Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The King and I
We get together whenever Tut is in town

We spent two hours at the DeYoung last Friday for the Tut exhibit. The lines were orderly--no cut at Tut--and things were running smoothly getting in, until it was time to pick up our prepaid audio devices. While there were two people with nothing to do waiting for non members to rent audio, prepaid audio members had to deal with just one new person. Half the Egyptian army marched by us into the exhibit while we waited for things to be figured out.

I liked using the audio 30 years ago during Tut First Visit to SF. This time, I got tired of Omar Shariff after two chats (too much embellishment and praise instead of just telling me what I'm seeing), so I hung the audio around my neck like a breastplate. Also, I would have preferred to see Tut first instead of his 40 relatives, as I came to see Michael Jackson, not Joe Jackson. Seeing the relatives on a separate day, I would have appreciated them more.

The museum did a good job of using the little movie at the beginning like metering lights on the Bay Bridge, so the crowds were not as bad as they could have been. Plus the show was spread out, making it easier to maneuver. Some of the organ storage jars were spectacular, and I was awed by the perfection of the braided hair on small carved figures.

We had a déjà vu moment when we read there were three dozen boat carvings in the tomb with Tut, for travel in the afterlife. We had just seen an exhibit of three dozen boat constructions, by artist Jennifer Ewing, as part of her Spirit Boat series.

There were two Tut stores. They sell everything but the light fixtures in the movie room, which were very cool. Before leaving, we went up to the tower to see a friend who was teaching a class at the museum, but found out the classes were in the tower tummy, not the tower top.

Leaving the show, we nearly joined Tut in the afterlife when we were almost run over by a bus (maroon and creamy yellow double decker, open at the top), which drove right through the stop sign in front of the museum.

The misallocation of resources came up again as we left the parking garage. Two men standing by the exit took my paid parking stub and fed it into the self service exit machine for me. I felt like saying, "Why don't one of you go help at member audio rental, and the other go have a talk with the stop-for-nothing bus driver."

It was a very big show, (really big shew for you Ed Sullivan fans) and took a lot of resources to put on, so the ticket prices for members didn't seem out of line.

By Phil Gravitt

1 comment:

namastenancy said...

This is a great report - the show is controversial because it is a blockbuster and because it is to heavily hyped. But I think that the museum didn't have a choice. They are dealing with Zahi Hawass, Director of Culture for Egypt, who seems determined to wring as much money out of this as he can. It's either play the game his way or not have the show at all. Besides, the museum also needs to make money. All of our cultural institutions are feeling the pinch these days.