Saturday, August 09, 2008
Son of Travelogue
Cambridge, Massachusetts - Keith Olbermann is seen looking down at the street while preparing to go on air on Monday evening from the NBC studios at 10 Rockefeller Plaza in New York. Since we watch his show regularly, we're familiar with the background view, so we knew where to look for him and decided to wave at him when he came into view. Maybe he thought it strange, but considering his ratings maybe he'll have to get used to it.
I personally think it's pretty cool that Olbermann wears jeans when he does his show. I'm now trying to imagine Bill O'Reilly in yellow plaid bermuda shorts, with something from Victoria's Secret underneath. That would fit.
Evan wanted to see this memorial to the late Clash guitarist Joe Strummer, located in the East Village near Tompkins Square Park. The music and politics of this pioneering band appear to have struck a chord with many of the current teenage generation. It's kind of appropriate that this tribute exist in what is largely considered the birthplace of punk rock in the US.
This is in Chinatown, just south of Canal Street. The first thing that came to my mind upon seeing this was "Tonight's Special - Shamu on a Stick".
One thing that stuck out with me upon arriving in Times Square was a lengthy ad on one the big electronic displays urging viewers not to buy counterfeit goods. After wondering how the folks at the Sea World theme parks would feel about this restaurant, Evan and I walked about 6 blocks on Canal Street, through more fake Rolexes, perfume, and designer sunglasses than I thought possible in one place.
Upon crossing an intersection, an older Chinese woman, standing at the corner with a nondescript white shopping bag, asked in a near whisper as we passed by, "DVD Movie?", and let one side of the shopping bag flop open. Evan told me that there were what appeared to be several bootleg copies of The Dark Knight inside. Further down the block was a contingent of NYPD officers observing the marketplace, but not doing anything that I would consider a proactive attempt to stop illegal activity. Probably more of a show of force, emphasis on show.
Seeing this up close for the first time brought home the point that our government, in conjunction with other nations, sees counterfeiting as a significant threat. They see it as such a threat that they are willing to compromise personal privacy and the security of personal information, by assuming everyone crossing a border is engaged in piracy until proven otherwise.
Granted that there are legitimate concerns about such counterfeit goods as medications and electrical components, but these types of things would not require the intrusion and/or confiscation of the personal electronic devices of ordinary citizens, or other searches or seizures which would otherwise be considered unreasonable.
To conclude on an uplifting note, we concluded our visit to New York with a first visit to a Frank Lloyd Wright building, and it did not disappoint. I've read extensively about the Guggenheim Museum, but the experience of being inside validated everything I had read and then some.
The continuous ramp, when combined with the art on display (in this case the exquisite multi-media art of Louise Bourgeois), resulted in a disorientation toward everything except the art on display. The ramp seemed to go on endlessly until it did in fact end.
My familiarity with the struggles of Wright and others to get this building built, combined with the nearly surreal quality of viewing great art in a great space, makes me feel as if I can understand
Wright's vision for serving the needs of the art and the space to display it.
We start back west tomorrow. Hopefully there will be as many obscure and interesting things on the way back as there were headed this way.
Best wishes for a safe and happy weekend.
destination360.com (Guggenheim facade)
Ed O'Keeffe (Guggenheim ceiling)