A global guide to LIVING CREATIVELY

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


A Blogger's Nightmare
Santa Fe was not what I expected. It did not live up to last year's magic.
There were bloody sunsets and fawn-colored adobe walls. There were tourists dressed in patterned shorts and white socks. A clown-car load of realtors smiled at me from newsprint pages, their listings displayed like badges. All of it was much the same as last year.
Those we encountered, whether friend or not, seemed strained as summer and the end of tourist season blanketed them in fear. Funny, the effect of fear.
I wanted to feel open and lite. Instead I felt the weight and hope of thirty travel years dissolve into a steep, dark arroyo. I felt like one of the brilliantly fabricated animals of artist, Beth Cavener - trapped with no way out.
Stoneware with Mixed media, 21 × 37 × 22 inches

Due to a rainy summer, it was greener than in years past. The Chamisa was abundant and brilliant yellow. The air smelled of fresh earth, scented of pine. While I felt almost aroused by the natural scenery and smells, residents seemed quite unaware of them. I wondered if this were true as we wandered around the Site Santa Fe 20th anniversary exhibition, where I saw myself in the vanishing species installation by artist, Ann Hamilton. Oh, where for art thou, sensitive gentle folk? Have you been torn to shreds and completely removed from Ms. Hamilton's installation?
Ann Hamilton, The Common Sense, Animals
Site Santa Fe
I have always heard the call of nature in and around Santa Fe. But, this trip was different. The call of nature turned into the call of the wildly insane - the call of those, perpetually puzzled.  Our attempt at finding our spot for life degenerated into a muddled, ineffectual blob of paint on the canvas of a lackluster artist.
Where are you, Jason Middlebrook, when I need you the most? Your pristine geometric abstractions painted upon naturally formed and sliced trunks of trees smile at my confusion. They allude to my inner state and no amount of seemingly organized lines and spaces will iron out these feelings of bafflement. How unpredictable our expectations!
Jason Middlebrook, current works from Peter's Projects
Santa Fe, NM
Fortunately, the old places are still there: Garcia Street BooksDowntown SubscriptionRestaurant Martin, The Georgia O'keeffe Museum and a number of other galleries and eateries. They make us feel at home. But, something was lacking on this trip. The old haunts could not bring me into excitement. Was it too many trips? Too much familiarity? Had it become old? Had it worn itself into the ground? Certainly, there are other places to visit and fall in love with. And perhaps that's it, after all - I wonder if I've fallen out of love with Santa Fe?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

Notes to the Past

A Revelation - from London

A few years ago, while in a period of self-discovery which incorporated readings by Eckhart Tolle and Jan Frazier and others, my senses were elevated and as my birthday approached, a friend asked my age. Although over 50 at the time - way over - I answered, "17".
Little did I know, as we set off on American Airlines, I would make a discovery relative to this particular number - seemingly chosen out of thin are. Recently, we wandered from Los Angeles, found our way to London, then Florence where we settled into a hillside villa near Mensano. Frances Mayes was spitting distance away. Not really, but she might have been a short car drive away.

Our eyes and senses encountered treasures of art and architecture, while our bodies nearly melted in the 90+ degree heat. We returned exhausted, our brains and bodies filled with a collage of memories and experiences - smells, tastes, pesky wasps and biting flies, hotels filled with tourists and smiling service employees, prosciutto and melon, and enough Caprese salads to last a lifetime!
What stands out for me, personally, is an encounter with a young woman at - an Italian, educated in Germany, now living and working in London. The girlfriend of a friend, we spent only a couple of evenings with her. We were charmed by her beauty, her intelligence - and most of all her humor and laughter.
Last night, we dined at Granger Restaurant - a London favorite. I reminisced about my first trip to Europe, with an Aunt and Uncle - when we visited with family; brothers of my Grandfather, and a niece and other relatives of my Grandmother. We travelled from Milan to Genoa, then down into the core of Italy, where we visited Florence and Rome. We returned on the Adriatic side of the country, making stops along the way, and headed for Venice. Then home.
That 30 day journey was dreamlike for me. Intertwined throughout was the contemporary music of the day. Musicians such as Jimmy FontanaLittle Tony, Rita Pavone, Gianni Morandi and Orrieta Berti all sang their songs, giving me background music as I first saw Trevi Fountain, Pitti Palace, The Duomos of Florence and Siena, the Mediterranean Sea, colonnades and archways, lovely piazzas and cobblestone, and marble statues.

