Tuesday, November 20, 2012

One more Caravaggio

Finally, we saw this lovely Caravaggio in situ, always a treat - it's a Madonna and Child, but a slightly unusual one.  Mary greats these pilgrims at the door of her non-descript hovel with the Christ child, who is holding her sleeve, but gripping it in such a way that he makes the sign of the blessing.  Everybody's barefoot, including Mary, indicating a low social status.  This painting is lovely and extremely generous and sympathetic, but I also find it quiet humorous, as I do much of his work.  I mean, that guy's ass is right in the viewer's face, and so are his dirty feet.

Here's what it looks like in the space.  It's at the Chiesa di Sant'Agostino.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Breaking Dawn 2 - Major Spoilers, no kidding

On Friday I saw Breaking Dawn, Pt. 2 (the final Twilight movie!) with some girl friends.  We got to the theatre/bar early so we could properly prepare for the experience.  This movie was totally bonkers, y'all.    I'm going to drop some crazy-town spoilers, so seriously don't read this if you are going to see the movie.  I mean, if you're slightly interested, invite your best gal pals and go Friday night, I guarantee you're going to have fun.

So, if you remember the previous movie, Bella has just given birth to a half-vampire baby and been turned into a vampire herself.  So, at the beginning of this one, Bella's a vampire, and she and Edward are really happy, so they go running in the woods and eat some wild animals.
Vampires wear false lashes. Proof.
And then they're like, oh yeah, we have a kid, so they go back to the house and look at the kid (apparently for the first time?) and, I'm not kidding you, it's the ugliest baby you'll ever see.  For some reason, they CGI'd the baby, and it was creepy as hell.  It was some dangerous uncanny valley territory  yo.  That might be where our audience started going pretty nutso. We had an awesome audience of approx. half tweens and half thirtys.  We were all very vocal.  Like when Bella first sees Jacob, he's like, "I didn't expect you to look so... you."  


Anyway, then it's like, the bad vampires are going to come and kill all the good vampires for having a vampire baby.  So, they prepare for this big fight and invite a bunch of other vampires to come over.  Including these racist caricatures.  Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?  Come on, that's not cool.  I did really like this actress with bangs, though.  She looked a lot like Tyra Banks and seemed to be smizing the whole time.  

Also, the Pie Man gets invited.  And he makes a very handsome vampire.  So there's that.  No one seems more amused by Lee Pace's presence in Breaking Dawn 2 than Lee Pace.  
Here's what I recall from the book, which, I admit, I liberally skimmed, literally unable to actually READ it word for word.  The bad vampires show up, and they're like, We're gunna KILL you. And the Cullens are like, Well, look, the child is actually pretty nice. And they're like, Yeah, she is. Ok, our bad.  See you later. Bai.  But, what happens in the movie is that they DO fight.
And straight off the bat, a couple of major characters get killed. Like, first, Edward's dad or whatever gets his HEAD. RIPPED. OFF (!!!!!) by the super-bad-vampire-guy. And... I'm not kidding you, our entire theatre just completely EXPLODED.  Everyone was screaming and going just totes cray cray. And then some more people get killed, like a couple of wolves and even uh.. that other vampire, I can't remember his name.  And people are losing their SHIT.  It. Was. Awesome.   And this one guy? For some reason? Like Matrix-style punches his fist into the ground and makes a big crater with lava in the bottom and everything? And people and wolves start falling into the lava and stuff and the crowd was going CRAZY.  

And I'm like, Well, this here is GREAT because they took Stephanie Meyer's lame-ass milquetoast ending and really DID something with it! Until, all of a sudden, What's that JR? The whole thing was just a goddamn vision.  And then the Cullens are like, Yeah, that's what will happen if you go to war with us, and then the bad-vampires are like, Yeah, that would suck, ok bai.  And they take off.  And everyone's like, "WHHHHAAAAAAATTT????"   I look down at my friend G and she yells, "Didn't anyone here read the BOOK?!"  

And then everyone lives happily ever after, including - YUCK! - Jacob and the (don't even get me started on this girl's name) child-bride Renesmee (really?).  

Yeah, that's not weird.

The End.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tiny cars and food: Roman edition

Here are a couple of pics from our trip to Rome - even though we have tiny cars in the US now, I cannot resist taking pictures of eensy-weensy cars in Europe. How can I get a truck like this?  I could drive it to the thrift store and buy all the jacked up chairs I wanted.  I WANT ONE SO BAD!!!!

Also, look at this Gucci car we saw.  I  WANT ONE SO BAD!
 If you buy a pizza slice to go, they cut it in half, fold it, and hand it to you in paper.  We got these at this great spot for pizza, but I forget what it's called.

One time I ordered pasta with shrimp and it came with heads on.  And then we laughed for a long time.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bond, James Bond

Last night we saw the new Bond movie. Oh, Skyfall.  It was totally uh-mah-zing.

You know that one scene where James Bond jumps into the back of a train that's been torn in half and then HE ADJUSTS HIS FRIGGIN' CUFF LINKS?  Uuuuuuhm the whole movie is like that.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pallazo Barberini

Continuing our journey through Rome by Caravaggios, we go next to the Palazzo Barbarini, where we saw some pretty fantastic things, including, possibly, my favorite Caravaggio of all!

First we saw Raphael's La Fornarina, a gorgeous portrait of his lover.  I realized that I had NEVER seen a good reproduction of it because in person it was really fantastic - just a reminder of how important it is to see the real thing if you can...  Her little arm band is more blue, and it reads "Raphael Vrbinus" (Raphael of Urbino). 

