Culture Vulturing

From the sublime...
Last year, when Thing One and I were deciding where to go on vacation, I suggested London.  We've been there many times before, so there's a comfort level about being there (favorite stores, restaurants, etc.).  Besides, there was a Pre-Raphaelite exhibit at the Tate.  The PRB is my favorite art group and some of the items exhibited are in private collections and thus not available to us mere mortals.   Then it was pointed out that the same exhibit was travelling to the National Gallery of Art in DC, making it possible to go some other place than London and still see my beloved PRB.   
The exhibit was slightly different, with fewer items, but still a great number that were privately held.  First of all, the exhibit was free: our tax dollars at work.  Second, it wasn't laid out by artist or in chronological order, but thematically.  We got to see how the PRB approached literary themes (or nature themes, or biblical themes, etc.) and were able to see a variety of PRB members, from Millais and Rossetti to lesser-knowns and people like Julia Margaret Cameron (supposedly a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood).  Yes, of course I bought the book.
What I found odd was that there were no guides, print or audio.  In some places, there were so many people looking at an item that it was difficult to read the accompanying text.  Still, now I can say that I've seen a number of items that I'll never get to see again...
to the ridiculous...

Movies used to be something I looked forward to.  For several years I'd plan my visits to work around what was playing nearby (having summers off made a midday showtime possible).  Recently, however, there are fewer and fewer that feel like Must Sees.  Ok, in part it's because I have a big screen tv that works quite nicely for quieter films, but also it's because the price and the subject don't mesh for me.  Every now and then there's a movie that seems perfect for that big screen experience... Man of Steel was, according to Thing One, such a movie. 
How wrong we were.  I was ready to leave after 15 minute, he after 30 (of course, we didn't communicate this to each other and sat there for the entire painful experience).  I get that "shit blows up real good" is the in thing for summer movies, and the louder the better.  Plot?  Irrelevant.  I also know that many of the so-called reboots (and can we please get rid of that term? please??) play with the canon, that Vulcan is destroyed in the "new" Star Trek series, for example.  In the upcoming Star Wars movies, Darth may turn out to not be Luke's father.  Who knows?  So I was prepared for changes to the Superman mythology.  What I wasn't prepared for was a Superman I didn't care about at all.
The Kryptonian technology didn't awe me, it just felt like millions in CGI dollars.  90% of the film was fighting, shit blowing up and more fighting. There was no humor, no heart, no warmth to this movie.  It was time I'll never get back.  And if I could get my $9.50 back, I'd take that in lieu of the two hours wasted.
For a variety of reasons, that's the sum of my culture vulturing over the past few months.  No concerts, no shows, just a wonderful art exhibit and a really awful movie.  Here's hoping that more comes along to cleanse my palate.


Nevermore (aka A Tale of Two Lunches)

Recently, I had two lunches that have made me think and resolve "nevermore".

The first was with a good friend, 81 years old, now studying for her fourth master's degree (Yep.  Fourth.  I'm such a slacker with only one!).  We started talking about our To Do lists and how we get sidetracked, and she mentioned a few tv shows that manage to eat up years of her life.  Shows like the Real Housewives franchise, or House Hunters Internationals.  Or, in my case, Love It or List It, Hoarders and Bang for Your Buck.  I have a cousin who loves Shipping Wars and Storage Wars, as well as Duck Dynasty. My epiphany moment was that we weren't saying things like "I shouldn't say/admit this..." or "My guilty pleasure is...".  We were being open and honest about what we watched, sadly to the detriment of what we really should be doing.

Kids don't have what we adults call guilty pleasures, do they?  Show me one kid who says, "I really shouldn't say this, but I prefer chicken fingers to spinach and brussels sprouts"  I dare ya.  They'll admit they hate the veggies, but it's not a guilty feeling.  Only adults are expected to feel guilty over the tv, book or musical equivalent of chicken fingers.

So nevermore.  What I like, I like.  I'll say it loud and proud.

The second lunch was with a college friend, who made a resolution to finally stop letting the past be as big a negative influence on his life as it has been up to now.  Great idea and many kudos for that.  During our conversation, he said something like "if you hurt me, my family, or break my heart, you're dead to me" (no, he wasn't talking about me, but the general you).  Again, I applaud that.  But I did wonder how much energy he was expending into that "dead to me" part - because I've been guilty of that.

My second epiphany moment? If people are "dead to me" then they really should be.  Their names shouldn't cross my lips, or flit through my mind.  My mother has that ability: according to one of her friends, if a store or restaurant doesn't please my mom, she just completely blocks them out of her mind, as though they don't exist. There are several people that fit into that category, and henceforth, I'm going to stop obsessing about why they are dead to me - they simply don't exist in my world.

So nevermore.  What was I talking about?


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