Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Where to begin?

We left Ottawa on Friday, while snow and freezing rain drove sane people into warm rooms -- or toasty trains.
Lake Ontario breakers, as seen from the train.
I'm SO glad we didn't drive to Toronto.
Another shot from the train. All that blowing snow: brrrrr!
We had an afternoon to kill before visiting my Aunt Winkie, so we went up to the Art Gallery of Ontario and took in the Marc Chagall exhibit, a wonderful show. (I had no idea he was Russian, born Moishe Shagal. It always makes me sad to learn that someone changed his or her name to "conform;" our names are so much a part of our identities.) We also saw some Rodin bronzes in the central court.
Andrieux d’Andres Vetu, by Auguste Rodin
Then we went back into the miserable weather, where this happened:
Salty slush at every corner. I evidently had not waterproofed my boots adequately.
Fortunately, I was able to soak out most of the salt, but it still needs a few more treatments.
One day later, we were in Las Vegas, land of perpetual sunshine.
The water looks enticing, but it was only 20 degrees (C) out, so we did not venture in.
That very first evening, we went to see Cirque du soleil's LOVE show about the Beatles. We showed up early to pick up our tickets, only to find that the show started mere minutes from our arrival! That could have been disastrous!

The show, like every other Cirque show I've seen, was incredible. (No photography allowed, of course, so I'll have to use words.)

I've seen Cirque four times now. I've also seen an episode or two of the television version, and I have to say, television does not even begin to do it justice. In the theatre, the audience is surrounded by the experience. It is not like a regular stage play where the action takes place in a designated space in front of you. In a Cirque show, the entire volume of the theatre is in use - above, below, around, in front, behind.

At any given moment, there will be a performer slowly descending from the lights, or crawling in from the wings. Lighting does not just illuminate or create a mood, it is part of the artistry. You cannot imagine the lighting for Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. It was breathtaking.

In most Cirque shows I've seen, the music transcends time and place. It is operatic in scale, the vocals exquisite, of course. In this show, the Beatles music was all familiar, of course. Even so, it was not just background noise. The drama expanded on the music.

Cirque is famous for its costumes, and this show was no exception. From wartime frumpery to corseted royalty, clowns, angels ... The costumes were part architecture, part clothing.

Enough. If you enjoy live theatre and haven't yet seen a Cirque show, I highly recommend it. The tickets are very pricey, but it is worth every penny.

The next day, (after a lunch during which we made up our "bucket list" of places we want to travel to after Steve retires), we watched Iron Lady in which Meryl Streep channels Margaret Thatcher. I was pleasantly surprised to find it a love story, in which Jim Broadbent (a chronically under-appreciated actor, in my opinion. You may remember him as Iris Murdoch's husband in Iris) plays an adorable and supportive Denis Thatcher.

We capped off the evening with a comedy show at the Improv.

Monday, Steve's birthday, was leisurely. We took a nap, played cards, then went to some galleries downtown.
My children will not know what this is. It is a typewriter eraser.
I had heard that Dale Chihuly, whose work I have followed since I saw his exhibit in Florida in 2006, had a gallery on the strip, so we made a beeline there. We were not disappointed. (I had a very hard time choosing which pictures to post here.)
A chandelier, if you will. I think it cost approximately $100,000.00
Let's get TWO!
As a former stained-glass artist, I am fascinated by the magic of glass, colour, and light.
This was about 20 feet high.
A close-up of one of his smaller pieces. The white spots are bubbles in the glass.
Dale Chihuly was severely injured in a car accident in 1976 and has not actually blown glass since then. Instead, he designs the pieces on paper, chooses the glass rods (the colours), and directs the production of each piece. As you might expect, there has been some conflict when glass-blowers who have worked for (under) Chihuly have struck out on their own and have subsequently created works in a similar style.

We bought a book.

And then we wandered into the other nearby galleries. I'm sure the cost-per-square-foot here is astronomical, so the artists who had galleries were similarly out of this world.
A Richard MacDonald [click on the Art link] bronze sculpture.
I was permitted to take one or two photographs.
Note that this photograph is not tilted or misaligned. 
Richard MacDonald's works are reminiscent of Rodin in their energy, their seeming defiance of gravity. After speaking with the gallery representative (who happened to be a nephew of the artist), we learned that MacDonald is indeed considered to be the New Rodin, and that Rodin was his inspiration.

We bought some greeting cards, suitable for framing.

Already, my eyes were saturated, my mind boggled by the creativity around us, then we walked into the gallery of photographer Rodney Lough, Jr. Upon walking into the gallery, I stated knowingly that the photographs were undoubtedly HDR. I was wrong. His works are all taken on an 8" x 10" negative. At incredibly small apertures and lonnnnnng exposure times, to make incredible depths of field. No surprise, photography was not permitted in this gallery, so you'll have to pop over to his website for a view. Here is a link to my favourite of his pieces.

This will probably be our last trip to Vegas. We've been here twice and, though we've enjoyed the shows and galleries, we feel there are other cities - and countries - that we need to see.

So, goodbye, Vegas. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

1 comment:

  1. 1. My mom, sister, and I saw Love too when we were in Vegas. Truly a spectacular show!
    2. I saw that same typewriter eraser in Washington D.C. I thought it was a guitar at first. Someone else had to tell me what it was.
    3. I would love to know what places are on your bucket list!


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