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.


“You think.

You wink.

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.

YOU THINK?

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.

YOU WINK.

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.

(thanks Kids.)

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.

Slow Luxury.

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!

Speaking of getting royally drenched…the legendary UK brand Asprey’s Purple Water, graces the baths at Gleneagles. My first memory of Asprey was Jade Jagger’s mash-up with the brand and Garrard. Asprey was founded in 1781 as a silk printing business turned into a luxury emporium, the spot to stock up on crownscoronets and sceptres for royals from around the world. The Asprey Cut of diamonds is such that it can be done only by hand, unlike other stones cut by machine. I was reminded of the Heart of the Ocean, the blue diamond on the Titanic, which Asprey made for the movie. My water jewel was my own porthole window in my bath, just one beauty in my perfect slow luxury room. Everything was dark, beige and white and very high and very plump. Terrace wide open, fresh air.
Asprey’s Purple water is a citrus fragrance of lemon, mandarin and jacaranda fruits, which, please note, I ecstatically tasted right from the tree in Brazil, the same time last summer!  Spicy bits from basil and ginger along with vetiver root, pepper, and musk base notes bring on the earthy woods. Which reminds me of my favorite spot at Gleneagles…
…what I came to call “M’lady’s Water Closet,” a secluded, grander-than-my-whole-NYC-apartment (kidding) elegant suite with ante rooms, one each for mirrors, a dressing table, water closets and open glass doors looking out to lush pinky-purple hydrangeas, a plaza, a fountain and the changing state of water and mist.
Here is a bit more mood-altering, behind-the-scenes of the trip into the hills for our communion with Nature.

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.

Destination: Bothy. Bothies are man-made rest places in the hills for picnic lunches. Relative size in landscape: ant-hill.

Just after our “beyond” 7-course lunch packed by Gleneagles…

…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:

while we girls and “The Travel Manatee” Clint, hiked below in the foothills to get intimate with flowers, brooks and Peace.

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.

Watery bits on the Estate

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 hearth of the estate is truly the heart of the home.
That motorbike rug laid like a prayer in front of the “Aga” stove (more about that in a minute) is not just kitsch decor, oh no. When not deerstalking, Ewan suits up in full white, blue and black leather regalia and helmut and speeds on his James Bond-ish futuristic bike throughout the hills. To give you an idea of the scope of the land, I actually sat in the yard and could watch as the bike zig-zagged back and forth over roads and hills in the wide valley for miles around. Back inside, I fell more than a little in love with this classic, cast iron, workhorse Aga stove“beloved of housewives throughout Britain” a headline in the Telegraph proclaims.

Curiously invented in Sweden in 1922, by a Nobel-prize winning scientist, who became homebound due to a blinding experiment, it was this that actually opened his eyes to his wife drudging about with housework and cooking. Agas last more than 50 years, retain heat, save energy and they can heat the entire home. With differing areas suitable for warming, heating, boiling, etc. it made me realize what a pampered, useless one trick pony pet our typical stoves are.
And just so you FEEL how un-kitsch the Fraser’s kitchen was, see this hearty bread on their antique plates on their marble counter. Bread from town, dishes and custom counter work by Ewan and Highland pals.
The Highland Treasure and his prize-winning sheep. In addition to folks ringing his mobile and flying in from around the world to deerstalk with Ewan, he has a wall of awards for his sheep breeding. I actually was more awed by the range of calls and sounds he used to guide his two super smart dogs. Talk about “You Better Work!” The dedication of the dogs, Ewan’s efficiency, strength and passion with his animals is nothing short of amazing.
And yes, he does look good in a kilt. (Ewan and Fiona on their wedding day!)
Bags and bags of wool filled one of their barns. I am an Aries, so I get particularly wild about wool. 
Grand Discovery? Sticky Toffee Pudding. Hands down, face filled, the Best Dessert on the Planet. This was not in the 5 star resto, this was me “blindly” choosing it from the town grocery store shelf. I now think of it as an alien plot, as I am hooked.
Shortbread. The town grocer, with family in the US, was actually more like a Jewish deli kibitzer, challenging us to name all the Rat Packers by name. We didn’t fare so well at that game, but he did proffer this brand of shortbread, Chrystal’s shortbread cubes, which was not funny at all. I am also now hooked on these.
And then there is George, the Frasers’ Highland cow. Meant to be Christmas dinner, his curiousity about humans, sheep and farm goings-on, gave him a name, gave him fame and perhaps best for him, gave him the word “Tame.” (Not for eating, then.)
Oh Scotland. You are wild and tame and I love you. The time to depart The Motherland had come. This Time-traveling teen was called back to rocky, granite Gotham and all the Wildlife scurrying about there.
Unseen and Everywhere the pollen travels, like the tamed rose of time-traveling aviator, Little Prince, seeded itself on a planet. Ideas can seed in us, even when we’ve become rock-hardened by the city and life. Preserving nature is going to further ask for hard positions and the re-organizing of our hard-wired emotional paradigms. I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, how this image of a Celtic warrioress of the Pict tribe, has been symbolic for me. Integration and protection of all that which is ephemeral in flowers and beauty is the Quest. We need the soft, fluid, psychic, dreamy and flowery to appreciate and balance with logic.
From Time Traveler, The Little Prince…
“My life is very monotonous,” the fox said. “I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . .”

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.

…to my meals on my Spode plates which are now more wonderful, because I now see Scotland and England in them…
…to the word on the sidewalks with new glowing media praise for Fraser Balgowan, via new articles in Wall Street Journal, about.com and Forbes.
…to linear time again and new IPad occupations, such as PBS’ The Buddha, on the journeys of Siddhartha, with it’s beautifully animated illustrations telling the story of a man choosing to move from the lap of luxury to stillness under a tree for enlightenment and Buddha-consciousness. To the parable of wild lotuses rising through mud to sit serene on top of our watery emotional waves…
TAMED.
Back to my favorite NYC spots for “nature calls and water-closet refreshers” like Central Park or marveling at flowers in swanky marble lobbies, flowers on upolstery and hello to little green islands of wishing in water bowls in plush bathrooms, such as the one in the Crosby Street Hotel across from the office.
Goodbye to Scotland, goodbye to the UK for now and perhaps goodbye as well to our un-balanced, carelessly, emoting animal-nature? Or is that un-balanced, carelessly, emoting human-nature? Let’s just say it’s Hail to our planet’s move from human-centric childish and teen things …like angry, conquering boy stuff and angst-filled, teen-aged Mother-daughter silly dramas…to a wiser balance. From the rolling hills, from watching Volver (again) on the plane, to the Dalai Lama’s wise take on humor and desire, to my new urban Ipad amusement of 1960’s Italian sex comedies. Life. Drama. Upstairs. Downstairs. It’s all so silly.

“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

 


merkabah

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.

The talk begins with the mission statement: “Slow Luxury is a new standard for a luxury design goods, where the highest design and quality meet excellent social, economic and environmental standards.” Just as the building industry has LEEDS and the organic food industry has standards and labeling, Slow Luxury will give the luxury fashion and design industry new benchmarks to achieve for value assessments based upon a Maker’s positioning and goals towards The Slow Luxury 10 Commitments. We are happy to announce the initiative’s first manufacturers’ showcases presented with Textiles Scotland at the magnificent Gleneagles Resort in Scotland this August and September for US and European journalists. Presenting with timeless brands such as Begg and Hawick cashmere, Harris Tweed and new designers such as Eribe and Esk, we are beginning and we invite Makers and Movers to the conversation.

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.

As above, so below goes the saying. Our Green Provocateur project is our way of bringing green ideas down to earth through our blog and daily postings of gorgeous green on Twitter and Facebook.

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 NBCUNBC 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.


Open Up Now. This won’t hurt a bit.

More voices than any time on this planet’s history are chattering away 24, 7. Listening 99% of the time or listening to the 99% is seemingly impossible. And yet…we all have at least a 1% “feeling” of the import of all this chatter, this Possibility Inherent in our collective conversation, from the most mundane Four Square at Starbucks to the most profound on-the-scene-eye-witnesses to social unrest.

The collective “we,” now imagine, talk and evolve ourselves minute-by-minute through art, image and word online and off to effect change. It would seem a massively impossible conversation to chart the effect on individuals and society, yet we all are trying to do just that. This impossible conversation was the subject of our agency’s recent panel of talking heads, “99% Art In the Public Realm: A Tool for Social Change.” Held during Frieze Art Fair’s first landing in New York from London, on May 6, 2012, we called together our art and branding compatriots for an Instagram expresso shot of the type of discourse we all engage in to create magic for clients.

 15 minutes of Fame for All or “Live Life Off The Wall.” Peel off the Veils.

New Identities for y’all.

In honor of two pairs of this century’s most powerful image/word-concept icon makers, the first pair being Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana, our panel talk was held at site 109’s exhibition of early, revealing photographs of the two artists entitled,“Before They Were Famous,” by William John Kennedy. The second pair, two women designers, both tapped into the conceptual art of their time and its interaction with women’s bodies, one esoteric Miuccia Prada and one libertine, Elsa Schiaparelli, were Talking Heads for the recent “Impossible Conversations” the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute latest exhibit. Our panel looked at the legacy of these art giants, the recent evolving conversation called “The New Aesthetics” in art and, as we call it, “Art off the Cave Walls.”

While the world’s streets send Tweets and messages into the cloud, and we mine imagery and voice to create relevant messages for clients, our talk looked at the impact of new buzzy public creativity in social media events from Komen to Kony to Crop Circles. We looked at the “New Aesthetics” of pixel-play and our social media poster children avatar such as the “surveillanced” and “veiled” identity portrait above, from artist Carla Gannis, and its provenance and evolution from dimension-bending art such as Dali’s visionary, pixelated “Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea Which at Twenty Meters Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,” painted in the pre-computer days of the late ‘7o’s.

