Dec 23, 2007

Bodies and Corsets

I went to see the Bodies exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh yesterday, even though I had seen it (or something similar) a couple years ago in Los Angeles. It's still creepy, fascinating and depressingly humbling, kind of like strolling through a human meat locker with museum lighting.

But the real treat was at the Andy Warhol Museum. The Warhol keeps getting better and better over the years (as admission keeps rising; when it opened it cost $5 to enter, now it's $15.) I've never seen the place crowded. Sometimes I've had an entire floor to myself.

The Ron Mueck exhibit is THE thing to see now. Monumental and miniature sculptures in lifelike mixed media are the perfect counterpoint to the Bodies exhibit.

Also, Warhol's gold leaf adorned drawings from the 1950s are on view, as well as a Sargent-like portrait of Jean Michel Basquiat that I had not seen before. Several of Warhol's corsets are displayed too, in a couple galleries and in a rainbow of colors.

Dec 19, 2007

NYC>PGH: A trail through two cities

So I'm in Pittsburgh, after two weeks in NYC. The changes to both cities is worth noting. Manhattan is now, at least below, say, 110 St. give or take, an increasingly charmless high-end shopping bazaar. I don't know which I found more disheartening: the Juicy Couture shop on Bleecker St. or the Juicy Couture billboard in Times Square.

Uptown, east or west of Central Park still has areas untouched by elements of the tourist trade contibuting to the mall esthetic. The Metropolitan Museum continues to delight with it's seemingly ever growing galleries and re-appraisal of its collections. The current Rembrandt exhibit and the new Greek and Roman wings are spectacular.

Broadway, for all of it's middle brow offerings for the bumpkins, still packs a wallop. Staight plays are creating the most excitement with August: Osage County and The Homecoming both receiving rapturous reviews. (I saw August, hope to catch the Pinter when I return in January.)

The lovely little Waverly Inn has been turned into a celeb-magnet sty, with limos and paparazzi clogging the narrow west village streets like so much portable shrubbery that trails those types as they waddle to the trough. Plainly horrible.

More on NYC and PGH soon. The hunt for the xmas ham starts today.ø

Dec 8, 2007

Back in NYC

NYC has turned some sort of corner since I left four years ago. Tourist trap T-shirt and trinket shops that years ago replaced neighborhood sustaining businesses like hardware stores and laundries are now giving way to upscale shops and restaurants. One sad change to note is that the space formerly occupied by Strawberry Fields, my local grocery in the West Village, is now a hideous eurotrash men's boutique. Also, a Juicy Couture shop appearing anywhere is a vile notion, let alone on Bleecker St. but then again that western stretch of Bleecker has been going high-end-mall for a number of years now so why be surprised?

But really, two Coach shops, two Ralph Laurens, two Marc Jacobs (down from three since the accessories shop moved to 4th and Perry;) enough already. I see it all heading in the direction of 8th St in a couple decades.

The good news is that the food purveyors block of Bleecker between 6th and 7th Aves. once again has a fresh seafood shop, a welcome return. Also, Murray's Cheese moved across the street to much bigger quarters four years ago and has an expanded selection along with prepared food too. It's odd to note that the old Zito's bakery is still boarded up and empty. What gives?

The meat packing district is almost completely vegan now, if you catch my drift. It has become encrusted with boutiques and restaurants that have it feeling like London a bit, to me anyway. Talk about a complete re-invention of a neighborhood. I haven't been through that area at night yet on this visit but I hope the trannie hookers are still around and able to take advantage of the money flowing into that area now.

On Friday afternoon, a line of people, bundled up and enduring the snowy weather, stretched down 14th St. from 9th Ave. in anticipation of the 6 PM grand opening of a shiny and new Apple Store. Yet another place for me to check my email and update this blog since I decided to travel sans laptop this time. ø