TRAVEL THERE: NOT DOING UNTO OTHERS AS I WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO ME
Naples is a lovely city. A traditional bus tour of the city with various stops would be a lovely way to spend the day. However, besides just being a lovely city, Naples is the gateway city for so may lovely attraction. Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, Positano, the Isle of Capri! How does one choose which Celebrity Shore Excursion to enjoy?
What I Wanted
If I had done exactly as I wanted to, I would have hired a private guide and spent the day taking in Pompeii and Herculaneum. It would be hot, it would have been crowded and I would have been walking all day long. I would have also been in heaven.
Two cities from ancient history preserved for posterity by an extraordinary volcanic eruption, lovingly researched and restored over centuries. If I had to choose between the two cities, I would have opted for Herculeneum. Pompeii is the most famous, an entire city frozen in time, but Herculaneum had been a sort of ancient Riviera-type playground for the rich and famous. The frescoes and tile floors were supposed to be out of this world.
What I Considered
I’m not crazy. I know if you drag a bunch of people around to a bunch of places they don’t care about and wear them out at the first port of call, you are not going to be the most popular person on a cruise. I needed something a little more engaging to transition my group into the swing of things.
What I really needed was a sort of overview of the whole thing. I checked into the cost of a personal guide for the day, but in order to have sufficient space in the vehicle for all six of us, along with a driver and/or guide, was prohibitive.
What I Booked
Hoping to kick things off with a bang, I decided on something that didn’t have a very exciting title, but promised a wide variety of activities – sort a something for everyone smorgasbord. Capri, Sorrento, Pompeii didn’t grab me right off, but then I read on – jet foil to Capri, funicular ride, lunch in Florence and guided tour of Pompeii! First day planned.
This is where the booking problem came in. I told you several blogs back that when I first looked at shore excursions, they were one price, but had gone up significantly a month later. I was new to Celebrity as a cruiser, so I had not antisciapted the shore excursion sale, but the Bagley’s had cruised with them many times. They let me know when the next promotion came along – 20% off all shore excursions. It was booking day.
Booking day lasted all day and into the next as I tried to guide everyone onto the same excursion at the same time. In the end, we were all going to the same excursion, but Jim and Melanie had been forced into another time for it. Not an auspicious way to start, but the hunt was on.
Frustrations be damned, we were booking excursions. Come back next week and let’s explore the opportunities in Florence.
I rarely get the vacation I dream up in my head. That’s disappointing, because I have such a lovely time up there in my own gray matter, but I usually enjoy what I end up with. Here’s how the planning for Rome went.
When in Rome or Not
When you sail out of Rome, the port is actually Civitavecchia and it’s not exactly convenient. It’s not all that far away from the airport, but it’s in the opposite direction from the city of Rome from the airport. Initially, I had hoped we’d stay in Rome for a few days before the trip. I planned and planned and re-planned it with the help of Sandra Rubio at CTC Travel. We worked out a pretty nice itinerary for and outstanding price, but it was still outside the budget of time and of money.
So, I thought the second best option would be a combo of airport transfer with a bit of sightseeing, but it was dicey. You had to factor in the bus trip from the airport to the city and then from the city to the boat. After all that was taken in consideration, we would have only have a few hours to see one of the most important cities in the world. I told myself something was better than nothing, purchased the transfer/excursion package and started investigating what we would see.
They took a whole lot more words to do it, but basically it was a loop around the Colosseum in the bus with a short photo opportunity and then a short stop at the Vatican. We would have had to stroll several blocks to and from the bus at the Vatican, so at best, we’d barely have time to gawk at St. Peter’s Square and get back to the bus.
Still, the buildings right around the Square have some pretty amazing stuff. The church holding the Pieta fronts on the Square and the Sistine Chapel is not far away. Only this is the Vatican. As soon as they open, huge lines form and you wait hours to get your few moments of grandeur.
I did more research. There were skip-the-lines tickets you could buy. Not exactly cheap, but not out of the realm of possibility either. What put them out of my reach is that they are timed tickets and no one anywhere could tell me what time I would be at the Vatican. Easy to read in the publications about the shore excursions was the notice that they reserved the right to switch the order of the tour based on crowds.
