May 29, 2005


Sometimes when traveling, Linda thinks I undertake a little too much.

Woke early this morning (with residual jet lag) to the pleasing discovery that the hotel, despite somewhat dreary decoration, has free wifi. Dispatched email, with tentative dinner plans and various bits of business, chiefly a response to a strangely unpleasant email from a graduate student at a Southern US university who suggested charmingly that our software wasn't "user-friendly" and didn't look very good and could he please have a discount?

Off in good time, for Victoria Market where I strolled many aisles of vegetables, fruits, meats, delicatessen, organic everything, baked stuff, etc. Ate some lovely hot donuts from a truck, then drank some flat white from a cafe.


After this, I ambled across Melbourne to the National Gallery of Victoria, stopping along the way to pick up a theater ticket for the night as dinner plans showed some signs of collapsing. The National Gallery has magnificent design exhibit with all the classic chairs: Barcelona, Corbusier, Breuer, and even a Rietveld which I'd only seen in books.


They also had a Frank Lloyd Wright office chair from the Larkin building, which a design student was earnestly sketching; amazing how Wright can take a conventional swivel desk chair and make it a Wright. Usually, Wright also made chairs uncomfortable, but since office chairs adjust, this one is probably safe.

The collection of 19th century academic paintings are fantastic, and almost unashamed.

Outside, I watched the parade for National Sorry Day, which is today. Then, on by tram to St. Kilda's, which appears to approximate Santa Cruz as seen in a mirror. The Esplanade was chilly, but Acland street was amusing. Cosmos books was very good indeed, right down to the sales rep pitching the next batch of design books to the buyers right in the middle of the shop floor.

Lunch at Cicciolina, which even in mid-afternoon was full of chattering groups, mostly young women who lunch. I had a souffle of swimmer crab, which was lovely, and then a single big oxtail raviolo sitting atop a handful of beautifully seared scallops, atop sauteed rainbow chard. There was a little bacon in the sauce, I think, verjuice, and beurre blanc. You wouldn't think this would work -- oxtail and scallops? But it does.


Tasty strudel at one of the East European cake shops for which Acland steet is famous, and then back to Federation Square, spending a few minutes with an elaborate digital storytelling exhibit that tends to confirm my perception of the strengths and weaknesses of orthodox Digital Storytelling. Oddly, I hadn't heard of this exhibit before, and it doesn't make any obvious reference to the Atchley/Lambert/Mullins crowd, but the stories seem completely according to Bootcamp rules. Parallel evolution?

Then rush back to the hotel to change and review tomorrow's talk, and then off to the Arts Centre Playhouse for Wars of the Roses, a marathon (3hr 45 min) but thrilling adaptation of the Henry VI trilogy in very modern dress. Letting the French have blue hair was a stroke of genius. Joan of Arc (Georgia Adamson) is played brilliantly as a sexy Jedi knight, and since the Duke of Burgundy is played by Julia Davis, this makes Joan's negotiation with Burgundy into an edgy dance of seduction. The performance ends with Richard, duke of Gloucester performing "Now is the winter of our discontent" as a rock ballad. Director John Bell is a wild fellow.

And so to bed.