Thursday, August 6, 2009

"With Amusement"

I wake for the most part feeling much revived. Although the sinuses are a little clogged, the knees and hip joints feel great. (We'll no doubt last for the duration today, instead of having to bow out early.)

(Ah, the vicissitudes of age!)

But it's all relative. I spent part of last evening rather bored. I was almost wishing I'd have bought that heavy 65$ exhibition book just to have something to read. The PBS station here features a different mix than the one at home does. Celebrity interviews feature into it, of course, it being a 'celebrity' town.

However at 8:00pm, I met delight with Pete Seeger's 90th birthday celebration. He looks great! I hope I look as good at 90! I loved singing along to the songs I know. Various singers did his songs. Michael Franti, who does that upbeat song with 'Spearhead' I've been meaning to download, did one, as well as Ani DiFranco and many other old favorites like Joan Baez. Bruce Springsteen did a powerful "Ghost of Tom Joad"

It was cool singing along on "This land is your land, this land is my land, from California, to the New York Island..." The concert took place in New York's Madision Square Grands, so for me it was 'from the New York Island to the California coast' being presently on the West Coast.
(Note from 08-08-09 - If you're in Arizona, I see this program airs next week, Tuesday, August 11 09:00pm)

It's a great life if you don't weaken, and Pete Seeger hasn't weakened...

To the Future!!


With amusement, I note that during my last excursion, I watched news which told us of Sonia Sotomayer's nomination for the Supreme Court. On this excursion, I am watching news that her nomination has been confirmed. May her tenure be fruitful and rewarding.

And now to the activities of this day. The Getty Villa is extraordinary. The architecture based on the ancient Villa des Papirii wonderfully sets off this lovely collection of Greco-Roman antiquities. They are easily rival to the beautiful Greco-Roman things at the Met.

Based on a Greek Bronze Hand Mirror from South Italy, 500-480 BCE

I drew that silly face from a photo of a piece at the Villa. (I bought a lovely book of the Getty's Antiquities collection, and it is from that photo that I sketched.)

It is a mirror back, an odd humor, look at its back, ack!, that face greets you, look in the mirror's front, at least not Ack!. The book info says it is a Medusa, and therefore apotropaic (protective), but it "seems more benign than sinister". (_Handbook of the Antiquities Collection_, page 109)

This artist had a wicked sense of humor!

Friday, August 7, 2009

"Strange Sense of Time Distortion"

We got up early. Julia proved consistent with her breakfast choice all four days - fruit platter. I had more variety, vegetarian chili fries yesterday, and breakfast fries (they are cooked with onions) and steamed broccoli today. I felt a need to make up for the lack of veggies this week.

I looked out the restaurant window and saw a mix of old and new buildings. The oldest bore a sign 'Easton Gym, since 1938'. I could see through the long narrow windows someone was hard at work on an exercise ramp. Everywhere on the streets we saw a strange mix of raggle taggle people, were they homeless? A few pushed carts of their belongings with them. Had their dreams of LA fame been dashed?

We opted, as we'd done Wednesday and Thursday, to have the hotel desk clerk call a cab. He'd just ring them and they knew the sound of his voice without his haviang to explain. He said he'd been at his post nineteen years, thus the quick recognition. (An accent either Chinese or Hawaiian no doubt helped as well.)

The traffic was much better this morning, thus it took less time to get to the airport than it did to the Getty Villa. It was annoying enough to ride in it, I can't imagine driving those awful roads.

We are to arrive back home around 12:30pm. (Maybe I won't complain so much about Yuma traffic now...)


Despite delayed plane, we are now home safe. There's a strange sense of time distortion, as if we've been gone longer than just a few days. I looked at one business store front, whose success I've thought iffy, and thought, "What, they're still there?" Later, "Isn't that road construction done yet?" It's good to be home.

Saturday, August 8, 2009 A

"Griffins at the Getty"

These relief featuring griffins greet the visitor at the drop off area for taxis (and entrance to parking lot)

A small gallery is devoted to depictions of griffins.

Appliqués with Griffins
Scythian, from central Asia, 100 BCE - CE 100
Gold, turquoise and lapis lazuli

(From the info card)
"Originally used as harness decorations, these luxurious appliqués depict griffins (part raptor, part lion) attacking hares. The motif of a griffin overwhelming a more vulnerable animal was believed to carry magical power, protecting the horse and rider."

I failed to capture info about these two seals, but they were right next to the appliqués

Statuette of a Griffin Devouring an Arimasp
Bronze, Greek, 125 - 75 BCE, 3 1/8 in. (96.AB.152)

(From the info card and museum website)
"Holding an arm in its beak, a griffin, a creature part eagle, part lion, and part snake, mauls a young Arimasp wearing only a helmet. The creature's front paw presses on the youth's head as he tears the lifeless body limb from limb."

"The Greeks believed that griffins lived in Scythia, on the northern Black Sea, where they guarded hoards of gold from a neighboring tribe of warriors called Arimasps. Violent scenes of the griffins' triumph over the Arimasps were among the many ways Greek artists symbolized the supremacy of civilization over barbarism."

"Traces of an attachment on top of the statuette suggest that this group was originally part of some larger object or composition."

The museum website gives more info and a better photo).

Griffin Head
Greek, about 650 BCE
Bronze, 11 1/4 x 4 3/16 x 3 11/16 in. (96.AC.44)

(From the info card)
"Dynamic, ferocious, and visually compelling, griffins often served as decorative and protective devices in art. This fearsome griffin head was one of several adorning the rim of a ceremonial cauldron, guarding the valuable vessel. Such cauldrons served as dedications to the gods in Greek sanctuaries, especially in the seventh century B.C."

Front view....

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