Friday, February 28, 2014

We Have to Do More to Help Syrian Civilians - And We Can

I was originally going to post the usual cheery photos for this weekend.  But instead I'm sharing pictures of Yarmouk, an area of Damascus where people have endured the violence and isolation of war for years and are now starving to death.   Reporting from Lyse Doucet of PRI's "The World" (click the link) this week has been eloquent and devastating.  I will let her tell you what she has seen.  My words couldn't possibly measure up to hers.

These people are Palestinian or of Palestinian descent, refugees from the war of the 1940's many of whom, because of their long-standing stateless status have not been eligible for passports and so have been unable to leave Syria and the war.  

  (Photo:  Hosam Katan, Reuters)

I have to admit that I have become deeply discouraged about peoples' ability anymore to be good

(Photo:  UNRWA via Reuters)

to each other and to take care of each other.  We are living in a historical period of unprecedented wealth, creativity and possibility.  Globalisation has brought us infinitely physically closer together and instead of making humane compassionate choices to make a better world we have defaulted to selfishness, violence and hate - and just as lethal: indifference.  To be sure, if we are not simply indifferent, many of us are overwhelmed.

If you listen to Ms. Doucet's reporting she will tell you that the scale of the suffering in Yarmouk is not conveyed by the photos that we see.  In fact in the U.S. we are seeing very few photos at all in the mainstream press.  (Googling this subject in English yields very little information.)  I know that my blog has very little impact in the world but it's the least that I can do to share what the scraps of information that have come to me.

A UN aid agency has finally reached Yarmouk - with a pitiful and apparently utterly inadequate 60 packages of food on its first visit this week.  The UN has returned since, I believe.  BUT THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO DO.  It's reasonable to imagine that Yarmouk isn't alone and that even the UN faces limitations.

So I feel I have to do SOMETHING.  I just can't stand by and listen.  WE CAN ALL DO MORE.  I'm going to be contacting every politician and agency that I know of to beseech them to do MORE to help the civilians remaining in Syria.  You could too.  Here's a link to an Avaaz petition to Leaders of G-20 Nations which is a place to start.   

If this story distresses you too, it would make you feel so much better if you act.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What's New Downtown L.A.? - Part One

Hello, hello!  I'm going to alternate gloomy NYC posts with sunny L.A. ones for a little while.  

So a couple of weekends ago, Mr. Paradis and me took ourselves off to Downtown L.A. To catch a buzz.......

No, not THAT kind.  But.....the kind of buzz around what is hip and NEW......prompted by this recent article in the NY Times

introducing the brand-new ACE Hotel that has opened on Broadway, Downtown.  

Like NY's, L.A.'s Broadway is a swathe of vintage theaters from the golden age of movie-making-and-going.  From the era when you could spend whole sweltering afternoons inside futuristically cooled and globally referenced and embellished entertainment palaces watching film after film.

Some of these theaters seem utterly untouched by time.  Someone turned off the lights and never came back it seems.  Whereas others.....

have become another animal altogether.   This one, gutted and resurrected as a retail destination, URBAN OUTFITTERS (also of the East Coast!)

And demographics being what they are, for those Urban Outfitters shoppers, yet ANOTHER TWO BOOTS PIZZA (also from NY!) right here, on Broadway.  

But change comes slowly.  If I am honest with you, L.A.'s Downtown is still very much about Latino families out shopping together.  But that is another kind of post.  

Although cafe culture is for the moment colonizing the Downtown-scape, how long will it last?

How to be properly accessorized for your stay at the Ace: standard poodles please!  Just skip the foofy-pocket-pets and go for scale! The Ace strives for a "low-key" vibe but that doesn't mean you can't live large.

The bearded guy with the giant Annie Hall sunglasses and wooly cap?  Yeah, he's your doorman at the Ace Hotel.  The check-in desk guy?  Maybe a little more what you'd expect......

Come back for Parts Two and Three? Cuz there are yet worlds to discover.

In Downtown L.A.  See you here.  Soon.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

NYC Winter

In NYC in the wintertime, there is one boiler for the whole building, and all the radiator heat rises so

sometimes people have to hang NAKED outside their open windows in 30 degree temps!  (I guess!)

In NYC in the winter, your car will get completely covered with salt. a proper NY-er.....

Maybe you could be a new kind of NY-er and GET ON YER BIKE!  (Or, that is, on some corporate entity's mobile advertising unit.)

If you are a proper NY-er, you wouldn't forget to visit Ceci-Cela.   It was one of the very first French pastry shops in town and most authentic.  It still is!  On a NYC winter day, it is a GOOD THING.

