London Walks: Hyde Park

The first time self read The Crimson Petal and the White, by Michael Faber, was over a decade ago. She hadn’t much experience of London. Now, however, she knows London, knows its general geography, and enjoys passages like the following:

  • Since moving to the West End, Sugar has taken to crossing Hyde Park, over the Serpentine into Knightsbridge, and paying frequent visits to the two Georgian houses in Trevor Square, which may look like high-class brothels, but are in fact a public library.

The Crimson Petal and the White, p. 35

  • Follow Sugar now into the great open space, the grandiose vacancy of Regent Street — admire those overtowering honeycombs of palatial buildings stretching into the fog of artificial infinity, those thousands of identically shaped windows tier upon tier; the glassy expanse of roadway swept clear of snow; all of it is a statement of intent: a declaration that in the bright future to come, places like St. Giles and Soho, with their narrow labyrinths and tilting hovels and clammy, crumbling nooks infested with human flotsam, will be swept away, to be replaced by a new London that looks entirely like Regent Street, airy, regular and clean.

The Crimson Petal and the White, p. 43

Her last trip to London was at the tail-end of October 2017. She dropped by Hyde Park and saw:

1) the Serpentine

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2) a fabulous Pavilion

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The 2017 Serpentine Pavilion designed by architect Francis Kéré

and 3) the Prince Albert Memorial:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

On Now, San Francisco 2018

Summer: SO MANY THINGS, from the Magritte exhibit at SFMOMA, to the Rube Goldberg exhibit at the Jewish Contemporary Art Museum on Mission St., to the Redwood City Century 20, where we saw Jurassic Park last weekend (Bryce Dallas Howard forever!)

 

So Ironic, on So Many Levels

Self decided to throw out all her New Yorkers that are older than 2017.

She had them as far back as 2011, there were stacks and stacks of them all over the place. Who was she kidding? She’d be dead before she got to read through all the piles.

Now, she pulls out the 3 April 2017 issue and reads a piece written by Andrew Marantz for the Talk of the Town:

  • A few years ago, after he starred in Transformers, the actor Shia LaBeouf seemed poised to become the next Johnny Depp; instead, he started behaving more like the next James Franco.

Despite that opening sentence, the piece is not really about Shia. It’s about 4-chan trolls, the “men whose main goal is to be the chaos they wish to see in the world,” who “turned Pepe the Frog, once a benign cartoon, into a neo-Nazi icon.”

They infiltrated one of Shia’s performance art events. The actor confronted them “and got arrested.” The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, which was sponsoring the live event, “cancelled the project.”

The actor was undeterred and decided to continue his live stream from another venue, moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico. The trolls found him.

So Shia LaBeouf was actually one of the first people to tangle with the trolls and he showed plenty of gumption. He moved his project to Greenville, Tennessee. The trolls found him there, too. He moved to Liverpool, England, and the day after he resumed his live streaming project, “British trolls” found him and “the live stream went dark.”

They targeted the actor, and no one stood up for him. Not then. In the end, he simply ran out of energy (or money).

Who would have thought it would be Shia to become an early target. What this piece shows is that, even for someone with gumption and determination and resourcefulness, it is difficult to endure this kind of intense, organized hatred. Self is sure Shia was taken aback. As self was taken aback recently when someone on Facebook posted that the Red Hen owners had been visited by the Secret Service. She went over to yelp and saw that the restaurant’s reviews had been hijacked by hundreds of tweets bearing the Nazi swastika. Using the same tactics they used to call David Hogg, a Parkland school shooting survivor, a Nazi, these trolls were now calling the Red Hen owners Nazis.

And today someone in the GOP had the nerve to put out a hashtag called ‘civility’? Seriously? Our communities are under attack, our kids are under attack, and they want us to be ‘civil’? Trevor Noah was right: the way to deal with a lying, self-proclaimed martyr like Sarah Huckabee Sanders is to present her with an empty plate and say, there’s your order. She’d say, there’s nothing on this plate. The comeback would be to feign total shock and amazement and insist: There is. You’re just too simple to see it.

Because, no joke, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is on tape saying, “Let me try putting it into simple sentences, which is apparently all you can understand.”

A White House spokesperson actually said this to the White House press corps. And, maybe they were too shocked or something, because not one reporter took her to task for this insult. They just let it go.

It would be wonderful if, at the next White House Press Briefing, none of the press showed up. Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be left talking to an empty room. Let’s see what she does then.

She tweeted after she was turned away by the Lexington, VA restaurant, using her official (i.e. White House) twitter account.

There is not one single professional public servant in the current administration. They all assume a personal slight is a matter of national security. Oh please.

Let’s be clear: Sarah Huckabee Sanders earns 165k a year. And she resorts to Twitter knowing full well that trolls will descend and overwhelm the restaurant. She knew it would happen, and she used her official Twitter account. Is this not a horrible, horrible mis-use of public (official) twitter accounts? Yet Huckabee Sanders did it, which shows her vindictiveness and pettiness and meanness.

The President sends out tweets at 3 a.m. and rains insults on everyone. Is this not also a mis-use of a public (official) twitter account? Where is the respect for the office? No, Donald et. al. These accounts are not simply for your personal use. Your tweets may be entertaining but surely the American people have better things to worry about than your feelings of rejection.

Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Columns

Cee’s current Fun Foto Challenge is COLUMNS and VERTICAL LINE(S). Cee’s own photos are fantastic.