I was trying to make it all work in my head. I applied my favorite travel mantra – ‘seeing something is better than ‘seeing nothing,’ but I came to realize I was fooling myself. I would arrive exhausted from extensive air travel and board a bus. I’d gaze at some of the most famous architecture in the world and not even be able to get a decent picture of it. Worst of all, I’d be mere feet away from the Pieta and not even get a glimpse.
Then I thought about arriving at the boat in the afternoon – exhausted even further by the sightseeing and fighting all the last minute crowds every embarkation entails when you board at the end of the day. We’d miss the Concierge Embarkation Luncheon for sure and I’d miss out on the only opportunity I would have to unpack. Once I envisioned living out of our suitcases the whole trip, the uber-quick visit to the Vatican didn’t sound quite so good.
So, I cancelled the transfer/excursion and opted for the transfer only package. I’d see Rome someday, but it wouldn’t be on this trip. Come back next week and we’ll discuss a few more shore excursions.
From the day we decided to go on this cruise and have a vow renewal ceremony, the thing my friend Deb seemed the most excited about was shopping for my gown. That’s not that big of a surprise. We love shopping and we don’t even need a reason to do it, but this was somewhat of an occasion.
Setting My Expectations
While Bill thought I should probably wear a lace sundress I’ve had in my closet for several years, Deb and I were determined I would have a proper gown for the big day. She started asking early on what I wanted and I actually had no idea. I did run on to several photos that had a sort of flapper feel to them that I liked.
I’d done the big , heavily-beaded satin gown with long sleeves the first time around. I was looking for something more simple, more mature and perhaps a little sexier. What I didn’t want was strapless, with a sweetheart neckline. I’d seen one too many of those on Say Yes to the Dress.
During our discussions about this singular article of clothing, Deb warned me that I’d need to spend about $5000. I knew that wasn’t happening. My original wedding dress had been a sample I found at a consignment store and it had only cost me a few hundred dollars. I’d seen it elsewhere for several thousand, but that’s not what I’d paid for it. I didn’t see why the renewal gown should cost more than the wedding gown – even with inflation.
The top dollar I had in my mind was $500 and it would have had to be some kind of gown for me to pay that much, but that was my ceiling. Deb thought I was in for an education.
The first place we visited on a slightly dreary February day was David’s Bridal. I actually didn’t see anything I wanted to try on in the regular stock. Over on the clearance rack I found two likely suspects. One I adored and I adored the price tag even more, but I wasn’t going to end our shopping fun quite so quickly. If it was meant to be, then it would be there when I came back to get it.
We spent the day going all over the place, but I actually only found one other gown that even competed with that downright bargain I’d seen at David’s Bridal. We went to special occasion dress stores, bridal salons, a designer outlet, consignment stores and even a few department stores, but nada. With the field narrowed down it was time for Bill’s input. People are aghast that I have no problem allowing him to see the dress. He picked out the first one and it worked out OK, so why wouldn’t he do the same for the vow renewal.
The David Bridal dress would be best described as old Hollywood. Halter styled in ivory chiffon with a great big bow at the neckline – you’ve seen Marilyn Monroe in dresses like it. I found the other dress at Terry Costa and it was more Aubrey Hepburn than Marilyn Monroe. Demure, with a high-neck, lace bodice and chiffon skirt, it was in white. I couldn’t lose.
In neither of my stores was I going to get the Kleinfield’s treatment. Bill and I visited David’s first. He had the requisite tears, but he wanted to see the other dress, too. There was no comparison. He couldn’t wait to get back to David’s.
Remember my $500 budget? Well subtract $375 from that, because when I’m telling you I got a bargain, I mean it. What? You want to see it? Well, just because I let the groom see it doesn’t mean you get a peek at it before the big day. Come back next week and we’ll talk about shore excursions.
“Better to have no taste at all than to be limited by good or bad taste.” That’s what the exhibition guide claims John Galliano rebutted when some criticized his outrageousness. I can’t say I agree with him. I kept looking for a good excuse for his (ahem) designs. I’m still looking, but let’s jump in, shall we!
