Sunday, November 29, 2009

More than Turkey

        Chris Burden - Street Lights Installation, LACMA Entrance

So how was your Thanksgiving?  Do you feel rested, or exhausted now?  Did the rush of warm-and-fuzzies from being with family make up for the exhaustion?  Who cooked?  Did you eat too much?  How do you feel about all of that now?

I was cooked for by three mostly blonde women (i.e., definitely not MY family) while I sat on a sofa and read magazines and chatted with the menfolk in a house by the sea.  It was a very unusual Thanksgiving for my hubby and me in some respects and utterly traditional in others (turkey, cranberry sauce, peas, potatoes).  We kind of like not doing the same thing every Thanksgiving so we're always happy to give ourselves the appearance of "orphans" when that time rolls around.  It's sometimes interesting to be a "fly on the wall" at other peoples' holidays and not necessarily central players in family dramas.  When my husband was very busy and we lived on the East Coast, it was also a great time to sneak off to Paris.  No airport panics, sometimes milder weather.  NO FOOTBALL!!!!  (Sorry America.  I tried to do football in college, but it was never for me.  I have family members who more than make up for my lack of interest.  I'm sure you do too.)

Mostly what was interesting about my Thanksgiving was not Thanksgiving Day, but Thanksgiving Week.  It was a week packed with a diversity of experiences, ideas, the unexpected.  Some of it particular to my life, lots not so much.  So I've decided to spend the coming week revisiting my Thanksgiving Week just past.

                                                  m   o  D  E  R  N     A  R  T 

Last Sunday, my husband and I went to LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art).  Sadly, even though I've spent over a year in L.A.and actually know someone who works there, I haven't known much about LACMA.  My visit was a revelation.  Something you realize when you get to L.A. is how little the rest of the world knows about it.  THE TOWN.  The ubiquity of Hollywood publicity imaging is such that it supplants any alternative conception of Los Angeles.  All other aspects of the city languish in the popular mind as dim abstractions if at all.  (OK I mean unless you're surf crazy and then I guess you know from L.A.)

I'll just say briefly that if you're visiting L.A. and maybe the sun is not shining, you should go to LACMA.  If you live in L.A. and you haven't been, YOU MUST GO TO LACMA!  It will deepen your understanding of the town and it's people.

So............ DESPITE my aversion to the well, tacky, way certain parties make fortunes on the backs of the LESS fortuned and then go dumping little bags of money around town in exchange for getting their names splashed across extravagant structures while playing one craven institution against another, it IS a fact of life and human history, that people of these sorts provide opportunities on a scale otherwise fairly unimaginable (in America) for people of talent to expand and express that talent and for others to experience and appreciate them.  Anyway, on esthetics alone, I was really impressed with the Renzo Piano designed Broad Contemporary Art Museum, just one of the museum's seven separate structures.  To have a space that accommodates two massive Richard Serra steel sculptures with room to spare IS just LUXURIOUS.  (And that's just on one-half of one-of-three floors.)  Ditto for those awful Jeff Koons pieces of a way shiny Michael Jackson and his monkey and Mr. Koons' ex-wife.  To view pieces like that in an enormous space makes them less agressive, less confrontational, less dismaying and allows you to place them in a context.  And contemplate properly how they fit into the long arc of civilisations and the constantly iterating, tangent-prone and increasingly tipsy nature of our own.  I'll say no more and let you discover the early 20th century painting collections at LACMA on your own and it's various other charms.  The museum has excellent web pages and blogs.  Did you know that H. Matisse's "TEA" is HUGE and housed at LACMA?  You can find out more here.

