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Road Trip Day 8: Leaving with a blast of energy covering as much of LA as possible by Ann Treacy
January 12, 2022, 3:35 am
Filed under: California

It’s been a long, yet fun, vacation. Yes, we had a few moments of being tired and hungry with 60 minutes before we got to the next hotel but mostly it’s been an awesome trip. We landed in LA yesterday but we saved most of the city for today. We started with a hike from Venice Beach to Santa Monica Pier. It was sunny and warm and great people watching. We dipped our toes into the ocean. It was a moment that you soak up to get you through the rest of the Minnesota winter.

Next chapter, we went to the J Paul Getty art museum. It’s free! And the buildings and grounds themselves are worth the jaunt out to the location. The garden was beautiful. Heather loved all of the succulents. We breezed through pretty quickly because it’s the sort of place whether either you commit to only looking at the works that really call to you or you spend a week there. We didn’t have a week.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Cindy Sherman – with Untitled Film Still #21 – she is amazing; so many different looks this one isn’t as disturbing as some but still has an edge
  • Antonio Rizzo with the Bust of Simon of Trent – he captures the sadness of the baby killed and then assumed to be blessed
  • Summer Azure with Tourmaline – very modern nonbinary self-portrait – colors are oldly vibrant
  • Fernand Leger with Walking Flowers – love the setting, love the retro cheerfulness
  • We saw more. Unfortunately the galleries I might have liked best (newest art) is closed this month but it’s fun to see new art. And really, again, the location, garden and structure are amazing in themselves.

Next we took a walk down Sunset Blvd. From the Getty to the end of our walk we really saw everything from very high end homes (we saw from the car) to people experiencing homelessness 5 miles down the same road and everything in between. The murals were fun and we saw a few places we recognized from lore or on TV, including the Viper Room to the Laugh Factory.

From Sunset Blvd we skipped to Hollywood Blvd. That means the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Chinese Theater and the foot prints out front, the Dolby Theater, where the Academy Awards happen. Please note that hand-size-wise I am clearly a dead ringer for Marilyn Monroe and Jean Harlow. We probably walked 3-4 mile sin this stretch, which was a nice amount of time to soak in the city – or at least a part of the city.

In the end we went back to the awesome sunset of Playa del Rey. And now we’re trying to figure out a night plan. I feel like this is where COVID and Tuesday may be fighting our desire to have an awesome night – but we’ll see and I can report back tomorrow.



Road Trip Day 7: Finally found the ocean at Playa del Rey! by Ann Treacy
January 11, 2022, 5:41 am
Filed under: California

We started the day at Joshua Tree National Park. We did one last hike. It felt great to be out in the sunshine.

Then we made the drive from Joshua Tree to Los Angeles – with a stop at Pioneertown. The views were pretty spectacular but very up and down. My ears can still feel it.

We made it to the ocean!! It took 7 days and 30+ hours of driving but we did it and our timing was amazing. We got into our hotel and walked to the ocean. It was about 2 miles and we weren’t really sure what we’d see but as you can see we had front row, center seats to an amzing sunset. We walked around a bit but really, we let the week of driving and meals from gas stations take it’s toll for the night because we have some amazing plans tomorrow!



Road Trip Day 6: Joshua Tree National Park: NV to CA by Ann Treacy
January 10, 2022, 2:25 am
Filed under: California, Nevada

We are so close to our final destination but happy to spend our last detour in Joshua Tree National Park. First I should say the drive was spectacular. It’s almost too much to take in the desert views when you’re normal days are spent near the shores of the Mississippi River. Props to Heather for the amazing drive – every last stinking inch and some of it was rough and the radio got even rougher the more remote we got!

Then we landed. We did two short hikes today. The Joshua Trees are unusual to see but their story makes them special. They only grow in this area and they are the ultimate Giving Tree; many wildlife eat from the tree and will live off the tree long after its gone. The trees and the areas are also known to be spiritual with many vortices in the park. They get their name from Mormon immigrants from the 19th century who thought the limbs of the trees looked like Biblical figure Joshua with his arms outstretched and/or it called to the Mormon conquest of the desert. I might have called them Seussical Trees. But they are amazing and it felt great to be out hiking in the sunshine.

We also stopped into the town to take a look at the fun shops and the World’s Crochet Museum. It’s a very artsy hippy dippy area – and I mean that in the best way!



