Cheapskate's Guide to the Finer Things in Life
Corpse flower watchers: Take a break tonight with a corpse of a different kind
Attention, all you diehard corpse flower fans standing vigil at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. I’ve got a great way for you to take a quick break this evening while you’re waiting for that terrible tease, Lois, to fully bloom. (You wish.)
Nearby, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, a visiting professor will deliver a free lecture that, eerily, relates to the topic of death, which is so central to the attraction of the living corpse-plant that can’t get her bloomin’act in gear.
If you’d like to hear about the hidden significance of certain Egyptian objects in the MFAH collection — including the coffin of a deceased bird “saint” from the time of Cleopatra’s dynasty, and the elaborate mummy case of Pedi-Osiris, which “incorporates spells persisting for over two millennia” — well, come on down.
The MFAH promo explains that Egyptian art often served a symbolic or magical function: “Although magic was mainly used to protect or heal, the ancient Egyptians also used magic for the ritual cursing or the conquest of enemies.” Ooooh. . . I’m SO there tonight.
This month’s “Artful Thursday” lecture is enticingly titled, “The Magic of Egyptian Art: Artistic and Religious Features of the Egyptian Collection at the MFAH.” It sounds quite promising, especially given the fact that it will be delivered by someone whose credentials indicate he knows what he’s talking about.
That would be Dr. Robert Ritner, whose lengthy academic credit line is: “Professor of Egyptology at The Oriental Institute, the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Program on the Ancient Mediterranean World in the Department of Classics, and in the College, The University of Chicago.” Whew! I’m hoping to have the opportunity to meet Dr. Ritner and find out how all that fits on his business card. While I’m not sure how that works, I can tell you, based on my own academic background, that this prof’s title definitely signifies a good thing.
As exciting as all this sounds, it’s not going to be just a magic act. All you women showing solidarity with your slow-moving girlfriend Lois over at the HMNS, check this: Dr. Ritner’s also going to talk about MFAH funerary documents that demonstrate “the extraordinary independence of women in ancient Egypt.”
After the 6:30 p.m. lecture, there’ll be a pleasant reception, with refreshments (also free) provided by the Buffalo Speedway Starbucks. You can also register to win free giveaways from KUHF-FM and the MFAH.
All this takes place in a museum that is not only innately cool, but refrigerator-cool, as opposed to however all you people must be feeling in those crowds over at the HMNS, waiting for a sniff of rotting flesh. (Eeew.)
One thing: It’ll smell clean at the MFAH. Sorry.