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The Weekend Report


A Dancing Lesson

Saturday was a day in Fort Worth with my bestie, but we had a stop to make before we got there. Deb, who dances ballroom competitively, had a lesson with her new partner at Dancesport Training Center in Addison. She’s been dancing for many years, so I have gotten to know her teacher and many of her fellow dancers. I knew I’d be hearing a lot about the new partner, as they prepared for competitions in the spring, so I wanted to observe.

I have to tell you, I love to go to the competitions and as I see Deb float on the arms of a tuxedoed partner, I think, ‘that would be fun.’ Going to observe a lesson reminds me why I have no interest in ballroom dancing. It’s a lot of work. Over and over and over I watched them practice the same series of steps, not even an entire dance. Granted, they’re new partners, so there are basic logistical adjustments to figure out, but seriously, it’s like watching paint dry.

Not for Deb! She left exhilarated. She thought it was a great lesson and was full of enthusiasm about social dances at a new studio, taking lessons from her partner’s teacher and maybe doing rhythm at the silver level. Which reminds me of the other reason I’ll never be a competing ballroom dancer. It’s unbelievably expensive. You pay weekly for lessons, often multiple lessons, and then you pay to compete and then you pay to have your pro there when you compete and if the competition is not in your area, then you pay for your pro’s travel. And those beautiful dresses Deb floats by in during the competitions? Thousands of dollars each. Yep, I’m staying in the audience.

Lunch Café Modern

Did you know there is a Wolfgang Puck-ish restaurant in Fort Worth’s Museum of Modern Art? Not to worry. Most people don’t and until this visit to Café Modern, we didn’t realize the Wolfgang Puck trained-chef part. We’ve been before and loved it, but as most of you know, when I get to Fort Worth, I usually go to Joe T. Garcia’s. This time, we’d been to Joe T’s recently and decided to do something a little different.

You need to put this on your list. It was 12:30 on a Saturday afternoon and only a smattering of people were enjoying the wonderful atmosphere and great food, which was surprising to me, since special events were happening all around the museum area. Almost everyone was on the patio taking advantage of the great weather and we joined them, but the interior is quite nice. We ate there last time during a winter visit.

Deb got the Cubano Sandwich, which she loved, while I ate Chinois Chicken Salad. It was good too, but think more salad than chicken. It’s mostly green stuff with strips of cooked chicken thrown in, not chunks of chicken, fruit and nuts I love best. The service is good, but not fast, so we each had a couple of glasses of wine. Prosecco for Deb and Sauvignon Blanc for me. We split the bill paid about $50 each including tip. Not a bargain, but a great meal in a wonderful space.

Murillo at the Kimball

The Kimbell’s own Murillo from the Exhibition App

A few weeks ago we went to the Dallas Museum of Art and happened upon the last day of the Cartier and Islam exhibit. I was both happy I got to see the exhibit before it left and mad that the DMA, for which I pay a membership, didn’t manage to communicate it to me in a way that made me aware of the exhibit. You can interpret this to mean they probably sent me emails along with the 50 thousand others I get in a day and I missed it. If you really want me to know something an email blast probably isn’t you best bet – especially with the summer I had.

So, this weekend, we went to the Kimball, where Deb is a member, only to discover they were having a 50th anniversary celebration with all kinds of stuff happening. Their lawn between buildings was full of tents, chairs and a stage. They were having a concert that evening of some sort. We went directly to special exhibition area to see the Murillo exhibition.

I was very surprised, because it was free and there was absolutely no line. The Kimbell permanent collection is always free, but you have to pay for the traveling shows. For this special weekend, the Murillo exhibition was free. It’s an amazing collection of paintings and you should see it, but few were taking the Kimball up on their offer of free.

If you’ve been to the Kimbell before, then the image above is familiar. The woman with the glasses haunts me and I enjoy speculating about her and the other three images in painting. This exhibition expanded my knowledge of the artist. His portfolio is wide, from landscapes with religious subjects to the dark portraits I identify with Spanish portraiture to whimsical paintings of everyday people.

