All the Arts (and anything else) blog thread

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    All the Arts (and anything else) blog thread

    Since we seem to appreciate discussing all manner of arts and entertainment in the music forum, just thought I'd open another general A&E thread for anyone that wants to share on TV, movies, literature / books (esp. if you have a holiday wish list or you already have a stash), concerts ... basically, absolutely anything under this header.  

    As they say, "make it your own" ; I'm all ears. 

     
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    Re: All the Arts (and anything else) blog thread

    My wife and I completely missed the 'Breaking Bad' series when it was on TV, but I bought the whole thing on DVD and we just finished Season 2.

     

     
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    I watched the documentary Searching for Sugar Man yesterday about the musician Rodriguez. It was very good. Then I listened to his albums, Cold Fact and Coming from Reality, which were also very good. I may be adding those albums to my list of albums to buy after Christmas.

     
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    In response to Rich1273's comment:
    [QUOTE]


    I watched the documentary Searching for Sugar Man yesterday about the musician Rodriguez. It was very good. Then I listened to his albums, Cold Fact and Coming from Reality, which were also very good. I may be adding those albums to my list of albums to buy after Christmas.

    [/QUOTE]

    I concur...an amazing story with touching music, to boot (almost like a motor city 'nick drake').

    My wife grew up in Detroit (in a Mex-Am family) and had no idea who he was.

    Pursuant to the other thread...it seems that great music eventually does find an audience (even if it's so. africa!)....

     

     

     
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    Re: TV, I'm halfway through "House Of Cards" first season on Netflix.  Great show, and Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are excellent as the leads.  Good companion series to 'Homeland', I think.

     

     

     
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    For all you American history buffs, I highly recommend David Hackett Fisher's Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. It's an enlightening look at the roots of our country.

     
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    One reason I started this thread was b/c I wanted to tell you about my museum trip on Saturday.    Yes, folks, I left all the rude ugliness of holiday and "storm" shopping to slip into a small museum that I am very fond of, the Rose Art Museum, at  Brandeis University (in Waltham).     Even though I had planned on seeing the exhibition with a friend, when I realized the show was about to close,  I didn't want to miss out.   RIGHT decision.

    NOTE: The Rose is a small museum and every exhibition is a time-limited proposition.   They don't have enough space to house a permanent set of exhibitions like larger museums do. 

    The two exhibitions that I knew I had to see were the Andy Warhol ("Image Machine") and the one on Minimalism.  

    The Warhol exhibition was outstanding.   What was also impressive was that everything on display belongs to the Rose.   I never knew this, but Warhol did a litho of the founder of the university, Louis Brandies.   Very cool.    Mick Jagger was there; Elizabeth Taylor; the collage of Jackie Kennedy; etc.   There were videos set up that had Lou Reed (very young and in shades), Edie Sedgwick, and others.   Lots of interesting photography.   The narratives explaining the art were fantastic, I got so much out of just a few paragraphs, including one that explained the timeframe when Warhol made his decision to commercialize his art.   It was a sheer joy to be there.   The curators also gave detailed descriptions of how Warhol made all of his art by hand when he first came on the scene, and the arduous processes used to create the work.   I know many of you don't "get", appreciate or even like his work, but there is no question as to the mark and influence he left on our popular culture and the history of art.  I <heart> Andy Warhol.  

    The "Minimalism" exhibition was very small in terms of number of pieces, but grand in presentation and impact.   I could not WAIT TO TELL YOU: there was an artwork there that was basically a pile of cinder blocks!! :D   Actually, they were arranged like a pyramid.   It was great.  :)    If you would like to read the short description, it is still up, even though the entire exhibition closed yesterday.   I am very drawn to "industrial" art, so that is why I liked all of the artwork.  Today, much of it would be called "green" or re-purposed, IMO.

    http://www.brandeis.edu/rose/onview/minimalandmore.html

    This museum is a gem.  I have gotten more out of the exhibitions at the Rose Art Museum than I have at some of the larger, well-funded museums.   Similar to music, some of the best museums are often the more obscure and quiet ones that few people know about.  

     

     
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    In response to devildavid's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    For all you American history buffs, I highly recommend David Hackett Fisher's Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. It's an enlightening look at the roots of our country.

    [/QUOTE]

    Nice, thanks.  So many wonderful books. 

    I left a partial response in the music industry thread, but said I'd write here in case anyone else in the group had something to add (looked like RoyF left a quick review, too).

