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). 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Capturing White

I love my iPhone 6. The camera lens is much better than the 4 I upgraded from. But it does have one problem the 4 did not have: my 6 conks out in the cold. If I have it out of my pocket in 30 something temperatures, is goes dark after 3 minutes or so. So these photos are something of a miracle since I had to snap, snap, snap pretty quickly—keeping my hand on the phone while it was in my pocket so as to keep it warm. 

The things we do for art! This was the big snow storm of the winter (so far) from this past month. I dashed out to Sheep's Meadow—a stone's throw from my door—to capture the white. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Winter Solstice

Union Square 

Dickens joins Paderewski and Apollo

Carnegie Hall 

La Boite en Bois 

I'll be zipping around this morning as the Winter Solstice takes place at 11:28 AM; that moment when the sun seems to stop on the horizon, its movement arrested for but a moment before it starts climbing again. Though there isn't much shopping for me today; we're being pretty conservative on that front, just like the decorations.  

This will be the first Holiday in a very long time that I won't be singing anywhere, which is rather lovely. And I don't even think I will venture out to any performances as the weekend approaches. Total break. Total calm. Total Eclipse (which is an aria by Handel—for those in the know). You will find me, however, steaming a turkey a la Jacque Pepin, making stuffing and a few other dishes—and opening an expensive bottle of Pinot Noir. I'll also be making an Italian chocolate-almond torte from Alice Medrich's book Pure Dessert, which contains no flour and is as light as it is scrumptious. 

YES to more light!

Photos: Instagram—places I've been in the last 10 days

Thursday, December 14, 2017

First Snow at Lincoln Center

The first snow of Winter feel this past Saturday, which I captured while on the way to the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center—passing the reflecting pool with its wading Brontosaurus. Juilliard is in the background towards the right, while the Vivian Beaumont Theatre is off to the left—it's new blackbox theatre fitting snuggly on the roof. There were grumbles when it was constructed, the criticism being that it would destroy the line of building—and I suppose it does, but no one seems to mind now. That it's set back somewhat helps, no? 

The performing arts library is a great one—and not just for books. I've seen all kinds of famous people there doing research, the most recent being Bette Midler, who was researching Hello Dolly. The unwritten rule which New Yorkers seem to adhere too?  One sees but doesn't interact. You let people have their space and try not to stare. 

This space is home for me after having worked in the former State Theatre for more than two decades. In that time, I've witnessed the changes to Lincoln Center up close. This particular part of the campus has a new black granite pool as well as a beautiful forest of trees (out of range on the left). Expansive and modern, without erasing its 60's feel, I get excited just walking towards the library doors. There's gold to mind inside.

Photo via Instagram

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Are people coming back to blogging, traversing the space between this platform and Instagram after a few year's hiatus from blogger and the like? That remains to be seen, though I see several people are doing both, as you can see for yourself in the blog column on the right hand side of the page.

I travel (as much as I travel) in both worlds, which says more about my desire to make a little art (and it really is about that for me) than it does finding clients. I do have a professional webpage and blog, but let those sites speak for themselves. Hello! No need to shout. This space is for something more personal.

The difference between Instagram and this spaces is, of course, the writing aspect. And if you aren't great at putting words on a screen (I almost wrote pen to paper—ha), then, well... photos don't take as much time, do they? 

My Instagram art above—if you can call it that—involves the indiscriminate use of pattern upon pattern, books galore—which is nothing less than more pattern—and big scale—as big as one can be in a small room even if the ceilings are 11 feet. This may be the last time you see the room like this. The sofa is worn and likely going, as is the ottoman, which was distressed upon arrival—not that it matters so much. I am simply hungry for greater order, definition, and Victorian Modern—if that is possible. Like the upset election in Alabama yesterday, there is a time to break with the past without losing your values.

Photos via Instagram