NYC: Winter Melting: 6 New Secret Pleasures


I did my third-grade grade book report on the I Ching. There I was tossing yarrow sticks for the children to access the esoteric but eminently practical ancient oracle from China, based on the same binary code pattern that computers run on. The I Ching is the Matrix of alignment with the seasons, the stars and human emotions. My third grade teacher was astonished by the answer to her question about the classroom windowsill garden’s health. (Thems were simpler days, God only knows where I found yarrow sticks)

In the recent midst of drama beyond the scope of a healthy kitchen garden, I pulled number 11, which translates to Peace. And in true I Ching style, of course, this hexagram relates to the beginning of March and the coming of Spring. The small departs and the Large arises. Synthesising personal experience and emotions for me has always been in tune with the rythyms of nature as a mirror and a conversation. I drop my small experience at the feet of not necessarily what is hot on Twitter but what all of the smarts of chlorophyll, micro and macro quasar-kinda organisms have on their agenda at the moment.

The best part is that it usually is in sync with the world stage.

Currently, running beside the I Ching is movements in Astrology’s 12th house pushing against ideas and emotions of dreams/imagination/past karmic debt and emotional baggage or in other words: our own heroic task of freeing ourselves from unconscious inherited crippling fears and redeeming the family dramas stored up in the cold of winter into new creativity and giving. The small departs, for the new life of Spring. Sinking the small into the earth for transformation and nurturing what may be new growth, new opportunity.

Here are six new Winter into Spring stirrings and secret pleasures arising from my recent travels and adventures.


The Spring returns and the flow rushes over the crevices, filling them, and moving on, moving all of life forward. Holding a reminder of the past to strengthen for the Future. The giving up in order to give more, love more. These environmental works are by Andy Goldsworthy and the ring is by Linhardt Design Studio, in the East Village, where custom designs from Lisa Linhardt pop up in the pages of mags like Numero and Harpers Bazaar and on the ring fingers of the most inventive brides.

I Ching hexagram image of T’ai or Peace. The Big Male Sun Gold Daytime Light Solid Yang lines or lifespring pushes upwards through the Yin, The Small Female Silver Moon Night time Receptive or Open lines. My secret site for absorbing the I Ching is here.

Chinese Joss paper, is “spirit money” burned for the veneration of ancestors to insure good things in the afterlife. I was connected to Joss paper in a new way this year as the Winter atmosphere seemed to highlight the warmth of gold and the Yang sun energy through interiors, food and wine and the silver or Yin, moon energy in the blue light of snowy New York streets at night.

Another ring thing to celebrate spring and the balance of nature is chameleon jewelry designer and Opera singer Valerie MacCarthy‘s jewels. Binary living in Paris and New York breeds a fresh idea in her elements collections just bought by Colette. Her videos are by our friend Andreas von Scheele and we are excited to represent this collection in the US. Valerie’s water pieces evoke the circular joy of water bubbling up, the solid in the movement.



Bluebird feather lamps teasing in freezing drafts from the main door in the lobby of the new Mondrian Soho on the preview evening, were the only whisper of Spring when the hotel is set to officially open. Soon all this dashing through frigid to grab drinks, snacks, warmth, nuts and news is sure to pass. The last of the winter snacking to mitigate the cold is meeeellllting!

10 am. Early March is The Armory Show of contemporary art in New York. A pre-Armory show breakfast at The Gansevoort with Cricket Taplin, curator of The Cricket Taplin Collection at The Sagamore Hotel in Miami Beach, artists Samara Ash and Paul Clemence was a love fest conversation on sweat lodges, new artists, the delicate and hearty perfect frittatas and the best hotel amenity gifts everyone has seen around the world. (My vote actually goes for Cricket’s passionate and visionary collection shared with her guests as one of the most priceless guest gifts I’ve seen in a hotel.)