 The Barbarini palace also has two Caravaggios, a Judith and Holofernes and Narcissus.  Narcissus, you may recall, was so entranced by his own beautiful reflection in a pool of water his fell in and drowned.  So, let that be a lesson to you.
 I am mildly obsessed with the story of Judith and I love looking at the many interpretations of her heroine-ness.   The story goes like this - Judith, a Jewish widow, lives in this town that is being terrorized by Holofernes.  He's camped outside the town, keeping them all under siege, and they're pretty much doomed until Judith and her maid go down to his tent, get him drunk and cut off his head.  Over the years, artists have painted her as triumphant, a seductrice, drunk on her own power, businesslike, etc (and her maid, don't get me started!)  I love how Caravaggio paints her - pretty grossed out by the deed at hand, but determined.  Her maid's next to her with this crazy look in her eye like she's seen it all before...  Holofernes is captured the millisecond before life exists his body - he's surprised, his HEAD is practically DETACHED, but he's still got energy in his arms.  It's easy to image that viewing this painting in the early 17th c (it was finished in 1599) would be like watching a entire season of True Blood today.

maid, detail

If you're interested, I'm also totally bonkers over Klimt's Judith and Franz von Stuck's, and, of course, Artemisia Gentileschi's.

That brings our Caravaggio count to 9!  BTW, I heard some people have had trouble commenting on my blog - I took away the captcha, so it should be easier now.  Let me know if you have any trouble!

Thursday, November 08, 2012


Boy am I glad the election turned out my way!  What a relief!  I realized I was carrying around a lot of stress worrying about what it would be like if Romney were in power!

Now I can get back to worrying about stupid things like What Am I Going To Wear to the Breaking Dawn Pt. 2 Movie?*

Love this

* Answer: a cloak

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Carvaggio Count

I hope you're not bored of hearing about our trip to Rome because I have a LOT more to tell you.  I'm not even HALF way through all the Caravaggios we saw!

One of the museums we went to was the Capitoline - there we saw quite a few wonderful things - including this amazing 5th Century bronze sculpture of the She-Wolf with Romulus and Remus - a symbol of the very beginnings of Rome.  The story is quite interesting.

She's a very charming wolf.  BTW, look at the backgrounds in those pictures - everywhere we went, every INCH was covered in something beautiful. Like, we'd walk into a room and I'd just stare at the floor for a while.  It was really quite overwhelming, I mean, honestly, from floor to ceiling, there were just agonizingly gorgeous things to look at.  It's impossible!  

We also saw two more Caravaggios - The Fortune Teller, which, to tell the truth is NOT a GREAT Caravaggio, although, in person you can see that the fortune teller is slipping the ring off the young man's finger...

And John the Baptist, which IS great.

Caravaggio Count: 7.

Friday, November 02, 2012


If you are an agoraphobic misanthropist, like me, you should probably not go to the Vatican, or even, perhaps, Rome, at all.  Truthfully, I'll admit there were moments that I was quite overwhelmed by the crowds of endless people and the stifling crush of human bodies basically everywhere we went, however, none so much as the Vatican and Sistine Chapel tour.   I remember that night when we got home to our Roman apartment, I said something like, "I think I handled that pretty well!" and M just rolled his eyes and reminded me about the three or four panic attacks he had to talk me down from.

The Sistine Chapel - whose ceiling was painted by Michelangelo in the early 16th century, beneath which are frescos by Botticelli, amongst others, as well as the magnificent alter wall, featuring Michelangelo's incomparable Last Judgement - as a whole, is often referred to as the single most important and impressive art piece of all time.  Not only that, but it's a holy place.  Beneath this artistic and spiritual extravaganza were accumulated humanities worst examples - taking pictures with flash and making a bunch of noise even though you're supposed to be silent.  The guards would shout "SILENCIO!" every 1 minute or so, at which point the noise would dull to a quiet roar, the rose second by second to a din 1 minute later.  If that all sounds negative, it was rather a bizarre experience - not at all what I expected.  I always get really embarrassed when tourists misbehave in religious spaces, it bums me out that people have so little respect for locations.  Anyway, if you're like me - get antsy in crowds and have a tendency to think that the world's a terrible place and we're all doomed and humans are horrible, narcissistic creatures bent on destroying the earth and everything that's beautiful and good - spend 15 minutes in the Sistine Chapel and have all your fears compounded.  Then look up, block out the noise, and try to have a good sense of humor, just like Michelangelo:

Creation of Sun and Moon (get it?)

Here's a really cool 360 view of the whole thing.  It was nice to see the floor.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Can't hug every cat

Shortly before we left for our vacation, I got deliriously hooked on this auto-tuned song, Can't Hug Every Cat (go ahead and watch it four or five times, I'll wait...) I also put it on my "Rome Mix" - I like to make a special mix for our vacations which we can listen to over and over again when we're there - then, when we get home and listen to the mix - voilá! - it's like we're on vacation again. (I KNOW, it's like, I'm a total genius, right?)

Anyway, we saw a few nice cats when we were in Rome - here are some cats that lived in some ruins?

A couple of cool cats.  Ugh, I look terrible.  ):
 And here's a grouchy cat that seemed to live at the Colosseum   That was one tough cat.

They only speak Italian, so you have to call them, "Micio, micio, micio!"