Ithaca Weekend

We traveled to Ithaca this weekend to spend some rare time with our good friends Haley and Kevin. The four of us are always super busy so we actually set time aside (i.e. put it on the calendar) to hang for not one, but two nights. We could not have picked a better weekend weather wise and we managed to fit a bunch of outdoor time in, including a long walk up to the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell (which I had never been to before). If you haven’t been, I recommend a visit soon since one of their current exhibitions, Bursts of Light and Rifts of Darkness, features a few choice selections from the founding artists of Abstract Expressionism, namely Still, De Kooning, Rothko, Gottlieb, and Gorky (sorry, no Pollock). The exhibition only features five, mostly small selections from a minor collection (Cornell alum Peter Meinig), but AE generally holds a special place in my heart since it was the first phenomenon I genuinely felt worth studying in school. In fact, my first advanced composition (that I did well on, anyway) was a research paper on the movement for an English elective I took senior year of high school (printed on dot matrix, mind you). Mark Rothko in particular still remains my favorite painter of all time (tough his piece in this collection is a surrealist sketch from 1945 — before his color field paintings, which I particularly love).

It’s probably a stretch to say if it wasn’t for AE, I woud not be where I am now, but I certainly felt something in viewing these five pieces — a feeling I usually only feel at the Albright Knox Gallery in Buffalo. Though I didn’t get to enjoy it too much since I had to be mindful of a certain hyperactive 2yo who somehow managed to escape me long enough to climb up the leg of a Giacometti sculpture. Thankfully the security at Johnson was friendly, even warning us about some of the more creepy video installations on the 3rd floor. Once we went through the three to four floors of art, we hit the elevator to the 5th floor which features a panoramic view of Ithaca set next to various pieces of Asian art.

After our trip to the gallery, Haley made some amazing bim bam bap and I helped Kevin and the band Why the Wires load in at the new “Space at GreenStar” venue by the Cayuga Lake inlet. Normally I wouldn’t be too jazzed about a 4-band show, but I had already peeped the internets for samples of the two local openers, Time Being and BEES///, and was particularly excited to see the headliner, Pterodactyl, since I had heard some of their stuff of Jagjaguwar, including their outstanding single, “Nerds,” from the about-to-be released record, Spills Out. All the bands were great, but this was Why the Wires’s best show yet. They played all new stuff and sounded tighter than ever. If you live in upstate NY, you have ample opportunity to check them out. [I got to take a bunch of shots with my SLR, too, which you can see more of on my Flickr site.] After a Shortstop sub and some clock turning, we hit the hay late on Saturday.

We left early on Sunday; the ladies made a shitload of Concord grape jam, which I plan to enjoy thoroughly through next fall. All in all it was one of those necessary weekends where we were able to get recharged and reinspired, even though it demands an uphill climb with the workload this week.