Lana and I went on a quick trip to Philly this past weekend. We celebrated my birthday & a new job beginning for Lana and we celebrated with art. We first stopped by Swarthmore’s exhibit of Fritz Dietel’s work in wood and paper. I especially liked the wooden mushroom below. We walked around Swarthmore and it was incredibly enticing in the same way a Louis Vuitton purse is enticing. I both loved it (the science library, hip & airy, was full of students on a Saturday afternoon – they give a BS in engineering! who knew?) and loathed myself for loving it because you could feel how fancy it was. The gardens! I’ve never seen a school with such beautifully tended gardens. Not using just standard, fancy landscaping plants, they had a whole botanical extravaganza throughout the campus.
We found our way to downtown Philly where we had dinner at Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House. This – I have to say – was the best meal of the weekend. Great beef noodle soup, excellent dry noodle dish.
Dessert – red bean ice cream – a few doors down.
I did not stay at the youth hostel (like I did on my own in NYC), we stayed at the Warwick downtown. Extra fancy. I (absolutely) can not subject my friends to my crazy frugal ways when I agree to a girl’s weekend. We randomly got upgraded to the club floor – free breakfast & happy hour.
Sunday am – we went to the Eastern State Penitentiary. This was (I think) the most interesting tourist thing we did. Everyone asked if we did the nighttime Halloween tour. We did not. Apparently you can pay to have ghoulish people drag you into a cell and tie you up and scare the living shit out of you. I think that is an experience that I do not need to have.
Then we headed toward the art museum, where we (unexpectedly) participated in a more activist lunch than I was planning on. This museum restaurant cycles through themes. Sunday was the last day of the “survival” menu before they moved onto the “resistance” menu.
The meal, was a bit on the modest side calorie-wise, but heavy on the pumpkin and turmeric. A culinary artist was on hand to talk about her “survival” themed dish and performed with song and dance and we sang along as well.
On the famous Rocky steps.
The art museum is undergoing a huge expansion where they are going to dig underneath the Rocky steps and double (?) the space.
When I looked at this architectural model, all I could think about was how I would absolutely love having the job of making this model. What did you do today, honey? Oh, I spent 8 hours making a miniature Calder mobile for my miniature Philadelphia Art museum. Lana treated me to dinner at High Street on Market, which was very nice.
We went to the Barnes Foundation’s new museum today. No photos of the inside, they don’t allow photography, but I really enjoyed it. A rich scientist’s OCD approach to art collection. Of course, I (knowing nothing about the actual art) appreciate the art displayed in a cascading pyramid scheme based only on size/color and not on any historical or artistic concerns. Who cares that a Pennsylvania Dutch child-like drawing is next to a Picasso? Lana was a little bit like – eh. how many Renoir bathers can you have? (a lot) how many bowls of fruit can you have (a lot as well). I loved it even though you could tell that Barnes would have been hellish to live/work with.
And on our way out of town – Pat’s cheesesteak! The big winner!