New Year, New Art
Jump, dive, leap into your 2008 New Year's resolution to listen more attentively to the creative muse chiming in the back of your head. With the New Year come new gallery shows, new theater company seasons and opportunities for new artists to come out of hiding ... like these:
Step Right Up
Human Volcano at the Albuquerque Museum
These days, polite people feel guilty about the natural human tendency to stare at other people with physical deformities or quirks. Jump back a hundred years, though, and it’s an entirely different story. Back then, gawking at so-called “freaks” wasn’t just socially acceptable, it was good, wholesome family entertainment. Well, maybe not wholesome per se, but folks certainly didn’t feel bad about it, paying good money for the chance to see human oddities up close and in the flesh.
A Comet's Tale
Beethoven Was One-Sixteenth Black by Nadine Gordimer
Beethoven Was One-Sixteenth Black
There are short stories that feel like tales and others that feel like fiction. Then there’s the kind of work Nadine Gordimer has been publishing for nearly 70 years—which is best described as a weather system. Her voice travels across the page, darkening certain regions, changing the barometric pressure in others, and then, just as quickly as the voice arrived, it moves on, leaving you with the memory of an occurrence so vivid and yet ephemeral it takes on the lived quality of real experience.
Diary of a Bad Year by J.M. Coetzee
Diary of a Bad Year
Having written one perfect novel, Disgrace, and several others that can easily be read annually without blunting their spell, prize-winning author J.M. Coetzee seems to have decided to spend his remaining years poking and prodding the limits of his form. Elizabeth Costello came in the shape of essays delivered by an aging writer. Slow Man was a perfectly functional story, until Elizabeth Costello elbowed in (with a recurring character appearance) and called the whole enterprise her own. Now, with Diary of a Bad Year, Coetzee has fractured a novel into three discrete parts that allow the audience to choose how to read it.
Design Zone Exhibit
The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History unveils a new exhibit on Saturday, Feb. 1 and continues through April 26. Titled Design Zone, the new topical display features a somewhat ironic investigation into the processes that drive creation, especially in regard to video games, roller-coasters and EDM music. This exhibit was designed at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and it has a youthful, productive vibe to it. We get that. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists just announced that the hands on the doomsday clock were closer to midnight than ever. Even though nuclear power showed some promise in solving the world's energy needs, nuclear science still means the study of a type of war that would kill billions if put into action. Nuclear history equals the story of devising ever more efficient killing devices. It's wonderful to know citizens have a museum where they can learn all about that while also acquiring knowledge about the human creative urge. Admission to the museum, which is open daily from 9am to 5pm, ranges between $7 and $14. Go science!