My outside art encounter is one I see a few times a week, and it is truly an experience. Behind Brooklyn College is the Q train, the train that is closest to the apartment building I live in at school. I take this train almost every time I have to travel into Manhattan unless there is a compelling reason for me to walk across campus to access the 2/5 line. On the Q train, on the Manhattan-bound line, between the Atlantic Avenue and Dekalb Avenue stops, on the right side of the train, are huge murals. It’s important to not that these murals are not at a train station, they are actually in the tunnel cavities of the subway, where there are no people, only trains. These murals are visible through the train’s windows, and because the train is zooming past them, they create the effect of a flip book. The artists who painted these murals obviously knew that, because the same images are repeated over and over again with small differences, giving the effect of movement. Whenever I take the train, I’m sure to sit on the left side, and this artwork always brings a smile to my face. It’s the simple things that affect us the most.
Seeing Henry IV was a very interesting experience. While waiting in the (very chic) lobby for the performance to start, I noticed a chain gang of women walking in and wondered if they were actual prisoners coming to see the show. Once we got to our seats, I learned that they were not. It took me about halfway into the performance to realize that it was taking place in a women’s prison, hence the matching outfits and children’s toys props. The performers were phenomenal, and I LOVED the way the women channeled their masculine energy. The actress who played the Prince of Norway was my absolute favorite. She was so masculine and confident and I think was the best actress. I enjoyed when the seriousness would cut and the women would cry or make fun of each other or sing. It was a great twist and I thought the director was so creative to think of something like that. Overall I really loved the performance and would definitely see something like it again.
Overall, I’m very glad I saw Tosca! Having read the story beforehand, I was very excited to see it in action. As a theatre fan, I know how hard it is for singers as performers and I was looking forward to seeing the talent, and I was not disappointed. From the first note to the last the vocals were just impeccable and awe-inspiring. The first act was a bit slow for me, and the intermission could not come soon enough. I thought the jealousy tale was dragged out a bit too much considering its insignificance to the overall plot. In the second act, however, things really picked up. I loved all the drama, and the character who played Scarpia was phenomenal. It was particularly interesting how the torture was not shown on stage, something we are so accustomed to seeing in the digital era. The final act was good, but the second was still my favorite. I felt my heart swell with love as Cavaradossi and Tosca sung about how they would be free at last to live and love. I was not as upset when Cavaradossi died as I was when Tosca died. Cavaradossi died in happiness, thinking he would be free with his loved one. Tosca, contrastingly, died in vain. She died with a broken heart and a murderer. After all, it is a drama.
Going to the American Ballet Theatre for me was like a dream. The 6-year-old in me was jumping and dancing, the 12-year-old was trying to do all of the moves they did, and the present version of myself, 17-year-old, was mesmerized and melancholy at the same time. My initial reaction walking up into Lincoln Center was that it was a beautiful square. The fountain in the center surrounded by huge buildings on the sides was a beautiful architectural layout. I thought it was interesting to see women in ball gowns walking around next to little girls at the ice cream truck. I loved the marble floors and high ceilings of the actual buildings. Everything seemed like it was one giant piece of art, like the theatre was a museum itself.
As far as the actual ballet, I absolutely loved the first performance, The Brahms-Haydn Variations. I’m into big productions like that and I could only imagine how long it took to practice and perfect (though I did, of course, notice a few imperfections). The second performance, Monotones I and II, I thought was very seductive in that there were only three dancers. We were drawn then to every detail of their movements, they could hide no mistakes. It was interesting to see how the three bodies interacted with each other. The third performance, The Green Table, however, I completely hated. I know by saying that I’m going against mostly everyone else, but I came to see classical ballet, not a comedy. These dancers did not train their whole lives to wear outrageous masks or, in the case of the Marcelo Gomes, repeat the same 4 steps over and over again. I understand they were trying to tell a story, but there is still a story in the bodies and movement of the first two performances, and the dancers did not have to make fools of themselves. Watching the ballet made me a little nostalgic for the days when I thought I would be one of those dancers on the stage, and my body twitched with muscle memory, aching to move like that again.
My favorite photo from the High Line was one that was not of a piece of art. It was this one, overlooking the Hudson River towards Hoboken. I’m a sucker for sunset pictures, and I think city views are beautiful; I am definitely a city girl. Something about this photo that is special to me is that I recognize one of the buildings across the water in Hoboken as the Howe Building at Stevens Institute of Technology, where some of my best friends go to college. I sent them this photo as my view from the other side of the river, and it almost felt like I was watching over them.
My experience at the Brooklyn Museum was a very interesting one to say the least. My group consisted of some new friends and some old ones, some I had made through Macaulay and some people from my high school that just so happened to be in the same group, Rembrandt, as me. Our diffuse group walked through the museum with two main purposes: to see the Egyptian exhibit and to see the sneakers.
When we made it to the Egypt exhibit we all split up and wandered around in silence for some time, which I think was really beneficial for us. We didn’t spend the whole time talking to each other before we got together and made our recording. One of the things that struck me about the Egyptian exhibit was the intricacy of every sculpture and painting and sarcophagus. No matter the size of the piece of art, there was such fine detail that was incredibly advanced for the time at which it was created. My group decided to record our commentary on a particular coffin. It was a huge granite rectangular prism that was said to hold a prince and his wife. A specific thing we found interesting about the coffin was that there were holes in the top of it. These holes were functional, made so that people, presumably slaves, could put sticks through it and carry on their backs. We found beauty in functionality because the perfectly circular holes contrasted with the perfectly geometric coffin.
The sneaker exhibit was a completely different animal, the room itself being modern with videos of fashion shows playing on the walls and the artifacts being from as recently as 2015. One of the members of my group ran track, so he was giving us a little extra information about the different types of running shoes and cleats. One thing I personally found interesting about the exhibit were the chucks thrown along the artificial telephone wires throughout the room. It was a small detail that you wouldn’t have noticed unless you looked up, but for me it was the best part of the exhibit. Seeing this flooded my mind with images of my father’s stories of him being a little boy in Dyker Heights and throwing his shoes up on a telephone wire. It was a testimony to Brooklyn within this museum and this exhibit that showcased artifacts from all over the world.