Feb 19, 2008

Texas Travelogue

Post formerly known as:
My Poor Butt, Helloooo- Monte Cristo: I Love You,
Rothko Ennui, and I Miss Them Already
Well, we're back! After a very nice very long weekend in very warm (especially compared to Utah) Houston I am back in Utah, and I just have to say: MY BUTT HURTS!

Yesterday, to beat traffic, my mom took us to the airport at 3, though our flight was scheduled to leave at 7:20. (It usually takes about an hour to get there) so, in the car, I sat in my seat. We got to the airport, dropped off our luggage, the security guards got friendly with me, (as always) and we sat at our gate. For 3 hours. Then we sat in the plane. for 4 hours. Then we had a layover in Vegas for one hour. Guess what I did. Sat. Flew again, rode home and sat and sat. My poor tushie is now sitting in the uncomfortable chairs at work, cursing at me and threatening to strike. I bet you wanted to hear about that.

Other than the trip back and the pain in the butt I'm experiencing, I had a wonderful trip.

Rather than give a detailed step-by-step account of our stay; I'll mention, first, a general step-by-step account of our stay, (heh), then focus on several topics that stood out for whatever reason.

On Valentine's we traveled, arrived in Houston and rode back teasing Andrew like a big brother ought to (it's not only my right, it's my duty) and visiting with Dad. We got to my parents, went out to eat Chinese food at a Chinese food restaurant (aptly) and went home. We watched some TV and stayed up late visiting with my mom. Friday was deemed "lazy day" Although I knew and anticipated most of the stay would be "lazy days." We watched too much TV, played games such as Shanghai Rummy, Wii Sports and Whoonu, and watched movies like "Stardust" and "The Ultimate Gift" which, as it turns out, was $2 billion dollars.

First digression. You may have noticed that I now show "Stardust" or at least try to show it, to anyone who hasn't seen it. Watch it. It's wonderful. You'll love it. That is all for now.

Saturday I wanted to do something outside of home, so Tracie, Andrew and I went to the Menil Collection in Houston to see artwork ranging from 4000 year old Egyptian to Contemporary crap. (not that all contemporary art is crap. just some of the stuff we saw was. One genius actually put blank canvases on the wall. Hello! That's what people do to make fun of contemporary art! sheesh.) I'll talk more in detail about the museums. (The Menil Collection also comprises the Rothko Chapel, and the Cy Twombly Gallery). We also went to Bennigans, which I was ecstatic to learn they have one in Houston, and I of course ordered a Monte Cristo sandwich. More on this later. (Sadly, not more of this 'til next time). Sunday brought Stake Conference which I attended, a new Stake President of Katy Stake was called, and I saw and visited with several people I knew, and didn't see half as many as I wanted too. Tracie and I also took a walk around the neighborhood and we went to the gazebo on the lake where I had first proposed to her. We also visited and played more games with the family, as dad had to go to Ohio (I think) and then Dubai (I know) that evening. So, Monday we again played games, relaxed, slept in and went to the airport at 3.

Then, the adventures of sitting on my bum, and now I'm typing this at work, while sitting on my bum. Tracie started and finished a book on our travel day, and I finally finished a book I've been trying to read for like a month now. She'll probably talk about hers (Running With Scissors), so I'll talk about mine. Color of Magic, the first Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett. Though critics and fans seem to love them, I'm guessing they're all British, as I had an itching suspicion that I'd understand the book much better (and find it much funnier) if I was British. But I'm not. It was hard to understand, difficult to follow, and, in the best parts, amusing. Glad it's over. Haven't spent so long reading a 200 page book since I don't know when.

Monte Cristo, I love you!

Ok, I know it's wrong to be in love with a sandwich. But, if you tell me it is, then I'll know you've just never tried the Monte Cristo. Wow. Wow. Wow. Gourmet ham, cheese and chicken sandwich. Ok. that's good. It better be some good ham and cheese and chicken, Austin. Oh, it is. But I'm not done. What else is there? It's deep fried. Oh. I love you. You dip it in this scrumptious raspberry jam or ketchup or eat it the way it is and I promise you, you'll be asking it to the prom too.

