The MFA opens at 10, and it was a Saturday and rainy so it was SO crowded. I hadn’t been during busy times in so long. I feel like i’ve been to the MFA so many times (and it’s not a terribly large museum) that i’ve seen everything, so i like just going with friends and seeing what they’re interested in seeing and hearing what they think about it and all. So i tagged along with Marnie. We saw the modern art, including The Blake and Purnell Legacy and Visions and Revisions (shame the Traveling Scholars exhibit had ended a week prior), much of the Asian art, and a fair amount of the European art. We were pleased to see that there is some “modern” art in the European section -- it is no longer relegated to the “modern art” section. The museum is getting an addition put on, so various galleries are closed. This means that a lot of the art has been moved around. I kept wondering if i had just forgotten stuff because i hadn’t been in those particular galleries for so long or if these were new acquisition, because so much of the art i didn’t recognize. (Also, they have a lot of these new wood-looking platforms with furniture and stuff on them, and electronic sensors so if you lean in too close to touch the thing it beeps. I was irked that people felt the need to try this repeatedly.) It was nice, though, to see “new” stuff. It seemed like i talked nonstop for 2 hours and then in the gift shop as well, but she said she didn’t mind. Then she and a bunch of people headed out to Chinatown, and i headed down to the cafeteria to get food.
Salad, soda, and more herb mashed potatoes than i was really hungry for. One of my big sadnesses about the heavy morning rain was that it meant i couldn’t eat lunch outside. By the time i ate lunch, however, it had stopped raining, so i ate outside until i got too chill. The herb mashed potatoes were SO good. I could really taste the butter, but it was in that way that reminds me why people like the taste of butter. The cafeteria was so crowded (it was around 12:30) but i found a table with a seat. Then i saw Crystal and Jane, so they came over and sat with me. Crystal and i talked about the archives and the museum at Smith and also about the MFA. She’s big into art history and has been to a lot of art museums in California (where she’s from) so i had been worried that the MFA wouldn’t measure up, but she really liked it and thought a number of the collections were impressive. (And whee, MFA admission may be $13 for students as opposed to the Met’s suggested $5 donation, but our food is so much more reasonably priced.) I went with them after lunch. We did some of the Asian art (including Behind the Screen, which is one of my favorites) and then a lot of the European art. I forget how much famous art we have. I know we have lots of amazing Impressionist art because i love it, and i usually remember that by definition not every museum has such an impressive collection and not everyone has grown up with such easy to access to things like the MFA and i am incredibly blessed. But i learned on Saturday that we have 4 El Grecos (Domenikos Theotocopoulos) and 5 Rembrandts. (j, i also learned that we have Turner’s Slave Ship, so i got to see it in person)
My mom met me a little before closing and we took the Green Line to Arlington, walked around for a while, and then had dinner in a nice sandwich shop (hummus veggie wrap, yum).
With Crystal i had mostly listened, but with my mom i was back to talking nearly nonstop. I talked about my Women’s Studies class and wanting to understand economics better and various annoyances about The Left. I had something of an epiphany. I remember someone being absolutely horrified that she was on the same side as the Christian Right about something, and i thought that it’s really detrimental to getting work done if you refuse to work with people just because you have a lot of differences of opinion, and i figured many people would link it to working with the KKK or something, because they see it as working with really evil people and that’s not worth the potential political gains and that made me think of the ANSWER and the peace movement saga. But anyway, i was complaining about how opposing arguments are presented sometimes and thinking about how i take issue with a lot of little things but you sound petty (in that bad way) if you call people on it, but that it really troubles me that teachers have so much power and in a lot of cases it seems to me like the students just absorb it without questioning. So this is the epiphany. The first book we read in Am. Lit. class was The Bostonians, and Michael talked about how we’re wary of what people say when we know they have an agenda, but what’s most dangerous is when we don’t think someone has an agenda, because everyone does have bias and agenda, but if we’re not aware of that and on guard, that’s really dangerous. So it occurred to me that the Left thinks of the Right as having an agenda, but doesn’t think of itself as having an agenda. Big evil corporations have big evil agendas, but we just want everyone to be happy and healthy and at peace and not exploited and have equal rights and all that. We don’t have an agenda, we have humanitarian goals. So people aren’t on guard when listening to Left leaders like they are when listening to people from the Right. (Yes, i know i’m overgeneralizing. I’m also talking about experiences not involving my friends, so this is not a slam at any of my wonderful leftist friends, because i know that you all do think for yourselves and all that good stuff.). (I also talked about how i’m not quite so smash-the-state as a lot of people, largely because of my father’s influence, so the next day i found it interesting to see that on the other hand, i am so used to zine culture, that this article on freeganism seemed to me perfectly reasonable and comprehensive, while it elicited disgust dumb Jolt post/thread.)
