Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Place for Everyone

Dear New York,
Today is our final day in your ice cold weather...
      we bid goodbye to the lights of Times Square...
          the exhibits of the MET, the MoMA...
            the Empire State Building, the subway...
              the Broadway shows, the Operas...
                and our temporary home away from home, the Palladium and

But most importantly we take home with us...
          a different perspective to the modern world...
            a new meaning to the word "modernity"...
              a three-week hectic but fascinating adventure...
                an opportunity of meeting wonderful people...
and most importantly...
        an experience under your mesmerizing lights that will never be forgotten...

Thank you!

Yours faithfully,
A fresh New Yorker

P.S. You shall be missed! <3

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

C'est La Vie!

Another Broadway Play! 

One less fancier and a theater much smaller,

With the appearance one would think that the play may not be the best,

But then again never judge the book by its cover...

Going in with the plot of the story already known,

and the characters in our head already envisioned.

The curtains rose and our mind's were fooled.

The characters weren't much as they seemed,

Vida who in my head was hostile, turned out to be a rather fun character.

The handsome Mr. Karslake pictured in my head didn't turn out to be very handsome.

The play I enjoyed and admired most was all about...


A serious matter portrayed with humor and entertainment.

A situation so common, it doesn't seem to matter anymore.

Not now, not in the early 1900s.

The New York Idea showed the guise of the American community and its divorces,

Since it is where divorce most common.


Something so ordinary that you can remarry...

Remarry the person you divorced or another person you admire...

But then again it is never wrong,

one never knows where their right place is until they go to that place...

and then at that time they see whether they were wrong or rightful for someone else...

But then again...

"C'est La Vie!" 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

American Idiot? Or Worldwide "Idiocracy"?

Lights dim, silence falls, curtain rises...the stage suddenly lights up with blinding flashing lights, fills up with punk rock teenagers loudly singing:

Don't want to be an American idiot.
Don't want a nation under the new media
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind fuck America.

The show played what was the stereotypical life of Americans, specifically teenagers who believe that their future won't be any different than their life at the present. 

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives
On Holiday

The idea that Johnny, Will and Tunny decided to move out and change their lives was a start. But then reality hits and Will's girlfriend tells him she's pregnant, leaving him no choice but to stay.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn't meant to be okay.

Nothing ever goes as planned, there is always a dilemma or something unexpected that happens and stalls anyone from doing what they want to do. Even when Johnny and Tunny were able to leave, Tunny enlists himself in the army after discovering that life anywhere, whether its a city or a town, is pointless. 

Can I get another Amen?
There's a flag wrapped around a score of men
A gag, a plastic bag on a monument
I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies

Johnny is left alone in the city, not what he expected out of it. The better life turned into alcohol, sex, and drugs, which eventually led to losing the girl he loved. 

I'm walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line
Of the edge and where I walk alone
Read between the lines
What's fucked up and everything's alright
Check my vital signs
To know I'm still alive and I walk alone

Maybe America is where it is more obvious, but I believe that what happens in the show also happens in a lot of places around the world. Maybe in different forms, but in the end we are all influenced by the same source, THE MEDIA. At one point in a teen's or anyone's life, they have been influenced by the media in one way or another. The media probably has the strongest power in the world right now, anything can get through it, unfortunately.

One nation controlled by the media.
Information age of hysteria.
It's calling out to idiot America.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why build on empty land when you can build on water?

    When I first moved into Abu Dhabi, I found it astounding how a desert turned into such a large city, a city that even had greenery. That was my impression in the 90s, when the landmark of the Corniche was the volcano fountain,when there were no malls and when the souk was were you can bargain and buy cheap things. 

   As I grew Abu Dhabi grew as well, and the old souk was burned down and replaced by what they now call a "New Souk", a souk that was supposed to be the same as the old one but a more modernized version of it. Well, in my opinion, it looks modernized so far, but definitely not the same. 

     It certainly looks nicer, but it lost its sentimental value to people, its simplicity, now it just looks like another nice mall to go to. A place that replaced the fun of bargaining into paying even more than what you would pay in any other mall. 

     But what bothers me to this day is how the beach is getting narrower and narrower through the years, as beautiful as the Corniche is today, it doesn't seem right to build over a large area of water when there is so much land still vacant throughout the nation. It slowly transformed growing over the water even more and more, to the point that you would sit in a restaurant that once overlooked the beach then you come back a year later and it overlooks parks, streets and then water.

