Day Twenty Three

London Travel Blog

 › entry 23 of 34 › view all entries
Entrance

Woke up early (I'm sensing a pattern here) and got some work done. Mom helped me revise my travel writing paper and I think it's pretty decent. But who knows what the professor will think. After that I did some research on Othello, looking at what other critics had to say about the production I saw. I still don't know what to write because the reviews were all over the place. One guy would say Othello was great, another would say he sucked. Not looking forward to writing this one.

On the tube this morning I was sitting across from two very interesting guys. For most of the ride I was across from a couple and their 2 year old girl. The woman just seemed normal, early 30s. The man looked like Mr. Clean. White, bald shiny head, big big big muscles.

Jacques Heim
And there he was, sitting on the train with a Baby Bjorn baby sling around his stomach entertaining his little girl by kicking her legs and hitting a piece of paper. It was so unexpected. I loved it. Mr. Tough is just a big softy.

Then when they got off another white bald man got on (Two in a row... I'm on a roll). Not as muscular or big as the other guy, but still kinda tough looking. He stuck his hand in his pocket and pulled out what looked like a tiny tube map. But it wasn't. It was a small paper accordian fan with teddy bears on it. So great.

I was taking the tube this morning/afternooon to the V+A museum. Because I saw how huge the place was last time I gave myself plenty of time to explore it all. I wound up spending over 3 hours there.

Pierre Balmain
Maybe even four. There was just so much to see. I kind of felt like I was in the home of an old lady who can't throw anything out. Just piles and piles of stuff. That's how it was, room after room after room FILLED with stuff. Except the stuff just happens to be art. Actually, a lot of it wasn't really art. In fact, most of the pieces there weren't art. They had a random array of things... textiles, furniture, trinkets, mirrors, you name it.

I think I must have a little Catholic in me because I kept feeling guilty the entire time I was at the museum. I'm a little neurotic about going to museums. When it comes to reading the paper or going to a museum if I'm going to do it, I do it all the way through. When I read the paper I read every single word of every single article.

Givenchy
I don't care if the article is intended for 65 year old diabetic Japanese men. I will read it. And with museums, I don't care if I'm not really interested in the type of art, I need to make sure I see every single room and at least glance at most of the stuff. And the way the V+A is laid out it's really hard to keep track of where you've been already. So I was literally going back and forth, back and forth, making sure I hit every spot. IAnd looking in every case in every little alcove and side room, making sure I saw it all. I'm officially insane.

So, anyway, moral of the story is I saw lots and lots and lots of art. Some of it I liked: sculptures, stained glass, Chinese art. Some other things felt pretty overwhelming. For example, this was a long hallway just filled with things made of silver.

Valentino
Silverware, vases, swords, trinkets, boxes, you name it. It became too much after a while.

And I have to say, in all honesty, after all the time I spent there I realized a lot of the stuff just wasn't my style. I think when it comes to museums I'm more of a traditionalist. I'd rather see an oil painting or a drawing than a rug. And I like my museums a little more compact because this museum was just way way too big to do in one day.

It was absolutely POURING while I was in the museum. Great, I thought to myself, the one day I plan on going to a park it's raining. But by the time I left the rain had let and it was pretty nice outside. So after the V+A closed I headed to Hyde Park, which wasn't too far away.  It was pretty amazing.

Christian Joy (made of dollar bills)
.. in NYC when it rains there are huge puddles for days and you know to avoid the parks because they're going to be a mess. But here, it downpours and two seconds later you can't even tell. The park benches were dry and there were people out and about. It was nice.

So I went to Hyde Park for a bit and started to organize my Othello notes. People watched a bit. There was a really cute 4 year old  girl running and jumping and being happy. At one point she said "Oh, dear" and it was the cutest thing ever. You would never hear an American kid so "Oh, dear." Loved it. I'm going to have to raise my kid British.

Where I was sitting in the park was across from Royal Albert Hall and I noticed a lot of people outside/going indoors.

Zac Posen
NYU had tickets for the BBC prom tonight (which was why I was in South Kensington in the first place) but they said to meet at 7:00, meaning the show started at 7:30. And it was only 6:00 at the time. So I was a little confused, why are all these people so early? I journeyed over the the Royal Albert Hall... and sure enough the show started at 7:00 meaning we really should be meeting at 6:30. I started to panic a teeny teeny bit. I was out all day so if they changed the time through email I wouldn't know. The Hall is big, how am I going to find them? So I circled a couple times until finally I see a bunch of kids from the program (phew) and sure enough they emailed a reminder that we meet at 6:30. And I read it just now and the way it was phrased it was like we were meeting at 6:30 all along.
Derek Lam
But the sheet she gave us the first day defintely says 7:00. They suck. More than words.

The show itself was... unique. I'll start from the beginning. The first half was just orchestra and singing. The orchestra was amazing. They were definitely more into it than the LSO. Their whole bodies moved to the music and all their bows were perfectly aligned. I can't decide if the LSO were a little sloppier because 1. it was performing a free, outdoors concert 2. the audience was so relaxed so they relaxed 3. they were performing lighter, Hollywood songs. I don't know. But anyway the orchestra tonight was really, really amazing. Some of the songs were so incredibly fast I cannot believe they were able to play so crisply and so sweetly while jumping all around.

Behnaz Sarafpour
Very, very impressive.

