Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

The coolest part of the highlight of a nice holiday weekend

There are plenty of familiar faces at the Yousuf Karsh retrospective at the MFA.
Karsh, Estrellita Karsh, 1963. (MFA via Time.com)

On Boxing Day, Cole and I left the Booga with his grandparents (we were staying in Rhode Island) and spent a date-day in Boston. I wanted to see several shows at the MFA followed by some strolling, casual coffee, opportunistic post-Xmas recession sale trolling, dinner and
conversation. Just a nice day together, which I'm sure the parents among you will appreciate.

We had a nice lunch at the museum's mid-casual cafe between the excellent Assyrian show and the promising Karsh photoretrospective. We sat next to a striking older woman I was sure I had seen someplace before. She was eating with a younger woman (perhaps my age) who kept thanking her profusely for something (we could not hear what). She personalized a catalogue from the Karsh exhibit and Cole glimpsed the name Karsh in the signature (we were sitting that close).

Later, after the nice Rachel Whitetead installation, we took our time and took a quality look at the Karsh show. After all the famous portraits--Einstein, Jackie-O, Mother Theresa, we saw one that positively made our jaws drop: his widow Estrellita, the woman from the cafe! It was only then we noticed every piece in the show was "courtesy Estrellita Karsh." That explained some things.

I love it when I catch a personal glimpse at the invisible bonds that tie the universe together, an artist's version of "dark matter." I love to witness capital moments and I love it when some instinct alerts me to that moment's importance. It was cool that I was able to share that moment with someone who knew how to fully appreciate it.

On a wonderful day that was the best part of the holiday weekend, that moment was the highlight, the beating heart that sent the blood of inspiration coursing through my soul.

Postscript: I crossed Bedford Avenue to write this entry at the Rabbit Hole, which has become a sort of writers room for both Meredith and me. The writing took a lot longer than expected because an excellent band was playing (they've never had music there before): Brooklyn
, one of my favorites. Turns out their members are from Charlottesville. A thousand more dark matter threads to explore there if I wanted to...

But it's late, we're all tired, the cafe is closing and it's time to file my missive. They'll be back next Saturday...

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