Pre-Frittatas, there is Room 23.
Room 23 is the huge hardbound book in every room of the Gansevoort produced by Diana Jenkins with art director, photographer, Deborah Anderson intimately depicting 100 celebrities in a Beverly Hills penthouse suite. Cindy Crawford on the cover is very Valley of The Dolls, I like the reference to a 1960’s gloss. Joining in the fun is Ashanti, George Clooney, Cindy Crawford, Sir Elton John, Dennis Hopper, Larry King, Heidi Klum, Kid Rock,Lindsay Lohan, Ludacris, Moby, Hayden Panettiere, Brett Ratner, Christian Slater, Sharon Stone and Jerry Weintraub. Sales of the book raise awareness and funds for the Sanela Diana Jenkins International Human Rights Project.
1 pm. Back on the street for eats, Eataly in the Flatiron district is a feast of the senses and choice is bewildering. Indeed, the bland and disappearing signage is the worst, but ask anyone for the lay of the land and once you get it…drifting about in the sensuality of Slow Food is the order of the day. Biz lunches at a counter are Simple Snacking Joy.
A plate of greens, warm bread wrapped in butcher paper and Prosecco on pastry white marble surrounded by chic shoppers and others who appreciate the finer grazings and gatherings of Life.
7 pm. Downtown, at the new Mondrian Soho, 9 Crosby Street, the Preview night does not yet look quite like the promise and the picture, except for the blueness of it all. Yawn. Perhaps the trees will change the atmosphere. However, Thakoon, the bartender the evening we were there put more energy into his cocktail making than I have seen in a very long time so we’ll be back. The dining area carries the seed of some promising energy and Solstice via the centerpiece mountain of glass and light.
1 am. Winter Tonic. One Snack Dragon Mexican before bedtime. Miraculous dining and decor. Lowest prices for some of the tastiest food I’ve ever had in Manhattan. 199 East 3rd Street in the East Village and open until 4 am.

Winter can be about hopping lush pleasure islands whether that is in a jet, cab or quick city steps.  Thankfully the small delights that soothe the body and provide respite through scent are just rewards and here are a few of my secrets this Winter. My dear friend Lilavati and her Aromabliss line of essential oil based unctions, potions and pomades are for clearing your nose or even jazzing up your private parts. Start here with the Jade Dream oil she made for me and treasure hunt for the secret Shakti Ojas oil.

Bloomsberry’s Pick Up Bar, the World’s Greatest Pick-up Bar.  Since venturing out is such an ordeal, savoring a chocolate bar becomes both a meditation exercise and a romp in the hay. You can stock up via the Babalu Miami web site where they swear this is “Milk chocolate that promises, never to lie to you, to be there in the morning, to never ask you your age and to really truly listen to everything you have to say.”

I call Duane Reade, the famous NYC drug store, “DR” for The Dr, Doc or Doctor, because you never know what cheap thrills you can discover for what ails you. I found organic, raw shea butter lotion from Shea Moisture that thrills me for its simplicity and pureness. The story behind the goods is just as solid. The purveyors escaped from war-torn Liberia to sell shea butter products based on their family formula developed in Africa for generations. Sold only in Harlem since the 90’s, I was thrilled to find a bottle for the easy sum of $10. Its smells amazing and I’ve even healed minor Winter bumps and bruises with it plus some Doctor kisses.

With a busy schedule, I just made it to The Volta Show this season. Stopped by to see my friend, the painter Florian Heinke, who sold out every piece, including one that was based on a photograph of us. I was only recognizable by my neon yellow neoprene and black suede Prada pumps as he had made my face into a skull. Please note you’ll have to go to his site to see more;-)
Here are some of my favorite works from the show. I am giving music links for these rather than more words.

Bradley Castellanos’ work reminds me of the exquisite song that will always be about this Winter for me, Bon Iver, Woods.
Jorge Perianes‘ little bugs doing their thing reminded me of my morning song, La Roux’s Bulletproof.
Winnie Truong’s hairy people made me think of Buraka Son Systema’s Yah! featuring Petty. These kids are so cute, I had to include it here. Try not to dance. (my favorite comment: what’s with the white guy? is he the audio engineer?)
Peter Opheim‘s paintings of clay creations would delight me in my home with an obscure deep house track that has traipsed through the last 10 years of my life and still sounds Groovy. Try this: Sunday Session by Weekender, from a Toko Records compilation called Soul in Your Spacesuit.

