It was a very Film Blanc et Noir winter fed by Netflixing my favorite old movie stars on cold nights. In narly 1950′s sandals and twinkling sunshine, I raced with Mama Sophia’s 10 kids on twisting strada di Napoli and later Ferrari whipped around Roma in Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. I flinged with Almodovar, stuck my nez in French New Wave, fell in love with OSS 117 in Rio and traipsed again with Barbarella into new worlds.
To dress the part to absorb all these dreamy movies, (and very out of charactor for me) I fell in love with a so-simple, V-necked, tight, androgynous, (all-absorbing-the-lights and action) black cashmere sweater. It reminded me of my first trip to Italy where the uniform of ragazza was the same tight sweater, over and over a crisp white T-shirt. This sweater’s inspired Winter black, sent over from Europe, hugged me into Spring. Feeling and desiring MORE+MULTI-DIMENSIONAL, like packed seeds in the earth, with my body wrapped warmly and sorta layered beyond yesterday, today and tomorrow, I was really ready for new full-on Spring color doing its thing as the Creative Force.
By the time Spring hit New York, I became obsessed with the concept of multi-color and how to play it like a Symphony.
Here are the bright colored upstart stars and musings crashed through my basic black and silver screen Winter world, from bras to buildings and from vintage to virtual evolutions…these things left us starry-eyed this month.
Rainbows Will Always break through the Uni Form, unlimited potentiality of the Name-less, Formless Big
…par example…There was that one bright day in sunny Miami, when I knew my Dad’s Alzheimers was acute as he pointed “up there” and giggily conversed “with a leprechaun sitting on a rainbow.” Multi-colored happiness was a good place for him, I thought, trying to transcend my pain as my own world of form and surety disintegrated, no, crashed with his visions. Since then, I’ve become much more adept at transversing worlds. Let me explain.
Conjuring the infinite “Pi” via pan pipes. Printemps. Spring.
To always see stars between the black and white lines of time, between someone’s lips, or our own life lines is to feel a world of gorgeous color passion pushing all boundaries. Between the stripes of our ribs, a song from a Krishna’s flute or a Pan-pipe…there will always be people, places and things which instantly charm like Pied Pipers. Much like the painless “ocular migraines,” which appear suddenly as plush blotches on normal vision, and then grow to shimmery rainbows and Missoni-ish scintillating staircases building endlessly spiraling architectures, peaking, and then diminishing back into the Everyday…the best black sets the stage for Stars to appear suddenly and alter our navigation of Reality and Time. The word “pied” in Pied Piper is perfect, as it means this kind of stripey, strip away reality color breakthrough. Of course, the origin is Sanskrit, from the word prīyā́, which means ‘wife; dear/beloved one,’ which itself is the derivation of the word sapphire, the deep dark jewel. Married to the vast potential of endless Sapphire Blue and Black. The concept of endless blue/black in turn is the translation of the name Krishna, Christ or Crystal, even Krsta, also meaning “attraction.” Thus the little green leprechaun who sits as a crystal rainbow charms, his whispering magic flute leads children into the fields to play and Create, is best to pay attention to, whatever form the lil thing arrives in. When I was actually out and not Netflixing in bed, mesmerizing Busby Berkeley movie stars danced their mandalas on repeat at the Modern Museum of Art in NYC in the lobby where one waits in line to see films. For me, this kicked up where I left off in my last post, dreaming I was trapezing from one building into the next which hosted a bright, flashy party. My travels early Spring landed me, in real time, at this table display for the annual DIFFA tables at the Architectural Digest Home Show, with a Fragonard lady getting her skirts in a toss over a woodland feast, staged by Rachel Laxer Interiors and Robert Kuo.
Suddenly, it was time for a kiki.
Like space pioneering Jane Fonda, in Spring we are like Barbarellas cast into another world. We emerge with a grand exit from the ramshackles of Winter naps and nookie, to dramatically fling a long black and white furry bear tail behind us to face Spring’s new ventures, back commandeering in our bouncing Bubble Ships. Thus this image of full-on flowers and crystal throttle, created by multiple artists for Architectural Digest, became Spring’s image for me. How we push flowers through the constraints of our mind and time. The MOMA’s B+W Busby Berkeley Gold Diggers of 1933 movie endeared me to the ernastness of our shared hopes and flowery dreams, awakened by light.
Seeing Stars: Like dreaming of flower fields, musing on color and style is a Printemps passion in NYC.
Here are 9 multi-color, reality-pushing trends, purchasables+experientials to put your money on this Spring.
Bursting thru Bubbles. We are seeing a rise in the Burst.
A burst of one visual language into another. The deja vu of dreams and the everyday. From layering art in the landscape to the serendipity of sudden Spring in Wintry flea market finds on urban asphalt, Instagram and insta-visuals to the whole world, this has turned our globe into a kiki. Fleurs d’Excès, the bright, bursting drug-dream objets, above, by designer of Dior’s Haute Joaillerie, Victoire de Castellane has just debuted at the Gagosian Gallery in Paris. Buy the book here. Or get more burst for your dollar by snapping up old album covers for wall art or some Springy frocks on your way to Paris, like these I saw on a foray to the Hells Kitchen Flea Market in NYC, actually named one of the Top Ten Shopping Streets in the World by National Geographic. My favorite Pied Piper led me there, the new-age, bubbly-serious singer-songwriter friend, Jess Domain. Follow her Twitter and sweet songs here.
Spontaneous cha-cha dances or the incongruous enchantment of precious lights popping like these fairy mushrooms from Rune, or mid-century modern bubble glass lamps from Venice, and Morocco, pump up the volume of passion. You can find more like this at Electibull, a brilliant online flea market. Of course this month I met a couture lampshade maker from the best little couture lampshades made in NYC, Blanche P. Field, here.
Should pumped up circumstances call for a lampshade upon your head.
Pump thru Circumstance.
Besides Rainbow Children and happy unicorns, I wondered what else resonated with multi-hued-ness. I recalled that while every color has many meanings, for example, in Feng Shui each day resonates to certain colors, to re-balance “the circumstances” at hand. I loved that “multi-color” is actually matched to the day, Friday, and the origin of the word ”Friday” is Priya in Sanskrit, and in many other languages, Venus, planet of beauty and the arts. Just for fun, Hindus have a guy in charge of Venus, named Shukra is associated with poetry and sexuality and creative urges. (His name means “white” just to keep things even more playful.) Multi-color also corresponds to another “cure” concept in Feng Shui, called “the other” which specifically, un-specifically makes room for the spontaneous, the un-named. Like when reality, logic and myths are allowed to be porous sponges. Digital does it. Pan pipes do it. The Trickster Peter Pan, Green Man in Slava Mogutin and Brian Kenny’s SUPERM, Entropy Parade does it. We like it.
Seeing Stars: Speaking of birds doing it, bees doing it, “Pump”and the fluidity of basic circumstances…did you know our arteries are named for Ares, the masculine warrior force of fire and light, pumping our blood out from our heart and our veins, which pump and hum the blood back to the heart, are named for Venus, the Goddess of Love? Now we know Venus is a multi-colored, attractive wifey type who charms into Saturday, named for the sapphire, blue black of Saturn. After a day of Springtime inny and outy for Mars and Venus, the kids need a day of rest, renewal and a return to the infinite black. The Sun on Sunday, the white Moon on Monday brings us back into the multiple color wheel of the week… a riot of color and reality. Kick it!
Wilding Out Our Collective Rhythms.
Josephine Baker’s wilding out in Princess Tam Tam alternated with the Busby Berkeley knicker kickers at the entrance to MOMA was quite a contrast to my Pied Piper producer friend, Kim Jackson‘s Sundance Selects movie, Blue Caprice, also an IFP Lab selected film, which I had come to celebrate one evening. Starring Isaiah Washington, the film is based on the story of the Beltway sniper attacks and clearly points to Western society’s lack of healthy emotional release and processing. Sun dances, rain dances, vision quests…seeing stars…our souls need this connect. We love that artist Nick Cave, whom we’ve been following for quite a while, let his horses loose in Grand Central Station this Spring delighting the masses. PDA, Public Display of Art is on the rise, hmm, looks like Olde Time Religion to me! Seeing Stars: Allowing the wild Rainbow people to be the art. The rythymic dance of these lights echo the people who will bring color and movement to fill the scene, and are the design key to this entire ordered setting of Ralph Lauren’s DIFFA table. Speaking of which, further West, as in LA, where the real wild things are, our pal Lynn Hasty-Tejada at Green Galactic PR are ever on top of the “Gloving” craze, wild child of the rave scene. Like skateboarding, breakdancing and Parkour before it, gloving even has championships.
Coloring Outside The “Mens.”
Please boys! Your headlines of violence and exploitation of women for thousands of years can be a bit depressing and exploits you too. We love when men can express their color creatively, coloring outside the defined lines! I happily discovered a better Bond, actor, Jean Dujardin, as a spy named OSS117 in two movies directed by Michel Hazanavicius. He pops up in Rio and Cairo, kind of a Sacha Baron Cohen, twisting male and female stereotypes fairly brilliantly. We do like that the human male species are becoming more like peacocks. Manly color secrets we’ve spyed lately in NYC? Seeing Stars: My biz partner, Kristin Paladino, of Paladino Casting, recently lured me to a wild party at the Nolita mens store, Jay Kos, a soul brother of Etro and Paul Smith. Here the altar of Multi-color throb rivals a Hindu temple in full puja kirtan with flowers flying. The main room was full of colorfully swathed people to S+M film stars to men in basic black,
yet it was the secret lair downstairs, where…
…a Tibetan-traveling jewelry stone/stoned man presided over the space, where things got magic cave-ish via mystical awakenings tales in India as well as rings-n-things. On most days this is the place where stars like P. Diddy get fitted for python trousers and where NY scene writers, like Jon Caramonica of the NY Times wax ecstatic. To re-create in your own lair, watch the documentary on painter, Gerhard Richter, here, who will pop you in the aura of a master of color.
And sometimes, the multi-colorful men you see on the street rival anything on a gallery wall, catwalk or rack in a store. To wit, this holy man, shaking and conversing deeply with this parking meter.
Riding the Magic Carpet
“You don’t know what we can find. Close your eyes girl, look inside girl, let the sound take you away.”
Lately we noticed that the Exotic is local and the local is Exotic. Travel is a state of mind, not really about distance. One can be transported by local hotels in warehouse districts like NYC’s Wythe Hotel, designed by Morris Adjimi, my pal and colleague Courtney of Gotham PR‘s client. We particularly love the “local color” sign, a sculptural installation by local artist Tom Fruin, made of discarded old metal signs found locally and woven,(welded) together.
For straight out of the tube, pure color in NYC, the subway “tube” system is a global/local social experiment in mixing human behavior like no other. As a proud NYC strap hanger, this train art by Marcos Chin depicting the love children of Grand Central’s architecture and the transversed dreams of 21 million people per day, fascinated this month. GC’s history is the magic carpet of a global city, with its quirky beauty marks like the bare lightbulbs reflecting the then-new technology of the 1900′s and ubiquitous acorn motifs are symbols of the intriguing Vanderbilt family who built it. Yesterday Vanderbilt icons include Gloria, in the 1970′s and today, world citizen, Anderson Cooper…and tomorrow?
Meanwhile, at yesterday’s jet-setters’ kiki…
This Spring we began working with the New York School of Interior Design, whose exhibit, celebrated the Intercontinental Hotel luxury hotel chain’s famed interior designs by Neal Prince. Reflecting the smarts and local/global perspective of the college, the images also reflect the rise of the international star-designer world…as much as they document the emergence of multi-colored luxury global culture. (We love the staging of the lady’s green hat and pocket square to balance the light fixtures, perhaps a subtle Springy clue to put a lampshade on one’s head?)
Wow, Color Fields Good
We took several meetings this winter at Sebastian + Barquet in the Starrett-Lehigh building, where a buzz of creative color is as ultra-multi as any we’ve seen. The dish portraits of owners, Helena and Ramis by Julian Schnabel, are just one treasure in a field of vignettes featuring S+B’s curated collection of design, from Georges Nakashima paired with Italian classics from the 50′s and 60′s. The key difference is the elaborate room settings mixing era, curated pieces and original art in fresh scenarios. Ramis’s archives of Charles Eames photographs of machines produced for IBM and blown up massive is just one amusement in their lush patchwork quilt of rooms.
I have often thought flowers are machines, as is our cultivation of them to satisfy our desire for beauty.
Exotic color field-goods are as close as street markets, like these scarves at the flea market. Did you know that multi-color classic patterns are also mixed rainbow children? Paisley is the name of the town in Scotland which made the most Kashmir shawls and Madras is the name of the town in India where madras was invented as inspired by Scottish tartan? Get your tartan from Heritage of Scotland, where they also have this tartan of peace, here. It’s actually where I got my black cashmere sweater to fall in love with. Back to Black for a middle of the blog, come-to-Jesus moment and ponder this…
All Ways New Black
On our way to the flea market, Jess showed me Laduca, a NYC classic, maker of custom-made shoes with flexible soles made specifically for dancers in the theatre and movies. I loved these black starry sky boots in the window and their tacky shape. El sparkle boots got me thinking how New York women magically know how to wear black best, creating their unique silhouettes, making them the All-Colorful Star of the Show. This look has nothing to do with trends, labels, price, era or looking like a gothic groupie. It has everything to do with solid pieces that reflect an individualist’s perfection. And one colorful precious amazement or custom curiousity. For example,
My friend Courtney’s Armani black “bird feather” blouse surrounded by white leather. Her color hot shot, a yellow wallet…and, wait, a mysterious bright green…underneath? Just like her, her basics are anything but that.
I met this new friend and instantly bonded over her boots matching the bright color produce aisle of the local health food store where her energy and her “turn my head” fab Cavalli boots did just that. Bought in a London thrift shop “years ago,” they are magical boots she loves (and her 16 year old daughter detests!)
