Sunday, June 10, 2007


I am the type of person who hears the word "festival" and usually runs in the opposite direction. A festival is just one more reason why it's hard to park, one more opportunity to bump into people who aren't using their brains, a time of standing in line forever for a little bit of "fun". No, I much prefer being at home or going out to find the anti-festival, a place that is beautiful and isn't packed with people.

Not to mention that when I was a kid, the annual torture of having to go play piano in front of a judge was called "Festival". I never understood that one, as it always racked my nerves so much to play in front of a stranger that I was millimeters from tears (and the tears usually ended up falling after the performance, perfectly executable at home, fell apart with my nerves). That festival was certainly a misnomer.

I explain all of this so you can understand the significance of my saying that I would do just about anything to attend the Venice Biennale. Yes, it's contemporary art when I much prefer something older, but Venice is so amazing anyway and then to make the whole city host art from everywhere, as a matter of course, it must be beyond wonderful. (And it's not like the masterworks get dumped in the canals while the newer stuff comes in....) I imagine sitting on the Grand Canal in front of Santa Maria della Salute drinking in the view after having seen some strange but oddly likable piece of contemporary art somewhere (wish wish) and anticipating an afternoon in the Academy in front of some Tintoretto frescoes to wash my soul and set it free to fly. I imagine staying in a hotel away from the main walks of the city, getting to wander and see Venice at night, and being there long enough that on one day I even find myself escaping to one of the smaller islands for a breather with relatively fewer people milling about, then, once I am fortified by the away time, rushing back in to the excitement and buzz of thousands of people out to see the new, the curious, against an antique and venerated backdrop.

Of course in this dream I am also there long enough to visit other cities: Genova, Firenze, and finally Assisi, Rome, Capri, Palermo...

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