Burghers, bridges, and blessings

Four snaps on the theme of thread of public works, public art, chance encounters, history and such. A tad quotidian, admits.

First, as I strolled campus on a mid-day break, I noted the incoming freshman (2016) in team-building, social-media-intensive yet fun orientation projects, in groups of five or six, usually co-ed.

Devon from Pennsylvania indulged me in a shot next to the Rodins at the Quad. Not sure if the students’ project had them thinking any harder than I was about Rodin, Calais, Hundred Years War or Burghers. I didn’t realize, for instance, that Burghers, in the sense of commercial merchants, is the translation of the sometimes-cognate French word bourgeois. My European history is limited to one class with Wood and Lagomarsino, years ago (and for comparison, as far I as I know, my people, contemporaneous to the period depicted by Rodin, and nearly until the time of Rodin himself, were schutzjuden, meaning  a protected class of not-quite-full-citizens in Eastern Europe and Germany).

Five minutes earlier I accosted a group who were posing on a cover to what should be and perhaps again will be a Maya Lin kinetic sculpture, which is being repaired. They tolerated politely my brief art history lecture and then proceeded on with their fun.

Earlier in the day I had stopped traffic behind me for a second to snap an architectural detail in the form of perhaps frescoes of medical scenes at PAMF, the one I was trying to capture seems to be a homage to the work at the old PAMF, now Palo Alto Historical Society. It is small enough in scale not to stop traffic too significantly, I hope.

You have to squint, but if you look too closely you may go blind

Similarly, I snapped a rolling view recently of the spans of Bay Bridge. People with less than 30 years driving experience should not try this. I promise not to do it again.

My campus excursion included popping in on El Centro Chicano, at Old Union, on Lausen Mall and suddenly noticing the 1980 mural, more recently restored, by Jose Montoya, and more timely an new interior set of murals by Berkeley’s Juana Alicia (I think her apellido is Montoya tambien, but am unsure of a connection). The center is hosting a reception for Juana Alicia and the new murals on November 9, according to Frances Morales, PhD., associate dean and director of the center, who has been at Stanford 20 years, and hails from South Texas by way of a b.a. from Fresno State (her doctoral is from Stanford). The photo is actually from a previous wandering — I generally walk, if it is part of my so-called workout, without phone or watch or any other gadgets beyond what the good Lord did me with bless.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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1 Response to Burghers, bridges, and blessings

  1. Hi Mark, thanks for the byline. Mi apellido es Araiza (formerly Montoya), but I just use Juana Alicia professionally. I am not related to Malaquias Montoya, author of the exterior mural on El Centro Chicano, but we are friends. Jose Montoya, also an artist, is his brother. My murals at El Centro can be viewed at http://juanaaliciaatcentro.wordpress.com/

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