A young visitor to NYC once remarked to me that:  "There ARE no cars in NYC, only TAXICABS." (True-ish.)

David Beckham is EVERYWHERE!  There is a reason for that: the Dude is CUT! Yes, even in a white long sleeved shirt.  I'm telling you that from personal experience.  But that's all I can tell you.

In NYC, commerce is pervasive.  Even the quirkiest kind.  This is an "ad" for an antiques auction house.

This is the Bowery Bar.  It used the be the cutting edge of the cutting edge.  Now it's the kind of place you bring your Mother!  Either that, or it's always been your hang-out - piercings, tatts and all and now, you're old enough to be your Mother!!!!   How does that happen?  (So quick?)

This is why I left NYC!  I hate that dirty gray snow to match a dirty gray sky!  (This photo has been lightened and  color-enhanced.   Otherwise it would be just too depressing.)

But change is on the horizon.  i.e., nobody can afford to live in NYC anymore!  So they move away
in order to be able to afford to stay in hotels like the Standard (E. Village) instead?  Apparently.  (I did not.)

You could not have guessed that by the lines outside the Momofuku restaurant.  Can't remember if this was the noodle bar, or Momofuku Ssam.  But then, maybe all those queued-up crowds were from out of town?

In NYC when I visited, I didn't need giant signs to tell me this.  More pictures would have been taken if la Famille Paradis had not been so busy negotiating street-corner lakes of grey slush!

Casa Mono was the consolation for my snowy labors.  It still has some of the best food (tapas) in NYC.  Usually it is chock-a-block with happy foodies.  At 4 p.m. it looked like this.

At 3:45 p.m. it looked like this.  (That is rice pudding with, I believe, a passion fruit sorbet and a candied satsuma sauce.)   Chef's should love me because I completely forget to photograph their food until it is mostly all gone!  But sadly that makes me a BAD, BAD blogger.

Somewhere else to while away your gray winter afternoons: my old favorite:  THE STRAND BOOKSTORE.  Home from home!  Skip the mall-i-fied upstairs and go straight to the basement for that old-school East Village funk!

That was my Sunday two weeks ago in New York City.  How has your Sunday been?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Alta Moda - Mario Testino

Saw this show the other week at the Queen Sophia Spanish Institute in NYC.

 the colors were just gorgeous.

It was an antidote to endless melting snow-seas at every street corner and mud colored icebergs . They are photographs of the costumes of a Cusco, Peru folkloric dance group.

It was a lovely, sunny show.  The scale of the photos is enormous, displayed in pitch dark galleries.  So alive!  Still on through March 29, 2014.

I highly recommend these photos, wherever they end up in the world .  You will go to sleep with these lively warm colors behind your eyes.  I did.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Griottes - This Blog Makes Me Gasp with Pleasure and Surprise

Some of you may have noticed that I've updated my Blogroll a bit.

I've only visited this blog a couple of times but the colors, the styling, the photography.....

blow me away and make me desperately hungry.

Griottes, Palette Culinaire is made by Emilie, 29, a French Art Director.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ana Botezatu - Endlessly Creative

Happy Third Week in February!

I'm sharing with you the blog world's, indeed the world world's

Valentine's Day gift to me......

I just discovered this wonderful blog and artist, Ana Botezatu.

She lives in a place that has wonderful, colorful folk traditions, a close relationship to nature still,

and, as evidenced by her work, excellent art instruction!

Some people are just endlessly talented and creative.

Such an inspiration!

Do check her out!  Ana Botezatu

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Little L.A. Color! My Valentine to You

For Valentine's Day

There's never a bad time for it.

Is there?

Which one's do you like best?

The hot warm ones

or the cool shady ones?  Have a Happy One with Whoever You Love!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Musso and Frank's - For Valentine's Day, L.A.

Yes, outside

on the gritty, garish streets of old Hollywood,

life is always

a party.

And inside it continues but in a cooler, hipper, noir-ish


kind of way.  It's romantic and old school.

You'll be looking in all directions for those Ratpack-ey kinda guys

Lawford, Sinatra, Dino, Sammy......

The staff are true professionals.  They'll take care of you.

They mix the best, classiest, dirty martini in all of L.A.

There's plenty of room for ALL your buddies.

It's not really about the food, but how could you resist desserts like these?  Share one with someone you love.....c'mon it's Valentine's Day!

Why wouldn't you want to celebrate a special day with these happy, friendly people?

  Who are they?

They are Musso and Frank.  Check 'em out!

and enjoy your Valentine's Day!