January 9th, 2012

get critical

Poem for Monday and Seeing Gertrude Stein

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While Daniel once again spent the day mentoring robotics students from his high school, we took Adam downtown to the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum, where we went primarily to see The Great American Hall of Wonders and Seeing Gertrude Stein. The former is a collection of art and illustrations of American ingenuity (or at least the belief therein) with an emphasis on "limitless" natural resources like bison and giant sequoia trees and on inventions like clocks and the transcontinental railroad, though there's plenty of ickiness like taxidermy and guns. The latter presents Stein mostly as a public figure -- much of the emphasis is on how she tried to control the narrative of her life, particularly with Alice B. Toklas, though also as an art patron and writer.

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We picked up Daniel late in the afternoon (having arrived early, we tried to go to a nearby Starbucks but it was closed), then we came home for dinner, Once Upon a Time and the season two premiere of Downton Abbey (yes, I know everyone already downloaded and watched it but it was too many hours for me to deal with and I'm happy to support PBS). Other than Sybil, I still don't have much use for most of the Upstairs characters, but I like the Downstairs characters and am hoping things don't get too soap-opera-ish this longer season; I am enjoying the war storylines more than the romances, I must admit!