck's cup."

Spring Break Redux: Frye Art Museum

Finishing up my last day in Seattle after the spending the morning and early afternoon at and around the Space Needle, I went to a small art museum called the Frye Art Museum. Like everything in Seattle, it was unknown to me. I made the decision to visit based on their website and proximity to my hotel. It seemed to have a lot of works by Russian painters of the 19th & early to mid-20th centuries in its collection. It's home is a lovely modernist building in a residential neighborhood just on the edge of the downtown high-raises. The building has wonderful sight-lines and a very well placed reflecting pool. Besides the building; however, the collection is rather unimpressive overall, but idiosyncratic enough to also be interesting--to it's benefit the parking and admission are both free!

Much of the limited space was in the process of being transformed for a new exhibit so all of the museum's major works were on display in a single large room stacked together like jigsaw pieces in a manner known as Salon-style. I first encountered this at the Pitti Palace in Florence, and interestingly enough a similar collection of works was once hung in this manner at the Baltimore restaurant Hausner's before it went out of business and the collection was sold at Sotheby's--so I was familiar with the technique, but here it made viewing more confusing.

As fate would also have it, my visit was timed to coincide with an art appreciation lecture being given to a group of seniors from a local retirement home, as well as, a local artist copying one of the paintings in the salon gallery.

Whatever other space, including a long hallway, were used to display a collection of pro-Russian revolutionary propaganda posters circa 1918-1920--about 30 works in all.