Sunday, December 30, 2012

tim burton exhibit at the seoul museum of art.

recently, the seoul museum of art opened an exhibit featuring tim burton. i'm not a huge tim burton fan, but i can respect his creativity and i genuinely like some of his films. the bit we'd managed to find online about the exhibit said it featured his art and various items from his films, so that alone sounded pretty cool. friends were also intrigued by the exhibit, so one saturday, we made our way into seoul to check it out.

(sidenote: for some reason, most of my photos seem to have come out a little blurry. which is unfortunate. well done, iphone.)

the facade of the museum was completely tim burton-ed. 

since it was a saturday, there was quite a line just to pick up tickets. then, there was an additional wait time inside the museum -- we had to take tickets with numbers and they called in groups of about 100 at a time. we waited about thirty minutes for our numbers to be called up. 

according to the brochure we were given, there are over 860 pieces in the show and about 85% are from burton's own collection, with the rest on loan from various studios and private collections.

photos weren't allowed inside the galleries, unfortunately, because there was quite a bit i would have liked to photograph. quite a lot of the rooms were entirely his drawings through the years -- old pencil sketches, drawings from art classes, doodles in the margins of school papers and on napkins... it was pretty damn cool. his characters and art are often a little too grotesque and ugly for me, but it was interesting to see how he had been drawing many of his well-known characters for years and trace their evolution.

outside the entrance to one of the galleries. i promise i was having more fun than this picture suggests.

here are examples of some of his drawings that were featured inside the galleries. for all of his creepy-weird art, i have to say that he does make use of color nicely. 

this was one piece that i really liked in particular, called "romeo and juliet." there's something very maurice sendak about it, but also a fair amount of tim burton weird. 

after going through the galleries of his art, the last sections of the museum were dedicated to his films. they featured props, conceptual sketches/art, and models of different characters. in the "nightmare before christmas" section, for example, they had an entire case of small jack skellington heads showing a variety of expressions. 

this section was also a no photography zone, but i managed to sneak a couple (of even more blurry, due to sneaky stealth mode photo taking) photos, because this is probably my favorite tim burton film...

"edward scissorhands" topiary! (well, a replica.)

the closest i will probably ever get to johnny depp. (and so blurry.)

overall, it was a pretty neat exhibit. one thing that did detract from the whole experience was it was a saturday, and therefore extremely crowded. i remember being pleased that i'm taller than most of this country because i was able to see over heads to look at the art. in most of the rooms, everyone was moving along in a (painfully slow) single-file line, so i bypassed the crowd and moved around behind them at my leisure. so, i recommend not going on a weekend, or just getting there very early. 

the seoul museum of art is located near the subway station for city hall:
-from line one (blue), go out of exit one.
-from line two (green), go out of exit ten, eleven, or twelve.
the museum is located behind deoksugung (palace) -- if you're facing the entrance to the palace nearest to the above subway station exits, walk down the road that runs along the left of the palace wall. the museum will be on your left after about five minutes. 

the entrance fee is 12,000 and the exhibit runs through april 14, 2013. 

for information about the museum's operating hours, visit their website here. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

a real thanksgiving!

this wasn't the first thanksgiving i've spent in korea. during my first week here, aka the training week from hell, i grabbed thanksgiving dinner with a couple of my training classmates. since we'd been in the country for about five days and didn't know where anything was, we had something very spicy and very korean that was full of sea creatures. it was delicious, and it was a nice first thanksgiving in korea, but we definitely missed the traditional thanksgiving spread from home.

this year, my head instructor, will, and his wife, joanna, welcomed us into their gorgeous home to take over their (huge, western-style, oven-equipped!) kitchen and put together a full thanksgiving meal for everyone. of course we all jumped at this chance. they've had us all over for dinner before, once on cinco de mayo, aka when we realized joanna is an amazing cook, and again a couple months ago, for a potluck extravaganza.

