This past Sunday I went on a short trip to Mexico.
About an hour long, the journey started and ended in the Jepson Center for the Arts, courtesy of the final day of “Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray,” a photography exhibit featuring portraits of the Mexican artist and feminist icon.
Several dozen images of Kahlo, shot during the 1930’s and 40’s in black-and-white and color, managed to offer glimpses beyond the immediate circle of her life and into the culture that she was born in, lived in, and reflected in her art and her personal style. It helped that the photographer Muray knew her so intimately—a friend of the family and also her lover.
Stepping out the doors of the Jepson after seeing the show felt like a return to the present from a trip to the past, as well as a return to my routine after a mini-vacation to another culture.
I had a similar travel experience a few weeks back, on the last day of the Christopher Murphy exhibit at the Telfair. That trip, a time travel experience to the streets and lanes of mid-20th century Savannah, was highlighted by a chance meeting with Cole Murphy, the late artist’s son, taking in his father’s exhibit one last time with his cousin Sean Murphy.
With “staycations” in the news urging us all to spend our summer holidays at home and conserve on gasoline, this weekend offers a series of around-the-world adventures right here in town that even Jules Verne would envy.
England anyone? Drop in on “Hogarth’s Tale of Two Cities—Rich and Poor in 18th Century London,” on display through November at the newly restored SCAD Museum of Art on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. For those who eschew GPS and Mapquest for charting their travel, the same building offers a permanent exhibit, “Mapping the Past: A Selection of Antique Cartography from the Newton Collection” with handmade maps going back centuries and across continents.
How about a trip to Africa? Friday afternoon’s “Drum Talk: It Takes a Village: Drumming on a Friday Afternoon” is a community drumming happening that expands a popular SCAD event held this past spring. Friday’s drumming circle, at 3 pm in Madison Square near the Gryphon Tea Room and ShopSCAD, has been given “the green light to run through the summer” according to co-facilitator J’Miah Nabawi. “It’s a mix of drums, not just African per se,” he says, noting that he’ll start with a “talking drum” or donno drum, from Ghana.
“The instruments are in the center, you pick up what you want to play. I always bring bells, gongs, sticks and shakers, hopefully drums from around the world, that’s what I’m shooting for,” he says.
In the uber-heat of July, the circle will be moving to the Lutheran Church of the Ascension on Wright Square. No drumming experience is necessary, only curiosity and enthusiasm.
Ready for a trip to outer space? Stick out a thumb and catch a ride down to the Lucas Theatre for “The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” The Savannah Film Society is showing this 2005 film on Friday night as part of Travel Weekend. It’s followed with “Road to Morocco” on Saturday night, a 1942 Bing Crosby and Bob Hope classic.
For a tour south of the border, Saturday’s Fiesta Latina! is a six hour exploration of the musical and culinary riches of Latin and South America, conveniently pulled together on Rousakis Plaza on River Street. Last year I foolishly allowed only an hour to visit this event, and spent most of it watching salsa dancers “shake their maracas” to an incredible Mexican band hailing from an unlikely home base--Hilton Head Island.
This year I’m allocating more time, to shop and to fill up on the assorted foods offered by different Latin cultural community groups. All this world traveling that’s on the itinerary is bound to make me hungry.