I would only finally add that I LIKE "small" museums.  They are very manageable.  And you do not leave feeling guilty and uneasy that you might have missed something IMPORTANT.  Or plain worn out.  You just leave feeling refreshed. I also love that LACMA is open till 8 p.m. on a Sunday.  I can't think of a nicer way to spend an early Sunday evening.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Best Wishes for Thanksgiving

    Justin Vineyards near Paso Robles, California

    Have a good one everyone.  Travel safe.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Magical Mysore Market - Part Two

So these photos were kind of a gift to me, in more ways than one.  I'm a bit of a timid photographer when it comes to people.  I'm not always so happy with someone else shoving a camera in my face, so I'm sensitive about invading anothers' personal space.  I do feel that we take away someone's power over their own image when we take their picture.  But this place was so special.  I had to let go of my reservations and just SNAP!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Magical Mysore Market - INTERVAL

I got sidetracked by a couple little things today so will wait till Monday to post Magical Mysore Market Part 2.

Meanwhile a little preview:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Marie Claire Maison - Greatest Hits

So as I've said before, this is NOT a decorating blog.  But I will admit to having a terrible weakness for imagery OF EVERY KIND.  If you are a complete stranger and I come to your house, I will be very happy to immediately view your photo albums.  And I am one of those people known to purchase the leftovers of other peoples' albums at flea markets.  I DO have a Collier Brothers type predilection for printed matter.  And piling that matter up in precarious towers.  And, I AM a girl.  (In case there was any doubt.)  And we do obsess about our "interior lives".  Inexplicably so far hard-wired to do so it seems.

So imagine, I've lived in four different houses in the past five years.  So what has followed me every step along the way? What has had my movers groaning and swearing and sweating and doubled over in consternation? Apparently my devotion is such to tidy little packets of glossy imaging (100 copies of World of Interiors, 50 Martha Stewart Livings, 30 copies each of British Homes and Gardens, British House and Gardens, Living etc., Gardens Illustrated, Elle Decoration UK, Maison Madame Figaro, Elle Decoration - France and US, Metropolitan Home, Gardens Illustrated and yes, Domino - do you get the idea now?)  is such  that there was never a question ever of finding a capacious rubbish receptacle somewhere along the way that could welcome them.  Never any determination that they might have outlived their useful lives, "faded relics of another existence" etc.  No indeed, my magical world of colored pictures remains as relevant to me now in the waning first decade of the 21st century as it did when I was "starter" house-ing in Jois-ey and has now found many treasured places in my L.A. home!  I shouldn't admit to all this but everyone has to have a little vice.  For others it's ummmm pricey handbags, or plastic surgery, watches, cars or, or, or superannuated chimpanzees?!  (Sorry that was in bad taste, but true.  I mean, I could have worse vices!)

So what has prompted this little confession?  Last week P. over at What Possessed Me:

posted about Marie Claire Maison. And that re-MIND-ed me.  Since my move to L.A. and my discovery of its beautiful colors dovetailed with my discovery of the wonderful world of BLOG,  it has not strictly been necessary for me to daily pore over colorful images of homes and places I will never ever visit or live in.  This has saved me a lot of pocket money.  But I had to admit, when P. raved over the wildly creative and colorful flower scrim that she had discovered in the pages of MCM I had to reexamine my loyalties.  I spend less time in train stations these days and so accordingly less time in newsagents' perusing, perusing.  So the immediately obvious thing to do was to go treasure hunting in my own back bookcase.

And what little jewels I found!   I was not disappointed.  So today being my birthday, AT LEAST TODAY,  I can claim my birth-right as an American to mindless indulgence, and since it has become apparent that I will not after all be speeding out to Vegas in my sleeveless dress to dine with Joel Robuchon (sorry Jo!)  instead I will MAKE A PARTY!  (in the NY vernacular.)  A party of MCM greatest hits pics out of my personal collection.  They cover not just decorating but also food and travel.  All of which the editorial staff at Marie Claire Maison do with such originality and wit.  I do also think, and this is what I particularly love about France in general, that they do RUSTIC and REFINED so well.  It's an esthetic that brings me to my knees generally (sometimes literally - as in examining fabulously sculptural terra cotta rhubarb cloches) and which I find so inspirational and refreshing.  Like a long walk in the woods that opens out into breathtaking vistas and knocks the cobwebs out.

So voila!  Regalez-vous!  And channeling all those commentators last night who saw Thierry Henry hand-ball Ireland out of a World Cup place, oh-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-LA!!!!!!

