Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

M and I left ol' Pink Eye back at the Valley Ho-ser and hit up the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (or SMoCA... it rolls, no?  No.) to check out the James Turrell piece, Knight Rise.  (Funny that James Turrell is totally trending these days anyway due to his current retrospective at the LACMA.  Hipsters be lovin' Turrell.)  We went at dusk, so we could peep the piece with the changing light.


and here:

It was pretty cool.  Nice and peaceful, forcing you to really NOTICE.  Or just to relax and wait.  And watch.

M and I really loved the light play as you walked to the Turrell piece.  Here are some shots of how the light reflects off the prismatic bits on the glass walls.

Of course with a cactus.

M, ever the photographer, had some fun photographing me through the filter-box that Julianne Swartz had set up.

Speaking of Ms. Swartz, who I was unfamiliar with before, damn does that lady do some good art.  Her art is interactive, working multiple senses at once.  Now I'm listening, now I'm opening, now I'm moving something, now something's moving around me.  Now that's stimulation!  There's an element of discovery to what she does, as well.  Because how often do we adults really discover anything (besides having diabetes or lack of xmas bonuses) anymore?  It feels good.  M and I stood there, listening or watching, and moving around to listen or watch in a different way.  

This, this.  This is my favorite kind of art.  Julianne Swartz is a genius.  She deserves much more renown, methinks.

AZ Intro

I met up with B and our friend Monika in Arizona, of all places.  Random, and honestly we had not planned to be in AZ but it was convenient and sunny and good for road trippin' and so it ended up to be a vacation salvager.  Thanks be to Arizona!

We stayed at the Hotel Valley Ho in downtown Scottsdale, which is recommended.  They did a bang-up job renovating this old Scottsdale hotel, leaving enough of the atomic vibe, but making it comfortable and modern.  The bar scene was also much livelier than that at the hotel where we almost stayed, the similarly retro-modern Saguaro.

This was the view from our balcony the first morning in Arizona.  Nice, right?

We did our best in Scottsdale, which was definitely not our scene.  We were all excited to find a "speakeasy" cocktail bar, which had some rules posted outside, where we had to wait to be escorted in after calling on a private phone.  But when we got inside, the decor felt more Residence Inn than Milk & Honey (the OG modern speakeasy).  And the "mixologist" (yuck, yuck, quick calling them that!) who came to help us was all, like SHOUTING at us, O-M-G, about the COCKTAILS, you know, you guys, and was she, like, wait... is that one of the Arizona Cardinals...?  Yeah, it was gross.  And M's cocktail was bad but the cheer-ologist did comp us for it.  Still, no.  The best meal we had was at a Japanese joint in an outdoor mall run by a James Beard regional semi-finalist.  That was a treat!

B turned up in Scottsdale with not only a nasty cold, but a crusty pink eye full of--PINK EYE!  Yuck-O!  I found I was better at working switches and knobs with my elbows than I'd given myself credit for. (Dear Self, Add new skill to resume?)  And I was constantly wiping my hands with straight alcohol wipes, injection prep-style.  I am happy to report that due to my vigilance, the pink eye virus died right there at the Valley Ho-tel.  Or maybe B left a little in the rental car or perhaps in Jerome, AZ.  But know that we did not bring any crusty eyes to fancy Palm Springs.  Nuh-uh.

Here I am showing off my new jewelries, purchased at the super super swell Chief Dodge in Scottsdale.  Oh, to be head-to-toe in turquoise!

This is my new ring of agate from Montana, made by a Navajo artisan.

And look!  My perm is still in effect!  Must be that dry desert air.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Man With The Cans

Before I leave St. Louis, there's one more thing.

I met a man, he had many cans.  (He was not called Stan.)  He had a plan for the cans--on his wall, not in a van.  Many decades and countries do they span, these cans.  If you like graphic design, you will be a fan.

Fashion + Chess

One of the highlights of my trip to St. Louis was the current exhibition at the World Chess Hall of Fame, A Queen Within.  First of all, that says World.  So, FACE.  St. Louis is a global city, y'all!

No, but really, this exhibit could have been dropped right into the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, as is.  It's legit.  St. Louis is lucky to have an exhibit of this caliber on, so if you live there and you haven't seen it yet--go.  Really, GO.  It is stellar.

You can read more about the show here.  There is tons of McQueen, some Margiela and Viktor & Rolf and Iris Van Herpen, but also some newer/smaller/indie-er folks like Minju Kim (you know I love) and Vibskov and Sandra Backlund... which leads me to the fact that the whole thing was curated by a Swedish lady called Sofia Hedman.  Just more evidence that Swedes are everywhere.  Also also, the custom headpieces by Charlie Le Mindu are extraordinary.  I would have paid just to see them, honestly.  You can see some here

I am interested to see where the exhibit will go next, as I heard they're in talks for it to travel.  I hope more people can see it, as it's really great.

Besides all of this, it's a fine museum and the hall of fame part is good, too.  I wish I'd had more time to read about the inductees, but luckily there's a bit of that online, as well.

