My Visit to the High Museum of Art

While I was in Atlanta, I obviously scheduled a few excursions outside of the hotel, because it’s what I like to do as I go stir crazy. (And to be honest, people hate-y, although this time wasn’t bad more for the reason I felt like I didn’t see anyone at all.) Anyway, while just chatting on twitter, someone (sorry! I can’t remember who!) told myself and Isobel that we had to go to High Museum of Art Atlanta (HIGH) because Girl with a Pearl Earring was there as part of a special collection (Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis). Well, I love the Dutch Masters. I’ve had the opportunity to see a special collection of Rembrandt’s works and it was amazing, so I knew I had to go.

I already had a busy schedule, but I started asking people how they felt about high art. I finally found a victimfriend, and Beth said she was excited to go. Whee! I contacted HIGH about my visit, and it was arranged so they provided me with tickets! Which was awesome! In fact, fortuitously two! (Thank you, HIGH Museum of Art!)

First off, it’s really easy to get there. We took a cab there, but MARTA back. There are a lot of great restaurants nearby as well, so you can get lunch, dinner, or brunch at any point surrounding your visit. Beth and I had a tiny bit of a walk around to find the entrance of the museum, but once in, it was easy to get to “the good stuff.” The exhibit was on the second floor, and the elevators were right there. We took the audio tour, which was nice. It wasn’t like other audio tours I’ve ever listened to. There were a number of people speaking, and although they each gave their credentials, I don’t remember who they were. (Oops.) Beyond giving some information about the work, oftentimes the speaker also did a sort of casual “art crit,” remarking on parts that they liked, which people may not have noticed. It was a fun personal touch that I’m sure encouraged people to look at the paintings more carefully.

It was a lovely collection, and there were a number of works that I’d never seen before, which was awesome. I don’t know if it was possible, but I wish the lighting had been slightly different, because there was often a reflection or glare on the protective glass which made the paintings difficult to observe. Otherwise, I feel lucky to have had a chance to visit HIGH because the exhibit was only in San Francisco, Atlanta, and will be heading to New York. There were a few Rembrandts I got to “revisit,” as well as works from Frans Hals, Jacob van Ruisdael and Adriaen van Ostade. (Beth and I also felt the Rachel Ruysch was a favorite.)

Of course the culmination of the tour was Girl with a Pearl Earring, which got its own room complete with foot barrier, and dim lighting. I stood there for quite some time, and had a moment. <3

It was very clever for the exhibit to open into a small gift shop that had books, cards, the usual museum store items, and even a chocolate bar with Girl with a Pearl Earring printed on the wrapper. There were even magnetic Girl with a Pearl Earring finger puppets. (In fact I’m now wondering if I can find a book of the collection “out in the wild,” as I didn’t buy one there…)

Then, we went downstairs, and found what felt almost like a gallery, with all (I believe) the pieces created by local artists, which opened into a room of African Art. It was a fun display that I think children would like. They had two or three ceremonial masks mounted on a wall, with two screens showing video of the actual ceremonies. Certain this wasn’t all to be see, Beth and I and asked about the HIGH’s general collection, and what the “must see” works were. (I’m not sure if we were asking volunteers or staff.) We did this because we had lunch plans, and Beth had previously informed me she was forced to endure countless hours at museums, so we weren’t going to spend all day there, but didn’t want to miss anything.

You have to go through something of a walkway, and then into what I’d personally call the “main building” of the museum. We were actually a little surprised by how “small” the museum is. I suppose I’m spoiled when it comes to museums, but for Atlanta being such a large city, Beth and I were a bit perplexed. Nevertheless, there’s an interesting mix of modern art, American Art, and European art from various periods. (In fact I realized you can browse the museum collection online! Super cool!)

We found two Monets, one from his Houses of Parliament series, and one landscape. I hadn’t seen either before, so that was nice. (The Monet had been our goal, because the girl told us there was “a Monet” so it was a bit of a scavenger hunt.) After walking through a few floors (it’s a really cool open layout with a winding ramp between floors), we were hungry and decided to leave. I do want to note the American Art (I did a project on it in school so it’s got a special place in my heart), as well as a Degas I don’t remember seeing in any art book. Another find! There were some gorgeous displays of crystalware on the walk up, and some whimsical British china with a lot of cute motifs. Lots of “the four seasons” and items shaped like fish, frogs, and the like.

I like that the museum has the “open layout” but with the ramps, there are some nooks that can house the smaller collections with a particular theme in its own space. It’s really nice because the open layout gives you a general idea of the collections so you can have a specific target if you’re “on a mission” like we were.

