Saturday, April 20, 2013

Friday Funday

Yesterday, we finished our Visual Cultures class with a lecture on the London Eye. After starting class with brunch on the south bank, we "flew" on the London Eye.. getting all those epic pictures (and Vine videos!) that everyone pats themselves on the back for. After all, it isn't the memory but the photograph that lasts a lifetime! (Psh yeah... right..)
Speaking of...

The Eye was exciting, I've done it three times and have loved it each time! It is a touristy must for all who visit London. We then headed down the road to Leake Street to 'analyze' the street art and graffiti of this amazing road. Leake Street is a legal graffiti zone so we ran into a few street artists who were practicing their craft on a tunnel wall.

A sculptural center was open for us to meander through at the end of the tunnel and we had quite the experience inside... The exhibits were pitch black with only black, UV lights to see the neon string and straws which made up the artworks. They were incredible and I could have stayed in there all day! However, in one of the rooms a large orange ball sat as if it was floating in the air (see picture) while surrounded by neon lighting. I immediately race towards the floating ball in the back of the room to check it out and (thank goodness) see the black strings which are actually holding up the ball. One of my classmates was not as fortunate... she walks right into the strings as I'm saying "watch out for the...uh oh" and the giant ball slowly tumbles down to the wet, dirty - we're in a tunnel, mind you - floor below.
It might have been the funniest things I've witnessed in a very long time. My sweet professor was behind us and she just says "Oh, well then!" and starts cracking up. Carlz and Suz craw under the wires to "save" the ball and some serious physics were undertaken in order to place it back on its original strings. All said and done, the ball was saved but not without dirt and mud running down its bright orange exterior. Needless to say, we got out of there pretty quickly.
I've realized while studying in London that most people in the art world have a "One time I accidentally ruined a piece of art" story and now I am happy to say I have mine. While I did not actually knock the ball, I'm pretty sure all of us who witnessed it will claim some responsibility. What a hilarious way to put contemporary art in its place - pun intended.

After the orange ball debacle, we went to one of my favorite places in London. The undercroft is where I sentimentally fell in love with London way back in 2008 on my first visit to the city. I sat for hours taking pictures and soaking up the diversity, the art and the community that exists right int he heart of the South Bank. Unfortunately, this awesome place is under threat! I was heartbroken to hear that the South Bank is being renovated and this cool, unique spot will be replaced with another Starbucks or Pret. I truly hope that this will not happen but we've got to make an effort to save it, I'll definitely be going to the May 4-6th weekend to help show support for the space. Can't wait for that.. I'm seriously considering chaining myself to the massive concrete pillars, hippie style.

So long story short... please sign this petition to keep the South Bank skate park in the South Bank! Okay, my save the skatepark rant is complete.

A short walk to Tate Modern for a cup of tea completed our class and then we made our way to the pub for a pint and dinner before our super posh and cultural experience... the ballet! We saw "Ecstasy and Death" in the London Coliseum and it was amazing. The music, the dancing, the costumes... it was a sensory experience to say the least. Our Friday Funday ended with the perfect Friday night with the girls!
So another great day was had by all... and as usual, I'm procrastinating a final paper with this thrilling blog post. Guess I'll get back to it then..
Cheers y'all, Lis

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"You're not in Kens Anymore"

After a grueling winter, I think Spring is here? Next week will probably be under 40's and rain again so I'll go ahead a jinx myself now.. So we've had a little more sun and around 50 degree weather which has been such a long-awaited change. Every morning when the sun has been shining through my window, it is like a breath of fresh air and I am overwhelmed with a giant smile and a sense of hope. Hope is what Spring is all about afterall, right? Hope for newness, for a feeling of joy, for sunshine and happy days. Flowers, blue skies and porch sitting (read: pub garden sitting) can all be appreciated,  experienced and enjoyed now. I'm not sure how many days we will have like this past Sunday so I was sure to take Mother Nature up on her gorgeous weather.

Carlz and I headed off to Brixton, in search of a food market, only to find a hubbub of small cafes and restaurants that looked like a scene from an indie movie. Seriously, Ed Burns was about to walk out of one of these while arguing with his weird but beautiful bride... We decided to have brunch in a small creperie among the excitement of the cluster of people, drink, food and laughter in the sunshine. As mentioned before, Londoners have no less response to the sunshine than a child does on Christmas morning.
So one Bloody Mary and one goat cheese, rocket and caramelized onion crepe later, we headed towards Clapham and... drumroll please... our new flat! And 13 minutes (yes, we timed it) from Brixton tube, we turned onto Bedford and saw our new place. It has a small 'backyard' that gets direct sunlight and an amazing kitchen. Bedrooms with BIG beds and a couch are other exciting features - hey, it is that kind of stuff that really matters after you've been living in a dorm style situation with a twin bed!

The neighborhood is great with a lot of restaurants and things to do (read: its perfect for 20-somethings) but Carl and I coined a phrase as we said it so many times throughout the day:
"Dorothy, you're not in Kensington (Kansas) anymore"
Clapham and Brixton have an edge to them, a different feel than our posh current spot in Kensington and I absolutely love it.

After a few hours in the sunshine, we need some Springtime shopping was needed. I'll spare you thrilling details but let's just say Primark didn't know what hit it.

In the same vein as If You Give a Mouse a Cookie:
if we're in the sunshine, we'll need a new dress...
if we buy a new dress, we'll be tired and want to go to the pub to relax with friends...

 if we go to to the pub with friends, we'll want a pint... 

if we have a pint, we'll want a cheeseburger and fries...
if we have a pint and a cheeseburger and fries, we'll want to take a nap....

And so goes the rest of our sunny Sunday afternoon.

Cheers y'all, Lis

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

here comes the sun..for a whole day!

As previously mentioned, London's weather has not been so stunning lately.. and by lately, I mean for the past five months. A good London friend posted on Facebook this week, "Now I understand why The Beetle's sang 'Here Comes the Sun'.. If the sun shines in London, everyone acts like it is Christmas morning!" Well put. The sun has been out for the past few days for a few hours and it has been exceptional. I'm walking around with sunglasses on and although I'm covered head to toe from the freezing wind, I'm stopping, spreading out my arms and facing the sun as if to get some tan rays. Unrealistic but hey, a girl can dream.

So not only has the weather turned nice for a few days (the rest of the week is rainy, duh) but I've also had sweet Kate to visit me all the way from Turkey. I won't go into every detail but we've had so much fun running around the city, wine-ing, dining and chatting late into the night. St Paul's for Easter Church Service, Putney Bridge for Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race, a West End musical, and a hike up to Primrose Hill to watch the sunset... just to name a few of our London adventures. 

It was a great 'energizer' weekend to get me through the upcoming grad school marathon of final presentations and research papers and I'm so fortunate to have had Kate so close to me while we've been conquering Europe. God bless you, Kate, for keeping me sane over the last 8 months (and before that!). I'm not sure what I'll do when you're not on the same continent in just a couple months!

Cheers y'all, Lis