Monday, September 28, 2009

Don't ask me why I went to........Austin, TX

Not because the NY Times just featured it in their Sunday travel magazine.  But yes I can agree with their writer. Austin could grow on you.  My husband has stories of friendly people and misspent youth that take place in Austin.  I had never been and was curious. This IS a town with special charm.  Why?  Austin's style and vibe, unique in all of Texas? That Texas joy de vivre?  It has a buzz, but it's not at all the NYC or Hollywood kind.  It has a ...well...maybe you know what kind I mean! Is it the bars - so many and so vast?  We visited a few museums, an average bar in Austin could hold all of the museums we visited with room to spare.  (A good or bad thing?)  Is it that EVERYWHERE is live music?  Free food and yes, beer?  What a town!

And yes it's true, "dining" trucks have also come to Austin in a big way.  Unlike in L.A., they stay in one place.  Maybe they invented the food trucks - anyone know?

Even the trash receptacles are colorful.

As everywhere, there is shopping. I have never outgrown my enthusiasm for folk art.  (Hello color, simplicity, directness of means, delight in ornament!)  Tesoros Trading Company at 1500  S. Congress has an extensive and very well chosen range of things from all over the world.

To name a few: Indian movie posters, moroccan rugs and lanterns, uzbek suzanis, baskets of every kind, flowers-of-paper tinsel and glass beads, mexican ceramics, tibetan metalwork, vietnamese papers, chinese lanterns, papier mache dolls and masks, terracotta acorn-like finials in many sizes.  Retablos, ex-votos, santos, milagros.  You want it, they got!  They have a website ( that sells wholesale and retail.  I left Austin without a purchase from Tesoros but I could really get into trouble with that website!

In keeping with that SXSW vibe: Allens Boots also on S. Congress:  Must haves (if you have the readies.....note the price tag - yeah all "9"'s).  Of course more reasonable styles available.

Further on up Congress towards the state Capitol building we found the Mexic-Arte Museum ( Through Saturday October 17 they are having papier mache workshops in preparation for the Viva la Vida Dia de los Muertos procession October 24, 2009.

I love the art that comes out of the Dia de los Muertos celebrations.  It so embraces the dark and light in life, it is both solemn and exuberant. 

I would have been very happy to stay and get my hands wet. I adore papier mache.  It is so versatile and so tactile.  And the flour paste smells so good.

Finally, a piece by Gil Rocha was part of an exhibit at the Mexic-Arte Museum.  For many people in the Americas today, this piece needs no explanation.

The piece was a part of the "TARP 'does not equal'  Lona" exhibit.  (Actually they use the "is not equal to" symbol in the exhibit name but I don't have it on my keyboard.)

The exhibit's theme as stated: "In times of troubled assets relief programs (TARP) ......we have the opportunity to look to art and culture...for comfort."

Gil Rocha's piece:  Maybe not SO comforting.

I also liked the pieces by Carlos Donjuan, Santiago Forero, Hector Hernandez, James Huizar and Randy Muniz in this show.  A separate print exhibit, "Serie X", had some  original ideas and very accomplished draftsmanship.

Once I met someone who wasn't really arty who asked me about what my art meant to me in my life.  I told her that it enabled me to experience life on a different plane.  A plane where I can create an alternate or parallel reality.  A place removed from the material and the immediate.  A place where I am in charge of the choices and which allows me to abandon myself to something bigger than myself without risk of dire bodily or psychic harm. THIS - IS another version of paradise.

Lona means canvas (also cover, or shield) in spanish.  My canvas is my paradise.

Did I need to go to Austin, TX to be reminded of that?  MAY BE.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

....and no I DON'T

have to garden now, because beauty is all around me.  Some in wild profusion, some in perfect well-tended vignettes. These are plantings on Abbott Kinney Blvd., in Venice.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Paradise Kind of Living

OK so I am not such  YOUNG person anymore, but can you believe it, I have only spent one birthday in my life that I can RECALL, where I was able to wear a sleeveless dress.  The rest of my (November) birthday's have been spent freezing my tushy off, which made me very grouchy.