The term “New Aesthetics,” described as “an eruption of the digital into the physical” became the hot art tip on the lips by a band of smart London-based boys and the 1-year tumblr of James Bridle, and it has been morphing ever since, on Creators Project and as well from the “opened up” digital and fleshy orifices of many Talking. Art. Heads. The birth and death of James’ one-year only tumblr, on the same May 6th day by design, coincidence or Fate as our panel, just hints at what is really going on. With our panel’s insights and a month of my own reflection, I add my Talking Head to the conversation.

“We’ll take our New Aesthetics with a bit more flesh and biology attached, thanks.”

Perhaps, because I am in a female body, I am overly womanly, “sensitive” to this;-) digital meets physical mouthiness. Although I was an early cyberpunk, say in the 80’s and 90’s, happily subscribed way back when to Mondo magazine, the precursor to Wired, we must agree that our bio-bods are not going anywhere anytime soon and while bots are adorable and have innocent and deep thoughts,truth told, we are all still in our fleshy spacesuits, the prime mechanism whilst sensing them bots. New sensory experiences of ephemeral Nature, public performance and the creative mash-up speed of the digital world have made the artist’s world…and reality-altering experience…accessible to all. As big as religion and the printing press…this is a”New Happening” or “New Creativity” (my name for it, a bit less high-brow, “Aesthetics, wha is it?” This is a co-created thing with the 99% masses, no?)  It’s not all digital, dudes, the seers are the seen and vice-versa, existing somewhere in, let’s say, the 4th dimension just for fun. Like your girlfriend in a cute shorty nightgown who knows what’s good for you, peeking around the corner, saying “Honey, don’t be so glued to the tube!”

Much more than ‘women + art=craft” sense this dirty-can-be-fun invitation from the Earth: Bewitched nose-wriggling, True Blood-ish, Baccanalian revelry parties…there…we know you are paying attention now! I pose a better, much more earthy mass name: “The New Creativity.”

Until a bot gets hot and fuzzy and can birth change unto the world, don’t throw the baby’s how-to-body instructions paper away with the box just yet.  Here’s our research manifesto:

Private and public rituals, image-making and collective voice may have “left the building” and entered “Heaven” aka “the Cloud”…yet…

Today’s art “Happening” is now also very clearly on the streets affecting global change and re-invention.

The Artists R Us.

Therefore: Please Make Our Future Funny, Fleshy and Fun!

To add a bit of sex, female and flesh perspective to the dialogue, read more here. The female-ish, flesh-suit, bio-bod happening reflective of self, identity and expression, the “Impossible Conversations,” exhibit neatly and scholarly compared the living designer of clothes neatly bridging high tech and nostalgia, Miuccia Prada, with Elsa Schiaparelli’s surrealistic pioneering designs from the early 20th century. The exhibit was presented through side by side contrasted and similar pairings of their creations and Baz Luhrmann’s film of their imaginary meeting. As a public, toe-in-the-waters, “dimension-disrupting” cultural event for the masses by “traditional media,” the exhibit offers a case-study look at the way we were, where we are and where the vast potential for public experiences of brands (physical) and media (digital) merging are still yet to be created. The Amazon sponsorship of the exhibition itself, with targeted foresight into its upcoming high-fashion e-commerce foray, makes this conversation something akin to a mass birth announcement to its fashion bot baby, ready to birth and go about artfully clothing the identities of its ready-made mass audience. (Amazon + 99% = massive females…yes.)

With close ties to the art world, both women are celebrated for tapping into the intellectual exercises of their time to interpret form for the bodies of the 99%. As a very close friend of Dali, Schiaparelli took clothing design beyond utilitarian or decorative, into dreamy 3D surrealism for her image-play and coupled this with techno-firsts for fabric innovation, including “cellophane, straw and even glass.” A long list of firsts, “taking art off the cave walls” belong to Schiaparelli from runway shows with lithe bodies as models set to art and music, perfume brand platforms, wrap dresses and the concept of sportswear separates. Prada, much like Warhol, is more an architect and mix-master of pop-culture, working with artists with her Fondazione Prada, designing fashion more for the cerebral vs. corporal body, always mining and re-configuring iconic concepts from the pool of fashion history, most notably Schiaparelli, as this exhibit reveals. However, I did find myself wondering exactly how this exhibit inspired the masses, as befitting its honorees, and in the words of one doyenne of Vogue and the Met’s Costume Institute, Diana Vreeland, I found myself questioning its presentation, potential and impact, mouthing off with her big red lips her own trademark question to provoke and transcend before suggesting something highly creative and enticing: “Why Don’t You…?”

Both women, inspiring, game changing. “So Why Don’t You love the exhibit?,” was the question among friends exiting through the gift shop. Here is why. Image-making as power is no longer just in the hands of celebrated clothing designers, myth-making artists, bible-thumpers, Hollywood, mass media or politicians to be spoon-fed down simplistically to the masses. That kind of top-down, two-dimensional, industry blindfolded reality met Tinsel Town in the tin foil reflection of Warhol’s Factory a long time ago. Now playing with imagery, reality, pixels and art history for that matter is at the fingertips of Everyman, including every closet-style blogger, street-styler, photo tumblr and scrapbookish Pinner. The invitation to interpret, record, play and create based upon the daily experience is the party of social media and the art-party of the year. A little earthy, a little unpredicatable to involve the viewers in the conversation, but oh so necessary.

And the next “New Aesthetics”? Beyond 2D dualism, the red and green cellophane paper-goggled 3D already googled itself and woke up to its 4-D reality. The multi-dimensional masses are co-creating their desires daily and for any intriguing “impossible conversation” discourse worthy of attention must have the public as invited participants. Interactive in the Moment hits everyone’s pleasure keys. The premise of a time and space-less experience dialogue between two of the century’s most creative females, now when women’s issues are so pertinent to our Future, promised much more than just clothing pinned to walls and mannequins as seen in any H&M. Paired with a rather static film, the promise drowned in just another old-fashioned costume exhibit formula. Of the all New Aesthetic’s exciting medium-boundary pushing possibilities, as Wired writer, Bruce Sterling enthralled, based upon the talking heads at SBSW’s talk, #sxaesthetic, “Well, we’ll once again be living in heroic times!” 

Impossible Conversations between Heroines can be Heroic.

It was “heroic” to invent a new color, as Schiaparelli did with “Shocking pink,” however, for those of us with dreamy digital eyes set to a 4D visual universe, it is no longer “shocking” nor “heroic” to place a shoe on one’s head, a mouth on a dress, expose some skin or paint dream landscapes on a canvas, or even sculpt a static museum wall scenario. (and no Victoria, wearing pink was not invented by Victoria Secret.)

Our flat words and concepts of 3D worlds are melting between our two physical eyes. The “nouveau aesthetic” and “imaginary conversations” beyond Time, is an evolving conversation style between humans, something beyond materials, the medium or even pushing concepts of space as one of the proponents of “New Aesthetics,” Clive Head portrays. Yes, in his painting, we see the woman contemplating at the coffee shop, and we know the real vision here is what is seen inside her head. The genius here is how what is in the viewer’s head is a vital a part of the artwork and experience. That for us, is a key component of “Art Off the Cave Walls.” Inviting the expansive experience.

A friend at “Impossible Conversations,” pointed to an exhibited dress as belonging to someone he knew, a noted couture collector. He related how the woman would tell him stories of bribing longshoremen at the docks with liquor to get her Schiaparellis off the boat from Europe in time for parties that evening. That film? That party? That woman recalling dancing in those shoes conversing with a woman in an imagined Prada suit in an executive suite in the year 2020?  A shared Pinterest of favorite Prada shoes or Schiap hats and stories from favorite parties co-created the Public? Now that would be Talking. Art. Heads. of a New Aesthetic.

Back on earthtime, on that meme’d day of May 6, for our panel, I chose art and brand experts, whose work in art, brand, film and experiences push the boundaries of engagement and human potential. And for the record, I can trace my own “talking art head” provenance here, from both the shocking pink Schiaparelli hat I was thrilled to find in a thrift shop at age 13 and also my oft-proselytized, fervent belief since around the same time, that the art of the future would be collaborative.

Sponsored by Metropolis magazine and Kiwi Arts, our panelists included Lina Srivastava, social innovation strategist who has worked with UNESCO, the World Bank and Oscar-winning films; Renata Lopes-Merriam, formerly VP at The PLUM Network and VP, Associate Publisher at Interview Magazine; Jonathan Porcelli, Project Director in the contemporary art world, including productions with artist, Spencer Tunick, international museums, HBO and the BBCNicholas Coblence, who worked with the Ashes and Snow exhibition and brands such as Chanel, Assouline, The Museum of Modern Art and The Guggenheim Foundation and Serena Saitas, Founder of REAL, a consumer insights and brand building company. We reviewed art and current events globally, where public performance and street art is on the rise and how artists, museums, urban interventions, interactive events and the media now intersect with marketing agents and non-profits to engage audiences. Our first proclamation?

Attention shoppers, “The art is off the cave walls.”

In a brief history of image making here on Earth, we’ve gone from collective cave-paintings to elicit a meal to elevating soup cans and detergent boxes to icons by provocateurs such as Warhol, who straddled both fine and commercial art. Robert Indiana pioneered feeding huge emotion-laden concepts like LOVE and DIE back to the public as abstracts, friendly and graphic avatar faces reflecting the evolutionary invitation to play with “givens” such as concepts and words rather than just accept them as edicts handed down. The multi-sensory overload emerging from that time, the late 1950’s and 60’s TV, radio and access to far corners of the globe effectively turned our experience into a micro-macro, Super Cell Processor of Info. Warhol and Indiana stirred and distilled that cocktail like Mad Men.

 Our urges, word squiggles and desired-meals R US,  Superheroes, Super Brands and Gods moving mountains.

Thankfully, we have evolved from one man bible-thumping via “Sermons on the Mount” to “Go tell it on the Mountain” to imaginary Everyman turned Superhero who could move mountains by saving the world from its own destruction. Now art moves from the screen to the mountain itself, from singular edicts on high into masses showing up together, as equals, with no rhetoric, just naked to experience communion, truth and art as seen here in one of Spencer Tunick’s “happenings.” The Internet Mountain, that seductive fountain of Immortality and Info, kissed by the collective Cloud at its summit, is now a personal and collective art people engage in Everyday, often with their own bodies as the medium, tools of expression and experience. 4D and beyond.

