Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Degas and the Dance

We went to the Detroit Institute of Art for the Edgar Degas exhibit, focusing on his obsession with the ballet. Prior to this, all I knew about Degas was his penchant for painting young girls with black ribbons around their slender white necks.

The DIA is a huge building, with shifting walls that permit dramatic new means of exhibition. Nikki and I love going to museums so this was a special treat. The manner in which this exhibit was curated managed to recreate Degas’ Paris of the 19th century, and the power and evolution of his work was shown to full effect with a large number of paintings, sketches and sculptures. It was incredible walking around with the computer-assisted guide thingie (keyed into specific items on display). We loved it.

As an extra bonus, after spending a lot of time with Degas, I decided to wander the rest of the museum and literally wept with unexpected joy when I saw my first “live” Renoir and Monet. Coming across those two painitngs plus all the other European Masters I wasn’t very familiar with (I’m a writer not an art historian) affected my soul.

Beauty need never be justified. Expression need never find a cause.

Or to borrow from Irving, “…Art is fun.”

I wish we had a month or so just to explore the museum. Nikki and I barely had time to look at the exhibits on Egypt, Greece/Rome, Korea, Japan, Tribal Africa, the Modernists, the contemporary installations, the Flemish, Dutch, Spanish and French masters…

Why can’t Manila’s museum’s be something like this? And how will we devour the Met next week in NYC?


With upstate NY in our crosshairs, we drove through Ohio and Pennsylvania. Sage was a great traveler, better suited to the road than myself.

As we drove through Ohio, I just felt the vastness of the place. And a certain emptiness. We alos declined the temptations of the Hershey plant in Pennsylvania.

Dozed on and off, wishing for ciggies. We were glad to know that the story of the terrible sniper/s was about to end. I learned that Robb was booted off the espisode we missed in "Survivor".

I wasn’t too thrilled to learn that snow was expected in a few days, or perhaps even earlier, given the lake effect.

We had late dinner at Webb’s at Chatauqua (where Clinton spent two weeks with their Brain Trust prepping up for one of his debates AND it was also the place where the hotel scenes from “Somewhere In Time” were filmed). Veal and scallops, with bourbon pecan pie and coffee and Sage mulling over the concept of a baby seat. Really tired.


We got to Ellicottville, lugged our stuff out of the car and collapsed into sleep – until Sage demanded cheefully to play. So we did until daylight and we watched a deer eat an apple that fell from a tree that covered itself in dress of red and gold.

Didn’t know deer liked apples. Didn’t expect to see deer.

The last time we were here we missed autumn and arrived during winter. This time, we got to see the tailend of the fall and the stunning colors of the leaves and trees and hills made me wish I could paint.

Breakfast was those fantastic THICK bacon slabs, eggs, muffins, cantaloupe, fresh bread, doughnuts, coffee and my much-missed Tropicana Orange Juice.

We went to the city of Olean and I marked a comic book store that I’d visit again before leaving. Along the way, I found out that haystacks were no longer in vogue, replaced instead by giant puck-shaped “bales”. Also found out the difference between hay, straw and ensilage; the price of pumpkins and what Pumpkinville does off-season; and as snow fell, the difference between snow showers, flurries, storms and how ice houses were built.

I got depressed watching the first snowfall, but perked up with the absurdly huge 20 oz. Porterhouse I had to polish off, along with my share of Nikki’s Salmon steak. Sage, again, befriended all the staff and servers and looked so picture-worthy in her winter ensemble.

I finally got a digicam, thanks to secret agent Max. If all goes well, I’ll be posting pictures at last, after I get an FTP thingie for this computer (assuming I ever figure out how to use the camera, as the luddite in myself recoils in horror).

Sorry again for all the spelling errors and the general tone of my posts so far. Really, it’s hard to be insightful and entertaining after non-stop exposure to beauty, travel, food and Sage!

mga bilin

Jason, email me the address so I can mail these comics! Vin, haven’t been to bookstores yet. But will find your stuff. Please call my condo just to see how Diovine is.

Wish everyone was here. We’d roll Vin down the ski slope with unholy glee, then write, illustrate and produce an award-winning comic about it.


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