Museums, Movies and Markets

I didn’t have work on Friday, so I piddled around a lot, running errands and working from my computer throughout the morning and early afternoon. MoMA was free starting at 4 p.m., so I went there and thoroughly enjoyed the special exhibits (the permanent ones were too crowded for me to even try). Among my favorite displays were a continuous video of a digital clock being painted by an artist in real time (he gradually transformed each digital number of the clock to match the actual time) and something called lightweeds, which were digital plants projected onto the wall in the form of light. They were cool because they responded to the outside natural world through sensors placed on the outside walls of the museum that measured inputs like sunlight, rainfall and wind. I thought both of those were very creative crossovers between the digital and physical worlds.

I met Ellie outside her office at 6 p.m. and we shared a delicious Thai dinner in Brooklyn before sitting down for an outdoor Sundance short films screening. The event started with live music by a cool band called Salt Cathedral, and then we watched a series of six or so selected short films from the most recent Sundance Film Festival. The event was sponsored by an organization called Rooftop Films, which shows “underground” movies outdoors in different locations throughout the city all summer long. I will definitely be going to more of them.

Rooftop Films: Underground Movies Outdoors

Saturday felt very New York in the loveliest of ways. In the morning I attended a City Harvest Mobile Market, a weekly event where City Harvest volunteers distribute produce in various locations around the five boroughs of New York. I went to one in Astoria, Queens and spent three hours bagging hundreds (thousands?) of onions for the long line of people filing through to pick up the food. Volunteers at other tables handed out watermelon, potatoes and carrots. I think I heard someone say most Mobile Markets feed close to 400 people a week — and there are 24 to 31 Mobile Markets in each borough every two weeks: in total distributing millions of pounds of food each week.

I came home feeling lucky for the food in my fridge and for my ability to immediately go out and buy more. I found a farmers market near my apartment and bought lots of organic, locally grown products mostly just out of plain excitement for it being there. The boy from whom I bought sun-dried tomatoes told me I looked like I worked there — totally made my day.

Later I walked to Central Park with a book, a blanket and my camera in my backpack, but before I settled down Ellie called to invite me to the Metropolitan Museum with her and a visiting friend. So I joined them, absorbed some fine art for a couple hours, then ate pizza with them in SoHo before returning to the park for some wonderfully pleasant reading time. (I’m still trying to finish my Spanish Harry Potter book, by the way — a goal for the week.) We spent the evening drinking wine and talking in our apartment. Lots of good conversation about things like sensitivity to potentially offensive terminology from an equality standpoint, and the question of determining what is fine art. If there’s one good thing about Duke students it’s their unhesitation in diving into an intellectual discussion.

Outside the Met: tourists or trend-setters?