 Conjure magic.

Art began to transcend experience, a community ritual to conjure magic and now it seems “the collective we” are exactly at this place again collectively. Artists, Presidents, business, New Aestheticians, Facebookers and Twitterers all chattering want the same thing. Coupled with the “can’t-put-it-back-in-the-box” All-Knowing transparency. Which may be why now is the time to align for the betterment of the world community. If you want to entertain, sell widgets or compel the saving of a planet we now are compelled to show both our transparent grassroots common humanity as well as our willingness to perform magic. To go beyond “reality,” to engender emotion and commonality, we are inspired by Star Wars holograms of Princess Leia and most recently, blurring the cinematic and the visceral, The Hologram Known As Tupak Shakur, who “performed” at SXSW. Superheroes to save the Earth are us.

Perhaps one of my most favorite brand experiences, the precursor to Tupak, was the larger than life Knicks star player Carmelo Anthony as a 3-story high wall of mist, water holograms and 3D-mapping projections across NYC’s pier 54 buildings in 2011, created for Nike by the Klip Collective. Over 2,500 people gathered to experience this launch of a new basketball shoe, the Melo 8. Slick, almost-religious and game genre-shifting for the 2D ad world and the 3D event world.

And in that eternal now moment of art,”beyond the looking glass,” my own mobile phone photo from the Met Costume Institute exhibit, the material words of Schiaparelli with an image of herself upside down and reflected like she was, a tornado Princess Leia, live again, re-interpreted continue the conversation.

 Do it yourself. The magic “red carpet” for 15 minutes of Fame is social media.

From Grandmothers to football teams, looking at self, reflecting and creating art to make a statement and join community, as recently many did by wearing a hoodie to support justice for Trayvon Martin, art is iconic and accessible. Created to engender a larger social justice result, much like its roots on the cave wall, yet it is no less a transformative experience in the “wall-less” space of the clouds. Warhol’s “witness”-replicating iconic imagery is now in everyone’s brain and toolbox.

With the passion of a Ghandi, we can engender disruption of our collective status and social quo, a beginning step as “part of the New Aesthetic involves inventing (and disrupting) the connections between computational media,” wrote Ian Bogost in The Atlantic in his article, “The New Aesthetic Needs to Get Weirder.”

I agree, with our own brains actually being “computational media” now, and ask, like a visionary ocular migraine, how do these 15 minutes of Fame not only get weirder, but really evolve us to not only see differently but to act to change our world for the better, after “the weird thing” everyone is doing for 15 minutes of attention? As Lina Srivastava asked on our panel, how do we use disruptions in art to build ethos and shorten the time between public action and political change?

Messages beamed Beyond Large. Larger than Life, Earth and Beyond that which is Google Map.

Invites to see larger, journey deeper, range from JR’s eyes of the disenfranchised placed upon their roofs to “Ashes and Snows”‘ traveling Nomadic Museum with its monumental photos of man and nature in communion. I wonder why then, when we send light pixel invitation announcements into space, we are surprised when we get answers as beautiful birthday cakes aka crop circles in wheat fields? So those space peoples live large and send rather fancy RSVPs via landscaping, it just goes to show the New Creativity is a growing ever-expanding Multiverse.

And…what if crop circles or the “Conspiracy Keanu Reeves” meme are really just pre-party-games intended to wake-us up to the actual Event, our multi-dimensional,post-Apocalypse 2012 creative selves? (Cool. Coming and bearing gifts.)

And when mainstream media gets a hold of memes, even red-carpet action such as Angelina’s dainty turned-out leg becomes public art-making. Dali’s red lobster meme meets a crop circle postcard message back to Space, in case anyone is listening, “We are having some fun down here.” And its not just about the visuals. Talking head, word poet Haiku-ers on Twitter, such as @M42Speranza’s beautiful birds in flight, have turned the 3-part, 3D Surrealist Exquisite Corpse party game of visuals and Robert Indiana’s pop-art into a Tumblr and emerged A Word Baccanalia. Even The Poetry Foundation poses New Aesthetic prose on word-play here. Warhol-ness is the 99% meme-ing and streaming into living rooms now.

Mash-up and Morphing-out Temples to art, commerce and desire to save the planet, ourselves…and our technology machines to record it all.

Artist provocateurs increasingly set-up shop and stage to mix metaphors, genres, relationships and locations like interesting guests at the dinner table… at the simplest level, as attempted by “Impossible Conversations.” From far-flung locations to bringing the Past squarely in front of the Future, look at Theaster Gates’ choirs and temporary temples of recycled urban deritus mixing temple, church, shanty and museum all at once for the Whitney Biennial 2009. Look at “Ashes and Snow,” steered by one of our panelists, Nicholas Coblence, which created a cathedral from shipping crates as temple to the high art of humans communicating with “wild” animals. And it’s no longer just about the visuals, for sound, look at DJ Spooky’s multi-media performance work in Antarctica, Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antartica or for scent, look at The Clarimonde Project by Lucy Raubertas, indie-perfumers creating new scents based on an 19th century love story. With its own blog, Facebook and Twitter posts, the characters and story are being rendered Timeless and worn on wrists all over the world, it is all about the Immersive boundary-less Experience.

Gerhardt Richter pixelated the traditional stained glass windows of Cologne Cathedral, perhaps a fitting comment to the Renaissance ideal of artist commissions and the new “state” and ownership of art. However, as the “where” of art is no longer cathedrals, museums or galleries, and it exists both live and on our busy boxes, we are active participants in its commentary, be that Occupy protests, red carpet galas or G8 summits. Hmm, can we imagine folks are compelled to converse in the streets for the reason there is less than 500 views of the G8 Summit on Youtube compared to endless red carpet award show image absorption?

The Metropolitan Museum’s live cam coverage of “Impossible Conversations” by major media giant Conde Nast, was unexpected art in of itself, turning Berger’s “Ways of Seeing” upside down, as the usual “behind-the-scenes” cat calls and impossible conversations of the paparazzi shouting at the celebs became surreal commentary to the Hollywood gods and goddesses lithely, gingerly braving the red carpet steps. “Katherine, Katherine look over here, Jesus! she’s not looking at anything!”

In our red carpet-obsessed culture, fame and identity, formerly known as “I am observed, therefore I am,” now is reset to “I observe, therefore it is.” Paparazzi have evolved into Everyman Instagramers R Us. The advent of surveillance cameras everywhere, Big Brother Male Gaze, levels the playing field of gender attraction as in even men now get a taste of “what it feels like for a girl,” as futurist, Madeline Ashley puts it. The Seer is the Seen. Beyond mere thinking implying existence, contemplating one’s own navel or God-figure in privacy, everyone becomes paparazzi aka “God or Goddess” of the world as they see it vs. the powers that be. This new credo and power of documentation and possession also makes “the desired” into “things at the center of being” which is actually also the definition of the new trend in philosophy, called Object-Oriented Ontology or OOO for short. Greg Borenstein, a proponent of OOO, says “I believe that the New Aesthetic is actually striving towards a fundamentally new way of imagining the relations between things in the world.”  “What is it like to be a bonobo or a satellite or a pixel?” adds Bogost.  If I document, I create, therefore I am?

Our panel added, “Art shapes identity, in things and experiences. Defining authentic self in art, nature and multiple dimensions is now our shared collective stories and co-created reality. These are realities we must take responsibility for shaping, especially what happens after the art is created and experienced.”  The constructs of the Game here on Earth and beyond are just not what they used to be. Given that, the panelists all asked for more than just more “weirdness,” seeing the potential for inspiration, change and creation, we asked for more than just the 15 minutes. How exactly will the 15 minutes continue to shape our reality?

Let’s visit 4D space again. Science and religions both say the beginning there was Sound. According to the world’s most ancient language, Sanskrit,”OM” pronounced and in its 3D form is”AUM,” the beginning, middle and end, the sound of creation awakened to itself. “Ahhh,” the first sound of OM, is like Awe or an Aha! moment. Been there. “Oooo” is the middle sound coming after, the sound of pleasure. We humans meme “oooo” all the time, in response to stimulation. It’s time to be squarely in the third sound of OM, the “mmmm” the matter, the materialization, satisfaction, the completion, the coming full circle in all thoughts and actions. The 4D, 4th sound is called Turiya, the sound of silence, the sound between things or repetitions, the ritual motion, evolving revolutions of our circular planet and universe. Interestingly, the letters A, U and M also stand for the mantra ‘Tat Twam Asi’ ( ‘That Thou Art’ ), “Art” equal to “Being.” This “I am That” self-knowledge of an artist’s relationship beyond Awe or Novelty, to the full sitting in a “responsible driver’s seat” in the cycle of creation, the full potential of the “New Creativity.”

In many ways, like the famed Schiaparelli and Dali dress peeling away its material layers, the “weirdness” of art’s greatest intention is to set the stage for stellar performances of simple 1 on 1 meditations, an honoring of silence and the high art itself is the dissolving the separation of actual forms or designations of observer, observed, art, artist…things.

Play with points of light and attention levels the playing field, placing it squarely in the reality of the common heart, the common calm, the “universe” in common. The sound of the world humming in harmony. Yeah, something like “Heart Art,” but I didn’t say that, it’s way too New Age for me.;-) But aren’t we all quite done with cynicism, criticism and schisms anyway? Square man-made pixels can and do exist in a round world, where the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. In 4D that translates to:

“Being is Everywhere, so Take Care.”


Have Some Fun. Games and Predicaments. Et tu? Art Thou Changing Happenings? 