    As for David McCullough, I made a bit of a joke in a comment in the Globe not long ago that I'd love to see a historian get elected as President, and David McCullough would be my choice.  It's hard to get a grasp of the type of real, true research he does for his books, and how he can craft his writing in such a way that non-fiction reads like a "story" and not a dull textbook.   He's amazing.

    I am sorry to say that I have not read "John Adams", but I'd think that's the book most people would want to start with, if they were going to try out one of his books; that, or "Truman" perhaps.   I hope this won't sound too funny, I am no great intellectual, believe me, but I read "The Path Between the Seas" the story of the creation of the Panama Canal.  I bought it a few years ago, to give to someone as a gift ... and decided to read it myself, as a challenge.   As Roy said in another thread, it is a visual sense of accomplishment to have a book like that on a shelf, knowing you read it.  It is simply a superb story, of all of the social, political, technical issues that went into the PC.   I think anyone who is planning to travel to that part of the world should read the book first, even though that was not the case for me.   I have also read parts of his book on the creation of the Brooklyn Bridge, "The Great Bridge" although not cover to cover.   Don't ask me why I got into these books, as they stray from my usual fare, but that is a testament to the type of writing you will get when you read one of his books.

    I would like to read John Adams myself, and hope to at some point.  

     
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    In response to MattyScornD's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Re: TV, I'm halfway through "House Of Cards" first season on Netflix.  Great show, and Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are excellent as the leads.

    [/QUOTE]

    Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright?  Wow, those are a couple of good actors.  I will make a note of this series.

     

     
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    Re: All the Arts (and anything else) blog thread

    Speaking of Kevin Spacey, here is one of my favorite sleeper movie picks.

    It's called 'The Ref'.  It stars Spacey and Judy Davis as a couple who are having major marital issues (non-stop verbal fights) and Denis Leary as a thief on the run from the cops who is forced by circumstances to take them hostage.  It's very funny and the three leads are excellent.  It's a good Christmas movie too.   

     
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    In response to yogafriend's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    One reason I started this thread was b/c I wanted to tell you about my museum trip on Saturday.    Yes, folks, I left all the rude ugliness of holiday and "storm" shopping to slip into a small museum that I am very fond of, the Rose Art Museum, at  Brandeis University (in Waltham).     Even though I had planned on seeing the exhibition with a friend, when I realized the show was about to close,  I didn't want to miss out.   RIGHT decision.

    NOTE: The Rose is a small museum and every exhibition is a time-limited proposition.   They don't have enough space to house a permanent set of exhibitions like larger museums do. 

    The two exhibitions that I knew I had to see were the Andy Warhol ("Image Machine") and the one on Minimalism.  

    The Warhol exhibition was outstanding.   What was also impressive was that everything on display belongs to the Rose.   I never knew this, but Warhol did a litho of the founder of the university, Louis Brandies.   Very cool.    Mick Jagger was there; Elizabeth Taylor; the collage of Jackie Kennedy; etc.   There were videos set up that had Lou Reed (very young and in shades), Edie Sedgwick, and others.   Lots of interesting photography.   The narratives explaining the art were fantastic, I got so much out of just a few paragraphs, including one that explained the timeframe when Warhol made his decision to commercialize his art.   It was a sheer joy to be there.   The curators also gave detailed descriptions of how Warhol made all of his art by hand when he first came on the scene, and the arduous processes used to create the work.   I know many of you don't "get", appreciate or even like his work, but there is no question as to the mark and influence he left on our popular culture and the history of art.  I <heart> Andy Warhol.  

    The "Minimalism" exhibition was very small in terms of number of pieces, but grand in presentation and impact.   I could not WAIT TO TELL YOU: there was an artwork there that was basically a pile of cinder blocks!! :D   Actually, they were arranged like a pyramid.   It was great.  :)    If you would like to read the short description, it is still up, even though the entire exhibition closed yesterday.   I am very drawn to "industrial" art, so that is why I liked all of the artwork.  Today, much of it would be called "green" or re-purposed, IMO.

    http://www.brandeis.edu/rose/onview/minimalandmore.html

    This museum is a gem.  I have gotten more out of the exhibitions at the Rose Art Museum than I have at some of the larger, well-funded museums.   Similar to music, some of the best museums are often the more obscure and quiet ones that few people know about.  

     

    [/QUOTE]

    Glad you enjoyed it, yoga!

    We have such an embarrassing wealth of great art venues in and around Boston.  It warms my heart to see people taking advantage of them.

    Relatedly, there is an exhibition at the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover (on the campus of Phillips Academy) that might interest you.  It's called "Flash Back - Nov. 22, 1963" and has works about the JFK assassination, including some Warhol prints.

    The Gallery itself is a marvel - one of the most significant collections of American Art anywhere in the world - and is simply stunning since its recent renovation.  And it's part of a high school...!

    Likewise, other great locations abound: PEM in Salem, DeCordova in Waltham, Fuller Craft in Brockton, the Currier in Manchester, NH (which had a Warhol exhibit a couple years ago), etc....

     

     

     
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    In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Speaking of Kevin Spacey, here is one of my favorite sleeper movie picks.

    It's called 'The Ref'.  It stars Spacey and Judy Davis as a couple who are having major marital issues (non-stop verbal fights) and Denis Leary as a thief on the run from the cops who is forced by circumstances to take them hostage.  It's very funny and the three leads are excellent.  It's a good Christmas movie too.   

    [/QUOTE]

    Good call!  By far, it's one of my favorite xmas movies and a great Spacey role, too.  

    To me, it's the perfect antidote to the usual fey claptrappings of the season....

     

     

     

     
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    In response to WhatDoYouWantNow's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    This thread reminded me that I need to see Sargent's "watercolors" visiting exhibit at the MFA before it leaves. Think it's here until mid-Jan.

    [/QUOTE]

    Definitely not to be missed if you like his paintings.  The show combines two large collections into a tour de force showing how brilliant he was.

    I always tell people they should learn to draw before learning to paint.  Sargent could draw with watercolors like some do with a pencil or charcoal.

     

     

     

     

     
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    In response to MattyScornD's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to WhatDoYouWantNow's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    This thread reminded me that I need to see Sargent's "watercolors" visiting exhibit at the MFA before it leaves. Think it's here until mid-Jan.

    [/QUOTE]

    Definitely not to be missed if you like his paintings.  The show combines two large collections into a tour de force showing how brilliant he was.

    I always tell people they should learn to draw before learning to paint.  Sargent could draw with watercolors like some do with a pencil or charcoal.

     

    [/QUOTE]

    Not one of my favorite artists by any measure, but I'm sure the exhibition is brilliant.  I'd only want to go if I could be there before there's a crowd.  That means Sget there when the door opens early in the day.   The paintings are enchanting, no doubt about it, it's the blockbuster shows that are a challenge to get engaged in due to the mass appeal and number of people who attend.    I would not let that stop me, I've gone to many, I just don't usually walk away feeling like I've "been to church" if you know what I mean.  

     

     
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    In response to MattyScornD's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Glad you enjoyed it, yoga!

    We have such an embarrassing wealth of great art venues in and around Boston.  It warms my heart to see people taking advantage of them.

    Relatedly, there is an exhibition at the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover (on the campus of Phillips Academy) that might interest you.  It's called "Flash Back - Nov. 22, 1963" and has works about the JFK assassination, including some Warhol prints.

    The Gallery itself is a marvel - one of the most significant collections of American Art anywhere in the world - and is simply stunning since its recent renovation.  And it's part of a high school...!

    Likewise, other great locations abound: PEM in Salem, DeCordova in Waltham, Fuller Craft in Brockton, the Currier in Manchester, NH (which had a Warhol exhibit a couple years ago), etc....

    [/QUOTE]

    I did have a ball.  It was like I had the place in the palm of my hand.  

    I have to get to the Addison, I've read about it at least 200 times.   :)    It's more of a planned trip for me, unlike the Rose, or the DeCordova, and some of the historic sites near where I live that are like pop-up affairs for me; I can just go if I get inspired to pop in.  I love being in galleries in the mid-to-late afternoon, too.  It's the most relaxing and romantic.  I have a friend who moved to Salem a few years ago (a house was affordable) and she is a big fan of the PEM.   I wish that was closer, too, but I can't complain, really, I have it pretty good as far as venues, too.    This is the time of year, actually, that I like ducking into museums the most, which is what brought "all this" up in the first place.  :)

     

     
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    In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Speaking of Kevin Spacey, here is one of my favorite sleeper movie picks.

    It's called 'The Ref'.  It stars Spacey and Judy Davis as a couple who are having major marital issues (non-stop verbal fights) and Denis Leary as a thief on the run from the cops who is forced by circumstances to take them hostage.  It's very funny and the three leads are excellent.  It's a good Christmas movie too.   

    [/QUOTE]
    Sounds like a nice offbeat Christmas movie.    I'm not sure I've ever heard of it.  

    For holiday fare, I like some of the old standby films, but I also still watch the Peanuts cartoons and find them as sweet as ever.

    I love the Peanuts Thanksgiving cartoon; at the end, when all the kids go off to Grandma's house, Snoopy brings out a huge turkey for himself and the bird, Woodstock.   He serves the food on plates, and they eat with forks and knives.  It's so cute I can hardly stand it. 

