Tuesday, June 28, 2011

 
"Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions." --Thomas Jefferson



The Empire State Building as soon as the bill establishing same-sex marriage was passed by the NY State Senate late last Friday night.

"You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, fuck it; I don't care what you think. I'm trying to do the right thing."    --New York Republican State Senator Roy McDonald when publicly announcing his intention to vote for marriage equality.

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I don't have a picture, because it was one of those totally unexpected moments that happens when you left your camera inside.  I was watering gardens with a hose that had some defect where it screwed into the sprayer so that water was atomizing out everywhere.  Suddenly, a dragon fly, very much like this one . . .

. . . landed on the top of the wet sprayer.  This dragon fly was even more friendly and unflappable than usual, even when I held the sprayer up very close to me so that I could see him in detail.  He then calmly started washing by dipping his forelegs into the wet spots on the sprayer and running them over his head and face.  This went on for some time, very casually, then he flew up in front of my face and hovered.  I put out my finger and he settled on it for half a minute or so before taking off for good.  Our high dragon fly population is one of the joys of a New Hampshire summer.


Photo from Sunny Archibald's blog, Sunny's 12 of 12

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Fritz and I were anxious to get out of the house on Sunday because we'd been kept in by the heavy rains of the preceding days.  A 17th century garrison house in Exeter is one of the historic properties managed by Historic New England, a preservation and educational group.  Fritz gave me a membership for my birthday last week, but this particular house turned out to be open only four days a year (!) and Sunday wasn't one of them.

So, he suggested driving over to Hampton Beach to see the results of the annual sand sculpting contest.  There wasn't any sun but there were big crowds everywhere along the predictably schlocky commercial strip up behind the beach.  We eventually lucked out on a parking space and walked back along the beach walk to the snow fenced area enclosing the sculptures:
This sculpture was the first prize winner for reasons Fritz and I couldn't figure out.  It didn't impress us as much as some of the others, although it certainly is proficient technically.
Frankly commercial, this sculpture advertises beach-area businesses and one iconic American product.



The old woman who lived in a shoe but with only a couple of pet animals, not "so many children that she didn't know what to do."  It appears that she may also have something of a drinking problem.

"Pristine Nature" which we liked very much.

This one was in many ways our favorite.  The deco-style rays that form the arch terminate on the sides as words, positive and affirming on the left, negative and disturbing on the right as seen below:


I don't know if this one was planned before the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, but the powerful, lightly detailed monumentality of the piece certainly suggests a tribute to the victorious team.

This one was titled "And They Live Among Us."  I thought the sculpting of the horse's head especially beautiful.

This one was a tribute to those who assist in bringing new life into the world.

"Enlightenment"  The face high on her right hip seemed to suggest Socrates to me.

The sculptures are made not from the sand of Hampton Beach but from a special kind of river sand that apparently absorbs a bit of water and coheres much more securely than regular beach sand.  I was also told that after these sculptures were completed, they were misted with several applications of an Elmer's type glue mixed with water to help in sealing their surfaces and preserving their details.   This application probably accounts for the lack of deterioration, except in that one piece whose side had started to crumble, in the rains of the two days and nights preceding our visit.

The crowds Sunday were very appreciative and made some fascinating comments, particularly about the more symbolic pieces.  Sometime this week, the sculptures will be bulldozed; some art is meant to be ephemeral.





Comments:
Love your garden. Especially the deep purple iris.

W
 
Impressive sculptures, especially the one with the words on the end. Curious that they're not made with local sand, but with a 'special' sand.
 
Impressive, indeed !
 
Extraordinary. I sometimes think all performance art should be ephemeral - Richard Jones, for instance, was very philosophical about his Welsh National Opera Meistersinger not being filmed, shared, revivable...but another part of me wants to share such things with friends who weren't there, and future generations. How much poorer my life would have been for not hearing Rachmaninov play...
 
David, as I'm sure know, there are commentators who swear that recording has had a detrimental effect on our ability to listen with fresh ears to music because the recording we have at home has become so established in our minds as the Way It Should Be.

Every time I hear "She has no idea how to sing bel canto" I know it really means "She doesn't sing it exactly the way Maria Callas sang it" which is usually followed by some variation on "Well, I don't have to go to performances any more; I have my recordings."

Of course, recordings can be wonderful -- but like alcohol and drugs, they have to be used responsibly or addiction can destroy your senses.
 
Love the dragonfly story. The one in your picture is a Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis).

The sand sculptures are most impressive.
 
Doug--
"longipennis" does or does not translate to what I think it might mean?
 
I'm guessing 'wings', actually, off the top of my addled Latin memory...but I may be wrong.
 
Ah, Happy Hampton Beach...a place of my childhood. Where you could get a large container of deep-fried scallops for the outrageous price of $2.00.
 
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