Monday, July 30, 2007

The halfway point

Today marks the start of the fifth week of my ten week internship (Friday will mark the first time I receive a paycheck that I can actually put into savings, even if I spend a little. The initial costs of moving were really more than I'd expected).

It seems like a good halfway point. I'm just now at a point where all the "touristy" things I'd looked forward to doing are out of the way and I can spend my free time relaxing and/or finding quirky things to do. I'm kind of museumed out. I haven't seen the National Museum of Art yet, but that doesn't seem nearly as interesting to me as the other museums. Now it's time to types of things that some of my friends wonder think I'm weird for liking.

his past weekend was kind of a bust. I went to the Folger Shakespeare Library, thinking "Wow, it would be awesome to see the world's largest collection of Shakespeare!" Problem: Unless the person I asked didn't know what she was talking about, the general public can't see the collection. The description of the place in guidebooks and its own Web site makes it sound like you can go in and do research, but I don't think so. I don't know if there's some separate part of the building or what, but all I saw was a theater (kind of modeled after the Globe, but not nearly as cool as the Elizabethan Theatre in Ashland , and a hallway with a display called "Shakespeare in American Life." Admittedly, the theatre stage was under construction so it probably didn't look as good is it normally would, but it wasn't what I'd pictured.

There were lots of posters and scripts of plays and of works derived from Shakespeare, but it wasn't anything special. The only really unique thing I saw there was the copy of the first folio (the first book of his collected works). It was very cool. That was what I really wanted to see. Underneath the glass display, they had a digital version made to look like the pages of the real book and you could touch the screen to "turn" them and look at the text. That was neat.

The excitement of seeing the first folio aside, the rest of it wasn't any more interesting than anything you'd see at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival or any gift shop in Ashland. The highlight was really when I was discussing Hamlet with some people standing near me and an English gentleman came up and quoted the entire "to be or not to be" soliloquy. That was a fun, nerdy moment that I enjoyed.

I also saw the Library of Congress, which has some decent exhibits, including the Guttenberg Bible, and is a breathtaking building (the details of the tiles on the floor and the paintings are just amazingly intricate), but again: I wanted to see a library. Books. I didn't get to see that.

Anyway, time to get going or I'll miss the subway home.

No comments: