Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Magnolia Blossoms

I looked out the back window one morning while I was in Florida and was greeted by this beauty. She was just opening up when I first saw her but by the time I got my camera, she was blooming in all her glory. I may not be Southern by birth, but I am at heart and Magnolias rank right up there on my list of Favs. Wonder if I could plant one of those in my window box? 

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have the most amazing set of extra parents. I could not have special ordered two people who make my parents happier which in turn makes me happier. One of the benefits of this is that even my best friends from high school love hanging out with my Mom and Papa Gar. Even when I am not in town. It makes my heart warm if not a little jealous when I am away. So when I do go home to Florida, there is always a dinner party. And when the weather is nice, it is always out at Foxy’s. For the uninitiated, that would be the dock on the bayou behind their house. It’s a pretty fantastic place and this trip was no different. We had fresh (as in swimming in the Gulf that morning) shrimp,  a delicious salad, patatas bravas, a beautiful night and an excellent wine, complete with cherubs.  Good food, good wine, good friends. What more could you ask for?

Won't you join us next time?

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Inner Picasso

I have been working through a book on creativity the last few months, trying to let my inner artist flourish. It had been, shall we say, closeted for a while due to too much "flat on white." I have never been one to think I was a true "artist." Yes I take photos and there is art in that, but because I do not feel "gifted" at painting or drawing I always felt a little like a fraud on the creative department. It's funny too because I do have drawings from when I was younger and I have to say I think they are pretty good, so I know the ability is in there, it just has definitely not been nurtured over the years. When I visited the Brooklyn Museum a few weeks back to see the Rockwell Exhibit, I made a point of lingering in the museum after I gorged on Rockwell and found a lovely little room to sit and relax. I called it the Mushroom Forest because of the amazing  fabric sculptures that had been created.

It was so quiet and calming that all I wanted to do was lay down in the middle of the floor and stare up at the ceiling. I decided that may not be completely appropriate (although not out of the question on future excursions) and instead strolled through the space. Here is a snippet of a video I shot. It's a little bit dizzying, but I can't wait to put some music to the whole thing.

I sat on one of the mushrooms and pulled out my sketch pad, again working through an exercise, and I began to draw. It was painful at first, but I kept encouraging my hands to play. I was immediately judging what was happening and had to remind myself that it wasn't for me to judge, it was for me to show up and try. Like I said, painful. And when one of the museum staff came over and peaked over my shoulder, I felt the need to defend my little drawing, explaining that I was a novice and just trying to get better. It was a weird mental/emotional day for me and I am still working on the process. But I think the process is worth the work.  And with these fingers, I felt like a real artist.

Amanda and I decided to paint last night. It was very spontaneous and I am glad she just jumped up  and started pulling paper out. We had such a  great time. She played music and we just painted what we were hearing. It took all the pressure off of "what should I DRAW?" We painted and talked and brainstormed and our painting took on form and direction. I ended up really liking some of the stuff I did all in the name of play.

And now I can't wait to do it again. I already want to draw and paint the dress I have hanging up in my apartment. Mission, if not accomplished, definitely on my way.

I am turning into a Freegan Hippie

My adventures with my neighbor Amanda are always fun. One night she came up and said “you have to come outside, the health food store must have remodeled and they left a bunch of stuff out on the curb. Let’s go check it out. ” Since Amanda is a student, she has been trying to be smart with her money and adding stuff to her apartment. So out we went, at midnight no less, to check out the free pile. There were glass shelves, industrial scales, some metal shelving and a lot of junk. But there was also an industrial grade cart that had just the right amount of distress and that caught Amanda’s eye. So the two of us lugged, and I do mean lugged it over to our building, down the steps and into her place. We also grabbed the glass shelves and 2 scales to make a little place to put her printer. It has worked perfectly for her apartment and the cart has turned into an ideal surface for all her school projects. Take a look.

Now before you poo poo our little freegan excursion, let me add the postscript. She saw similar carts at ABC home and they were going for upwards of $2000. Uh huh, who’s poo pooing now? Well last night as I was walking home from Union Square I noticed that Westside Market had put out empty vegetable crates and I remembered Amanda was scouring ebay awhile back for just that kind of crate. She wasn’t having any luck with her budget so I mentioned that I had seen them last night in the midst of our best Picasso impression, with watercolors and music for inspiration. We took a break from our masterpieces at about midnight and took her dog for a “walk” to check out the goods. SCORE! She picked up 6 beautiful veggie crates and they are now curated into a lovely little stack in her place. One even still had green beans in it. I took those and added them to the green beans I had bought from said market just yesterday. See freegan hippie. What has this city done to me? I don’t know but I like it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Go Yankees

So after I went on the Yankee Stadium Tour last month, I had been so excited to finally go to a game. The weather is now such that it is close to perfection for baseball so I joined my friend Jeremy for a Tuesday night game and went to my first ever Yankee Stadium experience. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. It was a beautiful night, we had great seats with a stunning view of the park and the Bronx. I know, I know you don't usually hear stunning and the Bronx in the same sentence but trust me even the Bronx look beautiful dripping in golden sunlight. Oh yeah, and the Yankees beat the Royals. So yeah, I would say it was pretty close to perfect. I just still haven't fully committed to being a full fledged, card carrying, jersey wearing fan. Although, even if I do become a fan you will be hard pressed to catch me in a jersey. Just saying.

