Celebrate Batman’s 75th Anniversary with the Best of Batman on Texts From Superheroes
Follow me: @jaenarae.
It's always the simple things that are most enjoyable, right? Well, here is a collection of simple things that make me smile and laugh. ✎✈♪☂
It takes a little effort to make life pleasant and varied. Well, perhaps more than a little effort, but the point is that it isn’t easy.
Fortunately, I enjoy a motley assortment of diversions ranging from theater and dance, to fossils and bugs, and the more macabre, like old cemeteries and other generally creepy things. Indulging in any of these from time to time keeps me content. I can find something enjoyable in almost any situation, save for those instances where I feel trapped in a crowd.
On Sunday, June 1, we finally revisited the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA). We’ve been members for a few years now, but haven’t really taken advantage of that lately because of work or other engagements. Busy bees.
I always try to visit when the aquarium opens a new exhibit. In this case, it was Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes Special Exhibition.
I can’t admit that I learn a lot at the aquarium. Of course, I read the little signs everywhere, but eh, they’re all fleeting factoids. Without any reinforcement, I tend to forget. This may be a good thing though, as I’m always struck with the same sense of wonder during every visit. I find all animals fascinating, and the aquarium allows me to observe real, living, breathing creatures. In tiny glass cells, but I digress.
Aside from the varieties of octopi, I was most impressed by the cuttlefish. I recall two species on display: the flamboyant cuttlefish and the stumpy cuttlefish. Both constantly change colors, camouflaging themselves against the sea floor or whatever else they may be swimming over. Here’s the stumpy fellow making colors at us:
Oh yes. I forgot about the strange music constantly playing throughout the exhibit. I suppose it makes for a more surreal experience.
MBA is also quite good at interactive exhibits. Here’s an example of how MBA demonstrates that these animals are all masters of disguise, using organs called chromatophores to quickly change colors, patterns, textures and shapes for camouflage, hunting and communication. (I did learn stuff!)
In the cephalopod selfie, altering my expressions changed the colors and patterns that appeared on my face. After fooling around with the camera, you can send it to your email for posterity, and you can opt to have your video selfie displayed on a big screen with those of other aquarium patrons.
Another special MBA exhibit is The Jellies Experience, which is all about jellyfish, if that wasn’t obvious. It’s been around for a couple of years now, but I don’t think it’s permanent. I apparently have a thing for tentacles animals. The music is even more psychedelic for jellies.
After the aquarium, we wandered over to Carmel for lunch. (Who wanders over to Carmel just for lunch? Who am I? Or rather, what am I becoming?)
As with most folks in our generation, David picked Dametra Cafe from Yelp. Despite its popularity, we were seated and served pretty quickly. And my stomach is now rumbling thinking about the food. It was good, simple Mediterranean food, but the special treat was the singing chef!
He serenaded the whole crowd with a classic Mexican love song. The video above doesn’t do him justice.
After that, we made our way down to the beach and walked the length of it and back. It was a gloomy day but the sand was fine, soft and warm. Growing up in the South Bay of LA, I am used to crummy, rough sand, so the sand in Carmel was a bit of a revelation. I wanted to roll around and bury myself in it. Perhaps next time.
All in all, it was a nice day trip, and a good cap to an eventful weekend. The day before, we saw “Bowling Blues” in the Mission.
Please check out and support MBA if you’re ever in the area. Aside from the fantastic exhibits, they also have behind-the-scenes tours and host a variety of neat events. They also conduct research programs and are heavily involved in conservation efforts.Spending time with Cthulhu at MBA It takes a little effort to make life pleasant and varied. Well, perhaps more than a little effort, but the point is that it isn’t easy.
On May 31, I had the pleasure of enjoying a performance by Los Angeles-based Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre. “Bowling Blues” at the Mission Bowling Club in SF integrated live music by multi-instrumentalist Claire Gignac and athletic choreography by Duckler. The piece explored the vintage atmosphere of bowling alleys against the soundtrack of Gignac and company, pins falling and popcorn popping. It was such fun and altogether much too short!
Check out a few of my photos and video below:
The dance group is renowned for Duckler’s site-specific choreography, and thanks to Leibner, I’ve delighted in their performances since high school. My first introduction was at the historic (and now demolished :/ ) Ambassador Hotel in LA: “Sleeping With the Ambassador” (2003).
…the audience moved from the decaying empty swimming pool through the Casino Hallway where dancers performed in the storefronts to the famous Coconut Grove and ended in the lobby of the hotel with the dancers curled at the feet of the audience. Written by Merridawn Duckler, music by Amy Knoles, and design by Dan Evans.
Quite simply, I was blown away. The sensual choreography, coupled with the lush backdrop of the hotel, was unlike anything I’d experienced at that point in my life. At 16 years old, my admiration for performance art deepened and broadened, and I’ve tried my best to introduce others to this unique group. Every performance is a visual and aural assault; you almost feel a part of the show.
Other performances I’ve enjoyed:
The Entire World is a Narrow Bridge | 2005
Casa del Mexicano, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles
Created in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, the performance reflected the community’s complex cultural history with music, costumes and movement influenced by the neighborhood’s Eastern European Jewish, Japanese, and Latino heritage. Written by Merridawn Duckler with music by Bob Een and local Mariachis and a set designed by Habib Kheradyar.
C’opera | 2006
Los Angeles Police Academy, Los Angeles
Created in collaboration with the Los Angeles Police Department, this opera took the audience on a journey throughout the historic Police Academy’s gymnasium, rock garden, coffee shop and firing range. With live music by Amy Knoles and Dorothy Stone and libretto by Merridawn Duckler.
Cleopatra, CEO. | 2012
Paul Hastings Tower, 51st Floor, Los Angeles, CA
In the opulent former ARCO headquarters on the 51st Floor of the Paul Hastings Tower, Cleopatra, CEO. interwove the gender biased myths and propaganda associated with the icon Cleopatra, or femme fatale of the east, with the male dominant corporate lineage of the oil men of the west. Between the incredible panoramic views of downtown to Cesar the stunt-man, this multimedia performance challenged ideas of desire and power.
If you ever have the opportunity to attend a performance, PLEASE DO."Bowling Blues" by @HeidiDuckler Dance Theatre. On May 31, I had the pleasure of enjoying a performance by Los Angeles-based Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre…