Monday, July 25, 2016

An "Absolutely Fabulous" weekend

This weekend was a little less busy (at least in terms of social engagements), but that was just fine with us.
Friday night we drove to our local AMC theatre with the hopes of seeing the latest, "Absolutely Fabulous" movie. However, less than a minute after our arrival the movie promptly sold out. Andrew suspects they were showing it in the smallest theatre, so probably a lot less capacity. Since there wasn't anything else showing that we wanted to see, we promptly drove home (but at least I was able to get a few things done and get a jump on the weekend).
We then reverted back to Plan A which was to go catch a matinee at the newly renovated art deco style Drexel Theatre in downtown Bexley. We've been there perhaps half a dozen times over the years and love visiting Bexley. Among other places, we've stopped in at the Schumacher Gallery at Capital University where we've seen vintage photos of the Beatles and the Kennedys. Next up is the Animation Art from Around the World exhibit which opens in September. We've also sampled the pizza at Rubino's, enjoyed crepes from C'est Si Bon Cafe, and shopped at the Urban Emporium and Etc. boutique. I kind of wish someone could pick up Bexley and put it where Powell is so it was a bit closer.
The Drexel looks quite spiffy after its facelift. No detail was overlooked and not a penny was spared. I can honestly say the red velvet seats (doubtful they're original) are the most comfortable theatre seats I've sat in anywhere, which certainly made our movie experience all the more enjoyable. I think Andrew wishes he had brought a sweater since the air conditioning was colder than he anticipated.

At any rate, "Absolutely Fabulous" certainly lives up to its name and notoriety. The movie was a Who's Who among British celebrities. There were as many celebrities in this film as in your average Harry Potter movie (though actually not the same celebrities). Probably my favorite cameo was Jeremy Paxton who said, "Surely there must be other things going on in the news," when asked about his reaction to the disappearance (and presumed death) of super model Kate Moss. He also pops up again after the credits, though I can't quite remember what he said.
I also very much enjoyed Rebel Wilson playing a flight attendant or "cb" (cabin bitch) as she called it, on a budget airline (whose name I forget, but was quite amusing). When she tased Patsy (who was smoking in the restroom) within an inch of her life and all Patsy did was shrug it off and say, "Cheers darling, you don't get that on British Airways!" I laughed and laughed.
The movie hit every mark and was timely as far as social media and pop culture is concerned. "Look at me sweetie, I'm twerking!" Patsy says to Edina. "You need to move your bum more," Edina answers back.
There's lots more classic Ab Fab quotes that no doubt will be added to the already voluminous collection of silly things said by Patsy and Edina et al. For Ab Fab fans and lovers of all things across-the-pond, I can't recommend this movie enough. The only thing lacking was me holding a glass of wine/champagne with which to enjoy the movie. They should give all movie viewers a complimentary glass. Cheers!
Have a good week everyone!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

An Arts Weekend

Thursday July 14, 2016
Tonight I attended the opening night gala for Celebrating UA in the Concourse Gallery at the Upper Arlington Municipal Center. I typically only attend one of these per year, but am always glad I went (even though it takes forever to get there in rush hour traffic). This time I was treated to not only some spectacular art, but I got to hear some lovely poems recited as well (though sadly I don’t know the identity of the poet or I would give him a shout out here). I don’t know if it was the rain or the quality of the art, but I would say there was a pretty good turnout as there were at least a couple dozen people milling around the gallery.

I definitely couldn’t pick one single favorite, but the one that stood out the most to me was what looked like a page torn out of a high school yearbook carved out in wood. It appears the artist transferred the black and white photos onto wood and then delicately carved out the negative space between faces. That mixed media piece called “Portsmouth High School” was created by Barbara Vogel.

If I had to choose one or two I wouldn’t mind hanging in my own house, I would pick either Suzanne Cruickshank’s quilt called “Sunbrellas” or her “Precious Pink” textile piece, or Ned Moore’s “Painting Class on the Rocks,” a painting of people doing En pleine air painting.

Friday July 15, 2016
Tonight we attended the annual showing of a silent film at the Ohio Theatre as part of CAPA’s summer film series. We typically only attend this one film every summer, though we have gone to see “Wizard of Oz” on its 70th anniversary showing, and “Pretty Woman” on a girl’s night out evening with my sister.