Bill was so turned off by the later Creative Directors that he didn’t take a single photo, but the central gallery, which he did photograph is full of designs by all of them. Any of the dresses in the above picture that you think looks like a costume, are probably Galliano designs. Somehow, Galliano ruled Dior for fourteen outrageous years.
Galliano wasn’t thinking of ladies taking tea with the queen or attending a ball when he was designing. I think he was only thinking of his own fame. He mixed odd materials like raffia, straw, woven horsehair, metal and such with velvet, crepe de chine and taffeta. He used wooden joined hands for hats. One year his inspiration was drawn from Masai tribesmen and he didn’t wander too far out of the jungle.
He was being an artist, certainly, but not really designing dresses a woman would be interested in wearing to an important occasion. In fact, I’d probably be willing to pay you something not to have to wear one of his creations – unless it was Halloween. Then they’d be perfect.
While I certainly wouldn’t pay the fantastic prices you’d have to pay to wear a dress designed by Mr. Simons, I also wouldn’t pay you not to have to show up in public with his stuff on. The exhibition guide calls him a shape shifter and many of his designs do shift the shape of the wearers away from anything that looks like a human woman. At least they don’t look like Halloween costumes. Instead they look like something from Star Trek or Star Wars. He experimented a lot with the technology of fabric, weaving, dyes and the mechanics of clothing. To me, that’s more interesting than just being outright weird, like Galliano.
His time at Dior followed directly after the reign of Galliano, who left “amid controversy.” I bet that’s being very tactful about it. I imagine Mr. Simons proved to be a sort of buffer between the ridiculous and the sublime. His time at the house only lasted three years, but at least there was still house for him to leave and I’m not sure there would have been if Galliano had stayed.
The Breaking of the Glass Ceiling
Finally, in 2016, a woman came to the helm of Dior – Maria Grazia Chiuri. About time, I’d say, but her description of a Dior woman is a little confusing to me – “desirable, fragile, but sure of herself, with real inner strength.” Is it possible to be all those things at the same time? Her clothes seem to borrow a little from the outrageousness of Galliano – raffia, horsehair and metal, for instance – but they are not so cartoonish. Still not my style mind you (or my price range), but interesting.
To a certain extent she suffered from being at the end of the line. I was reeling from Galliano and still trying to understand Simons when I wandered over to her era. Her clothes are modern to be sure and I’m not all that modern. Perhaps when I return to the exhibit I’ll have more mental energy to process her designs.
And that finishes my review of Dior’s Creative directors. The exhibit is fabulous. While I wouldn’t wear Galliano’s clothes, they must be seen to be believed. When you see all of the dresses, but in context of time, even the worst ones begin to make a little sense, but even if they didn’t, the gorgeous stuff is worth a visit. Come back next week and see what I get up to.
When Yves Saint Laurent took up the reins of Dior from Dior, management was concerned. After all, YSL was only in his early twenties. Can you blame them? At first, everything was OK.
Trapeze to Trouble
The black dress and the floral print dress on the left were parts of Saint Laurent’s first collection on his own, called Trapeze. The exhibition guide talks about “trapezoidal” silhouettes and the “free spirit of the Sixties”, even though it was only 1958. It was a success, but but the success was short lived. In 1960 Saint Laurent called his collection “Beatnik.” Talk about the Sixties, leather jackets with mink trim! One short velvet evening dress featured bobble fringe trim. Gorgeous had almost left the building, but I think this black number with the swag of pearls might be worth its weight in silk crepe.
Yves was ushered out the door, but one wonders if the success of his own fashion house made the management of Dior regret running him off. When Yves left, they promoted Marc Bohan out of the London branch. His classical training returned the house and its clientele back to the safety of traditional haute couture without resorting to boredom. He borrowed from Russian tzars and the traditional Chinese cheongsam, keeping everyone happy for close to thirty years. Some of it is a little too Eighties for me, but I’d wear others.
Haute couture was being replaced by ready-to-wear around the world. Many of the French fashion houses had disappeared and others sold out to mass marketing. Dior remained. Enter an Italian, Gianfranco Ferre’. After Bohan’s freewheeling style references, structured suits and wafting evening gowns, Ferre’ took the house back to classicism. The exhibition guide gives him credit for everything from Baroque architecture to Impressionists, even Cubists and Surrealism.
