Saturday, April 12, 2008

An Afternoon With Picasso and Goya

An Afternoon With Picasso and Goya

It has been a very good Saturday.

I started early, like I usually do.  I rolled out of bed a little before six A.M., following a good night sleep, waking from a dream of Australian cowboys riding a cow and running away from a landshark.  It was a strange and entertaining dream and set the course for the day.

I set a cup of coffee to brew while I ran through the morning shower, turned on the stereo, and came online to check my email and visit my favorite chat room.  It is kind of like going to your favorite coffee shop.  You get to talk with people you know and don't know, people you love and don't love, about subjects you may or may not care about.  I always find good company there with the morning denizens and a chance to (type).  All from the comfort of my living room as I watch the California sun rise.

I love Saturday mornings that are low and lazy, no hurry, no pressure.  Just friends and music and coffee. 

Around about nine o'clock I went over to meet some other friends at the restaurant where we often gather for a ritual Saturday morning breakfast.  It is almost an extension of the morning chat experience, except over breakfast and face to face.  It is a grounding ritual for me - a chance to slow down and stop and spent time with friends over a good meal.  Following breakfast, I stopped by the Fry's electronics for a rambling walk through the magic land of technological toys. I picked up a Pat Metheny CD and a couple of magazines.

From there, it was a quick couple of errands and then I met P. and H. to go to the Home & Garden show at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds.  I have neither a

home (I live in an apartment) nor a garden, but I enjoyed wandering around and just looking at the various stuff.  I have long been impressed by the new state of the art shower and bath systems.

After that rambling walk, we went to downtown San Jose, to the San Jose Museum of Art.  We went to see the etchings of Picasso (Dreams and Desires) and the etchings of Goya (Caprichio).  I am not a huge Picasso fan, so I found that portion of the exhibit interesting, but not particularly alluring.  There was a great Picasso quote as part of the exhibit though.

"Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art." Pablo Picasso

I love that and it echoed in me - "Art is never chaste."

Goya was a far more fascinating exhibit.  Goya is unflinching in his approach to his subject in Caprichio - the corruption of the nobility, the state, and the church.  The subject matter is often explicit and brutal.  Some of the pieces were powerful enough that they had an emotional impact on me, they made my stomach churn.  It was as if Goya heeded Picasso's quote, in a reversal of time - Goya was decidedly and rightfully unchaste.  If art has any value it has the value of looking at the world with an unflinching eye, whether it beholds that which is beautiful, that which is whimsical, or that which is brutal.

Both Picasso and Goya were traveling exhibits so no photography was permitted within the halls.  At the end of the exhibit, as we sat around a big table and gazed through some of the books of caricatures, we drew our own caricatures.  I drew a man with a corpulent head tumbling off his shoulders, dressed in a suit, surrounded by the instruments of our materialist media driven society - bling, TV, and my beloved crackberry.  H. drew a picture of someone sinking into beneath the waves.  P., the only one of us with any real drawing talent, started and stopped and drew nothing.

We walked through downtown San Jose to Hawg's Seafood bar for dinner.  I had crab cakes with a cajun sauce and a bowl of clam chowder.  P. had fried calamari and a bowl of clam chowder.  H. had a grilled ahi tuna salad.  We all sampled and shared and I brought one of the crab cakes home with me. 

I took P. and H. home with a promise to circle back together tomorrow and go to the San Jose Flea Market.  As I dropped them off my friend T. called and wanted to see if I wanted to get together and see "Street Kings".  I agreed. 

Since I had about an hour and a half to kill, I stopped at Barnes & Noble and bought a book on the history of the guitar and another CD (Indigo Girls "Swamp Ophelia").  By sheer luck of timing L. had sent me a email with the title of a song she had quoted that morning that had caught my eye - and I that I had missed her giving in chat - "Language or the Kiss" - which is on the Swamp Ophelia album.  I wandered the bookstore and the music store for a while, just browsing, and bought a collection of short stories (Best Erotica of 2008), edited by Susie Bright.  From there, I drifted over to theatre.

I sat in the parking lot as the sun set and listened to the song with the stereo in the car turned up.  If you have never heard it, I would highly recommend it - it is simply a great song.  It was nearly the perfect capstone to a nearly perfect day.  Friends, Art, Food, Music, beautiful weather, and wandering. I am not sure life gets much better than the simplicity of that.

The movie, well, it was enjoyable Hollywood fare.  The dialogue was over the top and hit about every cop movie cliche you could in a single movie, but the cast (Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker in the leads) was good and it was a pleasure to watch them chew the scenery.  I would not see it again.  I would advise folks to wait for the DVD (there by damning it with faint praise).

From there, T. and I stood outside and talked for a while, then I headed home.  It was hot when I got home so I kicked open the windows and balcony doors and fired up the fans to bring the temperature down.  I logged on and am pretty much ending the day as I started it - online.

Just one good day, all the way through, beginning to end.

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