Melbourne, Day…

Melbourne, Day Two

This is the view from the narrow bridge between Karina's house and her train station. So gorgeous. I was amused, both by the array of chocolate bars (more than we'd typically have, I think, and different kinds), and by the fact that it's an Iced Coffee place. That that's a common enough thing they'd dedicate the name of the place to it! Although Karina tells me that a real iced coffee should have ice cream in it. So confusing. Flinders Train Station, just stunning. Another view of it coming up later. Karina tells me there are disused ballrooms on the upper levels which will eventually be turned into new apartments for sale in Melbourne, which totally makes me want to come and oversee renovating their ballrooms. How awesome would that project be?? By this point, Karina had taken me to the laneways, which are essentially alleys which have been converted over to storefronts and are totally charming and cool. This photo is just because this kid's bookshop had a delightful array of those new GORGEOUS editions of kids' classics. This is the Penguin Clothbound Classics series, I think -- I hadn't realized they were doing them for kids' books. I want them ALL for my kids, but I think I will wait and not buy them in Australia. Books are expensive here! (I'm pretty sure this is the set: http://www.amazon.com/Childrens-Puffin-Set-Books-Classics/dp/B00938TTH0/ref=reg_hu-rd_add_1_dp) A view of the bookstore itself (The Little Bookroom), which according to their website is the world's oldest children's bookstore. Whoa. It was totally charming,very well-stocked, with a friendly and knowledgeable (if slightly sardonic) proprietor. Highly recommended. http://www.littlebookroom.com.au/ I just had to document the Aussie propensity for abbreviating everything in charming fashion. Brekkie! (This is from The Organic Food and Wine Deli, aka TOFWD. Don't ask me how it's pronounced.) The cafe in City Library; love the suspended shelves of books over the cafe tables. V. cool. Not a great picture of a laneway -- they were really full and vibrant and charming, and somehow I failed to really capture that on film. Ah well. I think I should of tried to take a photo during their spring cleaning phases. Like in Hornsby, they all do their spring renovations and cleaning at the same time. During this time, the alleys are filled with furniture and random items to be donated or recycled. All the random eclectic items on the street really make for an impression.  Next time, I won't miss out on it. We had lunch at AIX, an excellent creperie. Chai and a mushroom crepe for me, blood-orange/tangerine juice and a berry-rosewater crepe for Kavi, and then we split a fabulous lemon-sugar crepe. Really, those are my favorite crepes. Karina's too. But I'm always tempted to try the other ones, just in case. Interior of cafe. The laneways places are often tiny (although some seem to be double or triple width, and some have multiple floors, so really, that's not consistent at all.) I mostly took a photo of this because I can't remember when I ever saw a Foreign Language Bookshop in America. Please tell me we have some. PLEASE. Ooh, just LOVED this plate by London designer Rob Ryan. The words say, "Moons circle planets and planets circle stars. Stars and entire galaxies rotate eternally and you and I circle each other, for you are my universe, and I will be yours." Sappy, I know, but I don't care -- I love it. It's part of his four seasons plate set. I have NO need for more plates, and yet, I was badly tempted. Blue and white plates will be my undoing. More charming Rob Ryan work. A vase that says Please Smell Us. How cute is that! Are these not the loveliest public toilets you've ever seen? The first one says Baby Change. Further on are Women, and Men. Come here, exchange your baby for a new one... This is the Manchester Unity building, which I mostly photographed because the bit on the top, with the flying buttresses, totally looked like the top of the Chicago Tribune Tower. The MU building was built in 1932; the Tribune Tower was designed out of a competition, and built in 1925. So did the MU people copy the Tribune folks? Or did the winning designer echo some popular elements of the era? Inquiring minds with little knowledge of architecture want to know. We stepped into the glorious St. Paul's Cathedral. I LOVED St. Paul's barrel-vaulted wood ceiling. Sorry the lighting got messed up here; it's not actually this glary in real life. The rest of St. Paul's wasn't too shabby either. Why am I so obsessed with doors? And metal strapping? And viney things? (All at St. Paul's.) Flinders Street train station, from a different angle, as promised. Just charming. St. Paul's, being all gothic and looming against a sunny Melbourne sky. I feel like this would be a good cover for a horrific mystery novel. Murder in the Cathedral or some such. We turned into Federation Square, a modern concoction with lots of little levels of brickwork for hanging out in. Many tourists and locals mingling. There was a Polish festival going on, so how could I resist taking a photo of a Polish woman spinning beautiful yarn? This was just AWESOME. This art installation is called "Ballroom" by Patrick Dougherty, and I am an instant Patrick Dougherty fan. Like "Cloud Gate" in Millinenium Park (more commonly known as the Bean), the delightful piece of art practically begs visitors to play with it. http://www.stickwork.net/ Mary Anne comes in! Mary Anne hangs out! Hey, there's Karina! I'm sure she's saying something brilliant and witty. � with Karina Roberts. From this angle, it looks a bit like eyes out on the world. I love the peeks of city life through the weave. "My viewers see stick castles, lairs, nests, architectural follies; and they remember moments in the woods building forts and hideouts....Most important, people love to explore strange shapes and hidden spaces, particularly if they encounter them in unlikely spots. I like to see children running towards the openings and people standing on the street and pointing. I like to spark people's imaginations and connect them with nature in a surprising way." -- Patrick Dougherty Me! And twigs! What could be better? The Forum Theatre, gorgeously Moroccan and ornate. There's a large fantabulous building in Federation Square. On stepping inside, I was immediately bowled over to see a literature exhibit! Who does that? This is for the Melbourne Prize for Literature finalists. They put quotes