April 17th, 2006

little review

Poem for Monday

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We went downtown today to the National Gallery of Art to see the Dada exhibit, to which I insisted on arriving by 1 p.m. to hear the score from Le Ballet mécanique. When this piece was first performed in Paris (written as a film score, but too long for the film and performed for an audience long before Antheil's dream of a performance on player pianos with automated percussion, as the National Gallery has staged it, was possible), it caused riots. Hemingway and Pound wrote about them. I first discovered Dada at the time I discovered The Little Review, reading an excerpt from Margaret Anderson's autobiography about the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, one of Dada's more entertaining US resident artists, and it was a real treat to get to see so much Man Ray and Tristan Tzara in one place, although the focus of the exhibit was on the European cities where the movement thrived; it was less overtly political in America.

Instruments set up for Le Ballet mécanique, including some of the 16 player pianos. You can't see all the fans, alarms, etc. in this photo!

There was a fantastic anti-totalitarian sketch about keeping the world safe for democracy with a brutal officer standing over chained citizens that I was really hoping they'd be selling as a poster -- chillingly appropriate at the moment -- but unfortunately the only posters were the better known Duchamp Mona Lisa with moustache and beard, LHOOQ. The exhibit is there till May 7th and I highly recommend it. My kids, interestingly, did not react as I expected; I thought the younger one would be interested and the older one bored, but the younger one found the music too jarring and the art too "stupid" (which it is in most cases, but purposefully so -- a rejection of representational art) while the younger one really got the political underpinnings.

Since we were already in the National Gallery, we walked from the East Building to the West Building to see the Cezanne in Provence exhibit (it's the 100th anniversary of Cezanne's death, so he gets a retrospective). He's not my favorite of the impressionist/post-impressionist crowd by any stretch, but he is kind of the link between them and the modern artists, so we probably should have seen that before the Dada exhibit but were afraid the kids would get restless and refuse to go back to the East Building. I love series of paintings that examine the same scene in different light, different seasons, different weather, etc., and he painted several of those at Mont Sainte-Victoire. I also was not familiar with his watercolors, and they are magnificent.

I actually managed to get work done today! Just the site columns and a few paragraphs of Erik Jendresen swearing that there really might be an eleventh Star Trek feature film possibly someday maybe, but hey, it's something (and the kids were happy to get two hours to play video games uninterrupted with their friends, heh). In the evening, of course, we watched The West Wing. Collapse )

Monday is the kids' last day of spring break, so my last day of trying to keep up with their entertainment schedule! And the Wizards have made the playoffs, whoo!
little review

Star Trek Fan Help!

I'm interviewing John De Lancie in two hours -- a rather unexpected treat, they have him promoting the upcoming Q DVD set. But I can't think of a single question to ask him that either 1) he hasn't been asked a thousand times or 2) isn't something I should probably stay away from ("So how come Q flirted more with Picard than Janeway?") He can be kind of snappish with people who are boring him with questions -- I've heard him at conventions.

Anyone got any brilliant and unusual questions for him, preferably that can somehow be linked to Star Trek or science fiction, even if they're about his work as a conductor or his involvement with charity stuff?

ETA: Thanks! I had only 15 minutes with him (he is doing eight of these in two hours, poor man) but I did ask the appearing-to-Picard-as-a-woman question ("Well, I did get in bed with him!") and he volunteered that he almost didn't get to do Voyager because Braga et al thought the most likely plot was that Janeway would offer him her body to get them home, to which De Lancie said the answer would have been, "...no!!!"