I hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend. On Columbus Day, we remember Christopher Columbus’ journey to the Americas. Unfortunately, his reputation as a great explorer has been tainted by his mistreatment of the American natives.
So instead of commemorating the arrival of a controversial hero, let’s celebrate the arrival of something everyone loves: giant inflatable ducks.
There has been a lot of hoopla in China, France, Australia and many other countries about Dutch artist, Florentijin Hofman’s giant inflatable duck. It wasn’t until this October that the duck finally made landfall in the United States (kind of… it’s technically floating in a river). Known as the birthplace of pop art, Pittsburgh was appropriately selected to be the first American city to be visited by the famous bath toy. The piece draws crowds from great distances and induces a strong sense of community among its audience. I think it promotes peace and friendship in a way unmatched by any gesture of diplomacy in history. I mean look at it! If you’re not smiling when you see this, you obviously have no emotion!
If you weren’t inflatable bird watching over the weekend, maybe you came by 5th Avenue for Across the Arts. In addition to delicious cocktails, dinner, and dessert, we heard a moving speech from Representative and Civil Rights leader, John Lewis. Performers from TPAC performed an excerpt of their production “Red” about the life of Mark Rothko. Finally, Alexis Gideon performed his latest video opera, Video Musics III: Floating Oceans. It was remarkable how many things this guy can do at the same time. He was singing perfectly in sync with the video, playing a keyboard, xylophone, and a medley of other instruments all in one piece. I sure was impressed.