Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lava Tube and Phoenix Art Museum

Yikes! I went in a Lava Tube two days ago. It was spooky! The entrance of the tube is in the middle of the Coconino Forest above Flagstaff. It is at elevation 8000 feet so pretty cold still this time of year. The mouth is encapsulated with shear ice over the rocks which make the descent into the tube a bit challenging. It is dark. You need a head lamp or a good flash light. You need good shoes and be fully clothes. It's about 40 degrees F. down in the warmer spot. I had enough space to stand up most of the time. I am 5 feet.... Most people would have to scoot down in parts. The ground is covered with fallen rocks from the roof of the cave. And so you are wondering.... How often are those falling? is it about to crush my skull any minute? the breathing is a bit uncomfortable because the dust generated by the dust. They have bats, porcupines, squirrels.... I was glad not to see any of them. When you turn of your light there it is darker than dark. You are wondering if you eyes are opened or closed? You would be incapable to go back in the dark to the opening. Are you scared yet? So we were in there for more than I would have liked but I didn't panic. I was glad I experienced it, I am glad I won't have to ever do that again....

Yesterday Emily and I headed to Phoenix early in the day. Curt was arriving around 9pm so we decided to do some "Exploring in the big city". It was about 95 degrees. Hot and Dry! We decided to have lunch in an Ethiopian Restaurant (Cafe Lalibela). Very nice food. The plate came covered with a crepe like bread that is called Enjera. The stews that they put on top (Vegetarian or meat lover ones) were called "Wat". You said what? Wat, that's what!...hahahahah Never mind... Emily had a herb iced tea. (Tasted like thyme herb tea and looked like lemon verbena) mine was a regular iced tea. You eat with your right hand using the Enjera to gather your food, folding it as you go. Very nice. I would do that again. The restaurant is in the ASU district in Tempe. Fun area full of students. We did some cruising around by foot at some point in the day.
Another thing we did for about two hours was to visit the Phoenix Art Museum. They had a special exhibit called: "Monet, Matisse and More". It was an interesting way of presenting well known pieces. They had selected twelve artists and showed repeated images of sketches of the same painting showing how the artist ended up with the final image. You had an audio system to lead you and lecturing you through. It was informative but not thorough and really superficial at times leaving some real key information out. There was two things that made the visit to the museum worth it. One was a Fashion Exhibit of Chado Ralph Ruci. A contemporary American Designer. His garments were exquisite. The quality of the design, materials, details, stitching. Waou! Because it was a traveling exhibit you were not allowed to photograph any of it... I didn't know! I was "told" by the guard that I had done a bad thing and should delete the images immediately and in front of him. Which I did of course and I apologized.
The other really incredible experience for me was: a Faith Ringgold's Quilt. I have been an admirer of Ms Ringgold forever. I own every book ever made on her or by her. I have studied her narrative quilts. I had never had seen one in person. That was such a thrill. I was not disappointed.
The rest of the Museum is alright. Great space, poor lighting of the artwork. They have a Frida Kahlo painting, a Diego Rivera, one Chagall. They were showing a special exhibit called "Passport to Europe: Six Century of treasures from Museo del Arte de Ponce" (Puerto Rico). Which had a serie of noteworthy Sleeping beauty paintings by Edward Coley Burne-Jones . Also a painting by British painter Rossetti and French Painter Gustave Moreau. Also I had been told that I was then allowed to photograph the artwork that belongs to the museum but not the on loan ones. Well when I was in the Philip Curtis Gallery that is a "permanent Collection Gallery" a guard appeared and "told" me that I had been watched and I had to make sure (which I was at that point, one humiliation is enough for me....) to photograph only the Museum's artwork.... I was not happy at all. Why are they not banning photography all together so there are no confusion whatsoever? That would make it simple for the visitor. I couldn't believe it. On top of it I was being careful about it. Anyway I won't go back to this Museum again. Things are becoming weirder and weirder with the copyright laws... etc. Also the Museum closes at 5pm... on a Saturday!!!

We then proceeded to the Desert Botanical Garden for a nice visit at sunset.... Well that was closing at 4pm that day for a special auction. I did captured a couple of pictures of a nice cactus and some willow installation by a outdoor artist Patrick Dougherty: Childhood Dreams. I was introduced to his work in Tacoma at the Museum of Glass where he had giant jugs outside near the pool. It was magical. I have been in love with his stuff since. There is so much talent around. I love to have those visceral moments when something is new and refreshing and beautiful or moving at the same time.
So here we are having some down time this morning. Emily is making me a "flan patissier" (she loves me!) and Curt is checking out the anchorage daily news online. We had a nice coffee this morning with a young cute french guy "Aurelien" from Paris (Always nice to see a "compatriote") friend of Brittney.
This afternoon we are heading for Sedona. Yeahhhhh! more red rocks.

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