But I wasn't able to enjoy the music as much as I would have liked because they had to ruin it with singing. When I listen to classical music (which is actually quite often) and I come to a song with singing I always skip it. I feel like the singers overpower the music, which is what they did tonight. You can't concentrate on the orchestra and on the singing at the same time. And the singers always win. So I wasn't really happy with the singing aspect. The singers were great, though, don't get me wrong. I just really don't like mixing the two. I like my opera separate from my classical music.

Second half... they introduced dance to the mix. At this point, there was already too much going on with the singing and the orchestra.

Behnaz Sarafpour
Why they introduced dance is beyond me. And I'm using the word dance very very liberally. It really wasn't dance. Like it was kinda ballet-ish (minus the talent) except they weren't wearing ballet shoes. And it wasn't really ballet because a 4 year old could do it. Like they were literally moving around the stage, moving their arms a bit, maybe lifting a leg here and there. I honestly could have done that myself. It really required absolutely no talent. I was very unimpressed.

And the choreography was bizarre. First off, it didn't match up to the music. But besides that it was just weird and made absolutely no sense. At one point the dancers were wearing coats which have clothes hangers on them, hanging on a clothes rack. So they were basically hanging on a clothes rack.

Ball dress, 1820
Um... what? And a little bit later they had a "rhythmic" pillow fight. Um... WHAT? How does this goes with classical music and opera? It doesn't!

If this wasn't bizarre enough, the "dancers" were 5 females and one male. If the male were the star and when they did things he was always in the center that would make sense. But nope, he was just one of the girls. There was a point in the amazing choreography where girls were lifting other girls (okay so maybe they did one little thing that required talent). You just don't do that. I don't understand why it wasn't 3 girls and 3 guys. Ugh... so not happy with it.

But then, things got interesting in a good way. A high school orchestra and high school dancers came out to perform. The musicians.

Wedding gown
.. I couldn't tell them apart from the professionals. They were absolutely amazing (especially compared to my high school music memories). And the dancers put the "professionals" to shame. They performed African dance to classical music and it sort of worked for me. It definitely worked better at some moments than at others but as a whole I liked it a lot. I like mixing different genres. Plus, they were really really great dancers. They actually had talent unlike the others. And they didn't just do straight African dance, they also did African infused with ballet and hip hop. I really liked it and judging by the audience's reaction others did too.

Then the school orchestra joined the professional orchestra and the school dancers joined the "professional" dancers.

Sculpture
It was really cute to see the kids performing alongside the adults. It was probably their dream come true. And, just like before, the student dancers blew the others away. Everytime I saw those stupid dancers come on stage I died a little inside.

The show had like 3 finales. Seriously. Everyone would applaud, the orchestra/singers/dancers would rise, people would think it's over. They would play another song. Repeat. Repeat. So my hands are a little tired from all that clapping. My roommate's hands, however, are not. She was sitting a few rows ahead of me and not once NOT ONE SINGLE time did she clap. Not during a regular song in the middle of the night when everyone else clapped. Not when the high school students perfomed. Not at the last bow.

Sculpture
Not once. That absolutely infuriated me. It's so incredibly rude, I don't know how you can just sit there when everyone else is applauding. How much effort does it really take to put your hands together a few times? I wasn't even looking for an enthusiastic clap or a loud clap. Just something. Anything. I got nothing. And I asked her later tonight what she thought and she said she liked it. WTF!!! Then why didn't she clap??? I wanted to say something but it would be 1. creepy that I was watching her 2. mean because I would probably say something along the lines of "you suck."

Time for sleep. Is it August 4th yet?

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Entrance
Entrance
Jacques Heim
Jacques Heim
Pierre Balmain
Pierre Balmain
Givenchy
Givenchy
Valentino
Valentino
Christian Joy (made of dollar bill…
Christian Joy (made of dollar bil…
Zac Posen
Zac Posen
Derek Lam
Derek Lam
Behnaz Sarafpour
Behnaz Sarafpour
Behnaz Sarafpour
Behnaz Sarafpour
Ball dress, 1820
Ball dress, 1820
Wedding gown
Wedding gown
Sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture
Southeast Asian art
Southeast Asian art
Southeast Asian art
Southeast Asian art
Asian art
Asian art
Asian art
Asian art
Asian art
Asian art
Asian art
Asian art
Asian art
Asian art
Felt like a graveyard
Felt like a graveyard
Again
Again
I love jade art
I love jade art
Asian art
Asian art
Asian art
Asian art
European art
European art
European art
European art
European art
European art
Stained glass
Stained glass
Going on my birthday wishlist
Going on my birthday wishlist
European art
European art
I shop therefore I am
I shop therefore I am
Chair made of glass
Chair made of glass
I used to have a bird lamp just li…
I used to have a bird lamp just l…
Appropriately titled No Place Like…
Appropriately titled No Place Lik…
Love it
Love it
Love it
Love it
Its a miniature
It's a miniature
Cool light
Cool light
Hyde Park
Hyde Park
Hyde Park
Hyde Park
Hyde Park
Hyde Park
Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall (back)
Royal Albert Hall (back)
Inside Royal Albert Hall
Inside Royal Albert Hall
Inside Royal Albert Hall
Inside Royal Albert Hall
Inside Royal Albert Hall
Inside Royal Albert Hall
Promenaders
Promenaders
London
photo by: ulysses