If you notice in the picture below that the buildings stop aligned, all the land below those buildings was initially water. Pictures like this never fail to surprise me every time I look at them, the idea that this was once water gives me the impression of "WOW!", both in a good way and a bad way. 

     But then again, the city never fails to impress me with all its architecture and development, for many people it may seem artificial in some ways. But to me, it is home, change is bound to happen anywhere in the world, and to watch the city's growth is simply a treat.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Escape.

Merriam-Webster has a rather brief definition of urbanism and modernism:
  •  URBANISM the characteristic way of life of city dwellers or the study of the physical needs of urban societies.
  • MODERNISM modern artistic or literary philosophy and practice;especially : a self-conscious break with the past and a search for new forms of expression.

The Abstract Expressionist New York in MoMA showed the variety of what is now considered modern art. Even though one may think that there isn't so much talent needed to pull such a painting off, for example the effortless splatters of Pollock or the colorful thick lines of Rothko. There is always a significant meaning for each if not for you then for the artist. As I moved from one painting to the next I saw a pattern that distinguished one artist from another, Barnett, for example always had a significant line standing out of his painting, Gorky, on the other had curvy lines forming a pattern. 

One painting that stood out and that applied to the definitions of both Urbanism and Modernism is Richard Pousette-Dart's Fugue Number 2. It added the feel of modernism because of the strong dark colors that it shows and the abstract hidden meaning of it. On the other hand, it also shows urbanism as it reminds me of graffiti on the streets of large cities. The congested presentation of it portrays the busy city streets and the idea of having a bunch of skyscrapers all clustered into one small space. Moreover, the fact he named it "Fugue" may be because he wants to escape out of this dark suffocating area and into a place he can breathe in. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Favori sono fatto...Ora mi devi...

     Walking into a pool of elderly women dressed in their elegant clothes, going up the velvet red staircase dimly lit and carefully designed, it seemed like walking into the Victorian era minus the corsets and incredibly large dresses. Sitting up so high, I was amazed by the setting of the opera house, watching the orchestra prepare for Puccini's "La Fanciulla del West".
       The lights dimmed, the curtains opened, and there was the setting of an old Western bar which quickly   turned into a male dominated space. Surprisingly all these men were very caught up with Minnie's business, making me very curious of who Minnie is. I found it amusing how their topic was all about one girl, but also what became more valuable by the end was how the favors she has done for them paid off to her favor. 

      Even though I pictured the opera to be a lady at the center of stage singing in a beautiful high-pitched voice, the setup would have been incredibly predictable if all the singing and the stage were eliminated.  Predictable because the lady, who is loved by everyone, always seems to fall in love with the wrong person but eventually still ends up with him. 

       In the world we live in now, there is a lot about favors and how people are obliged to return the favor if someone has done them so much. Maybe it is part of modernity or simply human nature, for instance, when Minnie asked them to let Mr. Johnson go, they eventually gave in despite of the situation and what he has done. It may not be right, but it was the easier way out from living with the guilt of prohibiting someone they owe so much to and love to not be with the person she loves and admires.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Behind closed doors...

The Edward Hopper exhibit, the first art exhibit I have ever entered, was intriguing. Every time I moved from one painting to another, I was in another life, each painting represented a life of its own, each telling a story. It fascinated me how much a painting can tell about itself and the painter. It translated everyday life into a picture.

Many paintings captured my attention, but there were two that stood out. A sense of sadness and loneliness rushed through me once I saw them. One of them was a painting of Edward Hopper "New York Interior", it seemed to show the lives of New Yorkers, well the lives of people in big cities as well. 

The woman in the painting seemed to show loneliness, with her back facing the people and her head down, she doesn't seem to be happy. Within this large city behind closed doors, the life and lights of the city in the streets disappears into darkness and loneliness. This is a reality whether in New York or cities like Dubai, there are people who seem to be full of life but go home into an empty house with no one but themselves to keep entertained.

Then there was a portrait of a clown called the "Clown in his Dressing Room" by Walt Kuhn. Clowns are usually portrayed as funny, cheerful and happy people who loves making people laugh. But behind this cheerfulness, there was so much sadness in the eyes of the clown, it looked like he was trapped in something he couldn't get out of. It doesn't seem to be fair for someone who makes people laugh to be so despairing. Behind closed doors, the doors of merely his dressing room, is a lonely person. There are times we forget that clowns are also human, that they tend to have emotions as well as needs. A lot of them live alone with no children or family, sometimes they only live in their dressing rooms.

Truly no one ever knows what goes on in people's minds or what they are going through whether it be clowns or just ordinary people in the streets. They all have a story of their own.