Friday, September 19, 2008

Agamemnon at the Getty Villa

I was looking forward to last evening. Right after my research group meeting I made my way to the corner of Pardee Way and Exposition Blvd on the USC campus. Why was I walking toward the - dare I say - business part the campus? The Visions and Voices folks had set up shop there for students to collect tickets, have dinner, listen to a lecture on Greek theater [tragic] and then board a shuttle that would take us to the Getty Villa where we would sit under a starry night and be transported to ancient Greece.

Even though I live so close to the Getty Villa, I had not visited it until last night. It took us only forty-five minutes to get to the Villa. By the time we got there it was almost ten-to-seven. The evening air from the Pacific was cool and I felt as if I had been transported to ancient Rome. The Villa was modeled after an actual Roman one that was buried during the Mt. Vesuvius eruption. We were allowed to wander around the Villa before the start of the play and so I visited the museum for a while. The Getty Villa has an impressive collection of Greek and Roman artifacts. Unfortunately I had only forty-five minutes to check them out. I must go there again, just for the museum.

The amphitheater was doused in subdued lighting which was perfect because we could actually see a starry sky. We were surrounded by the Malibu hills and the mood was very festive and positive. Incidentally, I saw Laura Linney roaming around with her fiance and longtime boyfriend Eric Schauer, both of whom later joined the audience. I recently saw her in "The Squid and the Whale" and her performance was excellent.

Agamemnon was played by Delroy Lindo, while Tyne Daly played Agamemnon's wife Clytaemnestra. Each and everyone gave a strong performance. But I was shaken and stirred by Francesca Faridany's performance of Cassandra which was riveting and I was so completely drawn in, that it jolted and carried my mind to new heights. I was absolutely ecstatic and full of goosebumps on my arms and my spine. The play was written by Aeschylus who lived in Greece between 525 B.C. and 456 B.C. After more than a thousand years, it is still being performed and some of the values that the play touches upon are true to this day. I wonder if he ever realized while he was writing the play that he would be forever immortalized and one day become as famous and as well-known as the gods of his time.

The play ends this month and all the performances are sold-out! I thank the USC Visions and Voices initiative that allowed me to be part of something truly wonderful and awe-inspiring.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Categorically Not - Bubbles

The monthly installment of Categorically Not is back for this season with three bubblicious talks at the Santa Monica Art Studios tonight starting at 6:30 pm. You can read more about it here:

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ted Vasin's Art @ Tarryn Teresa Gallery - Bergamot Station

Here I was sitting at home on a Saturday evening when I called my dear friend Matthew who reminded of Bergamot Station's monthly art opening. He invited me to the Tarryn Teresa gallery. Unfortunately I showed up a bit late and missed out on some apparently good music, which I believe was a mix of electronica/techno/industrial beats. The music was part of the art installation and was intended to complement the latter and I think it did that quite beautifully. As I entered the gallery, my visual senses were blown away by seeing Ted Vasin's art. He has this inane ability to evoke other-worldly moods through his abstractions. The colors are very pop-artsy. The abstract landscape in the various pieces reminded me of vistas on some deserted and dilapidated alien planet, in fact something out of the Sigourney Weaver movie "Aliens" - but more colorful. Somebody pointed to me that the paintings resembled a kid's "paint-by-numbers" color book. I enjoyed watching and absorbing the way he chops up the space on the canvas. It is as if a samurai warrior scathed a line and asymmetrically divied up the white space. You can see colorful gashes, alienesque vertebrae and I for one recognized a face that resembled one of the characters from the early nineties hit cartoon TV series, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." My friend Matthew pointed out how the various flexible lines in the paintings resembled the wires wrapped around the synthesizers that were pumping out the electronica beats. I visited some other galleries as well and I liked couple of them.

When I was on my way out, I fortunately walked into Ethan Murrow's art installation and saw his work. I was absolutely shocked, and astounded. The simplicity of his art from a distance is breathtaking. The entire media is just graphite and paper! That's IT! His pieces are big, and they remind one of posters from the nineteenth century. However, when you go closer you can see that Ethan has a huge skill-set when it comes to shading and using light. His strokes are brilliant and his variation is infinite. There was a piece entitled, "The Allure is undeniable," that depicted a man waist-deep in water in a pond/lake. He brings out the ripples of the water quite remarkably. Now here's an artist who has spent hours thinking about water-ripples. In fact, he later told me that this was the hardest thing he had to do in all of his pieces. It took him anywhere from six to eight weeks to finish a single piece. Healso pointed out how doing art can be like any other job where one has to find the discipline to come into the studio on time and do one's work. He also told me how he used pure graphite pencils from 4H all the way to 9B. I love sketching and using charcoal, but compared to him, I am just a toddler. I did, however, get some good ideas.

It was quite the night. Gorgeous people, some good art, and beautiful California weather! Tarryn Teresa was a great hostess as usual and so were her friends, in particular Sterling. If you are bored at home, or watching too much TV, and live on the west-side, I suggest hopping over to the Tarryn Teresa gallery and checking out the art. It is good for the soul. :)