Monday, June 30, 2008

Ann Arbor Summer Festival

This weekend we went to the Ann Arbor Summer Festival out of curiosity to see acrobats dangling from a helium balloon. It's a strange art form (if you can call it art). I'm sorry to say, it was a little disappointing.

The show only lasted 15 minutes. Only one performer was involved, doing only one kind of motion: somersaults around a harness dangling below the balloon. Two people holding guy ropes were moving the whole apparatus to add a little other motion. The music was wimpy sort of newage stuff. Oh well.

In the foreground of the first photo, you can see the wonderful fountain in the plaza where the festival takes place, near the Michigan League building. I am a big fan of Carl Milles [1875-1955].

Saturday, June 28, 2008

High Tech Mona

From the earliest days of computer graphics, it's been a commonplace for some image of Mona Lisa to illustrate whatever the state of the art was at the time. I would have thought we had outgrown that trend: but here's a page from an absolutely current magazine! In other words, the "Surprising new creative muse" of the title has merely inspired creation of the same old same old redo of the face that launched 1000 chips (or more). Click on the image if you want to be able to read every word and see every morph.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Doormat

Thank you, Bob and Elaine!!! Keep those Mona Lisas coming.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Great Flick

We finally saw the new Indiana Jones -- it exceeded my expectations by far. The piling on of fifties cliches with a variety of new twists was especially great.

In retrospect, I was really amazed at an attack on the movie that I read a few weeks ago titled "Real Archaeologists Don't Wear Fedoras." In it, Neil Asher Silberman, a normally sensible archaeologist (whose works about ancient Israel I have even read) wrote:
"I know that the Indiana Jones series is just a campy tribute to the Saturday afternoon serials of the 1930s and the B-movies of the 1950s, but believe me, it totally misrepresents who archaeologists are and what goals we pursue. It's filled with exaggerated and inaccurate nonsense."

What an idiot -- does he really think anyone takes this movie seriously? Silberman mentions that real science is done in "a combination laboratory, field school, campground and open-air classroom." That is, not during insane chase scenes? He talks about archaeologist's real work: to "excavate and painstakingly document their sites centimeter by centimeter." Yeah, in the movie, the sites sort of just cave in under the adventurers' feet -- they don't need a little knife and a toothbrush to look in the cracks because big cracks just appear by magic. Oh, wait -- that's because of magic. Why don't real archaeologists just use magic? Oh, wait...

Lenny wore the right hat to see it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Verona in the Arb

This year's outdoor performance was Two Gentlemen of Verona, an early Shakespeare play with a preposterous plot. We bought our tickets just outside the peony garden, where many blossoms are still near their peak, and walked down the hill into the meadow where the actors and musicians were arranging themselves in Elizabethan attitudes.
A fine rain was falling as we walked around the hill to where the players were gathering. A few audience members had umbrellas -- we had raincoats. As the play began, the evening sun began to shine. Beautiful light continued throughout the performance.

The first act started in one of the open meadows, below a hill where a "sheep" was sitting. A group of musicians and a singer performed the song "Tell me where is fancy bred..." They played other well-known Shakespeare songs throughout the play as well.

As in last year's presentation of The Tempest (see Shakespeare in the Arb), the stage moved around the Arboretum, and the audience followed a leader with a flag, to re-seat themselves on the grass at various points. It's a fun way to do it!

The sheep in the meadow was stuffed -- but Crabbe the dog, a character in the play, was a real dog. His role is to watch respectfully while his master (a lowlife servant) goes on in a very funny and buffoonish way. The players hammed up the broad comedy throughout the play, much to our enjoyment. A baby fussing in the audience was the only problem, as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

At Selo-Sheval Gallery

Best gallery in downtown Ann Arbor! Lots of good ties beyond Mona Lisa, too.

Great Slogan for a Bad Politician

Consider this: Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur -- from Paul Krugman's blog. Meaning:
“The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived.”
Krugman says it applies to the Bush years, for many politicians. I wonder if it isn't general in the sense of one slogan I morph into this:
“Eternal vigilance is the price of everything.”

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New Table

Absolut Mona Lisa

OF COURSE Mona Lisa belongs in an Absolut World...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Diversity: Not Mona Lisa

And for more un- Mona Lisa: see For a Change and "The Next to Last Supper"


Mona Lisa can show up just about any time "art" is mentioned. There is in fact no other connection with the above items. On the other hand -- here are some that make perfect sense:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cultural Studies

For another Mona Lisa of the day: see my food blog.

Friday, June 06, 2008