A Cultured Existence

I had another New York weekend. I know that sounds absurd and I know what you’re thinking. ‘You live in New York, Valerie. Isn’t EVERY weekend a New York weekend?’

And yes, of course, technically every weekend is a New York weekend. And every day is a New York day. But this weekend I really took advantage of living here. Something I don’t do nearly often enough.

It started last night, after work. I took the train uptown and got off on the upper west side. I cut across Central Park, grateful the sun was still high and bright at 6:30.

Oh, I’m sorry, did you not that catch that? Yeah, I sad I cut across Central Park to get to where I needed to be. Like, don’t mind me, I just happen to have to walk through one of the most famous public parks in the world in my day to day. No big deal.

I was on the phone with my mom while I did this and suddenly I exclaimed, “Oh! I’m in that tunnel where they’re always finding dead bodies on Law & Order: SVU!” Which she didnt find nearly as fun a fact as I did.

Speaking of fun facts, it took me less than ten minutes to walk clear across the park. I was walking kind of briskly so as not to keep my friend waiting, but still, I always thought it was a lot wider than that.

Shortly after I emerged from the death tunnel, I arrived at my destination. The Metropolitan Museum if Art. Yay!

I havent been to a museum in quite some time. Well, I saw like 1.5 floors of the MoMA a couple of weeks ago, but I like to pretend that didn’t happen. Before that, I think the last museum I was in was the Tate: Britain last July. And considering how many museums are in New York, that’s kind of deplorable. Luckily, my friend had to scout out a path for the field trip she was taking her students on in a few weeks and had invited me to come along. We started in the Greek and Roman artifact room and made up a scavenger hunt for the kids to play – we found all kinds of animals on the pottery and jewelry. All at second grader height, of course.

Once we determined a childproof route (i.e. nothing too tempting to touch, minimal boobies) we decided to take off our teacher hats (mine was dusty but I still had it) and see the rest of the museum as it was. It was so refreshing to be at a museum with someone who also looked at the giant canvas painted entirely black and raise an eyebrow at it. There was a whole room of just different shaped and sized black canvases. And I mean… Really? Because I can do a really mean doodle of a hibiscus if you’re just allowed to throw anything up on the walls of a museum. Fortunately, we managed to escape the blackness and got to the good stuff. I’m not going to go into too much detail about what I liked best because I think I’m going to write something separate on some of the paintings I found interesting. But I will tell you one thing, there is some awesome structures inside this impossibly large building.

And the museum itself isn’t half bad either.

Today, I was invited to see a play with another friend and her roommate. They were drama majors in college, and this was a production by their old studio. I had seen many shows in this venue over the years, some these girls had been in, so I knew it would be interesting, even though I hadn’t bothered to ask what play we were seeing until I got there. Not that knowing would have made a difference. I wasn’t familiar with the play, though now I feel like I should read it.

Walking into the theatre, I could already tell it wasn’t going to be a total waste. The set was magnificent. There was a large, silvery moon hanging in the center of a dark background. Under the moon stretched a long, rectangular reflection pool that occupied the center third of the stage. On the wall between the moon and the water  danced the “reflections” of swimming fish. It was really beautiful.

The play, as it turns out, was a collection if mythological stories. I happen to be fascinated mythology and the stories of the gods and what types of phenomena they personify. Some stories were better than others, but all of them utilized the inch-deep water brilliantly. I couldn’t help but wonder how all of these actors didn’t have pneumonia at first, with all the splashing and rolling around in water they must were doing, but once I got past that, I really appreciated the purpose of the pool. Overall, it was very well done and I’m really glad I went.

Afterwards, we went to a diner were I saw the most entrancing woman. She was working behind the bar and she was just so distractingly stunning. It got to the point where I had to say something. If for no other reason than to explain why during half the conversation, though I was  listening, I was sometimes staring off to the right a bit. When I did, my friend looked in her direction, and then told me she looked like Idina Menzel. Hm. Is that why I find her so enthralling? I looked again, and she did bear some resemblance. It was mostly the cheekbones. But this girl was younger and more tan. She moved with the grace of a skilled bartender and her eyes instantly brightened when she smiled. It was a pleasure just to have witnessed such beauty.

After lunch, my friend’s roommate headed home and the two of us that remained headed to Union Square to see a movie. Our intention had been to go to see The Conspirator but, despite the fact that my friend had done such a good job selling me on it, sadly it was sold out. Instead we decided to go with our original plan – Scream 4. And, oh man, was I pleased with that decision.

The Scream movies were the beginning.  Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer were the very start of my strange addiction to horror movies. Of course, in retrospect, they’re absolutely ridiculous, but at the time they had me peeking out from behind a couch pillow, screaming at every sudden noise.  And this one? Scream 4?  Perfection. Even more absurdity, so much of the original cast (well, those that survived) and otherwise star-studded.  It was the perfect mix of making me laugh at them for how serious they took themselves, laugh with them as they made fun of themselves, and jump out of my seat a little when they actually managed to surprise me.

I think it was very well done, as far as being the fourth in this particular franchise, and I think any fan of the original trilogy should see it.  But, I mean, it can wait until it’s available to rent…there’s no urgency to seeing this, especially since movies cost you your first born child nowadays.  Though do try to see it before someone tells you who the killer is, because that’s always the best part of these types of movies.

Also, while at the movies, we saw a preview for what appears to be a better take on the same exact concept as “No Strings Attached“.  I think it’s possible that it’s the same exact script, they just want to see who could do it better – Ashton and Natalie or Justin and Mila. Who will win, white or black swan?  The punker or the punkee? Sorry kids, my money’s on the uberhotties.  I leaned over and whispered two comments to my friend during this preview. The second comment was, “Wait, doesn’t this movie already exist with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman?” but I’ve already addressed that. My first comment was immediately upon seeing J.Timb and the love of my life Miss Kunis on screen together and it was, “Ohmuhgawd they would make beautiful babies”.  So that, unlike the one identical in plotline, is a movie that I will most definitely be seeing.

All in all, I feel very cultured after this weekend. I told my friend this as we parted on the subway and she said, “Err I’m not sure if I would say cultured if you’re including that movie…” to which I responded simply, “I said it was culture. I didn’t say it was high culture.”

Because like it or not? This is part of our culture.

And I like it.


~ by Valerie Anne on 04/16/2011.

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