Friday, February 13, 2009
I'll be the first to admit it, I absolutely love Valentine's Day. Romance and relationships aside--to me those are the least exciting parts about it -- I love the decorating, the candy, and to me what is the general cuteness (there, I said it!) associated with the holiday.
I think deep down inside, everyone wants to like the day, despite sometimes concerted and overt efforts to appear apathetic or resentful towards greeting-card companies. Think about it: Valentine's Day is a holiday for everyone -- it transcends race, religion, nationality; to borrow a phrase from 16 Candles, it's "almost impossible to cut up" (props to those who recognize that).
Does anyone get offended by Valentine's Day? Did the name evolve from "St. Valentine's Day" to the more common and simpler version because someone objected? Who knows. To me it is in the truest sense of the word, a "holiday" -- a day that people set aside as special, just because WE CAN. We like chocolate, flowers, and heart-shaped graphics, so just let us plaster them everywhere for a few weeks, damnit! This may just be something I've contrived in my appreciation for the day, but I even think "February 14" as a written date looks pretty.
Anyway, I'm going to post a number of V-day likes in honor of the day that everyone loves to hate. Hope you heart them.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I recommend that you check out the current photography exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, "Robert Frank's The Americans". On display are walls of black and white photographs by Frank, taken in the 1950's, that exhibit that iconic images of classic American life. Yes, readers of old LIFE magazines and admirers of Norman Rockwell , there are jukeboxes, old cars, and American flags galore. Just as Buddy Holly influenced the eye-wear of many-a-hipster in this day and age, I think Frank must have indirectly influenced the images they take with the cameras they all seem to carry around.
The exhibit has been open for a little over two weeks, and I found it packed with visitors last Saturday. It celebrates the 50th anniversary of the publishing of The Americans, Frank's expose of what were at the time considered controversial images. The subjects of the photos are casual, picturing routines of everyday existence -- but composed with utmost elegance that capture a sincerity that I hope remains in American life to this day.