Saturday, February 13, 2016


When you're alone and life is making you lonely
You can always go downtown
When you've got worries, all the noise and the hurry
Seems to help, I know, downtown

Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?
The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares

So go downtown
Things will be great when you're downtown
No finer place for sure, downtown
Everything's waiting for you
Yep, we went downtown yesterday.  Well, really Midtown, but you get the idea.  Yes, NYC was our special outing--to the Discovery Center in Times Square to see not only the Star Wars costume exhibition but also the Vikings exhibition.  And we had a great time!

First, it's always great to be back in my old neighborhood, though it's changed so much.  Still, I feel 25 again and filled with the positive memories of my time in the city.  It's like going home.

The SW show was good, too.  I've seen other SW shows, namely "The Magic of Myth" in both Milwaukee (on my own) and Brooklyn (with Mama in 2002); it had costumes plus models, props, and blueprints.  This show was all costumes (plus a few blasters and lightsabers.) We got to see all the standards, from both trilogies.  I especially liked seeing Princess Leia's white dress from New Hope.  I wish they'd had the Hoth, Cloud City, or Endor clothes, or even especially the Force Awakens outfits.  Still.  There were all the various Jedis, Han Solo, Chewie, C-3PO, R2-D2, BB8, lots of stormtroopers, various Senate officials, Yoda, and Darth Vader.  There were more elaborate gowns for Amidala than you could shake a coathanger at, but they were lush and complex, even if I don't like the movies.  I was amazed at how small the infamous metal bikini is; no wonder they had trouble keeping it on her--there isn't anything to it!  Bud said that costume always makes him feel uncomfortable.  Me, too, and I think that was the point.  We liked seeing Rey, Finn, and Poe at the end, their clothes continuing many of the trends started in the first three films.  

We had lunch just a few buildings down from my old home, at the barbecue joint Virgil's.  Quick, reliable, tasty.  And NYers just don't eat at 11:30 so we got a table easily.

Then we went back for the Vikings exhibition.  I've also seen a few major Viking exhibitions--at the American Museum of Natural History and at the British Museum--and this one actually compared, though it was smaller.  It had some great artifacts--brooches, swords, amulets, needles, axes, even dried bread--plus a few stele (though I think they were all reproductions.)  And of course the "ghost ship," which is suggested by rivets hanging on strings, since the wood was all lost over time.  There were several interactive kiosks and some lovely photos of reenactors and museums in modern-day Sweden.  Plus, there were even some Nordic dogs, in town for the Westminster Dog Show, that were like the dogs the Vikings would have had.  Sis and Bud enjoyed seeing them.  The exhibition was all about the daily life of Vikings--which never included horned helmets!--and so went out of its way to separate them from the marauding Beserkers who attacked Lindisfarne, etc.  This shift in the scholarship has been a long time in the making, but I didn't realize until now that "viking" is actual used to reference the activity of going on an expedition "to go Viking" or to "be on a Viking."  It's NOT the name of a group of people, like we use Swedish or Icelandic or Norwegian.  It was an activity.  Still, in a few ways, the exhibition did too much to erase the more violent aspects--the reason there are graves everywhere and lots of trade is because of their offensive maneuvers and plunder.  But, it was probably not much like the tv show, "Vikings" (which I like anyway.)

We picked up some cupcakes from the Discovery Center cafe and headed home through Friday afternoon traffic.  All things considered, it was a great day, and, even more, a good distraction from our sadness.

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