Showing posts with label St. Petersburg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label St. Petersburg. Show all posts

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Visit History: Salvador Dali Museum

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the death of Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali and coincidentally I visited the Dali Museum in downtown St. Pete, Florida a few days ago. The popularity of Dali's whack paintings is worldwide and this Museum has the largest collection of works other than the Dali Theatre and Museum in his hometown of Figueres, Spain.

It was opening weekend for the Museum's new exhibition, Warhol: Art. Fame. Mortality., so there was a small wait to get into the museum in which the Docents passed out pipe cleaner Dali mustaches. Once inside, Warhol's obnoxious selfies and his quotes that I'm sure he thought were incredibly profound were on display-overdrive throughout the shop and exhibit.

I think everybody should like everybody.
The world fascinates me.
I wonder if it's possible to have a love affair that lasts forever.
But I always say, one's company, two's a crowd, and three's a party.
Everybody must have a fantasy.
In the future everybody will be famous for 15 minutes.
I want to be a machine. I think everybody should be a machine.
I'm afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning.
I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own.

After a lap of race-walking around the Warhol exhibition, it was time to see some Dali and purge my mind of Warhol's weird fuckin face.

Compared to the rest of the Museum, the galleries were dreary. The flow of the rooms was a little bizarre which caused some backtracking. Some of the "masterworks" were so large that you had to move around the room to see different sections of the painting because the light reflected off of areas in a weird way.

Apart from the art, the Museum had little quirks that are worth mentioning. The spiral staircase. The weird wavy glass structure protruding from the building that reminds me of Flubber. The cafe gives you gooddamn rock candy(!) on a stick as a sugar substitute for coffee. The outdoor melting clock bench. The "Wish Tree." An article from the Tampa Bay Times explains the Wish Tree and shares  past visitor's wishes. My favorite being, "I wish I was cool like Dali and had my own anteater. Or could afford to go to Cambridge." The little things are what make a museum memorable. More than the art most times.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Stalingrad Making a Commieback


The city of Volgograd, Russia voted unanimously on Thursday to officially restore the Communist-era name, Stalingrad, for six days each year. Volgograd will be referred to as Stalingrad tomorrow to celebrate the 70th anniversary of a landmark victory over the Nazis in 1943, which was a turning point for Russia during World War II. Five other days that commemorate the Soviet Union's victory in the war will be done additionally.  

During Khrushchev's de-Stalinization reforms in the 1960's, Stalingrad was changed to Volgograd.

While Stalin is referred to as a mass murderer by most of the world, the decision for the name-change comes from a wave of patriotism and nostalgia for the Soviet Union in Russia. Stalin is still held in high regard for his role in winning the war. 

A poll conducted in 1998 showed 60% of the population believing that Stalin had a negative roll in the country. The same poll, conducted last year, dropped tremendously to only 22%. Ch-ch-ch-ch changes. Maybe because the older generation who was around for Stalin are dying off and the younger generation just thinks it's cool. (like me)

Although, the lawmaker says that it isn't to rehabilitate Stalin, but to commemorate the millions of Soviet veterans who fought at Stalingrad and put the city on the mark. The lawmaker says that it shouldn't be a big deal because after all, St. Petersburg is still preserved although Peter the Great was just as bad as Stalin.

How does a city pass a law to rename the city on select days then? Is the city just going to be referred to as 'Stalingrad' by the world that day? Well, the name is going to be used in official speeches and documents during tomorrow's celebrations, weather forecasters will call the city 'Stalingrad,' and timetables at the city's train stations will reflect the change as well. 

Other names that should revert back because they are just better:

Bohemia - now Czech Republic
Persia - now Iran
Constantinople - now Istanbul
Tenochtitlan - now Mexico City
Rat Portage - now Kenora, Ontario, Canada