Cave Dwelling and Squinting at the Lights

annual events, art, food, Sydney

Last week was a bit stressful at work, and I was also sick from Wednesday onward, so this weekend, I’ve been guarding my health by hibernating and mostly just catching up on laundry and dishes. It’s been a much-needed respite.

The only foray out of the apartment I’ve made was a trip to Circular Quay to see the light display at this year’s Vivid Festival. We were so enchanted last year, that we were antsy to get over there and immerse ourselves in the experience once again. So excited, in fact, that we got there before night fell, and we had time to catch this sunset, and grab a drink at the Opera Bar.

The Opera Bar is always good for people watching, and this night, we were amusing ourselves spying on a pair of highly amorous late-teenagers who would look up, as if surprised that they were in public, whenever someone walked near them. Eventually obscuring this sight, were about 15 kilt-clad gents, clearly just done with a wedding party. They were posing for pictures with tourists, and I was laughing as I eavesdropped on their emerging plot to go to Kings Cross, where they assumed they would not have to pay for drinks for the rest of the night, given their outfits.

We left that scene, and found our way into the mob that was building in the Quay, as the Vivid display lights came on. Last year, the crowd was not nearly as dense, and I attribute this to us being there much earlier in the evening this time (many more families around) and it being quite a bit warmer than last year. I sometimes struggle with crowds – which can be a real hindrance living in Sydney – so in my mind, that was strike one against the evening. Strike two, and really a much bigger one, was that we just didn’t care for a lot of the displays this year. There were a few standouts, but most of them seemed geared towards children – which I’m sure we would have loved, if we had any. But, as adults, there seemed to be a decided lack of sophistication. That sounds snobby, but I’m not talking about that sort of “I don’t know what it means” modern art aesthetic – I just mean a higher level of creativity … boldness … whimsy. For instance, one display was a “red carpet” with a giant flashlight (“the world’s biggest!”) pointing at it, where you were meant to take pictures. Really? The images projected onto the Customs House, which were dazzling last year, were this year a cartoon re-enactment of a day in the life of Sydney. It was far too adorable for my taste. And, the piece de resistance – the projections on the Opera House – had the opposite problem. They reminded me of one of those video pieces you see at every modern art museum where some lady is, like, eating an apple or something while a disembodied voice recites nonsense words. You know the ones…

Strike three was that I was still not feeling well, and being out in the cold was catching up with me. So, individual crankiness results may vary.

The one thing I very much did like was the light show on the Museum of Contemporary Art, which had us mesmerized. That, and watching all the kids interact wildly with the pieces. A few images from the “liked” side of the ledger:

Thought this one had a Dr Seuss aesthetic…
… the kids were going crazy for it.
This one involved a lot of screaming children.

Cicular Quay.

Back on the homefront, where I’ve been otherwise camped, a few things that have been pleasing me this weekend from the comfort of my own home…

  • TV: Friday Night Lights. I know I’m late to pick up on this show (as in – it’s not even on any longer), but it’s streaming on Netflix, and boy am I hooked. We had football in my high school, and things got pretty exciting one year when we even had an undefeated season, but yowza, it was nothing like this. The characters are beautifully drawn, and I’m trying to pace myself so that I don’t marathon too fast through it and can really savour it.
  • Book: Moonwalking With Einstein. Again, late to the game, but this book is about a journalist who did a story about memory champions (these people who can memorize decks of cards in seconds or hundreds of numbers), and then ended up learning the techniques and becoming a memory champion, himself. I’m not that far into it, but it’s already a fascinating look at how the human brain processes memories. Titillating stuff if, like me, you’re a bit of a nerd for layman’s science.

  • The Internets: This video of a wedding proposal. You’ve probably seen it by now, but how cool is this … they are friends of one of my best girlfriends from college, who now lives in Portland. This right here is the perfect example of why theatre people are the most rad people. He used very little money, a whole heap of creativity and collaboration to invent something magical that touches us universally. If, by any chance, you haven’t seen it, I suggest watching it now. And, how much do you want to go to this wedding?

  • Food: This recipe for brussels sprouts. Now that it’s cold out, I am all about stews and soups and warm veggies. These are so incredible, I whipped some up as my lunch today. Purportedly, they are brussels sprouts for people who don’t like brussels sprouts, which I can believe, but I’m rather a fan, so cannot  quantify that. 
Who needs to leave the house when you have brussels sprouts in the fridge?

It’s actually been a rather lovely weekend, holed up here. Good thing I have that job to motivate me to leave the house again tomorrow.

One thought on “Cave Dwelling and Squinting at the Lights

  1. Megan

    Ugh, it sucks when things don’t live up to expectations – but I love the fish sculpture, it looks awesome. And I’m definitely going to check out that book!

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