Travel Thursday Encore–How to mix pleasure with business–Seattle 05, Day 4, Part 3

Uninteresting hours passed by in the hotel room, followed by one last uninteresting hour of business crap, just long enough to make sure I’d be going to Scandinavia in a few months. Now that all the business stuff was settled and over, I hopped back on a bus and got off right next to the Frye Art museum, with Pill Hill in the background–it’s actually called First Hill, but there’s a bunch of hospitals there, and Seattleites–like stalactites–are witty people.
I start this with a sad admission: the savage Neanderthals that run the Frye Art Museum do not allow photo-taking! On the other hand, it’s free, which doesn’t come close to making up for it but is something very much worth mentioning. It looks kinda small from the outside, but felt really big inside, with plenty of places to sit and rest. The store and café are indeed tiny, but I had a lot of fun talking to the older lady who was clerking the store, at least for a while. She was one of the most talkative people I’ve ever met.
On to da show. I found their collection similar to the Huntington’s in Los Angeles, though of course much smaller. It leans toward the pastoral and portraits, mostly late 1800s/early 1900s, with no sign of taking a risk on anything. Don’t get me wrong, it’s pleasant enough, but I have to say Mr. and Mrs. Frye had a very narrow taste when it came to art.
But while I was there I saw an amazing–unfortunately temporary–exhibition called Moon Beam Caress, by an artist named Joseph Park, a graduate of the Cornish School I mentioned earlier. I’m not what you would call a Modern Art fan, nor do I spend any time gawking at anime, but somehow he’s managed to fuse the two. Half of his works on display had otherwise cute animals acting as humans, and usually acting very bad. One famous example had a gang of teddy bears/rabbits beating up a darker version. Most are sublime, like a painting of an NYC subway with a teddy bear trying to get out, or another bear ironing a shirt, or a rabbit sitting on a crate taking a cigarette break. And all in an almost cartoonish style, though there’s nothing silly about them. Most disturbing was the elephant-like submarine commander with the chilly gaze.
Someone told me this story about modern art, reputedly told by Picasso, but I can’t be sure: “When a master like Cezanne paints a wild horse, you see a wild horse, but when I paint a wild horse. . . you may not see the horse, but you will see the wild.” There’s one painting of a very wild horse, with tresses Farrah Fawcett would be proud to own, that somehow bridges the gap between those two extremes. He also takes famous paintings and puts his own spin on it, like Ingres’ “La Grande Odalisque” now being played by an elephant. There’s also Canaletto’s “Venice,” which he paints as if he were looking at the canal scene through a glass of water, or maybe after a nuclear holocaust, with the buildings looking melted. I loved his stuff so much I actually bought the book, which I NEVER do!
Walking aimlessly for a while after the museum, I found myself near the Metropolitan Grill again, and there was just something I needed another fix off. Okay, two things, but I was pretty sure Autumn wouldn’t still be on shift, and she wasn’t, so I settled in at the still-not-too-smoky bar for another of those amazing orange sodas, though the bartender, a totally Russian-looking guy, didn’t include any ice cream. Which makes Autumn all the more special, in my eyes, but enough of that. Stayed only long enough to finish it off, talking to a suited gentleman sitting next to me enjoying a shrimp cocktail–hey, TWO things I’m allergic to in one glass!–and trading jokes about Fresno.
Back to walking, I remembered a little clue to downtown Seattle’s geography, as told to me during pillow talk {don’t ask}: JESUS CHRIST MADE SEATTLE UNDER PROTEST! This is how you remember the order of streets, starting north of Yesler–Jefferson and James, Cherry and Columbia, Marion and Madison, Spring and Seneca, University and Union, and Pike and Pine. Have fun memorizing!
Back to the hotel with still no need for dinner, until it came time to walk back to Belltown for another concert at the Croc Café. Instead of walking at straight angles like I had the previous times, on this trip I zigzagged the route for fun, and to see new things. When I saw I’d gone as far south as I needed to, and noticed I only had to go one block to the west, I luckily looked up in time to see the name of the store on the corner, enough to make me stop: Salon Divas. Making sure it wasn’t a hair place, I peeked in through the window and laughed, thinking of the dancing waitress I’d fallen into severe like with a few hours ago. I might have figured her for a dance instructor, to earn a little extra cash, but luckily she was as un-diva as they came. It suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t know what kind of dancer Autumn was. She coulda been salsa, coulda been ballroom, coulda been hip-hop–shit, did I just think that?–coulda been a ballerina. . . coulda been exotic. Hmmm. Glad I hadn’t thought of that before.
Concert, and its venue, not worth the pixels.
I got back to the hotel much later than I expected, where I fell on the bed and temporarily died.


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