Friday, April 22, 2011

In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made, oh...big lights will inspire you

I went to Manhatten this past December to do a couple of auditions. Unfortunately I got sick, and they didn't go well, but at least I had a lot of fun!

One of the things I was super excited to see were the department store windows decorated for Christmas. So that was the first thing I did the moment I woke up. The top pic was at Bloomingdales.

These foodie windows were from Barneys.

I loved "Home Alone 2" as a kid, so of course I had to take a picture of the Plaza hotel.

The toy store from "Home Alone 2" doesn't really exist, but there is a really cool toy store "Fao Schwartz." I loved the Lego Santa!

And the keyboard from the movie "Big." It was pretty awesome to walk across it. They had a smaller version that's still big enough to walk across. I was really tempted to buy it.

I liked their intricate doll houses

And the Harry Potter display.

There were some mighty big stuffed animals throughout the store.

But my favorite things to see were the candy nutcrackers. I could just gobble them up!

I liked this pink deer on my way to Saks 5th Avenue.

I wanted to buy all of these souvenirs, but settled instead for taking pictures of them.

These were the windows from Saks.

It was always this same girl doing different activities.

They were pretty cool, and they looked even better when I saw them later in the evening.

I'm crazy for Christmas trees and lights, so of course I had to go to Rockefeller Center.

There was a white nutcracker next to this black nutcracker, and there were at least 4 different groups of people waiting in line to take a picture with it. No one was waiting for this guy. Seriously people! You're racist toward nutcrackers?!!!

More souvenirs I would have liked to purchase.

These were the cute music windows at Lord and Taylor.

It was really cute to watch all of their windows change around to different Christmas scenes

Especially watching Santa fly his sleigh across the sky! It would loop around every 10 seconds.

Oscar and I decorate our own Christmas tree with blue and silver lights and ornaments. So I was delighted to see this scene with a blue and silver decorated tree.

My mom would like this family's nutcracker collection.

This garage would open first to a car.

Then to a horse drawn sleigh.

This was a costume shop that had a neat display.

And finally I arrived at Macy's.

Their display came from the movie "Yes, Virginia. There really is a Santa Claus."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chicago Museum of Art

Thanks to Kara's annual membership, I also got to go to the Chicago Museum of Art for free. Above you can see the stairs in the entrance hallway.

I can see why you'd get an annual membership because there really is a lot to see here, especially if you want to do more than simply glance at each exhibit. I'm no art buff, but I really enjoyed being here. Though I know nothing about what makes good art, I do enjoy seeing incredible detail come together to make one impressive work.

That's probably why I spent so much time in the impressionist exhibit

And why I enjoyed looking at the sketches. Sometimes I'd get lost counting how many lines made up some small part of the piece.

So many angels in the Renaissance works!

These are incredible. What you're seeing in the pic below is actual quite a small. Lots of these windows went into making bigger buildings, like cathedrals. And just look at all the detail within them. The fact that any of these are still preserved is impressive. A lot of them had multiple broken bits.

I liked the 3D look of this sculpture.

The armory was interesting.

OUCH!!! These could do some serious damage. It'd have to in order to penetrate that armor.

This painting is of a Roman battle that made use of elephants!

I recognized this one from history class - Abduction of the Sabine Women

I never understood the deal with "fruit paintings," but I really appreciated the detail in this one - particularly in the asparagus.

I always liked the mini sculptures. The smaller the better.

This glass china was really cool.

I thought the elephant vases were awesome!

I loved the detail in these painted plates and teapot.

And this game! That was probably slightly more expensive than my Dominoes set.

Scary (yet highly detailed) bird!

I mentioned I liked little sculptures, so of course, I loved little gold sculptures!

I thought these paintings were really beautiful. They're the types I could sit and stare at all day long.

These were two of my absolute favorites in the museum. Below is the eruption of mount vesuvius.

And this one had crazy amounts of detail. I really enjoyed staring at the audience. The ones in the front are incredibly well outlined, and the ones in the back are just dots. But the artist paints so seemlessly that you're not sure exactly when they turned into dots. The buildings and background were also really well painted.

I really liked this one of Hercules with the hydra.

This is one of the more famous paintings in the museum - Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." Even an ignorant art observer like me recognized this one from High School textbooks. I love how the lady is walking her dog and a monkey.

The technique being used here is painting entirely in dots. It was cool to get up close to all those dots. And this particular painting is quite large - about 5 feet tall and wide.

Here's a smaller, similar painting by the same artist.

I immediately recognized this Van Gogh "The Bedroom" in the same area.

Along with his self portrait.

I don't remember the name of this one, but I recognized it from my European History book.

And my roommate had a picture of this "Cafe Singer."

Here's a modern piece I recognized.

And this "American Gothic" has been parodied in pop culture more times than I can count. I found out that's actually his spinster daughter, not his wife as is traditionally assumed. If you look closely, she does appear noticeably younger than him.

And this one was familiar to me as well.

I liked this mounted south american sculpture.

The background of this painting had a lot of detail that I really appreciated.

And this gown was just spectacular to see, especially since the painting was so large.

There were so many buddhas in this wing, but this one is the featured one in their museum guide.

These Chagall windows had been recently restored and looked really lovely.

I'm not crazy for modern art, but I LOVED this piece. This painting of a lady descending the stairs looks like a fuzzy photograph.

And this "Time Transfixed" painting was pretty cool.

I saw a lot of Picassos. Mostly we associate him with cubism

But here is some of his earlier work. I like the "blue guitar."

The paperweight collection in the museum basement is pretty cool.

But my favorite section was the Thorne miniature wing. There's just so much tiny, tiny detail. The first thing you see as you walk in is the cathedral.

And these were just a few of the different, elegant rooms.

After exiting the museum I wandered over to the famous "Chicago Bean." I really liked how the buildings reflected off the bean.

And this is the view of downtown Chicago I had from the park. Most of my trip in Chicago had been decent weather, so it was nice to spend my final, cloudy day at a beautiful museum.