While we are here, in bodies, we might as well make it fun. We all know the lack of creativity, collaboration and play is why the 99% is howling in the streets. Collaborative futuristic games as engaging art, such as artist, Jason Young’s “2054,” a project from Nick Coblence and Serena Saitas or Lina Srivastava’s work with social change around films which go beyond screen to change lives, such as “Born into Brothels,” are where the panel imagined the future leading edge of art, and humanity, will be.
“Born into Brothels,” where children of prostitutes in Calcutta were taught photography to reciprocate being allowed to photograph their mothers and possibly improve their lives, was one of the first movies to go beyond just documenting into incorporating social change. The rise in documentaries has reached mass “entertainment” with videos like “Bad Girls” from M.I.A.and “No Church in The Wild,” just released from Jay-Z and Kanye. The powerful visuals from Romain Gavras of actual documented urban protest or peace with our Middle Eastern friends as art are inspiring testimony to the politics of freedom for Everyman.
Jonathan Porcelli’s favorite examples of Art for Social Change range from his experiences producing Spencer Tunick’s images where just allowing people to be free to be without clothes often changed the political landscape and to Vik Muniz’s “Wasteland” film, co-creating art with the inhabitants of world’s largest garbage dump, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. He cites “Sleep No More,” the interactive Macbeth performance play in Manhattan which turns a 3-ring circus into a psychic circus played out on multiple floors of a townhouse by actors and audience, as a type of “controlled” urban Burning Man experience. “Hotel Earth,” a project Jonathan, Renata and I are steering, places art hotels with limited resources, constraints and predicaments for inhabitants and visitors to engender conversations and solutions for the planet, in much the same ways a simple retreat or experience on top of a mountain brings satisfaction. “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.”
Experiences of art and nature imprint our material form.
And yes, that includes emotionally “sloppy” non-digital things like caring, poetry, weather, animals, trees, tiny micro-organisms, feeling and beauty.
Ship Adrift” was just a cool, a parked ship, a temporary hotel on top of a building in London until James Bridle added a weather data collection device to chart how the winds might actually move the ship. Geography and story telling. By chance and the weather, its travels took it first remarkably to the homeland of writer, Joseph Conrad, its inspiration, and with its own Twitter feed, everyone can follow this poetic “speaking” ship and it’s sentient relationship between static object, wishing and the biological “realness.”
Monkeys are banging their head on The Old Media Cave Cage. “Why Don’t You?”
As compelling and hopefully transformative as these ambitious projects are, the complexity and spiritual poverty in our own Western short-attention span ghetto-circus offers somewhat of a greater challenge to affect social change. Like emotive body mass smelling food in a maze or an algorithym, the power of novelty, “wierdness” drives us, becoming ritual, always the jump-start in evolution, advertising and for that matter,legs on the fish, cave painting, now bots. Natural abberations integrated with our bio-systems is our natural coding which can alter the fabric or our material existence. I would love to see bot-experiments that helped re-wind the world so our fleshy-bits actually laid down lambs with lions and made a peaceable kingdom and queendom. “Hail to the fishes in the deep blue sea, joy to the world.” “Why Don’t We Do THAT?”
In “Impossible Conversations,” Miuccia relates regarding her circus themed prints: “I never thought people would want to wear clothes with monkeys and bananas on them. It gave me great insight into people, into how willing people are to put themselves out there. Fashion is an incredible tool for understanding people, for understanding the world.”
The joke of monkeys playing along with our identity concepts is also an old meme we humans seem to endlessly enjoy and call “art.” For science, we have the 100th monkey bio-meme phenom and biologist Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic resonance theory to prove the power of play, invention, advertising, branding and influence to change behavior. Belief in one’s own hype within the landscape of media and message does inspire monkey-like play for better or worse depending upon which Celeb or Pres you ask. From Schiaparelli’s fabric printed with articles written about her to Andy Warhol’s first business card, 2 feet of green rice paper with an illustration of a woman’s body with big brand logos, show that they both foresaw humor in the long tail of art, fame and playing with visual frontiers, be they surrealist dreams, media or consumer culture’s icons, fascinations and ephemera. Not very different than the data miners of the “New Aesthetics.”
Transcend The Old same as the New Medium.
Great art, brands and messages are those that transcend the medium, whether old or new media. We all seek that moment of connect, where we sense we are witnessing something of great import, feeling a place in history and evolution. In social media’s terms, it is the transparency, removal of separation, or taking down the curtain hiding the Great Oz that increasingly defines our own selves as the new media. With our bodies and planet seeking wholeness, balance, sustainability, Why don’t you all agree that a little love making with our own good ole biology might bring us its own orgasmic,transcendant messages of great importance? So simple and no bots needed.
So it was surprising…and yes, surreal…to see that one of the world’s top old media brands, Conde Nast, looked a little hand-cranked behind the curtain for its red carpet event coverage of the gala premiere of “Impossible Conversations” with the engagement of a still live cam and a host who just learned last week who Schiaparelli was. (note: I have been visiting Anna Wintour in her dreams like a hologram Princess Leia when the exhibit was but a zygote in her mind, imploring…Why Don’t You apply the New Aesthetic and in honor of these luminaries, what if the brilliance of Dali’s first movies were the playful inspiration for the film? Why Don’t You make a new Impossible Conversation of Old Hollywood meeting Italian masters and high tech for the red carpet coverage? Why Don’t You conspire to play and inspire the masses for more engagement with art and fashion beyond Time and beyond who wore what dress on the red carpet? Why Don’t You? Why Don’t You? Why Don’t You?) 
(she has not answered yet.)
Lights! Camera! Action!
When 2D flat fabric is molded by hand and body, light appears on the 3D crests. Carl Sagan’s Flatland video and discussion hints at how higher dimensions of thought, ideas and actions first penetrate our concepts in mash-ups confusing the status quo and synapses for glimpses into the possible.
“A congenial looking square,” as Carl calls a resident of 2D Flatland, one who is open to new ideas, compelling his curvaceous, friend-seeking 3D apple, to leave a 2D footprint entering the Flatland world from “above,” a kind of crop circle “hello” imprint, an impossible conversation. Whether the field is square canvas, a cathedral or pixels…or…round cells, heads or planets as the “medium”… information sent and carried as multi-dimensional will always engage, with confusion at first, then by curiosity and desire morphing into an evolution. Which brings us to the likes of Terence McKenna‘s book,”Food of The Gods,” and Michael Pollan‘s “Botany of Desire.” You may call them pixels fueled by human creativity or mathematic formulas, but as “friendly squares” they have yet to match the pulsing brilliance of cells with a vastness of DNA destiny, that driving desire for co-creation and intelligence woven in their fabric which we haven’t even yet begun to talk to.
Biology is our coding, and our aesthetics, such is why an image of green sequins on wrinkled fabric can appear as dappled light, as if one is looking up to the sky through into trees in a forest. I declare it is my “New Aesthetics” art, I got it off the Internet, and yep, someone in 1862 or 2362 would not see it as I do…or would they? They may not know it was really 1000’s of tiny plastic disks emerging from a machine in China, but we can chat about it…impossibly…I guess.
Lest we mistake the forest for the trees, “the fabric of our lives” and art can take any dimension we choose.  We look up to heaven for messages, viscerally here, at fingertips on keyboards or flesh, at heart level. For ourselves and for brands looking for engagement, how does one transcend the medium? James Bridle calls it a relationship of “imagination and the network” as we call it a relationship of “art/brand/creation to the medium/us/experience.”
James Bridle hints at this when talking about algorithyms and Spambots which are beginning to feel their nascient personalities and sentient selves, he could just as well be speaking about us, humanity, co-creators of our 3D Flatland and the possibility to communicate with the bio-forms that are here…plants, animals and micro-organisms. “They are all looking for love, he says, “Look at them with happier eyes and invite them into your world and speak to them.”

“Aesthetics” are more than whatever gets splashed onto Cafe Press T-shirts this season,” says Bruce Sterling. “Aesthetics are by their nature metaphysical. Aesthetics are, by definition, how beauty is perceived and valued in a human sensorium. Aesthetics is therefore an issue of metaphysics. Perception, beauty, judgment and value are all metaphysical issues.

For new desires, co-creation and public art, …the saving of our own selves+home for that matter…the message is clear. The desired demographic is all of us, not based just on our 1% data, the elite artists, the amount of our savvy online interactions, red-carpet invites, money in the bank, amount of homes, neighborhood, church, race, gender or political party affiliation. The best demo to target is a soft heart, a desire to engender the co-created, instant power of universal truth of LOVE in communion with all of us as change-makers…that’s the 99% as the New Media and the New Creators.
Why Don’t You? Talk to me. Indeed.
And a final homage to flesh-pressing, my own “AUM” Ah, Ooo and Mmm of the best Trio of Art Groupies, waaaay better than theory, waaaay better than digital disruption.
Aura. Hugs. to my Heroes Andy, Grace and Keith.
 I’ll never write my memoirs There’s nothing in my book The only way you see me, an art groupie I’m hooked Love me in a picture Kiss me in a cast Touch me in a sculpture
Whisper in my mask.

spring is kickin’ up!

In the country, fresh shoots of green sprouts packed with new beginnings and nutrients are like a delicious drug or tonic to animals, making lambs frolic and life bucolic. In the city, the busy schedules are balanced by more non-linear kicking and romping, experiencing the city in sweet warmer weather, more like lovers who have all the time in the world.

Meet your guide.  I’ve taken to writing this monthly blog every New Moon (sometimes…published by full moon…) as kind of a Thank You to the general administration of this Universal Soup, a sensory dive into what I love most about my life, friends, travels and connects in my life based in New York. Consider this a concierge’s Top 8 Tips for enjoying the city or country in Spring. Let’s trip.

know the past to go forward. One of this blog’s most popular posts has been the NYC Uptown/Downtown Winter Weekend in NYC highlighting the best styling, scents, cocktails, movies, artists, design and architecture peeping to do it right in the chill. For last month’s post, journeys were still interior and we charted the New Steps on a Hero/Heroine Journey. This month, we package The Top Eight best things to dive into and do up a City/Country Spring Jaunt right.

Say its Spring and you want to visit the city and surrounding countryside, like a movie star, like a rockstar, like a Classic Bon Vivant. Follow the steps and have fun!

1 freedom riders

First choose your ride beyond a week of taxis, get something red, something convertible, put on the BEST music and head for the hills to watch the green arise and let your spirit free. Follow the instructions, here we go! FIRST…MUSIC UP!