As I mentioned the names of singers from more than forty years ago, our new friend's eyes widened. Her father, a music producer, was friends with every artist I remembered. She updated me as to their current lives; marriages, divorces, children and grandchildren. She also referred to that era as a thriving time in Italian contemporary music.
I listened to her as the revelation snapped into place. That trip, taken so many years ago, was within the space of childhood and adulthood - seventeen, almost eighteen, finished with high school, about to enter college. In the very middle of it all, that dreamlike trip to Italy was a pivotal stake, a holding place between past and future.
While current travels were expansive in so many ways, this connection from present to past makes for interesting discussion as we begin our journey home.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Summer Soups

from Food52
It's June in Los Angeles. While the sky is overcast now - and it's been overcast quite a bit, lately, - the summer season will  eventually arrive and heat up. 
Simple, easy to prepare meals are the key to surviving those hot summer days.
From our reading list, we highlight, Food52's, 10 Cold Soups for Hot Summer Nights, by Caroline Lange. From this Strawberry Gazpacho recipe  (Genius Recipes - Eleven Madison Park) to a Chilled Cucumber and Avacdo Soup with Mango Salsa by Gena Hamshaw and 8 others, you will chill out and make it through the hot, steamy days of summer with ease.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Thursday Three

Beth Moon photographs Africa's oldest trees against an endless starry night.
Javier De Riba depicts geometric patterned carpets onto aged buildings.
Nice Architects designs Ecocapsules for off-grid living.
Today's picks from out there into the here.
Beth Moon, Photographer - Colossal

Javier De Riba, Artist, Floors

Low Energy Ecocapsule, Nice Architects - Designboom

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Santa Fe Clay Gallery Lectures

Santa Fe Clay
Starting June 10, Santa Fe Clay will present a series of lectures by various guest artists. For more information please visit this link: Santa Fe Clay.

Every Wednesday at 7:00 pm

June 10 – August 12, 2015
Free and Open to the Public

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Chef's Life

with Vivien Howard and Ben Knight - PBS
If you're not watching this show  - about a married couple with kids, building a new life in Kinston, North Carolina, you're missing something very special.
At the beginning of each segment, Ms. Howard tells us her parents were willing to help her open her own restaurant - as long as she and her husband, Ben, opened it in her girlhood place of birth.
Ms. Howard  was living a very successful life in NYC, but the offer was just too hard to turn down. So, she and her husband Ben packed up their belongings and moved from the hustle and bustle of New York to the "hear a pin drop" quiet of Kinston, NC.
A Chef's Life is so much more than a show about food. Vivien and Ben take us on a journey of family life, memories of Ms. Howard's childhood and the trials and joy that go into living life.
Part documentary, part cooking show - you acquire knowledge of Ms. Howard's early food roots, not by listing every detail of a recipe (although recipes are available on the website!). Rather, you are taken on a journey through southern cooking as it is creatively updated into contemporary, sophisticated new dishes. 
The show is now entering its second season - and the adventure continues. As stated on the PBS website, "And so The Chef and the Farmer, located in Kinston, North Carolina, was born. Six years in, Vivian and her restaurant have won numerous accolades, including her selection as a James Beard semi-finalist, but the challenges continue. As the series opens, Vivian and Ben are juggling the restaurant, raising twins and anxiously building their own home — right next door to her parents."
If you love to cook and want more than just a typical program about preparing food, this is your show. It certainly is mine!
Enjoy this trailer for season 2 - and make your way over to PBS, to learn more about, A Chef's LIfe. And for more, The Chef and the Farmer website.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Monarch of Silverlake

Recently, we purchased a Milkweed plant at Armstrong Garden Center in Glendale, CA
Days went by before this beautiful creature (below) arrived. We first discovered it resting upon the broad leaves of a nearby Plumeria. The Milkweed was planted just feet away. 
"Our" Monarch, ritualistically, flew around and danced over the Milkweed, for quite awhile, until if finally landed on the flower of its choice.
At some point, eggs will be left under leaves and larvae will eventually emerge. The caterpillars will eat almost every single leaf of the plant, then rest into cocoons. In time, Monarchs will emerge from the cocoons - and the cycle continues.
The circular flight of our Monarch delighted us. It flew in smaller circles around the milkweed and larger circles around the garden. We were uplifted with joy as we observed the dancing flight of our special garden visitor.

Monarch Watch

Friday, May 1, 2015

Documentary, Iris

Iris Apfel in IRIS, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo credit: © Bruce Weber
I'm not a fashionista. I seldom wear other than jeans and T-shirts. I'm comfortable and like it that way. Oh, I do know how to coordinate colors - but, when it comes to wearing something interesting - well that's not, necessarily, of interest to me - I don't like standing out in a crowd.
However, I do appreciate the unique eccentricities of those few people who do stand out on our planet. I've written about a few of them - such as Anna Piaggi, who styled herself in a world all her own.
And now, another fashion icon, Iris Apfel, will be immortalized in the documentary film, Iris - produced by Magnolia Pictures.
Synopsis, from Magnolia Pictures:
The latest film from legendary documentarian Albert Maysles (GREY GARDENS, GIMME SHELTER), IRIS pairs the late 88-year-old filmmaker (who passed away on March 5) with Iris Apfel, the quick-witted, flamboyantly dressed 93-year-old style maven who has had an outsized presence on the New York fashion scene for decades. More than a fashion film, the documentary is a story about creativity and how a soaring free spirit continues to inspire. IRIS portrays a singular woman whose enthusiasm for fashion, art and people are life's sustenance and reminds us that dressing, and indeed life, is nothing but an experiment. Despite the abundance of glamour in her current life, she continues to embrace the values and work ethic established during a middle-class Queens upbringing during the Great Depression. "I feel lucky to be working. If you're lucky enough to do something you love, everything else follows."
To find out more about this iconic woman - who stands out - please direct yourself to Magnolia Pictures.
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