Monday, November 26, 2012

Oh Well and Oh My

So perhaps it's a function of getting older, but for whatever reason, I don't enjoy browsing in antique stores the way I used to. I used to love to soak up the atmosphere, listen to the classical music playing and the store owner's banter with customers. I browsed in slow motion, the way a heron wades in a stream looking for fish. I'd stop to look at 80% of the things on display, and I'd seriously consider buying things.

Now, I look for things that are new to me, in an antique way of course. Last week, the day after we spent a lovely Thanksgiving in Maine with dear friends, we stopped at an antique barn on Route 1 near Wiscasset. It was one of those places with many many dealers. The best ones specialize. There was one person who sold antique postcards, categorized by state. Another sold antique tools. Yet there was little else of interest and I found myself cruising through the entire building, my eye only caught by something unusual. My favorite thing was a 'cookie corner' chest of drawers from the early 1800's. The inside of the drawers were made of hardwood, and all the joints were extremely well made.  Then there were some nice rustic cider jugs. But aside from that, I could have left within ten minutes. I obliged my husband's interest in a slow perusal, which gave me a chance to notice more.

It was the art that finally got to me. Antique shops always seem to have an oversupply of old prints or original artwork that was never of gallery quality. Certainly there is a chance one might come upon a hidden masterpiece, but in New England, in the 'antique barn' type places, it's hard to find decent art. I really wonder who buys those old paintings. Maybe people collect them. To me, the value for money equation doesn't match up. I left the antique barn with a feeling of "Oh well."

Fortunately, there are plenty of living artists in Maine (and all over New England) who make their work available for reasonable prices. Earlier in the day we had visited the Tidemark Gallery in Waldoboro, and I was really taken by the paintings of Audrey Bechler on display there. Here is a sample of her work and you can link to her website here.  When I left the gallery, which is set up in a very small house (as opposed to a huge barn), my feelings were more like, "Oh my!"

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thursday Night Fever

What is it about Thursday nights?

This fall I've been double and even triple booked on Thursday nights. When I worked in banking, the 20 somethings told me that was the big night to go out with work colleagues and party. For them, Friday night was recovery night, and then Saturday night was 'couples' night. Not sure if that is still the case, but even then, Thursday night was very big.

This fall, Thursday nights have presented marvelous options, but I have stuck to my first commitments, while wondering if it's foolish to do so if something more interesting comes along. The possibilities have been tantalizing: music concerts; debut author book readings; literary association panels; author talks and all kinds of meetings.

I conclude that the Thursday Night pile-up is the usual super-heating of the greater Boston culture scene right before the holidays. It seems everyone wants to finish their events before Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hannukah. But even more importantly, before the snow begins to come down with conviction.

December is filled with holiday-related events. January is the Deep Freeze Month, but stalwart souls organize events and people actually show up at them. However, organizers are gambling that a big Nor'easter won't blow up and stop the city in its tracks. My friend Lisa Esperson and I are organizing a Khaliji (Gulf) women's folk dance workshop for the last Saturday in January on Cape Cod. Are we nuts? Only time will tell. I remember going to a church event on Cape Cod in mid-January when about two feet of snow had fallen the night before. The sun was out, it was as beautiful as a Christmas card, and despite the hassle of coming out in the winter, the church was packed. So I'll take heart from that.