Friday, February 26, 2010


One week ago, I had yet another pleasurable experience at the San Francisco ballet. Program 3 of the company's 2010 Season featured Balanchine Masterworks, with three luminous ballets: Serenade, Stravinsky Violin Concerto and Theme and Variations. Watching dancers move gracefully across the stage can be so transcendent and hypnotic, I often forget that their performance has taken practice after practice after practice to reach the flawless whole it has become. It's as if this one leap of the legs or that one sweep of the arms were spontaneous acts driven by a nameless passion or a fleeting emotion, void of rehearsal. It's the bliss of being in the audience, I suppose. It's fun to fantasize about being a ballerina, sending lightness and freedom from limb to limb.

Perhaps the only way to interpret 'Masterworks' is through one's own personal relationship to the movements. What does it mean to open oneself up to acceptance as opposed to curling inward from fear? Do I freeze up, go with the flow or speedily escape from the scene? Does the peripheral view give pleasure or evoke repulsion? I'm reminded, of course, of a course I took in college, called 'The English Literary Renaissance'. At the time, I did not subscribe to my professor's mode of discussion, as he always lectured with that leading question: "But how did the poem make you feel?" Wrapped up in pending essays and tests, I didn't care how Spenser's Faerie Queen made me feel, I wanted to know what it meant. Now, I see he was on to something.

I was on to something, too, but now I forget. Oh, yes, Balanchine. It's all in the emotions. The emotions of the motions, to put it ever so plainly. The shadow of one beautiful form draped weightless upon the other. So pretty. So very, very pretty.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Could Triple-Axel Turn to Gold?

That's my attempt at 'headline journalism.' I'm not much of a sports fan, but when it comes to the Olympics every few years or so, I do like to take a little dip into the talk, the hype and the moves.

South Korea's Kim Yu-Na may have dominated last night's ladies' short program in figure skating (ranking 1st place) but I have my fingers crossed for Japan's Mao Asada (who ranked 2nd and is pictured above) when the two world champions go for the Gold in Thursday's long program. Last night, Asada was the only skater to attempt-slash-rock the triple axel, but it wasn't enough to rack up the points. I'm not incredibly hip to how they score these things, but my guess is that with Yu-Na's technique, experience, celebrity, and personality (she danced to James Bond music) she's the obvious favorite with the judges.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter who wins (although I'm sure they, and most Olympians, would disagree with me--like I said, I'm not much of a sports fan). I just get a lot of pleasure watching the greatest skater in the world hit it on the ice!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


For the past few years, not much has changed in terms of my 'Top 25 Most Played' songs on iTunes. About 1/5 of the tunes come from "The Milk-Eyed Mender," Joanna Newsom's whimsical debut album that, since its release 6 years ago, continues to open its petals upon every pluck of the harp, revealing more and more tenderness and beauty.

Just a few weeks ago and, at the time, oblivious to the upcoming release of "Have One On Me," I half-asked/half-announced to David A.: "You know who's fallen off the face of the planet? Joanna Newsom." "Not so fast," he retorted, before altering my awareness of Joanna Newsom trivia from ignorant of to hip to.

Alas, February 23rd hath arrived and I wouldn't let the day go without a download. The verdict? It's love at first to be expected, although I have yet to hear the album all the way through! I suppose we'll just have to see how the percentage of songs by Joanna Newsom evolves on my "Top 25 Most Played."

In the meantime, still waiting on those SF tour dates...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Growing in Circles

'Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth'
-John Keats from Endymion, book 1

It's official. I must make a wreath for spring. Whether it be on my wall or head (let's say the former, for the sake of reality...although you never know how dress-up may evolve), I want to gather sprigs and twigs and berries and herbs and flowers and weave them together, until they are one never-ending shape. I like some of these arrangements I found on Martha Stewart's website, but I could use a little more inspiration. Any ideas?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Soul Fed

A picture's worth a thousand! To look directly in and see it all. My camera allows what these eyes can't always handle, letting me look straight into the sun as it sets into the Ocean. Beach.

A skating twist stays low and makeshift because there are no rules in the Olympics of the heart.

View from Mount Tam as fog rolls onto Stinson, making this beach day and any a questionable one...but not forgettable.

Redwoods in constant chatter, hold court on Steep Ravine. You think they know each other, but do they to the roots?

Nature-made Valentine at Point Reyes. It's not something you can hold, hand over or stuff into an envelope. (Although you can surely scatter glitter, sprinkles or heart-shaped confetti--at the risk of abandoning the rule: leave no trace.) It's more a place you can be taken, taken to, or a place you can take. A place you can return to and never return. A mess of dangling prepositions, but is it not perfection to be 'with'?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sonnet 98

From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him,
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odor and in hue,
Could make me any summer's story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.
Nor did I wonder at the lily's white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seemed it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.