Black, like a dark theatre, just loves and lives for that one shot of color and light. In fact, most NYC women keep Deborah Marquit’s bold bras, found here, close to their multi-colored heart and souls. It’s our kind of Cadolle, voila, as per designer, Deborah…” I believe that fluorescent color appeals to the psycho-sexual collective unconscious and of course, is fun to wear.”
Slow Life, See Color
Slowing down is popping up. Unplugged, non-digital days are becoming ideas we crave. Time to care and cultivate the colorful details of life is an expression of gratitude and reverence for life and each other. Bless the Italians, reminding us to slow down, enjoy our food and each other like Slow Food. They know best how to seduce with full-on, pumped-up color on everything, such as these tubby refrigerators by Smeg at the Architectural Design show, seen with Courtney, she of the Armani blouse. Of course, she owns one of these. Are you surprised? Further on our trek at the show, luxe linens brand, Frette parted the striped B+W and laid out a lush Italia table with real olives, cushy pillows and bicicletta.
The movie Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Ieri, Oggi, Domani, defines slow and pumped up. The Academy-award winner from 1963 layers three decades imagining Sophia in different lives, from a desperate poor woman in Naples to a wealthy woman in Milan and a high-class prostitute in Roma, building the pace and intrigue of her charactor. It’s reflects how we now process life, appreciating it’s color and nuances, moving through dimensions of time by slowing down.
This October, we travel to Marrakech with our initiative, Slow Luxury, which is “a new standard for luxury design goods, where the highest design and quality meet excellent social, economic and environmental standards.” At the invitation of a retreat on a 24-acre artist’s atelier named Harem, our goal is to discover the hand-made in souks and philanthropic cooperatives while slowing down with all of Harem’s spa services. Celebrity event producer, David Beahm is my traveling pal, and stays at the Riad del Fenn of Vanessa Branson and the Kasbah of her brother, Richard, are happily on our itinerary. The rich color and play of the desert and lush tradition has always been with me, as I have spent a lot of time in New Mexico. A recent book documenting the culture clash costumes of the Herera Tribe in Nambia, Conflict and Costume by Jim Naughten, has lush images propelling me to Africa. As colorful as Japan’s cosplay or London punks, proving again the Multi is Ulti, it’s what moves Humanity Forward. These women in their colorful skirts remind me of mountains.
Pumping up Mars Men Like Atlas
I was hard-pressed to trace the name Charles Atlas back to Sanskrit, although it does go back to Marvel Comics and one of my favorite advertisements offering bench-pressing promises to pretty, skinny boys hooked on comics. One of the film events at MOMA, this past Winter, celebrated Charles Atlas, light and color filmmaker to great pretty dancing and crooning idols such as Merce Cunningham, Diamanda Galas, Leigh Bowery, Antony & The Johnsons among others.
Seeing Stars: It was great to see Antony in the audience to support Charles. Confirming my admiration of Antony, he actually remembered meeting me backstage many years ago. Now painting more than singing, Antony’s plays with his light in a new form. Actually a rainbow is a love affair between water droplets and sunlight. “Light enters the rain droplet and is re-fracted when it enters the droplet and then is reflected inside on the back of the droplet and refracted again when leaving it.” In another Alzheimer’s fueled gem, my father asked me when I would push light and color through a lens and inspire people. I was the one puzzled and confused by this until I understood that he meant film, as in “when would I make films?” Such a puzzling Pied Piper! Inspired by the likes of Green Men, Charles, Leigh and Antony…soon Pops, soon.
Pumping Up Venus Woman
For colorful “girls on film,” A Woman is a Woman and Barbarella are classics as both roll sequences in an unexpected dreamy, reality bending way. This Spring in NYC, the artist Olek played a Pied Piper with stereotypes of image, women and entrapment, with her global crocheting of public edifaces. Her crocheted live tableaus of relationship and pink camoflage poster-decor poke fun at girlish and cherished idealizations. We ran into her on the street just before we peeped her exhibit at Jonathan Levine Gallery, drawn in by tales of a live crocheted mermaid on a swing.
Proving that women’s dreams are ripe for pumped up power plays, we already saw a woman sporting the dreamy PJ top on the street in NYC, with the “look Ma, no bottoms!” look Marc Jacobs showed on his Spring 2013 runway. It’s going to be much fun if more women…
tapped into their personal creative dreams and take it to the streets. Look what NYC women actually do with multi-color and brights, this picture on a rainy day!
Rainbow Childrens, Stacking Up
Like Pandora presiding over a secret walled garden, I have kept all my crayons and color boxes, including this clay and time studio-scarred gem. They are my doors to the pleasures of Pan, in all its Spring green, Pi-infinite and multi-colored possibilities. Need more ideas to spark the Spring?
Seeing Stars: Meet Emily Pilloton, TED-talking revolutionary, encouraging kids to play with art+design and transform their lives and community in the process.
Out of the box solutions vs. problems stack up. Emily left a well-paying gig as an architect in San Francisco to learn and teach kids in a poverty-stricken rural township in the American South, with Project H. Getting high school boys to play with geometry and invent like an architect and encouraging girls to love power tools transformed their lives, hopes and visions for their future. Here is how her students played with stacking modulars for pop-up farmer’s market shelters, which aided the local economy, not to mention, added lots of local color and vibrancy.
Pre-Fab: Wishing Walls to Create FabulousSeeing Stars: Under the “build it, they will come” theory, before anything can become Fab it must be pre-Fab. That goes for creating our own dreams and building in the future. We worked this early Spring like busy beavers on a public event for Gluck+, the architectural firm espousing “Design:Build” or in the same spirit as Emily, a belief in “getting hands dirty.” Uptown in Gluck’s pre-fabulous Malt House building, editor Susan Szenasy of Metropolis magazine led a panel of Gluck architects, developers, Janus Partners, the directors of openhousenewyork and Pentagram, to confab on the merits of being multi-disciplinarians vs. contrarians when building. By putting design, engineering and construction in separate camps, everyone loses something in the process. In the same efficiency-minded and collaborative spirit, Gluck is premiering the first ever pre-fab building in New York City, called “The Stack” due to stack up this June.
Another project spied in Gluck+’s offices plays with a different kind of wishing wall, breaking boundaries between home and earth. It reminds me of Dror’s magic carpet building we saw two years ago in Brazil here.
When she turns to the simple woman praying, you feel how her role as a duty-bound Princess has none of the import for her to compare with the simple, hopeful, earnest and connected things communities spontaneously build together, like walls of wishes to strengthen and inspire. The burst of collective creativity is now showing up everywhere – from social media to public art – and clearly has the potential to lead us away from “duties” or “silo’ed” separate engines.
It is the invite to roam on holiday like the multi-dimensional, colorful children we all are inside.
This spring another dreamweaver, artist Orly Genger’s primary color, red, yellow and blue walls sprung up in Madision Square Park and immediately like a Pied Piper, created play pens for people of all sizes. Orly said in the New York Times, ”She also wanted to explore the “very, very fine line between being contained and feeling like you’re suffocating” and “feeling contained and safe.”
Here …at the end!…would be where we’d talk all cozy about perhaps how the clarity of our 90% water bodies – like clear water or glass or minds – is the bubble, prism and lens to best entice the fire, passion and light to play this Spring.
Wave a tail feather “bye bye” to the wooly bears you hibernated with this Winter… inside your soul are new worlds of multi-color delights this Spring bursting like flowers…yesterday, today and tomorrow. Come fly with me.
some images by Jade Dressler, others borrowed, thank you Internet.
Filed under: ART, FASHION, FILM, ITALY, MEN, NEW YORK, NEW YORK Art, NEW YORK Style, NY STREET SCENES | 1 Comment
Tags: A Woman is a Woman, Amodovar, Anderson Cooper, Antony and the Johnsons, Architectural Digest Home Show, Armani, Barbarella, Blanche P Field, Blue Caprice, Brian Kenny, Busby Berkeley, Cadolle, cashmere sweater, Charles Atlas, Charles Eames, Conflict and Costume, David Beahm, Deborah Marquit, Diamanda Galas, DIFFA, Dior Haute Joaillerie, Domani, electibull, Emily Pilloton, Frette, Gagosian Gallery, Georges Nakashima, Gerhard Richter, Gloria Vandernilt, gloving, Gluck+, Gold Diggers of 1933, Gotham PR, Green Galactic PR, Harem, Helena Barquet, Herera Tribe, Ieri, Jay Kos, Jean DuJardin, Jim Naughten, Jon Caramonica, Jonathan Levine Gallery, Josephine Baker, Julian Schnabel, Kim Jackson, Kristin Paladino, Laduca, Leigh Bowery, Lynn Hasty-Tejada, machine photos, Madison Square Park, madras, marc jacobs, Marcos Chin, Marrakech, meaning of Krsta, meaning of the name Christ, meaning of the name Krisna, Merce Cunningham, Michel Hazanavicius, MOMA, Morris Adjimi, New York School of Interior Design, Nick Cave, NY Women in black, ocular migraine, Oggi, Olek, openhousenewyork, Orly Genger, OSS117, Paisley, Pentagram, Pied Piper, pre-fab, Princesse Tam Tam, Project H, Rachel Laxer Interiors, Ralph Lauren, Ramis Barquet, Riad del Fenn, Richard Branson, Robert Kuo, Roberto Cavalli, Roman Holiday, rune, Sebastian + Barquet, Slava Mogutin, slow fod, Slow Luxury, Smeg, sophia loren, Spring, Starett Lehigh, starrett-lehigh, SUPERM, Susie Funahara, tartan, the meaning of the name krishna, The Stack, today and tomorrow, Tom Fruin, Vanessa Branson, Victoire de Castellane, Wythe Hotel, Yesterday
There’s a saying in sales that goes like this: “Nobody who bought a drill actually wanted a drill. They wanted a hole.” Isn’t it true that it is not actually the physical person/place or thing which turns us on, it is its/their inherent potential to transform us?
All things morph through desire. Identity is transforming and trapezing everywhere on this teaming blue planet. As Steve Jobs said,
“Creativity Is Just Connecting Things”
Our boy sold creativity, not computers. “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or do you want to change the world?,” he famously asked. If the desires of this world are just a veil for our spiritual dreams, all elements and things speak to us in code as dream offerings for decifering.
For connecting codes, I always turn to the East, especially the divination masterpiece, the I Ching, which magnificently built binary code thousands of years ago, the same cosmic code/blueprint of our computers. In sync with other Eastern systems, the Chinese Five Element Theory, or Five Movements, is based on the reality that all things change, and connecting to their inherent potential energy to transform us vs. their static form reveals:
Although I wish I could say this month’s post was inspired by a trip via the snowy slopes of St. Moritz, apres-ski toddies and jollies, it was actually the simpler life in NYC, which begot these elemental Wintry art/places/dreams/leaps/swings as choices for pondering, for sale, to eat and to leap off with for 2013.
The place of transformation is the exact same precipice both feared and yearned for. When one thing can no longer sustain itself against moving into the next realm of being, it leaps. You have been there 1000 times. And each time you jumped on the swing, grabbed the trapeze bar. Your hands grab the reins, the threads, the trapeze ropes and you leap. You Ease the Trap. Our desires and what the universe desires from/of us are speaking out loud in code in every moment and experience. Why struggle, why wait, when the beauty itself is just waiting for us to see it? Epiphanies everywhere.
We think we have to be so prepared for miracles or the next marvelous thing, yet the soft place is it. The open place. You can look down suddenly and *ridiculous* find a tiny letter or clue just resting in the “in between” …for you. There are no bags to pack and prepare. Of course, as the little brand advocate I am, I will tell you my favorite travel bags are T. Anthony, but what really sent me traveling this month were simple marvels like amazing pizza or really tasting a bag of potato chips while strolling elegant Park Avenue in the bright sunshine. As always, the art that crosses one’s path, seemingly by random chance, yet this is among life’s most beautiful gifts. This month, I re-visited the art of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, a French movie called Ridicule, two new exhibitions and, of course, the I Ching.
The little letter above is no cheap art-construct to be cute on Tumblr, it really just caught my eye, no accident, one day while walking at a key moment. The uncanny reference to Twin Peaks, where little letters appeared under fingernails as clues… well, let me explain, it all began with the trippy pizza by Chef Evyatar at Pulino’s in NYC…let’s travel there first.
The word EARTH is the word HEART in revolution. Do you think there is a reason the words “ART” and “EAT”are in there too? Well, so is HAT, and HATE, and RATE… it’s all a very heady mix of love and hate, judgement…fashion and food. The point is…eating and art transform elements, connect and create us so best to perhaps begin there.
A roll of the I Ching gave me #5 this month,the wisdom called “Waiting” or “Nourishment.” It says: All beings have need of nourishment from above. But the gift of food comes in its own time, and for this one must wait. Waiting isn’t something our modern culture thinks is cute, and yet, it is a quality containing the exact wisdom, pleasure and healing we very much desire.
Thus…Cavalo Nero Pizza. Worth waiting for. A holiday meal at Pulino’s New York brought this heavenly black kale, smoked mozzarella, squash and walnut pesto made by Chef Evyatar right to me.
But wait…a pizza is a mandala…is it not? Both are the architectural map of elemental change. The orchestration of sensory balance. The transformation of individual ingredient essence into nourishing. This meant the world to me, in cold NYC, waiting for answers, waiting to leap and here was this 5-element mandala, mesmerizing as the one by Lama Pema, to ephiphanize over and EAT. (as in devour lovingly, slowly)
Waiting is not mere empty hoping. It has the inner certainty of reaching the goal. Such certainty alone gives that light which leads to success.