To my untrained eye, he seemed to embody both the best of Dior himself and his successor, Saint Laurent. The simple column of the empire-waisted dress a la Josephine, which was named Palladio, spoke to me, but I think my bestie liked Glory, the black velvet number encrusted in gold, even better.
One thing I noticed about the Ferre’ dresses is that a goodly number of them had a lot of stuff on them. Like the stripped gown on the front row. I loved most of it, but then the bodice looked like someone’s granddaughter had come to work one day and glued a little of everything onto it. Same thing with the polka dot dress in the back. Just too much stuff.
And speaking of too much. How about that gray suit with puff sleeves and the really big bow. Sure, it’s too much but I love it anyway. I would hang it in my closet next to Dior’s houndstooth suit with the more conservative black bow.
Mr. Ferre’s designs finish out the first gallery of Creative Directors. Come back next week and we’ll look at three of the later directors. Meanwhile, enjoy the fashions.
Now that we’ve browsed through the entire Dior exhibit together, let’s go back and take a closer look at some of what is called fashion. I say that because to me, clothes should be designed to wear. They should look good and make me look good when I wear them. I can’t say that all the fashions in this exhibit would compliment the wearer.
Fashion and the Decorative Arts
I’ve said it before, the Decorative Arts are my favorite part of any museum. Paintings and sculpture are nice, but what I love most are practical items made sublime by their decoration. A Meissen vase can completely captivate me. My favorite museum ever was the Silver Collection at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. Such a bland name for such an extraordinary place.
Many dresses in the Dior exhibition are certainly sublime. Would that my closet had such delights! Take the black and white number with the coolie-style straw hat above. Anybody with about an ounce of clothes sense would tell you it’s not in vogue. Fully pleated wool skirts and jackets with peplums are just not the thing. I don’t care. I’d wear that anytime. Not to a baseball game, of course, but give me an excuse to dress up and I’d put that number on. And in vogue or not, ooohs and aaahs would follow me wherever I went. The black taffeta, off-the-shoulder number next to it is pretty wonderful also.
However, I didn’t feel that way about everything I saw. As time marched on the dresses were less decorative and more arty. The show is partly chronological, but then it explodes into a kaleidoscope of eras. Dresses designed to grace the form of post-WWII damselles stand next to fashions better suiting an ancient Egyptian priestess or a Zulu warrior princess. Some of the outfits didn’t look like they would grace anyone or anything. When I put on an outfit, I don’t want people to say, “My, that’s an interesting outfit.” I want them to say, “Wow, you look great!”
To see the most egregious examples of these interesting outfits, you’ll have to go to the exhibition yourself. The photos I’m using in these posts were taken by Bill during my first visit. He’s as drawn to gorgeous as I am, so he didn’t waste his focus on interesting, much. During my second visit I was so busy trying to match the various dresses to their description in the exhibition guide that I failed to get a single picture.
In the chronological part of the show, the focus is on the various directors of the House of Dior. First, of course was Christian Dior, himself. The suit on the far right with the big black bow? I want it so bad I can taste it. It’s name is Adventure.
I didn’t love everything he did as well as that one piece, but it’s probably safe to say I love everything he designed better than anything anyone else did. For instance, the black double breasted belted jacket next to MY ensemble is entirely too bulky for my frame. I’d look like someone’s living room drapes which have decided to take a walk.
Bill only took one more picture in this section of the exhibit, a lovely gala gown from 1950 called Oceanie with an ‘ over the e. The amaranth red tulle dress is embroidered with sequins and beads, so I have no idea what that has to do with the ocean.
In fact, many of the names assigned to the ensembles had little to do with the ensemble it is assigned to. Some of the directors labeled everything as a “Look” and assigned it a number. I found that as disappointing as a red dress with a blue name.
There’s more to the exhibit, of course, but let’s put Mr. Saint Laurent off until next week.
