Sunday, August 05, 2007

saturday, in the park

I've never been in the Serpentine Gallery before, but we stopped by today just in time for a fantastic Icelandic art show! The artist was Hreinn Fridfinnson, and I'm not going to lie: there were displays of shoes in front of mirrors, a bunch of chicken wire cutouts stapled to the wall, and painted doors with holes kicked through them. Really kooky and modern. Super Bjork. You know the stuff. But there were also these really great photos of Reykjavik and Icelandic sheep fields, and they were accompanied by these incredible little folk tales. There was one about a man who was going to dynamite a giant piece of rock on his property, but then one night he had a dream where a little man came to him and told him not to disturb his "home." He promised that if he did, something bad would happen. The man decided to go ahead with his plans, but before he blew the rock up his chickens stopped laying eggs! They went from 235 a week to zero. So he decided not to blow the rock up, and the chickens all started laying eggs again. Supposedly, this was a true story. I sure love stories about Icelandic elves! Remind me to tell you more when I see you live.

The park was unbelievable today. London was....wait for it....almost 90 degrees today, and it was amazing. We walked through the Kensington Gardens, sat at the Peter Pan statue for an hour, and sat with our feet in the Diana Memorial for a good hour or so. It was fun to see the people of England in mass enjoying the sun. Boating, swimming, picnicking. Playing Frisbee. My only complaint is that some of those people should have put their shirts back on. But everyone's a critic!

To escape the heat, eventually, we went to Natural History Museum. They promised this fantastic Arctic explorer's exhibition, but it cost money and Uncle Scrooge wasn't in the mood. I wanted to see the arachnids and take the escalator through the center of the earth. And that's just what I did!

We also went to Nando's again for Aurora's birthday. I'm loving the crushed American ice at Nando's so much that I dream about it at night.

Tonight was an adventure. I took Susan, Liz, Alex, Cara, Rick, and Jaclyn to the Globe to see Othello, and as fate would have it Othello was not playing. So we made a mad dash for the National where we grabbed the last few tickets for the closing night of The Philistines. Loved the show. This was a new translation by Andrew Upton, who is Cate Blanchett's husband. Here's the deal, though. It's a Russian play and they aren't easy. You don't get out of a Russian play without a little depression and a slight desire to start a revolution. The acting in this thing was, as the Russians say, off the hook. Really amazing. Funny, powerful, and completely committed. And the other thing about Russian plays is that they start off so slow and then explode in the second half. The Philistines was no exception. The ending was a huge payoff for all the doom and gloom of the first act. It was the most challenging play we've seen, and I thought it was fantastic.

Our night was far from over. Jaclyn, Alex and I stayed at the National after the play because there was some kind of video rave happening. They were projecting these monstrous images on the side of the theatre. It was really fascinating. Then we worked our way home, but not before seeing the Thames river police searching for a suicide jumper, finding him, and giving him CPR. We were at the scene of the crime. We also offended some lesbians, and bought some Krispy Kremes. We got to Big Ben just as it struck twelve and they turned out the lights. It was 74 degrees, and here are some pictures to prove it. Courtesy of A. Ungerman. Click them - they get bigger, and they are fantastic: