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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Waiting for the Sun

We're scheduled to come back to NY on Wednesday, though our flight is already listed as being three hours late, oh man. So please indulge me another post (or two if I have time to kill in the airport), and we'll get back to the subjects at hand.

We visited the Pere Lachaise Cemetery on Monday which, as you may know, is well-known for housing the remains of Jim Morrison. However, a vast list of well-known artists, musicians and celebrities are interred there (the works by some of whom - Jacques-Louis David, Eugène Delacroix, Amedeo Modigliani, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - we saw in our visits to seven museums in five days here). It's hard to describe what it was like, especially on another brilliant, cloudless early autumn day. The monuments there range from majestic to eerie to haunting to, and it was like being in a dream. Or a Tim Burton movie.

I have to admit that I got quite emotional upon visiting Morrison's grave. Not that I was such a huge Doors fan, though I've owned their entire collection since back in the day, and their music was an important part of my teenage years. I think it was more the fact that the Doors were part of the '60s musical culture that represented such hope in those heady days of peace and love. Maybe we were all just naive kids, but the notion of 'peace on earth' and 'war is over, if you want it' seemed to be such a real possibility then. Now it's just a pipe dream, and a joke to many. I think it was the memory of those long-past years contrasted with the terror of the current times and the bleak and, yes, hopeless outlook for the future which really got to me.

Waiting for the sun, waiting for the sun, waiting for the sun
Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting

- We were really surprised that you're allowed to take pictures in the Louvre, and it made for a scene which just seemed undignified considering the brilliance of the masterpieces on display there. And while flashes are prohibited, that rule was widely ignored and completely unenforced. I think what I'll remember most about the Mona Lisa on this visit is the frenzy of the crowd jockeying to take photos of it. (When I was there in 197....well, a long time ago, it was basically just another painting on the wall; now, it stands by itself behind plexiglass with a barrier and a guard keeping viewers a good distance away.) At one point, some American rudely ordered me to move from in front of a canvas because she was trying to take a photo! The nerve! The only harsh words I had with anyone the entire time we were here.

On the other hand, no photos or filming are allowed at the Musee D'orsay, which made for a far more pleasant visit. However, that rule was recently relaxed for the filming of an episode of Gossip Girl (of all things), and the Head Chef is very jealous of her good friend Ron Fortunato, who shoots the series (and also directs some episodes). He was permitted to film Blair and Serena standing in front of Manet's masterpiece Le déjeuner sur l'herbe (The Luncheon on the Grass). Very cool. xoxo.

- Another reason I wanted to come here for the Arc was so I wouldn't miss out on going to the Jets-Vikings game on Monday night. But between the 45 minute rain delay and the deluge that came towards the end of the first half, I guess it didn't turn out so bad. With the win, the Jets are now 4-1 and in first place. Just in case you missed it.


El Angelo said...

Musee d'Orsay is arguably the best museum, period.

Valerie Grash said...

Very cool, especially Géricault's tomb! Looks like you had nice sunny weather.

As an art historian, I've never understood the fascination with taking photos in museums. It's not like most (especially the Mona Lisa) will turn out that well, and high-definition images are readily found online for most works. That tourist may have gotten her picture, but will she really remember the moment her own eyes really looked at the work? Bah!

steve in nc said...

Yeah, you're a dreamer, but you're not the only one.

I once had a few days in Paris with my wife, but also with our kids, one age 3 and the other an infant. We'd kind of take turns for 30 minutes at a time in museums.

We also went to Italy and as well as I remember the David, I remember the look on my little son's face as he gazed up at him. Sometimes, the word awesome fits.

On the way back, a strike kept us waiting at the Paris airport for about 8 hours in the smoke. Do they still allow smoking there?

My wife somehow kept our frisky 3 year-old busy for a lot of that time with paper, a few crayons, and a couple of boxes of band aids. He ended up looking like Frankenstein, but it was worth it. It was truly a Nobel Prize worthy performance for keeping the peace. Mr. Obama, you're a dad. Time for you to make a less violent world for everyone's kids.

Figless said...

I am certain the President is trying his best to make peace, unfortunately the world does not always cooperate.

Two distinct approaches from our last two presidents, same result, at some point the ball is in THEIR court.