More Armory fare. We were invited to The Avenue Art & Antiques at The Armory by Gary of Gary Rubinstein Antiques, whose Miami gallery features mid-century Italian design exalted by The New York Times. They gushed that Gary’s “collection of lighting from the likes of Stilnovo and FontanaArte is superb.” Agreed, and for me,  the collection of furniture that made me gasp included gems from Gio Ponte to Vladimir Kagan accented with exacting art that Gary has a keen eye for. The “discovered” artist that Gary and the likes of Cameron Diaz, who recently bought four, are thrilled about is Doreen Noar. Hanging perfectly with de Kooning, Doreen Noar’s oil paintings are inspired by landscapes, including those from her sojourns at her chateau in France. The clear colors and timeless expression were a delight.
I am with Cameron and would commission 12 Noars to hang side by side on a long wall like Corbusier windows to observe nature with a Rothko intensity.
Noar and de Kooning.
Gary paired rock crystal orbs and sculpture with warm marble and an abstract that put me instantly in a Roma living room circa 1964.
Elsewhere in the show, Newel, one of the largest shops in NYC, showed these lamps from the Philadelphia Convention Center. Since that is around my birthplace, I was grooving to the rising of the gold crystals. 



Pardon the free associations here. A little wrap up on the return of the Sun and the light. Sundance.
Years ago, I was invited out to New Mexico to witness the actual Native American ritual Sundance from which the famous festival got its name. In classic Carlos Castaneda style, I got lost at every turn, increasingly frustrated. I made it to a Pueblo sweat lodge that same trip so I eventually ritualized. It was months later when a butterfly flitted around me back on the East Coast when I heard the words, that for women, sacrificing to the sun is best done as a light dance versus the heavy heart-tethering done in the male tradition of sun dance.
Several weeks ago, I was invited by my friend Kim Jackson of Streetwise Pictures to lunch with Katie Metcalfe, a director of programming at Sundance and Maya Baratz, the writer of the Wall Street Journal article on Crowdfunding in which Kim gave a quote. Crowdfunding through Kickstarter or Indiegogo is a way for anyone to participate in the making of art. For me, it is a dream to make art in a social way and so we launched our urban intervention, Green Provocateur on Indiegogo. Seeded with my first green community event filmed by The Sundance Channel and hosted by Simran Sethi, entitled “People Of Color Don’t Care About The Environment,” Green Provocateur takes the conversation between humans and green to the next level. Green Provocateur will feature the photography of Paul Clemence and appear in April for the Salone del Mobile satellite Green Island fair, at the invite of AMAZElab, a cultural organization based in Milan. Go to here to the Green Provocateur video and project page at Indiegogo. The Green Provocateur blog is here. Green is Rising!

Just as in August heat we have the oddest news stories arise, it seems that just when Winter is about to break it happens again. Between the brilliant madness of bi-winning Charlie Sheen and the surprise of designer John Galliano going off on strangers and Japan’s 8.9 earthquake, this is the time for the balance of just silliness.
Such as hanging with friends trying on slankets.
For LOL’s, Portlandia is the new IFC show from Fred Armisen of Saturday Night Live and Carrie Brownstein. Youtube, Hulu or go to their site, Thunderant. Be prepared to spend hours. My favorites are Put a Bird On It, Cacao and the Feminist Bookstore, especially the one where Steve Buscemi gets locked inside. Get in your slanket and go. This is the warm poly-couture to sport and slug about in while tears of laughter roll over Portlandia antics and tears of sadness roll over old Galliano runway shows and the earth cracking and destroying life.

Above, a Florian Heinke and below a random video art piece discovered in a window unto the street, where pulsing color erodes black and white stripes.

A skype with my bi-local NYC/London friend, Shelley Lewis revealed one of her random-share-a-cab-and-become-instant-friends moments was when she met Buddhist Dharma teacher and author, Catherine Ingram, who wrote “The Crack in Everything” and “Passionate Prescence.” Catherine teaches acceptance of exactly that which breaks our hearts and puts a crack in our precious myths supporting outmoded concepts as the basis for a more compassionate melted and friendly heart.


“In the depths of Winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer.” Albert Camus 

“After finishing my tour, I was edging out on being very burned out, jaded, bored and cynical. The quote by Camus is about…finding that burning sun inside me again. Right on the edge of being completely awful and negative, I cracked. And I found my love for my music, I found my joie de vivre. I found my core personality which is incredibly positive and happy-go-lucky.” K.D. Lang

Life rolls on. We go, happy and lucky into Spring. Do you like my “I took it with my cell phone” photo so it looks like a cool Alien ship landing in the snowy Winter dawn? Soul in Your Spacesuit indeed.

Motto: Amuse Thyself.

of course, The Orb’s A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Center of The Ultraworld just came on the shuffle…so enjoy!

One Response to “NYC: Winter Melting: 6 New Secret Pleasures”

  1. 1 Bluebird Houses Nurturing Generations

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