• Tag Archives MIA
  • Here’s Looking At Ye’

    Imbolc                                    Garden Planning Moon

    Got my self inserted into the Sports Show conversation among MIA docents.  I’ve not had time to check out the catalog or e-mails until today.

    My commitment to work at the MIA has kept hold of me, even over the last few weeks where I’ve considered jettisoning it altogether in favor of a more personal, private approach.  Research for this new show and excitement about the Rembrandt and Terra Cotta Warrior show coming up reminded me why I love this work.

    It feeds a different part of me than the more masculine, tough-guy, bare-knuckle world of politics.  I’ve had plenty of time with that guy and there are others out there still willing to get in the ring.  I’m stepping back from the political world, at least for now.

    But the MIA?  Nope, I’ve decided I love it there, that the work still calls me and so do my friends among the docents.  I’m there to stay.  At least for now.

  • Northern Spark

    Beltane                                                                       Waxing Garlic Moon

    1:03 AM with a sickle moon, stars and a warmish night fallen over the Twin Cities.  Just back from Minneapolis and the Northern Spark Festival.

    There were lots of people, mostly in their twenties and early thirties, but not all.  I was there, for one.  As the organizer said, folks from other parts of the country can’t believe we roll up the sidewalks at 9:00 PM.  This event, which spread folks over several venues, made each place but one feel safe and accessible.  The feeling of people out, just out to be out, made me feel glad, joyful.  Walking along the River Road behind the Guthrie and the Mill City Museum reminded me of an evening I spent in Savannah a couple of years ago.

    With one exception.  We have no small shops, restaurants and candy makers along the river.  We preserve our riverfront in a solemn, Scandinavian manner.  The upside is that it has not given way to tourist kitsch as parts of the Savannah area has; the downside is that it has no color, no life, only ruins and water.  Except for tonight.

    I went to three venues after I realized the free bus ride would take two hours to get me back to my car.  I drove first to the MIA, walked to MCAD, then drove to the Walker and finally the area around the stone arch bridge.

    The night itself was perfection.  I can’t imagine a more perfect combination of humidity and temperature and clear skies.  Not to mention the moon.

    I began at the MIA because the Battle of Everyouth was a 10:00 to midnight affair and I wanted to be sure to see it.  Unfortunately, the only venue where it did not feel totally safe was this one.  The Battle of Everyouth, though it projected large, interesting images on the Museum’s north facing facade, did not have a very big footprint in the park, so the bulk of the park was dark.  This project, which I visited with some eagerness, was a bit underwhelming.  Part of that came from the darkness of the setup in a dark park.  It got swallowed up as a big event by the bigger park.  It’s primary impact may well have been the prep work with the kids from Washington High.

    MCAD had three different venues that I saw and a couple I didn’t.  I’ll talk more about those tomorrow, but one, projected on a white wall just to the right of main entrance of the class wall featured a machine programmed by an artist with an algorithm that draws flowing shapes.  It got me attention.

    At the Walker I revisited the show about Voyeurism and Surveillance and the It Broke From Within show again, too.  I wandered around outside, watching folks make small art projects and sat on the terraced wall and looked at down town.

    The Stone Arch bridge had lots of people, the most of the three places I visited.  An excellent projection lit up the four grain elevators silos next to the Mill City Museum.  On the bridge there was the sperm and egg ride, a moving illustration of the classic of mountains and seas and a laser set up that baffled me as to its intent and its result.  but no horse on the barge.  I don’t know whether the floating white horse was elsewhere, but it was one I wanted to see and that I missed.

    It was a fun evening, giving me a sensation I enjoy, that of being a tourist in my environs.  I hope it happens again next year and becomes bigger.  Maybe I’ll take a room in downtown for the event.

  • Path of Most Resistance

    Spring                                         Waning Bloodroot Moon

    I have a new round of resistance work underway in addition to the Tai Chi.  This work I got from Brad at the Y.  It involves squatting on a balance board while doing curls, then shoulders followed by a second round, also squatting, focusing on the chest and triceps.  Every other day I do crunches, too.  That plus the aerobics and the Tai Chi, plus the Body Flow I attend with Kate should be quite enough for now.  My goal with the Tai Chi is to learn it well enough to practice it while on the cruise.

    (in case you couldn’t tell, this is not me.)

    As to the cruise, I’m buying books, reading, talking to friends who’ve been to various spots, trying to figure out the logistical possibilities for trips other than the usual shore excursions.  At Stefan’s suggestion I’m going to look into a day flight to one of the Galapagos Islands as well as the potential trip to Aerquipa.  Part of travel’s allure for me lies in this preparation, the ingestion of different places, cultures and histories, different natural and environmental histories, different literature and art.

    Meanwhile we work at the legislature, the Sierra Club and the committee for which I am responsible, the folks keep coming to the MIA, the Woolly’s meet and talk, the Latin continues to flow and Kate and I learn more and more about retirement.  The novel?  Well…  Not so much right now.  You see, there’s the garden, too, and next will be the bees.

  • Moving From the Theoretical to the Concrete

    Lughnasa                                            Waxing Back to School Moon

    Kate has had a nasty cold since Monday and I can feel it trying to claw its way up my esophagus, making my throat scratchy.  My hope is that the recent two time bout I had with some bug in July, then August has revved up my immune system.  With rest I can pound this sucker down before it takes hold.