Here are two of self’s:

  • The Magritte exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is one of the best exhibits she’s seen in recent years. It ends with an interactive gallery where viewers can insert themselves into a Magritte landscape. Here’s a forest:

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  • Across the street from the museum is Yerba Buena Park which has this beautiful fountain. So relaxing to watch the COLUMNS of water.
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Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

Thank you to Cee Neuner for the wonderful Foto Challenge!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Twisted: A Pink Cat

Detail of a drawing son did when he was maybe five or six.

It’s a big drawing, about three feet by two feet. And almost a third of it is taken up by the cat’s tail:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Still More Liquid!

Bright and early Saturday morning, self was in front of SFMOMA. She had tickets for the opening day of the Rene Magritte exhibit. There was a crowd waiting for the doors to open at 10 a.m.

Below was one of the first Magrittes she saw. Of course, she immediately thought: THE DAILY POST PHOTO CHALLENGE! Good thing they allowed pictures.

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Rene Magritte at SFMOMA

This morning, self had her usual cup of coffee: Organic Rendezvous Brew, purchased at Moody’s in Mendocino. The cup she used was something she bought at the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, years ago: that’s a triceratops, half-submerged in her coffee:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

PROLIFIC: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 18 April 2018

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is PROLIFIC.

Self will interpret that to mean MANY.

Mary-Ellen Campbell’s home in Casper, California is bursting with collages, paintings, books — all of her own making.

She made this collage after one of her travels:

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Art by Mary-Ellen Campbell of Casper, California

Here’s a shot of Mary-Ellen’s work table, where she’s assembling the pieces for a new collage:

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Work-In-Progress, Mary-Ellen Campbell

The current exhibit at the Mendocino Art Gallery features work by current artists-in-residence. If you put your nose close to one of these dispensers, the smell of each spice is heavenly.

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Ceramic Spice Dispensers by Layne Rotman (On Exhibit This Month at the Mendocino Art Center Gallery)

Other PROLIFIC:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Still More Awakenings: Sea Urchins

Last night was Second Saturday in Mendocino, and the weather was beautiful. Self walked down the street to the Artists Co-op on 10400 Kasten Street and saw some very beautiful artwork: paintings and sculpture and collages and jewelry, all by local artists.

Her friend, Mary-Ellen Campbell, had a few handmade books on exhibit, as well as collages. Self adores collages of all kinds.

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Detail, Shell Games by Mary-Ellen Campbell (Encaustic Collage)

Self loved the sharp little objects that are clustered on Mary-Ellen’s encaustic collages. Liza, an artist who self met at one of her previous readings in Mendocino, explained that those sharp little things are sea urchin spines. “If you go to the parking lot of Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg, you’ll find lots of these scattered about,” Liza told self.

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Detail, Shell Games by Mary-Ellen Campbell (Encaustic Collage)

Liza told self that sea urchins are killing the forests of sea kelp that the local abalone population needs to survive (see San Francisco Chronicle article here), and that’s why abalone are becoming extremely hard to find.

She learns new things every day.

Fascinating.

Stay tuned.

 

More Awakenings: Second Saturday in Mendocino

Second Saturdays of the month, the galleries in Mendocino have wine and snacks, artists come in to talk to people who wander in from the street. It’s fun.

There aren’t any street lights near the Mendocino Art Center, but self remembered to take along a flashlight.

She stopped by the water tower to take a picture:

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Water Tower, Ukiah Street, Mendocino

Galleries put little welcome balloons by the entrance:

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Self went from gallery to gallery. She had sushi and crackers and cheese and a glass of Chardonnay.

She decided to walk back to the Center before it got dark because she wasn’t wearing a jacket and it was starting to get chilly.

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A few other Awakenings:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

On the Writing Desk Today: AMAZING RARE THINGS by David Attenborough

The only hardcover self allowed herself to bring home from London last year: David Attenborough’s Amazing Rare Things: The Art of Natural History in the Age of Discovery.

She bought it from the London Review Bookshop in June 2017 and only now, almost a year later, in Mendocino, is she able to give it a focused reading.

Figure 22: The American Flamingo by John James Audubon

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Fig. 22 in the book AMAZING RARE THINGS, by David Attenborough

This is an amazing work by Audubon. Attenborough writes:

Audubon, who from the age of eighteen lived in Pennsylvania where he looked after family property, was obsessed by birds. His quest for them led him to travel ever westwards in search of new species. He hunted them with an unquenchable passion and he drew them with equal enthusiasm.

His biggest inspiration was to draw birds in motion. The next part is a little gross but anyhoo, Leonardo da Vinci did similar things to study animal anatomy. Da Vinci of course did not SHOOT animals, but he dissected as many as he could lay his hands on.

Audubon would shoot (shoot as in: kill) his subjects, then take the freshly killed bird back home, where he’d fix them on a board with a pre-drawn square grid. Then he’d manipulate “the bird’s wings and neck into what he considered life-like attitudes” and fix “them in position with skewers. The process must have been a fairly blood-spattered one . . . ”

Several years ago, self had occasion to visit Pasadena, and she dropped by the Huntington Library, where on exhibit were Audubon’s magnificent double elephant folio. Jaw-dropping. Amazing. An American National Treasure. Self knew Audubon was a painter of birds, but until she saw the elephant folio, she had no idea of the magnitude of his vision.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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