Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Notes from a weekend in Ottawa

Ah! Our nation’s capital, where politicians politic and pundits pun. But not in late July/early August, of course. Ottawa in late July/early August is a lovely city to visit if you like your grandparents and your grandparents happen to live in Ottawa, which mine do.

Highlights of a long weekend excursion to the 'T'wa:

-- Went to see The Great Parade: Portrait of the Artist as Clown at the National Gallery of Canada. It's an absolutely exhaustive collection of art about clowns/circus performers. But while I thought the works exhibited were fascinating and gasped audibly at the Picasso stage curtain (Imagine having Picasso as your set designer! Holee!), I felt the curator knew little about clown traditions in theatre and chose to make his own (in my mind, misguided) theory about the Artist as Clown the main focus of the show. The audioguide was largely useless and often gave interpretations of the paintings that were highly dubious, and the English captions to the paintings were awkwardly-translated. A more than worthwhile exhibition, if you disregard the narcissitic curative bafflegab.

-- Went to the National Gallery gift shop and marvelled at how crass an ending it is to every superlative trip. To wit: A mug with a picture of Van Gogh on the side. When you fill it with a hot liquid, his ear disappears. How quaint, he said snootily.

-- On my grandmother's couch, gave The Walrus another chance. Turns out that the magazine isn't so bad after all. Or, at least not so bad as having to once again look at the family photo album.

-- With some wonky friends in a Market pub, had an inebriated discussion about how nice Canadian political journalism is, insofar as no one has yet written an article about the fact that three members of the new Cabinet are gay -- something that would have resulted in myriad magazine covers south of the border. Huzzah! Another round of over-priced pints for everyone!

-- Pondered the prejudice facing mixed metaphors. What's so bad about mixed metaphors, anyway? They never really bother me. I am capable of handling multiple metaphors in a single sentence. Maybe we should call them hypermetaphors. Metametaphors?

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