Part of the Web Pool

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Blogs, vlogs, wikipedia, open source, cyberspace. These are such familiar terms these days. It seems like the web has been around for a long time, at least since I became more involved in it back in 1991 when I swapped being an abstract painter to being a web designer. After reading the latest Wired magazine about how the web really picked up speed, I’m excited to be a part of it! Imagine being one of the people who got the ball rolling with the idea of “hyperlinks” that would connect, indirectly, each and every web page and allow any Joe to submit and access online media and information.

The web has grown by giant leaps and bounds, from the initial small science community website to, well, a gigantic cyberspace. This article, “We are the Web“, by Kevin Kelly, in the August issue of Wired, pretty much sums up the whole launch toward what we know of today as the Web.

Close to Chuck

chuckclose_2Ernesto and I went to the Chuck Close opening tonight at the Walker. It was incredibly packed. After waiting in line and lots of people watching, we spotted Chuck Close buzzing through the crowd, as people flared out with big smiles and tentative utterings of praise for a great show. We got tired of waiting in line, so we headed up to Gallery 8 for Chan Poling and his band. Just a few feet away, Ernesto spotted Vice President Walter Mondale and his wife Joan. He seemed to know all these young band dudes and posed for a few point-and-shoots.

We finally got into the show. Chuck Close’ paintings are initially abstract, but altogether tight at the final squint. I think that his paintings appeal to a broad audience, from photographers to even photorealist painters. The paintings take the realism of photography and transmit them into very painterly abstractions at close range. Once viewed at a great distance, they just come together, even though at closer range it’s apparent that they are made up of small, abstract paintings. This is a show that has to be seen from a great distance, not from one foot away and five people deep. I will return.

Walker Film Festival

abramovitz-soldiersErnesto and I spent some time, in between films, in the sculpture garden. I still miss those politically-charged, headless soldiers standing at attention next to the brick wall by Magdalena Abakanowicz. Unfortunately, they were not intended to be part of the permanent collection. Too strong a subject for a Midwestern audience perhaps?

We’ve seen a lot of films at the Walker this month during the film festival honoring women in the director’s chair. “Writer of O” is a documentary about Dominique Aury, the French author and publicist who wrote the “scandalous” erotic novel “Story of O”. After forty years of secrecy, she revealed that she was the author. She was quoted to have said that after so many years, now an elderly lady of ninety years, the scandal had less of a sting.
Last night, we saw the film “Yes” by Sally Potter, starring Joan Allen and Simon Abkarian. I loved this film because, even though it was done in six weeks on a tight budget, the cinematography was incredibly creative, merging images in slow motion to convey dream sequences that meshed very well with its abstract, poetic dialogue. There was always a secondary presence of the “cleaning staff” who knew what was going on, talking directly to the camera, much like the Tilda Swinton character in “Orlando”. Joan Allen was on hand after the film. She was very tall with long blonde hair and, just like anyone in film, she looked much thinner in person. She seemed very friendly and non-pretentious. Then again, she’s a great actor, so we’ll never know!

Walker Mix-n-Mingle

Well the Walker opening party was spectacular! It really ended up being like a typical “After Hours” party, but in a brand new space. What an amazing piece of architecture…from the angular, geometric shapes, shiny / matte textured white walls, the open views of the city skyline, to the patterned design distributed throughout the edges of the galleries and main theatre.

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Reshaping Minneapolis

Tonight is the opening party at the new Walker Art Center. It’s so exciting to see the Minneapolis art / theatre / performance scene take shape at the same time…the Walker Art Center, the Guthrie, downtown Library, and new additions to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Children’s Theatre. Ernesto and I went to the whole lecture series that involved the four architects.

Walker Art Center – Herzog & de Meuron
Guthrie Theatre – Jean Nouvel
Minneapolis Library – Cesar Pelli & Associates
Minneapolis Institute of Arts – Expansion
Bio of Architect – Kenzo Tange
Children’s Theatre Expansion – Michael Graves

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Smoking, the joys of…

marlene_1I recall an episode of Frasier when they had Harriet Sansom Harris as a guest star. Frasier was helping her to quit smoking, without any success. She gave an amazing delivery, talking about the pleasures of smoking. It goes like this:

Niles: There’s no need to be insulting just because you’re wrestling with an unhealthy and disgusting habit.

Bebe: It isn’t disgusting, it’s wonderful!

Frasier: Oh now, Bebe, tell me. What is so wonderful about smoking?

Bebe: Everything. [with actions:] I like the way a fresh firm pack feels in my hand. I like peeling away that little piece of cellophane and seeing it twinkle in the light. I like coaxing that first sweet cylinder out of its hiding place and bringing it slowly up to my lips. [Daphne comes back with a bowl; getting more erotic:] Striking a match, watching it burst into a perfect little flame and knowing that soon that flame will be inside me. [laughs gidily] I love the first puff, pulling it into my lungs. Little fingers of smoking filling me, caressing me, feeling that warmth penetrate deeper and deeper, until I think I’m going to burst! Then – whoosh! – watching it flow out of me in a lovely, sinuous cloud, no two ever quite the same.

She’s cast her spell. Everyone now has a hungry, longing look in their eyes.

Daphne: More potatoes, anyone?

Seattle / Vancouver

annedriving_4Our mountain-climbing, city-seeking trip to Seattle and Vancouver began when, finally, Anne picked Mother and I up at the Seattle airport. We managed to convince Mother for about 50 miles that we were indeed headed for Seattle. This photo shows Mother still anticipating the Seattle skyline and all the cats circling her legs. Our true surprise destination was to Vancouver. Along the way, we stopped at a rest area and Anne had bought some great focaccia sandwiches. She even brought her own cloth napkins!

I think it was a trip full of surprises, drumming up old grievances as well as old and new memories. That’s the way it is with siblings, family…sort of a love/hate relationship. It was good for the three of us to be together for such a long time.

I was anxious to see, well, Canada! I had never been to Canada and Vancouver was supposed to be an incredibly cosmopolitan city with high density all around…and that’s exactly how it turned out to be. The only problem is, even though we were there in July and everything seemed well and good within our fantasy (actually only Anne’s and mine) of moving there away from the whole Bush scene, when we realized how cold the winters must be in Vancouver or any city that far North. I’m looking to get away from horribly cold winters in Minnesota and I don’t think that Anne would want to leave mild, but rainy Seattle.

mothercarThe view from our hotel was really great. The Vancouver skyline looks like everything was built between 1962 and 1972, mostly glass buildings and the other buildings were pretty much kept the same on the outside and renovated on the inside. Too bad it was so late. I would’ve liked to check out the club scene. There were people milling about at every corner, waiting to be let in by burly bouncers. Whether it’s Vancouver or Manhattan, I just love the density and, well, people! Often times in Minneapolis, one could walk the streets and think they were all the sudden in a ghost town.

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