     

     
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    In response to WhatDoYouWantNow's comment:
    [QUOTE]


    Definitely not to be missed if you like his paintings.  The show combines two large collections into a tour de force showing how brilliant he was.

    Absolutely; he's always been one of my favorites.

     

     

     

    I always tell people they should learn to draw before learning to paint.  Sargent could draw with watercolors like some do with a pencil or charcoal.

    Of course; as a one-time art student who really ought to get back to it, I can't see doing it the other way around unless one is truly gifted.

    For one thing, it's very useful to leave a few very faint markers on the paper so the perspective doesn't fall out of whack, etc.

    [/QUOTE]

    At art school and in all my homes/studios, I've had a print of a Sargent watercolor from Corfu as inspiration.  A simple subject rendered with masterful skill.  In fact, I bought the latest one from the MFA gift shop about ten years ago....

     

     

     
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    In response to yogafriend's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Sounds like a nice offbeat Christmas movie.    I'm not sure I've ever heard of it.  

    For holiday fare, I like some of the old standby films, but I also still watch the Peanuts cartoons and find them as sweet as ever.

    I love the Peanuts Thanksgiving cartoon; at the end, when all the kids go off to Grandma's house, Snoopy brings out a huge turkey for himself and the bird, Woodstock.   He serves the food on plates, and they eat with forks and knives.  It's so cute I can hardly stand it. 

    [/QUOTE]

    I've seen the Peanuts Christmas show many times.  Definitely some of the most appealing animated stuff ever made.  Only problem for me is I empathize with Charlie a little too much. :-)

     

     
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    In response to yogafriend's comment:
    [QUOTE]



    Nice, thanks.  So many wonderful books. 

    I left a partial response in the music industry thread, but said I'd write here in case anyone else in the group had something to add (looked like RoyF left a quick review, too).

    As for David McCullough, I made a bit of a joke in a comment in the Globe not long ago that I'd love to see a historian get elected as President, and David McCullough would be my choice.  It's hard to get a grasp of the type of real, true research he does for his books, and how he can craft his writing in such a way that non-fiction reads like a "story" and not a dull textbook.   He's amazing.

    I am sorry to say that I have not read "John Adams", but I'd think that's the book most people would want to start with, if they were going to try out one of his books; that, or "Truman" perhaps.   I hope this won't sound too funny, I am no great intellectual, believe me, but I read "The Path Between the Seas" the story of the creation of the Panama Canal.  I bought it a few years ago, to give to someone as a gift ... and decided to read it myself, as a challenge.   As Roy said in another thread, it is a visual sense of accomplishment to have a book like that on a shelf, knowing you read it.  It is simply a superb story, of all of the social, political, technical issues that went into the PC.   I think anyone who is planning to travel to that part of the world should read the book first, even though that was not the case for me.   I have also read parts of his book on the creation of the Brooklyn Bridge, "The Great Bridge" although not cover to cover.   Don't ask me why I got into these books, as they stray from my usual fare, but that is a testament to the type of writing you will get when you read one of his books.

    I would like to read John Adams myself, and hope to at some point.  

    [/QUOTE]

    It doesn't sound funny at all to be interested in books about how things were created. I find it fascinating.

    I just finished another book which shows my funny taste in things. It is by Thomas B. Allen and titled Tories: Fighting for the King in America's First Civil War. I can't say it was an easy read, but I have always been very interested in finding out more about those Americans who opposed the Revolution. One interesting fact is that after the British surrendered, many American Tories settled in Nova Scotia, where our own Hfxsoxnut resides.

     
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    In response to WhatDoYouWantNow's comment:
    [QUOTE]

     

     

     

     

    [/QUOTE]

    Definitely not to be missed if you like his paintings.  The show combines two large collections  

     

    [/QUOTE]


    I'm not sure if special exhibits do this, but the MFA is open until 9 pm, I think, on some weekdays. If you can make it is absolutely worth it.

    You are pretty much guaranteed to be the only one in a given room about 95% of the time between 6:30-9. Completely empty.

    [/QUOTE]

    Yeah, thanks, but it would have to be an art emergency (joking) for me to be at the MFA at that hour on a week night.   They also have a "free" time, I think, but am not sure it would be for a special blockbuster exhibition, as you say.  