joanna and analeece pieced together a menu -- everyone had an idea of what to bring, all thinking of things they love from home. they even tracked down a turkey at costco! i volunteered to bring cranberry salad, since i know for a fact that the family recipe i have is way better than that canned cranberry stuff, and a pecan pie. also, since it's a staple for my family back home, i decided to bring green stuff, which everyone found absolutely bewildering when i described it, but they promised to taste it regardless. (green stuff, as my family calls it, is basically a version of this, which a simple google search proves is not that unusual, thankyouverymuch, skeptics.)

why is the celery so big. who needs all those leaves, korea? 

things i am thankful for: electric mixers. whipping cream by hand is no fun.

red stuff and green stuff! all ready to go the night before! 

we all had to work on actual thanksgiving, so we scheduled our celebration for the following saturday. since i was on the pie baking committee, and we wanted to try to have those done before the turkey went in, i was up bright and early. sarah, analeece, and i headed over to will and joanna's around 9:45am so we could get as much done as possible before people started coming over around 3 or 4. 

will and joanna brined the turkey overnight, and the only container that was big enough? a trashcan. 

yes, please. 

pumpkin pie ready for the oven!

so, as we were getting pie stuff ready, we were facing an unexpected problem: we only had one pie pan, which was already occupied by the above pumpkin pie. joanna bought the pie pan here in korea, so surely we could find a couple more, right? no. nowhere. at all. will was sent out on the mission to find more pie pans. i'm pretty sure he checked three places, in addition to the two stores they'd checked earlier in the week. we even had eleanor check the grocery store near our apartments. not a single pie pan to be found. 

we decided to pause the pie-making for a bit while we looked up options and waited on the pumpkin pie that was occupying the single pie pan to be done. however, problem number two soon hit us: the pie wasn't cooking right. really, it wasn't cooking much at all. so we gave it more time... and more time... yet the filling was still jiggly. we checked the recipe again. everything had been done correctly. finally, it had firmed up a little, but it was officially time for the turkey to go in, so it had to come out. 

now the other pies had no choice but to be baked after the turkey. this was no problem, really, as it only took us a few seconds to rearrange the cooking schedule. this also gave us time to solve the pie pan problem: skillets! the internet told us it was possible. so we decided to give it a go. we also had no other options. 

while the turkey cooked, we started getting everything else ready and people started arriving to help with the other dishes. 

sarah working on stuffing, which was delicious. 

getting an apple pie ready to go into the oven as soon as the turkey was done. 

so many cooks in the kitchen.

ricer! gettin' mashed potatoes ready. 

will was busy documenting.

the thanksgiving feast! turkey, two kinds of stuffing, mashed potatoes plus gravy, green bean casserole, home-baked rolls, cranberry salad, green stuff, olives... all of it. 

after-dinner digestion time. 

while everyone relaxed and digested their dinner, it was time to get back to work on pies. my pecan was all ready to be mixed and poured into a shell, and the apple was nearly done baking.

the skillets = success! not a bad back-up plan at all. the pies came out perfect. 

my pecan pie tasted just like my mom's. it changed lives that night, guys. it was gooood. 

pecan, pumpkin (which was still a little funky, but had firmed up when it cooled), apple, AND a cheesecake. AND there was another pumpkin in the oven -- which came out perfectly this time. 

just as thanksgiving should be: with people curled up on couches, unable to move. 

ready to abandon all attempts to stay conscious. 

tried a panoramic of the group playing cranium. not sure what happened to joanna's body or will's arm. 

to quote eleanor's facebook status from the day after, "there is no such thing as a friendly game of cranium when everyone is drunk and everyone is a teacher." turns out we are a pretty competitive group. (also, another glitchy panoramic, this time hitting brianna's face. -_- )

so, thanksgiving in korea was a great success! it was fun hanging out and cooking all day, and then it was even more fun eating good food with a group of great friends. oh, and:

my tiny little fridge, filled up with leftovers. i ate turkey sandwiches with stuffing, red stuff, green stuff, and pie for like five days after our thanksgiving party. i think leftovers are my favorite part of thanksgiving, so i was pretty damn pleased.

now to plan christmas festivities...