09 November 2011

Baraka Jeux à Montpellier

We have these friends here in Montpellier that are like kids that have never grown up.  They are avid, obsessive game nuts.  Recently they introduced us to one of their favorite hangouts in Montpellier called Baraka Jeux.  

They have an entire wall of shelves with every game you can imagine.  They are stored by type of game...money, words, numbers, etc.  You just have to buy a very cheap drink and you can stay for as long as you want and play as many games as you want.  The bartender can suggest games you might like by genre or you can just try one.  The owners run a game store in the center of town that is known for having all the newest and coolest games. There are circles of padded seating with tables. It looks like a blown up version of a really cool basement game room in someone's house...comfortable and low key with a nice bar. They also have a multitude of dart boards, pool tables and a really cool slot car track. The night we were there people were constantly coming in and out. New place to go on the dark and chilly nights to come!!

08 November 2011

Bankers Botticelli and the Bonfire of the Vanities

I was able to sneak in a visit to this very intriguing exhibition in Florence at the Palazzo Strozzi.  A mixture of art, images and artifacts that followed the rise and fall of the renaissance in Florence.  It was not very difficult to see how closely the events of this time period mirrors those of modern day...

"Has an exhibition ever been better timed? "Money and Beauty: Banking, Botticelli and the Bonfire of the Vanities" is a meditation on the centrality of the banking system and financial speculation in shaping the wider culture. At a moment when everyone in the Western world is only too aware of the fact that decisions made on Wall Street or in the markets of London, Frankfurt or Tokyo can have a direct impact on the course of our lives, this frankly stunning show at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence charts the birth of modern banking and the art that it made possible."  

06 November 2011

Morning Prayer in the Baptistery

Michelangelo was baptized in this building...Does that freak you out as much as it did me when I was standing there?  An octagonal shaped building...the symbol of the eighth day...the day of eternity...the hope of Baptism is the hope of eternal life.

The stories, the icons, the intricately woven symbolism...even without the written word it all becomes so complexly symbolic.  Were people in the early days of the Baptistery as awestruck by the mosaics and the stories as I was?  No words could do justice.

We were so incredibly fortunate to have Monsignor Timothy Verdon as our guide in the Baptistery.  Monsignor Verdon pointed out that the right hand of Jesus is lifting up and the left is motioning downward.  Under the right hand hand side is a picture of souls coming from their tombs and being welcomed by heavenly bodies while the left side shows souls being greeted by fallen angels.  The images of the promise of eternal life juxtaposed against those of eternal damnation must have put sheer terror in the hearts of the people attending baptisms in the early days.

Public Art in Florence

La Bellissima Firenze!!