This year’s film was called “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans,” and starred George O’Brien as the husband and Janet Gaynor as his wife, and Margaret Livingston as “the woman” (a lady of the evening).
Spoiler alert: The plot revolves around the sad sack of a husband who has taken to visiting a lady of the evening who tries to talk George into killing his wife and moving to the city with her. Not sure what plans they had for their toddler, but apparently that wasn’t crucial to the plot. The husband talks his wife into taking a boat ride with him, during which he plans to push her out of the boat and drown her making it look like an accident. As he leans forward to strangle her, he loses his nerve and rows to shore (on the city side) after which his wife runs as fast as she can to get away from him. They catch up to each other and he pleads with her not to be afraid of him and to please forgive him. It takes some doing (food, flowers, a nice dinner club and games on the boardwalk), but she eventually does forgive him, and they even have their portrait taken to remember the evening.

However, while they’re sailing home (in a rowboat), a storm suddenly hits and their boat is capsized separating the pair. We later see the husband washed up on shore. Then the scramble begins as the town folk are dispatched to help locate his wife. We occasionally see her floating unconscious, and it doesn’t look good for her, but apparently someone was quick with the CPR and was able to save her. All I know is her nurse maid was crying happy tears, and the wife was resting in bed at the end of the movie. They lived happily ever after.

We were warned it was a bit dark at first, but then things turn around. The bit with the drunken pig at the fair/inside the kitchen at the restaurant was definitely the moment of comic relief in the movie (that and the husband replacing the broken head of a statue with a small rubber ball).

Saturday July 16, 2016
Today we visited the Dublin Arts Council’s gallery inside the lovely century building on Riverside Drive. The exhibit, by artist Eileen Woods, was called “Last Words.” According to the DAC description, “Eileen Woods: Last Words is a text-driven exhibition that focuses on the spoken or written last words of the dying in their native languages. Woods uses mixed media and text in two and three dimensions to explore the subjects of mortality and memory. Sources for the text range from the last recorded words of the historically famous, the infamous and the anonymous.
“Most last words are lost through time,” said Woods. “Perhaps they were not recorded, or those that heard the words are not alive to repeat them.  This exhibition illuminates the last words that were preserved, allowing me to give them another incarnation.”

It was definitely an edgy exhibit with melancholic overtones, but I like the artist’s creativity. There were one or two I wouldn’t mind having in my house as they were each interesting pieces on their own. My favorite few last words were: “I told you I was ill.” – Spike Milligan’s last words engraved on his tombstone; “I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been,” Virginia Woolf; “You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everyone dances with the grim reaper,” Robert Alton Harris (executed by gas 1992).

After dinner we decided to head over to our favorite local cinema with the comfy reclining loungers, and saw “The Secret Life of Pets.” I rarely laugh out loud in movies, but I definitely did in this one. Anyone who has ever had a pet can relate to their universal antics (like a cat doing a not-so-graceful landing and acting like it was intentional). We could both see influences from other films like “Flushed Away,” “Shaun the Sheep,” or even “Finding Dory.” Besides all the animal stuff, I also enjoyed the rose colored glasses view of Manhattan as drawn by the film artists. I wouldn’t have minded living in Katie’s apartment with its lovely little balcony with a view over Central Park.

Sunday July 17, 2016
Today my husband and I met an artist friend, Ayn and her husband at the Columbus Museum of Art to see the new Picasso exhibit titled, “The Great War, Experimentation and Change.” According to the museum’s summary, “Columbus Museum of Art, in partnership with the Barnes Foundation, presents an exhibition featuring one of the greatest artists of all time – Pablo Picasso. Inspired by CMA’s Picasso Still Life with Compote and Glass, 1914–15, the show features some 50 works drawn from major museums and private collections from around the world. The exhibition explores how Pablo Picasso’s work was impacted by the tumultuous years of the First World War, when the artist began experimenting with both cubist and classical modes in his art. Important canvases by Picasso’s contemporaries—including Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, and Diego Rivera—will also be presented.

The exhibition also features four costumes that Picasso designed for the avant-garde ballet, Parade, which premiered in Paris in 1917. Parade was the first cross-disciplinary collaboration of its kind. The ballet, which tells the story of an itinerant theater group performing a sideshow, or a parade, was viewed as a revolutionary approach to theater. Picasso was the first avant-garde artist involved in such a production. With Picasso’s strange, geometric costumes, Parade might be seen as the ultimate fusion of classical and cubist forms.”