I have a very pleasant difficulty. I’ve had so many wonderful vacations that “the trip of a lifetime” barely has any meaning for me. Each has been a “trip of a lifetime” in one way or another. It began with my mom. That lady knew how to plan a vacation. I will never forget the American Heritage tour we took that included Washington D.C., Monticello, Mount Vernon, Williamsburg and Lincoln landmarks. Before I met Bill I had a remarkable trip to England, a visit to Paris and a wonderful tour of Bavaria. Since Bill came along we have had one memorable trip after another, both in the United States and abroad. Hawaii? Yes! Caribbean? Yes! Europe? Yes! I never thought I’d see the Pyramids and now I have been twice. So what were we supposed to do to mark a special milestone?
An Anniversary Cruise?
Letting go of the backyard vow renewal ceremony, surrounded by friends and family and solemnized by my pastor, was tough, but it wasn’t just my anniversary, it was Bill’s too. So I started recreating my vision. Exchanging the Phoenician for a Back East ramble and my two decade diamond for a pond-side home had both been good decisions. Third time is the charm, right?
Bill and I daydreamed about the possibilities on our patio as summer became fall. We’d always wanted to cruise the Mediterranean, but the cost had always scared us away. We began to understand this splurge was the perfect choice for our Anniversary Cruise, but the Mediterranean is a big place. What ports of call, what cruise line and which ship would we chose. We had time, but it was a big decision.
As the year rolled to an end, I realized my favorite travel agency would be having their annual travel show in January. Since one of the important things about this cruise would be the people who went with us, I spent several days sending out emails to all my friends and family explaining what we were planning, hoping they’d join us on the adventure. Unfortunately, we were in no position to treat our friends and family to this cruise, so not only would they have to find the time to join us, they’d also need to find the funds. Our responses ranged from, “Gee, we appreciate you thinking of us, but no,” to “Try and stop me from coming.” In the middle were a whole lot of maybes. There were also many, many unanswered emails. Welcome to the Third Millennial!
Days of Discovery
On a bright January day, bestie, hubby and I took in CTC’s annual travel show. I got several bags full of dreams, but my husband only saw one ship. I did my due diligence, unaware that Bill had already decided what we were going to do. At that point, he didn’t realize it either.
I was torn between two choices. I’d always dreamed of enjoying the luxury of an all suite ship, but since our Danube Waltz adventure on the Viking Tor, I’d been craving one of their ocean cruises. Bill suggested I take a look at the new ship Celebrity was building, the Edge, and he was also interested in a Sailing Yacht Cruise. I spent a long afternoon in Sandra Rubio’s office as she explored the various choices we were considering. Then I spent days comparing the prices of the various cruises with the experiences we’d enjoy.
A few things were clear. Te price of the all-suite luxury cruises would prohibit most of the other people from joining us. The Sailing Yachts would offer us an amazing ceremony, but the ship we were most interested in would be getting an overhaul in 2019. Taking the Viking cruise would mean no possibility of my grandnieces and nephews joining us. The Edge was interesting and would accommodate the kids, but it was at the bottom of my list.
I’ve already let the cat out of the bag, Bill’s choice won the day – but did he choose the Yacht experience or the Edge? Come back next week! I’ll spill the beans!
Just when I thought Dior From Paris to the World was the best fashion exhibit the DMA had ever had, I found out it wasn’t even over yet. Certainly the gallery with all the celebrity gowns had to be the climax and end of the exhibit, but no, there was more gorgeous to enjoy! Come along and I’ll share the rest of the goodies.
Pretty in Pink
My bestie teases me about my OCD tendencies when we are visiting exhibitions, bazaars and galleries. I’m very systematic about it, because I don’t want to miss anything. As alluring as this confection of evening wear will be as you exit the big central gallery with the celebrity dresses, I recommend detouring to the left as soon as you enter this gallery. Two treats wait for you there. One is called “Lengendary Photographs” and for my husband the photographer, it was one of his favorite parts of the entire exhibit. For me, it was the area called “Total Looks” that deserved all the attention.