The Ben Taylor Band opened for Dar Williams at the Orpheum (which, might i mention, is not nearly as nice-looking as i’d expected) Saturday night, 8pm. There was security, checking bags and patting people down, so lots of people were still coming in until at least 8:15. Now, normally i complain that no one ever gets to anything on time so nothing ever starts on time, but i’m willing to blame security on this one. However, i think it’s respectful to the performing group as well as the audience to not start the performance until everyone is seated (and once everyone is seated you can not allow anyone in until intermission or between songs or whatever). This concert started the promptest i’ve ever seen anything start -- possibly even a minute or two early.
Anyway, the lead singer had a good voice and moved very fluidly, but i couldn’t understand most anything he said and (i find this a problem at nearly all vocal performances and hate it) often i couldn’t even hear him because the band was too loud. (I remember when the band and the orchestra would play together with the chorus in high school, Mrs. Moen was always on our case because it’s so easy for instrumentalists to drown out the vocalists. She always said that if we couldn’t hear the singers we were playing too loud.) I didn’t particularly like him just in general as well. One of his last songs he told the audience to get up and dance in the aisles. Now, this is a fire hazard, and if you’re standing up and dancing at your seat you’re blocking other people’s view, so the ushers were telling everyone to sit back down. You might not like the rationale, but show some respect. I couldn’t help noticing this going on around me, so i imagine everyone else noticed too. But people persisted. Meh.
His set was 50 minutes long, and then the setup for Dar was 30 minutes. Grr.
I swear when i saw her at the Iron Horse her hair was pale blond and nearly to her waist. That night it was about shoulder length, more of a dirty blond, and vaguely permed. I was not particularly a fan. I liked her outfit though her legs are pencil thin so fitted jeans are a bad idea, and my quintessential Dar image is long black dress. (Also, Dar’s band is good -- "It can be a little lonely sometimes being a girl with a guitar," -- but my preference is the classic girl and her guitar -- partly because i am all about the words so, ya know, words and melody are all i need.)
She started with “Fishing in the Morning” and then a high-energy song that i thought was gonna be “Teenagers Kick Our Butts” but turned out to be “I Saw A Bird Fly Away.” (I am listening to her new album via her website. Whee.)
[The stage was set up so she was standing on a rug with a vase of flowers on a stool next to her.] “Can I share the spotlight with these flowers. Just for this song. Because it’s a spring song.” Hoots and cheers. “Not that spring song.” She played “The Beauty of the Rain.” “You can leave the spotlight on the flowers for this next song, too.” And then she did play “Spring Street.” I had forgotten that the song which contains the line this year April had a blizzard just to show she did not care later says I don't have to go to Spring Street 'cause it is spring everywhere.
She played “Road Buddy,” which she wrote for the movie Smoke Signals.
She also played a lot of songs from the new album: “Mercy of the Fallen,” “Farewell to the Old Me,” “I Have Lost My Dreams,” “The World’s Not Falling Apart” (inspired by all the tech-savvy genius women she knows -- “They rule”), and “Whispering Pines.” The one new album song i really wanted her to play was The One Who Knows, which i heard at the New York performance last summer, and she did!
I learned that she was a religion major in college and that she wrote “And A God Descended” after reading about a failed messianic cult. I also learned that because of its parallels to 9-11 she didn’t play it for a long time after that. (When she first started saying that i thought she was referring to “This Was Pompeii,” which she played at the December 2001 show i saw her at in Northampton, which she mentioned was eerily reminiscent of 9-11.)
At one point she opened it up to requests, which is a mistake in a venue as big as the Orpheum, and decided on “You’re Aging Well.”
The applause after the show went on for a really long time, and i thought about how when Catie Curtis performed at the student center here, she said that people always applaud to induce an encore, so she was gonna just play her encore songs so we could applaud as much or as little as we wanted. :) So then Dar came back on stage and who had popped up but Catie Curtis, who hung out with Julie in the keyboard section. She did “Iowa” (a sing-along which is possibly requisite for every Dar concert) and “As Cool As I Am” (during which people insisted on dancing again). Then she did “Are You Out There.” Whee old school. At this point it was about 5 of 11, and while we were minutes from Park Street and Park Street is only a couple stops from South Station, the last train of the night was leaving at 11:20. We had to leave. She began the strains of “The Babysitter’s Here.” That was the first Dar song i ever heard (and is from her first album) and reminds me of a little girl i used to baby-sit for. I went all pit-a-pat, but we still left, which was okay.
I really dislike that they show movies on the Peter Pan rides between Springfield and Boston. However, Mr. Deeds was better than i had expected. (There was already a 1936 movie? Does no one make anything original anymore?)
I am regretful that i missed Palm Sunday services.
[I learned that the We <3 you! on my door was in fact, as suspected, Ria and Sophie.]