Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Showing Up

Okay, I haven't been doing much recently. But I've been to see a couple of shows.

A few weeks ago I went to the "Corot to Monet" exhibition at the National Gallery in London. It traced the development of naturalism into Impressionism in the 19th century. It was pretty good.

Tonight, I went to the big exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum for this year "Darwin: Endless Forms". It's celebrating 200 years since Darwin's birth, and I thought it might be some of his personal effects, but it was better than that. It covered the impact that evolution had on culture at the time. First, with the changing views on nature, and then the Victorians hijacking it to argue that lowerclass people should be left to die because it was natural selection, the development of strong female characters in art and novels based on Darwin's theory that the female of the species controls sexual selectivity (as can be seen from the peacock's tail display), and the influence he had on the Impressionists. Really well done. The Telegraph called it "the show of the year", and I would agree with that.

Friday night I went to see Tori Amos in London. "From the Choirgirl Hotel" is one of my favourite albums. Her music was excellent, but I was up the back of a huge theatre, and I could only see her as a small gold dot in the distance. Those of you in New Zealand may have been closer to the stage than I was. She's pretty impressive, though. There's none of that wasting time speaking to the audience - she just rolls from one song into the next with hardly a pause. She's a bit of musical phenom: When she was 5 years old, she won a scholarship to the Peabody Conservatory of Music. At one point in the concert, she sat facing the audience with both arms stretched out to the sides, and played the grand piano on the left and an organ on the right. It would've been better if there was a screen, but I'm glad I went.

That's all I've got. The weather's turning bad really fast now. It's all downhill from here.

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