Pictures are not allowed in this gallery, so you will have to use your imagination, but there is a semicircle of vignettes displayed. Each vignette is based on a color and is decked out with everything imaginable in that color. You could easily lose yourself for an hour trying to comprehend the items in each vignette. There is no one season or look that is focused on, so the timeless nature of Dior’s designs and their versatility is well-demonstrated. Perfume bottle is juxtaposed with a pillbox hat sporting an outrageous hat pin. Shoes, jewelry, handbags, dresses, capes – literally, you name it, is served up in delicious coordinating hues. It’s truly mind-boggling!
Eventually you will have to shake off your obsession with “Total Looks” and see the next gallery. There’s a section here called “Dallas and Beyond” which highlights memorabilia from Dior’s visits to Dallas and elsewhere. If you have room in your brain to take in more, then this is a good place to soak up some more information about the designer himself. I confess, I’ve merely glazed over it so far. I hope to go back soon and have another stab at details like this. All the galleries have displays full of idea books, videos of fashion shows, swatches of material and other items I really want to know more about, but the brain can only absorb so much at any one time.
Finally, with a guilt-free conscious you can gaze on “Splendors of the 18th Century.” According to the Exhibition Guide, Christian Dior wanted to bring flamboyance back to Paris after the dark days of World War II. His fashion house was decked out in all the glory of Versailles and the pink confection at the beginning of this post is the DMA’s attempt to capture that. It was also a chance to show off one of the DMA’s most gorgeous paintings – The Abduction of Europa by Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre.
The Final Morsel
You’re almost through, as if anyone actually wanted to be. Beside the “Splendors” display is the entry to “Field of Flowers.” This gallery is devoted to all looks floral – a floral dress for every occasion. Samples from all eras of the fashion house are displayed together. Some you will love. Others you will wonder why they bothered. I was particularly impressed with some of the handiwork. When you realized that every bead and ruffle is applied by hand, some of the dresses will blow you away.
I’m planning to revisit the exhibit as often as I can between now and September 1st. So far, hunger is what eventually dragged me out of the exhibit. Maybe next time I’ll eat BEFORE I go, rather than take a turn at the exhibit first. In fact, if you’re panning your visit, eat first. You’ll need your nourishment.
It’s taken three posts just to get you from the entry to the final gallery. To exit you’ll have to make another dash through the fashion show themed hall ways. Then you’ll find yourself on the other side of the small entry area with its red lights and samples of Dior’s Revolutionary new look. If you come back next week, we’ll talk about some of my favorite and not so favorite pieces in the exhibit.
While the rest of the world gets rich and famous with social media, I blog on in anonymity – at least for the most part. I’m famous among my real life friends and on Facebook among my followers, but beyond that it does me little good. However, anyone driven to write, the way I am, needs a place to express themselves, so I blog on. However, from time to time my blogging does get me a few perks. That happened last week.
Dallas Art Fair
If you’ve been paying attention, then you know this is my third post about 2019’s Dallas Art Fair. If not, some details about the main event are here and I also attended an introductory event I described on Monday. Last Thursday morning I reported to the FIG (Fashion Industry Gallery) for the Opening Press Conference. There among other media types, I perused the event’s art offerings and listened to a series of speeches by the designated dignitaries.
One of my favorite parts of the day was wandering around the space with a tag identifying me as “MEDIA.” My thoughts about the media are not always congratulatory, but it’s nice when a lowly blogger like me can be of service.
It meant skipping an MLS meeting, but I felt that was a small price to pay to attend the event as media. Deciding what to wear was a bit of a challenge. I’d been disappointed in my fellow females’ fashion choices the evening before, but encouraged by the men’s sartorial offerings, I pulled out a recent purchase, a long blouse from one of my favorite designers, to pair with leggings and some lacy wedge sandals.
My next challenge was making my way from my almost-rural home in Heath through the morning traffic to Downtown Dallas. That went better than I anticipated, but my hope of parking in the DMA parking lot was dashed. They don’t allow public parking until 10. I parked in the First Baptist lot, so all I had to do was cross the street to The Fashion Industry Gallery at 1807 Ross Avenue.
I was not completely ignorant of the FIG’s existence and I knew it was in close proximity to the DMA, I just had no idea it was right there, nestled between the DMA and the Fairmont. The most prominent feature on the building where I crossed the street was a restaurant. My first guess at a possible entry was a false lead, but I saw someone who looked like they knew where they were going, so I followed. Voila, I had arrived.
I have a sneaky feeling that anyone with chutzpah and a knowledge of the event could have gotten a media pass. I saw them selling tickets at one kiosk, so I went up to the next one, where the lady asked, “Media?” I said, “Jane Sadek, local blogger.” She handed me my anonymous media pass, but it was the key to a weekend of art, so I was glad to get it – in spite of the casual offering underlining I was certainly no VIP.
Inside the Galleries
Then came the pay off for missing the meeting, fighting the traffic and searching out a parking spot – I was in. I had about a half hour before the press conference would begin, so I wandered through the galleries. I’m never sure what to expect from Contemporary Art, but I was happy to discover most of what was exhibited was at least interesting. I found a little of everything, from robots to hand woven rugs. I also found craftsmanship. These weren’t just ideas thrown together for their shock factor. These were works of love, executed with skill and attention to detail. To me, that’s art.
Satisfied the exhibit was worth part of my weekend, I planned to return with fellow art lovers in tow. It was time to make my way to the press conference – which, by the way, was 10 minutes late. Someone had overlooked tagging the first piece of art in the gallery which would provide the backdrop behind the podium.
As I surveyed the room I realized the female sector of the population had resumed their domination of the fashion scene, in contrast to the previous evening’s disappointing turn out. Now, the guys were back to boring and the women were strutting their stuff. I giggled a bit to myself over the “Dallas in Spring” vibe. One woman in a fringed-wool, hounds-tooth micro-miniskirt, paired with turtleneck sweater, teetered over high rise booties. She chatted up a friend in a frilly sundresses over suede boots. A pair of Asian women, speaking a language I didn’t recognize, wore voluminous layers I couldn’t quite identify above comfortable walking shoes. Then the denim skirt with the shell anklet over Adidas joined them. I couldn’t resit taking a few pictures to respond to the rod iron shoes I’d seen in a gallery on the floor above.
A series of dignitaries made speeches at the podium, that’s when I learned I’d seen something cooler than I even realized the evening before. The whole thing is dedicated to the idea of pop-ups and a permanent home for the Dallas Art Fair. With that kind of synergy, I bet it will be a very interesting spot, so put River Bend on you list of things to check out.
On the evening before, I’d wondered about the significance of choosing 214 as the name of a gallery. It certainly wasn’t the suite number. Like the characters in The Purloined Letter, I’d overlooked the obvious – it’s the Dallas area code. Apparently in international art circles it is a familiar number, one to be proud of. That cheered me.
Then I was momentarily taken back to my previous disappointment with idea-over-craft art. As they announced the pieces which the DMA would purchase from the Fair, among the others was an odd, idea-driven installation which I’d seen at 214. To me it looked like a room which was being set up for a presentation of some kind, but the workers weren’t finished. Instead various tripods filled the space and the walls had random video showing on the screens. I peered through the glass plates attached to the tripods, but nothing was gorgeous.
I shook off my disappointment and congratulated the artist in my head for capturing the curator’s attention. Everyone doesn’t have to like something for it to be art. Thankfully, the DMA had purse-strings long enough to wrap around other pieces and many of them were enchanting, even to me.
So, I hope you made it to the event. Thanks to the Dallas Art Fair for expanding my horizons and giving me the opportunity to share the Fair with my friends.
So, on Friday, I begged you to go to the Dallas Art Fair. I hope you did. It certainly loomed large in our weekend. However, the Fair’s Opening Press Conference was actually Chapter Two. Chapter One played out on Wednesday evening. Come along and I’ll tell you all about it.
Out of the Loop
The Dallas Art Fair just had its 11th event and somehow I was completely out of the loop for the first 10. I’ve been busy, but I thought I was paying better attention than that.
However, I love me some Dallas and I take the drive over the I-30 Bridge quite frequently, usually headed down to the Dallas Arts District. My membership in the Dallas Museum of Art has never wavered. I keep my eye out for Nasher events. So, I’m not sure how I became so disconnected with an event like the Dallas Art Fair.