Anticipation is otherwise known as appetizers, small signs of life to come. Like a hungry monk, while waiting for my pizza, I went for in for them. Since I ching #5 is also the 5th chakra, center for Creativity, Expression, at the throat, the place of voice, mouth and where we take in and give out nourishment, I devoured the Artic char crudo with citrus, horseradish, grapes and trout roe as a sign from heaven of future prosperity and love. Hey! this I Ching thing really works! A heavenly honeycrisp apple salad with mache, watercress, walnuts, horseradish, pomegranates and honey-lemon vinaigrette, followed and virtually gave me wings and perched me exhalted on a cloud, to wait like an angel.
When clouds rise in the sky, it is a sign that it will rain. There is nothing to do but to wait until after the rain falls. It is the same in life when destiny is at work. We should not worry and seek to shape the future by interfering in things before the time is ripe. We should quietly fortify the body with food and drink and the mind with gladness and good cheer. Fate comes when it will, and thus we are ready.
Creative is the focus of today’s download. We desire this creativity in the middle of Winter. We noticed that if we identify at any moment which of these are most activated or at their fullest apex, we can cultivate the next element to move things forward. Of course this is not waiting, let’s say its perservering. Persevering is a more likable word to Western ears. It’s also your basic Feng Shui utilized in a landscape of our body, personality, emotions, relationships and even the universal healing sounds all humans make. Try it. Novel.
Here is the eternal Creativity Code of Elements, how things change:
- Water nourishes Wood.
- Wood feeds Fire.
- Fire, turning to ash, creates Earth.
- Earth, condensing over time, turns to Metal.
- Metal or Air condenses to water in heat or cold and enhances the life-giving properties of Water.
(You can begin anywhere in the cycle, it loops. As it has for 10,000 plus years.)
The year 2013 began The Year of the Water Snake in Chinese astrology, so let’s begin there. No wonder the cascading falls that open “Twin Peaks” had me gazing transfixed, longingly like a lover. In classic David Lynch fashion, their pulsing tongues of water mesmerized.
Twin Peaks begins when the town prom queen, who led a double life, is found murdered, bound up and washed ashore. An end is a good beginning, we all know. The hero of the show, Special Agent, Dale Cooper, whose name means “dweller in the valley” and “barrel maker,” is exactly the man to capture, hold and contain what has gone amok in the tiny town of Twin Peaks. A Tibetan mysteries scholar, he is keen on discovering clues and wisdom through emotional, unconscious inner most longings, knowing that the roots of anything reveal source. In code, the roots of plants and situations belong to the water element.
Nourishing growth and wisdom, water governs the entrance to your home in Feng Shui, as it represents career and life path. The season Winter, colors blue and black, salty taste, the Bladder and Kidney meridian, all watery moves from pounding tsnamis to calm lakes express emotional desire. Emotions and their expression are key to career and life path. And may I express… I cannot wait and I do see this magnificent, career illuminating chandelier from Hudson Furniture in my front hall. Pretty Life Path indeed!
The clouds burst. Hexagram #5 says: The rain comes in its own time. We cannot make it come; we have to wait for it. The wood is quenched and springs forward.
Only a strong man can stand up to his fate, for his inner security enables him to endure to the end. This strength shows itself in uncompromising truthfulness [with himself]. It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any sort of self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which the path to success may be recognized.
Like a bee hovering over one’s life, walking in the woods, walking, walking, empties the soul to gather and pollenate fresh insight. The promise after Winter, the wood element is Spring, the color green, sprouting, bitter and sour foods that are receptive and encourage energy to contract and collect. I am adding bee pollen to everything these days. The Gallbladder and Liver meridians love yellow, sunshiney foods like lemon, pear, plum, mango, sauerkraut, wheat and barley for balance.
Ginger is very root, watery into wood and I succumbed this Winter to the phermones of this ginger soda, Fresh Ginger, ”from the guy who wrote the book on ginger…literally,” Bruce Cost, Asian chef and ginger ingredient specialist. He and team hand-make this love juice with pure cane sugar, and my new habit led me to line these up in my fridge easy, quick access.(very wood)
That wood generates fire, we know. In Twin Peaks, we see a mysterious hand with passionate red nails, belonging to the mysterious and beautiful Josie from the Far East. Her lacquered hands caress the woods as an image of a chess piece arises. Adaptability is a strength of wood, and as such, Josie appears in many guises, victim, schemer, liar, lover, helpless, powerful…she is maddeningly a pawn and a queen at the same time. Excess emotions are the result of too much wood and timid Josie sports a pouting puss throughout most of Twin Peaks, when she isn’t nuzzled in the arms and chest of her lover, “Truman,” the Sheriff. She dies in the show, seemingly from the pain of it all, too much wood and water. If only she owned her vision and drive (fire and light) she might not have been such a pawn.
Rub wood sticks, get fire. The world and creativity moves on a woman’s hips. When lightening fire strikes sand/earth, it creates quartz. Crystal quartz holds light/fire and is reflective. Like the golden skin of smooth glass of this sculpture of Eve by Daum, a French art glass company since 1840, with whom we have the pleasure of working with this Winter, the warmth of fire, light and the heart are what nourishes us.
Waiting at meat and drink.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
Perserverance staring into the wood of a fire is easy, it is energy transforming and it calms us. Staring into the hops of a Czech Pilsner Urquell, the herbal fire of a Jagermeister or a Grappa, along with some fine farm-to-table Palacinky potato pancakes is simply a brunch on fire. At the “excellent little gastropub,” Hospoda, we nestled in, its odd spot in the odd Bohemian National Hall on East 73rd Street. Included in “Where To Eat 2013″ by New York magazine’s Adam Platt, it is a hidden treasure on the Upper East Side of Gotham. Go there for the fire element hops, which will turn a Winter chill into clouds of joy and beeeer.
This is true in public life as well; it is not possible to achieve everything all at once. The height of wisdom is to allow people enough recreation to quicken pleasure in their work until the task is completed. Herein lies the secret to the hexagram. While waiting, we are sure of our cause and therefore to not lose the serenity born of inner cheerfulness.
The fire element corresponds to the color red, summer, the bitter taste and the Small Intestine and Heart meridian. While waiting gets fed, outside the cold, sleet and snow brews up the large leafy plants of summer Sous la Neige or under the snow, as in this illustration by French artist, Mathilde Aubier. Winter is the only time we actually see our breath, not just its effect. It’s frost appears to remind us of its presence, even to remind us to go inside, hibernate, meditate and chill. The tiny births of bitters, the first Spring greens like dandelion, all belong to the fire element. What a courgaeous firey heart can dream will likely birth on earth.
When Ben Horne, the slick and scheming, cut-throat business mogul of Twin Peaks, loses his “marbles,” he play acts a Civil War engagement and builds earthy mounds all over his office. All this earth cools the series mantra of “Firewalk with me.” Although psychotic and seeming ridiculous, the creativity actually renders him sane and redeems his life path towards the good. His “General” and the landscape is the healer for his likely disrupted Stomach and the Spleen meridian, which comes with worry and mental overload without a clear path to action. If you can’t build a planet or battlefield in your office, the sweet taste of late summer on fire, yellow fruits, can be a cure. If you need to shop to get earthy, the earthy warm yellow and dirt brown beakers in Mud Australia‘s window in Soho caught our eye one recent evening. We like the modern interpretation of Limoges china from France. Put a hot toddy in this.
Other earth foods to fill and ground are honey, apple, cherry, banana, corn, carrot, sesame oil, yam, millet and …chocolate, which is fire moving into earth. Knowing that makes consuming lots a creative act? We say yes.
And of course, there is the real hand working of Limoge clay, Haviland china, a brand from 1842, one we are proud to work with this Winter. Next in the cycle, as earth hardens into metal, it births gold. The plating choice of the Ritz Hotel in Paris and U.S. Presidents, Haviland is about having your earth and gilding it too. Does it make everything supremely delicious? Ask the bevy of Limoge-enthusiasts as they annually tour Limoge, France, this year, in October 2013.
Gems and gold are the jewels in the lair of the dragon fire, caught deep in the earth,”brewing” and creating, like pollen. The little dragons above the earth, heralds of Spring and warmer weather are the water black and yellow earth bees, gathering gold, step by step.
Strength in the face of danger does not plunge ahead but bides its time, whereas weakness in the face of danger grows agitated and has not the patience to wait.
Bee keepers, like patient Gods, build hexagon chess board worlds, a court of hives for queens and worker bees to elicit the golden honey. Our favorite urban beekeepers are HK Honey, buzzing on Twitter: and honey, you can read more about these designer/creators turned Pollenating Gods, here.
Work all day, a heavy winter meal and wine lays one down on the earth, to then dream in airy/metal clouds/comforters and create mental refresh.
When the thread (line) went around the block with a 2-hour wait on the last day for Ann Hamilton’s swing performance, Event of a Thread at the Park Avenue Armory, we headed a few blocks north instead to see the Asia Society exhibit of Bound Unbound: Lin Tianmiao. Lin winds silk threads around bones and artifacts…turning earth into air and metal. In her all white room dedicated to “Mother,” earthy becomes metallic white and a woman’s body is guarded by the hounds of love.
Letting go, death, abandonment, empty, release and sacrifice. These are words we try to avoid yet these are precise gifts for the soul. Each one offers transcendence into a vaster plane. The metal element corresponds to the color white, autumn, the time of harshness, cold, condensed energy releasing back to earth. Metal then magnetizes and generates new life via water rising from the core again. Witness the energy of this 1950′s Daum lamp, at Tsoda, the crystal is like water rising into wood into fire aka light…and expresses exactly that promise.
The acrid, pungent tastes and the Colon and Lung meridian belong to the metal element as do onion, chive, coriander, parsley, radish, garlic, ginger, cayenne, peppermint, clove and white rice. Metal are the gears of transformation, the knife that elicits blood and sap, the cold that elicits condensation, the heat pulling sweat from the body. This osmosis of elements is happening every minute for our sensory delight. (and divination)
Opposite to the cutting clarity of the metal/mental realm is the “controlling” aspect. The metal of breath stars in the movie Ridicule, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, about the French Court of Versailles and its high regard for wit as a judgement of social standing, among Kings, Queens, and the Pawns of the court. The idea of bullying and ridicule exists first in our own ego taunts inside our own psyche. In the movie, imagery of blowing, first white powder on the body of a noble countess, and later a lover blowing pollen from a long skirt onto a flower, made me think of the judgements of bees regarding flowers and our very breath, which has the power to convey love or fear, judgement, and the worst, indifference.
From a bee’s perspective we are their tools, by planting flowers, carrying pollen on our clothes and making bee hives. Lin Tianmiao’s most powerful piece in The Asia Society was a room with an expanse, a white field of bound-together bones and tools fused by tightly would silvery-grey threads, as commentary on structure, building blocks and elemental transformation.
Like an iron butterfly, the open delicate structure of the ribs and lungs cradle, a tool to protect the breath. Lungs actually represent “relationship” in Eastern thought, as they express the symbiotic relationship of the atmosphere, plant life and objects. The fleeting emotions of air currents, wind gusts and moments they rise and fall. In Ridicule, two lovers courting walk in a garden, the woman’s sweeping skirt furls, spirals and gathers pollen, while the pair spar and barb, at buzzy odds in their thinking.
Still “sparring,” the woman’s gold sweeping skirt is held by the lover, as he blows and dusts off of “seeds” and the mental veils of judgement between the two. The tiny miracles of chance and process that shift and dissolve between the elements, the solid thinking and humans. The pollen happens to be picked up which happens to meet the flower, the hand happens to meet the thigh.
The random judgement, discernment, meeting, the chance, the choice that creates miracles. That creates us anew. Lin Tianmiao portrays this boldly.
Then there is the man-hug moment in Twin Peaks, when Josie dies and her lover, Harry, is ending his bender of despondancy and retreat in a cold cabin. At the very end of his despair, he says to his friend, Cooper, ”I don’t understand. There’s a whole lot I don’t understand.” Coop responds “We’re all like that.”
We must abandon the abandonment again and again…Begin the Beguine. In true David Lynch fashion…here’s a Perry Como interlude to inspire.
And while you wait around for LOVE FOREVER….there are 10,000 “things and their essential ability to transform us” to enjoy. Any moment can be liftoff. By coincidence (um, really?) while writing this post, a tune actually called “while the cold winter waiting” kept buzzing for my attention. The album by the artist Trentemoller is called The Last Resort.
Clearly if its good for the universe to live on the crest of a moment, what seems as waiting, a last resort, is just really the Choice to leap. Go There.
Because, at the end, unexpected epiphanies like a stroll on Park Avenue New York, crunching on Miss Vickie’s potato chips, tunes blaring on a winking, sunny day can be way more fun than ski slopes at St. Moritz.
Smiles and winks back at the sun raising Spring’s green grass up, up from under the veil of snow, trembling on new legs, waving in the heart.
“We used to dream about this stuff. Now we get to build it. It’s pretty great.” Steve Jobs
Filed under: ELEMENTS, FLOWERS, LOVERS, NEW YORK, NEW YORK Art, NEW YORK Restaurants, PERFORMANCE ART | Leave a Comment
Tags: Ann Hamilton, Asia Society exhibit of Bound Unbound: Lin Tianmiao., bees, Begin the Beguine, Ben Horne, binary code, Bruce Cost, Chinese Five Element Theory, Daum, Daum Eve, David Lynch, Event of a Thread at the Park Avenue Armory, Five Movements, Fresh ginger, gourmet pizza, Haviland, HK Honey, Hospoda, Hudson Furniture, I Ching, I Ching # 5, Lama Pema, Limoges, Mathilde Aubier, movie Ridicule, Mud Australia, NEW YORK, nourishment, Perry Como, Pulino's in NYC, Pulinos New York, Ridicule, Steve JObs, T. Anthony, The Creative Cycle, the last resort, trapeze, trentemoller, Tsoda, Twin Peaks, universal healing sounds, waiting, walk in the woods, Where to eat 2013, while the cold winter waiting, year of the water snake
DO NOT BE SAD! As we barrel towards “Doomsday,” December 22, 2012, “Life is a Cabaret” is the mood du jour. Let’s face it. Frankenstorms. Elections. Drones. Body Politics. Everyday life. Doomsday could be anyday, anywhere. No doubt, there will always be a “Next Day of The Life,” n’est-ce pas?
