Well, it’s been another wonderful week in Winston-Salem! The offerings this week were just as promising as those of the previous week, and they certainly delivered. I got to spend some time with my very best friend, and although that time was all too brief, I think I felt my heart grow five times its size just from being in her presence. Here’s to hoping I can make it up to New York sooner rather than later!
An amazing band from Raleigh called Whatever Brains graced Elliot’s Revue with their presence on Thursday, and I was thrilled to see them; I had only seen them once before, some years ago at Chapel Hill’s Nightlight, where I obtained a great cassette. Sadly, no songs from the cassette were played, but their set was really good, so no complaints here. The opening band was from London and were called Chapter 24; I loved their performance and need to look into some of their recordings (it remains to be seen if I will actually do this, since being in front of a computer screen kind of freaks me out now, but really, they were awesome, so maybe you should check them out!).
Before that show, though, I had been at the Reynolda House, a historic house/museum which currently has an exhibit on loan from the Smithsonian museum entitled “Modern Masters.” I had heard that the show was pretty weak, and for the most part I have to agree. It was only about forty-five paintings, and overall, my feelings for them were pretty meh; but, there were some exceptions that really made it worth the money I paid to see it, and these pieces were truly captivating. I was writing some of my favorite pieces down in my little notebook, just as I have always done in museums across Europe and the States, when some security lady came and told me that no ink pens are allowed in the gallery. Stupid, but okay, I put my pen away, but this lady keeps on badgering me and saying, “Well, we get a lot of students, so you can understand why…” and actually I had no idea what the fuck she was talking about but at this point I just wanted to get away; it was at this point that I ran into a friend of my parents who told me that I should go home and put a brush through my hair. Let’s be real, people: I was in a somewhat altered state at this gallery; what better way is there to see modern art?? People just can’t say things like that to me, or act that way towards me; it freaks me out! I guess that’s old people for you.
Anyway, I think my favorite artist discovered through this exhibit was Ilya Bolotowsky (are you surprised that it was a Russian?…neither am I). By the time I had reached his three pieces, I had been chastised by the gallery attendant and so I couldn’t write down the names of the pieces, but don’t fear, I found one on the internet (sans title, unfortunately) and another that rather resembles one of the ones in the gallery. So that’s that for the gallery, images to follow shortly.
Last night was the big Halloween party that all my friends went to and which I decided to skip because I didn’t have a costume put together and just didn’t really feel like it. If listening to Fever Ray and reading Flannery O’Connor isn’t spooky and fun enough for you guys then I don’t know what is!
Speaking of reading, I am on my third book this week. Let’s start at the beginning, with Ilf & Petrov’s The Twelve Chairs, some Soviet-era literature that is actually humorous! Not quite so funny as Bulgakov’s masterpiece The Master and Margarita, and lacking in the supernatural element, but it still had me laughing out loud frequently in public, and it had that Russian flair that I just can’t get enough of. Recommended. Next was O’Connor’s Wise Blood, her first novel, and a kind of amalgamation of several of her short stories. I have previously read all of her short stories, so I felt a kind of familiarity for the characters and many of the plot points, but the development of those stories into a novel gave an entirely different feel to the prose. Questions of faith and belief in Protestantism are not usually things that interest me, especially in literature, but O’Connor captures a sinister element in them and weaves a story of the grotesque, the bizarre, and ultimately, the believable. Though she has a stronger grip on realism, some of her characters are just as bizarre as those of Gogol’s. So now I’m over halfway done with her second novel, The Violent Bear it Away, which began at a point of derivation from one of her stories, but has since veered into previously unknown territory, and I am thrilling to read it. Will most likely finish it today. Speaking of which, I need to get away from this computer as quickly as I can.