The grounds for the HIGH museum are very nice, and the architecture is gorgeous. I can totally see a number of wonderful events being held there. If I visit Atlanta again I’d like to see how the collection is developed. Also, on Thursdays they have “Thirsty Thursdays.” Who wouldn’t like half price tickets and drinks available for purchase? If you’re in the area, I definitely recommend seeing if there’s a special exhibit that catches your interest. Or, if you’re looking for something to do on Thursday evening. [Oh, and if you're wondering why this is so text heavy, you need a special permit to take pictures in the museum, and I didn't think to apply for one previously, so sorry - none from me this time!]

Surrounded by Death

I posted an update (wow exactly a month ago) although we all know I’ll pre-date this post. :P Anyway, my “things have been crazy” was a more vague and nicer way to say… all these people are dying. In the past ~2 months at least 8 people have died. Some in my family, some family of friends. It just hasn’t been a good time. There might actually be more, but I’m actively trying to not think about it, yet at least that many immediately come to mind.

Anyway I thought it was ok just to leave it with the July post, but then I kept getting all this crap about shit. So even though I didn’t want to – more because I didn’t want to think or talk about it than to awkwardly drop this into conversation and upset someone’s delicate sensibilities although that was part of it… I had other stuff to be dealing with, other than romance world and ALBTALBS.

Compounded by additional other bad stuff with work and general life excluding those tragedies.

So.

That’s why I’ve been dropping the ball.

And a little bit of my upset and anger is at myself for not being more on top of things, but you know what? I think I’m going to have to give myself a pass. And as part of that, considering… I think I’ll also have to say a succinct “fuck you” to people who aren’t ok with that.

I do however plan on posting things that I missed on their original dates. I’m working out how to go about doing that – writing up a post with all the “hey look at these posts that won’t appear on the sidebar.” Or what? They should all still go to my Facebook, I’ll tweetlink them, and it should go to tumblr as well.

And I also want to make some changes with information updates, and make a few details even more abundantly clear, such as ALBTALBS communications and the way I [attempt] to run things.

But I guess this counts as an update and my rantypants. The above is also why it’s all more and more guest posts. I do want to have more general posts and less author things (although what do I know – “me” posts will mean less giveaways because I can’t afford that. :P ) but I’ve said numerous times, I never intended for this to be solely (or even primarily) a promo site. In a way though it’s helped me out, because it’s been a mutually beneficial relationship, especially when I couldn’t have handled all the content on my own.

Annnnnddd to end at least on a marginally less awkward note – or an attempt to – do any of you follow me on twitter? Would you be interested in a different account solely dedicated to only ALBTALBS posts and updates? (As in, every time a post goes live here, it would post from say, “@ALBTALBS” – and that account would talk about nothing else?

[And sorry for being bitchy.]

SWAG Questions + Updates

Hi friends! I’m back at home base. :D

Still behind, but that’s not new. Right? :\ And, I know I’m really flippant about it… but it does bother me a lot. And I’m sorry about it.

Actually, I have a few questions. First, I’m gearing up for Social Media for Social Good again. (SMSG). I’m debating between an ALS Charity, or *ETA decided on a Human Trafficking one. Unless something big comes up (and I hope not, because that means there is a global tragedy, you know?) – so, anyone have strong feelings one way or another? [Or if Romance Man has his 501c3 set up, I already agreed last year on his...]

Anyway. Hopefully I’ll be posting winners soon, and emailing everyone and catching up on those.

My question is though – s.w.a.g. – “stuff we all get” – what’s your favorite from authors that you’ve seen or received? What would you like to get? I’m gearing up for another post, and I’d really like any feedback and suggestions. And I’m sure authors would too. (And hey, speak up! Cuz that means it might be happening, and you might get it!)

ETA: Ok guys? … you do know that books aren’t swag right? Swag is the promotional type items authors hand out – there is very little likelihood an author has hundreds of copies of books s/he can just give away to everyone. That’s a different topic – when I ask about prizes. Swag does not mean prizes. (Or, some authors give it as a prize… but that’s another shoddy story.) Thanks! :)

ALBTALBS Update

Hi Friends!

Just wanted to let you know – things have been crazy. And mostly crazy in a not so great way. I wanted to apologize for the sporadic postings. A lot has been going on, and then internet, and being ill, and then burn out. You might be surprised at how much diva attitude there is behind the scenes. And how quickly that makes you not want to do a damn thing.