With some humor, some play, some artful “Day of The Dead” partying, we carry on and on. Getting in touch with our soul’s deep desires is very anti-Apocalypse strategy. Don’t front, every death has a birth on the other side. The big shift of the most serious planet, Saturn, now for the next three years in Scorpio, is where deeper dive, boundary-blurring issues of birth, death, wealth and sexuality come to the forefront. How we make creative boundaries, very black and white, relating to ourselves and others, and then present our renewed identity outwards can already be seen, as trends and signs of new masquerades and facades in art, design, environment and fashion percolate. The old folk riddle with “the newspaper” as the punchline to: “What is black and white and red/read all over?,” is like a metaphor for our duality-focused, mental plane. Red is the life force, the meaning behind the words. If we want more meaning in life, we must get very black and white with our desires and the power of life, and the power of red, the shocking pink of our pounding hearts will become obvious. Not so sure how to express and de-lineate the invisible?
Good News! You can buy it!
Here are our top ten favorite 2012 party tips. All purchasable! Ten very high to very low, very black and white ways to Purchase Instant Happiness, Invest for Infinity and Express Your Ephemerals. Come Doomsday, Hell or High Water:
ONE FLAUNT THOSE BODY PARTS. For 600 years the Buddha had no face. He was the story told by traveling monks who took up with trading routes, on the silk road, the spice trail or the circus caravan, entertaining a “captive audience” of “folkloric” folks traipsing for miles. Evening stories in exchange for filled bowls of food turned traveling salesmen artisan hands from idle to busy which, in turn, begot statues, paintings, yantras and knick-knacks, forever putting a face to the abstract ideas of the Buddha’s teachings. Today, our caravan may be more jet set, yet, placing spiritual desires front and center for manifest destiny is how we live. Making one’s home or body a temple with reverent statues or wearing our heart on our sleeves, with a frock such as this Spring 2013 trompe-l’oiel Lanvin dress, above, is a very good place to start. Puts one’s punim, one’s bella face, right above the perfection of a Venus marble statue.
Flaunting, Fronting, Done!
TWO NAME ME, PROCESS ME. “Use a name card without a name. Put an address and a smell instead.” said the artful Yoko Ono the other day on Twitter.
Trompe L’oeil. Tricks and Treats of the Eyes and The Naming of Things. Who Are You? Like a modern-day Buddah, you could be just a scent and a trail, as Yoko teases. No surprise, I am a big fan of process, the discovery of self through ephemerals, scent, journals and stream of consciousness writing, much like artist/explorer, Francis Picabia, and his Dadaist scribbled search for self, above. Claim your fame by filling classic drugstore black and white composition books for pennies or drop your identity and dollars at people’s feet with drop-dead, personalized calling cards, perhaps while wearing “boy’s T-shirts from Walmart” and million-dollar pearls as does Nancy Sharon Collins, the outre-chic stationer. Personal Stationary is one unforgettable smart investment.
photo Jeff McCay
Recently, I met the elegant Yves, brand ambassador for Mrs. John L. Strong, famed namesake of the strong and tiny powerful statement stationary of Madison Avenue. Letterpress. Hand-engraving. Signs and Seals. The Art of the Very Personal. Yves, who lived in Paris for many years knows of such things. We need lotsa jewel-box preciousness to appreciate the deeper places we restore our souls, touches beyond Twitter and Tech. Take time, invite others in to that realm, I predict the return of gentleness, appreciation of touch, time and together. (or at the very least, more touch time with your biz card)
THREE POKE HOLES IN THE OLD SELF. Opening, (albeit delayed in true Dada-style, apres Sandy) with a black and white gala party inspired by Francis Picabia‘s Relâche, the 1924 ballet, Performa is the highly anticipated and inspired biannual November New York treat. This full roster of performances and experiences throws permanent to the wind and melts open new ideas of Self. Experiences make good gift. Not in NYC? Music could take you anywhere. The ballet score of Relâche, composed by Erik Satie, was on repeat for me growing up. Good soundtrack to osmosis the surreal.
FOUR CLONE THYSELF ANEW. With Anna Dello Russo’s clones for her H&M launch and Jean Paul Gaultier’s runway clones of pop stars, the moment of the make-believe masquerade to make FUN is here. Why spend millions on chasing fame or cloning yourself, as Michael Jackson and other Hollywood-ites may be doing, when you can buy infinite amounts of instant fun at H&M? (hint: Anna’s garb is already 8-times its worth on eBay)
FIVE MESMERIZING LIQUID ASSETS. Move your world. Static art begets contemplation, yet video art on repeat, like the endless ocean waves, just might inspire Transcendance. I was transfixed this past month by this morphing orb video by Ori Gersht, called “Liquid Assets,” in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. An alchemical swish of an ancient coin/bella face/mask/womb. Drop lots of coinage of the realm to collect Gersht or travel to Art Basel Miami Beach in December for the second year of video art, for your own fascinator video art. An up and coming video artist to buy now? Robert Pearre, “a video artist living and dying in Brooklyn” makes meditations of strangely soothing, desolate landscapes and racy wordage. Curator, Kianga Ellis is now adding his Twitter feed to exhibition schedules. Really! Add your spirit of choice.
Invest and conserve the ocean, here at the Ocean Conservancy.
Invest at once in mesmerizing liquid assets of art, perception-busting and beauty with this still photograph to meditate upon for world peace. Photo by Sebastian Farmborough.
We absorb so much suffering and pain, we must filter and release. Performance artist, Marina Abramovic responded to the tidal wave Tsunami by leading a performance of beating the waves. “The Worst is the Best.” Post Frankenstorm, everyone needs a bath. Engendering strength, healing.
Huile sur toile by Frances Picabia 1942-43
SEVEN BE A WARM, WRAP STAR IN BED. Naps are free and one of the best re-vitalizers around. If you are afraid to sleep and miss the party, you have two choices. A well stocked bed-tray or a bed-buddy. Either way, the best sheets are linen. The Belgian linen sheets EVER to emerge from a bath, take to the beach or wrap in bed with a friend.
EIGHT NIGHTS OUT BEFORE LIGHTS OUT. Not yet ready for bed? Truman Capote’s famous first Black and White Ball was November 28, 1966, at the Plaza in New York. Everything in black and white silvery, wintery and glittering…with red tablecloths mind you. The soft buzz of a party is best felt behind the buzz of libations or as a libertine behind a mask. For libertines or wallflowers, original masks commissioned by artist, and our good friend, Katarina Wong, are a way to connect with the illusion of the world.
Old-fashioned goodness. Hangovers and hearts will love a red hot-water bottle and its 100% cashmere sweater made in Scotland for a cool $159. It’s a forever memorable gift no one buys for themselves. Practice being the lovely, thrifty friend, handy folks might make this double as a onsie for Baby. Adults needing a larger size can find cashmere slanket blankets here too.
NINE CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION COCOONING. If we are to go deep, really deep, co-coo-ing and dreaming on the cradle of civilization, Africa, is healing to the soul and thankfully, this sleepy, powerful land is waking up. For connecting with The Source Within, Bonpoint is the onsie cocoon of choice for those fresh out the womb and for bigger kids, discovering and investing in art, commerce, music and fashion emerging from Africa is a powerful force re-birthing.
Gazelle and The Ambassadors are a rollicking band from South Africa, who played for a very packed and enthusiastic crowd at the White Box gallery last month. Gazelle himself has buckets of style and we suggest you also take a look at our friend, Zandile Blay’s Africa Style Daily, as she is the African Queen. She is a bountiful source for what designers are doing what and who is making the most beautiful music from the Motherland continent.
Photographs in the White Box Gallery portrayed the people of District Six, the South African suburb of Cape Town, that was demolished during the years of Apartheid in the 70′s. This marked photographer Cloete Breytenbach’s first solo exhibition in New York City. Touching African music on the land itself, of recent note, one of the world’s best music fests, Festival au Desert, held every February in the home of the Tuaregs, seemed challenged by recent uprisings. However, proving that culture is a show that must go on, the festival states, “in proud nomadic tradition, we will embark on a 2013 caravan of artists, fans and festivals uniting for Peace, Tolerance and Human Dignity.”
take a deeper look here.
show some love to the Motherland, book your trip here.
TEN ARISE, MAKE ART IN BLACK OUTS . While the dark envelops, the water rises and the clock ticks, the best way to prepare for Doomsday is to make art. Where to start? Get inspired by Netflix’s cache of stellar documentary dive-ins to the souls of artists. Some favorites catch-ups lately include, Ciara Clemente’s Our City Dreams, for a look at women artists at all ages; The Woodmans, on artist, Francesca Woodman, and her family of artists; and for fun fashion romps, Valentino, The Last Emperor and Ultrasuede, In Search of Halston. Discover your full-on spectrum and relationship with art, creativity and sexuality vicariously through the lives of Art Stars.
Life is Awake. If all these movies inspire investment, another emerging Art Star to collect now, while he is being discovered, is my new friend, former Serbian pro-basketball player turned photographer, Milos Duma. His garishly lit, isolated urban night scenes of Vienna, Belgrade and New York City, in his recent show entitled, Sleepwalk, are a wake-up and see art siren call. This image, above, of pink legs emerging from a subway staircase, is just the beginning of his deep dive into light upon urban and body interior landscapes. Inner realms of birth, life and death await you.
Life is Simple. Art Star #2. A focus on the simple and everyday can bring joy, such as my pal, photographer, Peter Emerick’s ongoing study of traffic cones. His latest exhibit this month at NYC’s Chashama gallery, is called “Koans.” A koan is a Buddhist tool for enlightenment, a story, dialog, question, or statement whose meaning cannot be accessed by national thinking, yet it may be accessible by intuition. The Buddhist nature of these everyday, non-natural sculptures in our midst can be mesmerizing puzzles.
Life is short. Francesca Woodman’s prolific art burn and early suicide may have been foretold by her images. This one, The Tree Has Entered my Hands, is a birch tree, symbolizing re-birth as snakes use the twinning towers of birch trees to move between and aid their essential moulting of dead skin for the new. For a very cheap thrill giving back monumental millenial thrills, watch this very short film of a cicada trading old skin for new.
Making Art is a Moulting, yes?
Life is Alive. Ori Gerscht, he also likes to blow up things. His Blow Up:Untitled lightjet print at Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on until January 13 also mesmerized me. His gallery, CRG, is a good one to support, as they sustained damages during Sandy.
Life is Re-forming. Ghada Amer, in Our City Dreams, spoke about her Middle Eastern Motherland’s habit of blacking out of women in advertisements, mirroring a recent catalog Ikea apologized for, in which they disappeared the mother in the Saudi Arabian version. The scene with Ghada leafing through a catalogue with similar blacked-out lady parts, was touching, given her provocative images of women and all the recent “women, body” issues in the news. Here is one abstract from her as a “cover’ for her more “bare all” art. Behind the masquerades of our “different” bodies, genders and faces, go see her site.
ELEVEN COUPLING, CONNECTING AND RE-DECORATING FOR INNER WINTER SPORTS.
Inspiring art-partnered and New York City legendary couples this month went from screen to real life.
Coupling is Connecting. It began for me with Francesca Woodman’s parents and then to Nancy Spero and Leon Golub, she of New York’s deep-dive Lincoln Center subway mosaic murals and both art activists. The lineage continues with two vibrant and generous New Yorkers, Richard Perry and Lisa Perry, he of finance and she of pop-art frocks and both of Jeff Koons-caliber art collecting. As hosts of an event this month and ongoing supporters of Publicolor, where kids create murals in their schools for community building, the wealth of heart of this couple goes way beyond their flashy art-filled life. Just peek at their lush life in W mag! ( most important, they are sincere, friendly and earnest.) I knew it would be a lively party, as I followed an old collector of my own art, stylist, Barbara Flood, across the street, into the space where the gathered included Art Stars such as Hannah Bronfman,Ruth Lande Shuman, Fern Mallis and my party-pal, Souleo. Simon Doonan, entranced by Souleo’s gold sequin top, showed us precious (((happy school kids making art))) photos on his mobile, from his recent art fest with Publicolor. Buy a Lisa Perry Jeff Koons rabbit leather here for investment or a set of splatter placemats for a small but generous investment to bring some light into NYC schools.
deeper. ”I think that the more people push the boundaries, the more people are going to respond and want to do the same for themselves.” Hannah Bronfman
deeper. still. Chiara Clemente awed with the scene in Our City Dreams, of artist, Kiki Smith taking a wax cast of her mother’s fingers after she died, a tiny mask…to keep, to access, the power of connection.
More Art Stars and parties. Jordan and Sun Bae Betten are one happy, inspiring couple. I met artist and designer, Jordan and crew a few years ago and have happily followed their Lost Art Art Clan, making shamanistic costumes for the famous and those who treat every day as a stage for their ritualistic tendancies. In another good coupling, Jordan partnered with McGuire furniture, they of self-described art detailing “…like the exquisite stitching of a French seam, or running your finger over finely engraved stationery,” for a redecorating collaboration good for “inner winter sports.” McGuire itself was founded by another passionate couple, John and Elinor McGuire and their bold idea: “to explore the relationship between outside and inside; between elegance and raw nature.”
The chairs were magnificent and thoughtful. Process and what’s behind any scene is always just as important. Kudos to Jordan and his PR person, Abe Gurko, for the invite. Peek at Gurko’s side gig, “I mean…What?” for a behind the scenes, snarky view of the news and the famous.