Road Trip Day 5: Vegas baby AZ and NV by Ann Treacy
January 9, 2022, 6:04 am
Filed under: Arizona, Nevada

We had a super nice meal in Flagstaff. It’s a very cute town but no one wears masks and it feels like a resort town. We went to see some music and then it felt like it was a town full of adult kids on resort vacations with their parents – unhindered by masking or costs. It is a pretty area.

Then we had a lovely drive from Flagstaff to Las Vegas.

We spent the afternoon walking through the casinos. I always enjoy walking somewhere new and I haven’t been to Vegas in years.

We stayed with friends of Heather. They were amazing hosts with absinthe and a really nice home. Heather got a chance to catch up with old friends.



Road Trip Day 4: Music, murals, petroglyphs, pawn shop and ostriches NM and AZ by Ann Treacy
January 8, 2022, 12:48 am
Filed under: Arizona, New Mexico

After a fun day in Santa Fe we spent the night in Albuquerque with the hopes of seeing some music – and we got lucky. We did our research and found The Launchpad had a show that included Los Ratones Atomicos and The Tewa. First band was very old school punk with lots of slam dancing. The second had an amazing guitar. We definitely found the place for us for the night.

Then for the first time on this roundtrip we woke up to warm weather! I walked around downtown and was rewarded with some awesome murals. Then we spent a lot of time driving and making random weird stops.

We stopped in Albuquerque to see the Petroglyph National Monument. You could spend a whole day hiking around and seeing the very cool symbols in the rock but we didn’t have all day so we focused on Boca Nerga, which offered the easiest access. There are about 100 petroglyphs in this fairly small space. There were created 400-700 years ago and while some symbols seems recognizable, there doesn’t seem to be a translation to them. It is amazing to think about how and why these were created and wonder what the folks who wrote them would think about them being around for so long.

We stopped in Gallup, because a waiter we had said there were good pawn shops there. Same person told us (at the very end of the meal) he wanted to go to school to become a cop but it wasn’t worth getting vaxed so he was going to look into being a flight attendant instead, although he’s never actually flown. Anyways – turns out our shopping taste is about as similar to his as our views on everything else. Neither of us wanted overpriced jewelry, a gun or video game. But interesting all the same.

 

Next stop, crystal and meteor shop at the side of the road. (It was a long drive, don’t judge!) Super bonus, there was a small ostrich farm next door and Heather got to feed them. That might be a once in a lifetime event for her – unless “feels like Jurassic Park” is a good thing.

 

Now we’re chilling in Flagstaff. Hoping to see some music tonight. Might even have dinner!



Road trip Day 3: Good weather, murals, church, Native art and psychedelic immersion by Ann Treacy
January 7, 2022, 4:07 am
Filed under: New Mexico, Uncategorized

We spent the night in Tucumcari; they celebrate their piece of Route 66. We stayed at a cute retro motel, Roadrunner Lodge. Loved the kitsch and proximity to the action. Sort of missed a mini fridge. Also checked out the murals and retro signs around town. Many depict local folks or celebrate Rte 66, buffalo or the 1960s. Only sadness was the weather; it was zero degrees with wind-chill. But we’re tough.

We drove to Santa Fe and did a few super fun things. First, the Loretto Chapel with its double helix staircase. It’s very impressive. Story goes, the Loretto Chapel Nuns said a novena to St Joseph, patron of carpenters to build a staircase so that the girls could get to the balcony for the choir. (Before the nuns took over the church only men and boys were in the choir and they used a ladder. Anyway, a carpenter showed up and did the work without getting paid all 33 steps.

We popped into the New Mexico Museum of Art. (Thank you Walker Art membership with reciprocity with other galleries!) The art was great – mostly Native. I will post more pictures that explanations – because I’m gearing up to go out! But here are some faves:

  • Santo Nino Faithtime – Baby Jesus with a mask on the smartphone by Arthur Lopez
  • Temptations of St Anthony – religion never looked like so much fun by Luis Tapia
  • Yellow Horse Dancer – full size and magical buy Armond Lara
  • Zeus and Ganymede – reminds me of Kent Monkman, with shorter hair and less subtle by Delmas Howe
  • La Pachuca – reminds me of Cindy Sherman, love the sassy personality by Judith Baca

We walked around and saw lots of things. Enjoyed good temperatures for the first time this trip and then made our way to Meow Wolf, which was standout awesome. It’s an interactive art experience, leaning toward almost fun house experientially. It reminded us of Sleep No More in NYC but less scary and less nudity. The premise is that the house full of people slowly became crazy or possessed and I love that it’s in the same town where the atomic bomb was built. There are a million (well hundreds) of twists and turns with the “house” that lead into a Dr. Suess meets MC Escher meets Alice in Wonderland. We crawled into a fireplace and into a refrigerator to find new worlds. In the new worlds, we found ourselves being coopted to join a group of four other visitors to turn a couch into a merry-go-round. At times it was awesome, at times a little nauseating but always awesome.

