Darwin, at AMNH

American Museum of Natural HistoryThis November, the American Museum of Natural History opens a major new exhibit on the life and work of naturalist Charles Darwin, of whom some of you may have heard. In the museum’s own words…

This exhibition will explore the extraordinary life and discoveries of Charles Darwin, whose striking insights in the 19th century forever changed the perception of the origin of our own species as well as the myriad other species on this planet and launched modern biological science. Visitors of all ages will experience the wonders Darwin witnessed on his journey as a curious and adventurous young man aboard the HMS Beagle on its historic five-year voyage (1831–1836) to the Galapagos Islands and beyond.

The exhibition will feature live Galápagos tortoises and an iguana and horned frogs from South America, along with actual fossil specimens collected by Darwin and the magnifying glass he used to examine them. Darwin will feature an elaborate reconstruction of the naturalist’s study at Down House, where, as a revolutionary observer and experimenter, he proposed the scientific theory that all life evolves according to the mechanism called natural selection.


Pages: illumination

The healing properties of spring water, illustrated by a woman carrying two water buckets on a pole. Health Handbook. Ferrara, after 1470-72? (NYPL, Spencer Collection 65)This looks amazing:

One hundred exquisite medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts, dating from the 10th through the 16th centuries and ranging from miniature portable Bibles to oversized Gospel books, make up a new exhibition at The New York Public Library. The Splendor of the Word: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts at The New York Public Library, on view from October 21, 2005 through February 12, 2006, is the first full-scale exhibition to highlight the incredible breadth of the Library’s collection of Western European illuminated manuscripts, among the largest in North America.

At the Humanities research library, at 42nd and 5th (the one with the lions), through February.

[Links: NYTimes; NYPL]

Redesigns, libraries, etc.

So, the site redesign and update are almost done. I need to cull dead links, tidy up the resume, and make sure all’s smooth, but it should be up very soon. Perhaps surprisingly soon.

Meanwhile. Saturday was a nice New York day for the Dietsch. I went on a tour, finally, of the NYPL in midtown. The big one with the lions, y’know. Anyway, with all the time I’d spent there, editing and stuff, it was nice to finally have a look around at the place. See things I didn’t take the time to look at when I was making it my place of employment, y’know.

I hung around after the tour and saw the NYC Eats exhibit, up on the third floor. Cool stuff. Lots of paper ephemera like menus and napkins from restaurants, diners, street vendors, and other food purveyors from New York’s history. All of this is in the Library’s collection. People don’t think of libraries collecting menus and photographs and postcards, but you’d be amazed.

I then headed down the Bowery, to CBGB’s 313 Gallery, next door to the famous rock venue. 313 had a showing of Illegal Art. The idea is to represent artists who use corporate icons, slogans, or familiar characters in ways of which their owners might not approve. So Disney-character porno cartoons, for example, or Kieron Dwyer’s riff on the Starbucks logo.

If you read this blog–yeah, both of you–you can understand why this would attract me. Creative expression depends entirely on allowing people to take ideas and concepts from other sources, filtering those ideas through their own mindware, and creating something new. This ties in perfectly with the IP and copyright and cyberlaw stuff I’ve been following. I could go on, but I’ve been drinking, and I’m not sure I’d make much sense. Also, I’m not sure either of you want to hear it.


I had an entry written about the Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti, after having seen some of his work at the Met yesterday. But Blogger, fucking worthless Blogger, ate my entry and now I have to literally rewrite it if I want it posted. It’s really time to investigate Movable Type and other alternatives. I’m tired of Blogger.

But enough of that. Giacometti’s work has no peer. A contemporary of the Surrealists, he sculpted attenuated forms that are sleek and sexy, comical, or nightmarish.

The Guggenheim apparently also has several works of his on display, so I think it’s time to hit the spiral.

Now to copy and paste this into a text file so if Blogger belches again, I won’t have to write this damn post a third time.

I promised to tell y’all

I promised to tell y’all about Friday. Here’s Friday:

My vegetarian, fiddle-playing, hat-knitting, uber-styling, Unix-dorking, zine-writing, subway-busking, bicycle-riding friend Elizabeth met me for lunch in the East Village, at a vegetarian restaurant of her choosing. Kate’s Joint really is a joint. I mean, if you imagine what a restaurant would look like that calls itself a “joint,” that’s this place. The people passing by, with their piercings, spiked or mohawked hair, tattoos, and eclectic choices in clothing were fun to watch. The food was yummy.

We talked for a couple hours, and then she went off to knit another hat, while I made my uptown to meet Amy at the Hayden Planetarium. Amy, visiting from Minneapolis, is a much bigger space geek than I am–she majored in space science in college. She explained, patiently, the things I didn’t understand as we toured. What a great place.

The show we saw in the Planetarium was lovely–I literally gasped when the star field filled the dome–but a little light on hard science for my tastes. Well, it’s aimed at a general audience and considering it was written by Carl Sagan’s collaborators on Cosmos, the science that was there was impeccable. But it’s got me hungering for more, and fortunately, the Hayden offers lectures and courses. Introduction to Space Science looks especially nice.

After the Hayden, Amy and I wandered down to Midtown and the Times Square area, which of course was swimming in tourists. We called Josh, my roommate, and had him pick a dinner place. He met us at a charming, well-run Italian restaurant in the East Village. Yummy, yummy food.

After, we dragged Amy out to Ace for a drink-up. Quite a few people turned out, including Famous Comic Book Writer Guy, who seemed nice and funny, but a little geeky. I guess we’re all a little geeky, but he was a little geekier. But that’s okay. It’s weird recognizing someone based on publicity stills…

Right. Drinkup. Not much to say. We drank and we drank. Then, we drank more. Following that, in an amazing and unexpected change of plans, we drank and drank and drank. Then I went home and slept.

That was Friday.