City Caves for Couplings and Travel. My other fave PR person, Alexandra Polier, of Dwell magazine, concepted and hosted a soiree at the D&D building called, City Modern, a co-starred vision by Dwell’s Editor in Chief, Amanda Dameron and President, Michela O’Connor Abrams, joined with New York Magazine Publisher, Larry Burstein and Design Editor, Wendy Goodman. Four precious room vignettes were playful time-travel capsules of various eras sporting decor by designers, Francis D’Haene, Ghislaine Vinas, Nate Berkus and Thom Felicia. Below, Nate Berkus waved a deco-dancing wand to craft a nest where golden stars of Studio 54-era might after-party crash, blurred into relax by his fiercely furry animal cave. Huggie-bearish, buttery yellow chairs and turtles warmed the black and white sleekness, courtesy of Nate’s rugs for Target and glossy bits by 1stdibs. Dream upon such digs for wintry cocooning or travel far and wide with a subscription to Dwell or New York Magazine. Ventures beyond these tiny designer caves were recommended by the event sponsor, Audi, as their latest model sat parked and ready outside.
Open Relationships. My other PR Art Star, Courtney Lukitsch, of Gotham PR, hosted a post-Sandy, warm-cell opening uptown at Valerie Goodman for sensuous sculptor, Jaques Jarrige. Collected by museums and well known in Europe, his organic, playful and poking-holes forms are now popping up in design magazines and we are wholly intrigued. One of his greatest inspirations is the woodworking class he has taught for 30 years to hospital patients whose wavy line inclinations inspired him. “It is why I work so well with the patients. They are in the moment, like me, finding solutions and expanding as we go. It was like a present to discover the beauty of this nonintellectual approach, and the innocence of their work.”
Imagine the Swiss Family Robinson, Avatar journal writing you might do at this sculptural desk.Back in the bunker, tete-a-tete, knees knocking, deep winter convos with a friend in front of a fire. Yes.
A shiny red-all-over, strip-tease screen to adjust ideas of boundaries, softer, un-divided hearts. Yes.
TWELVE FINALES. DOOMSDAY DO’S AND DON’TS?
DO CREATE. TRANSCEND RUINS AND WOUNDS.WE ARE EPIC WARRIORS THROUGH AND THROUGH. Floating blue earthy orbs and very long gowned gals made for the epic finale of Valentino’s massive anniversary extravaganza party in front of Rome’s Coliseum. I snapped pics on my Ipad entranced and later realized how the imagery portrayed the angel-like creatures about to leap past the ruins, past the constraints into freedom.
If Scorpio’s influence gives us boundaries to explore and life gives us situations to mash up, leave for ruins and recreate them anew, then perhaps, #life really is a party, a cocktail of Everything you Imagine, and much more you have not, shaken and stirred. Drink deep.
Another “collect now,” young and prolific artist is Sanjay Patel, a Pixar artist who has exhibited in major museums. With his words upon diving deep into his Hindu culture, he captures the timeless spirit with which to party here on Earth:
“…there’s a time to be both. A time to follow the rules, and a time to let go, explore your own happiness, and be playful. That you can win devotion that way, as well. I think that’s really neat, actually. It’s not just black and white.”
Buy this guy’s gleeful,big ideas of fun. The poster book of Sanjay’s warriors, with twelve removable 12 X 16 prints,is just $25.
ELEVEN NEVER, EVER FINALE, FINALE. This just in. Saturn, ruler of Scorpio and taskmaster planet, has its own “Black and White Ball” in the form of a sponge-like moon? Must contemplate THAT.
And symbolic of our true, passionate, eternal,never-ending and red-hot rambling towards the light …Doomsday-Be-Damned…in dreamy blur style, is this image of a woman in the Valentino movie. Massive red all over, heavy silk-satin dress, she is desire itself, as she dashes out last minute through throngs of party-goers, to catch the fireworks in front of the Coliseum. A priceless capture of Earth-seeking Heaven. May you enjoy all the invented “Doomsdays”…and find endless ways to spend the rest of your days as “Desiredays.”
DO NOT BE SAD! Tomorrow is…Forever.
Filed under: ART, NEW YORK, NEW YORK Art | 2 Comments
Tags: 1stdibs.com, 2012, Abe Gurko, Africa Style Daily, Alexandra Polier, Amanda Dameron, Anna Dello Russo, Audi, Barbara Flood, birch trees, Bonpoint, Boston Museum of Fine Art, Buddha, cashmere hot water bottle, Chashama, Chronicle Books, Ciara Clemente, Cloete Breytenbach, Clonaid, Courtney Lukitsch, CRG Gallery, Dada, District Six South Africa, doomsday 2012, Dwell, Erik Satie, Fern Mallis, Festival au Desert, Francesca Woodman, Francis D'Haene, Francis Picabia, Gallery MC, Gazelle and The Ambassadors, Ghada Amer, Ghislaine Vinas, H&M, Hannah Bronfman, In Search of Halston, Jacques Jarrige, jade dressler, Jeff Koons, Jeff McCay, John and Elinor McGuire, John Paul Gaultier clone, Johnstons of Elgin, Jordan and Sun Bae Betten, Jordan Betten, Katarina Wong, Kianga Ellis, Kiki Smith, koans, lanvin, Larry Burstein, Leon Golub, Libeco, Lisa Perry, Lost Art, Marina Abramovic, McGuire, Miami Beach Art Basel video, Michael Jackson clone, Michela O'Connor Abrams, Milos Duma, Mrs John L Strong, Nancy Sharon Collins, Nancy Spero, Nate Berkus, New York magazine, Ocean Conservancy, Ori Gersht, Our City Dreams, Performa, Peter Emerick, Publicolor, Relache, Richard Perry, Robert Pearre, Ruth Lande Shuman, Saatchi Online, Sanjay Patel, Sebastian Farmborough, Simon Doonan, Sleepwalk, Smithsonian, Souleo, Target, The Black and White Ball, The Plaza, The Woodmans, Thom Felicia, Truman Capote, Tuareg, Twitter, Ultrasuede, Valentino The Last Emperor, Valerie Goodman, Wendy Goodman, White Box Gallery, winter solstice 2012, Yoko Ono, Yves, Zandile Blay
For the seeker of design, to shine and spiff up the abode for the coming cold, New York City’s inspirations are a wealth to draw from, no matter where you live. The vast array of “Made-in-NYC” choices can scream at the senses, maybe a bit like the riot of color above, a well-lit candy shop pixelating and pulsing from behind its night security screen. But train the eye to look at pattern and color as it unexpectedly shows up…anywhere…and one can discover original ideas, the greatness of goods and acquire a habit for the home-grown Pleasures as only Gotham can offer them.
Here are six secret “Made-in-NYC” Pleasure spots and ideas to get your winter juices flowing.
ONE There is a sweet spot in NYC’s East Village, before and aft of Thompkins Square Park, where Ninth Street sits demurely as a row of gussied-up church girls or a row of gingerbreadish candy shops, a bazaar, where home pretties spill unto the street as a continuous proffering from already intriguing window tableaus. These turned wood lamps at #614 East 9th, turned our head at Lora Sroka, a delightful window into the world of a 20th century wood sculptor. Looks like she’ll turn a design commission or two as well.
TWO This acid green of a light at #628, further East on 9th Street, had us wistfully thinking about light and glass and green and how vastly ethereal a door can be. An intimate concert at a gallery with changing light projections on the wall also inspired earlier in the week. Programming this in a living room for atmosphere is a beautiful, accessible idea for evenings in. Especially with the mix of scaled, black and white patterns!
All the color reminded us of the power of painting a door or floor, the famous signature habit of Jamie Drake, Interior Designer, King of Color, and particularly his black and white faux-marble, patterned painted floor at Gracie Mansion, the official home of New York’s Mayor. We toured privately last summer and the secret Pleasures abound. Worth a trip to see the preserved 19th century children’s graffiti, the obscure history antiquey bits and the rare “only in Manhattan would Federal style meet rock and roll” color and design combos.
THREE The dining room has a completely different feel, a more befitting uptown pedigree, as it features a circa 1830 Zuber wallpaper mural of bucolic French parkland peppered with amusing denizens frolicking about in their Flatland 2-D nature scene. Interior designer Albert Hadley, as part of the mansion’s 1980′s renovation, installed this wallpaper masterpiece entitled, “Les Jardins de Paris,” a classic mural from the esteemed maison, which is still in operation today in France. The mural was actually discovered pristine, still in its original wrapping paper, in the attic of a home in the Hudson Valley and transported especially for this room. So what’s so nouveau about murals?
Blame it on Avatar, photosynthesis deficits or just a cocoon of nostalgia. In any case, this lust brought us to discover Thibaut, a local manufacturer in nearby Newark, New Jersey, which, surprisingly, is the oldest wallpaper company in the United States, a family owned business still in design and production since 1886. They stock their own original 1960′s murals, as well as produce custom designs. Imagine how really novel these could be with bold modern furniture and some vivid, rich and electric pastel color like neon lemon or plum ala Jamie Drake.
FOUR The greens wrapping a room can bring on a quest for bucolic-to-mouth resuscitation via local farm-to-table treasures. The Sauce, on #78 to #84 Rivington Street, is local and visionary, in that kind of “…and I’m hungry for more” Bourdain way. It’s no secret, the secret sauce is that Frank Prisinzano hails from Queens, New York, and grew up making gravy with Grandma. This tasty hometown twist on tradition seen below is 100% fresh cucumber tagiatelle pasta with mint and grey salt.
Another pristine French import to NYC these days is Maison Kayser, the famous French bread now here and baking local at #1294 Third Avenue, at 74th Street. Kneaded, shaped and baked on-site, owner Eric Kayser convinced Unesco to classify this kind of baking as “heritage.” He may be more loco than local, as he meets NYC’s King of Bread, Eli Zabar, head on, at The Vinegar Factory rooftop, let’s say. Eric’s chef pieds planted at #431 East 91st Street at York? Non! Eli’s home turf shall be defended with his famed sourdough. We can see a battle of the baguettes already.
FIVE Custom designed stairs are rare enough. Rarer still would be a deep sea fisherman and a former chef in St. Barts who now is a “Stair Master” for custom home and architect commissions. Philippe Jacquet is the man. No website, no phone number. How do you find him? Word-of-mouth. Ask a local! Ask me!
White or gloss black plus all the tan tones of wood are another “color” inspiration…this building getting a hose-down inspired the other day for its pattern and power. Look at the nearby mottled blue black and grass greens too! Plush and sleek textural pattern Pleasure!
SIX Saving the best for last, number six is earthy, drippy, home-made, hipster NYC (yes, Brooklyn) chocolate pronounced, “Raaka” or “virgin chocolate.” Which is to say…Get Your Hands Dirty. Go ahead, play with your candy, play with your chocolate.
Slowly. In melt in your mouth sound bites: Unroasted. Stone ground. Small Batch. Vegan. Nut free. Gluten free. Bourbon. Sea salt. Chili. Blueberry lavender. Vanilla rooibos. Made from certified organic ingredients. Made in Brooklyn.
Inspired by owner, Ryan Cheney’s mystical trip to a Thailand yoga school, in which, as it doubled as a chocolate factory, he had visions of becoming Willy Wonka. Whole Foods carries the tasty bits wrapped in caffeine-come-hither patterned paper. See how wholesome New Yorkers are now since the 80′s?
Raaka packaging reminded me of this Yayoi Kusama-designed, vertigo building facade going up on 14th Street, called 365 Meatpacking. The secret construction carries on behind the curtain while the street gets some art and color and pattern.
There you go NYC, leading the pack again. The surprise of it all is the 1960′s Mad Men era white brick facade going up behind the dot-screen, sporting some very suburban vibes don’t you think? Is this the beginning of a new pattern? Or is it Gothamites welcoming the Luddite pleasures of nostalgic childhood fantasies, where the secret pleasures of backyard green made play so habit forming?
Hmm, make me that highball cocktail (a Made-in-NYC invention) and let’s discuss on the patio.
Filed under: ARCHITECTURE, HOME, NEW YORK, NEW YORK Restaurants, NEW YORK Style, NY STREET SCENES, SIX SECRET PLEASURES, STYLE | Leave a Comment
Tags: 365 Meatpacking, Albert Hadley, artisanal, Eli Zabar, Frank Prisinzano, Gracie Mansion, jade dressler, Jamie Drake, Lora Sroka, made in new york, made in nyc, Maison Kayser, murals, Philippe Jacquet, Raaka chocolate, The Sauce, Thibaut, Yayoi Kusama, Zuber
You do a double blink.
You close your eyes and …jump!”
Summer’s End, 2012.
“Mmm-aaa-gic,” I purred upon my recent float into the puffy cloud envelope of down comforter, dinner and the warm promise of my home’s hearth, the fire-red Netflix screen on my Ipad. My luxurious, “fluffy lamb” state was a 360 degree transform of the evening’s rainwashed return to NYC from a wild, bucolic romp in Scotland,UK.
Whilst I stared into the “fire,” the “The Video Valium” as a friend calls it, my gratefully-landed carpetbagged, journey-soaked-from-flying-about-Mary Poppins-self slid effortlessly into a Bert sidewalk chalk drawing, as a classic 1980′s era BBC’s Doctor Who episode whirlpooled itself into view. (familiar, funny-eerie time warp music up.)
T’was this, plus returning home at the finale of the London Olympics, which reminded me why we all so love the UK, Brits and Scots. Time-traveling, superhero, magic characters such as the ever-kitsch,royal and lovable Time Lord Doctor and Miss Poppins balance the Upstairs, Downstairs emotional dramas of LIFE. They are always saving the world, always re-incarnating, whilst pish-poshing themselves and our tiny ego-visions of either ourselves or our planet. “It’s bigger on the inside than the outside,” the Doc says of his own Time machine.