And now we’re getting out day done and dolling up for some nightlife in Albuquerque!



Road Trip: Pool playing, Dalton Gang Hideout and Dorothy’s House from MN, KS, OK, TX by Ann Treacy
January 6, 2022, 1:48 am
Filed under: Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma

We checked out a little nightlife in Wichita at a karaoke bar called The Stop. It wasn’t very full but everyone was super friendly – and not in a creepy way. We shot pool with some locals and the bartender gave us a long list of things to visit. Beers were cheap. Signs around the bar with awesome and instructive. On the way out of town we did stop by the Keeper of the Plains, a 44-foot tall steel sculpture standing at the point where the Big and Little Arkansas rivers join together in downtown Wichita. It was created by Native American artist Blackbear Bosin. It is striking.

We got to recreate a few moments from the lives of the Dalton Gang, gangsters from the 1890s at the Dalton Gang Hideout in Meade, KS. They robbed banks and trains. Their sister lived in Meade. The presumption is that they hid out there, in a tunnel under the house. We didn’t hold anyone up but we did get to trek through the house, the tunnel and the outbuildings.  Also there were a lot of artifacts – mostly notably the albino raccoon, aka star of my future nightmares. (Absolutely worth the $5 cover charge.)

Our scheduled stop was in Liberal KS, home of Dorothy Gale’s house from The Wizard of Oz! There are some cut-outs of the expected characters and the house does look a lot like Dorothy’s. Apparently someone just got the idea that Liberal should become the official home to Dorothy. Someone knew of a house that looked like the one from the movie; so they moved it to town and worked to make it look even more like it. Ironically, the tornado siren started blaring just as we hit town. I thought our timing might be creepy but spot on. Turns out, they were just testing. To be fair, we now know that tornados can run forever in Kansas because there is nothing to stop them!

After driving about a billion hours through Kansas, we filly blew through Oklahoma and Texas and into New Mexico!



Road trip: Buddy Holly memorial, Sculpture Garden, Covered Bridge & Shuttlecocks from MN, IA, MO, KS by Ann Treacy
January 5, 2022, 1:43 am
Filed under: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri

Heather and I are on the road. Our mission is to deliver a car to Venice Beach, California. We have quite a few days to do it and only a loose itinerary of suggested stops. Admittedly our first goal is to get where it’s warmer as soon as possible and maybe hover once we get there.

We left early in the morning. First major stop the Buddy Holly Crash Site. Well, after being there we might call it a minor site. The glasses were much smaller than we anticipated but it was still sad and amazing at the same time. It was easy on a windy, cold day like today to think about how miserable that flight and end must have been – that day the music died. We also took a quick visit to the Surf Ballroom, where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson played their last concert. What a strange story for the ballroom to have to hold – although it is just one chapter in a long book.

Next stop Des Moines and the Pappajohn Sculpture Garden, plunked right into town. It was a perfect recharger stop for us. We walked around and saw the sculptures – several looked very reminiscent of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden or other sculpture gardens I’ve visited. It was the perfect 30 minutes. It was super windy and chilly but brisk. A few of our favorites – the large body made of white words by Jaume Plensa, big stone faces with tons (perhaps literally) of personality by Ugo Rondinone and White Ghost by Yoshimoto Nara – like a spooked up Lucy from The Peanuts.

Mini stop was a quick drive by a bridge of Madison County, specifically the Imes Covered Bridge; it is the oldest of the remaining covered bridges, Imes was built in 1870 and is 81 feet in length. Absolutely worth the five minute detour. We thought about the birthplace of John Wayne but decided that wasn’t worth a 40 minute detour.

