Saturday, September 17 2011
Operation Iraqi Freedom, Gretchen's name for recent household improvements, has (for me, at least) morphed into a general project to clean and reorganize the garage, laboratory, and shop area. It's been slow going, with perhaps too much emphasis on producing storage solutions to file things away and not enough on just throwing shit out that I have a low likelihood of ever using. I see potential in so many things and yet there just isn't enough time to follow up.
This evening Gretchen and I drove down to New Paltz to attend an opening at the Samuel Dorsky Museum. Our friend Michæl (whom we know through KMOCA) had helped arrange one of the exhibits about Hudson Valley Artists.
When we first arrived in the Dorsky, we were greeted by an unusually foul odor that Gretchen mistook as someone with a digestive complaint or perhaps an adult diaper in need of attention. But no, the smell was actually coming from one or more of the cheeses that had been set out as opening snacks. There were also crackers, carrots, and various carbonated juices, but no alcohol.
Michæl showed us to the gallery he'd set up, a salon-style exhibit of two-dimensional works hung on a wall painted as a pixelated cloudy sky. This pattern was, it turned out, a 250-pixel-wide detail from a painting by a Hudson River School artist. This was all designed to highlight a new art database that had just been created (and there were a couple flatscreens distributed among the paintings and photographs mirroring information on two info kiosks).
The most interesting exhibit was actually in a gallery back further in the museum. It featured the drawings and sculptures of Ken Landauer and Julianne Swartz, who are actually husband and wife. The sculptures were particularly interesting, with a number of combinations of rock and wood (wherein the wood was described as a "rock prosthesis"). There were also some lovely ethereal sculptures made of delicate wires that were nearly invisible unless seen from close range. I particularly liked the details of these, where fine stretched springs coiled around thin wires. Gretchen liked a couple sculptures that looked physically impossible, able to maintain their arrangements because of the clever use of magnets.
It was good to be back in those distant galleries during a series of boring speeches up in the front (if any art opening could have benefitted from alcohol, this was definitely one of them). Eventually the speeches wound down and Deborah showed up, and I talked to her about her two recent tragedies: the flooding of her cottage and the death of her long-time canine companion Juneau (who died, ultimately, from eating a corn cob).
Eventually about a dozen of us (mostly from the KMOCA and BRAWL scenes) went to the Gilded Otter, an enormous New Paltz brewpub done up in that lodgy style familiar from such places as the Hurley Mountain Inn. The people who had gathered there, though, were decidedly younger and cooler (though they were also far more mainstream than the streets of New Paltz would lead you to expect). At first we had a plan of getting a big table and all sitting together, though there was no way to pull this off logistically. So we started at the bar (which, at the Gilded Otter, is massive) and then transitioned gradually to a couple booths, ordering things like nachos along the way. Michæl and I both tried the Gilded Otter's Three Pines IPA and didn't think much of it. Indeed, it was perhaps the crappiest IPA I have ever drunk. This didn't keep me from ordering another, however.
Eventually I ended up with a veggie burger and fries (the latter being somewhat better than the former). We were sitting at our booth with Tricia, who often plays the role of a Bulgarian celebrity named Lucretia during BRAWL (women's arm wrestling) events. It turns out that the convincing Eastern European accent she uses at BRAWL is her own conscious invention.
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