Mes Passages Paradis MCM:

Everyone knows Andy Goldsworthy but do you know Nils Udo?  He sets up these artworks-in-nature and then he photographs them.

 I think he's a little more elegant than Andy Goldsworthy.

    Photo: Nils Udo - December '02-January '03 Edition

                      Photo: Marie-Pierre Morel - Sept/August '94

A passion for picassiettes.

            Photo: Guy Bouchet - Sept/August '94

A boat hull in Brittany looking like an African mask

Vive la fete!  Bon Anniversaire a moi!

                                      Festive Desserts Photo: Yukata Yamamoto - Dec07/Jan08

                                         Photo: Philippe Garcia Dec07/Jan 08

Dentelles en papiers.

                                             Photo: Alexandre Bailhache - July/Aug '92

Oeufs a emporter

                                              Photo: Arnault Descat - April '94

Meconopsis x sheldonii - Himalayan poppies

                                                    Photo: Ingalill Snit - November '95

                          Photo: Guy Bouchet - November'95

Jerusalem, a pub in E. London - Never been.  You?

Form at home with function.

   This Photo and Above: Eric Flogny/Aleph; Styling: Marion Bayle et Christine Puech - Sept'02

I haven't yet but someday I will have, a room in raspberry and saffron.  See the little jewel-colored tea lights along the windowsill?

Funky and fabulous.

       Photo: Nicholas Tosi - Dec'95/January'96

Alongside faded splendor.  Home of Francoise Nobele and Jean-Michel Smilenko

    Photo/Styling: No credit - Nov'03

Why didn't I think of this?  Tiled stools!  Tout simples!

                                       Photo: Vincent Leroux - Sept'03

Another chandelier TO DIE for!

                                           Photo: Yukata Yamamoto - Sept'03

Love these colors, may solve my bedroom decorating quandary.  I HAD thought I was going green.

    Photo: Vincent Leroux - Sept'03

It would SEEM like such a good idea to live in this little white house.  Until you had to schlep the groceries home.  On the Island of Halki, off Rhodes.

       Photo: Jean-Bernard Naudin - March'94

Do you know the Astier-de-Villatte white faience ceramics made in Chinon?  This is the family home a few years back.  The father makes the ceramic "tete-de-fille" sculptures.

Well that hit the spot for me.  Paradis Retrouve.  Tomorrow yes, more and final Mysore Magic.

(And yes, oh great-and-terrible Marie-Claire Maison.  I realize some of these photos may have not yet passed into the public domain.  I have reproduced them only in part and if you would like me to remove them I will.   (On the other hand, I'm giving you free publicity and I don't do that for EVERYBODY!)   If I must remove them, I hope they can be found in your archives via the little caption details I have provided.  Meilleurs sentiments,  Mlle. P)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mysore's Magical Market - Part One

O.K. Well I hesitate somewhat because if I say it myself.  These pictures. THESE pictures.  I haven't looked at them for maybe a year. And they don't disappoint.  In fact I've discovered ones that I didn't think were such a big deal when I first took them.  But NOW!  !!!!!!!!  The people are so open.  And so happy in their holiday errands and anticipation of their big holiday.

I can't take alot of responsibility for the beauty in these pictures.  This is just a beautiful space.  The otherworldly color created in part by the blue tarps hanging over the stalls.

It filters the light and gives you the most perfect exposure that articulates and caresses at once.

It allows you little details and perfect rich colors.

And look at the vegetables, so tiny and sweet.  My husband asked someone why Indian food tastes SO GOOD in India. The answer:  because the vegetables are so fresh.  They don't come from far away.  They are harvested nearby and because water is so precious they are not allowed to grow into monsters.   They are little so all the flavor is concentrated in  them.  And they are delicate.

Now, I'm not exaggerating, am I, when I say, YOU MUST GO TO MYSORE!!!!!!!???????

Come back tomorrow for Mysore's Magical Market - Part Two.  And then after that, I'll just hang up my blog clogs cause nothing again will beat these pictures!  Hope you like 'em.