April 10, 2006

Birthday weekend

B and I have a tradition that rather than giving tangible gifts for birthdays we instead plan a day of fun activities for the celebrant. This weekend was my birthday, so Becky planned a day for me.

This got really long so I'm putting the details behind the fold.

First we went to the fabulous (and free!) Frye Museum. They currently have two temporary exhibits, Swallow Harder: selections from the Ben and Aileen Krohn collection and Candida Höfer: Architecture of Absence. The Krohn pieces are in a variety of media from video to sculpted cardboard to more traditional forms with subject matter as wide ranging. The Höfer is a collection of her photographs of architectural spaces, mostly European, mostly institutional, and mostly internal. The prints are pretty impressive just as artifacts with most of them being five or six feet on an edge. The photos are devoid of any human form (with a few partial exceptions (some include a vestige of a person who moved around the space during a very long exposure)) making them (even more than usual with photos) seem to depict a frozen eternal moment. Becky had seen them before with a drawing class where she'd seen them primarily as art works of shape and color and form. Seeing them again with me she got the photo geek's perspective of looking at the mechanics of how Höfer had framed the spaces, the difficulty of exposure and lighting, and my theories about what kind of equipment she must have been using to retain such linearity and detail in such huge prints. The Höfer is there only through April 16, so hurry over and take a look if you're in the area. You have another month to catch the Krohn stuff before it leaves on May 14. If you go, be sure to wander out past the cafe to see the exhibit of student work from their educational arm. There's always something good to see back in that corner.

From the Frye on Capitol Hill we took a scenic drive along Lake Union over through the University District out to Sand Point for the Best of the Northwest art and craft fair. These huge hangars are a treasure when it comes to having this kind of event in our rainy weather. We wove through the whole space. It's interesting to go to these sorts of things repeatedly over the years and see the ebb and flow of popularity of the various media. When we first moved to the Seattle area it seemed like everyone was doing Chihuly-inspired glass. This weekend's show seemed to have a much higher percentage of fibre art than usual with stuff ranging through woven work, fabric collage, and other wearable things. Beck found a fused glass necklace she liked. I got my second of Helen Todd's very cool abstract photographs. At least at the moment, it's here: Subdivisions. Hunting down her web page just now I discovered that she has a blog. Go buy her stuff. I also spent a fair amount of time chatting with Brian Watson a Bremerton artist who was showing his calligraphically carved wood sculptures. I liked his stuff, but none of the pieces he was showing sang loudly enough for me to get past the sticker shock. Not that his prices are too outrageous, more that I'm a cheapskate. Becky also had a chance to visit with her friend and teacher Anne Lewis who was there selling her fun graphic-arty collage pieces.

From there we headed over to Carmelita for dinner. Carmelita is a gourmet vegetarian restaurant and Oh My God, it was good. We shared this: "Humboldt Fog chevre, tomato-lavender chutney, Maletti 6 year balsamic, fennel pollen, crostini", Becky had this: "Leek and Grueyere tart, frisee salad, caper vinaigrette, potato galette" and I had this: "Nettle-potato gnocchi, asparagus, goat cheese cream, Taggiasca olives, pickled peppers, Parmesan crisp" and then we shared this: "Espresso-Chocolate Mousse, chocolate-praline shell, bitter orange, shortbread crust". All to-die-for despite the fact that in most cases we didn't have a clue what any of that stuff was ;-)

After dinner, a short drive took us to the Phinney Neighborhood Center where Beck had reserved tickets to see Ellis Paul. Neither of us had heard him before, but a friend of Becky's is a fan. The show was produced by the Seattle Folklore Society who haven't disappointed us yet (and share our birth year of 1966). As has so often been the case for us lately, the best part of the night was the opener, Antje Duvekot. she's a German-born, US-raised singer songwriter with a lovely voice. She's at that stage where she's sort of channeling a bunch of other singers and players (I was hearing Ani diFranco and Nancy Griffiths), but I predict that in a few years she's going to have settled down into a style of her own. Paul was good too, especially when he unplugged and walked out into the middle of the audience and did a few songs with just his voice and guitar. His style was in stark contrast to Duvekot's. He uses his voice to do some incredible virtuosic things, but it seems a little over-thought and too flowery. Still, we bought one of his CDs. We would have bought one of Duvekot's too, but she had a grand total of 10 copies of her disk with her and those were sold in exactly 7.3 seconds after her set ended.

It was a very fun day. Thanks, sweetie. Thanks also to our friend Marilyn who we are car-sitting for. It probably would have been possible to do all those things with the bus, but we would have gotten wetter and had to walk a lot farther and I probably wouldn't have been up for it as I was (and am) still recovering from a cold.

Sunday was a little more easy-going with a morning run to our local gallery, Revolution (which used to be Evolution before it revolved to another owner) where they were having an artist's tag sale. Becky found some bargains, and I enjoyed poring over the densley packed displays in the gallery.

Back home I read a little bit and then did maintenance on our fleet of bikes.

Our friend Karen picked us up at 5 and we went to Capitol Hill for Ethiopian food (can't remember which of the six Ethiopian places (all within a few blocks of eachother) we went to, but it was good). Then we went to hear a lecture by Kevin Phillips, author of American Theocracy at Town Hall. Looks like you can see the lecture on the Seattle Channel later in the month. Phillips is a lapsed Republican and made a case for much of the disaster that is the Bush administration being the result of George's particular evangelical messianic delusions. Of course a Seattle crowd doesn't take much convincing of this, but his talk was interesting and occasionally funny, and while he didn't really have any answers it's cheering to see that there are people who self-identify as conservatives who have had it with the current administration and the current direction of the Republican party. Afterwards we went to Espresso Vivace Roasteria for coffee and conversation.

And if that wasn't enough excitement for one weekend, when we got home we found that Rachel had made me a cake! Plus there were presents. Goodness.

Posted by jeffy at April 10, 2006 01:29 PM
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