Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
The world's greatest food critic has been told he has just 48 hours to live. So begins Muriel Barbery's Gourmet Rhapsody which has just become available in the English translation. The critic, who has built and destroyed reputations with the stroke of his pen, now longs for only one thing before he passes; one last taste. Although he has sampled exotic cuisine from a variety of nations, it is a sweet and simple food from his childhood that he recalls as sublime.
During a brief visit with T. who lived in Milan, Italy, her husband prepared a fine meal. Although Milan is a bustling large city, it is typical for people to shop for staples at small markets. We spent the morning gathering ingredients from the green grocer, the meat shop and the bakery. Each tiny shop had a distinct aroma and color. The grocer, the butcher and the baker took great pride in their food; you could tell from the way it was displayed, and how they handled and wrapped your selections. That evening, D. made divine gnocchi with meat sauce, and the little tomatoes in the salad were exquisite. Truly, one of the best meals ever.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
The cross is an ancient and basic symbol found in cultures throughout the world long before the Christian era. The Greek cross has four equal arms at right angles and generally implies the Church of Christ rather than the symbol of Christ’s suffering. The Greek cross appears on the flags of Greece and Switzerland as well as other nations and regions. It was adopted as the emblem of the Red Cross and now stands as a worldwide symbol of goodwill and humanitarianism. It is also the plus sign used in addition.
The symmetry and balance of the Greek cross is understandably appealing for design.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Yoshie Watanabe has illustrated books and calendars, while also working in product design and branding for various international companies. She created this 'mirror' card for Dedece. Although it is quite expensive ($15), it presents a magical moment rather than a fond greeting.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Photo: Lillian Bassman
Photo: Lillian Bassman
Photo: Lillian Bassman
Damon Winter/The New York Times
The photographer Lillian Bassman, now 92 years old, worked steadily from the late 1940's to the early 1960's creating expressive, gorgeous images mostly for Harper's Bazaar. Her composition, design, and the way she altered photos for dramatic flair, transformed and elevated fashion photography. Bassman's particular vision of women is ethereal and elegant; the female form is lushly celebrated and often abstract. Looking at her images, the beauty of the models is immediate; they are neither risqué nor innocent, but instead confident and whole beings captured in a moment of reflection. This fall, Abrams is releasing a new book of Bassman's work, Lillian Bassman: Women.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
There's always a lot of interesting detail in Quentin Tarantino's films. Although some film makers may introduce a prop in one scene, only so it can pop up later as a plot device, Tarantino will boldly introduce a thing, and sidestep any explanation. In his latest film, Inglourious Basterds, the notes that are not played are as important and effective as his carefully woven soundtrack.
Brad Pitt is cast as Aldo Raine, the WWII team leader of eight Jewish American soldiers whose mission is to infiltrate Nazi occupied France and terrorize the Third Reich by brutally torturing and annihilating Nazi soldiers. Although the time, the cities, the clothing and villains are historically accurate, this is an altered reality with a preposterous if imaginative ending. There are other characters and subplots, but that's the gist of it without giving too much away. If you're a Tarantino fan (like me), hearing any description of the music or villains or catchy dialogue beforehand is much like knowing the ending; better to know as little as possible to fully experience what we've waited years for him to create.
For the 2009 summer movie rollout, Star Trek was the beginning and Inglourious Basterds was the end.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Heath Ceramics has been creating classic tableware and tile in Sausalito , California since the 1940's. Last year, they opened a retail store and gallery in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. Business is booming, and last night I attended a busy reception at which grilled cheese sandwiches were served. My friend said, "They're making them with irons on ironing boards, just like we did in college!" Not that we actually attended college together, but I realized she has ironed sandwiches and I have not. I never lived in a dorm, nor had a gang of roommates and innately grilled my sandwiches in a skillet on a stove. "They taste the same as I remember," she added. The funny thing is that I know that must be true, because they tasted nothing like grilled cheese made in a pan.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Mymble is one of the eccentric characters from the Moomin series (children's books, comic strips,television programs) created by Tove Jansson. Originally released in Swedish, the Moomins have had a steady and adoring international readership since 1945. Now, a lacquered aluminum pendant lamp pays homage to Mymble's signature hairstyle.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
* click on image to enlarge
"Whatever you think can’t be done, somebody will come along and do it. A genius is the one most like himself."
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
(1922) Nosferatu - Count Orlok has nothing to hide.
(1983) The Hunger - Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie=chic bloodletting.
(1972) Blacula - Prince Mamuwalde from Africa dons the cape.
According to the popular Twilight series (the books and film) and the successful HBO show True Blood, contemporary vampires are portrayed as small-town-loving, truck driving, working class folk. There are only so many castles in Transylvania, so I'm all for bringing vampires to the masses. The best revision of late is delivered in the (2008) Swedish film, Let the Right One In; the vampire is understandably a loner, a transient with no attachment to companions, a home or social protocol.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Galco's Soda Pop Stop is a local treasure that proudly offers, "...over 450 different sodas in glass bottles and half forgotten candies." I saw at least twenty different varieties of root beer and cream soda, along with the more exotic; coconut, cucumber and banana sodas.
If you think that bubble gum cigarettes are no longer made, you're mistaken. A colorful display of those and other 'classic' candies rest in what I believe was an old produce counter.
The staff knows the ins and outs and ups and downs of soda history, and will happily recommend something new and interesting, or old and fascinating for that matter.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Joie de vivre: Etymology: French, literally, joy of living
Nathalie Lete is a French artist who lives and works in Paris. Mixing different techniques and mediums she has embraced illustration, ceramics, jewelry making, painting and rug design. Looking at her studio, and the vintage toys she refers to as 'the heroes of her work', it's easy to recognize her wry humor and flamboyant use of color. Appreciating crafts as much as fine art, it is especially inspiring for me to see an artist that has been successful in so many different mediums, whose work is always distinctly personal.
There's no other way to describe my feeling for that octopus rug...it's LOVE.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Map lovers look beyond the atlas or a table globe.
Envelope yourself in a paper world...
or drift off with just a bit of the world as a quilt...
or a soft, handmade blanket with your hometown stitched in silk...
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
John Wayne is introduced to moviegoers as 'The Ringo Kid' in John Ford's 1939 Western Stagecoach. Note the distinctive landscape.
I'm fortunate to have traveled to places very different from the cities where I've lived. One place especially unearthly and surprisingly dreamlike was Monument Valley. Being there, just standing there on that desolate, red soil with the 'mitten' buttes in the distance and nothing else for miles and miles was astonishing.
I thought having seen the valley in so many photos and movies would give it a sense of familiarity, but the views, the sheer scope can't be captured on film. I wanted so much to go horseback riding but drove around the valley with a Navajo guide instead. It was a very cold day in February and he refused to wear a coat.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
After seeing Julie & Julia, I was inspired to cook. I cook every day, what I mean to say is I was motivated to make something new, that required a trip to the market for mysterious ingredients.
If you flip through any food magazine or cookbook on the stands today, you'll see beautiful photographs, styled with flair using the most elegant and interesting tableware and accessories. It's easy to get distracted from cooking when you simply MUST know where that Celadon plate is sold and whether something comparable is on EBay.
Food hasn't always been so photogenic. Early cookbooks had line illustrations or a handful of photos like the ones above (circa 1957 Betty Crocker).