Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Madison Trip

On Monday and Tuesday, Dokime and the upper-grade BCS class went to southern Wisconsin, mostly in the Madison environs, to see three Wisconsin landmarks: Frank Lloyd Wright's studio at Taliesin, the capitol building in Madison, and the House on the Rock, a remarkably kitsch roller-coaster of unbridled bad taste, ironically less than half an hour from Wright's masterpiece of restrained, livable, prairie-style architecture.

We left around 7:30 and headed down to Spring Green. We drove through the kettle-moraine country of southern Wisconsin, untouched by the glacial action that flattened this region of Wisconsin into largely gentle rolling hills. It was some of the most beautiful territory I have been in. I can only imagine driving down it at illegal speeds in a Jaguar E-Type or '66 Mustang with my soulmate *sigh*.

The Wright visitors' center, about a mile from the house, was also designed by him, although he didn't live to see it completed. We were shuttled in a bus to the actual architecture school which still operates on the estate. We regrettably didn't take the tour of his house, because they charged something exorbitant to the tune of $47.

The school itself sagged badly, was drafty and mossy, and positively swarmed with mosquitoes. That said, it was absolutely gorgeous and well-designed. Gray's Elegy (with a typo) was engraved on the gigantic stone mantlepiece, and a verse from Isaiah was on the ceiling beams above. It was a beautiful, peaceful building, and I fell in love with it. I was already a fan of Wright's style, but now I appreciate the fact that his organic architecture is one of the best ways to build a house.

After that, we drove down to the capitol building in Madison. Another beautiful building, in a totally different style. Gold leaf and expensive marble were literally everywhere. We found out some cool stuff, such as the fact that from the ground floor to the statue on top of the dome, our capitol building is taller than the national one in Washington, and that a Johnny Depp and Christian Bale movie about John Dillinger and other crooks called "Public Enemies" is being filmed in it and in other locations in Wisconsin.

When the tour was done, the BCS kids headed back to Baldwin, while we stayed. We drove to a theater in Madison and met the Hokansons' friends the Johnsons to watch the new Narnia movie: Prince Caspian! It was mediocre, and far from the book, but growing on me slightly.

After that we went to the Johnsons' house, and had pizza. They were incredibly nice and hospitable, and I enjoyed our time there. Then we watched some of our movie-making projects, including Antigone for the third time in three days, and some other videos. Then the girls left to go to a hotel, and John, Zach (Johnson), and I played video games for a while and I had a sneezing fit. Then we turned in.

The next morning, we ate breakfast at the Johnsons' and drove off to the House on the Rock. It was, frankly, not worth the $12.50 admission fee. It was rabidly and unashamedly commercial, and though it was rather impressive, was entirely not my thing. I was entirely shocked when the girls said it was their favorite place we went. It was dark and smelly and the owner seemed to have collected all the 300-foot fiberglass whales, idiotically lighted carousels, and nude dolls he could find. Plus orange shag carpeting.

After that, we drove home. All in all, an excellent trip that did a good job of tying off the school year.


elisabeth said...

Ok lets clear things up a bit.
*That was a completely opinionated writing, mabey it was supposed to be I just don't think that was the best way to approach it.
*The house on the rock was not, (in my opinion) so commercial. You should read the biography it is really eye opening.
*Prince Caspain, though far from the book was not mediocre. Caspian was so cute who could not like it.

OK. So mabey I would have written a post with just as much opinion I am just mad your opinions are not what I think they should be;)

Sola Gratia said...

I'll never say anything bad about the House on the Rock or Prince Caspian again if you RESTART YOUR BLOG!!! Why'd you quit it??

Anonymous said...

First off, who cares if the movie was different from the book. THe prince was handsome,and his accent was cute. Who cares about the rest of the movie?
And I don't know what you think is so bad about the house on the rock! Frank Loyd Wright can't even compare to it! I realllly want to go back there for my birthday so i can play with the music boxes to my hearts content!

Sola Gratia said...

Elisabeth & Susan: Well, you're free to do that, Susie. And Liz, being opinionated on my own blog is perfectly permissible, and I intend to continue doing it. I was going to the Hazelnut today, but I didn't have any money, so I didn't :/.

elisabeth said...

Mos, I deleted my blog because it was too time consuming and I decided I did not want everyone to know about me. And NO I will not resart it. Badmouth great works of art all you want.

Sola Gratia said...

Liz, honestly. You've been going to school with me for HOW many years now? And you expect me to stop badmouthing, LOL? If you'll excuse the expression, FAT CHANCE.

sweetggirl said...

It sounds like your Madison trip was TONS of fun! Too bad you didn't take your camera LIKE I TOLD YOU TO!!!! :(