Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Outing recap

We’ve kept up with the monthly outings since coming back from our summer migration. Our August outing was seeing the bats fly out from under the I-35 bridge near the Pearl Brewery, which I enjoyed. Due to circumstances beyond our control, our September outing was postponed until October; I’m talking about our weekend in Austin, which was fabulous.

The actual October outing, which happened the following weekend, was seeing Ballet San Antonio perform Dracula. The Engineer had never been to the ballet, and I hadn’t been in years and years, so it was a nice change. Ballet San Antonio performs at the Lila Cockrell Theater, which is a very modern theater in the Convention Center complex (Lila Cockrell herself is a former mayor of San Antonio and was the first female mayor of a major American city); it’s so new that it doesn’t have much charm, to my view, but it had a certain minimalist beauty that I liked. It turned out the ballet master, Raul Salamanca, had most recently danced with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, too, so we immediately liked him. The reason I picked Dracula was because we already knew the story quite well, so I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to follow along. Even though the booklet explained the plot, I’m glad I already had the background information! While I thought the dancers were really great, the overall ballet didn’t impress me – maybe because it seemed short, maybe because the first ballet I had seen impressed me more, I don’t know. I nonetheless enjoyed the experience, and I’m really glad we went.

Finally, our November outing was going to the Witte Museum. Since it seemed like a small museum, somewhat geared toward children, we waited until there was a worthwhile exhibit to see along with the permanent collection. We found what we were looking for with Mummies of the World. When I think of mummies, the main image that comes to mind for me is that of an Egyptian mummy in a sarcophagus. While there were some of those on display, I enjoyed the fact that there were also mummies from South America, Oceania, Asia and even Europe. There were “accidental” mummies (which were preserved due to natural conditions rather than careful embalming), animals mummies, background info as to how they were found, how they were made, what CT scans and carbon dating had revealed… I also saw some art that clashed with what little I knew about Ancient Egyptian art, as it was likenesses of the dead painted in color on wood and wrapped with the mummy, and the art looked almost more European to me than the Egyptian hieroglyphic style I’ve come to expect. We continued our exploration of the Witte with the newly opened South Texas Heritage Center, which I thought was nice because I know very little about the history of where we now live. While parts of it were really interesting (not to mention oddly creepy, if you count the motion-animated freighter mannequin that starts talking to you at the entrance), I found the exhibit really quite small, and as I said, geared toward children. The dinosaur gallery, which is the first thing you walk into after buying tickets, basically has a triceratops skeleton and an artist’s rendering of a pterodactyl, plus a map showing which areas in Texas had dinosaurs during which time period. That’s it. We quickly toured the second floor, where we saw some background information on how to dig up and preserve mummies, plus an exhibit about travelling circuses. The grounds of the museum are beautiful, with gardens and an amphitheater overlooking the San Antonio River; we would have enjoyed them longer had we not been starving. (There’s a Chipotle directly across the street, so we didn’t have to look too far.) So in conclusion, while I’m happy to know what’s in that museum now, I wouldn’t go back unless I had young children. The McNay remains my favorite museum so far.

In December, my parents are coming over, so I’m sure we’ll have several outings – not to mention that the Engineer and I are going to see Batman Live; we’ve been impatiently waiting for the North American tour for what must be two years, now!

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