Good lord yes, we are so sorry for dropping off the face of the earth for the past week. Actually, it wasn't that dramatic, we just went to Georgia for a couple of days and have been trying to get back into a New York State of mind ever since. No, silly, not the Georgia that was recently overtaken by the Russian battalions, the one that has seemingly been overtaken by good food, great cocktails and considered living. What's more, I must say that our Georgians were a hell of a lot more friendly and welcoming to us than those in the Caucasus were to their unexpected guests.
So, we ask for just a bit more patience as we get our Yankee legs under us and download our photos and memories of the Georgia on our minds. In the meantime, please enjoy this picture that I took while walking the trails of The Inn at Serenbe with Natasha. I call it, "The Turtle, the Millipede and the Fly", you may be able to see why.
As most Americans turned their heads and hearts to the heavens this 4th of July weekend, I set my gaze downwards to enjoy bursts of color and spectacular displays put on by mother nature rather than those provided by Macy's (no offense Natasha). Attempting to escape the melodic phrases of "God Bless America" for those of crickets and birds, I walked through the fields and forests that grace our friend's farm Pennsylvania farm Saturday afternoon. Exercising my right to bear arms and to shoot everything in sight, I captured and brought home the bounty of the day. On bent knee or in prone position I would seek out the unknown, the unusual and unsuspecting. Some that fell within my sights were well camouflaged, some were in sharp contrast to their surroundings, easy targets for my eager trigger finger. Breathe in, focus, focus, shoot! I got one, two, three! What a country, one nation, under foot. What an opportunity to leave the synthesized noise and plastic distractions of our adopted life behind to consider and reflect upon what this nation was really founded upon; a natural world of beauty and wonder, void of light beer, computer generated fantasy, right wings, left wings, cheese filled hot dogs, manmade gods and manmade fireworks.
Last Saturday found me and Natasha on Stamford Connectcut's Shipan Peninsula for our niece Sophia's third birthday party. As my sister and her husband ran off to Carvel for an ice cream cake and a few more carrots for the suburban mandate that is crudité, Natasha and I took Sophia down to the waterfront for a bit of romping around in the muck of low tide. As Sophia gathered kelp and seaweed under the somewhat watchful eye of Natasha, I managed to fall into beachcomber mode looking for any natural wonder or man made detritus I could find. As Sophia's equally keen eye for the unusual spied miniature shells and ladybugs, I began to find rather ornate and water-worn sherds of black pottery. As my Indiana Jones mind kicked into full gear, I wondered to myself, "what could this be"? Ancient Piquot pots broken in the bay as a part of some long forgotten fishing ritual? Evidence of a Pre-Columbian of Viking settlement, or just some industrial age garbage amongst the other crap that lines our nation's once pristine shores?
After a bit of thinking from my bird brain it came to me, these were broken pieces of clay pigeons that were released and mercilessly shot out of the sky by some shotgun-toting Connecticut Yankee. Mystery solved.
Although I am not one to promote the wanton defacing of other people's property, I am certainly less willing to draw a line in the sand and create an absolute definition of what we as community should consider art. Or for that matter, where our community's art should be placed. After all, each day we are faced with much more unsettling visual clutter on our urban landscape in the form of advertising and marketing campaigns designed to drive our consumerlicious society.
OK, let me get off my high horse for a moment and walk you up to what my actual point. The point is, there are very few times in the day when I see something that makes me stop, smile or feel connected. But it happened to me yesterday while walking down Water Street (at Pearl Street) here in DUMBO when I came across a stencil of an onion on a grey door and surrounded by various tags and marks. In all cases the names of the artists was a mystery, even with the guidance of Peter Sutherland and Revs' imprint of Autograf: York Citys Graffiti Writers (Powerhouse Books), I was helpless. I suppose I am a lot less street than I tell Natasha. But, back to the point.
Was the onion art? Were the tags art? Should I know? Should I care? What I do know is that I stopped to look, frame a photo and even notice the detail of each careful cut of artists blade into the stencil. The over spray, and the under spray that gave this flat piece dimension. Overall the onion was an interesting piece, skillfully drawn and composed, but certainly a lesser piece with out the brush strokes of the hastily painted door and the poetic stylization and drips of the tags behind it.
Brilliant art or rubbish, I didn't care, it moved me, as I believe it has moved the person who today was edging ever closer to the door with a roller loaded with beige paint. You better move fast before there is no longer a point to this entry.
When I was riding my bike around Williamsburg with Michael on Sunday, slightly annoyed that I had wasted 30 minutes of my life at the McCarren Park Craft Fair, I was excited to see the shiny wheels of the Sugar truck in front of me. And I hadn't even searched it out, it was just a fortuitous meeting, me, the truck and some sugary goods.
The Treats Truck is owned by Kim Ima, who bakes her Treats in Red Hook, bundles them on her truck and drives around the city, serving New Yorkers with a smile and some good ol' refined sugar. She even has an oven on the truck so that she can serve some warm chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven. The difference between this and your average corner bakery? These Treats are really, really good. Faced with the delectable vision of piles of cookies I wasn't sure what to pick. Having been sweetly offered a sample of the Mexican chocolate brownie (a slightly spicy, cinnamony brownie) I went for it. And it was fantastic. In general I love the idea of mobile sweet goods, but what really makes the experience is not the excellence of the goodies (although that really does help) but Kim's welcoming and approachable demeanour. I hope it remains this sunny in the dead of winter!
For almost two years now, N.C. and I have been discovering gorgeous waxy green seedlings growing from oranges that had fallen into the soil of our two miniature indoor orange trees from Chinatown. The other day we found an odd little white gem poking through the soil. A few days later, and much to our surprise, we realized what we had unfolding and growing in our pot was an albino orange seedling. Unfortunately, as Bio Bob tells us, our little curiosity has but a short time to live among its greener chlorophyll producing siblings. In other words, a slow imminent death awaits any plant that can not undertake photosynthesis to create energy beyond that which the original seed provides. Ah, the wonder and heartbreak of genetic mutation.
Found, and lost as well.
For a number of months now, observant New Yorkers have been treated to a twist on the traditional Lost & Found posters that have graced light posts, mailboxes and bulletin boards from coast to coast, and as long as one would care to remember. Although usual in format, these posters are unusual in that they only contain the handwritten words "LOST" or "FOUND" with a phone number in the same hand. No blurry photo of a sad faced family pet that answers to the name "Mr. Jingles" nor the desperate plea and reward for the return of a Rolex that holds a sentimental value far greater than its street value.
Curious callers will be dryly asked to press "one" to leave a message about something they have lost, or press "two" to leave a message about something they have found, it's that simple. A last prompt directs the listener to go to www.lostandfoundroom.com to hear what others have lost or found.
Devised by the New York based public art collaborative, Illegal Art, Lost & Found captures these uncensored snippets that run from the predictable, "I lost my virginity" to the pointed "I found that many people are ignorant" or the oddly heartfelt "I found out that I am not afraid to watch Saved By the Bell".
N & S's dog, Georgia found a bird's nest the other day. Georgia's a great dog, she find good things, and she's a small miracle because she looks like a big dog that has been zapped by a minimizer wand. And acts like it too.
N is giving the nest to George, a wonderful painter, who will no doubt will find it useful. He very kindly let me photograph it before taking it to his studio.
The poignant thing about this nest is that it isn't what you would expect from a normal bird's nest. It's a city bird's nest, with man-made objects muddled in with the usual twigs and leaves. There's ribbons and string, and it couldn't have been more perfect if I had imagined it.