As we were walking north towards Golden Gate park, we spied a veggie sandwich place and grocery. As my sister is a vegetarian and missed lunch, we stopped in. They have just a tiny seating area in back. Service was slow (family affair) but the food when it came was quite good (mine was a huge wheat flat bread wrapping lettuce, hummus, tabouli, avocado and a few other things). I think I should go eat my leftovers.
The de Young museum has American art and then various what I would call underrepresented groups (oceania, africa, native peoples of various places, etc.) My sister wanted to go in a bad way because the architecture is apparently neat (on seeing it: I guess). When we looked it up, my mom wanted to go because they had John Singer Sargent works (his work apparently originally inspired my mom to paint).
I have to say there were quite a lot of works I liked. Plus, it's always nice to see paintings I've only read about. A list:
- Caroline de Bassano, Marquise d'Espeuilles by John Singer Sargent. This small thumbnail doesn't do it justice (obviously) but this larger pic should give you an idea of some of the really beautiful parts: the way the lace and the satin are done make it basically look real, but if you get close, the lace is actually done with quite broad strokes. Unfortunately, I could get neither a print nor a postcard of this painting. :(
- Other Sargent they had out were a Study of Architecture, Florence and Trout Stream in the Tyrol which is more impressionistic (after seeing Caroline and not knowing much about Sargent except "portraits" this was somewhat surprising). Finally, there is A Dinner Table at Night which I did get a little card for. It is in a style that is a bit less realistic (somewhat soft around the edges) but feels quite real. (And I'm not sure, but it may have the same subject as Caroline).
- In a similar style as the portrait, but by Robert Henri, is O in Black with Scarf which I also got a postcard for (no print).
- Rainy Season in the Tropics by Frederic Edwin Church was just huge and incredibly realistic. The mistiness seem to be over the background rocks and trees and such-like as if it was obscuring your vision of what's there (which also looked very realistic). However, the scene itself seems fantastic (is there a place this beautiful on earth?) (Aside: Can you tell I like realistic paintings of pretty things? I'm probably a plebian by art standards. Only thing that saves me is that I do actually like other styles too.)
- I had never heard of Thomas Hart Benton, but Susanna and the Elders (NSF-uptight-work) is quite nice. I especially like the hair and the way she seemed about to fall in.
- One of the "only seen it in a book" variety was Hicks' The Peaceable Kingdom. The topic of animals all getting along has been a popular one (for Hicks and other artists of course).
- Being from Iowa, I have seen a lot of Grant Wood (and even in person), but I hadn't seen Dinner for the Threshers before. I have to say the farmers are just right on down to the white foreheads (yes, people do really look like that in Iowa or did anyway). I also like the cutaway scene in this one as it gives a realistic arrangement .. but you can still see all the characters.
- I hadn't heard of Chiura Obata before, but his primary technique is fascinating (japanese ink with colors). And the colors he uses are just beautiful (again with the beautiful things). The two pieces we saw were Lake Basin in High Sierra and another I can't find a link for (nor can I remember the name).
After we were done at the museum gift shop (just a couple postcards for me), it was dark out, but we were determined to finish up the plans (going to Caffe Trieste and City Lights per my sister's request). Apparently she is a little obsessed with beat culture, so that's why. I can't really say 'no' to a bookstore anyway.
I picked up Beyond Oil by Kenneth Deffeyes since I've been reading about peak oil and needed a gentler (and broader) introduction. I'll be done with it soon if any bay area husites are interested.
I also picked up Howard Zinn's new book (at Mom's suggestion as she wants to read it too ;). Not sure if I'll care, but attempts to use historical events to elucidate current events are generally entertaining if not always valid. (Zinn is a little too professional for this to be a "see, they're just like Hitler!!!!" but it might not be much better for all I know.)
After the bookstore (I had to herd my sister out, but really we needed to keep moving if we had any hope of getting home by midnight), we walked up the street to Caffe Trieste. I just got an espresso, but was quite disappointed. There is a little coffee shop in Foster City (on a corner of the strip mall at Edgewater and Beach) that blows Trieste's out of the water. Maybe I just had a bad brew, but it was excessively bitter and burnt tasting.
Since it was getting on in the evening, we didn't want to wait an hour plus before a chance of eating, so we decided to eat in the city. Mom and sister vetoed cheap curry (a Naan & Curry is down the street) because they didn't really want anything spicy. Sister hadn't had good italian in a while, so, it being where we are (Mom took a while to notice how many italian joints there were), we looked for a promising candidate. We ended up at Franchino which was incredibly good (pricey with appetizer, drinks and dessert, but what do you expect?). The tomato & mozzarella was perfect (with no balsamic on it already so you could add to taste), my seafood pasta was oh-my-god good (calamari was NOT overcooked which is common and the tomato sauce was more creamy and not overwhelmingly sour like a lot are). I ate too much of it. We shared tiramisu (with almost no lady finger in it, except the bottom which served as "crust" if crust can be soaked in espresso). The tiramisu was worth all of it. I really can't describe how good it was except to make untypeable noises...
The husband & wife running the place were a trip. Wife just ran around serving people. Husband ran around singing, dancing and laughing. Also, he seated us by pulling (two-person) table from outside indoors right in the only open space in the little place. Highly amusing.
Then we went home (stuffed) and played cards (and monkey darts!!!) until like 2AM (late for sister and Mom).
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