I am trying though. And hope to back date and post a lot of reviews when I get back. There are supposed to be Thursday and Saturday posts, but I am not sure how the formatting went. (Maybe I’ll get access and be able to confirm, but I’m going to be without any sort of personal computer for a week.)

Next – for previous prizes; I recently noticed there were a lot of emails that got buried – so please know that from the ~February on? I’m going to double check. My apologies – that’s on me.

It’s 3:20 AM and I need to be up in 2 hours. … What up with you?

[Obviously being up SO late with such little prospective of sleep makes me really bitchy.]

Hopefully the rest of this week will be more of a recharge. And winners will be posted when I have computer access again as well.

And for your entertainment, remember to check the tags. We haven’t done this in a while.

Winners

I know. I’ve been bad. Things have been bad. And good. And then just burn out and anyway, here are winners, and I hope to change things up and that this will never happen again. The “this” I refer to being me sucking so hard.

However, I’m going to suck some, and you’ll have to deal with it, because hopefully my positives make up for it!

Anyway, I’m emailing all of February’s winners. Because I said I would. And I waffled on March, but you know what? I just don’t want to. I’ve said from the start I have a policy of not emailing winners – and I offer multiple ways to subscribe, or find out what’s going on here. So, you know. Fair warned is fair armed?

Here are all the lucky people that I’m jealous of, because you’ll notice that *I* never get to win! ;)

Melonie Johnson wins Sarah M. Anderson’s prize.
For Jennifer Haymore’s visit, her winner is Nancy Bristow (who gets major bonus points for checking out the “About” page!) <3
We know Lorelie Brown always offers a prize, and her winner is ki pha.
Heather Kumar and Sandy Xiong win a Lords of Vice book from Alexandra Hawkins.
Jillian Stone and her character Cate Willoughby visited with us on Valentine’s Day! But ALBTALBS was part of a blog tour – so that’s taken care of. Phew.
Cathy Pegau has two winners, and they are flchen1 and JoAnne.
ChattyCharry wins from Eden Bradley’s excerpt of Forbidden Fruit.

And now to the winners who have to email me themselves. [Responsibility!]
Maisey Yates and Vivian Arend share the same birthday and they had a mini bash here. Timitra, mathlady68,  and CrystalGB are Maisey’s winners. The three winner’s of Viv’s prize are jovialvampyre, Stella (Ex Libris), and Rebe.
The wonderful Carolyn Jewel visited and joytoread wins three of Ms. Jewel’s books.
Tracy March was nice enough to offer a giveaway with her excerpt, Shannon wins the book and a lovely bracelet!
Wow – my scheduling O_o well Christi Barth was here too! And Mary Preston wins!
Diane Sallans and Diane P. Diamond win from Valerie Bowman.
Stephanie Tyler was generous and awesome enough to visit with us on her birthday! Patoct and Evelyn win!

And now we’re into April. So I’m doing good here!
Manda Collins was our special author of the month. Jeanne Miro wins :D
Aliquis wins from R.E. Butler.
Ok, I totally stopped myself from being vulgar (I think? :X) the first time… but we popped Amara Royce’s blogging cherry here at ALBTALBS! ;) JenB wins.
Marquita Valentine’s winners are thebookqueen and bn100.
Linda wins from Cathy Ivan.
Jeannie Lin is going to give rinib a prize!
J. Kenner came to talk about staycations, and Rosarita Reader wins.
Cris was very eager, and luckily wins from Elle Kennedy.
I had a silly contest, and TrishJ wins. It’s also over, but I wanted to “leave it open” just so people could see what I had put.
I ALSO some how convinced Carolyn Jewel to visit with us again! On her birthday! So she generously offered three books. Donna Worthington, Barbara E.,  and Sebella Blue win!

All May contests are still open – until I draw winners, so you might want to revisit them. :D

Please use the contact form, and list what your prize is to make things easier. You have until June 15th to contact me. (I’m giving it more time than usual because I want people to have a chance to stop by and see if they’ve won. However, anything after the 15th I reserve the right to ignore. I also reserve the right to ignore your email if you don’t say what your prize is. Because… you know, I don’t think it’s that difficult. I’d also really appreciate if you helped me out and included a mailing address if your prize is a print book – though honestly that’s better for you because you have a faster chance of getting your prize. :D )

And since I’m a total soft touch? Every author of the month from March through June – I’ll take entries until the end of June.

Remember, for any March or April winner, you have until 11:59 PM EDT to contact me to win your prize! Send your info, and what your prize is. Thanks!