Thursday, June 25, 2009

'Play me... I'm yours'

Happy Fourth of July!

We're in NYC now but we're still blogging about London. This is one of the coolest things I've ever seen... around the city there are pianos with music tucked in a side pocket for people to play. I can't think of a better way to get people laughing and singing and causing spontaneous street dance parties. This piano was in front of the Natural History Museum. The two fellas playing the piano were fantastic and within a minute or so a huge crowd had gathered around them. Right after they finished a little boy got up and played chopsticks... the crowd stayed to cheer him on.

it's interesting to see ideas like this put into play that help create a sense of community... check out the video below. I tried to pan over to see Ella's face, but clearly missed :) I think it's great that they just showed up, grabbed some sheet music and went for it. Pretty cool.

More on this project HERE

Art Museums with a toddler

Having a toddler in tow hasn't stopped me from visiting London's amazing museums. One of my favorite parts of vacations when I was little was going to museums because my Mom made it so fun. We never spent more than an hour or two in a museum and we were always going to see something specific, not just wandering aimlessly. It made it sort of like a treasure hunt.

I want my daughter to love museums too, so I'm brainwashing her from the beginning. I think it's important for kids to learn about art and I think it's great at a young age for many reasons. Most recently I've realized that it can teach a child to recognize objects in different forms. It's fun to watch little E try and see what I'm pointing out even when it's not clear (I love modern art, so many of the objects I show her take a bit of work to SEE). Sometimes it takes a minute, but it's wonderful to watch as she finally deduces what those brush strokes make up and says 'choo choo' with a grin on her face.

How do we keep our 18 month-old quiet and interested? Here's how...

What do you see? (she can say tree) Do you see a boat?

Do you see what's coming down the hill? What does a horse say?

Can you show me how you dance? (that's a Kandinsky! Cool!) What does a cow say (even though it's an ox)?

ps. if you are a modern art fan you MUST visit the Courtauld Gallery at the Somerset House on the Strand in London. This museums is arranged according to collector, not chronologically. It's amazing to see the pieces each collector chose and to identify running themes or colors. The Courtauld houses the best collection of Fauve works I've ever seen in one place. I got chills to see several Vlamnick and Braque and Derain works all in one room. There is also an entire room of Kandinsky works that are stunning. Only one or two in the whole room reflect his later abstract style. I always love seeing artists' early works. AND there's an amazing courtyard with a waterfountain kids can run through. So fun!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rangoli floor art

The British Museum has a huge exhibit featuring the culture and art of India. To kick of the beginning of the exhibit they are having all sorts of events, workshops, and talks. We were lucky enough to be there during this wonderful demonstration of Rangoli floor art. It was amazing to watch this artist work. And he even let me take his picture. What a smile!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Afternoon Tea at the Kensington Palace Orangery

I got a second chance to take photos after being too chicken at Brown's Hotel (5* hotel with the Mister's boss and several coworkers- would you have whipped out the camera?) when my Mom and I went to tea at Kensington Palace.

I've decided going to host an afternoon tea with my girlfriends when we get back to the States. Now I just need to find some proper tea cups.


I've never met a bobby like this one- he was dancing to the beat of the protestors' chat across the street when we approached. When I asked if it was alright to take pictures of Big Ben through the gate he said "Yes. You can take pictures of me too" so I did. Funny guy.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Big Ben

Is it possible to have a crush on architecture? I guess I'm a true art history nerd. I just adore the Houses of Parliament. Its Perpendicular Gothic revival style gets me every time, that's what it's supposed to do. But the Houses of Parliament would be nothing without Big Ben. I never get tired of seeing or hearing this fine fellow.

You see? I'm obsessed. I will miss you, buddy.

Open to interpretation

I don't think a driver's speed in an enclosed parking lot should be left open to interpretation. But that's just me.

What does 'dead slow' mean to you? 1 MPH? 25 MPH?

London Eye

We're glad that rates went down so that we could finally afford to go (and it helps that the exchange rate is lower than 2:1 like it was when we lived here last)... add this to your to-do list next time you're in London. Definitely worth it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A few from Trafalgar Square


There's nothing like a street market. Those tables full of vintage cameras and buttons get me every time. We only have a week and a half left... I'm sure going to miss London.