Imagine it is a Friday night, after a busy week…Evening…Awaken The Muse…Move from dusk, street lights to stars. PUT THIS SONG ON NOW….

2…AND THEN READ ON…Country Livin’ (The World I Know) by Esthero shall set the proper mood as a theme song for the weekend. GOOD. Now hit the road and keep reading.

3   Morning! big blooms like magnolias to tiny, tiny bitters like this await your DIVE IN.

4 get wild, eat wild bitters and digestifs…right where you are.

By afternoon, lounging is a many-splendoured habit and you may find yourself rolling, perhaps grazing, like the lambs in the grass. Say hello to this little beauty, Pennsylvania Bitter Cress, Cardamine pensylvanica, in the Mustard family. Found everywhere in temperate climes, like all Spring greens and bitters, it packs many nutritious vitamins and minerals. These easily overlooked sprigs added a nutty, spicy zing to lunch’s sandwich that was heavenly. For my veg friends, yes this is meat, free-range, “served with Love” and eaten that way as well.

For those who like Life’s bitters bottled and presented, San Pellegrino bottles Sanbitter for the Spring tradition of bitters, digestifs. For health effects, add sweet with your bitter, San Pellegrino water and grapefruit juice for a red zinger. It goes well with the ((( paper! ))) version of the New York Times spread out, the style bible T magazine Summer 2012 Fashion issue first. Get excited when the fashion spread on food+style matches the drink and the big bouillabaisse soup planned for dinner.

you are in the countryside, and magic is beginning.

5 get sensually inspired and naughty by nature

From the magic sunny perch of a porch, even something mundane as new red from Chanel nail polish (it matches the drink!) becomes fascinating as the mind  s l o w s   d o w n.

oh to be lost in the fantasy fashion spreads of the NY Times, T magazine…

While she ponders nails, poetic, naughty, haughty evening silver sliver sheaths, fins and silvery glints off the lake, he tinkers with his toys. Cars, organic garden clearing and planting, stock quotes n’ coffee, antique shopping planning on 1stdibs.com for summer vacations in Europe.

Just about the time you look up and the heron sails low and silent above the lake, it’s time for early evening showers topped with a new scent by Australia-based Fleurage called “Chypre, Such-A-Boy.”  Most know Chypre (Cypress) as the original created by Coty in 1913. The scent became a name for this kind of sweet abstract of heady, pungent Mediterrean scent notes, enticed by the clean opening of lavendar and rosemary and then…for real down and dirty naughty by nature…

…rolling up in oak moss and musk. This is a scent something boys and girls can share and both wear.

In other words, a man wearing a fresh scent mixing with his own animal scent because…he’s Such a Boy! is so very full of sex appeal. And for a girl, being all tomboy in the country, Such a Boy! is IT. Chypre has been called sensual and abstract, which is also why I think unisex is the vibe here.  Techies! Who is inventing scratch and sniff for The Internet? …in the meantime, click here for Fleurage to get a sample or a bottle.

6 afternoon, go coastal to explore near and far for dinner inspiration…

Late afternoon, take the car to explore the countryside, and find a fish shack for dinner.  Music still up, looking at the sky, the wide sky full of…T I M E forever. and…Time for a new song, #2 of the weekend. (hopefully #2 of a whole soundtrack)

Are you falling in LOVE with life? Your delicious life?  ((( gratitude! )))

A traditional, Bouillabaisse French Provençal fish stew is perfect for Spring evenings, in part because the warm weather arrives and the French coast beckons. And for further inspiration, and no surprise, this weekend’s very issue of T magazine did a feature on Ramdane Touhami, whose agent, Philippe Archad, is on our panel during the upcoming Frieze Art Fair, (here for the first time in NYC, more below on that.) Moroccan native, Touhami’s boheme creative life with wife, Victoire de Taillac, and kids, is a little Bouillabaise, a little “vision board” and much fun.

7   bring it on home with eartha kitts

On another long country day, buy or plan something earthy for the kitchen so that the country vibes stay with you all week. Start simple, such as my habit of buying green ceramics, like these Sang Joon Park “9 Tea Cups on a Wall.” I found these smart space-use, cups as wall art from an exhibit in an Upper East Side Manhattan million-dollar manse covered last month, curated by Pryor Callaway. Or go much more complex, such as this rain water, hydroponic garden installation by rogue architects, François Roche and Stéphanie Lavaux of R&Sie(n)… Paris, called Lost in Paris, for your indoor, outdoor kitchen.

Sandwiches of art, architecture, streetstyle and Mother Nature are the blueprint to nurture us through the hybrid of our 2-sided brains, our intrinsic bio-culture and our inventive natures.

Sunday night, before packing, pack in movies. A run of old classics like Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, a newish DVD, The Rum Diaries, (for the red car rides) and re-watching the newest fave TV show, Scandal, because it is that good! Pack up the Stella McCartney frock to transition from flower to geometric pollenation. Well-rested and cultured, ready for Monday Urban Nation.

8 city-slicker, wear and drink it ALL in. monday back in NYC.

1  be an insider. take a tour to explore new/old/eternal things

NYC is best served multi-dimensional and sensual on a platter. From the above, images, a custom Manhattan Spring jaunt could take you from older classic architecture gems hidden on side streets to yearly tulips en-mass on Park Avenue to a one-of-kind table top straight from a Milan design fair, a tour designed for your pleasures by a Native New Yorker as your personal concierge is the ticket. Did you know this is our specialty?

Aboriginal art? The hard-to-find polka dot dress you saw in Sunday New York Times T magazine or Thakoon’s Masai tribe inspired boot? No problem, it’s on your tour…as you please.

2 kick-it! with your own personal fashion studio portrait experiences photo shoot by Legend at Shangri-La: 

if you imagine yourself Josephine Baker, a cabaret babe, Ultra Violet or you-name-it, Legend at Shangri-La will make you one.

This image is Ultra Violet from the “Before They Were Famous” photography exhibit of early images of Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana by William John Kennedy. Our panel will take place during this exhibit and the London art fair, Frieze’s first NYC visit. (more below) Perhaps you too would like to capture yourself on film, while or “before you are famous?” Legend at Shangri-La.

2 stay nice. hotel plaza athenee? nyc?

Indeed! A bit of the famous magic red awnings of Paris can be found in New York’s own Plaza Athenee’s cocktail lounge, Bar Seine. Red Pimento colored walls, leather floors and Moroccan, Euro and Asian dark, confidential nooks and wonderful mix of art and artifact will take you there.

This month we spent time at the Plaza Athenee with our client Fraser Balgowan, a sustainable luxury brand from Scotland, crafting heirloom bags from sustainably harvested deer from their Highlands estate and designed with heritage sporting tweed. Saks Fifth Avenue debuts the collection this Fall, Holiday. More below, on the collection…first, toss on the best cashmere shawl or scarf, for jaunts downtown….

3  put on a cashmere throw uptown and head downtown.

Spring in NYC can still have a chill and the only answer is cashmere. The best comes from Begg of Scotland, (some things are tough to find in NYC, so buy it online and head downtown for something you can’t find anywhere but NYC…the best art.)

3 for the show…this month’s upcoming art shows.

On Sunday, May 6 at 1pm, during Frieze NY, I am curating a panel called 99% Art in The Public Realm: A Tool For Social Change  at the must-see exhibit of early photographs of Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana by William John Kennedy in “Before They Were Famous.”

Today, Andy’s concept of 15 Minutes of Fame meets the 99%. From Susan B. Komen to Kony, public discourse is the art “Happening,” taking to the streets and Tweets to affect global change and re-invention. Our panel of art and brand experts will review art and current events globally, where public performance and street art is on the rise and how artists, museums, urban interventions, interactive events and media now meet marketing and non-profits to engage audience. With Lina Srivastava, Jonathan Porcelli, Serena Saitas, Nicholas Coblence, Renata Lopes-Merriam and Philippe Archard. RSVP here.

May 7  Known for his photographs of meteor sites, haunting butterfly and space traveler images,  Stan Gaz shows new work at Clamp Art, 6-8 521-531 W. 25th St.

May 31 – June 28,  New Aboriginal art from Australia debuts in the US resulting from a collaboration of one of my favorite galleries, Gallery Nine5, along with Ninuku Arts, Harvey Arts Project, at G95, 24 Spring Street between Mott and Elizabeth. The title is daunting and so is the art: Manta Irititjangku Ngura Kutjupalakutu: Ancient Land New Territory. 

4  go for delicious delight, delight! make delicious m a s s e s of them.

5  it’s the season, turn, turn, turn a new table

Say you must have something full of light dots like the paintings you saw or you must trip the light fantastic as being shown at the latest Fiori Salone in Milano, can you find this in NYC? Yes! Our friend in Milan, Dedi, took the light and table pictures shopping at Salone de Mobile, the yearly exhibition of the world’s best new designs for home every April. If you must have it, we can help you find it. City experts in Milan, Paris, London, Rio? YES, we have them.

6  evening out. dispel the tired day, breathe deeply in, arouse inspiration and leave the night scented.

Try Kapha oil round about late Wednesday or Thursday. Aromabliss makes a combo Kapha oil philosophized with yoga, Ayurveda, herbals and aromatherapy. “This is an excellent tonic for use during the heavy, wet weather in the Spring due to the spirited herbs the oils houses…the formula with its brilliant properties of lowering cholesterol, decreasing  blood pressure and enhancing the cardiac muscle function. The delicious scents of Eucalyptus and Lemongrass are sweetened with Frankincense to arouse physical and mental motivation and inspiration.” Can you imagine rubbing your body with the oil and going for an after-the-rain Central Park walk in the morning? (O! the energy in the air after a Spring rain!)

On just such a morning walk, tree pollen blowing in the fresh Spring air on my way to Central Park, I ran into Parisian expert, Susan Tabak and sampled her new scent, Sortir le Soir. Just as every city dweller must have their Herbalist, there should be an Alchemist, too. Every smart urban girl should have some Paris magic no matter where in the world she finds herself, to enchant an evening out and a special man. This is no unisex perfume, it is wholly a woman’s delicious evening scent of gardenia-inspired white floral, with notes of bergamot, mandarin orange, jasmine, freesia, amber and vanilla developed with perfumer Françoise Caron. Susan’s Paris launch soiree was attended by all types, including fashion legend, Diane Pernet. Get your bottle of Paris, here.

 7 prepare. all hail another new york city weekend…enough with art, shopping, sex, baths, wine...red convertible…take me away.

The week in NYC flies by, a whirl…from Monday meetings to Tuesday night parties, mid-week secret night baths with lovers, to wine-soaked Chelsea art openings on Thursday and, and once again… it’s Friday afternoon…! Pack up the Fraser Balgowan bag and head for the hills!

the flowers, the lambs and you. another week brighter, stronger…

Yup. Here Now! We go to nature to practice balance, purity and “Contentment.” Radical concepts in a fast-paced world, yet Timeless, Beautiful and Powerful Tonics and applicable to any moment! Thank you indeed!

s l o w l y. Summer is coming.

(post photos by Jade Dressler, other images and thanks to all friends, Fiona Fraser, John Favreau, NY Times T, et al!)


“You are my heroine! And by heroine I mean lady hero. I don’t want to inject you and listen to jazz.”

Liz Lemon

Hello March new moon. Hello Spring, Aries energy and madness, rabbit magic and March Hares. The march of Time and our timeless, shared inheritance of heroes and heroines circles back again. There is actually a reason behind the phrase “March Madness,” beyond a sporting gamble and other Spring fevers. The term refers to female rabbits beating or boxing their male suitors on the head, on their ears, until the short window of time, just one hour, when they stop to indicate they can mate for fertility.  Male bashing 90% of the time for 10% lovemaking? Yep, madness.

Re-birthers strutting for Easter parades pay homage to magic madness of Spring with “mad” hatters and Easter bonnets, which likely come from the symbol of madness in Victorian times of a bit of straw on the head, perhaps the result of cavorting in the hay bales of the mangers.

Clearly timelessness, desire, madness and Spring can birth some many splendored fertile things. The time for More Love n’ Magic is here.

The news lately with distracting, verbose gender bashings in the political realm these days have me saying, “Silly Rabbits” a lot and it reminds me of the nonsense boxing verbosity of the hero of the 70’s era Bollywood flick, “My name is Anthony Gonsalves,” a top-hatted trickster who creates some Easter tomfoolery to woo his Lady Bunny.

For fun, I followed rabbits down the hole from the etchings of Durer to Cuter future hoppers through their many guises, and like the classic heroine and hero stories and in honor of Aries, the warrior child sign ushering in, I am inspired to quit boxing and begin multiplying fertility!

Why are rabbits, symbolizing birth and re-birth and fertility through rampant boisterous sexuality so damn sexy? There ya go, Little Thumper…it’s the Hope of Rebirth and Heroics available everyday multiplying, 24, 7. Lucky for you, I re-imagined, after all this cute rabbit fluff, an easy guide via my:

9 Steps of a Heroic Journey for a Modern World.

Rabbit Fluff Journey first: They’re EVERYWHERE! MULTIPLYING!

From Durer to Koons’ cartoon balloon rabbits to the evolution of a marching trickster Bugs Bunny.

Magicians pulling rabbits out of hats runs a long legacy from dreamcatchers like Alice in Wonderland to “Harvey,” the 1950’s movie in which James Stewart played an eccentric whose best friend is an imaginary 6 ft tall rabbit named Harvey to…

…Donnie Darko to Terence Koh’s bunny tower vortexes to shaman rabbits inspiring animal hats sold on street corners everywhere. Even Kate Moss whispers sweet nothins to her Bunny Lover and wishes us “Good Luck.”

and then my fave, David LaChapelle, cast Naomi Campbell straddling a guru-chakra of a chocolate Playboy bunny. Yummy!

And go ahead, call me Donnie Darko, but this week, the yoga posture, Virasana, Hero or Truth pose, felt, well,

rabbit-like.

Hero-Worship-Journeys? I have sat at the feet of a long list of gurus and have been standing on my head since age 10, inspired by 1970’s TV yoga gurus, Lilias, Yoga and You and Richard Hittleman, taut and terrific in his stirrup pre-Lycra leggings. Later years found me toe to toe with the likes of Masters like Ram Dass, Shri Pattabi Jois, David Life and Sharon Gannon, Kirin Mishra, Elena Brower (Vira-ness Highness Herself) and a long list of other Gurus in order to pass Go and reach Bliss.

Yet, it wasn’t until I lost or almost lost everything 3 years ago, my home, my family, my career, my father and my business, that I understood who the hero, guru was. Me.

I am in the new dream now. So are you. Switch your story to hero and heroine if you haven’t already.

Aren’t we all the best of boy-warrior power and girl-gathering, integrating peace power?

Last month, I wrote about the circle game, this month I am all about the hero. If circles could expand multi-dimensionally beyond our 2-D and 3-D fields, consider the claiming of your own hero/heroine journey that which actually CREATES the 4th dimension. Your personal smashing of the Time and Space dimension. Now that’s ever so sexy. Who are we to argue with a higher plan? Maybe the Mad magazine kid has it right all along. What me worry? The best gurus are tricksters. Make peace with your troubles, be kind to yourself and see the humor in the drama.

To remember that one is loved, a hero or connected is a basic ritual and rite of all passages. The forgetting is not to be lost or abandoned. It’s is to experience again and again this falling in love, the trials and tributes of the experience in multiple form. Why is reincarnation so strange when we all experience that connected, repeated moment in music, a friend’s smile, a glass of wine…again and again?

I remember reading Joseph Campbell and lately there are all these Womanly, Goddessy interpretations of the Hero Journey. Nice, but I am quite over all this male rabbit and female rabbit bashing and clashing of differences. I felt like creating a simple hero, heroine journey that fits all our realities, beyond gender. Easy, so you can watch yourself in all of these. I’ve popped in cultural icons, images from new spaces and art I discovered this month along with quotes from my new favorite shaman, artist Theaster Gates.

Will this smack of a little paganism, a little childish nonsense, a little Spring art-shows-obsessed, Hallmark cards seasonal seasoned with some Tantric Feng Shui, New Age-Hindu chakra hailing histrionics and historic Christian stages of the cross, Kabbalah Jewish-y…yes, yes and yes.

It’s all based on a simple concept for easy memory…3 stages for all things, 3 steps to each…plants and humans. SLEEP, CREEP and LEAP.

SLEEP…dream, sleep and root underground to receive ideas.   CREEP…to explore, expand and absorb in all directions beyond your seed shape.   LEAP. Go forth and Spring up!

so, here it goes, the histrionic, heroic journey in 9 steps.

SLEEP

“Towering” Truth Toppling.  

This step is always the “first” terrible step of any new journey. The death of the old king, a release of cultural ideas and constructs challenges to family, faith and gender Is this not what is going on for all of us in the larger societal sense and personally? I lost my father and family physically, but gained a life beyond what their belief systems are. As each of us pioneers a way of life unlike anything we have seen before. Are you still mad at Mommy or Daddy or for that matter, anybody? Give it up, tear down the tower or let down your hair for magic to rise, start a new path, a revolution…whichever comes first.

Sidekicks and Tricksters.

The 2nd step, the call to adventure, money, sex all lure, yet can crash you on their rocks. It’s common knowledge that some smashing in Life is necessary to see the gem within.

One of the more fascinating displays at NY’s recent Armory Art show was this sculpture sitting in a courtyard of Chinese tapestries by the artist, Yang Jiechang at Tang Contemporary Art, titled “Stranger than Paradise-The Origine,” 2011 (140 ceramic sculptures)  Clay humans, animals and other beings are having all kinds of sex on a construct of lucite cubes like a massive crystal about 8 feet long and 6 feet high. Madness in this very elegant construct. (I love this top image from artinfo.com for that reason!)

Trials and Adversities.

Step 3, enter trials and adversities, they come in many colors and forms and tend to multiply. Trust you created them in their image. My advice? Make friends with them and tease the hell out of them until they disappear. (Ponder on This: is that why some people seem to be having so much fun wherever they are?)

Of course, my very own favorite trickster Playtoy bunny is Frank Kozik’s Smorkin Labbit in 57 flavors.

Artist shaman, appearing in NY for the Armory show, Theaster Gates has a great quote on his approach to his art which touches on emotionally loaded topics. He talks about curiosity, framing devices and potency in terms of his art, and it can be applied to Life as well.  “You force what’s new to deal with what’s old. There are lots of devices. It’s all tricksterism.”

The Trickster at the crossroads, the Hermes Rabbit will wear many disguises, mash-up history, reframe things incessantly, whether that trickster be the media, an artist or your “best” friend. And then you must play the “Silly Rabbit, Tricks are for Kids!” game. The only way to trick a trickster is to know the game and play it…well.

CREEP

Healing Heart Hibernating.

The 4th step….both shaman and witch go sloshing around in the Belly of the whale. Willingness to experience the metamorphic Initiation and Descent, this is a period of drawing inward and looking for the lost pieces of oneself. When Step 2 and 3 debris exits, this is usually when Lost Love floats to the surface. That’s a deep love and it is YOURS. Wallow in that Whale for a while. It’s worth every minute.

Nick Cave sculptures are euphoric heart history healing and extra-sensory.

The Right to Invention.

Step 5 was inspired by this Theaster Gates quote:

“That period of conditioning between what you hope for and what you have, that feels like where muscle comes from for me. From the chasm between what I wanted and needed and what I had, came a right to be, a right to pursue, a right to imagine. And that was the path to possibility.”

New Story!

Step 6 is where we create our new story, new heroes. This gentleman reading a book was the entry to “Allegories and Experiences,” the surprise exhibit filling a classic shell of a New York Upper East Side Beaux Arts town home by Janna Bullock (on view at 14 East 82nd Street through May 1) which contemplates the stories of dictators, the truth and the responsibility for change we all share.

My friend, designer Pryor Calloway is maker of this elegant bench seated for contemplation in front of a waterfall inside a (another) Upper East Side home, this time an exquisite 35 million dollar home, for which she curated 5 plus floors filled with art. Simplicity and listening will make anyone go “Ahhh…” and re-invent.