    Starting back on Latin today.  I took part of July, all of August and the last couple of weeks off with the bees and the vegetables and the orchard.  Thought I’d get work done on Ovid, review, but in fact I got very little done.  An old student habit of mine, if it’s not pressing, it’s not getting done.  I’m looking forward to the weekly sessions, building toward enough confidence to tackle Ovid and others on my own.  It’s a project, like the bees, that keeps the gears turning, not giving them a chance to rest.  Best that way.

    A few years back it was the MIA docent training.  Then the move into permaculture and vegetables and fruit.  That one’s still underway as I learn the complicated dance of seasons, cultivars, pests, harvest and storage.  The MIA training, for that matter, only gives you enough legs to get into the books and files yourself, training you to look and think about art, but each tour demands specific self-education on the objects and the purpose of that tour.

    (Minoan Gold Bee pendant from Crete, circa 2000 BC)

    Part of my impatience with the seminary experience is that I’ve moved so deeply into more concrete endeavors.  Art has the object as an anchor, then its history and context.  Latin has words, grammar and literature as well as Roman history.  Vegetables and fruit have real plants, particular plants with needs and products.  The bees have the bees themselves, the colonies, woodenware, hive management, pest control, honey extraction.  This is, probably, the world I was meant to inhabit, but philosophy and the church lead onto another ancientrail, that of the abstract and faraway rather than the particular and the near.  It’s not that I don’t have an affection, even a passion for the theoretical, I do, but I find my life more calm, less stressful when I work with art, with potatoes and garlic, with conjugations and declensions.

    I now have almost three decades of life devoted to the theoretical, the abstract and the political so I bring those skills and that learning to my present engagement with the mundane, but I no longer want to live in those worlds.  They are gardens others can tend better than I can.

  • Kate is Home.

    Summer                                            Waning Strawberry Moon

    Kate is home.  She looks amazing, walking without the characteristic roll she had developed while favoring her right hip.  We went to Lucias, site of our first date, and ate at their outdoor tables.  Kate savored the wind, the freedom and “being on this side of the windows.”  Doc Heller says 2 to 2 1/2 weeks and she should be able to walk without the walker.

    While we had a snack at Lucias, a stead stream of young singles and young couples with children came by, strolling in their neighborhood.  I realized I seldom see this many young adults.  The MIA docents are an older crowds, the Woollies, too; only the Sierra Club, of the groups I see with any regularity has a mix of youth and older adults.

    One of the younger  couples that came by was a young man in scruffy jeans like I wore at his age and a woman in a print dress, black hair done up in tufts, Goth  eye shadow and lip stick, smoking a cigarette and wearing Doc Martens.  She was not happy with the parking ticket the laid back parking meter attendant had given her only a few minutes before.

    Here’s another sign of the shift I’ve made from city boy to exurban man.  The traffic, the crowds, the heat, the buildings felt too close, too vibrant, more energy than I could inhale.  I look forward to breaking free of the urban heat island, the jockeying for position.   Never used to feel that way.  Now I like our little patch of land, the quiet here, our dogs.

  • Art and Nature, the Nature of Art

    Winter                                          Waning Moon of Long Nights

    In to the Sierra Club for a meeting about legislative work.  The scope of the Sierra Club’s work is impressive, including legislative work at each session of the Minnesota Legislature and scrutiny of the government’s stewardship of our natural resources in between them.  There is litigation work, the primary one right now being the Stillwater Bridge.  There is also the regular work of educating members, the working of the Issue Committees and regular outings.  Perhaps most important of all is the attention of thousands of members to both the particulars of environmental work in all parts of the state and to the developing field of issues, e.g. climate change, renewable energy, efficient public transportation, green planning, work with labor unions for Green Jobs, even climate mitigation strategies to help position Minnesota well when climate change happens.

    After that I went over to the MIA to check on my mail box, nothing in it.  Good.  After I went in there I began to wander through the museum, as I used to do in the days before Collection in Focus, before Docent training, just wandering.  My first stop was the wonderful collection of Chinese paintings that have been up for a while.  Taking them in and meditating on Taoism as I looked, I began to muse about a work that might have the theme art and nature, the nature of art.  Some interesting ideas there.  My favorite collection remains the Japanese, and within it the works on paper:  ukyio-e especially.

    It felt good to be in the museum without a task at hand, or a purpose, other than spending time with the objects.  I could do more of that.

  • A Good Day

    Summer                         Waxing Green Corn Moon

    A good day to work outside.  Still gotta fix the netaphim since other matters interfered the last couple of days.  Lots of weeding to do.  Even in a drought our watering supports the weeds just as it does the vegetables and flowers.

    The Minneapolis Art Institute balanced its books.  That’s a good thing.  Those who work and volunteer there know the last year saw colleagues cut from the work force and strain was present.

    Sierra Club legislative work is in a quiet spot right now.  The legislative agenda setting process kicks into high gear next month, then moves like a freight train rolling down hill right through May of 2010.  The work requires attention and building of new relationships.  That all takes time.

    solomonThe kids have a new puppy, Solomon, continuing the theme of traditional Jewish names for the German short-hair in the house.

    It’s funny the way camera angles often emphasize the head.  This shot looks like Solomon has the head for making wise judgments put on the body of a Chihuahua.

    Herschel, Solomon’s elder, has cancer and is not expected to live much longer.

    The Star-Trib weatherblog has gotten less attention than it deserves this last month and a half.  Three blogs  Sierra Club, weather and Ancientrails proved too demanding.  Even two can be a lot.  Giving up the Sierra Club blog made sense when the Legislative Committee Chair position came along.