Disobedient Objects at the V&A

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Opening Statement | Disobedient Objects, V&A

Disobedient Objects collects banners, protest artifacts, resistance tools, and people-focused art created as part of grassroots social movements. I was incredibly excited for this exhibit after being tipped off by my pal Alison. The curators worked with activists from around the world to display handmade products of social struggle. Could there be a more Liz worthy exhibit? I spent over an hour wandering through and lovingly looking at each piece and absorbing it’s story. The sense of solidarity was overwhelming and inspiring. People power is so amazing.

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Disobedient Objects, V&A

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Funeral Truck | Disobedient Objects, V&A

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Slingshot, Palestine | Disobedient Objects, V&A

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Syrian martys | Disobedient Objects, V&A

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Guerrilla Girls | Disobedient Objects, V&A

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Disobedient Objects, V&A

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Book Shields | Disobedient Objects, V&A

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Graffiti robot | Disobedient Objects, V&A

Disobedient Objects is on display through February 1, 2015 at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

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London After Hours

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Social Eating Club, London

My brother and I are proud gluttons. We joke about our permanent membership in the Clean Plate Club, a club our parents invented to get us to eat dinner (as if that were ever a struggle). If the option is more Serrano, 9 times out of 10 we’re going to order another round of finely shaven pork. We savor, we relish, we order a third round of drinks.

London was a playground. I’m used to traveling alone and typically don’t drink much when I’m on my own in unfamiliar cities. With a companion we can conquer the cocktail menu in half the time and have someone to talk to while we do it. Bartending happens to be Mike’s profession so I also tag along as research assistant. Who is doing something interesting? What concepts work and which ones fall flat? Which ones could improve with tweaks? And most importantly, what tastes delicious? We met many great bartenders and visited many great bars in London. It’s hard to pick favorites so I included links to all the places we went to at the bottom. You can’t go wrong with any of them. And when in doubt, befriend a bartender and ask them for their suggestions. It is a strategy that has yet to fail me.

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Sexy flower bento box, Artesian, London

White Lyan, London | via Purple PR

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Blind Pig, London

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ROKA, London

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Sager + Wilde, London

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ROKA, London

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Sager + Wilde, London

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Fuzzy sibs

We suggest: White Lyan | 69 Colebrooke Row | Artesian | ROKA | Sager + Wilde | Mission | Look Mum No Hands | On the Bap

Others We Tried: Happiness Forgets | Blind Pig

London

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St. James Park, London

London, oh London, how I love you. This was my second trip to one of my favorite cities in the world. There’s something about the buzz, scale, and diversity of large cities that I find completely energizing. Add in a crap ton of completely free museums, an unlimited tube pass, great weather and you’re looking at a solidly kickass week.

My family hasn’t traveled all together since my brother and I were in high school. Group travel as adults as definitely a learning experience for all of us and it took us a few days to find our groove. I enjoyed my favorite museums (the V&A and Tate Modern among other) and long walks before meeting up with Mike in the evening for some aggressive cocktail research (he is a bartender, I am his enthusiastic research assistant). One of the highlights of our week in London was attending the 40,000 person strong Climate Summit march. The energy on the march was truly inspiring, so many people marching worldwide for change.

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The Evening Standard deems 55% “decisive”. Noted for future.

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Breakfast in Balham

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V&A Museum Flower Garden

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Climate Summit protest at Temple Green

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Tiny marching humans

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Mike never takes selfies….

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…nope never…

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…never ever.

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Malevich retrospective, Tate Modern, London

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A recreation of the original layout of Malevich’s 1915 Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings 0.10, Tate Modern, London

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Hampstead High Street, London

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Family snap

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Ganton St, London

London: Day trip to Salisbury, Stonehenge and Bath

Travel within Britain is weirdly really expensive. I’m normally way too cheap to pay for a guided tour but it ended up being significantly cheaper than booking trains or buses a la cart. And so, we set off on an epic 12 hour whirlwind through the English countryside!

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Salisbury Cathedral is a magnificent early Gothic Cathedral with the tallest spire in Europe. Built in an impressive 38 years beginning 1220, it’s one of the few Cathedrals in England in one unified style. As it was signed nearby the Cathedral also houses one of the four remaining originals of the Magna Carta (sadly, no photos allowed).

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Driving through Salisbury Plain en route to Stonehenge you’re struck by the simple, pastoral beauty. Stonehenge was a bit underwhelming to be entirely honest. The engineering is impressive and the mystery surrounding the site is, of course, very perplexing but its some upright rocks in a big, pretty field. But, hey, I’ve got an informed opinion of it now.

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The day ended with a stop in Bath to see the Roman ruins. The baths have been impressively maintained and you really get a feel for the splendor. The engineering was so sound that everything is still in working order. Even the original lead lining in the main bathing pool is still water tight! Impressive work, Romans.

Bath itself is just lovely, I wish we had more time to explore the town. And the Jane Austen Center is there so I will definitely be back. The countryside is so peaceful.