Back in the Loop
While I may not be as plugged in as I used to be, as a regional blogger, some organizations do keep me in the loop. The DMA, the Perot, Preservation Dallas and the Arboretum all have me on speed dial, figuratively speaking. So, when I got an email from the Cultural Counsel inviting me to an artsy thing in the Design District, it wasn’t exactly a surprise. I checked my calendar and then invited the hubby along.
Happy on All Counts
As principals of a real estate photography company, we are always interested in new construction and new developments. We arrived at River Bend eager to find out exactly what was going on in this new addition to the Dallas Design District. At first glance it was comparable to other business/retail spaces all over the Metroplex. The invitation had mentioned “Late Night Gallery Openings, Clare Woods Book Signing, and SOLUNA Performance.” Galleries we understood, but the rest had to be discovered.
The invitation had not mentioned comestibles at all, but a happy Art Fair associate greeted us and pointed us towards the serving lines. Gladly the choices were not limited to cheese cubes and bad chardonnay. Bill tried a local brewery offering from a series of kegs (I’m dieting again, so I was going to wait for the promised mineral water) and then we headed to the buffet line. Caterers were whipping out chicken and pork street tacos, shrimp tostadas and corn-on-the-cob. I loved it all, but that probably had a lot to do with the avocado crema. Bill wasn’t as crazy about the entrees. He doesn’t do avocado and I’m guessing the other offerings were a poor substitute, but he loved the corn. I’d recommend the caterers, but I never found out who they were.
Next stop was a door with a large sign advertising Soluna, the musical portion of Dallas’s Art Month, sponsored by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. I was there to get a bottle of Topo Chico Mineral Water. The space was devoted to the evening’s audio entertainment, an “Icelandic musician” with “signature trolls”. The music wafted out of the performance space and I could tell it was a little out there for me. Bill ducked his head in and his main complaint was the overuse of volume.
Continuing down the way we visited a couple of gallery spaces. One only had a few pieces and the other seemed more actively devoted to the consumption of Modelo than the presentation of art. It was time to head back in the other direction and see what we could find.
On our way back to the center of things, we focused on the ceramic murals of the exterior walls. A book signing by the murals’ artist was part of the evening’s offerings. Bill wasn’t fond of the mosaics, but I was more pleasantly effected by the thematic river vistas. Returning past the trolls, we happened upon some more gallery space and these spaces seemed to be more serious about the art portion of the event.
Our final stop was the 214 space, which serves as a gallery and as the offices for the Dallas Art Fair. Well-fed and having consumed as much as we could understand concerning the art offerings, we headed home. The next morning, I’d learn more about what I’d been looking at.
A Few Observations
I would be the first to admit that my taste in art leans toward the figurative and peters out some time shortly after the Impressionists. I find many things to like about contemporary artists who continue the figurative and classical traditions in art, however I have not given up completely on the non-figurative and alternate genres. I’m still trying, even if I don’t find myself enchanted. So, I’m not a good person to critique the art we saw that evening.
The people watching was spectacular. I was happy to observe jeans and yoga pants were not the dominating fashion statement. In fact, the gentlemen, rather than the ladies, were setting the bar. Socks were so last century for these guys and all the pants were tight and short.
Winning the award for tightest and shortest were those who wore cuffed pedal pushers. I have no idea of the proper name for these short trousers. We ladies used to call them capri pants, back in the day. But trend-setting short pants weren’t all I noticed. The top halves of these guys were also trendy. Those with longer pants had a sort of khaki/safari vibe to them. My favorite item on the men was a white straw trilby with a florescent orange band.
The women just did not measure up. They seemed more interested in volume than style, like a pair of harem pants in a loud plaid. Other versions of comfort were apparent. The crispest female fashion icon was a sweet young thing in black leather short shorts. Her long legs were shod in high-heeled platforms with an interesting collection of straps. Her other clothing and accessories were black and gold. Her hair was a slick black bob. Kudos to her for appearing to care whether anyone looked at her or not. The rest of the women certainly didn’t indicate whether they cared one way or the other.
Wednesday, we’ll head back to Cancun, then Friday I’ll chat about the press conference. Come back to visit!