I love discovering gems like this, hidden in the Brucennial, the alternative to the Whitney Biennial, produced by Vito Schnabel and The Bruce High Quality Foundation. Only these Mad Men could produce “The single most important art exhibition in the history of the world. Ever.” Exhibit is on until April 1 in the West Village. Artist of the above unknown. (oh, good new religion of Art slogan!)

LEAP

another “artist unknown” painting in Brucennial 2012

Winning!

Step 7 is defeating the shadow, The Sacred Marriage, in Lady Heroine Talk, “which occurs as she learns to integrate and balance all aspects of herself.” Oh so, maybe we are the shadow and the light?

I’ll take sacred marriage with the likes of these three! Can I be the Love Child of a three-some of Terry Richardson, Lady Gaga and Terrence Koh? What? Why ever not? You are winning when you propagate from good heir/hare/heritage. Mentor-Inventors. The way Terrence chose his spirit bunny, go ahead honey, Step 7 is Pro-Choice, choose your very own Spirit Partners and Parents.

An Ocean Going Vessel.

The Crossing of the Return Threshold is Step 8, waking up to a new view of life and setting sail. I loved Radcliffe Bailey‘s “Levitate,” a black glitter boat against a rich cloth of mysticism. His work touches issues of African history and the passage to America…very heroic journeying indeed.

Each One Teach One.

Step 9…So take a deep breath, Pick yourself up, Dust yourself off, Start all over again.

The piece above was a mesmerizing repeating video in a static frame by Jean-Francois Rauzier at Waterhouse & Dodd.

The heirs to the future we are imagining are trusting us to play and imagine the Best. 

This blue and silver disk is a “curling stone,” and the cornerstone of artist Jason Young’s “2054,” a teaser for his large scale White Project, a futuristic collaborative art game transporting actors and viewers into a little Urban Game of the Future this April 10th,  on the roof of The Soho House in NYC.  His imaginative video, sets the stage for more common, shared journey games to exercise collaborative, imaginative…and yes…magic possibilities.

“The act really, was just to get together and play.”   

Jason Young

Cliff notes?

SLEEP

1      “Towering” Truth Toppling.

2       Desire Siren Calling.

3       Sidekicks and Tricksters.

CREEP

4       Healing  Heart Hibernation.

5       The Right to Invention.   

6       New Story.

LEAP

7      Winning!

8      An Ocean Going Vessel.

9      Each One Teach One.

   OX   OX
    !
   (…..)
   go on now. 
transcend. weave. be the inspiration, beauty + invention of people, places + things beyond Time.

It’s Swing Time. Happy Hero/Heroine Hoppings.

PICK YOURSELF UP

From the Film: Swing Time 1936

(Lyrics by: Dorothy Fields / Music by: Jerome Kern) Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers

(He) Please teacher, teach me something,

Nice teacher, teach me something.

I’m as awkward as a camel, that’s not the worst,

My two feet haven’t met yet, But I’ll be teacher’s pet yet,

‘Cause I’m gonna learn to dance or burst.

(She) Nothing’s impossible I have found,

For when my chin is on the ground,

I pick myself up, Dust myself off, Start All over again.

Don’t lose your confidence if you slip, Be grateful for a pleasant trip,

And pick yourself up, Dust yourself off, Start all over again.

Work like a soul inspired, Till the battle of the day is won.

You may be sick and tired, But you’ll be a man, my son!

Will you remember the famous men, Who had to fall to rise again?

So take a deep breath, Pick yourself up, Dust yourself off, Start all over again.

(He) I’ll get some self assurance If your endurance is great.

I’ll learn by easy stages If you’re courageous and wait.

To feel the strength I want to, I must hang on to your hand,

Maybe by the time I’m fifty I’ll get up and do a nifty.

(Both) Nothing’s impossible I have found,

For when my chin is on the ground,

I pick myself up, Dust myself off, Start all over again.

Don’t lose your confidence if you slip, Be grateful for a pleasant trip,

And pick yourself up, Dust yourself off, Start all over again.

Work like a soul inspired, Till the battle of the day is won.

You may be sick and tired, But you’ll be a man, my son!

Will you remember the famous men, Who had to fall to rise again?

So take a deep breath, Pick yourself up, Dust yourself off, Start all over again.

photos by Jade Dressler, Alvaro Montagna, etc. etc. etc.


What a wild ride this month! …had a crazy little dream the other night…

“Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.”

The Circle Dream. I walked out unto my very large porch overlooking Manhattan. I walked down the steps to the pool imaging I would continue do this well into my hundreds.

I turned the water on to fill up large jugs and enjoyed tossing water into the pool while the fountain filled it up. At the deep end it filled to the top like an infinity pool, I worried about overflow but the auto system turned it off.

I tossed off my pareo and dove in. I floated end to end on my back joyfully many times.

When finished I wrapped myself in a large towel and walked to the waiting limo. I tossed off the towel and jumped inside. The driver knew exactly where to go. Just top to bottom NYC. A loop, a circle around NYC. At Times Square I popped my bare foot out the window for fun and wiggled it. I was thoroughly happy to enjoy this ride and determined to make it a frequent habit.

I had this dream just a few days after a “touch-point” conversation with a friend in a famous Little Italy restaurant called Angelos. That day, watery planet, Uranus, ruled by Neptune, swam into Pisces, the fish, for the next 80 years. Wet.

My friend, Jonathan Porcelli, and I talked about the first time he came here with a beeper salesperson, named Luella Vecchhino (or something like that) in the 80’s. Both long-time New Yorkers, we spoke about NYC landmarks in our lives, how we often circle back and return to them years later, as kind of a check in.  Even having the conversation downtown on Mulberry Street in Little Italy, where my ancestors came to this country as Eastern Europeans, while today, swirling and swimming around us, the stories of 8 million people in the 800 languages spoken here, felt Time Travelerish.

This month, was a circle and time travel loop meme of Groundhog Day, Black History Month, personal and celebrity love, deaths, rebirths, doves, demons and dogs. A releasing of doves.

From the orbits of planets like energetic Mars retrograding to big planet Uranus changing signs into Pisces after being in Aquarius for 84 years.  Uranus, the planet of surprise, upheavals and of genius, gets soaked in Pisces, the divine seeker who lives between worlds dissolving boundaries finding spiritual heights or massive delusions in the vast ocean of unconsciousness.

Did you feel that cosmic shift? I sure did.

I recall when I apprenticed a Native American, and by year two, I was annoyed to do the same ole moon ritual again that I did last year. I was in my immature, quick fix 20’s and now, with hindsight, I love the repetition of seasons, cycles, for the layered wisdom, the circular vs. the linear. February’s full moon is called:

Ice (Celtic).

Old Moon (Cree).

Gray Moon (Pima).

Wind Moon (Creek).

Winter Moon (Taos).

Nuts Moon (Natchez).

Avunnivik Moon (Inuit).

Geese Moon (Omaha).

Bony Moon (Cherokee).

Purification Moon (Hopi).

Little bud Moon (Kiowa).

Snow Moon (Neo-Pagan).

Lateness Moon (Mohawk).

Shoulder Moon (Wishram).

Rabbit Moon (Potawatomi).

Sucker Moon (Anishnaabe).

Long Dry Moon (Assiniboine).

Little Famine Moon (Choctaw).

Storm Moon (Medieval English).

Sparkling Frost Moon (Arapaho).

Running Fish Moon (Winnebago).

Coyote Frighten Moon (San Juan).

Spruce Tips Moon (Passamaquoddy).

Raccoon Moon, Trees Pop Moon (Sioux).

Hunger Moon : Dark, Storm Moon : Full (Janic).

   Snow Moon, Hunger Moon, Trappers Moon (Algonquin).

The intensity of pop culture cultural markers this month, felt to me like Groundhog Day, a yearly American ritual to determine the amount of weeks left to winter depending upon whether a groundhog sees its shadow or not.

Bill Murray in the movie “Groundhog Day,” repeating the day until he got it spiritually correct, impulsed a common term into common culture lore for a situation that continually repeats. This play on probability is now cited by everyone from economists, who point to the movie to illustrate the theory of “perfectly competitive equilibrium based on perfect information,” to Buddhists who see the film as symbolic of rebirth through a birth of selflessness.

What unfurled from Feb 1 to the new moon of Feb 21 were rounds in the time-traveling loop, a kind of Circle Dance, where layers of meaning, repeat or transcendance became more palpable than ever.

Did you feel that?

Feb 1    The Don.

On this same day legendary Don Cornelius and Mike Kelley both commit suicide.

… and you can bet your last money, it’s all gonna be a stone gas, honey! I’m Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!”

In our 95% white suburbs, even though we were pals with Debbie Huff, daughter of the legendary Gamble and Huff, Soul Train was our main musical affirmation of a happy, color-no-matter dance, contrary to the world un-toppling itself emerging from the 60’s. It was Woodstock in our paneled dens. Soul Train birthed hip-hop’s barrier breakdancing.

The Soul Train line was a metaphor for a parade of life that we all absorb. Each person can strut, we will applaud on the sidelines for our turn. You can keep coming back up for your turn to dance.

And to dial the Time-capsule …really…back, this pulsing chain, this soul train, is our very fiber.

We have the power of the beat, our heartbeat pushing us “forward” in our skins.

No matter the strife, parading is important. Parades of Native-Americans denied their circular “Ghost-dance” paraded in the public to current day (today!) Mardi Gras parades keep this beat going on.

The Mike.

If The Don gave us beat-spawned, sperm-driven, snaking DNA ladder Soul Train lines, LA artist, Mike Kelley gave us the cross-section. The Ernst Haeckelian, Dr. Seussian, cuddly-core, feminine, nurturing circle of plush pushed back in our faces, a little soiled, a little depressed.

Mike Kelley will always reminds me of fuzzy plush soup, mortal youth angst and my fav life aquatic kid, The Hydra.

Radiating, cartwheeling, regenerating, unisexual amazing. They don’t age and they don’t die.

 Are they the Alpha and Omega?

hydras are immortal.