It really is a beauty of a stadium
And the Yankees WON!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tribeca Film Festival Films 2 and 3

Are you sensing a theme here? May seems to have lots of multi part posts, in case you weren't sensing. Ok so film #2 for me was The Swell Season. You guessed it, a documentary. It followed Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova after they made Once and how they dealt with fame and touring and relationship. I loved Once so it was very interesting to me to see more of this relationship and how it evolved and eventually (Spoiler alert) came to an end. I give it a two thumbs up.

 Film number 3 was another Doc (odd right?) called Bombay Beach. It is a little town out near the Salton Sea in California and the film follows 3 story lines of people who live out there. It is a fascinating area. I went with some girlfriends a few years ago. You can see the pics here. It is desolate and abandoned and graffiti covered and eerie and quite barren and yet beautiful when you look at it through creative eyes. The director Alma Har'el did a stunning job of filming. The visuals are lush, the stories are heart wrenching and complex yet you see that even in the midst of it all there is love and community and imagination. I think this was by far my favorite film. It brought up a lot of weird emotions for me. It reminded me how, at their core, everyone just wants to be loved. Here are these people who on the surface may seem to have nothing, but they have each other, which made my own isolation feel that much bigger. They have family, whether it was biologically or geographically or romantically made. They have imagination and wonder and play. They have dreams.  We all have dreams. Well, I hope we all have dreams. I think sometimes people forget their dreams. And that to me is much more devastating. Go see this film if you can kids. It's a winner.

Tribeca Film Fest

I started taking advantage of film festivals starting 2 years ago while I was still in Ca. I am drawn to Documentary Films and Foreign Films so I was excited to see a good variety of films when I started investigating Tribeca's. As a newbie New Yorker I want to make sure to take advantage of everything I possibly can. So I made my list, checked it twice and jumped online when tickets were available to purchase on April 12. My first film was on the 21st and it was a doozy. The Kings of Leon Story called Talihina Sky. What a fascinating story. I love them but obviously was late to the game as I only knew of their latest album. Apparently they are HUGE in Europe. And now quite obviously they are HUGE here too. It was a great doc and I highly recommend you check it out if you have the chance.

Director Stephen C Mitchell and  Producer Casey McGrath

Three of the Kings were there and yes they are as handsome as you think.

April Visitors Round 3 Day 3

Ready for more fun! I met Matt for lunch at Katz's Deli. THE Katz's deli, you know, of When Harry Met Sally fame. Crazy enough after almost a year here I still hadn't been. I had walked past it numerous times but just hadn't jumped. Matt wanted pastrami so we met up and got some pastrami and now I am kinda tweaked I waited so  long. Wow, was it good. Juicy, tender, flavorful. YUM. We grabbed a table and ended up chatting  with our table mate who was quintessential New Yorker and yet it was his first time at Katz's as well. Matt seemed to be the only veteran.

I did NOT have what she was having unfortunately

The pickles were FANTastic!

Matt and the Wall of Fame

Very popular joint!

Our get out of jail free card. Well maybe more like 20 bucks. 

We decided to make our way toward the Guggenheim but not before a little more lower Manhattan meandering. We stopped into the Morrison Hotel Gallery which had an exhibit of rock photos by Lynn Goldsmith but no photos were allowed inside.  Booo

After that we hopped a train and headed uptown stopping in at Bloomies and then a few galleries before making it to the Guggenheim which was CLOSED! FAIL. Fine, on to the Met then! Obviously there is no lack of cultural opportunity here in the city. We saw a great exhibit on guitars and then split up to roam the halls for our own interests. I headed for the Arms and Armor section because I am OBSESSED with the Tudors. The Showtime miniseries has me hook, line and sinker. I had seen the knights in armor on horses once before and knew I wanted to go back but now it was with fervor and I was duly rewarded. There in the Met is actual armor of Henry VIII. Mind you, it was later in his life so it was quite large but stunning none the less. 

What exactly is that pointy thing for?

I love this stuff. 

Even the horses had amazing armor!

Oh, Henry!

We left the Met and headed across town to hit H&H bagels and Zabar's before parting ways. I was off to the Film Festival and Matt was off to hang with Derik before heading back to the OC It was great getting to see him. It always helps with the rare bout of home sickness to see old friends from the CA.

April Visitors Round 3 Day 2

Exhausted but ready for more fun. Coney Island bound. Camera in tow. As usual.

We met up with Derik in the afternoon and went to a really cool Asian restaurant he had seen on Anthony Bourdain's show. It was called. Sakagura. It's a little underground place on 55th. Definitely check it out if you like Japanese treats. This was just one of the yummy things we tried.