2:21 Moody Reds

Ah. This is beginning to be more clear. An opera; people of culture. I needs must hear more.

Breakfast was late because the opera was late. But we made it before the 10:30 deadline. After food we chatted with Jamie and made plans to meet up for music tonight. And then we were off and running like a herd of turtles.

A short train ride and a walk of a couple of blocks and we were on W 37 Street, home of the infamous Mood.

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Mood is reasonably visible from across the street if you look up to the second floor but the entrance isn’t
marked and you have to ride one of those old-fashioned elevators up–you know the ones with an elevator operator and multiple doors. We later discovered stairs so that’s how we went down.

Mood is huge. And there are about a thousand people working there and, much to my surprise, at least half the men were straight. Everyone is super friendly and we discovered, as Leslie was fondling alpacas, that they are all on commission. She almost started a fight between these two huge black guys over whose customer she was… it was vicious! And all she was trying to do was fish a tag out of a roll…ah woman, you carry the seeds of strife whoever you go… Seriously, though, it was then politest disagreement I had ever heard, reminded me of two Canadians trying to out-polite each other. Anyway after we had all settled that we were just window shopping Leslie decided to buy something and the guy who helpfully pointed out another rack of them snagged the ticket.

Anyway, you can get anything there. I loved the selection of tie fabric. It was almost enough to make me want to learn to sew (correctly that is) and start wearing ties. No Swatch though. Or he was having a nap. But I took a picture of a picture of him, so that’s something.

While we were there we found out what dropping feathers sounded like. A young women was passing by the head of the stairs and she must of snagged the display of feathers. Anyway the whole container spilled out and down the stairs. So you’d think if you had to spill something that spilling feathers would be a good choice right? Well in this case, not so much.

Because you see the feathers were in an acrylic container, and while the feathers floated softly to the ground, the plastic bin was performing experiments with gravity as it slowly, melodically and with an interesting bounce seemed to hit each and every stair on the way down with a loud clack and clang. Seriously, it was like a slow-motion embarrassment for that poor girl as everyone in the vicinity had a chance to stop, turn towards the noise, recognize what was happening and enjoy the disharmonious clatter as she stood helplessly at the top of the stairs with her feet covered in feathers. Definitely a TV moment.

Anyway we eventually wandered out and discovered the Project Runway 1407 wasn’t 1407 Broadway, and I couldn’t find it anywhere else. So we hit the subway once more. There was an accident somewhere uptown so the trains were being held and staggered, but it’s like the transit people here actually want to be helpful, because there were more than enough announcements etc to ensure even novices like us could navigate the disruption unscathed.

We popped up at the edge of Central Park across from the Plaza and crossed over to the original Apple Store. Unfortunately they don’t really have a better collection of cases than we do in Edmonton so I guess I will have to order one online.

Next we walked 10 windy blocks north up 5th Avenue to the Frick Collection. The Frick Collection is housed in a neo-classical mansion built 1913-14 by Mr Frick to live in and house his growing art collection. He was one of those rags-to-riches stories who started out in steel in Pittsburg and eventually settled in New York. Apparently when he built the mansion he had intended it as a museum later and upon his death in 1919 he bequeathed it. His wife remained in residence for another some-odd years, at which time it was opened to the public.

There are some great works housed here. The most recognizable is the portrait of Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger, painted in 1527. I also loved the St Francis of Assisi by Giovanni Bellini.

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One of the intriguing pieces of furniture was a desk with shelves below. It houses The Royal Collection of Paintings Volume I Buckingham Palace 1905 and Volume II Windsor Castle 1906. There was no well for the legs, but as it was in the library I don’t think it was ever meant to used as a desk.

Those texts got me thinking about the book as art/container and the classification of a limited edition as a ‘published’ work. Something to think about later.

There was a collection of 18-century watches with text talking about horologists combining technical skill, refined design and exquisite craftsmanship to produce works of art. And they were works of art.

A pair of Vermeers hang (including Officer and Girl) in the vestibule; I almost recognized a Degas by missed it by blurting out Remoir even though I recognized the ballet motif. Later I successfully ID’d a Renoir upon entering a room, partially redeeming myself.

In the West Gallery, the space that would have traditionally been the ballroom, but Frick had designed as a massive gallery for his works, hangs a painting that is of the same girl that inspired Girl with the Pearl Earring: Mistress and Maid painted c. 1666-67 by Vermeer. Oh and a couple of Rembrandts (3 that is) and a host of others.

In the East Gallery (a later addition) hands a Manet called The Bullfight; it was originally the top half of a painting that Manet cut in half and reworked. The bottom half is called the The Dead Torreador.

On the way back we cut through Central Park and skirted by the Zoo. The zebras didn’t seem so reactionary to me.

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Back on the train we were entertained by dueling buskers. The first group was a break dancer who did some awesome things with his shoe and the poles withou injuring himself or the riders. At the next stop a quartet boarded, acknowledged the dancers and bust into I’m Going to Let it Shine for one stop and then changed cars. Sweet stuff.

Back in Chelsea we stopped in at the Moonlight Diner for burgers before taking a break in our room while Leslie ‘read’. Then it was down to the lobby for 6:15 to hook up with Jamie for our trip to Brooklyn and some experimental guitar.

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So Jamie dragged us across the river for the 3rd Annual Experimental Guitar Festival at the ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn. It features 5 acts, all guitar based and as avant-garde as some of the art we’d been seeing. But these guys were serious about their music and serious about their guitars. We saw some awesome guitars there tonight. The owner of the club/organizer of the festival played a 1940 Richenbacher Lap Steel Guitar for his set. It was pretty sweet. Some of the others were impossible to describe.

The creme de la creme though was Wolfgang Muthspiel’s set and the highlight of that was a song he dedicated to a fellow musician, Youssou Ndour from Senegal, whom he had played with. It blew my mind. I can’t believe no one else from the group saw this. I especially can’t believe Brenda opted for a 5 hour Wagnerian opera (Parsifal) over this. Simply stunning.

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The last trio was loud; they had a girl drummer and she wailed on them things. Young guys making noise and keeping up to the big boys. It was pretty good stuff.

Back in the train and home we go…