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London: Somerset House

One of my favorite happy accidents is running into something I didn’t otherwise think I had time to see. Somerset House was just that. I had a bee in my bonnet about walking along the river from the Tate Modern to Westminster Abbey. Somerset House is in between them and I popped in to check out their Erwin Blumenfeld exhibit.

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The House (read: estate) itself is just beautiful. I mean, check out those floors. Major drool.

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Blumenfeld did mostly commercial work including extensive work for Harper’s Bazaar and American Vogue. The exhibit included many Vogue covers from throughout the 1950s with other takes from the shoot.

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It was a quick spin as the museum was about to close but I would definitely return to check this museum out again.

Boat loads of thanks to Anna and Bean!

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Stolen from Anna’s instagram feed because we never took a photo!

Overwhelming thanks to Anna and Bean for being my steadfast and gracious hosts during my extended stay in London. They housed and fed me, made me mean G&Ts and gave me all sorts of advice on how to best conquer the great British capital.

I first met Anna when I stalked her wedding on the internet. I wish I were kidding. She’s just got such great taste and non-ironic wellies FTW! Her husband, affectionately called Bean, is just the sweetest and put up with all sorts of our antics. Be sure to check out all the pretty on Anna’s blog (also, Pinterest because girl pins like a boss)!

Thanks so much!

London: Meeting Marx

Marx spent a good portion of his adult life living and working in London. He collaborator, Frederick Engles, ran a family mill in the north and sent money to support Marx and his family while Marx worked on “Capital”. The major bummer of the trip was that the Reading Room in the British Museum is closed. Marx spent many years there reading and researching economic changes to understand the new emerging system called capitalism.

Highgate Cemetery was privately owned and operated until it was abandoned in the 1970s. Left for several years to overgrowth and vandalism before being rescued by a trust, it has a certain wild romanticism to it.

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Marx’s original grave marker is extremely modest.

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In the mid-1950s the tombs were moved to a more prominent location and marked with the monument you can visit today.

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Without being overly sentimental, visiting this grave was really awesome. Paying tribute to someone you deeply respect and whose ideas and writing have played a huge role on your entire world is humbling in the best possible way. Workers of the world, unite!

London: Day trip to Oxford

Oxford is the oldest university in the world. Wrap your brain around that. Of all the universities in all the world, the Brits did it first over 700 years ago.

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When Christine, Camille and I set out we had a vague idea of which parts of the campus and town we wanted to see and a list of pubs we definitely wanted to hit. One has to have priorities.

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With such a long history, Oxford is just teeming with famous folks that have passes through its doors. Lewis Carroll lived here while writing “Alice in Wonderland”. Walking past Christ Church Meadow you can totally see where JRR Tolkien got his inspiration for the Shire.

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But we can’t forget the most famous of all, my dad. A young Tom spent eight weeks at Oxford’s Brasenose College studying foreign affairs.

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Founded in 1512, the college still houses students today. The interior courtyards offer quiet and relief from the hustle and bustle of the rest of campus. The students all eat together in a medieval dining hall and have access to a centuries old chapel (from when daily attendance was compulsory). The modern world feels delightfully far from Oxford.

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If you need even more distance from the weight of the world, may I humbly suggest one of Oxford’s pubs? We tried a few and they are all great. The Bear is Oxford’s oldest with low ceilings and a fireplace near the bar. The Turf is tucked back from the street and accessible by narrow, easy to miss walkways. The specialize in cask ages ales and its where Bill Clinton “didn’t inhale” all those years ago.

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London: Fashion Rules

Kensington Palace is a bit like the White House in that half is open to the public and half of the areas are used for junior or less prominent members of the royal family. Princess Margaret lived here previously and William and Kate have an apartment there now. They have a few permanent exhibits on former residents including one on Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It featured Queen Victoria’s wedding dress which established the tradition of brides wearing white.

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But we were there for much more recent fashion. The Fashion Rocks exhibit showcased dresses belonging to Queen Elizabeth II and Princesses Margaret and Diana from the 1950s-1980s.

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Princess Margaret had much more interesting clothes as she had much more freedom in her personal wardrobe. The exhibit used Vogue covers from throughout the decades to help place the clothes in the context of what was trendy.

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Diane’s dresses were just fantastically 80s. Seeing the dresses on mannequins I cringe at the exaggerated shapes but in photos she looks completely natural and even sophisticated.

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London: Day trip to Greenwich

Camille and Ron are pros at day trips to explore London and their surrounding parts (seriously, check out their Instagram feeds). With Anna and Bean off to a wedding in the north, they took over as official tour guides for the weekend.

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I, of course, totally nerded out at the National Maritime Museum. It covers British Naval history but also shipping, private travel and sport. The Cutty Sark is parked near by in all its tea running glory.

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Greenwich is also home to the Royal Observatory and the Prime Meridian. Obligatory tourist shot:

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On our way back to London we took the Emirates Air Line. I’m sure there is a more technical description but it is essentially an 8-person pod on a zip line that whisks you over the Thames. Since its part of the Transport for London system you can pay with your Oyster card. The view is pretty awesome.

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But mostly, look at those happy faces.

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