Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Big Easy

I know it seems like I have barely gotten back to the US but already my DH wanted to go on vacation. Is it really a vacation if you are still living out of suitcases and your computer is perched on a cardboard box? Ummmmm. Anyway, we went to New Orleans for a few days for some art, music and good food. Which do I write about first?

New Orleans is still coming back after Katrina but worth a visit none the less. We stayed up in the Garden District this time which is a beautiful area. I got my beignet and coffee downtown and bought a piece of artwork from a guy I've been watching for a few years. I had to ship it back so photos to come later. I had the best ribs of my life at a restaurant on St. Charles St that I think is called Zizi's. Unfortunately the rest of the meal was only medioca...fries were cold, the beer flat (retured to the waiter who did bring another only too late for most of my meal.) (Looks like food has won the race to be first - big surprise!)

When you eat out in New Orleans you expect good food. The meal we had at Jacques-Imo's was incrediable for any city! It is a small up-town restaurant packed with mostly locals. It is decorated with "outsider" or folk art giving you lots to look at while your meal is prepared. Even my usually finicky DH didn't complain about his Gumbo, the grouper, the garlicky corn bread or the check (which is saying something!) We will definately go back there next trip.

So now the art...there is a really great exhibition going on through January 18th calle dthe P.1 (or Prospect .1) Over 23 location with inthe city with 81 artists representing 39 countries are involved. It is impressive. I spent a lot of time at the Contemporary Art Center on Camp Street.

Now this isn't for everyone but I think most folks would at least be moved by some of the installations at the CAC. The building is a gutted warehouse and is so visually stricking that even the ladders for the workman putting finishing touches on the 15 foot windows looked to be an art installation! Photos were not allowed but a quick run down of my favorites...

John BArnes, Jr used mixed media construction of boats as a "testament to survival and resilence." The ones that really drew me in were "Target Data," and "Supplied and Demanded."

Shawnee Major had three huge heavily embellished quiltlike pieces. I wish they put the dimensions in the cataloge...I'm guessing they were 18 foot by 18 foot! Did I say huge!!!! I stood so long in front of "War Channel" I think I made the security guard nervous. The cataloge says she uses thousands of objects (I think they underestimate!) Everything from beads and buttons to plastic toys and casino chips! With her work it helps to walk up close then gradually back changes totally.

Lee Bul's "chandelier-like work" is breath-taking. Again, huge...maybe 12 by 12. Hard to determine since there is a mirrored floor below. (Reminded me a bit of the Goaudi exhibit that showed how he designed the spired for his cathedral.) Some see skyscrapers other ships...the number of beads, chains and reflective pieces is amazing.

On the darker/more intense side is the installation by Skylar Fein "Remember the UpStairs Lounge." Regardless of ones politics it is impossible not to be efffected by this installation. From the catalog "As New Orleans builds and rebuilds, recovers and recreates itself Fein's work raises questions of what's new, what's old, and what's worth saving of new Orlean's cultural foundations."
So if you are going to be in the area or are looking for an excuse for a road trip this exhibit is definately work the miles.

Now for music. This will be short. There is a lot less of it now in New Orleans than I remember. I hope that this will come back like the food and the art. It was a bit sad.

So I am back to unpacking boxes. Thanks to all of you for the input on my evolving quilting room (do I dare call it studio?!) I took out the graph paper and made a floor plan. Today I am putting some of the packing paper to good use and laying out on the floor what I did on the graph paper to check for aisle/walking space. We may even go down to the LQS and look at the sewing machine tables. I'll let you know how this one goes!


Lazy Gal Tonya said...

Outsider art and yummy food? marvelous.sounds like a great trip. yes, get a real sewing machine table with the thingie so it goes right to the level it should be at!

Feeling Simply Quilty said...

That cat really looks like it should be from New Orleans, a little wild and worldly looking. I like New Orleans.

sewkalico said...

Sounds like a wonderful place! Love the cats in the art gallery...