The Menils: Rich geniuses and crazy people.

the de Menils of Houston, like most rich folk in Texas, were oil millionaires. Fortunately, they were also art collectors. They had very eclectic tastes, and I love and hate (mostly love) their collections. (Tracie mostly hates). There are 3 buildings on Sul Ross St. in Houston that make up the Menil Collection, I'll give a review of each, as we went to all 3.

The Rothko Chapel

The de Menils commissioned Mark Rothko to paint 14 paintings for a non-denominational church about 40 years ago. Those familiar with Rothko's work will know he often used blocks of color on huge canvasses, and that he intends to stir base emotions or even religious experiences within the viewer. I don't know what I was expecting, but the only thing it stirred in me was boredom. It could be that the chapel was polluted with folding chairs and speakers, or that I expected something grander. But I felt a bit cheated, and it was free. (Though I did regrettably donate $2 to the chapel). Other Rothko paintings I've seen have literally "pulled" me in, feeling like I entered this vast world of color, as well as filling me with a sense of tranquility, wonder, and awe. But, we strolled out of the chapel as fast as we went in, and headed to the Cy Twombly gallery.

Cy Twombly- Heir of Abstract Expressionism
Cy Twombly is from Lexington, VA. My old art teacher, (Studio Art and Art History) Barbara Crawford is from Lexington, VA. They are good friends, and, about 8 years ago, she told me to go see the Twombly gallery in Houston when I went home for Christmas. I went. And I hated it. So presumptious, so ludicrous, what a waste of space. But then I entered a room of all these lush green paintings of abstract scenes of water. (Which, for the life of me, I can't find online) Everything changed. It was like looking at some alien language and watching the words metamorphize into English. They were some of the most beautiful paintings I've ever seen, and I fell in love with his work. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to spread my love on to Tracie or Andrew, so we headed for the main building of the Menil Collection, with enough diversity to appease anyone. (By the way, I am not a fan of Abstract Expressionism, I think it's probably the biggest cause for the degeneration and commercialization in art today. That, and Picasso. I also feel that Rothko is lumped with the Abstract Expressionists because he's one philosophically, but not physically or aesthetically. Thank you. That is all. For now)

In addition to being one of the most beautiful art museums I've ever been to (The J. Paul Getty Museum in California and the Uffizi in Florence are the champions) The Menil Collection is an unknown jewel in Houston, on a residential street, like it's hiding, not wanting the general populace to know what a treasure sits unassumingly on Sul Ross Street. The museum includes a lot of Surrealistic works, as well as expressionists, and I learned to have a new appreciation for Max Ernst that I didn't have before, and I love Rene Magritte even more. The museum also has ancient works, medieval tapestries, Grecian urns, (one Grecian urn, two Grecian urns...), ancient sculptures, Inuit and Maori totem poles, weapons, masks and tools, but my favorite display was possessions owned by Surrealists. Talk about weird and wonderful. Things like an anchor adorned with skulls, a Mickey Mouse/Aztec idol, a suit of armor adorned with spikes, a phallic pestle, varieties of instruments from the "enlightenment", all kinds of things that gives you insight into where some of their ideas germinated.

Also, there was an exhibition on How Artists Draw, with drawings from Seurat, Picasso, Cezanne, Duchamp, Rauchenberg, Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, and countless others. But, the most amazing drawing was one by Van Gogh of Arles. With he being my favorite artist (and, in my opinion, the greatest artist who ever lived) it really showed his skill, his style, and his love for the world he existed in, one I hope to travel to one day.

And finally, I miss them so much it hurts!

I couldn't find a photo of my family online, and I'm doing this at work, so I'll post this one.

I miss my parents and brothers so much. It was such a treat and joy to spend several days visiting, joking, laughing, playing and living with Dad, Mom, Alex and Andrew. I was worried that being there for such a short time after over a yearlong hiatus would only amplify the pain my heart feels at being away from them, it didn't. Any time spent with family is enlightening and enriching, and I wouldn't trade a second for anything! I feel like I filled my canteen with sweet memories with my immediate family (minus the Chilean ones, of course) that will keep me happy and sated until next time we're all together. I can't wait to see them again.


Heather said...

Except for all the art stuff,

This is a lot like how I feel when I go visit the McNeil families in Utah.

Anonymous said...

awwwww...we love you and had a WONDERFUL time with you too! Love, Mom