on the floor. They put bios on plaques. They had takeaway pamphlets with excerpts from the work, and they built these trapezoidal mirrored forms to display it within the larger building. Very striking and well-designed! I wish Chicago would do a literature display like this... This is just a piece in a glass shop, but I completely fell in lust with it. It's hard to see, but it has a ladder in the pair of trees, along with a few birds -- SO reminiscent of one of my favorite Calvino books, The Baron in the Trees. The label says this is titled "Touch of the Sublime", by Mark Eliott, a New Zealand-born, Sydney-resident glass artist. Tragically out of my reach price-wise. Not that I have anywhere to display it where it would be safe from Anandan... We walked into the museum at Federation Square, the NGV (National Gallery Victoria), aka the Ian Potter Museum. I was excited to see they had an indigenous artist exhibit on the first floor; I don't know ANYTHING about indigenous Australian art, but I was very happy to learn. The pieces in the Living Water exhibit often told stories (one, with circles, it turned out was meant to represent young girls' bottoms as they sat in the sand and talked about men). "Aboriginal people from across the Western Desert use the term �living water� to describe water sources, including rock holes and soakage waters that are fed by underground springs. The path of these springs was created by the ancestral beings of the tjukurrpa (Dreaming) as they themselves journeyed underground, their entry into the earth often marking the site of current day water sources. �Living water� is revered also because it does not seem to be affected by the harsh conditions above the ground that the people themselves have to endure." (exhibit description) This is one of my favorite pieces. This piece is entitled "Ngayarta Kujarra", by Muntararr Rosie Williams, of Manyjilyjarra. The artist statement says, "In pujiman [nomadic, bush] days we all walked from waterhole to waterhole. We were travelling around for a long time, we were all naked! We grew up walking all around these waterholes. This painting is a map from that time. All of these waterholes are still here, with the songs and dances. We are still singing and dancing for this country. We were taken away from Punmu to Jigalong mission and we worked on stations. But we came back and now we are living in our country again; that's what this painting shows. It's a painting of Punmu for Punmu." "Kumpupirntily [Lake Disappointment]" -- there are cannibals who live under the lake's surface... Upstairs, there was an exhibit of contemporary Australian artists that was just stunning. "In the triptych, Black gum, 2008, Thompson photographs himself frontally and in both left and right profile, referencing police mug-shots and persistent anthropological images of Aboriginal people forced to proffer their bodies from every angle to a scrutinising lens. Intimated by the black hoodie, the nuanced suggestion of the wholesale criminalisation of Aboriginal men publicly played out in the nation's media has outraged the artist, and the surreal mass of large coral-red flowers tipped with yellow anthers menace the viewer with its implicit threat of insurgency..." -- http://www.artaustralia.com/article.asp?issue_id=187&article_id=183 Two pieces displayed to great effect here -- I like the piece on the floor, but it's the one on the wall that won my heart. It's Sally Smart's "The exquisite pirate (Oceania)", a piece about women pirates: http://www.insideart.tv/australian-artists/sally-smart-sails-in-to-negotiate-this-world/ Janet Laurence's "Botanical residues" are just beautiful. Laurence takes the architectural forms of glasshouses (aka conservatories) and fragmented them -- just gorgeous. Last piece -- Guan Wei's "Between river and Lake". Chinese-Australian artist melding Chinese and Western art styles to awesome effect. The full piece took up a large wall, and was just stunning. I wish I could find a larger photo for you, but the web is not cooperating with my desires. Just a beautiful element of design in the building -- view through a hallway. I admit to needing a restorative cup of tea after all that art. (Karina also took me through the 19th and 20th century floor, to see her beloved Arthur Stretton's works, among others. Some of the other classics, like "The Pioneer" and "The Shearing of the Rams" were also pretty awesome. But my brain was getting art-exhausted; there's only so much of that I can process without a break) I was a little surprised that the Japanese restaurant Karina picked in Federation Square (Chocolate Buddha) could make me a pot of English Breakfast with milk and sugar, but I wasn't too surprised to take full advantage. Their fried veggie dumplings, also good. This is the Melbourne Arts Centre, not the Eiffel Tower. :-) http://www.artscentremelbourne.com.au/ Not sure what this striking flower is. But it is striking! Downtown Melbourne (I think?) through cool trees, at the Yarra river. We walked along it for a while, very pleasant. This riverside tree happened to have a comfy place to perch. In Birrarung Marr (the park on the bank of the Yarra), this was a great piece of art on sand. It's concrete, I think? But done in patterns that both resemble aboriginal artwork (see above) and the shoe bottom patterns of tourists and locals walking in the sand. I don't know if that's what they meant, but if so, cool! The Federation Bells, which are lovely to stand among when they're ringing strange melodies. Local greenery, spiky and awesome. Not sure what this kind of tree is, but it's everywhere. I THINK eucalyptus. Love the contrast of tree + building. Eucalyptus again, I'm pretty sure. Prostrate jasmine covers this bit of park -- the scent made me stop short as we walked past. I am jealous -- wish we could have jasmine growing outdoors... On our way home, the neighbor kid in the yard was practicing cricket (see bat in hand, not hoop overhead) with his dad. The dad kindly said we could take a photo to document -- and more interestingly, when I mentioned that my Sri Lankan dad played cricket, he said his son would be going with his school to play cricket in Sri Lanka next year. I love these random connections between strangers. And that was the end of day two. (Okay, we went out to dinner at Indian, but I'll pick up with that tomorrow, because I am beat!)

One thought on “Melbourne, Day…”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *