Saturday, July 27, 2019

Nothing to see here

Just the same old boring living room on a summer day: contrasting colors, warm and cool, fighting for light. 

I'm mostly at Instagram these days as is everyone else who used to post on blogger. So, in effect, there is nothing to see here—large masses of photos at IG taking the place of words, writ, thought, and extended expression—the eye taking precedence over the ear. 

You knew, did you not, that the ear is involved in reading? 

Yep. It's true. 

It takes more time to listen than it does to look. That being the case, one might say that people aren't listening very much nowadays. I thought of this especially a few days ago, when criticism of Mr. Mueller was largely about his "show factor" rather than the facts of the case. 

Don't let your eyes fool you.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Umbrian Serenades Dinner Party

Before. During. After. 

I had a dinner party for members of Paulo Faustini's Umbrian Serenades—most of us singing in Spoleto, Italy, during one year or another—so moved the dining table into the middle of the room, revealing my mother's 1930's Persian in the process. 

There was Prosecco; gourmet Mac-N-CheeseRustic French PâtéProvence Chicken; salad, pears and cheese for dessert; and a lot of wine! 

The Buddha made his was back to the mantel as I was setting the room up (Sarah Bernhardt is on the other side), ensconced in a 1950's or 60's Italian frame from the Antique Garage on 24th Street in Chelsea that is no more.

(Needless to say, I am hardly, if ever, venturing forth for new old things. But that's fine: I have enough already for a smallish one-bedroom apartment in the heart—oh blessed me—of Manhattan.) 

You have to make your fun, right? That's what we did that night. 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Almost Christmas

There was Thanksgiving dinner using the emerald green dinnerware I brought back from Paris courtesy of Tuile a Loup, followed the day after by decorating for Christmas, which took all of 10 minutes—longer to find the boxes in storage if one is counting minutes. 

Good that I decorated so easily and quickly since I somehow managed to mangle the meniscus in my right knee a few days later. Weeks ago now, I am finally walking more normally, and hope to be back to something resembling full function by Spring. No more working out on the rowing machine, but I have rediscovered the pool. Add physical therapy and rolfing into the mix and you have a plan. 

Thanksgiving and emerald green plates meant I could also use the lovely etched pink and green goblets that were given to me by my sisters last year at Christmas. Four in all, we had elegant French pinot noir with Jacque Pepin's steamed turkey—again, a repeat now for several years.  

The Christmas decorations? The same as last year, which was a repeat from the year before. No imagination whatsoever. Gilded pine cones and fake cranberry garland which I have added to since the photo was taken—augmenting with more pine cones. Simple. Which is how things are in life right now with writing and teaching, keeping one foot in front of the other. 

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

More Shade

More of my father's lamp with its newly restored shade in natural light, which seems to be all the rage in photographs of interiors. Is that just me noticing this? Derry Moore has been doing it for a long time, but it seems to have become a thing on Instagram and elsewhere. 

This is my iPhone 6 version. Not a great camera lens by any means, but if there is enough light, one can turn out a decent photo, which may explain why smartphones are selling like hotcakes. That said, I am not ready to plunk down a cool grand for a new phone, thank you very much. 

I love the dance of textures between the green and caramel silk and the rough books behind. It's a working library of scores and book after all. The pedestal is on rollers—don't you know—so I have easy access when needed. I will reorient the file boxes so they aren't so prominent, and move the head of Apollo—whose head is just peeking out on the bottom left. 

The lamp is like a beautiful debutant in a Bohemian garret—which reminds of Puccini's operas La Rondine and La Boheme. Gorgeous lines and melody singing, singing, singing.

Friday, November 9, 2018

My Father's Lamp

My father's 1950's quartz crystal Carole Stupell lamp had been sitting on the floor in the apt for the last 4 years since his death when I decided that, no, I wasn't going to sell it. Keeping it? I would have to find a place for it. That meant making the antique oak table behind the desk disappear. So I did: I donated the table to Housing Works on Columbus Avenue—the very same place where I picked it up about 15 years ago. 

I had Pedestal Source make a 30 inch tall base on casters that fit snuggly up against the wide bookcase near the window: the idea being the lamp would warm up a corner of a room that only receives cool northern rays. The nice thing is that I can move the pedestal to access books and scores. I am really pleased with it. Pedestal Source does beautiful work. 

The shade was restored by Just Shades on Spring Street here in New York City. I took the original frame (which had been covered in worn teal colored silk) to Joan with 2 yards of caramel colored silk from Mood Fabrics in Midtown—then waited a month for it to return. There was a snag however: as they were laminating the fabric at the factory, it became clear that there was a defect that would show on the front. Oops! So back I went to midtown to hunt down the bolt, which was unrolled to the beginning for 3 clean yards. Another month went by and I got the call to pick the new shade up—the pedestal arriving only a few days later. Happy Man. 