Now.....NOW....after far too long in the Northeast cold, I am living a new kind of paradise.  And if I decide to drive to Las Vegas I can spend my next birthday ALSO in a sleeveless dress (because last birthday in LA it rained).  Meanwhile here is my inspiration for this blog, for this new passage in my life.  MY NEW BACK YARD.

For years in the GREATER METROPOLITAN AREA (of NYC) I never had a lawn to lie down on. I had to garden frantically to have something beautiful to look at.  I DID NOT HAVE PALM TREES OR MORNING GLORIES.  Now........

...roses in my neighbor's yard - in April!!!!!!

OK so who cares if a raccoon is living in that palm!

  A paradise of grass.  Even my chairs are happy.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gray is Not All Bad, It Makes the Other Colors MORE

Another vision of paradise.  What is it about these colors, the light reflectivity, the harmonies, the subtle interactions that are so resting to the eye?  These were in a shop window on Pimlico Road, in London. The store is called Appley Hoare.  How can you not love it?

Taken by my husband (at my request of course! and with my editing) on his I-Phone.

Oh!  And these colors remind me of Marie Antoinette and of Hannah Schygulla in La Nuit de Varennes.  Anyone seen La Nuit de Varennes?  Fabulous movie.  Makes ya think.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Brian Yates Wallpaper

I was not planning on doing decorating stuff on this blog as there are so many others who do it so well (Hidden in France - my first blog obsession,  A Bloomsbury Life, SFGirlbyBay) but as you will eventually find, my idea of paradise is all about color. Color makes me go all squishy inside.  Color makes me breathe more deeply.  Color makes my heart race.   Color is a food substitute.

SO SPEAKING OF COLOR - and another genius of it - Fiona, at Cafe Cartolina.  (Emphatically!)  Here is something I swiped from her recent post about Brian Yates Wallpaper (UK).  Sorry no photo credit - maybe it's on Brian's site.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Passages Paradis: Spaces and Places

Kaena Point, Oahu, Hawaii

Monday, September 14, 2009

A New NYC; The High Line and..........

I was lucky enough to spend a few days in NYC this summer where there are all sorts of wonderful new buildings!  A lovely blogger-you-should-know at:

recently blogged about the new Standard Hotel straddling the just opened High Line Park.  The hotel is a very striking (in NY) sixties-style sort of winged slab amongst 19th century brick warehouses.  I also visited the High Line but did not take a photo of the hotel, the light was not QUITE right.  The website: features real time views of and from the hotel.  Much better pics than mine would have been.  A very twinkly-glam perspective on that part of Manhattan.

The Standard is causing a huge sensation less for it's new/old architectural statement than for the goings-on in it's all-too-visible-from-the-Highline windows.  Anderson Cooper was commenting on this the other day, in terms of the very sexy and none-too-modest social interactions being exhibited there.  Cover your childrens' eyes Dears!   So no photos of any of that either.

I DID take photos of these new structures (almost) ready for one's visual delectation from the comforts of a HighLine perch:

CLOSE UP: on the Mondrian-ey patterned surfaces at the right and misty melty Hundertwasser-y play of modules and stripes on the left.

It is way past time NY!  The last time lower mid-town had such exciting architecture was in the late  '90's-early noughts when the Architectonica building went up near 8th Avenue and 42nd St.  Anyway, again, help me out if you know anything more about these buildings.   BELOW: A very imaginative use of lower cost plug-in architectural elements to create an exciting cityscape.

Everybody has their own version of Paradise.  For many New Yorkers, whatever their era, New York is "PERFECT JUST THE WAY IT IS".  Here's a new paradise for a new generation of New Yorkers.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same?

I have moved alot in my life especially in the last few years.  What makes me happier?  That most of my stuff actually made it with me intact on each leg of the journey or that with every new place I was able to take all that was "old" and reconfigure in a totally new way?  A lot of both.  This picture totally expresses where I am now.  It feels so fresh.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Blog Birth

Welcome to my second post on Passage Paradis.   This blog will present versions and visions of paradise.  Part of this blog will also probably be a discussion of why we seek paradise on earth, how we might achieve it, and whether we should bother.