Royal pomp taming the wild universe IS absurd. This formula of “Officials,” Lords and Ladies in traveling ships, furry tall hats and dramatic long scarves may well represent the folly of trying to tame one’s ideas of WILD. Whether we are trying to tame new empires or our own emotional waves. Our “day-to-day human” struggles reflected by silly walks of royal drama, such as ”when in Las Vegas” Full Monty spillage, Kate Middleton deerstalking in a plumed “fascinator” or a Scot’s punch line to every joke: “At the Pub!” are a kind of Emperor’s New Clothes woven in a necessary transparent tartan, presented to alleviate Suffering, humanizing, taming and evolving us all on many levels.
We are now at the crossroads of a new weave. With a “warp” of our poetic, romanticism of UK and Celtic lore, landscapes and history we must address the un-bridled desire, procurement and effect of our “first-world” entitled demand for “elegant” modern luxuries with a new respect for time, tradition and materials. Factory farming, fois-gras or child-labor is much more than a few environmentalists crying “Wolf!” Hello? Anyone in there? It’s more like a wake-up call, a guard dog or wolf baying at the moon, “Woof!” woven with a “WTF?” Consideration for the unalienable rights of all nations, people, animals, plants and livelihoods must be transparent and in harmony. A global conversation on the idea of a “United Peaceable Kingdom.” All the while, this immense re-balancing of the planet is clearly just the universe…
giggling at itself.
Flashback. My earliest memory of the UK. With sassy style and respect for all creatures, the “arrived-from-the-heavens” governess, Mary Poppins, descended into my life through books handed down from my mother. While Mumsy was imaginative, surrogate Mother Mary’s curious ability to pop in and out of sidewalk drawings, Royal Doulton bowls or to gift her little lamb kids with visits from talking Stars was thrilling.
Flash-forward. Last night, Doctor Who, with a comely blond in 1980′s gear, saved the planet from the talking, universe-destroying goo in a big vat hidden behind a large carousel in London, who in turn was turning London’s store mannequins into robot terrorists. Be tame, my wildly beating nerdy heart.
Flashback. T’was age 16 when I first went to London with my Time Traveler Gods of that moment, Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. What I saw then on my first journey, wide-eyed on the streets, Terry Jones’s invention, The Straight Up, capturing the real-time street theatre of tame bankers, queen Mum types, wild-style punks and the first Cosplayers of infinite variety…changed the way I looked at the world,
F O R E V E R.
Back in the mono-styling US, I kept the faith and lust going between long,repeated forays through treasured early issues of the Mother of Street style: i-D mag and Alexander McQueen. Thusly did my views on life became forever firmly rooted in this
free expression and celebration of life.
I’ve visited London many times since, but this summer was my first voyage to the UK countryside. This time I took my imagination filled with Burt’s sidewalk drawings, a time capsule memory of Doctor Who’s countryside ramblings, Danny Boyle’s Olympic carousel visions and my own vivid, vivid lucid dreams before the trip. You can imagine me happily packing my tartan mini-kilts, yards of lace for impromptu ruffs and MP’ish ankle boots in Fandom for these two colorfully-clad Time Travelers for my own crack at this land’s mystery this Summer. A few dust-offs and peel-backs of vintage i-D mags and the grey, granite treadmill of my hometown, New York City, let the Carousel rides began.
YOU DO A DOUBLE BLINK.
Walk the row of pictures and trip with me, dearies.
CLOSE YOUR EYES…AND JUMP!
The trip: A delicious 3-way proposition:
Gather top journalists and tastemakers to experience Scottish Luxury now. First, a welcome stay at the legendary 5-star resort Gleneagles to taste slow luxury through The Fraser Balgowan Experience and Slow Luxury Round Table showcase sponsored by Textiles Scotland.
Second, the adventure included an all-day, deep-into-the-Highlands jaunt through endless lush hills and mountains with a 3rd generation deerstalker and the chance to design a bespoke Fraser Balgowan bag with the sustainably-harvested hide. Do think ecological balance, free-range quality of life, think no-wolves since 1700′s and discuss amongst yourselves factory-farmed meat. And leather.
Feel that “luxury” leather of your shoes and accessories…right now this minute.
Do think paradigm shift.
Third, as the happy and inspired group headed back to the airport, I then traveled on to spent four incredible, long days at the estate of Fraser Balgowan designer, Fiona, aka “M’Lady” and her husband, Ewan, deerstalker and shepherd to wild black-faced sheep. Ewan (tweeded lad above) aka “The Highland Treasure.”
Endless hills courting bubbling springs. Bright sun flashing.Tiny, tiny and bold smiling wildflowers and grasses of all kinds.
A stiff upper lip may be the extreme gift, the hardy UK’ers have given us, however, upon arrival in Scotland, I was deeply moved by the magical, changeable weather, where mist and dew shimmer in the sun as it breaks and peeks through clouds. This cycle of refreshed light opened a flow of emotions and delighted my heart in a very immediate way…each time. There is this same kind of Slow Luxury in the shared deep emotions which come from fine craft and objects made for each other with care and respect at all levels, whether Sunday breakfast in bed, a $30,000. bespoke suit, couture dress or custom-designed adventure.
This is Luxury. Slow Luxury.
That slip between worlds of rain and sun was the same as catching a 70′s or 80′s Doctor Who episode shot in endearing video, that homespun quality added to the kitsch factor of “otherworldliness.”
Water as a flow and continuum makes the lifeblood of emotions surface. Water is everywhere in its transitory forms in Scotland versus just a memory during sunny days. Water has just passed or imminent. It demands attention. Dew after rainstorms, misty air and rainbows all at once. Note the meeting of very wild+cultivated tame landscape inspired by Capability Brown...such a W O W!
A full rainbow appearing just as we arrived, landing on two “just-over-there” points on the Gleneagles’ gorgeousness, where you could run 100 feet and check to see if the pot of gold was sitting on the grass? We all “happened” to be on the rooftop and I wondered which Time Lord programmed THAT.
In contrast, get a little Slow Scotland on with this series of images hiking on the Fraser estate. Go ahead, Emote.
And if that didn’t get you, trust I felt like swooning and howling Kate Bush when the flock of the Fraser’s sheep scrambled and jogged in front of us, making patterns and baaa-ing music getting smaller in the distance in a way I will ne’er forget!
Drama alert. Here are Jade and Jaden, two Fraser estate lambs born in the Spring and “named” after me. News flash, my Summer visit happened to coincide with their planned “teenage” separation from their Mama, I was a city slicker witness and sacrificial lamb to their calling back and forth…all night long…interspersing with my own dreams. (counting endless “ba’a, ba’a, ba’a that night vs. leaping wool balls…trust) Of course, time-traveling Mummy and Poppins re-hash dreams resulted. A re-visit with my own feelings about this emotional, teary-eyed, water ritual which we humans must endure and celebrate as well was a lil’ gift from Jade and Jaden.
Wine, whisky, pearls, people, animals…slow luxury… takes time. There is work everyday, rituals of growth and transition for all things. Plants salute the sun everyday for harvest, ants milk aphids, bees serve a Queen working in honey factories, sheep exchange peaceful grazing for wool and warmth of their bodies, while farmers, businessmen and, let’s face it, all of us, work daily,in exchange for life. The value of our own lives are changing and so must our relationship to Nature.
I write this post on the “blue moon” of August, the second full moon this month. I am “feeling” the emotions of the moon, the energy and myths of wolves baying at the moon. Goddesses of the moon and the hunt kept wolves as familiars in many cultures. Wolf sings the moon into existence say Native American Seneca tribes. We were in Scotland to remind ourselves of and be touched by ancient and new relationships with animals and ourselves.
The absence of wolves in Scotland and other countries, has resulted in deer overpopulations and managed hunts to prevent disease and imbalance. I found it fascinating that wolves represent water and psychic energy. Their myth and presence is like a frozen or misty fractal, as humans and caretakers, we must now balance the emotional waves of animals and ourselves…
and the impact of our every thought and action upon our world.
How we approach all with sensitivity. How we orchestrate the borders of wild and tame. Purpose and desire.
And, on that note, the first landing, the watering hole at Gleneagles, The Bar.
This 1920′s era corral was filled with spiffy, hippy families, executive golfers and even a well-known US newscaster on vacation. Our gang included David Beahm, celebrity event planner aka “The Pres,” as he spent many hours on the phone with The White House on holiday decor; Cator Sparks, aka “The Style Colonel,” because he officially is; Clint Brownfield, aka “The Travel Manatee,” (in his own words) and Laurie Kahle, aka “The Malibu Miss,” eternally blond, wise and expert in all things luxury. M’Lady, Fiona Fraser, Kate Trussler of Gleneagles and myself welcomed the group.
From that introduction, the daily delights and details kept coming at Gleneagles. Beginning with the breakfast spread, seemingly miles of food choices, options and attention to Scotland’s best. (see a buffet of 25 feet!) Gleneagles procures 60% of its food supplies from local farmers, very impressive, very sustainable.
Delights such as hand-rolled salmon, with the sublime fresh taste…
to the staggering emporium where one can choose one’s meat, have it cut fresh, cooked and brought prepared to the table. (Rivaling only Eli’s or Eataly in New York City for the array) Still in my watery mode and anticipating dinners with multiple courses, I chose minestrone for the first lunch. Sensibility and decorum ended there.
Time leap forward to dinners at the 5-star dinner at Andrew Fairlie’s in Gleneagles. His watermelon dish made my eyes mist over, one of about 300 truly inspiring tiny delights we thrilled over.
Andrew Fairlie won his Roux scholarship aged just 20, then studied and concocted under French Basque country’s star-chef Michel Guérard in Gascony. Classic French influenced, but I loved the atmosphere, it was so warm and enveloping.
The room is all about comfort and cozy, deep baquettes plumped with pillows for lovers or groups of friends, as we were joined by Charlotte Kissack, our UK PR, aka “Anne Hathaway’s lost little sis” and Alison Bradley, Editor of Fusion Flowers magazine, aka “The Queen of Flowers.” My Queenship luxuriated in my all-time fave dark walls, mood lamps, massive silk drapes and a succession of intoxicating “waters” such as a Gobillard 1er cru bred grande reserve Hautvillers, from the same named village, considered the “Pearl of Champagne.” Like feasting in bed. Yum.
L O V E.
And if you still wanted cozy after that…
Single malt whiskey and Cuban cigar tasting in the Blue Bar, an all-weather open and heated cave, had me in my mind’s eye wearing a 60′s cocktail sheath along with a James Bond type, swigging back a few. The proper tasting of both is actually a very refined Slow Luxury art, with rare ingredients, stages and procedures, just like the best “off” smelly cheeses or mind-altering perfume. I was fascinated that the real Johnnie Walker was the town grocer who flowed from tea blending to exotic concocting of whiskeys. The spray of salty sea air and the smoke of peat taste are just the start. I handled it. (see hand on right)
The tiny bites that arrived were so sublime in taste and ingredents, this is actually where I stopped handling it. We will have to wait for the film from Matt Brown, seen above, for details on these adult versions of “here comes the train” spoon-feeds. Thank God for filmmakers, for when writers and poets dive into rhapsodies.
I shared the cigar with Cator. Trust he looked Cuter smoking it. But honestly, it really tasted wonderful. Those bottles of Johnnie Walker Blue on the wall behind Cator? Individually reserved by patrons for their next visits. Incredibly more swank than NYC bottle service.
I am now intrigued by whiskey, especially discovering more women enjoying it. Some mixed-gender things and sensual outings are best tamed and so they separated the men and women for tours of the next watering hole. Gleneagles’ extensive spa.
The Gleneagles spa is award-winning. Taking the waters, with a full-range of nutritionists, specialists and every type of beauty and wellness support really could be an entire visit in of itself!
Of the deerstalking, blogger Gillian Brown, who was on the trip, wrote,“In many ways the Fraser Balgowan Experience is the ultimate in consumer honesty. It’s not only a look at the process, it’s becoming a genuine part of it and finding out exactly what goes into that gorgeous bag. It’s a gigantic leap further than buying free range meat and it’s all done in one of the most beautiful, historic surroundings on Earth.”
Cator Sparks in a sporran from Hamilton & Inches put it bluntly to the industry via his article in Huffington Post’s Stylist… ”
“I look forward to running around town and country this winter with my new deer hide bag knowing exactly where it came from, the process it took to get it to its present state and the fact that that beautiful stag lived a serene life way up in the foggy, chilly, windy and romantic Scottish Highlands. That’s certainly more than I can guarantee for my Hermès leather belt. The game changer has arrived.”
Our “Arrival” in Glens of the Monarchs
Our car trip into the Highlands was a continuous unfolding of Beauty. Passing castles, 45,000 acres of land belonging to one family, noble light-splashed mountains and wild flowers which had me gasping. While Cator kept watch,” Castle on the left!,” I astonished even myself, moaning and gasping over cows, trees, sheep, etc. it was truly orgasmic. Guests of The Fraser Balgowan Experience travel by helicopter, I imagine that an even more stunning journey!
You really feel the value and time it takes to even find the deer in this majestic Land. Notice the horizontal tree line on the hills? That’s not clear-cutting. It’s a natural line left from the glaciers receeding.
T I M E T R A V E L.
…the boys traded Range Rover for Ewan’s 8-wheeler Argo “boy toy” and riders, Cator, David and Matt, ascended the mountain like a Phoenix rising to the sun’s peak, becoming just a mere speck as we watched it climb up to the top…for this view:
Gillian and Fiona play water nymphs.
And now, a little time-lapse to our next watering hole.
Yes, Cator said a prayer of thanks and “….” his first deer. I cannot use our common words for this experience of relationship between two creatures. To further watch two stylish, spiritual, wise and reverent friends from New York City, Cator and David, after sharing such a primal and sacred act, touched me more than words can convey.