So here we are with a huge Hollywood Regency (or would that be Palm Beach Modern?) statement in a quite modest Manhattan apt—the quartz crystals soaking up the energy of the City and beaming back light. Something like that anyway, right? Or just looking pretty nifty. 

I love the thing: the undulating shade, the gold, the sparkle, and the remembrance of my father digging it out from the back of an antique shop at the Golden Nugget Flea market in Lambertville, New Jersey. He bargaining it down to nothing. Uncanny that. He loved beautiful baroque things. 

So do I. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Goodbye Summer

I've been nesting. That's one way to put it. 

I came home from two glorious weeks in Paris (see my instagram), fell into a funk, then found myself interested in moving things around at home. Maybe that's because I brought back gorgeous emerald green dinnerware from Provence with me? Whatever the reason (I'll have a post on my plates in due course), I have a rearrangement of furniture in mind, and caramel-colored silk on the brain—to go with the introduction of my father's Carole Stupell crystal lamp into the living room space. 

And yes, the pink is nuts, but I still love it. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Central Park Lake at Dusk

Snapped with my iPhone last night at dusk, there being enough light to capture the skyline, clouds, and lake below. Curiously, as I was leaving, I passed a gaggle of photographers making their way to this very spot—toting tripods and cameras. Yeah, I thought. I should get one of those! Two more minutes and this shot would have been really fuzzy—even more fuzzy than it is now. That said, it retains a degree of calm. And don't we need that? 

I woke to news of 45 blowing up trade agreements and glass-lighting Canada. God. I love Canada and Canadians. The times I have been in Toronto have been special. Can't wait to go back. I hope they know there is a large block of bipartisan Americans that stand with our allies. Someday, our current madness will have passed. It can't come soon enough, both for us and the rest of the world. Meanwhile, we must keep making art, music, dance, poetry—and love. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Studio Light

A photo of the studio snapped about a month ago when the light changed from winter to spring. Since then, it's been chilly but ever brighter. I'm very much used to my mother's 1930's Persian now, which felt very busy at first, and am plotting a simpler setting of soft furniture. Something modern: a tufted sofa with mid-century lines with accompanying chairs; an ottoman with legs so as to create more sense of space; and a letting go of the table behind the sofa. The desire for more room around the major pieces drives the whole plan as well as the acknowledgment that the Persian is the star of the show. 

Speaking of big statements, I am still working on much larger mirror, the frame of which is in the basement, patiently waiting for its moment. And I do need to paint the bookshelves on the left. You noticed that, right? I do. Every time I see a photo like this and walk into the room. Stuff to do. Like everything else in life, it takes some planning and execution. Let's see what we can get done by midsummer. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Ghost Chair

Walking home after Brunch at La Boite en Bois around the corner, and what did we find sitting on the sidewalk? A Philippe Starck Ghost Chair. So, of course, we brought it home, and there it sits in front of the fireplace creating modern mayhem in my mind. Yes, you can find all manner of things thrown out in the trash, but cool things? Not so much anymore—which is why one must be quick. Will it stay? For now, yes—and why not? One could do worse. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Fading Tulps on a Winter's Day

I snapped them yesterday after plunking them down on the mantel, their petals being one shake away from falling all over the floor—which they did this morning when I went to give them a bit of water. Done. Gone. Over. 

I love tulips, especially when they go wild. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Michelangelo at the Met

A crush of people greeted us at the Michelangelo exhibition at the Met—perhaps the the most crowded I have ever been at Manhattan's great museum, notwithstanding what one faces at rush-hour in the subway. The first two rooms were the worst, and then things got better. We went on the last weekend, and I would have gone again, but it wasn't meant to be. 

Having been in Rome multiple times to see the Sistine Chapel, I was struck by the hint of grandeur at this exhibition. Go to Rome! I wanted to tell everyone. This is great. We'll never get to see these drawings again, but you really must see the man in his element. 

One huge drawing in the last room (not seen here) came closest to capturing Michelangelo writ large, while the smaller works revealed the artist's affection for various nobles—homoeroticism shining through work after work. The man loves men—that much was clear: he was the first artist to use male figures as guards on the ceiling of the aforementioned chapel, and gives them (to these eyes anyway) a great deal more attention than he does to that of women. His male figures aren't the jacked anorexic wonders you see today on Instagram. No, these men have flesh and muscle, angles and bulk. 

Did Michelangelo go all classical at the end of his life? That's the impression this viewer was left with in the final room. And by classical, I mean a retreat into geometry as spirituality. Architecture drawings predominated, as well as a model of the dome of the Vatican. Very glad I saw it. Now, I must get back to Rome (and Florence).