Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Mardi Gras, Galveston

Mardi Gras is a very crazy festival. But while you are there, you become an equally involved participant in this festival. In short, its a festival of beeds. People in the balcony throw beed at the people on the road. And for whatever reasons, the people on the road like to collect them. There is also a parade but really, "the beed throwing" itself is a major thing here. New orleans is the home for the biggest Mardi Gras but Galveston is no behind at rank 3.

We reached Galveston (Feb 14th, around 3pm) and looked for a place to eat. All place was crowded and we finally settled in at Denny’s. After that, we parked our car and then walked towards the parade. People were already getting ready to watch the parade by pulling chairs on the sidewalks. We had to walk couple of blocks to get to the main entrance of this festival where all the fun happens. Its a ticket of $18. I had no clue what was to happen here so it was all an excitement. 

The first sight of people on the road catching beed thrown by those on a balcony seemed weird. "Why would anyone want those? », I thought. But as time passed and almost everyone were into it, the euphoria pulled me in too. In less than half an hour,I had collected several beeds. It was so much fun just catch them and adding to your collection. 

We met one spanish lady who enquired if this was the first time we were visiting. When we said yes, she gave all her beeds to us and then asked us to be very careful. Crazy stuff happen here and it did too. Another group of youngsters were all excited about the selfie stick I was carrying and they wanted to try that. They were so drunk that, I feared they would drop my iPhone attached to the stick. A couple standing next to me were collecting as much stuff as they could - Beeds, Frisbees, masks. They told me they were collecting them for their kids back home, so I gave them the frisbee I had caught flying towards me. 

Parade was okay and mostly repetitive. People would throw beeds into a trumpets and even at dancers. It was a crazy atmosphere there. 

I must say that I had not seen such a lively crowd anywhere before. It is definitely a one time viewing for seeing a very weird but fun culture around the US.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kemah, Texas

On the 13th of February, I left Indy and headed towards Houston. I looked forward for this long weekend so as to escape the cold Indy weather. I was also visiting a new state thus making the count of visited states 27. 

I had booked a room in the same hotel that my friend Karthik was staying in. I met his friends Arun and Ganesh there. On the 14th, five of us (Includes another friend of Karthik called Rajan) left Houston and drove to Kemah which is about an hours drive. I had made no plans at all so I was in for anything that would come up. The boys had decided to go to the Mardi Gras in Galveston and before that stop at Kemah which has some adventure rides. 

Houston seemed different than any other cities I had been to in the US. It was not very clean, there was trash on the sides of the roads, plenty of beggars, pot holes on the road and had narrow lanes and parking slots. People did not smile to each other like they do in Colorado or Indy. In some strange way the vegetation and the weather gave an India feel to this place. 

Our drive to Kemah was interesting and I got to know my new friends a little better. We took two rides in the amusement park that was really crazy. One took us to a height and dropped us down and the other was a train ride but the track was a circle and the speed was terrible. But it was fun. 

We then walked along the boardwalk. The boat rides here are supposed to be good. After hanging out for a while, we decided to head to Galveston.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Wine & Canvas

While returning back from lunch with a colleague one day, I saw this place on the 82nd street called « Wine & Canvas ». My friend told me that this place features a work of art every day and an artist would walk the participants through the process of creating it. It sounded interesting and I had to do it. I quickly checked the website and signed in for one of the days (12-Feb) that I thought had a painting of my choice. They have a schedule with the picture of the painting for that day so you could select and book a seat for $ 35. I am told that they are normally always full so it is advisable to book well in advance. The event starts at 6pm and goes on for 3 hours by end of which you would have completed a beautiful piece of art. There are branches of this in several other cities around the US. You could also find similar programs run by other groups. 

I was there early and was all excited to see the arrangements. I made myself comfortable on a chair in front of an easel, got myself a glass of wine and talked to my neighbours for a while before the event started.

The artist began painting and we had to follow; not necessarily do the same. You could get creative and try your own colors or style. The media is acrylic on canvas. I enjoyed this whole process and took some deviation from the instruction and added some texture and colours of my own. It was a good session with everyone talking to each other, encouraging  one another and having a lot of fun. I truly appreciate the way Americans enjoy the simplest of simplest thing. They make me feel comfortable in this country and thats perhaps why my neighbour guessed that I had been here before as to her, I seemed extremely comfortable here. 

I tried my signature colour transition technique on the door.  I added more yellow to the leaves and provide strokes to the tree which was a deviation from the original again. As usual I struggled to stop the finishing. There always seemed something or the other to finish and it never seems done. 

The artist walked by me and observed the painting for a while and told - "One can just walk through this painting." "It is beautiful",  she added. I was pleased with my own work. This was by far the fastest painting of this size I had done. I decided to name this painting « Walk through »

I felt good by the end of this day. Painting had completely seized me and my thoughts for these three hours and I realised that true passion could take you very easily to the zero state. I was also happy about this country that has so much to offer always. Every time I visit, the more I love this country. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Winter Dog Show, Indianapolis

Winter dog show was happening close by to the Indianapolis art museum and I did not want to miss it. But what I did not expect is that it was so much fun. There were all types of breed, there were special desks for them where they got cleaned, combed and fed, there were stores selling dog shirts, food, combs and what ever that a dog might need. 

This place was so lively and the dogs surprisingly did not even bark. For more than an hour that  I was there, i saw not a single dog bark. The show was separated for different breeds and a judge would do a thorough check of the dog and then even observe its movement. It was so nice to see these well behaved dogs. I shall leave you with these pictures of the adorable dogs I saw that day.

Indianapolis Art Museum

Another city was soon waiting for me. I traveled from LA back to Colorado Springs and spent a week before it was ready to fly again. On the 4th of Feb, I left Colorado Springs to Chicago and then to Indianapolis. Flight delays made my travel time so long that I reached Indy only by midnight. The first weekend that I was there(Saturday 7th Feb) , I decided to visit the Indianapolis art museum hence continuing my trend. 

The museum has some really good sculptures displayed int he front. I was also surprised to see a good crowd there. Mostly parents bringing their kids for a day out but there were several art lovers too. 

I have been viewing impressionist art where all I have traveled and my liking for this style is growing with every visit to such museum. 

Landscape at Saint-Remy by Vincent Van Gogh - 

Sunday Afternoon by George Moreen - 

The Church Of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice by Claude Monet - 

The most exciting was to see a self portrait of Rembrandt with his distinctive claire obscure style. 

The front building housed some Chinese music and dance show. A dragon dance attracted lots of kids to this event. 

Some of the contemporary art was also very impressive. 

Telekinetic Masturbator by Erwin Wurm - 

Untitled (Mylar) by Tara Donovan - 

I personally loved this floor full of small sculptors of men appearing to hold the glass in one hand lifted. 

Floor by Do-Ho Suh - 

This place is easily a half day trip if not more and the exteriors are very impressive. A 100 acre park extends to the left of the museum and summer time would be a good time to take a stroll in them.