All four of us thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit. My artist friend commented it was nice to see a Picasso exhibit with so many actual Picasso pieces, since sometimes you get less by the actual artist and more works in the same style by other artists (like at the Wexner exhibit last year that was a tribute to Picasso).

My favorites are the cubist and collage pieces, but I was also impressed by the costumes he did for the ballet, “Parade.” Ayn and I discussed how difficult it is to interpret his cubist works. I liked her suggestion of making dozens of copies of it on a copy machine, and then cut out the various pieces and try to arrange them like a puzzle to see if they make more sense that way.

In fact, at the rear of the exhibit you could do exactly that and create your own Picasso, which my husband did. Here’s a photo of his piece:

To kill time, (we still had about an hour or so until the library opened) I took Ayn’s suggestion and decided to don a costume and have my picture taken in front of a giant mock-up of a Picasso painting. It took a little while as we had to wait our turn in line since this was quite a popular activity. I think we have smart phones to thank for that, since everyone can now get their 15 minutes of fame on Instagram. Here’s a couple of my poses:

Afterwards we toured the rest of the exhibit. I didn’t realize Picasso had also taken up sculpting rather late in life. Why not? Why should he limit his talent to only paper and canvas? That’s not to say that I think all his pieces were resounding successes (like the plate with a smiley face that looks like it could have been drawn by a child, but that was intentional). I did, however, like his owl pitcher and a few other pieces I wouldn’t mind having in my kitchen (or wherever).

We did eventually make it over to the newly remodeled (and opened about 3 weeks ago) main library. I am sorry to say that neither of us was impressed. “Sterile” was the word that came to both of our minds. I told him it reminded me a bit of an airport lounge (minus airplanes and constant interruptions over the PA system) without the excitement of going anywhere. Although the books are neatly organized and there’s plenty of staff and computers to assist you, there’s just gobs and gobs and gobs of empty space that seems so, I dunno, wasteful? Perhaps we’re spoiled having visited other great institutions like the NYC public library, the Chicago Public Library and definitely the Seattle Public Library (which we took a guided tour of back in 2009). When you go upstairs and look down over the atrium, it reminded me a bit of the newly remodeled (as of a few years ago anyway) Cleveland Museum of Art, which is also spacious (but they host public events in their atrium).

[Perhaps next time we’re up in Cleveland we’ll have to (re)visit the library up there and make a comparison. I haven’t been there in at least 20 years since I last visited with some friends on a girl’s day out. My friend Valerie later sent me a photo she had taken of the library that I had matted and still have to this day.]

Still, I got what I wanted, which was an armload of free books and enough leisure time to browse since Andrew found himself a book and was sat reading it when I was done selecting my books.

All in all, a pretty full weekend. Not sure what we’ll do for an encore. I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned.

Have a good week everyone!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Fun in the Sun...

Friday July 8, 2016
Today was the first day of the annual Arthritis Foundation Classic Auto Show & Cruise In held in the Metro Place loop where I am employed. Since we have to put up with traffic restrictions (we have to travel counterclockwise around the circle for the duration of the show), they give us free parking passes and wristbands to attend the show. Even though it’s usually hot and humid every year, I figure, ‘why not?’ and walk the approx. 100 yards to where the show is held.

I would be lying if I said food wasn’t one of the reasons to attend. Even though there’s only about a dozen or so food vendors, they’re all classics like Schmidt’s (if you like German food), Papa John’s, Moe’s Barbecue, Bubba’s Shaved Ice, etc. I went straight for my favorite, which was Weldon’s Ice Cream. I decided to be greedy and order a double scoop cone. Someone should have explained the laws of gravity to the young girl who made my cone because the two scoops were just barely balanced on top of the tiny cone. It wasn’t five minutes before I took my second lick and the whole thing ended up on the ground. 

I was quick to scoop it up and walked back over the booth and asked for a bowl (and spoon). They probably would have given me a replacement cone if I asked, but I was happy enough to have a receptacle to eat my rapidly melting ice cream. Needless to say by the time I got back to work my face and hands were all sticky, as was my hair because it kept blowing in my face. I was only too happy to duck into the bathroom and clean myself up before returning to my desk. That’s put me off ice cream for a little while.

One of the highlights of the show this year was the ‘Model T Wicker Car.’ According to the festival write-up:

“The Basket Case was covered in wicker by hand in Menominee, Michigan, when the Model T was new (1924). Menominee is the home of Lloyd Flanders, which was Lloyd Manufacturing when the car was new. Lloyd manufacturing made wicker furniture, baby buggies, etc., and was the origin of Lloyd Loom, a method to make an artificial wicker for furniture.
The wicker has only been cleaned and painted. I am repairing one section of wicker that was damaged by the stress of people stepping on the entry running board, as 1924 Model T Roadsters only have doors on the passenger side.
This Model T has been in Jake’s family since at least 1935; they have a signed title in the name of John Pinkowski, who was his mother's uncle, Jake’s great-uncle. He has pictures of John and his wife in the Model T, with luggage on the running board. John was apparently not literate, as the title bears "his mark", witnessed.
Jake’s great-uncle had one son, and when he died in 1991, his mother and his aunt were the only surviving relatives, so his mom chose the car. His dad, Jacob J. Kluch, worked on the Model T to get it ready for some shows. He "freshened" the paint, mostly with a "shaker can" and a brush. He had the bumpers and headlight rims re-chromed, put a new roof on it, and four new tires. Other than that, the car was original. He was thrilled to be invited to the Old Car Festival in Greenfield Village in 1992, and they attended several times before he passed away in 1997.
When they were preparing for the Ford 100th anniversary, the engine was damaged. They were then invited to represent 1924 at the 100th anniversary, and the anniversary committee said they should even bring it if it was not running, as they would provide whatever support that was necessary to get it in place and then back in the trailer. However, they got it patched up, good enough to get to and from the show. Jake had the engine rebuilt then, along with the transmission. Everything is original condition.”

Aside from a station wagon I once saw covered in corks, this was definitely one of the most unusual cars I’ve ever seen. I’m glad I went over and checked it out.

This car was also one of my favorites:

In the evening my sister, Karen, and I attended Hilliard Arts Council’s annual summer musical called “Urinetown.” The plot revolves around the fact that because of a drought, people were forbidden from using their own home toilets. Instead, they had to ‘pay to pee’ to use a public toilet. 

As you might imagine, chaos ensues when the people rebel against this outrageous new law. Suffice it to say, by the end of the play there’s a ‘change in management,’ and at least one likeable character meets his demise, but it’s still a funny, decent play. I can only credit the outstanding musical talent of the cast which was definitely on par with an off Broadway production.

Saturday July 9, 2016
This morning we were up early to run a 5K charity race (aren’t they all?) to benefit the Dublin Arts Council, of which we’re both patrons from time to time (and are eager to see their latest ‘Last Words’ exhibit). D’Art, the large ginger tabby and resident cat of the Arts Center was on hand to lend his support and actually take part in the race (while being pushed in a little zip-up tent on wheels). I don’t know his official run time, but Andrew and I definitely finished well in front of him and his human runner.
D'Art wanting everyone to leave him alone

me with one of the race sponsors
We figured perhaps a couple hundred people would participate. The actual number was about half that, but it was still a decent turnout, and I’m sure the Dublin Arts Council made a nice little profit.

The race took place at the trail that runs behind the Dublin Recreation Center through a residential housing development and in and out of a somewhat wooded area; hence, quite a lot of shade. With the 77 degree temperature and low humidity, it really wasn’t too bad. That’s not to say I wasn’t shattered afterwards, but I survived. Andrew and I managed to cross the finish line together again, though, for some reason, my time was a tenth of a second faster than his (through no extra effort of my own I can assure you).

My race statistics:

Click here to see a video of Andrew and I crossing the finish line:

Our unofficial race photo:
 Andrew just after he got home from the race:
Okay, so I am one of the youngest in my age group, I’m still quite happy with my results and Andrew said both our paces have improved since the Four Mile race we ran in November. At this point I don’t plan on running any more 5Ks until perhaps sometime in the autumn.  I definitely plan to run the Road Runner 5K next spring. I’d like to do at least one 5K in each season. Winter might be difficult, but looking forward to the challenge.

Have a good week everyone!