You really begin to understand how separated we are from essential sacred acts in communion with Nature. How honoring all life, process, commraderie, friends and passages is a bond rare. Cheers, to my brave friends.
Later when the guests met with Fiona to design their Fraser Balgowan custom bags, the displays of silverware from the renown Hamilton & Inches underscored this land of beauty, bravery and time-honored craft. A sporran is worn with a kilt as a bag to hold things, however, worn like a cod-piece, one cannot help but sense the pride of a warrior who honors all of Nature with his life.
On another evening, our Slow Luxury Round Table showcase and cocktail was sponsored by Textiles Scotland, and matched journalists and luxury experts with the offerings and dedicated representatives of Johnstons of Elgin, Begg and Hawick cashmere and Eribe. Do take a Slow Luxury moment to read about Fraser Balgowan’s bags, now in Saks Fifth Avenue NY and Ahalife.com. Read more on these exquisite brands, the event and other planned Round Tables on the new Slow Luxury site, which explains further about this New Standard for luxury fashion and design goods.
Along with memories, I brought home both a Fraser Balgowan bag and a 10 pound weighted carpet bag…I will leave you to guess whether that is luggage or my body. What is that, about 600 stones or 50 pounds of British sterling? Felt like it. I was moved, I was emoting, I was eating. A lot. Here are some other Watery bits encountered from breakfast, dinner and dessert, this time on the estate of the Frasers’ nestled in a sweeping Highlands valley.
6 am. Purple Rain, Anyone? Via A Water Droplet Sky on Fire…shall we?
The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time.
Back back in NYC, I saw in a fresh light my own tamed and wild little, slow luxury world, from my art to my cat, my comfy bed and to my hearth.
“Goodbye,” the Little Prince said.
“Goodbye,” said the fox. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
“What is essential is invisible to the eye,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
“It is the time I have wasted for my rose–” said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.
“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose . . .”
“I am responsible for my rose. ” the Little Prince repeated,
so that he would be sure to remember.
written by Jade Dressler, images by Matt Brown, Gillian Brown, David Beahm and Jade Dressler
Filed under: FASHION, TRAVEL, UK | Leave a Comment
Tags: Aga, Ahalife.com, Alison Bradley, Andrew Fairlie, Argo, Asprey, Begg, Blue Bar, blue moon, Capability Brown, cator sparks, Celtic warrioress, Charlotte Kissack, Clint Brownfield, Danny Boyle, David Beahm, deerstalking, Doctor Who, Eataly, Eli's, Eribe, Ewan Fraser, Fiona Fraser, Fraser Balgowan, free range, Garrard, Gillian Brown, Gleneagles, Gobillard, Hamilton & Inches, Hawick, Heart of the Ocean, i-D magazine, jade dressler, Jade Jagger, Johnnie Walker, Johnstons of Elgin, Kate Trussler, Laurie Kahle, London Olympics, Malcolm McLaren, Mary Poppins, Matt Brown, PBS The Buddha, Pict tribe, Purple Water, Scottish Highlands, shortbread, silly walks, Slow Luxury, Spode, sporran, sticky pudding, sticky toffee pudding, street style, Terry Jones, Textiles Scotland, The Straight up, Upstairs Downstairs, Vivienne Westwood, whiskey tasting, wolves, wool
Merkabah means chariot. Any wheeled, winged thing like a car, throne, spinning geometric temple or basic-bio human body, it’s what takes us place to place. That little ringed thingy image above is a mystical merkabah fresco found in the St. John the Baptist Church in Macedonia. Anything can be a merkabah. In particular this month, ideas, scents and breathtaking projects spinning in the air like an 8-ring circus are my merkabahs. I even had this ecstatic mystical dream this month. (well maybe it was more like a music video than a mystical vision received on a hill…)
I dreampt I was on a bright green hill under a wide blue sky. A pink blossomed cherry tree in full bloom. I looked up to see my black cat flying, trailing ribbons of pink blossoms…She was making concentric circles like the trail of planes, I said these are flower ribbons in the sky for my dreams…I saw fractions noted in the trails,1/4, 7/8…I danced under her notes on where I was in the cycle of in each dream as we drew it across the skydream. The concentric circles spun and spun like a time-lapsed hula hoop.
This summer, amazing projects in partnership with clients, friends and collaborateurs, are Merkabahs moving us forward as we advance, cultivating sown seeds. We are a small agency with emerging clients or established entities seeking new vehicles. I like to think we offer the larger Merkabahs for both to align with their greatest cultural gift or message, the seed of their original inspiration and the largest circle of influence for their dreams.
I noticed my own dreams and passions circling the air of my brain exist “same as it ever was,” just evolved, bigger, better than ever with still a million versions yet to come. It is true, follow your bliss. Stay true to your values. The vehicles to ride in will come. Here are my Merkabahs this month, paired with the very mental, elemental scents created on the theme of “air” to go with them, symbolizing the power of ideas paired with emotion. This lifts us forward to plant ideas on the earth. Whomever, wherever you are.
I am (most of the time) writing based in the Gotham Metropolis, but my thoughts are carried by the wind, I am listening to Nature all the time. The fragrance of Nature is a mover, it connects us primorially to the Timeless, the Eternal. Moving experience across time zones immediately. As often in this blog, I write about the independent scents created by artful designers, its essential to my world. I am grateful to be in the circles of these fragrance-makers and was invited with other bloggers to write about scents based on the elements in a collaborative project called Primordial Scents 2012, hosted by Monica Miller. “A chariot ride to the Ethereal,” similar to the Clarimonde Project from last October and creator, Lucy Raubertas, which I covered here. All the scented bits will be in blue letters so you can keep track.
The best rides mashup the physical and the visceral. let’s go.
1 slow luxury.
Slow Luxury is a development arising from my work with Fiona Fraser, the visionary owner and designer of Fraser Balgowan, Scotland’s newest luxury brand of travel bags, sustainably produced with the hides of wild red deer and tartans sourced locally in the Scottish Highlands. We realized the company’s philosophy of sustainability, stewardship and slow, limited production represented a new concept in luxury which we wanted to encourage and create industry conversation around.
We all know we no longer want to eat foods produced from GMO’s and nourished on a diet of chemicals destroying the health of the soil and water. In addition to becoming more aware of the impact of the food and fashion industry on our environment, did you know each bottle of perfume in the department stores can contain up to 300 synthetic chemicals? While not all may be harmful, when scent is so basic to our primal functioning and everything beautiful, why not have your own scent formulated just for you comprised of natural elements? Part of the discovery is to find a perfumer in sync with your soul. Doing your research and trying small samples of their brews is essential. Most offer that if testing by mail, as the indie-perfume movement is global now, see this clip from Forbes.com. This is Slow Luxury, luxury available to all, honoring small craft and makers, personalized product, sustainable materials and the touch and feel of packages in the mail. Of all personal “style” markers, fragrance has the most potential to supplant that archaic and very un-stylish luxury concept of “one-IT-bag/shoe-brand-fits-all.” Get started here…
First Breath is a parfum extract from Naked Leaf Perfumes, located in Canada and the first reviewed for the Primordial Scents project, which is perfect as it was created to honor the innocence and power in birthing. It is a miracle to combine a strong flash of sage, fir balsam, vetiver and green pepper with softy, baby earthy familiar pillow scents like lavender, rose, vanilla, patchouli and my personal favorite, armoise or mugwort. I often put mugwort leaves under my pillow to enhance lucid dreams. I just learned the oil’s principal constituent, Thujone, is found in sage and wormwood, the psycho-active component of absinthe, which makes perfect sense. This fragrance is entrancing and potent, a “liquid prayer” as the perfumer Suzy Larsen calls it. To which I add, a symphony of exactly how creating and birthing a dream from emotion feels.
Reflecting the miracle and preciousness of factors converging to create life, Florence and The Machine’s Breath of Life from Snow White and The Huntsman movie, filmed in the Highlands of Scotland with a choir and symphony orchestra, touches that desire.
2 art, gardens. heal.
Birthing children and creativity is a garden where we all thrive. One in 88 children now has autism or special needs and our beliefs and systems are integrating to incorporate new opportunities to nurture these children in their unique ways of sensing and perceiving the world. Is the cause is our food, our stress, our vaccines or our lifestyle?
Conversations with our client, child and family psychologist, Dr. Renee Clauselle, have taught us much about special needs children and their world. We both share a love of the Earth, sensitivity, creativity and “Dr. Renee” shared the challenges of raising a special needs child. Her academic expertise met my passion for art and community gardens and one day her announcement instantly became a merkabah: “Well, there are no actual academic studies specifically linking wellness and healing for special needs kids based on a program combining gardening and art. Program funding is generated from these studies.”
The result is Art. Gardens.Heal. a contest awarding a grant for a research program to study the effects urban gardens and a year-round art program will have on measurements of health, happiness and skill behaviors of children. As a collecting puddle after a brisk rain, the winds of change are here and we are conversing with and gathering experts in the field from non-profits such as The Flawless Foundation‘s Janine Francolini to the wellness program directors of New York schools. Excited, learning and open to new connections in this realm.
3 hotel earth.
simplicity. play. genius.
Part of slow luxury is realizing that the art of living well, luxuriously, does not source from things, it sources from an experience. Our complex desires are increasingly satisfied and soothed by the simple luxuries and rewards of love, caring, community, nature and time expansions through fun, collaborative experiences aka “PREDICAMENTS” creatively managed.
We are thrilled to be partnered with Jonathan Porcelli, master producer and former project manager for land-installation artist Spencer Tunick, on a series of art hotels called Hotel Earth. Jonathan spends many ecstatic days on his sailboat with limited resources producing maximum joy and realized that “simple constraints bed down with creativity.” Looking to inspire change in the world through creativity, we agreed and synced with him and came on to the project to help envision and birth its scope, messaging and realization.
Site and brand specific, HOTEL EARTH are immersive, self-sustaining, creative, community experiments centered on Art Hotels, where guests meet simple predicaments and games to explore to hot button issues, create new experiences and values of making more…and better…with less. During their stay, guests will be presented with games, or “predicaments” that reflect modern day issues of survival, luxury and happiness which they must engage and manage. (situational, financial, environmental, technological, societal). These constraints can range from remoteness of location, finite amounts of water or electricity, limited or no access to communications. Contact us or the brilliant and connected Renata Lopes-Merriam, whose Kingdom B agency is playing matchmaker for Hotel Earth, connecting to international artists, brands and local businesses, thought leaders, civic organizations, art institutions and the public to cross-pollinate for genius solutions. Restoring the sweetness of Life on Earth.
“Honey.” I felt decidedly unsweet and exhausted one recent morning, so I headed back to bed but first pinched the tiny vial of perfume called “Honey” to take with me. Surprise. Not at all what I expected. Not sugary, not so overly-sweet. Honey is created by Purrfumes maestro Laurie Stern, whose purple site describes this flowery merkabah of French orange blossom and Moroccan and Bulgarian roses as sitting “on a throne of deep vetiver, Madagascar vanilla, honey, beeswax from the Purrfumery’s bees and their propolis. It is crowned with rare antique clove, pomegranate and pink grapefruit. This royal blend is set in a rich base of sandalwood and vanilla infused alcohol.”
For me, the scent buzzed cool and unforgettable like Hitchcock’s Vertigo and hot like Kazan’s Streetcar Named Desire. More like “Honey” when your new lover first calls you that and means it. “Honey” like when the two elixir drops in a yin yang circle change up the game. “Honey,” not a sticky, soft-n-slow drawl, rather that sexy buzz, aggressive like the beautiful, highly functioning, fly-by’s of both bees to a hive, airline stewardesses bustling up an aisle or a tornado brewing.
“Honey” chills like a legendary movie star’s come hither. Melty film noir suspense and desire. That which plants dreams into Earth.
4 legend photography. sponsor of the united nation’s fashion 4 development.
What if art, women, fashion and style could save the world? Would anyone complain about that?
Evie Evangelou is the visionary who took supermodel Bibi Russell’s project with the United Nations, Fashion 4 Development, and ran with it. We are thrilled to be part of this vehicle for change. Evie is Global Chair along with Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani, the group’s Goodwill Ambassador and we were introduced to the movement by Dr. Shirley Madhere, holistic plastic surgeon of The New Aesthete, Vice Chair of Fashion 4 Development and the Director of F4D’s Beauty 4 Empowerment Initiative. Many other fashion industry luminaries are involved including, as pictured here with Franca and Evie, Fern Mallis, a NY fashion icon, described by The New York Times as NY Fashion Week’s former “mother hen and major domo of the tents” and Karen Giberson, President of The Accessories Council.
Together, they have begun the conversation and spurred action along with the UN First Ladies. We are honored that our personal portrait experience, called Legend, will envision images with the first photo shoot of Evie to illustrate the collateral for the Fashion 4 Development Luncheon to be held September 2012. As shot by fashion photographer, Joey Falsetta and art-directed by Kristen Paladino and myself, Evie will be in traditional Senegalese costume, in honor of the first businesses of F4D in Africa.
Fashion can be a Storm. One whiff of Spirit of AIR, from Neil Morris Fragrances, and my head is filled again with my Mother’s perfume just as she swooshed out the door, fully costumed with tall hair, for some fab 1970′s era disco, leaving us lingering on its last notes as the boring babysitter clicked on the TV. Along with a field of flowers like those on Franca’s coat, this scent carries Ozone Notes, that crisp ethereal scent of the air after a storm. I discovered this “Ozone Note” scent was first used for Chanel No. 5 by its inventor, Ernst Beaux. A former soldier with the Russian army stationed in the Artic Circle whose senses were piqued by the frozen mix of water and air, he was already a master perfumer when he met Coco Chanel. With the help of the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia, who was the lover of the couturier, they were introduced in Cannes in the Summer of 1920. Like a descent from an iceberg tip, Spirit of AIR adds the heat from the flowers of Provence and imagination, Lily of the Valley, Sunflower, Lemon Verbena, Linden Blossom, White Amber, Plum Blossom and Blue Musk. By inhaling and basking in fields of multiple flowers again and again through perfumes, I think we relive the joy that comes after our own emotional storms release pain and birth flowers.
