Sunday, July 25, 2010

the most fun a youtube video can have with its clothes on

All credit and extraordinary thanks go to Bryan at A Curious for introducing me (and so many others) to this little bit of wonderfulness.

no dodos

Today, at the Maira Kalman exhibition at the Jewish Contemporary Museum. This wasn't there, but a lot of great things were.

My favorite things, though, were her books. (Of course, says housemate Davis. I'm so g*&d#@$^ predictable.) I intend to acquire some soon. Hopefully the ones about Max. They are whimsical, rhyming, and (need I add) beautifully illustrated.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

moving pictures

I saw three films at the Silent Film Festival last weekend, and I kind of wish I could do that all the time. To sit in the theater while the music responds to the screen. Those old images. The way people moved. The intensity of it all. 

Movies don't usually allow me to empty myself. Somehow, imagining the dialogue as their lips move, hearing only in my head the few sentences that flash by on title cards, transports me in a way that films so rarely do. I suppose it shouldn't be surprising. It's closer to reading than watching a talkie is. And why text has such a direct line to my mind and heart I don't suppose I'll ever know. I primarily experience the world through words, and that's been true for a long, long time now.

look up

Last Saturday, I went on an impromptu trip to Muir Woods with some lovely people.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

and I mean good design

Community organizations and graphic designers collaborating on public service/social justice projects – can I get a hell yes?


is a truly wonderful thing, particularly if you've managed to acquire a Cuisinart ($25 at a yard sale, I kid you not). Below, last night's mint/basil/pistachio pesto. May I say it was tasty?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

stone fruit

I'll admit it: left to my own devices, I would have taken the lazy route. I've have had a few epic failures in the past whenever that have shaken my faith in my ability to bake sweet treats, and so I was planning on just showing up and paying the $5 at Omnivore's stone fruit cooking contest. For such crises of confidence as these, however, the right housemate at the right time is the best if not only remedy. Micah was so jazzed at the thought of this competition that, mere minutes after emerging from his bedroom, he scaled a tree all monkey-like and tossed plums into a bowl below held aloft by yrs truly. 

In a quick hour and a half, he whipped up an Italian pistachio plum cake and plum compote (both vegan). Kristin & I assisted. We cabbed it over to Noe (time was of the essence!) and entered. 

What I love about Omnivore's food contests is that they're community-judged, so you get to eat everything and cast your vote. Which also means that you get to eat everything:

We didn't win, but I'm claiming for us an unofficial third place (they only announced the first and second place winners, so really, who's to gainsay me?).

Saturday, July 10, 2010

dancing with myself

is not something I've ever minded (and if you know me at all, you know that already). I also like to take myself out on a nice date from time to time. And so it was that Friday night found me at the de Young, listening to some opera, drinking wine. There was a circus performance, which involved a contortionist act by two tiny girl-child acrobats, one so young she stuck out her belly, beaming all the while, cheeks like tangerines. Once their act was over, she danced twitchily on the side of the stage, while two dancers performed a ballet duet to a soft-rock/adult contemporary cover of "Don't Stop Believin'." I kid you not. Sometimes things like this really make me want to make art, in the most combative way. Sometimes they make me want to never make art again. Then I bought myself a nice dinner.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

in new york

in Times Square

Didn't I just. Scott Joplin's "Solace," specifically; my favorite for a long time, now.

Monday, July 5, 2010


My time in Cambridge and Boston could be considered an extended exploration of Leopardi's observation that
" fact, most human pleasure consists in some sort of languor" ("...anzi forse la maggior parte dei diletti umani consistono in qualche sorta di languidezza," from "Parini's Discourse on Glory," Operette Morali, Giacomo Leopardi, trans. Giovanni Cecchetti).
Consider that thesis well supported.

I would go to bed with at best a vague idea of what I'd be doing the next day, and wake up and form a very loose sort of plan. This is so far from my usual M.O., especially when on vacation, and I think it did me a world of good. Lounging about, while far from my permanent state, is not to be underrated. Of course, my idea of lounging involves walking all over town, but with nice breaks for coffee, for snacks, for reading in a pleasantly shady spot along the Charles. And eating. Frequently and well. On that, I think, more to come.

museum of fine arts, boston

My art education was always a gradual and ad hoc thing. Untaught in what is strangely called "art appreciation," I was somehow always a classicist (in form, in technique, in metrical scheme – I was writing sonnets regularly by seventh grade) and it wasn't until entering high school that an odd assignment for world history found me studying Picasso. With a hard heart and a harder head, I can admit it; I was convinced his art didn't interest me. But here of course is the wonder of immersion, the complete unseating, shifting, the changing of a heart; and that was the beginning of it all for me, as far as I can tell.

I continued to carry around tiny pockets of art knowledge until later in high school when my involvement in Academic Decathlon (the Olympics of nerd-sports) found me studying art again, with a truly incredible art teacher. The way the competition works is this: each year, the selection committee (whoever they are) choose several pieces of art from a specific U.S. art museum, and the lucky contestants study the pieces, their makers, their eras, techniques used, &tc., &tc. And the first year that I was on the team, the pieces were selected from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

I took a redeye from San Francisco to Boston and arrived on the 15th, beat tired and kind of hazy in my mind. I dropped my bag off at the hotel, took a nap in Boston Common, and headed over to the MFA, a place I'd been hoping to get to for about ten years now.

By now of course, things are somewhat different than they were when I was sixteen. I moved from the Sacramento suburbs to la città dell'Arte, and have had the ridiculous good fortune to spend time in some of the best art museums of Italy, France, Spain, Germany, England, the U.S., and the Netherlands. And yet the MFA was one of the pleasantest art museum experiences I've ever had. I would enter a room, look around at its contents, and then find myself startled to see something so familiar that I'd also never seen before, in person at least. A bit like meeting a pen pal, I imagine.* It was surprisingly soothing, comforting, casual.

My thanks forever to Ms. Jill Pease for her inspiration and infectious enthusiasm.

*when I was a child, I had a pen pal for about four years. His name was Karthik and he lived in India. We have never met.
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