Culture Vulture/Photo diary: Salvador Dali Museum

October 8, 2015

(click photos to enlarge)

While we were on the beach in Collioure, George casually asked if we were fans of Salvador Dali. Absolutely, said I. So he suggested we make a spontaneous expedition across the Spanish border to Dali’s hometown, Figueres, to visit the Salvador Dali Theatre and Museum. Great idea! The building (indeed a former theater) is grander and the experience is more impressive than the Diego Rivera home in Guanajuato, Mexico, to which we made a pilgrimage when we were there last February, even if the collection is not especially representative of the prolific surrealist master’s work. The central courtyard open to the elements contain a number of stylized female figures, and the multiple tiers of the theater have been converted into various sized galleries, some of them quite tiny and cramped. Our visit coincided with the arrival of two or three busloads of German high schoolers crowding through the rooms preceded by their smartphones. The town is justifiably proud of its connection to Dali and displays his weird and whimsical trademark images all over the place, just as Barcelona flaunts its Gaudi legacy on a larger scale.

9-16 dailu museum courtyard9-16 dali museum courtyard9-16 dali dolls9-16 dripping boat9-16 massive dali foyer9-16 dali bedroom9-16 dali etching9-16 dali sistine chapel9-16 rooftop eggs9-16 dali sky9-16 dali planter

Playlist: iPod shuffle, 10/7/15

October 8, 2015

“Turn Away,” Beck
“Woo,” Anthony Hamilton
“Shark’s Tooth,” Archie Bronson Outfit
“Bernadette,” Paul Simon
“Nobody Loves You Like Me,” Jonathan Coulton
“In These Arms,” The Swell Season
“Star and Slave,” Ruthie Ann Miles (Here Lies Love OCR)
“You’re Never Alone,” Hunter Foster (The Bridges of Madison County OCR)
“Two Doves,” Dirty Projectors
“Nothing Short of Wonderful,” Lindsay Mendez (Dogfight OCR)
“Tell My Sister,” Martha Wainwright
“Let Me Tickle Your Fancy (Gavin Russom Remix),” Del Marquis
“We Run This,” Missy Elliott

“Thunderbolt,” Bjork
“Tear Me Down,” Neil Patrick Harris (Hedwig and the Angry Inch OCR)
“As Fast As My Feet Can Carry Me,” Emmylou Harris & Norah Jones
“Klapp Klapp,” Little Dragon
“I Feel Ya’ Stutter,” Of Montreal
“Especially Me,” Low
“Flower of the Mountain,” Kate Bush
“Day In, Day Out,” Chris Connor
“Honest Face,” Liam Finn + Eliza Jane
“Somebody Good,” The Swell Season
“Shake the Ladder,” Jane Barnett
“Guillotine,” Lisa Germano
“Lifeguard On Duty,” Morrissey
“Our Day Will Come,” Amy Whitehouse
“In Patagonia,” Lawrence
“Looking Glass,” Little Dragon
“High,” Lindi Ortega
“Evelyn,” Fantastic Mr. Fox
“Sin City,” Beck and Emmylou Harris

Photo diary: South of France part 3 (Collioure)

October 8, 2015

(click photos to enlarge)

On our last full day with George and Laurene, we packed a lunch and took a drive down to Collioure, a beautiful seaside town, so we could at least dip our toes in the Mediterranean.

9-16 collioure beach9-16 collioure playground9-16 the bay in collioure9-16 aqua windows with birds9-16 seaside trio9-16 handiplage9-16 dipping toes into mediterranean

Quote of the day: CONVERSATION

October 8, 2015


Conversation is [Sherry] Turkle’s organizing principle because so much of what constitutes humanity is threatened when we replace it with electronic communication. Conversation presupposes solitude, for example, because it’s in solitude that we learn to think for ourselves and develop a stable sense of self, which is essential for taking other people as they are. (If we’re unable to be separated from our smartphones, Turkle says, we consume other people “in bits and pieces; it is as though we use them as spare parts to support our fragile selves.”) Through the conversational attention of parents, children acquire a sense of enduring connectedness and a habit of talking about their feelings, rather than simply acting on them. (Turkle believes that regular family conversations help “inoculate” children against bullying.) When you speak to people in person, you’re forced to recognize their full human reality, which is where empathy begins. (A recent study shows a steep decline in empathy, as measured by standard psychological tests, among college students of the smartphone generation.) And conversation carries the risk of boredom, the condition that smartphones have taught us most to fear, which is also the condition in which patience and imagination are developed….

Our digital technologies aren’t politically neutral. The young person who cannot or will not be alone, converse with family, go out with friends, attend a lecture or perform a job without monitoring her smartphone is an emblem of our economy’s leechlike attachment to our very bodies. Digital technology is capitalism in hyperdrive, injecting its logic of consumption and promotion, of monetization and efficiency, into every waking minute.

–Jonathan Franzen, reviewing Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation in the New York Times

sherry turkle

Photo diary: South of France, part 2 (Carcasonne)

October 6, 2015

(click photos to enlarge)

George and Laurene took us for a day trip to the nearby town of Carcasonne, whose name was familiar to me only because of the board game. Little did I know that this medieval walled town figured heavily in the Albigensian Heresy, a chapter in the history of the Roman Catholic Church that I’d vaguely heard of but knew much more about by the end of this trip. Our hosts turned us on to Stephen O’Shea’s excellent popular history The Perfect Heresy: The Revolutionary Life and Death of the Medieval Cathars. (Google “Cathars” or “Albigensian Crusade.” It’s a horrifying story of Christians persecuting other Christians to match any Sunni/Shiite conflict we know about today.)

9-14 carcasonne from a distance9-14 l'histoire9-14 turrets9-14 stained glass closeup9-14 cathedral stained glass9-14 river side of castle9-14 handsome frenchman9-14 castle fresco 19-14 george laurene andy carcasonne9-14 andy at castle
When we walked into the cathedral, an a cappella quartet (the Doros Choir of Moscow) was performing sacred music in close to ideal acoustics:


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