Thursday, November 13, 2008

We Could All Use A Little "Culture" Now & Again

So with the election season winding down, the holidays approaching and what feels like an uncertain future, many of us could use a brief respite from the stress, no? I know money is tight for a lot of us but sometimes we need a renewal of our spirit and of our mind. What better way than seeing art?

The de Young Museum is part of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Memberships are fully tax deductible so it's a nice way to reduce your liability (wink). Student memberships are $45; Family $90; and Teachers $55 for example. I'm going to the YSL exhibition which is exclusive to San Francisco. How'd that happen?

Yves St. Laurent was always one of my favorite designers. He seemed to embody French cool, kinda like bebop jazz to me. He also consistently hired gorgeous Black amazons to grace his catwalks and use in print ads. This was the time I really loved fashion magazines. The models truly embodied the word fierce. The clothes were gorgeous. We didn't know so much about their personal lives or the brutality of the business. No Project Runway, no other reality tv to cheapen it for the masses - nothing again PR. It was just something special. I used to dream about escaping my small city with inhabitants that held views to narrow to hold me. I wanted to live in New York City and be a Fashion Editor by day and a Broadway star performing Sophocles at night.  

San Francisco has great museums by the way. I hadn't mentioned the gloriousness it was to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit at SF MOMA. I'm also a huge fan of Picasso and Dali. I took a psychology class where we dissected his work. Dali is one of the reasons why I want to live in Barcelona (yeah, yeah I like Gaudi, Paul Williams and a host of other architects, too).  Dali lived in Cadaques, a beautiful seaside town about 2 hours north of Barcelona in the Costa Brava region. Once I saw photos I knew I had to go - but I haven't yet! It's on my list, trust me

Cadaques Spain by TheBigSpot.

Cadaques, Spain by nuakin. 

I once flew back to New York City for Thelma Golden's exhibit presented at the Whitney before she left for the Studio Museum of Harlem. At the time I had no idea the curator was a Black woman I was just so intrigued by the subject matter. It was 1994's "Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary Art" and it was spectacular. Trust me I budgeted for this. I flew coach and stayed in a budget hotel/hostel combo, owned by an artist with original Warhol in the lobby. I am a huge fan of Kara Walker's work as well as Romare Beardon. I mispronounced his name for years. There's just too many influences to list here. I see how fashion, art, as well as fine wine and gourmet food can be a thing of great beauty. 

I'm at Starbucks because the internet is out in my building for the twelve-thousandth time the past two months and I need a no obstruction area to use my cell as a modem so it won't disconnect on me! They have the freakin' air conditioning on at 8pm at night. I'm trying to keep a strict budget so I only bought a tea (cheapo I know). But they're playing Sarah, Ella and now Nina and I'm thinking how appropro that I'm writing about great fashion and art and travel and food (yum) and now I have beautiful music to listen to as well. I almost feel like crying because Nina always haunts me and I have to take her in small doses. Was she always so melancholy? "Mississippi Goddamn" is definitely not a dance pop number. 

Now I'm thinking about how crappy music is today for the most part. Then irony kicks me in the butt though because I really like Rhianna - for her spunk and tenaciousness which had she not possessed in huge amounts her career would have long been over. Her brand of cute pop-i-ness is ok once in a while but never for her (non) singing - yikes! Sometimes a quick meal is all you can get but we have to live on nourishment. You couldn't tell me Phoebe Snow wasn't Black! 

And I don't want to leave out the sinewy strength of dancers. Alvin Ailey is must every year. I will never get tired of seeing Revelations. Never. It is a classic piece for a reason. "Raise the Red Lantern" is one of my favorite movies of all time even though I can't understand a word of it. I've watched it so many times I sometimes prefer to do so without the sound just to see the expressions on Gong Li's face. 

I haven't mentioned books yet. I was shocked, shocked I tell you when Angela Nissel's book, "The Broke Diaries" was released. I'd lived it so I didn't know I could've pitched the idea for publication. Sigh. I don't want this post to be impossibly long, so I'm gonna end it here. I do have an idea for a series of things to discuss beyond politics though. OMG - Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too Long" is on. Swoon! 

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