Props to Heather, the driver, she’s doing an amazing job. We had hoped to get more of a break in Kansas City, but a lot of things are closed. We did get to see the Shuttlecocks of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. (I love the inside of the museum too, but sadly closed on Tuesdays.) Folks from the Twin Cities will know Oldenburg’s Spoon and Cherry. They Shuttlecocks are as much of a splash – with several large scale shuttlecocks peppered around the yard of the museum. There are a few works. We also liked Rush Hour by George Segal (group of people) and what I assume is an iteration of Rodin’s The Thinker.

And now we’ve landed in Wichita. We may go work out. We may find a dive bar. Maybe I’ll report tomorrow!



Minneapolis Homeless Memorial March 2021 by Ann Treacy
December 17, 2021, 12:12 am
Filed under: Minneapolis

It’s always one of the coldest days of the year, the annual Minneapolis Homeless Memorial March 2021. It’s a memorial service for lost friends, families and folks we didn’t know who lived in the world of homelessness – maybe as asocial worker or advocate, maybe as someone who had or was experiencing homelessness in 2021. Marchers carry a placard with the name, age and city of a deceased person. It’s a solemn, yet community building event – especially at a time when so much of life is Zoomed.

This year I knew two, Ethna McKiernan and Stephanie Battle. I know Ethna has a poet with an Irish lilt; she also worked with people experiencing homelessness. Stephanie I knew in high school; she was in my sister’s class. She was a homeless advocate. My friend Monica Nilsson knew many more, as she works in the community. But we were sad to remember two women who has died in her very close community. Overdose. I think that has been too easy, or maybe life has been too hard for all of us in the last two years.

You can find the full list of names of people who have passed away online. It include young and old, all colors and genders. The saddest to be are the “baby” placards. The march was followed by an online service.



Harold Washington, Art Institute of Chicago and Magnetic Fields!! by Ann Treacy
November 19, 2021, 7:44 pm
Filed under: Chicago

We worked our magic so that we could have a full day of fun in Chicago. Lily and I stayed downtown so we were close to lots of art. We found some bonus art at the Harold Washington Library. (Where I used to take classes!) First, the library is beautiful and it’s always fun to get a sneak peek into a city through the local library. We ran into Above and Beyond, a Vietnam War Memorial that is comprised of 58,307 dog tags hanging from the ceiling above the staircase in the library. Each represents someone from the armed forces who was killed in Vietnam and each dog tag shows their name, casualty date and military branch. There is one black dog tag for those who have died after the war from conditions related to the war. It’s moving. We did wonder about they might include or represent everyone who died or was left victim. (We have some ideas.)

Then we headed to the Art Institute of Chicago! We especially loved Thinking of You I Mean Me by Barbara Kruger. The art is in your face. It’s as much text and audio as imagery. The messages are loud and bold and contorted in a way that makes you feel a little queasy and disoriented. Then a creepy “I love you” chirps in the gallery. Aarggh. There’s a battle between love of oneself and love from another and how to attract each other and learn to live with ourselves and media.

The images say it all, yet don’t touch the impact. The size of messages of the wall are overwhelming. Some of the images are grotesque and shocking, yet every day. The challenge is recognizing the difference between the naturally grotesque and the artificially beautiful.  There’s something very human in recognizing the dehumanization we all ascribe to for ourselves and our loved ones. And there’s something empowering about recognizing it for what it is.

And then we saw so many of our favorites. Lily is a big fan of American Gothic. I’m always a sucker for Cindy Sherman. The Institute provides a quick list of their most popular, which we always try to check out. And the work that caught my attention for the first time (thanks to Lily) was Stamford after Brunch by John Currin; the three women on the couch with drinks. Amazingly creepy example of uncanny valley – that line between human and not quite.

We took a break by visiting a comic store (Lily’s passion) and resting until a lovely dinner with Katie and dad (aka grandpa) at Fremento’s. They were so accommodating and the food was delicious.

Then finally the raison d’etre – Magnet Fields at City Winery. I have to admit I was nervous at first because it was a seated/tabled event but felt like an airplane – but dark and where you aren’t allowed to talk. Fortunately for us the people behind Katie were not adhering to the no talking so she asked if we could move and scored us an amazing table with lots of space. Yay Katie! They didn’t play a long set but they played many of my favorites from 69 Love Songs. And played a new favorite, My Stupid Boyfriend. The Magnet Fields are able to capture the humor of our darkest thoughts and there’s comfort in hearing them saying out loud something you might feel guilty about even thinking. Lily and I both love them. I’ve seen Stephin Merritt but never the whole band. So this was definitely a bucket list event. Katie had not seen them but their music is so good, she loved it too.




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