Please go over to Fort Worth and see this beautiful collection of paintings and learn more about Murillo. He was a humanitarian and one of his goals was to sneak meaningful messages about charity and morality into his gorgeous paintings, hoping as they adorned the walls of his patron’s homes, the message would sink in. You’ll like him and you’ll enjoy his work.

Not much more to share. Sunday morning was given over to church and since it was my weekend to stand in the breezeway and greet people, I had a marvelous opportunity to enjoy the weather. Once home, Bill and I took more time outside, sitting on our swing next to the pond and having a coffee break in the sunroom. Then it was time to go pick up a new scrapbooking project from a client. I’m so excited to start working on it.

Come back Wednesday for some more travel stories from Las Vegas and perhaps another Weekend report later in the week.

ART, Attractions, Decorative Arts, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Museums, Road Trips, TRAVEL, United States

An Afternoon with Nefertari at the Kimball


Fast Forward to our Staycation. Pre-Covid I planned to spend the Holidays in sunny California enjoying a bargain I scored with Westin. During the year I had planned the trip three different ways, none of which we actually enjoyed. Then I planned a road trip around the Southeast, but rising Covid numbers nixed that, too. So I planned a Staycation. A major event during my Staycation calendar was a visit to the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth to see Queen Nefertari’s Egypt.

Yes, There Was a Pandemic Going On

A few weeks back I told you about the Flesh & Blood Exhibition we visited at the Kimbell earlier in the year. Mask were de rigueur, but otherwise life at the Kimbell was pretty much the same as always. By the time Nefertari arrived, they’d gotten a whole lot more Covid-conscious. In fact, even the audio tour had been recorded anticipating visitors would be spending more time than usual in line, so there was more intro stuff you were supposed to listen to before you entered.

Bill and I arrived for our visit on a weekday afternoon, so there wasn’t much of a line. Hence I spent my first few minutes in the exhibition trying to coordinate what I was seeing with what I was hearing, so I was audibly handicapped in the first room of the exhibit. On a later visit, shown above, I had the chance to listen to the intro bits the way they were designed to be heard.

There were little arrows on the floor to keep you going in the right direction. That didn’t suit me either. I usually listen to the audio tour as I view the art and Bill walks through occasionally reading a label as he enjoys the pieces on exhibition. Then we backtrack, him showing me what he liked and me explaining the backstory on some of the more esoteric pieces.

So, my first visit to the exhibition, I had to acclimate myself to the new rules. Don’t worry I visited several more times and was able to fully enjoy the whole thing completely, in spite of the Covid-inspired challenges.

Exhibit vs. Egypt

I’ve been to Egypt twice, enjoying most of their famous museums, including the Cairo Museum and the Alexandria Library. Those authentic experiences cannot be replaced by a trip to Fort Worth, but there are things the Kimbell does better than the Egyptians.

Perhaps the most obvious difference is the display cases. In Egypt, the case is crammed full, an overabundance of everything from mummies to faience, the lighting is often nonexistent and the cards explaining things create more questions than they answer . Americans carefully place a few items at eye level, with perfect lighting and cards that give you more information than you need, accompanied by more information on plaques on the walls and audio tours.

Now in Egypt, for a very reasonable fee you can hire a guide to tell you everything the cards and audio tours let you know, but the guides come with challenges of their own. Guides have no off button and you don’t get to select which items you prefer to focus on. They will tell you what they want to, in the order they want to and nothing you can do will slow them down, speed them up or get them to change the subject until they decide to.

American exhibits also seem to make more sense. They carefully curate what will be shown and exhibit it logically. I got tickled during my first visit to the Cairo Museum, mostly because of the randomness of it all. There was no timeline, no themes, nothing I could identify except for room after room of amazing things thrown together willy nilly. The funniest part was the frequency with which I ran into display cases chock full of beads and small figurines of servants for the afterlife. They were virtually everywhere, in every room of the museum, often lined up one after the other along the walls with nothing but signs that said “faience.” I know more now, but then it was baffling.