Scenes from St. Louis

I spent about 11 days in my hometown, which happened to be about 20 degrees F warmer than Stockholm at the time.  I'll take it!  It was a pretty relaxing time, though I was on the go a bunch.  There's never enough time when I'm home, but I got in some quality time with those I love.  Still, it was sad to go.

Here are some photos.

Hilde, the fat cat living in suburban luxury.

She's a darling, even if she's not a big snuggler--though I do force that issue, believe it.

I went with my parents to see that movie Jerusalem at the IMAX in the Science Center.  First, the Science Center is FREE!  But it also kinda sucks, so there's that.  There is a giant animatronic T. Rex and Brontosaurus scene happening, but after I deemed it un-Instagrammable (bad angles) I was bored.  The most exciting part was when my kitten heel got caught in the wonky hem of my coat and I nearly ate shit on the stairs in front of the T. Rex jam.  Talk about almost making myself extinct!  Har har!

Oh right, I was gearing up to slam that Jerusalem movie, though maybe my beef is actually with the whole IMAX/Omnimax/70 mm format.  (I mean, Benedict Cumberbatch did narrate Jerusalem so that counts for something.)  But yeah, initializing slam...  I had seen something on the IMAX years and years ago and remember thinking it was cool to be flying above the world or in outer space or whatever it was.  I just remember thinking 70 mm was pretty awesome.  Oh, how much I've wimped out in 20 years.

As we (and the rest of the grey hairs--it was a mid-day Tuesday showing) ascended to take our seats (they let you into the theater at the bottom), I already had a bad feeling.  That biz is steep.  Vertigo alert!    (How do the olds manage when my 38-year-old self can barely hang?)  We found our spot and not only did I feel like I was gonna fall out of my seat if I leaned over too far, but damn that screen is close-to-the-OSE.

The movie started and at the opening (swirling, no doubt) shot, my mom and I looked at each other with "oh shit" eyes and weak stomachs.  This was gonna be bad.  Real bad.  The movie kept going--zooming, spiraling, sweeping--and I wanted to leave.  But how to get down the row (past the other seniors) and navigate the steep stairs to get the hell out??  Attempting to leave could play out worse than me just sitting there with my eyes closed, thinking un-nauseating thoughts.  So I stayed.  But seriously, no one needs to be THAT close.  I am not that close to people in real-effing-life, why do I want to be that close on a screen?  This thing is trying to be realer than life, and I guess it is.  Also, the zooming and panning?  I could appreciate the beautiful scenery more if you could just leave the camera in place for a freaking minute so I could really take it all in.  Quit flying me around!  Yuck, yuck, barf.  The director's name is Daniel Ferguson and I know because I plan to write him a letter.  I am trying to be more eloquent than "Go fuck yourself", however.  I'll get there.

The best part of the IMAX day was visiting Uncle Leo at his home in Dogtown. His home is meticulous--everything tidy and in its place.  I wanted to snap more photos, but it was sorta dark in there.  Still, cool.

 My mom treated me to a pedicure.  Fancy times.

I took to ordering my coffee in the St. Louis Bread Co. drive through.  I mean, why should I have to exit my vehicle to get a cuppa?  (Ha!  I just remembered the garrulous guy working inside who kept going on about Jody Foster [with a bit of Streep bashing, even] while he made my CUP-paccino.)

 Lunch downtown with Maura and my mom.

 Katie brought some ancient photos to brunch one day.  Check out the babies below!  I think this was '91.  Man, I used to love that Nanette Lepore dress.

 Making cookies with the little ladies!  What a great night.

Aunt Helen tries glögg on Christmas day!  We had the cognac version.


Oh boy, it's been about 4 weeks living out of a suitcase.  I managed to come back to Stockholm for 2 days and swap out the big suitcase for a smaller one, but then it was back to a hotel room for another week.  I was in the United States for about 3 weeks to visit family and friends--in St. Louis for 11 days and in Arizona and California for another 8 days.  And then I spent the last week in Shanghai.  I'm going to try to get all caught up here today because there were some fantastic times.  B is in Tokyo now, so I plan to do things like re-organize closets and snuggle with Chi-kitty (on my lap now, good start) this week.  Oh and also the big fabric guy is in the office this week and there's a full-day workshop on Thursday and ugh ugh ugh... back to real WORK.  Gonna have to clear a path on my desk tomorrow morning.

But before I get started, I want to give a shout out to my immune system, which has not been having any of the viral trash that's been going around.  Cold viruses be frontin' to the left and right and my immune system be all like:  STEP, PLAYAS.

Seriously.  Byron turned up in Arizona with a killer cold and pink eye (pink eye!!), Marjan also had a douzy of a viral cough kicking, and I just got back from hack-a-minute Shanghai and feel (knock on wood) fine.  Surviving this shit on screwy sleep hours and germy planes has really been a wonder.  So props to you, my usually feeble immune system.  Can we go until at least Summer, please?