And how cute biology can become the stuff of horror as we grow personas in life. And repeating thoughts.

“A meme is an idea that behaves like a virus–that moves through a population, taking hold in each person it infects.”

Malcolm Gladwell

Regenerating hydras and tree-branching nervous systems, radiating radiolarians, saint halos, surrogate plush toy mothers to puffy brains like trees. Amazing what we process in an instant visually and mentally. No wonder Dali proclaimed he was the drug, it’s heady enough work to rein in all these Me, me, me’s.

Feb 2  2.2.2012     Oh! The Memes. The Memes. Etc. Etc.

Oh this binary plane! Ponderings from my wintry nest this month…everything is perspective. Like a canary in a coal mine, I wish the groundhog seeing his shadow could be telling us about global warming or some other greater vision than how many more weeks of winter.

For a really huge perspective that same dinner conversation at Angelo’s included “The Power of Ten,” a film by Ray and Charles Eames, famed American designers.

Trust I didn’t plan this rhyming thing, but it is kitchsy cute how Memes and Eames go together,”Me” on repeat, aka “me, me” but besides Eames this month, the power of Memes to underscore time-travel intrigued me.  Like Leonardo DiCaprio “Leostrutting” and re-appearing like Forrest Gump to re-enforce significant historic events via memes online, the Power of multiplying images or events to emphasize truths seems like a mystical precept.  Yes, my favorite book growing up was a “A Wrinkle in Time” and I always had a crush on Doctor Who.

Feb 5     The Ma-Donna.

Madonna, give me all your luvin. Loved it. Although the time-travel mix of gladiators, voguing togas and Adidas sweats actually did make me sweat and grimace, my girlfriend redeemed and took me there with her angelic goldenness and black bird transcendance. I cheerlead for this gal. WORLD PEACE.

Did you feel that? I did.

Feb 11   You’s Done.

Whitney age 48 dies in a bathtub leaving Bobbi Kristina at 18 reminds me of Judy Garland age 47 leaving Liza Minelli at 18. Repeat?

“When you have lived the life I’ve lived, when you’ve loved and suffered, and been madly happy and desperately sad — well, that’s when you realize you’ll never be able to set it all down. Maybe you’d rather die first.”

In a strange coincidence, Whitney’s daughter falls asleep in bathtub prior, Judy too, retreated to the privacy of her bathroom to pass on. The most intimate pool a woman dips in besides her mirror is her bath. Uncommon beauty can sometimes be too challenging to bear.

As long the chain is from Billy Holiday to Marilyn to Judy to Amy to Whitney, thankfully there are also those who can ride the Hollywood hills and valleys such as Barbra Barbra, Bette Midler, Oprah and the Ellen DeGeneres, the “odd,” the “other,”..The Game Changers. And yet, Whitney gave us her soul.

This image. Borrowed from Ulysses Carter, a friend who was Whitney’s loyal and loving PR rep.

Did you feel that? I did.

Feb 14   touch players.

Life always takes us from the maudlin to the sappy and back again. V-day turns us to thoughts of Love. Actually, Time and History really began last month with the birth of a “Star-Child”, none other than Baby Blue Ivy.

All the imaginings of what this child would look like as a combo of the parents is the celeb the love fest we began 2012 with. All this Star-Love stuff made me circle back to my own DNA chain of boyfriends/players/memes I have danced the Soul-Train line with since the first at 14. Who were they? Who am I?

Driven? From the Corvette collector (3) in my 20’s to the James Brown/Bobby Brown doppleganger with his Mercedes with TV inside in my 40’s. Wealthy? London financial guys (a Sloane Ranger with fetishes) to elder Dallas corporate men with an interest in art museums. Creative? Yep…German painters and techno dj’s among many. Intelligent-istas? Yep, that lista includes a biologista, psychologista and an anesthesiologista. And then, there is the 5-year dalliance with a music producer turned organic farmer boyfriend who for years did not know “he” was the basis for the “open relationship” status on my Facebook page, all the time thinking he was the sidekick to another boyfriend. (Well, I did have several, but like all things, it’s complicated. (Notice, I do protect the names of the innocent.)

Full disclosure, I guess I have to work a bit more on my communication skills.

Feb 15   Touching human hearts! Push. Play on.

Back to the future, same age as Liza and Bobbie Kristina, my big event at 17, was the boy who took me “there.” He was a bit of a hoodlum with Danny Terrio-infused Hollywood dreams, but the real touchy-feely memory is that he took me to visit the bearded, cool teacher who threw Raku pots on a farm and he bought me a green one. In more recent years, the most touchy-feely boyfriend relationship was orchestrated (the only word for the mechanics of this) mostly on skype being on different continents with one hot week in person. Computer Love games continued in the dark gallery video rooms we lingered in. This carnival game image is from that time.

Modern Love? We demand more from our machines, bodies, brains, senses than ever before in history. Going “there” with love will more and more be a hybrid mash of the two, seven, one million impressions experience.

“The arts are primed for some creative disruption by means of technology…”

Julie Kaganskiy

Art through “Hello, Hi Internet” and binary love experiences came through two events this month.

Hi-Touch. The first, was Uptown, with friends Nicholas Cloblence and Shirley Madhere. It was a bit rowdier than most of Greg Furman’s Luxury Marketing Council meetings with a seismic-shifting as a room of luxury marketers at FIAF, The French Institute, actual corporate marketers were…gasp…meditating together led by Francis Cholle, a corporate consultant to major industry. This Smart Guy, who danced with dervishes, (aka practiced yoga, theatre and Native American “things”) is convincing top execs to mash up linear thinking with a sense of play and intuition, at least value where it comes from to realize more profit. It’s working. He wrote the book on this, “Intuitive Compass,” a way to be intuitive and organize this nest:

with our logical, linear and hierarchical orientation.

Hi-Tech. The second was the Downtown, #artstech meet-up shared with two buddies from our #earlyAMcrew Tweetup (that’s 7:30 am!) Carla Gannis, Digital Artist & Assistant Chair of Digital Arts @ Pratt Institute and Robert Pearre. Us “arttechies” enjoyed the panel including, (l to r) Shane Brennan, formally of Creative TimeRyder Ripps, Jayson Musson aka Hennessy Youngman, Annie Werner of tumblr and Amber Hawk Swanson, brought together by Julie Kaganskiy, voted one of the most influential women in technology by Fast Company. (Ya still wit me after all that Art Linklettering?)

Here is Carla’s genius…

From flying Nyan cats to Ryder’s cheap shots, I love the pioneering sense of play. Yep, this is how geek girls and boys spend Valentine’s Day.

Ryder Ripps, I love your nonsense.

Since these two, Ryder and Hennessy Youngman were all about V-day cuddling all night so cutely, I pop in HY’s lesser well-known paintings, given he is most known as a video-artist, perhaps these will further cement his place in art history.

Ryder again. And then there was this Dolly. Video artist, Amber Hawk Swanson, who ordered a sex doll replica, married her and then dismembered her, all online, and then turned her into a killer whale to compare the objectivation and captivity of Sea World whales and women in culture.

Did you feel that? I did.

Feb 17        nest.

Last month, I cutely organized my ponderings with some bird illustrations. This month, the birds, they came. National Geographic was delivered to me this month and I mean very geographically on my window sill. Remember the white dove who made a nest in the snow on my terrace? She and her mate took turns sitting on the nest through all kinds of winter.

Lunch with Alexandra Polier, PR for Dwell magazine, revealed Amanda Dameron’s Editor’s Note this month called “Slow Home,” about magpies and their best-of-all-birds’ nest, an architectural marvel, a “slow home.”  Building from bits here and there, over time, layering. Reminding me of Wim Wenders, “Wings of Desire,” where an Angel falls in love with a human trapeze artist, slowly.

One day I heard two distinct “who” who”s and came to find out it was a white winged dove, the same Stevie Nicks sung about in her song, “The Edge of Seventeen.” Kind of Rare in NYC.

The next day, the nest and a tiny yellow baby was left unattended with a big black crow hovering over it. I was like the overseeing angel, caught in the struggle…should I keep the baby warm, so the parents can come back and the crow won’t eat it? Internet says no, parents will come. OK, no blankie from me. Result: crow ate baby. Maybe the pigeons left the nest vulnerable, maybe the baby needed transcendence. Maybe this was a releasing of doves?

Let’s be logical. The crows had a nice meal. They keep coming back to the same restaurant for a repeat performance, just like we do. The white bird returns to the nest, momentarily puzzled. For her, it’s not death, it’s time for more sex!

…and there was Madonna, all winged and black disappearing in a puff of smoke. Is this some kinda meme, Crow? (thanks Hennessy, you have taught me to think “art”)

Nah. Just a ‘nuther new full Moon coming.  As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworms appear, heralding the return of the robins and Spring. The more northern tribes knew this next March Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter. The crows did circle around…courtesy of Nick Cave, with “From Her to Eternity” in “Wings of Desire.”

this description is all over the internet like a ritual itself:

Crow is an omen of change. Crows live in the void and have no sense of time, therefore being able to see past, present and future simultaneously. They unite both the light and the dark, both the inner and the outer. Crow is the totem of the Great Spirit and must be held with utmost respect. They are representations of creation and spiritual strength.

and you know I am not given to this kind of art …however, I am feeling it. All this nature in NYC, all this Internet. All this world, all this winter, wow. It’s OK, call it kitsch, call me a goth, a Celtic-lovin’ Valkyrie, an art-groupie, a Luddite, a memer of Me.

Feb 21   Wishing and Ritual.

O heck. Let’s rain dance for Spring to pop-up. Mardi Gras and the New Moon is today. Carnival is coming. C’mon. Let’s Dance.

“From the solemn gloom of the temple children run out to sit in the dust, God watches them play and forgets the priest.”   Rabindranath Tagore

Where do broken hearts go? Will they find their way home?

“The touch of an infinite mystery passes over the trivial and the familiar, making it break out into ineffable music… The trees, the stars, and the blue hills ache with a meaning which can never be uttered in words.”

Rabindranath Tagore

Did you feel that? I did.



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