Saturday, November 30, 2013

Leaning towards the light

I told myself that I wouldn't post anything remotely "Christmas-y" until well into December, but here it, the last last day of November, and I have uploaded a new "header" which screams jingle bells. What gives? Darkness, for one thing: I want light long into the night, be it the gleam of of old ornaments in candlelight, even if it is from an old photograph. Light upon light, it provides a touchstone to all that is important: family and friends, and love that crosses time and space.  

The photo in this post was taken three years ago, as was the header which appears above. I went all out that year (at least for me), crafting a heavy garland of magnolia leaves in which I intertwined my grandmother's antique pink ornaments from the 1930's with gilt pinecones (we're talking gold spray paint, ok?). What will I do this year? The jury is out, but I am leaning towards a slimmed down version of this arrangement. A party is in the works for the second week of December, which presents an excellent opportunity for creativity. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Snow in Spoleto

Image via Facebook

No, I am not in Spoleto, Italy right now. But I wish I was, if only to see this beautiful view of the Duomo, surrounded by snow. I've only been there during the summer, attending Umbrian Serenades, a truly fabulous choral and cultural program founded by Paulo Faustini. I've been blessed with being a member of Umbrian Serenades for the past three years, each time singing a concert on the porch of the Duomo (there are three other concerts each year in stunning spaces), which has beautiful acoustics, the sound ringing out into the piazza. It's a very special place, and a very special program. I can't wait to return this summer! 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Macklowe Gallery

My buddy Steve was in town last week we had an adventure while walking up Madison after venturing into Bloomingdales. 

We walked past a store which had three Tiffany lamps displayed in the window which caught our eye. Steve and I stopped and starting talking about my mother's sale at Sotheby's this past summer, when—all of a sudden—a handsome man on the other side of the glass good-naturedly waved us in.   

Upon entering, handsome man and I knew we had met before, and before I could figure out where, he said: "We met in the elevator at Sotheby's!" And indeed we had! He had been most enthusiastic about my mother's lamps, and here we were standing in his beautiful gallery.  

Presto, chango— Benjamin Macklowe of Macklowe Gallery invited us downstairs to view his Tiffany lamps. A more gracious gentleman you will not meet. Of course, the first lamp that caught my eye was a prism lamp very similar to the one my mother sold at Sotheby's. 

Mr. Macklowe has a stunning collection of  Tiffany lamps, which comprises the heart of the gallery's business. They are beautifully displayed against a background of gilt wallpaper which brings out the gorgeous coloring of Tiffany's glass. My iPhone photos really don't do them justice!  

There was a time when Tiffany glass was considered old fashioned, a view which I have come to see as misguided and uniformed. The great beauty of the these lamps can work in maximalist and minimalist interiors as long as everything else in the space respects their level of craftsmanship which is unsurpassed.

For me, these lamps are like going to the opera. They are emotional, unabashedly extroverted and full of vibrant color—all the things you want in a great opera singer. 

And like any great piece of music, these lamps tell a story and well as have a story. I have only to reflect on how my father acquired his own Tiffany lamps back in the 60's, when you could find them for a pittance of their current worth. 

One had been stored in a coal cellar, and arrived home pitch black, only to reveal its brilliant coloring upon cleaning, while another was acquired after being the odd man out at a estate sale. It was the only thing left when my father arrived! No one wanted it. 

How times have changed. Now Tiffany's lamps are highly prized, and I consider myself very fortunate to have lived with them most of my life. Their aesthetic defines my childhood, life as a musician, and memories of my father. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Central Park Fall Foliage

I took these photos on the way home from the East Side last week, capturing three flaming trees just south of the Bethesda Terrace. Everyone was snapping away, and I joined them too, pointing my dinky iPhone up into the fiery furnace. Burn, baby, burn! 

Dinky iPhone, CameraBag App, Lolo Setting