Saturday, June 25, 2011

Taliesin West

I rather hate lumping Taliesin into the 'Arizona's kinda weird' category. Not because Taliesin isn't weird - this workshop and architecture school established by Frank Lloyd Wright certainly is quite weird and unusual, it's just that its airy, geometrical, modern designs are exactly the kinds of weird that I like! But then again, I did enjoy the dateshakes and the ocotillos too, so maybe it does fit after all?

Just take a left on Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd

And in short order, you will arrive at Taliesin West (symbol pictured)

Main building, full of airy, geometrical, modern designs

Frank Lloyd Wright, the uber-famous architect of the early 20th century, had his main base in Wisconsin. He'd named that base Taliesin. At some point (in the 1930's, I think?), he realized that winters really sucked in Wisonsin, so he promptly came out to Phoenix, Arizona, bought a large parcel of land and proceeded to construct Taliesin West - a place that was to become a winter headquarters for his operations. Soon enough, it became a studio and a prestigious architecture school as well. Wright was a lot more into inspiration than he was into details, so he was happy to put through the would be students through rigorous training, but it took another fifty years before the school was to become a fully accredited institution.

These days, Taliesin West continues to function as an architecture school and a design studio. It is now occupied year-round and is a permanent home to some thirty students, but you can also come by and take a fascinating tour - trying not to disturb the work of the students and getting a chance to experience some of Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural brilliance firsthand.

One of the buildings in the complex, featuring symmetrical protruding spikes

Inside one of the buidings. Featureing a design drawing of one of Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings

Heloise Crista was once of the students here - now a number of her statues is featured in the courtyard. 'Being in the Moment' pictured here.

And this will conclude the 'Arizona is Weird' introspection. We had a good time in Arizona actually - Grand Canyon, Sedona, seeing friends, going to a couple of spring training games, having a date in Dateland, learning about the life and times of Frank Lloyd Wright... it was all quite interesting. Arizona as a whole though, this land of retired 'snow birds' and immense urban sprawl, did strike me as just a bit nonsensical. All in good fun, of course!

Next stop on the whirlwind adventure of the South West was a weekend in San Diego, but I'd been to San Diego many a time before, what with my parents having lived there for over ten years now, so it doesn't seem quite as interesting and exotic. Besides, it was over two months ago now, and I've since moved to new interesting and exotic sights, seeing how I'm composing all this from right outside the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone Naitonal Park, so I'm going to skip posting about San Diego. If you want a quick glimpse at what we did there, including the funky natural environs of San Diego's Wild Animal Park, click here for a full album of the Southwest, including all the best of San Diego!

PS. Yup, it took another three weeks to get from composing this over by Old Faithful to actually posting it - apparently, working does not leave a lot of free time for blogging... Erica may be able to catch you up on adventures in San Diego though, dear Blogosphere. I will aim to post something about Yellowstone eventually - give it another month or two, just to be safe!

Dateland, Arizona

- Hey Erica, how about a date?

And thus was conceived a stop in the otherwise forgettable desert outpost of Dateland, Arizona. True to its name, the town is famous for its dates ... (for growing dates) ... and for poking fun of its own name. I wish I had more to say about this place... let's see... 20 minutes was plenty of time to see all of Dateland; I had a date shake... we took some funny pictures. I'm pretty sure twenty minutes is enough to drive around Dateland at least three times. Pictures really are worth a thousand words, as I'm clearly struggling to come up with appropriate words to describe this bit of Arizona oddness:

Thanks for choosing Dateland - Be safe. Practice safe dating?

Dateland, what a great place to get off! Giggle.

The sign above would lose some of its charming humor had they simply been consciously making fun of themselves. 'Dateland, Home of the Cougars,' however is entirely unintentional and, thus, entirely, overwhelmingly hillarious!

And thus continues our whirlwind tour of the odd, weird, unusual, and non-sensical bits of the State of Arizona. There were many spots that fit into this category - Dateland was easily my favorite to visit!

The Ocotillo

an ocotillo is an eight-legged armadillo. Here it is in bloom:

What, you were starting to think Arizona made sense? I've fallen behind on my Arizona nonsense, but now that Jesus didn't show up on May 21st, contrary to Arizona's predictions(*), and the world didn't end, it's time to catch back up a little!

* I know, I know, it was apparently a Mr. Camping of California who'd spread the rumor (uhm, I mean made the clarivoyant, albeit wholly incorrect, prediction), but I saw the sign in Arizona, and it seemed to really belong there... And I've missed you, blog - you too, weird Arizona!