Sunday, March 20, 2011

Taxidermy, Butterflies, and a Sequins Sequel

Last Saturday, I traveled into the city for the day, a brief sojourn from suburban life, to meet up with one of my friends from university, Sara, and then to later convene with the filmmaker and some of his gang for a homemade meatball banquet. My friend is a lovely and giving person, who has spent her early Saturday afternoons for quite some time volunteering at the Museum of Natural History; one of the perks of donating time is visitor vouchers, which she gladly and generously bestowed unto me. Naturally, one of the perks of attending an expensive and reputable university is the admittance into a life-long social and professional network of men and women in high places, not limited to free entry into entertaining and interesting museums.

Seriously, all facetiousness aside, Sara is a wonderful girl who exerts much positive energy and force giving back to her community,volunteering not only with the museum, but also at various cancer research fund raising events and campaigns for our dear alma mater. When I was younger, much of my time outside of academics and athletics was spent in service; more recently, service work has been substituted with stresses of paying bills and the desire to have a proverbial good time anytime not toiling in the office. This shames me to admit, however, I would like to find a valuable opportunity to give back, and Sara is a great inspiration. I wish that my current geographic location and schedule afforded me opportunities to see her more frequently.

With the winter months finally past us, I decided to sport some shimmering sequins one final time. Since I was orchestrating an outfit that was to transition from a museum outting in the afternoon to dinner with friends in the evening, I chose a bold sequins top for fun, but paired it with some tight light wash denim jeans, to dress down the sequins piece, and a pair of black kitten heel boots.

The beading on this top is extremely intricate, patterns in black, copper, bronze, and gold sequins.

Sara the past few months has been serving as a volunteer at the butterfly observatory exhibit, a special feature to the museum from middle of fall to late spring. The exhibit houses moths and butterflies from around the world, living and flying peacefully in a warm, humid, tropical room, with oranges and bowls of water abundant for sustenance. The moth pictured above was about nine inches in diameter and, luckily, nocturnal; though completely harmless and elegant creatures, I am a bit apprehensive of the moths and butterflies, namely because their flight patterns are swooping and erratic, their trajectories unpredictable.

This image is more than a bit blurry, but I loved the pattern and colors displayed on this moth's wings.

Another pretty, and admittedly blurry, moth, hiding in the lush brush of the exhibition room. As soon as you enter, any outer layers are removed immediately; the air is almost palpable with precipitation, the humidity oppressive. Sara works in there in two hours, and feels rather cleansed, having sweat out any toxin in her system.

Beautiful blue butterfly contrasting with a bright orange.

Outside of any special featured exhibits, one of my favorite things to do at the Museum of Natural History is merely meander, observe, particularly in the older wings, which present preserved specimen of the world's great mega-fauna, taxidermied for eternity in poses of fierce and wild grandeur, encased in large glass dioramas depicting their natural scenery. The bodies are artfully arched, tensed, and, generally, large, and so seeing them silent and steady is almost comical, especially in the age of natural zoos and of frequency of vacation travel to exotic destinations. They are unwillingly trapped and fettered, in this superficially realistic glass box, and their overall ridiculous situation.

The East Asian wing had a plethora of structural and design elements that I found inspiring, however, unfortunately, due to my own photographic foibles and sheer poor luck, I ran out of battery power and neglected to pack extra; many intricate figurines and jewelry left undocumented. Sara was kind enough to give me some extra vouchers, so perhaps I will return in the coming weeks with the filmmaker, upon his full recovery, and capture more images.


  1. :) It's been so long since I've been to the Natural History Museum, I really must make a visit.

    Great post, and I love how sweetly you write about your friend.

    Fantastic pictures.

  2. what I love about you/this blog:
    -integrates some of my favorite things: 1) your fashion sense 2) science
    -the NY natural history museum is probably my favorite in the country
    -your thoughtful prose

    Keep it up champ!

  3. Hi!
    I've just discovered your blog... and it's a nice blog you have!
    Would you like to exchange links? Thanks!