Monday, February 8, 2010

New York, je t'aime

Yesterday, it was hard to pine for New York's winter under a San Francisco sun. The Bay Area found itself in a glow, 100 % independent from all the TV screens playing the Super Bowl. I soaked in every hint of ray I could, not for one second missing my beloved coziness of gray clouds or rain. Snow, on the other hand, I could handle for maybe another day or two. I got a cozy taste of that on my not-so-long-ago trip to NYC. I better blog about it one more time before I'm completely swept up into a San Francisco Spring. So here we have raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...aka my favorite things:

Let me open the doors for you with lunch at The Spotted Pig! We ate burgers, fries, chicken liver on toast, smoked haddock chowder and mulled wine. A dream meal, with some surprises!

A must-see: 'A Woman's Wit: Jane Austen's Life and Legacy' exhibit at the Morgan Library & Museum. For all you New Yorkers out there who've yet to visit the library, watch the 16 minute film before seeing the actual exhibit. It gives great context, as well as loads of inspiration.

Laughing on the street corner with Sophie, in her pretty pink coat and black-rimmed glasses.

In the mood to sort through piles upon piles of vintage cookbooks? Joanna Hendrick's cookbook store in Soho is the place to be.

Dreaming of plum season...

Rainy day with Rachel, under an enormous umbrella! I love those German rain-boots.

I finally got to see Broadway's musical revival of Westside Story. Now my relationship with the story transcends the 1960's movie screen, as it progresses onto a new stage and into a new century and a new time.

I can't visit NYC without bringing home my one and only souvenir. I never miss a mug at La Terrine on 73rd and Lex.

My mom and I came across this gem of a gallery owned by Mark Murray. While it felt more like a cozy home from another decade than an art space, the collection was beautiful as was the art from the London gallery they rent out to.

Paintings don't just hang at this gallery. They lean too.

When can I move in?

Oh, friends! Rachel, Peter and Ian gave me a great final night, making it so hard to leave! We did it all: ordered rabbit's feet, shared some angels and drank dragon tears. Oh, how I miss that state of mind...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Knee-Deep in Briones

During last Sunday's muddy loop around Briones Regional Park with Liz, I think (stress on 'think') I saw a coyote. First it was a mountain lion, then it was a coyote...and I'm sticking to it!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chelsea Girls

One of my favorite activities when visiting NYC is gallery hopping in Chelsea. And I usually don't know it's my favorite thing to do until I finally arrive and am led around by my private art gurus, Heather (my sister and Ms. LA in Bloom herself, pictured above) and Melissa (one of our oldest friends from home and proud Brooklyn resident). They take me to the best galleries, the ones that exhibit work often written up in The New Yorker. As good as a go around in a museum, I find these experiences worthwhile because of the variety of art and the way it is all curated. Each gallery has its own angle and approach to art. One of the places we visited was the David Zwirner gallery, currently showing "Primary Atmospheres: Works From California 1960-1970." Feeling both at home and far away, I was transported by the exhibit: into multiple landscapes, time zones, decades, genres and times of day...all at once.

This piece is by Craig Kauffman and it's Untitled. I might call it 'Hanging Purse.'

'Glass Box with Ellipses' by Larry Bell.

'Theta Two' by John McCracken.

In the background, 'Crazy Otto' by Robert Irwin.

Below is an exhibit, also at David Zwirner. It is Dan Flavin's "Series and Progressions." This part of the exhibit was colorfully named, 'Alternating pink and "gold."' The whole space is lined by these pink and yellow fluorescent lights. I could have stayed in this room for a while, just wondering what determines the space between the lights and their measurement.

The first gallery we visited was the James Cohen Gallery, showing "Demons, Yarns & Tales: Tapestries by Contemporary Artists." These pieces were beautiful, for sure, but also very haunting. Let's just say, they weren't your average bed and breakfast quilt.

Kara Walker's "A Warm Summer Evening in 1863." This was the most evocative, and one of the first you see as your walk through the doors. It really set the tone for the show. Against the wool tapestry is the silhouette of a woman, hand-cut and felt.

Peter Blake's "Alphabet." Appearing oddly small, I actually went through the letters to make sure that they were all there. And they were, so onward, make words!

"Zelada" by Jaime Gili. Reminds me of the South of France.

"Canoca" by Beatriz Milhazes. Sudden fantasy. I'm a fashion designer on Project Runway and the challenge is as follows: Tim Gunn will take you on a field trip to a gallery in Chelsea. You must find inspiration in the art that you see. (Italics obviously spoken in Heidi Klum's voice.) I would focus on the tapestry above and design a mod shift dress. Too obvious? Maybe that's why I'm not on Project Runway.

Julie Verhoeven's "Far from the Madding Crowd." There's a lot going on in this one, including a unicorn, a knife and a shell. Yet, everything blends.

She's not part of the exhibit. Just a Chelsea girl.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Teen Dream-y

I keep trying to blog about my trip to NYC but keep getting distracted by things like this:

I know it looks like nothing at first, but beyond first glance you will find what is the cover art for Beach House's new album Teen Dream. The design is kind of botanical meets animal print, all in a peachy light hue almost lost unless seen from the proper angle. Now this is something I've been waiting on, ever since I saw them perform many of these new songs at their show in October. I blogged about it. Here's another picture of the band:

When I get into one of their albums, I know it will follow me around for a while. Or, I will follow it. Go to 'Norway,' 'Walk in the Park,' and 'Take Care.'