Monday, June 13, 2011

Making A Pilgrimage To Maira

Crappy photos illicitly taken with my iPhone while trying to look like I was checking my email.

I was pleased as punch to discover that Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) was coming to The Jewish Museum in New York, having missed it by just hours when it was in Philadelphia last fall. My mom and I went for our annual Summer Day of Fun on Friday afternoon. For me, it was like snuggling up on the couch with the cats and a good book -- totally comfortable and reassuring. I have most of her books, and even purchased the companion book to the exhibition last year to console myself for missing it, so there wasn't much newness to be discovered. Nonetheless I really enjoyed seeing her originals, and being in a space carefully curated by the hands of Maira. And I really enjoyed hearing the sound of my mother's giggles from across the gallery as she watch Maira's TED talk with headphones on. 

I could go on and on and on about Maira's wit, wisdom, and talent, or my feeling of spiritual connection to her, or my profound admiration for the fact that she has made such an accomplished career for herself by plumbing the depths of herself and her life, but I won't, I don't have it in me today. It's too much to put into words. I would say just check out her work for yourself and you'll understand. 
A horizon of Maira. 

There were a several other great exhibits going on at the museum but we were unable to see them before the museum closed (at 4:45 on Friday, for the Sabbath). I suppose we had spent too long luxuriating over lunch and lemonade at Sarabeth's.  For the record, Sarabeth's is exactly the kind of restaurant I would have if I ever had a restaurant: brunch food and baked goods all day. I would eat breakfast for every meal if it was nutritiously acceptable, and I have always been this way. A few years ago I ran into my high school sweetheart after many years of radio silence, and as we were catching up he asked "Do you still love pancakes?" I suppose I do, I just hadn't realized quite how much it made an impression on others. 

After picking up some things at the gift shop, I made the executive decision that under no circumstances should we take the 6 train downtown and make the horrible transfer to the E at 51st Street. It was a nice day (after several days of sweltering weather and thunderstorms), so we dared cross Central Park in hopes that we would come out on the other side and take the A/C/E directly to Penn Station. I use dramatic language to describe this decision because, well, have you ever tried to cross Central Park in a straight line? It's not really designed to be transversed on foot in this way, so it took some extreme diligence on our part. We consulted a lot of maps, and finally, when leaving Belvedere Castle and having to decide which way to take through The Ramble, I busted out the GPS on my iPhone. After all, my mother was wearing wedges and I am extremely pregnant. I could not stand the idea of us walking far out of our way. But what do you know -- we made it from the Jewish Museum to the Museum of Natural History in record time (not counting our respite at the Turtle Pond, where mom read Maira's newest children's book, Thirteen Words, and I took pictures of all the turtles in the pond). Once we popped out on the West side of the park, I made another executive decision that I was done with the smelly, crowded subway for the week, so I raised my right arm, stuck my belly out, and hailed us a cab to Penn Station. 
Mom reads to the turtles.

All in all it was another wonderful Summer Day of Fun for the books. Mom got off the train with me and Mr. SevPrez picked us up at the station so Mom could come back and get a tour of our new house -- well, our newly beautiful house with new hardwood floors. Photos to come!

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