Saturday, July 24, 2010


I always promise myself that I'm going to take it easy on Saturdays, but then I never do. I hear about things happening, and then I have this internal struggle about going to them. Maybe I should sleep in. But what if they are awesome?! What will I miss? What will I regret not doing when it's January and I'm missing London? WWLD (whatwouldlisado?) The decision I finally made: Portobello Road.

I go to Portobello Road every year, and I don't seem to get sick of it. Even though it's pretty pointless. I never buy anything, except one year I did buy a t-shirt that said CUBA on it. And it shrunk to fit Hugh, basically. And this year I bought ANOTHER t-shirt, this time with an octopus on it, which will likely do the same thing. Because I do not, and will not, ever learn. Anyhow, it's fun to walk around. This year Jake, Kristi, Rachel and Cherie came along. Jake bought a sweet Kandinsky-inspired watch, Cherie bought a belly-dancing scarf, and Kristi and Rachel got lost - swept away by a tide of Germans in awkward shorts. We were eventually reunited, but not before seeing some stuff:

A really blue house.

Directions to Scotland! So close. Who knew?

These guys, who played Lady Gaga unplugged.

A giant vat of simmering calimari.

I have the terrible duty of reporting that the Circle AND Jubilee tube lines were down today, which was crippling, and caused me to have to run a lot. And it was a warm day and there was some sweating. I don't understand the choice to shut down major tube lines on the weekend, but I'm not the President of London. Luckily even tardy transportation didn't thwart us from seeing a matinee of Danton's Death at the National.

I liked Danton's Death, but I didn't love it. I don't know who would really love it. There is A LOT of talking and rhetoric, and people make speeches, and there is some yelling. The acting was solid, the direction was great, the pacing was actually speedy; there was just something it lacked. I guess another way of saying this is that it was really boring. That is, of course, until the final scenes of the show when four guys got the guillotine! Then it was really exciting! I don't know how they did it! Those really were their heads in the guillotine. Some of the students figured it out, which is further proof that each generation is progressively smarter than the last, because I really thought their heads were chopped off. I also suspected dummies.

After the show we had time to kill before our next show (you heard me, it's a two show day!) So we went to the Ernesto Neto exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. The Hayward is where we saw that really awesome architectural show two years ago. This year it was all about Ernesto Neto and big rooms of stretchy gauze. Some of the gauze had creepy holes in it. One room was a strawberry with a drum inside. There was another exhibit downstairs, but you weren't allowed to take pictures. Suffice to say that it was all about finding new ways to create furniture, and also show off some really kooky ideas. Among other things, I saw:

A locker that made eerie humming noises.

A rubber hand that inflated when you pressed this special button.

A mattress made of buttons!

A miniature house for a Chinese migrant worker.

An IKEA table that floated like a hovercraft.

A mattress that was shaped like a rollercoaster.

A hammock made of chainlinks.

After the exhibit we headed into town for dinner. On the way, we saw a teenager doing tricks off the Waterloo Bridge wall.

We had pub food upstairs at the Marquess of Anglesey near Covent Garden. Daniel and I had bangers and mash. I can't go to pubs and not get bangers and mash.

Our second show was The Prince of Homburg at the Donmar Warehouse. It was pretty amazing. The first half I struggled with, because I was tired and I was way up in the balcony. And the lady next to me was driving me to crazy town. But at intermission I snuck down to the stalls and parked myself right in an empty seat in the front row. And then the show took off for me. I sort of felt like they were performing just for me. The two lead actors in the show were Ian McDiarmid, who plays Senator Palpatine in the Star Wars Movies, and Charlie Cox - who I hadn't actually heard of - who plays the lead in the movie Stardust. All the girls knew who he was. We met him after the show and he was very gracious and took a picture with us. Also he was great in the show - really great energy. Senator Palpatine was great, too, but he poked me a few times with his sword. Did I mention that I was on the front row?

Here we are with the aforementioned Charlie Cox:

Also of note: I ran into another friend from home at this performance! Trilby Cope, a fellow Provoan, spotted me at intermission and we had a great chat. She's here with her two daughters who have just graduated from BYU. Unfortunately, Trilby did NOT get to sit on the front row, but you know, not everybody gets to. It was great to see her.

We felt a little renewed from the energy of the show, so Daniel, Alex, Jessy, Nick, Cherie, Becca, and I slipped down as many twisty back alleys we could find until we finally wound our way back to the National Theatre for the free weekend shows. Sitting on the ground outside the National we watched a terrific movement piece called Sprung. Three women basically did acrobatics involving shared weight - and it was really cool! It was very physical and also very elastic, so I'm guessing Ernesto Neto would have loved it. When they were done a bunch of other ladies got up and starting doing things, but turns out they were kind of boring. This lady-midget from Australia told us all about how hard it is to take a shower but it took twenty minutes so we left. We walked home via Big Ben.