Strange Week On The Road

What a strange week this has been! So much news about hurricanes which is typical this time of year. However, Dorian really is one for the record books. I am sure we will be hearing about the death and devastation for some time now.

Here in Houston I hear people say that they are thankful the hurricane did not come to us. It is so odd to hear (and feel) grateful at another’s misfortune. Yet, it is a sentiment with some wisdom behind it. Sooner or later Houston will endure another hurricane. Too many people are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey. Every year I have the same wish, “Not this year. Please not this year.” So far, so good.

With all of this going on, I have been engaging in a bit of escapism. To begin with I went to the Stages Theatre and saw, Sister’s Back to School Catechism: The Holy Ghost and Other Terrifying Tales. There is a whole series of “Sister Catechism” plays. At Stages they all star Denise Fennell as Sister and they are all hilarious. This one was especially good, because it dealt with Halloween. Now, I am not Catholic. I was raised Lutheran and converted to Judaism. Still, the humor in these plays really crosses all boundaries. Fennell is masterful at working with a lot of audience participation. This is playing until October 13th. I highly recommend you go.

I also went to see the movie, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? It was so good I had to go out and read the book. Cate Blanchett stars in the movie. Maria Semple wrote the book. Both women are geniuses. Both the book and the movie are funny and interesting. The main question I have to ask myself is, “Am I a menace to society or do I just need more outlets for creativity?” I think this is a good question any aspiring writer or artist should ask. What do you think? What would happen to you if life handed you both success and failure at the same time?

I have also been reading another book about the life and times of artist, Georgia O’Keefe. It is called, How Georgia Became O’Keefe by Karen Karbo. This book chronicles the life of O’Keefe starting during the time she lived in West Texas as an art teacher. Even in her early days, this woman was determined to live life on her own terms. She did this and continued to do so until she died. I have read many books about O’Keefe, but this one really does take a unique approach to such a fascinating person. I will always be inspired by this artist.

Well, that’s been my week. Later this afternoon, I am going to my new favorite spa, GreenHouse Day Spa for a massage. Books, movies, theater and massage. Sometimes a little escapism is good for the soul.

Until next week.….

Art and Artists and Artworks, Oh My!

What a wonderful week!

It started off with my Dear Friend (DF) and I going out to the Cullen Performance Hall and listening to Annie Leibovitz talk about her photography while showing many examples of her work on a big screen. She is one of the artists I have made a point of following over the years. As you can see, I did not sit close enough to get a good picture of her while she spoke (yes, that is her down in the lower left corner), but what she had to say was fascinating. She discussed how she became a photographer, the places she has worked, the people she has worked with and those she has photographed. She talked about how the technical aspects of photography and the cameras have evolved since the 1970s. It was all interesting. I got a copy of her latest book, Annie Leibovitz At Work.

In the photo above, she is displaying a self‐portrait that she took in 1970 using one of her cameras. I guess today you would call it a “selfie”, but even that she does better than most folks do now with their fancy phones.

Thanks to Houston FotoFest and Brazos Bookstore for arranging this!

Then on Thursday it was another gray day. I guess I could have stayed home and worked on my writing, but what the heck.…I was ready for more ART! So DF and I jumped into his car and drove over to the Menil Collection. It used to be called the Menil Museum when there was just one building. Now there are five buildings and acres of greenspaces.

Unfortunately, they are very strict about not allowing any photographs taken inside any of the galleries. So you will just have to go and see the exhibits yourself. I was able to take pictures in the hallway so you can see some of the suffusion of light and “…natural illumination that varies with the weather, time of day and season”.

There are artworks by Magritte, Ernst, Picasso as well as art from ancient and medieval cultures. Best of all there were TWO, count them, TWO charcoal works by Georgia O’Keefe! Be still my fluttering heart!

The Menil Drawing Institute is a very interesting building. Again there is a focus on natural light and green spaces. The building also includes three courtyards that keep visitors surrounded by Mother Nature. There are benches everywhere for those who want to sit and draw or sit and meditate or sit and visit with friends or just sit.

While I love living in the middle of a large metropolitan city, I really appreciate the green spaces provided by a place like the Menil Collection.

After walking around the Menil Collection for approximately three hours, both DF and I were tired. We decided to rest and recharge by visiting a local restaurant that specializes in crepes.  It is called Sweet Paris and it is located in Highland Village. Since I am still recovering from gastric sleeve surgery, I ordered a bowl of Tomato Basil soup. DF had a Vegan Crepe. As we ate, we reviewed which pictures to include in this blog. All of these pictures were taken with my phone. I’m clearly not as talented as Annie Leibovitz, but I have fun. What a wonderful way to end a day of art and walking.

What a wonderful way to spend a gray day.

Slowly but surely I am even learning more about using a real digital camera for my personal photography. Later this month DF and I will take a photography journey through the Rienzi. Stay tuned!

Until next week.….