Saturday, September 18, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Fallen Oktoberfest

Autumn carpet

On 12 October 1810, Ludwig, crown prince of Bavaria, celebrated his wedding to Therese, princess of Saxe-Hildburghausen, with a big party in the capital city of Munich. He celebrated again the following year and each thereafter continuing to do so after even ascending to the Bavarian throne in 1825. Social unrest —including the Bavarian Beer Riots of 1844— ended his reign in 1848 but the beer-drinking and feasting endured. Bavarians and visitors continue to celebrate the annual bacchanal, from mid-September into early October, calling it Oktoberfest.

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Fallen Oktoberfest

Since 1810, there have been only twenty-six occasions on which Oktoberfest has not been held. The COVID-19 pandemic accounts for two of those: last year and again this. Only twice before has disease has canceled teh celebrations —in 1854 and 1874— on both occasions because of a cholera epidemic.

If Oktoberfest had occurred in Munich this year, it would have begun today, Saturday, 18 September, and concluded sixteen days from now, on Sunday, 3 October, German Unity Day.

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Pic(k) of the Week

Someone (maybe even I) once said, "The colors of autumn are the colors of beer."

So, here, to remember a fallen Oktoberfest: an autumn leaves tableau...but taken last year. Northern hemisphere autumn doesn't begin until 22 September, so things haven't quite yet reached THAT point of fallen color!

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Saturday, September 11, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Mantis preying for autumn

Mantis praying for autumn

Preying,
She hunts.
Prematurely autumnal.

As seen alongside the East Decatur Greenway in the city of Decatur, Georgia, USA, on 22 August 2021. (Autumn does not officially begin for another month, on 22 September.)

The species praying mantis (Mantodea), like the cockroach, has existed since the Cretaceous period, 145 million years ago. It probably will continue thus for hundreds of millions more. Unlike us.

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Saturday, September 04, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Porcelain on the vine

Porcelain on the vine

Robin's-egg-blue but invasive.

In mid-summer, bedewed porcelain berries grow wild, ringing Postal Pond in Legacy Park of Decatur, Georgia, USA. 1 August 2021.
Ampelopsis glandulosa var. brevipedunculata —with common names porcelain berry, Amur peppervine, wild grape, and creeper— is a deciduous, woody, perennial vine climbing trees and shrubs via tendrils to a height of 15-20 feet (4-6 m). It is naturally found in Northeast China, Korea, Siberia, and Japan, but was introduced in 1870 to the United States where it has become invasive along the East Coast. Fruits are circular berries about 1/3 inch in diameter (8 mm), in many colors on the same plant, including green, blue, purple, pink, or yellow. The vines are found in disturbed areas such as roadsides, old fields, and floodplains where sunlight is abundant.
Wikipedia.

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Saturday, August 28, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: La Grande Vitesse

La Grande Vitesse

La Grande Vitesse (1969)
Sheet metal, bolts, and paint
Alexander Calder (American, 1898–1976)
Calder Foundation, New York

In his last decade, Calder focused on large-scale public sculpture commissions. This is a model for a vibrant red sculpture installed in the plaza of City Hall in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “It’s really just for differentiation, but I love red so much that I almost want to paint everything red,” Calder said in the 1960s. The bold, curving shapes summarize his lifelong interest in creating a dialogue between voids and volumes.
— High Museum placard

This is one of about one hundred artworks by Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso on exhibit at the High Museum of Art, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, during the summer of 2021.
Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso are two of the foremost figures in the history of twentieth-century art. This touring exhibition, which debuted in 2019 at the Musée National Picasso-Paris and is coming to the High this summer, presents more than one hundred paintings, sculptures, and works on paper spanning Calder’s and Picasso’s careers that reveal the radical innovation and enduring influence of their art.

Conceived by the artists’ grandsons, Bernard Ruiz-Picasso and Alexander S. C. Rower, and organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the exhibition focuses on the artists’ exploration of the void, or absence of space, which both defined from the figure through to abstraction.

Calder’s wire figures, paintings, drawings, and revolutionary nonobjective mobiles, stabiles, and standing mobiles are integrated throughout the exhibition with profoundly inventive works by Picasso in every media. The juxtapositions are insightful, surprising, and challenging, demonstrating the striking innovations these great artists introduced through their ceaseless reexamination of form, line, and space.

One impression I departed with was that THIS is a exhibiton of art that children should be taken to. Of course, neither Picasso nor Calder are juvenile in any way, but their macabre and whimsical (and mobile) exploration of forms and shapes could make many young people lifelong appreciators of art, unencumbered as they are by instilled preconceptions.

By the way, Mr. Calder may have loved red but, under the lights at the High, this official maquette (1:5 scaled-down model created in 1975) of La Grande Vitesse appeared orange. And the name? It translates from French as "the high speed" or, eponymously for its home city, as "the grand rapid."

Mais, oui!

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Saturday, August 21, 2021

Pic(k) of the Week: Pat's Budweiser truck

Pat's Budweiser truck

"But Tom," I'm asked, "where are the images of good fermentables?" So, here (even if the modifier "good" might be cause for debate).

The side panel of a Budweiser truck, as seen through the entrance of the renowned bar, at O'Brien's, in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, on 22 July 2011. (The gumbo melange of a Gaeilge bar in an arrondissement français can't be overlooked.)

Drinking is permitted on the streets of New Orleans; the mask is nine years pre-COVID.

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