Monday, April 6, 2015
From Sydney, Terry and I flew to Melbourne Australia. Even the taxi ride from the airport to the Windsor Hotel was exciting. Melbourne has to be the most modern city I have ever visited. I craned my neck looking out the taxi window to see modern skyscrapers that were vibrant works of art. One was covered with colored panels that must have functioned as shades for the glass structure beneath. the panels created yellow, lime green and Orange waves. Just driving through the city you could feel the way art influenced the public spaces. I was told that there are more events in Melbourne than there are days in the year. There was opulence and excess everywhere with changes clearly still under way.
The Windsor Hotel built in 1883, was right across the street from the historic House of Parliament (no, not the Parliament House). A historic trolley station was right in front of the hotel. The entire trolley car had been painted by a local artist thanks to a city commission. Both the Parliament and the Windsor were architectural gems, build from gold rush money at the turn of the century. The Windsor is notable for being Australia's only surviving grand 19th century city hotel and only official "grand" Victorian era hotel. The Hotel Windsor has a 5-star rating and is considered one of the grandest hotels in Melbourne. It is renowned for it's long list of dignitaries and celebrities who have stayed there over the years including the Duke and Dutchess of York, Margaret Thatcher, Meryl Streep, Anthony Hopkins, Gregory Peck, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Katharine Hepburn, Basil Rathbone, Lauren Bacall, and Douglas Fairbanks, I didn't see any of them walking the halls.
After a full day of travel, I decided to just sketch our hotel room before getting some sleep. Terry checked her social media, but my phone remained off for the duration of the trip. My tablet that I sketched on, also doubled as a way to check e-mails where the hotels had Wi-Fi. So I wasn't completely "off grid". There were several Theatres just a block from the Hotel. Her Majesty's Theatre built in 1886, was performing Les Miserables, and The Princess Theatre was presenting the hit musical Once about a song writer and his muse. The smash hit new musical (based on the movie of the same name) stormed the Tony Awards in 2012 taking home eight, including Best Actor, Best Book and Best Musical. I hadn't seen this show before so I was thinking of going alone on the night of Terry's reunion, since I wasn't invited to that. Even sketching the theatre's opulent exterior at night would have made for a great sketch. I was excited to dive in and start sketching this cities rich cultural scene.