    Not putting it down, by any means, and there are times in life, you either put up with the conditions presented or lose out by biting off your nose to spite your face, if you know what I mean.  :).  It's not the end of the world to be in a museum in a crowd, I've done it many times (including the free outreach days the MFA has had, which are fantastic if you get there early).  I do appreicate the paintings, and know they are breathtaking ... the skill involved astonishing to be sure; but in general, I am not drawn to the pretty paintings in museums, at least they have never been my main course, so to speak.  

     
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    In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to yogafriend's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Sounds like a nice offbeat Christmas movie.    I'm not sure I've ever heard of it.  

    For holiday fare, I like some of the old standby films, but I also still watch the Peanuts cartoons and find them as sweet as ever.

    I love the Peanuts Thanksgiving cartoon; at the end, when all the kids go off to Grandma's house, Snoopy brings out a huge turkey for himself and the bird, Woodstock.   He serves the food on plates, and they eat with forks and knives.  It's so cute I can hardly stand it. 

    [/QUOTE]

    I've seen the Peanuts Christmas show many times.  Definitely some of the most appealing animated stuff ever made.  Only problem for me is I empathize with Charlie a little too much. :-)

     

    [/QUOTE]
    Thanks for the laugh -- oh gee, that is hysterical.  !   I believe there is a little "Charlie Brown" in everyone, actually.   But I do relate to Snoopy the most -- as I have an active imagination.  I even have a Snoopy decoration that I keep on my desk year-round. 

    I think of you and your wife as having lots of laughs together, so she would probably find your comment very amusing, too.  :D

     

     
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    In response to WhatDoYouWantNow's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Agreed fully on David McCollough.


    Another good historical writer is Joseph Ellis; much of his work is on the founding period.

     

     

    Yoga- Stephen Ambrose, Nothing like it in the world. Very interesting account of the creation of the transcontinental railroad.

     

    http://www.amazon.com/Nothing-Like-World-Transcontinental-1863-1869/dp/0743203178

     

    Another great historian.

    [/QUOTE]

    Ambrose, of course, another phenomenal historian.  Nice.  Wow, that would be another hunker down sort of book.

    I was actually trying to think of another one, and I kept coming up with Barbara Tuchman (Guns of August) whom a friend of mine swears by, but I've never read any of her books.

    This would be enough to keep me going until spring ... and I already have a stash.

    Has anyone read "The Tender Bar" ??  I picked it up not long ago and will probably read it as soon as I finish my current book.  It's the memoir of JR Moehringer, and for some reason, I think it would appeal to many music forum regulars.   Not a new book, probably at least 6 years out.  

     

     
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    In response to yogafriend's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to WhatDoYouWantNow's comment:
    [QUOTE]

     

     

     

     

    [/QUOTE]

    Definitely not to be missed if you like his paintings.  The show combines two large collections  

     

    [/QUOTE]


    I'm not sure if special exhibits do this, but the MFA is open until 9 pm, I think, on some weekdays. If you can make it is absolutely worth it.

    You are pretty much guaranteed to be the only one in a given room about 95% of the time between 6:30-9. Completely empty.

    [/QUOTE]

    Yeah, thanks, but it would have to be an art emergency (joking) for me to be at the MFA at that hour on a week night.   They also have a "free" time, I think, but am not sure it would be for a special blockbuster exhibition, as you say.  

    Not putting it down, by any means, and there are times in life, you either put up with the conditions presented or lose out by biting off your nose to spite your face, if you know what I mean.  :).  It's not the end of the world to be in a museum in a crowd, I've done it many times (including the free outreach days the MFA has had, which are fantastic if you get there early).  I do appreicate the paintings, and know they are breathtaking ... the skill involved astonishing to be sure; but in general, I am not drawn to the pretty paintings in museums, at least they have never been my main course, so to speak.  

    [/QUOTE]

    I've found the best thing to do in a crowded museum is to stand still near the place you want to look and wait a few minutes.  Usually by then, the crowd has passed by leaving you some elbow room.  

    (I usually bring a small sketchbook, so when I stop or sit, open it up and start doodling, respectful people tend to stay out of my way.)

    Weekdays can sometimes be no picnic either with packs of students traipsing through....

     

     

     
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    In response to WhatDoYouWantNow's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to MattyScornD's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    (I usually bring a small sketchbook, so when I stop or sit, open it up and start doodling, respectful people tend to stay out of my way.)

    [/QUOTE]

    Heh; clever.

     

    I usually just go out of order, moving to wherever people aren't at the moment.

    [/QUOTE]

    That works too...especially for timed admissions.  Go to the end, then work your way back

    The sketching thing only tends to work in museums, though.  Anywhere else, when I'm sketching or painting, most people can't help but gawk or try to strike up a conversation.  Earphones help....

     

     

     

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