January 25, 2010 by Amy Elliott Bragg
Lazy Monday flu-ridden round-up
Besides feeling swamped with projects, I’m terrified that I’m coming down with some kind of flu, so here are a few items to keep you busy in the event that I become bedridden or shackled to my (other, metaphorical, paid-gig) desk this week.
Katie Barkel makes neat videos
The MetroTimes music department was kind enough to have me back last week for a feature profile about a precocious lady filmmaker who loves “little kids shredding and old bikers smoking and throwing bottles at each other at the bar.” You can read about her here. I had a really great time working on this; it was the rare story that didn’t make me wonder, “Why didn’t I get a degree in something vocational, like ballroom dancing?”
We went to the DIA
We are contented little birds in the tree of DIA membership, but as a long-time museum-goer and museum-lover and former museum-employee, I feel like I sometimes hit a plateau with certain collections, where I kind of feel like, “well, I’ve seen all of my favorites 100,000 times, and then there’s all that other stuff there that doesn’t excite me as much.” It’s like round two of the average visitor’s “What do I even do here? Where to start?” dilemma.
This weekend we broke our stride and just ambled around like kids at the zoo, nudging each other and whispering “look at that thing!” and “that guy’s face is blue!” and “wow, this stuff is old!”
We also remembered to go up to the third floor, which is way bigger than either of us ever remember. Usually we just visit the Rembrandt and call it a day. But there’s so much (!!!) more up there, like this room that’s reconstructed to look like an 18th-century French parlor, and when you press a button, it fills up with ambient noise — the strum of a harp, teacups, the clock ticking — and loads of other French decorative artworks and a room full of “fainting lady” paintings. We had a lot of fun, and not just in an intellectually stimulating way. We relaxed and enjoyed ourselves and kidded around. Sometimes art museums are great for that. I also enjoy taking bad, shaky pictures in them.
Also: the exhibition of WPA prints from the 1930s is striking and substantial.
Buildings of Detroit is doggedly covering the Lafayette Building demolition (and risking lung disease and dodging falling debris). Citizen journalism at its brave best.
American History Reading Room
The fiance and I got in some dumb argument about the Mexican-American war, or something, then realized that we’ve both forgotten substantial portions of our U.S. History education. Plus, that stuff was kind of boring when I was a teenager and did not understand or respect, you know, time.
We’re thinking about putting together a casual (albeit terrifically geeky) American History book salon to get up to speed. How should we carve out a curriculum? Should we take it chronologically, or thematically? One major event at a time, or through smaller, more regional perspectives? Or through an interpretive lens, like agriculture, or a specific industry, or art?
And what are some contemporary, engaging must-reads?
So, that’s all I’ve got. What have you got? Hopefully not the flu.