My Week Off in New York: Part 1 (Mon – Wed)

I know it’s against the rules of blogging to include so much information in one post, but there’s just so much to share! Starting with… Remember that internship at which I’ve been busting my butt since December? It’s over. Sad face. So what’s next? I start Tuesday as an associate (I just can’t get over that title. I feel so darn cool) at an amazing new firm. With an equally amazing list of diverse clients. To say I’m jazzed is to completely undermine how stoked (there are those California roots) I am. Bucket List #6, cheecckkkk.

So how to celebrate my last week of freedom? Tackling the crap out of my bucket list. Only, Monday, I was gettin’ real friendly with the toilet, doubled over with a stomach flu. So every other day this week is jam-packed to make up for all the awesome things I’ve missed.

Monday: Toilet bonding.

Tuesday: Running errands (like buying a new bikini!), accepting jobs, and sunbathing in Central Park with aforementioned new bikini. And cleaning AB’s apartment, which is exhilarating to type-As like me!

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Wednesday: Treating myself to crepes and a latte, a walk through Central Park, visit to the Met (#18, visit a museum), then ice cream on the High Line (#5, walk and relax on the high line) and a trip to see the World Trade Center Memorial (which I still hadn’t seen! #2).

The crepe, latte, and morning walk (with Kindle) was obviously great. And the Met? Wowza. So much to see… so I stuck to my standard go-tos—Egyptian (I used to want to be an Egyptologist), and European Impressionist. I also stumbled into a Conde Nast-sponsored fashion exhibition and, at Captain America’s insistence, traipsed through the American Wing. In general, I feel about museums like I do about churches. Just being in them makes me so overwhelmingly conscious of my own insignificance. Sometimes, I find myself drawn to a particular piece and can’t explain why but it gives me goosebumps the same way great dissonant chord or a climactic romantic scene does. It seems cliche to call them goosebumps, but the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, called by the beauty of some things in a way that I can only describe as feeling. Sometimes art, like music or love, makes me feel. Well, duh.

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Anyway, on the way out, I bought a Van Gogh post card. I just love Van Gogh; his insanity makes him so… relatable? And I love Impressionism because the beauty of the art is in the eye of the beholder. The art isn’t a photograph, it’s not real. It’s lines and dots and smudges that the brain interprets as something beautiful. Every time I see Van Gogh or Monet or Manet’s work, it’s a deeply personal experience, all my own.

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Van Gogh’s work… not mine.

Anyway, so I left with sore feet and goosebumps and a postcard, which I wrote up while sitting on the Met steps a la Gossip Girl, listening to an a Capella group.

Then I made my way downtown to walk a 12-block stretch of the High Line, but not without stopping for an ice cream first.

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I finished the day at the World Trade Center Memorial. It was a little to early (just opened a few days ago and still very much the tourist thing to do in the city) and a little too expensive to go to the museum, so I stuck with the memorial, people watching. I also took a stroll through the cemetery of St. Paul’s Chapel. 
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Artsy Fartsy Francophiles

Paris street fashion. Source: estilovesyourstyle.com

Almost finished with Orientation. Between mini seminars on safety and the science of dating in Paris, I’ve been watching people.

I found this comical and chauvinist blog online that lists the “100 Red Flags,” traits in potential girlfriends that the boys should avoid. Red flag #81? Never date a girl who studied abroad in Paris. They list their reasons, which are funny but generalized and unimaginative (even if they have an inkling of truth to them).

There is something to be said about Paris attracting a certain type of person. Coco Chanel, Carrie Bradshaw, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Hemmingway, Gertrude Stein: this city is drowning in cultural significance.

Friedrich Nietzsche said, “An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris.”

New York draws all kinds of people because it has a variety of strong industries: art, architecture, music, dance, theatre, sports, and —of course—finance. And while Paris is strong in art, architecture, music, history, and—of course—fashion, it isn’t exactly known for its Wall Street, and stretching is a sport here. So while the business and baseball buffs round out New York’s artsy-fartsy culture, Paris has no such equivalent.

Just the artsy fartsies.

Looking around my orientation sessions, there are a lot of women. I’d say maybe 70 percent.  And of the handful of guys, I’d bet half are gay (it’s hard to tell in Europe, where being “metro” is the new black).

So not to worry, Almost Boyfriend. The numbers are in your favor.

Angela Carter, a British author, thought that cities had sexes: “London is a man, Paris a woman, and New York a well-adjusted transsexual.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Painted Art to Written Art

The last post had me searching through Lloyd’s archives at some pretty old stuff. I came across an assignment from my 10th grade humanities class. Mr. Cottrell (who is on the list of people who influenced me. He’s awesome) had us look at various styles of art… Surrealism, Dada, Futuristic.. and write poems inspired by several pieces. I definitely had a specific poetry style (or lack thereof?), but it’s fun to go back and read them. Below, I’ve compiled some of the art and the corresponding poems. Some also include reflections/explanations.

Picasso’s Three Women

Seeing the heavens

Boxes and shapes

All distort

Defining themselves

In the fires

Cut like rubies

Turn blind to that

If it burns

They wring their souls

Envious of emeralds

Smothered in sin

Their naked selves

Precious as gems

Screeching hymns

In the dark cave

Eyes closed to the fire

Marc Chagall’s The Falling Angel and The Pregnant Woman (Mary)

Remembering a time

Of music and ghostly beasts

Where light disappears

And faith dwindles

Flapping wings fail when

Innocence protects sin

Rather than expose it

And hope is unsuccessful

Madonna holds her

Fallen angel, but wings

Repair and beat and rise

And she remembers when

Messengers bring news

That sends the flocks

Into the heavens

And draws hungry eyes

Nestled in orchid beds

Sleeps a possibility

What hole is born by fear

Is filled by faith

Hole-y conception

Bears shining fruit

That transcends color

Species and race

Paul Klee

Fireworks, flowers, fruit

Explosions of color are

Too cliché, simplistic

It is more complicated

Craving comfort and warmth

Amid confusion and pain

She falters upon mistakes

In her careless haste

Smorgasbord of emotion

Indistinguishable in pink

Mistaking lust for love

Mistaking stumbling for

Falling

Towards the definition and color

And squirm away from that

Hidden behind closing curtains

A different kind of stage

Fluid limbs wade and twist

In blood and raw emotions

Poker face hides any and all

Weakness in blank stares

Disappearing details define

What a picture cannot

All felt and experienced

Is inexpressible in words

Or paint

Initially, none of Paul Klee’s pieces struck me, but the third piece made me think, especially with Mr. Cottrell’s question of whether or not the subject was moving towards or away from the viewer.  When I started to write though, everything I produced implied hints of sexuality, so rather than resist it, I embraced the concept.  I feel the free verse method and vivid visuals accurately mimic the modernist style.  Overall, I probably spent the most time on this piece, rearranging stanzas and lines to convey my message in the classiest way possible; it’s my favorite.

Hannah Hoch’s Grotesque

Bubble gumball Cosmo

Hepburn lips and cashmere legs

Cut and paste perfection for

Barbie doll disco

Einstein crimson hangover

Bushy brow alfalfa scalp and

Chicken knobby knees bring

Death to sunshine

This piece draws its contents from specific details from Hannah Hoch’s Grotesque.  I noted the stark contrast in the two subjects of her piece.  In addition, I tried to portray the collage style of the picture through the arrangement and diction of my words.  I really like the style of Dada; I feel it is a refreshing contrast to the other styles of the era.  Furthermore, the use of actual pictures from magazines and photographs makes the pieces more realistic and easier to interpret and relate to.