Monday, July 3, 2017

New York City Day 9: Walk Like an Egyptian to The Bitter End!

The Chrysler Building basks in the glow of
late evening sunlight. 
I wrote in an earlier post that I had dubbed this visit to New York as my Music and Art Tour, and nothing that has happened since my last series of posts a week ago to change this designation. Since last Sunday 25th my evenings has included a night at The Bitter End to catch the Singer/Songwriter Sessions and the All Star Jam that follows it. On Monday night I returned to City Winery to see Michelle Shocked and the Pete Anderson trio run through her now classic album, Short Sharp Shocked, and again on Tuesday night I was there to help celebrate the 30th birthday of 
Jesse Paris Smith with a host of guest musicians including her brother Jackson and legendary mother, Patti Smith.

I had a night off on Wednesday, but I had reserved a ticket to see Cassandra Wilson at the Blue Note Jazz Club in Greenwich Village on Thursday night. In the end, I decided to cancel that booking, and reschedule for tonight, Sunday, July 2. My final big gig for the week saw me visiting the Highline Ballroom for a rollicking performance of the Playing For Change Band, of which more later.

It occurs to me that by building this visit around art and music, I am a lot more focused than I might otherwise have been. On previous visits to New York, I have concentrated on free music events more than anything else, and then left pretty much all other activities to the whims of the day. Purchasing two museum memberships (MoMA, and The Met), has allowed me to pick and choose talks and tours to attend, and while my general museum visits are still unfocused, I am enjoying the return visits to the Met Cloisters and The Met Museum in particular. While I have only made one visit to the Met Breuer at this time, I will go there again this week to take in any new works on show. I will also return to MoMA for a deeper look at the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibition.

Here's my week in review along with my daily expenses in US and Australian dollars.

The Met Fifth Avenue Members Event -- Irving Penn: Centennial. Learn about the life and work of the great American photographer Irving Penn with New Yorker writer Vince Aletti, Vogue executive fashion editor Phyllis Posnick, and Curator in Charge of the Department of Photographs, Jeff L. Rosenheim.

I went to The Met Museum in time to attend the Irving Penn talk. I must say I found the talk and the information about Penn's career as a (mostly) fashion photographer for Vogue magazine more interesting than I thought I would. I have never had a lot of time for fashion or the designers, their famous models or the magazines that thrive on haute couture, or the world of high fashion. However, Irving Penn took his role very seriously, and did not just shoot fashion for anyone, and that included Vogue. Phyllis Posnick, worked at Vogue for many years, and said she constantly had to persuade and convince Penn to take on assignments for the magazine. I had a quick look at the Centennial exhibition after the talk, but will return for a more leisurely look on a future visit. I also had a little time to walk through some of the Egyptian rooms and again I will return to these at a later date for a more careful look. 

However, it occurs to me after several somewhat disorganized visits to the Met Museum, that I need to be more focused about my examination of the massive art collections on offer. The best way of doing this, it seems to me is to use the museum map to plan each visit so that I can concentrate on one section at a time and so work my way through the whole building floor by floor and all 20 major departments.

Above: The Temple of Dendur

Above: detail of inscriptions on Temple of Dendur wall.

Here are the main departments moving clockwise around the First Floor: Greek and Roman Art; Africa, Oceania and the Americas; Modern & Contemporary Art; European Sculpture & Decorative Arts; Medieval Art; Robert Lehman Collection; The American Wing; Arms & Armor; Egyptian Art.

The Second & Third floors: Greek & Roman Art; Ancient Near Eastern Art; Art of The Arab Lands; 19th and Early 20th Century European Paintings and Sculpture; Modern & Contemporary Art; Photography; European Paintings 1250-1800; European Sculpture & Decorative Arts; Musical Instruments; and American Wing (mezzanine). Then there are the collections at The Cloisters, the Breuer, and of course MoMA. 

And let's not forget all the allied programs that each museum runs like talks, tours, film screenings and musical performances. And this is without visiting any of the dozens of other museums and galleries across the city! Far out! I really have to get my act together.

Above: Bat-or Kalo on stage at the Bitter End and below
posters from the 60s and 70s decorate the walls of the venue.

THE BITTER END: Singer/Songwriter Sessions & All Star Jam
I've written about the Bitter End numerous times on this blog so I won't go over old news. I will say that as a big supporter of new and emerging performers, I love how this venue has stayed close to its roots and continues to support young talent through the singer/songwriter sessions and in many other ways. It is interesting to see young performers working on their stagecraft, and sharing their songs and music in a small, intimate venue like this, knowing as I hope they do, that some of the greatest musicians, comedians, and other performers have also trodden the boards of the narrow stage on which they themselves are standing.

Note: Click on images to view full sized.

Sunday 25, June | Expenses $49.00 ($64.55)

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