My Week in Pictures.

The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia.

The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia opened at the Melbourne Museum last Friday, and I found it much more impressive than their past exhibitions, Titanic and Tutankhamun. Very spacious and a lot more intimate than previous years, and the lighting on some of the carved stone reliefs was magnificent, harkening back to the time of A Day in Pompeii, which I felt was much more content-focussed than some of the Museum’s other exhibitions.

For old time’s never was’ sake?

Normally whenever I see so called “women’s literature” or “chick lit”, I run a mile. In this case, I stayed long enough to take a pink and stereotypical portrait.

Back to Booktown.

Last weekend, it was that time again: Clunes Booktown time. I travelled cross-country (train from Melbourne to Bendigo, car from Bendigo to Clunes, shuttle bus from Clunes to Ballarat and another train from Ballarat to Melbourne. Phew!) to spend the day in Clunes’ freezing weather for an abundance of books. I picked up most of my haul within the first hour, and had to cart it around for the rest of the day. One of the garage/book sales out of someone’s front yard had a “book trolley” for hire; I think I’ll take them up on their offer for next year! My companion, Hannah, walked around empty handed for most of the day, until she picked up four great books on our trek back to the car.

For myself I got a book of essays by Gloria Steinem (including her famous Playboy club exposé. Eep!) and the incredibly rare first edition of Bret Easton Ellis’ The Informers and the Harvard Lampoon’s Twilight spoof, Nightlight. As gifts, I got my housemate a much-coveted (though unbeknownst to me til after the fact; I just thought the cover looked cool!) Kevin Smith-penned edition of Spider Man and Black Cat (with feminist themes: bonus!) and The Hours for my mum.

Break time.

Mia shares some water with her new friend. What a nifty little invention!

The dog park.

Mia’s fully vaccinated now, so that means I can start taking her to grassy areas.

At her post-adoption training session, I expressed concern at her aggression on the lead and interacting with other dogs. The trainer suggested taking her to a dog park during a quiet time (Tuesday before lunch, in this case) to get her used to socialising with other dogs. While her playtime was a bit more aggressive than I would have liked, Mia ended up making friends with a little poodle-shih tzu cross named Ovi. Ovi’s owner, Misty, is new to Australia from the U.S., so we’ve made plans for the dogs to catch up for a play date. I secretly think Misty was in search of some human playmates, too.

The stack.

Some quality articles in The Age on Saturday: a testimonial on why Prince still matters (he’d better, ’cause I just forked out a pretty penny for tickets to his concert next week), and an investigation into Nick D’Arcy and that assault incident. I liked this quote from the piece: “I think that as role models, we should be held to a higher standard than the average person,” spoken by Kieren Perkins. Here here.

The senior’s movie.

Rita Hayworth’s Gilda is supposed to be the embodiment of the femme fatale, so when the movie was screening (and still is, this Saturday and Sunday at 11am, and Monday at 1:30pm) at ACMI for $11 (cheaper for seniors!), I had to get on it. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, and found it sexist as all hell, Hayworth is a dream to look at!

Related: Tutankhamun & the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at Melbourne Museum.

Clunes Back to Booktown.

My Week in Pictures 26th April 2012.

Cherchez la Femme Fatale, Take 2.

Mesopotamia image via Museum Victoria.

Event: Tutankhamun & the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at Melbourne Museum.

Tutankahmum made his Melbourne debut last Friday. Well, he was there in spirit at least, as his death mask, sarcophagus and mummy are too precious to leave their home country of Egypt. However, 50 of the 130 items are from the boy king’s tomb, and a select few that adorned his gold coffin, plus the sarcophagus of his great-grandmother, Tjuya.

This exhibition had been hyped up for months in Melbourne, not to mention its world tour, which garnered more than 7 million visitors worldwide, so I was expecting a grand display of Egyptian artifacts. I was disappointed.

No question, the actual artifacts were magnificent; “everywhere the glint of gold”, as Howard Carter said when he discovered King Tut’s tomb in 1922. My favourites were the inlaid pectoral scarab decorations, which I would love as a brooch of my own (!), and the funery masks of two foetuses, that were most likely the stillborn children of Tut. Morbid, I know, but that was one of the only items of information that stayed with me after the exhibition. Another interesting fact is that due to the numerous wives of Tut’s father, Akenhaten, the boy king’s mother remains unidentified.

In my opinion, Tutankhamun has nothing on other exhibitions I’ve seen in Melbourne, even in country Victoria, and at the Melbourne Museum itself. The Museum’s past Winter Blockbuster exhibitions, like “A Day in Pompeii” and “Titanic”, followed a narrative arc and had a “standout piece”, whereas I don’t think Tutankhamun has that.

An article in The Age’s Life & Style a couple of weeks ago asked questions about the “theatricality” and “showbiz” elements of the exhibition, to which Mark Lach, the creative director of Arts & Exhibitions International, replied:

“I think people who have seen the exhibition would be hard pressed to say it’s been dumbed down… It’s an elitist thing to say… [that] if it’s [a] blockbuster… it must be dumbed down…”

I don’t believe it was dumbed down; I really liked the fact that there were text panels above the objects, as well as directly in front and on the sides, so that everyone in the exhibition is given the opportunity to read the information before they get up close and personal with the artifacts. But some of the other aspects of the exhibition, like a projection of King Tut’s coffin where it might have been placed had it been allowed out of Egypt, seemed disjointed and out of place.

No doubt this exhibition is a big coup for Melbourne, but I’m wary of it overshadowing some other—perhaps more deserving—exhibitions and tourist attractions.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Event: Gustave Moreau’s The Eternal Feminine Exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Images via King Tut Melbourne, Newsoholics.