Queen Nefertari’s Egypt

While there absolutely were numerous items related directly to Nefertari, the title of the exhibit was Queen Nefertari’s Egypt and that was the true focus, rather than the queen herself. What was the role of women? How did religion figure into their daily lives? These were the questions answered by this exhibit. However, some of the most fun display cases were devoted to jewelry and cosmetics. A pair of sandals found in her tomb, thought to be hers, were fascinating.

However, a large part of the exhibit was devoted to Deir el-Medina, the village where all the tomb workers lived. I found it very interesting, because I had actually spent some time in the village on my visit to the Valley of the Kings. A picture on the wall of the exhibit was the same as I have in my scrapbook. I love when I have those moments. Watching a travel show and saying, “We’ve been there,” is a blast.

In the exhibit, they expounded on the religious practices of the citizens of Deir el-Medina, but they missed out on what I thought was the most interesting. These workers, who spent most of their lives preparing an eternal resting place for royalty, spent their days off preparing their own tombs. The walls of the royal tombs were focused on the Book of the Dead, formulas and passages to send the kings and queens to live among the gods. For their own tombs, the workers carved and painted beautiful scenes from everyday life – a table burdened down with foods they loved to eat, rather than ritualistic meals to please the gods; natural wildlife scenes, rather than records of the victories they’d won and the slaves they’d captured. I thought the workers had the better idea of what to commemorate.

It was a marvelous exhibit and I am so proud of the Metroplex for hosting Queen Nefertari, but I wish it had been the DMA. Then next week we’ll ride a Cinderella Carriage through Highland Park. Yep, I ticked that one of my bucket list, too.

ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Museums, Road Trips, TRAVEL, United States

Kicking the Pandemic at The Kimbell

TRAVEL HERE – Flesh & Blood at the Kimbell Museum

I may be a Dallasite, but my heart belongs to the Kimbell Museum in Ft. Worth. I love the Dallas Museum of Art, too, but not in the same way. The DMA tends to cater to a more modern taste than mine. I almost grew up among the items in its permanent collection, so they are dear to my heart and frequently visited, but too often I look at what’s on special exhibition there, shrug my shoulders and head to Ft. Worth. There are notable exceptions in my recent memory, Dior, Tut, and Jean Paul Gaultier, for instance, but during the pandemic the exhibits were definitely not on my must see list.

Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum

They had me at Italian Masterpieces! I got goose bumps at the idea of Capodimonte! That’s the kind of art I’ll drive to Ft. Worth for.

I made a couple of visits. One was with Bill and to say he was under-impressed would be an understatement. I was surprised, because most of it was nudes, he’s a guy…you know the drill. But, he went through the gallery at lightening speed. Usually, after we’ve both seen everything at our own speed, he’s eager to walk back through with me and point out his favorites. He was ready to go. I didn’t get that at all. Look at these gorgeous things!

I adored the painting of the woman and spent a lot of time trying to figure out exactly how the outfit she was wearing worked in real life. The boy lighting the flame was very sweet. All the painting were glorious – but not according to my husband.

Bestie and I Return

Well, once was not enough for me, so I returned with my bestie. The show was supposed to be over in June, but due to the pandemic it stayed a little longer and we went in July. She was as gaga as I was over the gorgeous works of art. We lingered and strolled and lingered some more.

We also had a good laugh. To spice up the experience, they had costumed volunteers strolling the galleries. It was supposed to give you the feeling of being in a gallery when theses masterpieces were new. Somehow the pandemic masks killed it for me.

Sorry the photo is a little tilted and fuzzy, I was doing the best I could, but I was trying to be a little discreet about shooting it with my phone. So what next. Well, there were weddings, neighborhood parties, grocery store contests, restaurant visits and other distractions, but it was all social distanced and masked, so I wasn’t having the time of my life. Finally, there was the Staycation. Come back next week and I will tell you about that.