Friday, June 22, 2018

An Amsterday

The view from my friends' apartment.  Note the flower-bedecked bicycle in the lower right corner.  
There are many scattered throughout the city.  I heard that an American does them.

I'm back in Amsterdam for the first time in nine years.  I lived here about half-time between 1986 and 1994.  I went back and forth between Amsterdam and San Francisco during that time.  Hard to believe I actually did that.  I fell in love with this city then and had many adventures and romances and happy times.

It's very strange to be back.  I've changed.  Amsterdam has changed.  The world has changed.  Do the city and I still fit together?  I'm still figuring it out.

Last night, friends Lieke and Elizabeth fixed dinner at their apartment.  Lieke and I go back to 1986.  Elizabeth has been her partner for more than 10 years.  I felt so at home in their home, both of them taking care of me.
Elizabeth pours the wine for a fabulous meal.

Today, I visited the biggest museum, the Rijksmuseum.  Got there when it opened to avoid the crowds and wandered around.

This may look like one of those gorgeous still lifes but in fact it's a POLITICAL statement.  At the time, 1670, the House of Orange was in eclipse. Their enemies had forbidden anyone to publicly support them.  But you COULD still paint a picture of fruit -- any fruit.  The title of this painting, "Viva Orange," makes the subversive meaning clear.  It took guts for Jan Davidsz de Heem to give it that title and paint not one but TWO oranges.  You go, Jan Davidsz!

I love all depictions of The Last Judgment, with fabulous demons torturing the damned.  So creative!  These small images are from a huge triptich.  On the opposite side of the frame, the good folks are entering Heaven.  BOOOOORING!

Then it was on to the very small section of modern artists.

I'm sorry, I did not record the (obviously female) artist's name.  This is hilarious and luscious, no?  It is the size of a coffin.

Then I met up with Lieke and it was on to the Stedelijk, the modern museum.  The Stedelijk is the NASA of museums, experimenting with technology like drones and weird stuff.  Much seems from outer space.  And not so easy to photograph.

  This is a mesmerizing video of concrete blocks floating slowly over the Scottish highlands.  I didn't understand if they used drones or were manipulating video.  It was magical to watch.  Ultimately all the dozens and dozens of blocks come together langorously in a huge mass.  When the last block dropped into place, it was very gratifying.  Hmmm.... I wonder if this sounds interesting to you.  Maybe not!

Then it was time for Lieke to go home and for me to wander around my dear Amsterdam.
I've never seen a Polka-Dot Bike Bell before.

Cyclists and Flowers Everywhere

A very funky, not to say strange, frame shop.  I remember it from when I lived in the neighborhood.  So few of these quirky corners are left.

It's late.  Tomorrow I'm meeting my friends in Gouda for Roze Saterdag -- Gay Pride.  Gotta go to bed.

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