In Ayurveda, it is said that after a rain, the Prana or life force is activated and that is why the air feels so fresh. Ah, hope eternal…keep feeding us!
5 randy slavin scott. opening of filmmaker’s photography.
We are excited to promote the opening on July 25, 2012 of photographer Randy Scott Slavin’s “Alternate Perspectives,” an exhibit of his large-scale 360-degree circular landscapes in Soho at Kristen Farrell Jewelry Gallery, with music by Hesta Prynn. Randy Scott Slavin is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has garnered millions of YouTube hits and his clients include MTV, American Express, Bank of America, VEVO, Universal Records, Atlantic Records and Island/Def Jam Records. He is also the recipient of the prestigious South by Southwest Special Jury Award.
Kristen Farrell, celebrity jewelry designer and goldsmith and personal jeweler to Giselle Bundchen, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, Bethenney Frankel and Janet Jackson collects Slavin’s work. The two artists share a surrealist, alchemical, otherworldly and futuristic visual language, and the exhibit will match one of her designs to each of Slavin’s pieces.
Hesta Prynn, the NYC based DJ and dance-artist whom The New York Post has called “M.I.A. and Miike Snow’s lovechild” will curate music for the opening and after party at The Double Seven. Prynn plays Bonnaroo and Coachella, DJ’s for high-end fashion and corporate clientele and is set to release new material later this summer featuring production by Mad Decent’s Derek “DJA” Allen.
Forbes, Dezeen, Curbed, Artlog and Adrian Grenitz’s SHFT.com, an exciting new platform for film and video art to change the world, are just some of the media we’ve introduced to Slavin’s work, garnering their praise for “Alternate Perspectives.”
Opening, Wednesday July 25th from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Kristen Farrell, 339 West Broadway, New York, New York. Exhibition runs July 26 until August 12, 2012.
Nicely mystical and geometrical, ONE, a perfume by a very thoughtful, New-Age alchemist lady named Lyn Elizabeth Ayre of Coeur d’Esprit Natural Perfumes up in Canada, is quite a match for “Alternate Perspectives.” Just as Randy composes his images of thousands of single images, Lyn’s ingredient list is like the Sermon on The Mount shopping list for Noah’s Ark: “Hyraceum and Atlas Cedarwood from Africa; Egyptian Frankincense and Mango leaf; Vetitver and Cinnamon leaf from Sri Lanka; Oceanic Ambergris, and Ocean tincture of seaweed, sea grass, shells, and sand; Hay absolute and Laurel leaf from Spain; American Peru balsam; South American Tolu balsam; Canadian Blue Spruce, Orange Peel, and Honey beeswax tincture; Jasmine sambac absolute, Frangipani absolute, Blue, Pink, White Lotus absolute, and Spearmint, all six from India; Italian Neroli and Petitgrain Orange; Chinese Ginger Root and Michaelia leaf; Peach leaf and Violet leaf from France; Turkish Galbanum; Japanese Peppermint; and Bulgarian Pine; in Perfumers’ Alcohol” …thank you very much.
My introduction to the word merkabah originated from Lyn’s fanciful writings. She had a vision of this symbol and created a perfume linking chakras and elements, calling it a merkabah. Known in Hinduism as a yantra, all of it a seeing in perspective. No matter if you are driving your car on a road or floating in heaven like the ancients or perhaps navigating industrial society or envisioning a new one cycling from the seat of a bike. All roads lead to…
6 urban biking
As a happy, country living being who easily rode 17 miles each way to work, along a powerful river, several times a week for years, it’s amazing that I had not been on a bike here for the recent ten years I have lived in New York City! I was determined to change that and this past month joined the perfect guide to end that insanity, Mark Brown, of Citinature, a man who lived in Amsterdam and other bike-friendly cities with a passion for urban green. It turned out I was the only other rider which was great as we shared like interests.
We began and ended by going over the Queensboro bridge to Roosevelt Island to see the Octagon community gardens and other green outposts. I admit by the finale, an upward climb up the bridge back to Manhattan, I was in a delirious state of biker’s mysticism from all the action, so much that the particularly muscular pedestrian symbols on the bridge and a photo on a plastic almond package littered on the bridge began to look like porn images. When we ended our ride, my guide got a call to audition to model lederhosen for Austrian travel board and he waved goodbye as he pedaled away. I was left to chill my testosterone by making photo art to imply I had just scaled Mt. Everest.
Once home, I reviewed my photos of gardens, excited by the new vistas of my favorite city. As NYC’s Bike share program, called Citibikes, is planned to launch soon, so good to know how to get around on a bicycle merkabah. Of course, in true NYC fashion, the bikes will come from Linus, known for hip vintage style designs.
Once over the bridge into Queens, one is welcomed by a new, beautifully planted bike path ending in a round greenspace.
On Roosevelt Island, The Octagon, is a national landmark and the cornerstone of a LEED Silver green building. A high-end apartment community, it houses the largest array of solar panels on any building in New York City and a longstanding community garden where these images were taken. I loved meeting the proud gardeners who have worked their plots for many years.
Intriguing clematis vine balls and this Echinacea, a bit twisted, were some of the merkabahs of ecstasy. Emblematic and encouraging to see this healing plant, mallows, wild poppies and many others growing wild on Roosevelt Island, turn one’s head slightly, and also take in the skyscrapers of Gotham just across the river.
In honor of the transforming power of green upon New York City, meet Dijin, a heady intellectual scent which meets its animal nature head-on like a Changeling. In Muslim legend, a Djin is a spirit capable of assuming a human or animal form and exercising supernatural influence over them, thus a perfect name for this magical scent from Michael Storer. Djin’s accolades stress the sexiness from the leather and rose combo and it’s been called “a trip up the chakras.”
It actually feels less airy to me and more of the kind of earthy mental air you get from the scent of a man, the woods, the richness of a good olde library or ancient suitcase. I can see it like an idea rising from the words and base of the spine of a beloved book or man. It begins with a substance called Aldrone (reportedly “elephant’s sweat,” here, a synthetic with “the same sort of acrid smell as heated testosterone”) plus “leathery castoreum, civet, musk, tonka bean and teakwood, snaking up to a middle note of sweeter woods tempering the bitterness of grapefruit oil, black current absolute, clary sage, and topped with just a hint of vanilla and iris.” It settles into an aura of ozonic and marine notes, rose and spices including “mind-opening” cardamom seed and floral aldehydes. Quotes here are from the blog,The Posh Peasant and also from a fellow Primordial project writer, one very smart man, Dr. Marlen Harrison, at The Perfume Critic. My happy landing here also inspired the monk after a monsoon image.
Like a good man or story, Djin lasts a long time. It lifts the Earthy skyward like the sun does, drawing mists up from the earth after the downpour, as the storm last week in NYC was captured in this image by Dhani Jones from a plane. Music up!
photo by Cyrus Dowlatshahi
8 air kiss the sky. urban farms. green provocateur.
The image above is from the groundbreaking (and expanding to a second site) urban farm in New York called Brooklyn Grange, one new literal example of economic growth. The New York Times video here gives more specs and for creative new financiers or homesteaders, Spin Farming measures the new way to think about farming, in feet and not acres!
Two merkabahs we are loving right now include a Green Provocateur project with Barcelona architects, Tiago Borges and Francisco Spratley, for surprises on the ground and looking up, we enjoyed a visit recently to the community garden at Edelman PR headquarters, a project of Katarina Wong, Director of Community & Curatorial Engagement. The up-close encounters with fruit trees and vistas of wide open sky were nothing less than joyful. Perhaps what we have lost on the ground will inspire us higher, up to our roofs, and then again to the ground. Doubled Earth?
Moon Valley. Cycles Settle in Vastness. I always pay attention to the layered surrounding senses of the moment when first meeting a new scent. I opened the vial of Moon Valley by Esscentual Alchemy, while reading Lucy Raubertas of indieperfumer‘s words on the scent: “…(it) gives me an impression of a dark space where the dust has settled and the stillness intensifies the sense of standing in a wide open place.” I read the words and became aware of the words to the background haunting melody of “Kiss the Sky” by Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra: “I hold my head up just enough to see the sky. And when we go we won’t go slow, we’ll put up such a fight. When they fade into the dust and into ash, All children know this pain will surely pass, Strong and wise and you are love. When the tide it come they will float above and you will be one day exactly what you are. Just keep your head up high, kiss your fist and touch the sky.”
Moon Valley reminds me of that “mental place women go every month.” If air symbolizes the mental and the moon rules the tides of this planet and our bodies of emotion, women are absolutely the prow of the ship navigating the tricky dark waters of our emotions. Mastering them, surfing them in all kinds of weather to “stand still in a wide open place” is like stillness in the dusty valleys of the moon, that emptiness we all are so afraid of. At its bottom rushes up a tide of Love which heals.
The world does indeed move on a woman’s hips.
9 it’s tv, a film, a merkabah, it’s a girl, a scent of a woman
As a girl-child, I cried because my parents insisted on me having a TV in my bedroom when the box meant less shelf space for books and imagination. Flash-forward to today, where like a junkie, I take every chance to glue my eyes to my Ipad TV. I actually blame Martha Stewart. I read that my Mogul-Mentoress watches movies and TV on her Ipad in bed, a glow-in-the-dark habit I quickly adopted. The slippery slope to addiction was propelled each time by Marlo Thomas and Mary Tyler Moore’s love children and their new “career women” stories…gals like the sashaying Tina Fey at NBC’s 30 Rock, Kerry Washington kissing the President in Scandal or Lena Dunham chatting up her gyno in Girls. The flow is officially on, tales of personal and messy emotional life are validated. We exist.
The TV myths of heroic journeys, where women play nice and pretty roles on the sidelines, unless it’s a beauty contest and beyond the 6-7% of top grossing films that are made by women,”…affects the brains we get to hear from,” says Katie Orenstein, op-ed contributor on women, politics, popular culture, mythology and human rights. That which is elemental and holds potential of moving culture into adulthood is no longer taboo or rebelled against, much the way symbolically the red cape of Catherine Hardwicke‘s Red Riding Hood speaks directly of the mysteries of blood, violence, birth and death. Changing the stories we hear changes our culture and society. That dose of reality women bring to the chin-up warhorse, perfection-at-any-cost male persona…it’s why we root for new heroines like Peggy in Mad Men, earnest, smart and dumb at emotions and romance all at the same time. We ALL now get to explore primordial energy. It’s ok, we ALL can be a little more human now!
“I don’t know what happened in your life that caused you to develop a sense of humor as a coping mechanism. Maybe it was some sort of brace or corrective boot you wore during childhood, but in any case I’m glad you’re on my team.” Jack Donaghy says to Liz Lemon in 30 Rock, as if the nerd, the last girl to be picked in gym, the meek suddenly begins to score the big wins.
Even the seeming macho world of Don Draper in Mad Men sometimes feels like a vertigo free-fall into the reality where men really feel more than women yet keep it under wraps, alcohol and appearances. Remember the central premise rests on rejecting the “grandstand of machismo” as Don is a deserter in the army and willing to stake his own identity on that rejection. Clearly, a society spinning on the negative aspects of male power, heroism, violence and aggression are up for other perspectives. While wins like the opening weekend of Hardwicke’s Twilight, the biggest opening ever for a female movie director, and warriors on the real news front such as Rachel Maddow and Melissa Harris-Perry have opened doors, the percentage of women’s voices is still a sliver of the male discourse. We have much to say.
My conversations and experiences this month with some of the Makers talking “new voices”and “new vehicles” included Monica Halpert, CMO in residence at Women at NBCU, NBC Universal’s female-targeted ad network; independent film’s Godfather, Ben Barenholz and Alan Hofmanis on their latest documentary on the nascent Ugandan filmmaking industry entitled Wakaliwood; to meeting former TV-show writer, Susan Fales-Hill with her new book, Imperfect Bliss, a smart, funny and refreshing parody of the reality shows enforcing tired stereotypes of women.
…and just to be clear, all my life, I have always been just as thrilled about TV and film boy-heros from Jason and his Argonauts to James Bond to Johnny Depp in Dead Man to Jon Stewart, to name a few. (the J’s. )
Into this airy new environment of safe drama and emoting, I am happy to announce we joined a merkabah with my talented friend and film producer, Kim Jackson of Streetwise Pictures Entertainment, who is building the commercial arm of her company via a co-op of four smart women. Story telling as vehicles for product, services and causes shall receive that girlish, transmedia, random together, made to stick and innovative touch that grabs at the air and finds traction. Along with two other Creatives, Natalie Rodic Marsan of BrokenOpenMedia, entrepreneur, community builder, social media strategist, sometimes filmmaker and former performer of the arts and the ardent producer Hilary Stabb of her aptly named company, Ardent Creative, Streetwise will feature talented directors such as Andreas von Scheele and Sam Bennett.
…and that my friends, is a wrap and a rap and a half. Until next month’s long form diatribe, I leave you dear reader now, marching forward to the beat of a new drum in the chambers of my heart and new merkabahs, trailing behind in the air, leaving it, I hope a bit more perfumed, a bit more beautiful.
…and as usual, a song rises in the background to take us out, my favorite Morcheeba, ready to open the next missive from the Primordial Scents project, a batch of perfumes on WATER.
“…lost my soul there, down by the sea, livin’ free…“
all photos by Jade Dressler, unless credited or claimed. Please do.
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