07 February 2006

Shakespeare and Dalí: Two of My Favorite Guys

Day 4 marked the end of the unseasonably good weather we'd been enjoying and a return to the default London climate of light but persistant drizzle. (I bought an umbrella at a souvenir shop for £4 (round about ¥900) and it actually lasted for 4 whole days without breaking.)

Our first stop of the day was a tour of the Globe Theater with John's sister Emma. I was very excited to go to the Globe because it's apparently a fairly accurate reproduction of what the theatre really looked like in Shakespeare's day (although thankfully equipped with modern-day fire-extinguishers to avoid the fate of the original Globe.) They also have a very nice museum with exhibits of costumes, props and explantions of various aspects of the theatre in Elizabethan times. You can walk around at your leisure and read up on Shakespeare and English history and then go on the tour. And, because it was still the 'holiday season' they had free mulled wine for everybody, but unfortunately, no juice for us kids (>_<).

The guide explained the seating arrangements, (one penny to stand in the the yard, 2 pennies for a seat, and 3 pennies for a nicer box), the history of the theatre, and other interesting trivia. The thing I found the most interesting (at the time) was that (the guide claimed) the word 'window' originally came from 'wind-hole' meaning a hole to let the wind in and air out an otherwise hot and stuffy room. (Having since looked it up however this proved to be an example of cutesy folk-etymology as it really comes from Old Norse vindauga or 'wind-eye', but that's neither here nor there.)

Anyway the theatre was lovely, especially the gold-leafed caryatids on the pillars and the beautiful paintings on the stage. I didn't manage to get any good pics because of the combination of the rain and a crappy disposable camera, but John sent me some super nice ones. (Thanks John!)

The next stop on our tour was supposed to be Madame Tussaud's wax museum, but unfortunately the line was about 2 blocks long and the rain hadn't let up, so rather than wait around in the drizzle for an hour or two we gave it a miss. However since the wax museum is right near Baker Street Station I did get nice pic with me and the famous resident of 221 B. Baker Street. After that we parted company with Emma and decided to visit the Dalí' museum we had noticed near the London Eye.

The Dalí Universe was great. It had tons and tons of Dalí's sculptures and statues as well as some strange glass pieces he'd done and some lithographs and gold objets d'art. The whole museum was done in a wacked-out surrealistic style with big photos of Dalí floating on the walls along with selected quotes, and even the bathroom was done in a grand Dalí-esque style. They also had a Picasso exhibit going at the same time with some interesting examples of Picasso's foray into pottery.

The glass works (done in collaboration with the French crystal company Daum in the pâte de verre style) were my favorite. The colors were amazing; bright acid yellows and cool glacial blues. They were really stunning. Since they won't let you take pictures in the museum, however, I had to search the web to get pictures. (Note: these particular works were not on display at the museum, but they are examples of Dalí's work in this medium.)

Our final stop of the day (after dinner at a yummy Indian place) was another theatre production. This time we saw Mel Brooks' 'The Producers', which was very funny. (We got royally scammed on the tickets though, 'cause we bought them through one of those little ticket-booking shops rather than from the theatre. They charged us £30 for what should've been £10 tickets. Oh well, Live and learn, I guess...) It was a very good show regardless and I hadn't been to see a musical in ages, (not since 'Hair' in college, I think) so it was doubly fun. And, there was this German couple sitting next to us and the wife kept cracking up whenever they said anything in pseudo-German, which added to the humor. In case anyone is interested they've apparently done a new movie of it recently with Uma Thurman, Matthew Broderick, and Nathan Lane so you might want to
  • check it out
  • if that seems like your thing...

    Okay this post is waaaaaaaaay too long so I'll say goog niter, and hopefully have another post up one of these days... (The next day of my vacation was New Year's Eve in Paris so it should be a good one.)

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