i was to meet eliza at the museum of fine arts this morning for the special art deco exhibit. i got there before the museum opened (10am), waited outside with a bunch of other early morning museum goers. a busload of senior citizens arrived (not your average senior citizens mind you, they look to be senior citizens of good social breeding, the kind of folks that dress up for the museum like they would to the opera or a classical concert), and what museum wouldn't be complete without a contingency of photo-hungry japanese tourists? eliza called saying she'd be late, had to go back home because she forgot her bike lock. i waited patiently outside, moving into the sun to stay warm on this rather brisk sunday. eventually she did arrive and we went in to get our tickets.
the night before i did some research on the art deco style, so i wouldn't arrive for the exhibit unprepared. art deco developed between 1910-1940, the decades that started off with most people without electricity, but ending with the inventions of transatlantic flights, telephones, television, movies, washing machines, refrigerators. it was a time when anything seemed possible through the miracle of science and technology, and people were optimistic about a future that looked bright and promising. this feeling translated into the style known as art deco, in the use of new never-before-tried materials, designers borrowing aspects of many different cultures in order to convey the fundamental idea of "speed."
unbeknownst to me, photography wasn't allowed at the $22/pop exhibit. i was a third of the way through the showing, taking photos, before a security guard put a hand over my camera lens, telling me i couldn't take any. that's like telling me i can't breathe. from that point on i felt like my wings got clipped, and secretly hoped i wouldn't see anything too cool so i wouldn't be tempted to take any photos.
the exhibit was interesting, but i was hoping to see more futuristic looking stuff, which is what i think about when i think art deco. we exited out into the gift shop, which was filled with art deco themed merchandise.
originally we were going to go see sky captain and the world of tomorrow, since that movie has a lot of art deco influences as well, but we postponed it until later tonight. instead, we walked to mass art and had lunch in the student cafeteria. afterwards, eliza biked home while i took the E train back to cambridge, which for some reason was free. walking back home from porter square, i made a detour to see the art deco condominium entrance found on forest street.
with plenty of daylight available and the weather still nice, i decided to revisit arlington's great meadows once more, to relocate peat meadow and search for sundews. figuring it'd be wet, i brought my flip flops for lack of any better wet condition foot wear. i was very business-like in my approach, didn't bother to stop and admire the nature, just made a beeline to the spot where according to my GPS the peat meadow path started. sure enough, a trail could be seen snaking its way through the marsh. i changed out of my boots, rolled up my jeans, and put on my flip flops, preparing myself to get wet. the trail was a series of intermittent wet and dry spots, with some puddles so deep i was afraid to walk across them. for the most part i stayed around the perimeter, with the cold water only coming up to my calves. occasionally i'd get stuck in the mud and would have to pull my feet out from the peat, which left my legs covered in this black ink-like sludge. fun facts: peat is the accumulation of dead marsh plants, which can take 100 years to form just a single inch, and you can actually burn it once it dries. i didn't start seeing sphagnum moss until the end of the trail, and a careful search for signs of sundews revealed nothing. once i was back on dry land, i put my boots back on and walked the rest of the loop out of great meadows, getting lost slightly, eventually exiting out on to the open road and walking about a mile back to where i parked the bike.
i went to belmont, where i had dinner with my parents. the weather was already getting cold, and i didn't want to ride into boston, so instead i got a ride to alewife, where i took the train into park street, where i was meeting eliza at the boston common theatre. i was late, minutes away from the start of the movie. eliza had already bought tickets, and paid for mine because i treated her to lunch earlier. she also gave me a wolverine pez dispenser. we hurried into our screening room, the trailers already starting.
a funny thing happened: while eliza went out to use the bathroom, a pretty brunette came into the theatre. she was alone, and took a moment to scan the audience from below, before she smiled and walked up to my row. she sat down, and actually moved some of eliza's stuff (thinking it was mine) so she was just a seat over from me. i don't know what her intentions were, maybe she thought i was by myself and figured she'd make a new friend (of which i was more than happy to oblige), but when eliza came back, it seemed to have freaked her out and she got up a found a seat elsewhere. ah, the story of my life!
sky captain and the world of tomorrow is a throwback to those early 20th century scifi serials, a retrocool film created with 21st century movie magic. much has been made over the fact that other than the actors, sky captain is entirely computer generated. i had my reservations and thought it'd look fake (as so often with films that go heavy in the cgi department), but after seeing the movie, i'm here to tell you that the integration is seamless and amazing, we've come a long way since jurassic park. gwyneth paltrow plays polly perkins, ambitious girl reporter who finds herself in the middle of the story of the century when giant flying robots start appearing all over the world, stealing industrial components from major cities. jude law plays joe "sky captain" sullivan, and he and polly apparently have a tempestuous history together (something about she sabotaging his plane, something about he cheating on her with another woman). one thing leads to another and they end up foiling a mad scientist's diabolical plan for world destruction. been there, done that, huh? well, not on these scales. with budget not constrained by the limitations of physical sets, the movie takes place on a grand scale. in the canyons of skyscapers, in the vast expanse of aircraft hangers, in shangri-la, in the mad scientist's secret liar, the movie is painted in broad breathtaking brush strokes. not to be missed! my favorite part: polly loses her film supply and go through the rest of the movie with just 2 shots left in her camera, which becomes this running joke as she has to decide whether to take a photo or not each time she sees something amazing. i know how you feel!
after the movie, we parted ways, eliza armed with her rape whistle which is actually a small recorder (there's a rapist roaming the streets of jamaica plain these days). i took the train back to alewife, where i got picked up by my father, then from belmont i rode my motorcycle back to cambridge. although it was cold, i had on several layers which made it more bearable. as the evening dwindled away, i actually went to bed before rob for a change, going to sleep around midnight.