Thursday, February 25, 2010

The eternal moment

While eating a tuna melt at the Little A 'Le' Inn I experienced the Now. Remember guru Ram Dass's book Be Here Now? The purple book had a square format necessitated by the mandala on the cover. "Be Here Now" is used by Senn Delaney as a management technique.

On the other hand, for God, time is an eternal moment (totem simul) - Thomas Aquinas. He wrote this in the thirteenth century hundreds of years before scientists discovered that the entire universe was once the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Aquinas postulates that everything is simultaneous for God. Perhaps time is God's gift to us. In an interview on PBS, Lari Pittman posits an interesting idea about hyper-capitalist time vs. Latino time.

The paintings show the viewer many temporalities. There’s climate and there’s time. Sometimes there’s even an indication in some of the paintings that the top half of the painting might be at night and the bottom half in daylight. I think that, in southern California (whose only history has been hyper-capitalism) hyper-capitalism foregrounds this idea of episodic time: “This is the eight hours for work; this is the eight hours to sleep. And this is the eight hours for waking leisure.” Capitalism really enforces compartmentalized, sequential time. As I look back on my formative years, I didn’t grow up in that sense of time. You have to take this in a broader sense. Latino time is profoundly bittersweet because of its simultaneity. Even oppositional events can occupy the same spatial moment, the same time moment, and not really be contradictory. They’re just there, side by side. And I think that simultaneity of time and imagery exists in the paintings.

Paintings (c) Lari Pittman. Interview (c) PBS

Monday, February 22, 2010

Little A 'Le' French Bulldog

A crude painting on the wall of Little A 'Le' Inn made me realize that one-eyed aliens have no depth perception.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Portobello Ponderosa

The Portobello is back from the shop - its brake in full working condition. Yes, I said brake singular for the 'bello has only one wheel. The car gives me such a feeling of freedom. Though it is difficult to drive by oneself since it normally uses party steering, I raced east up Highway 80, stopping at the Pollack Pines Safeway for some celery, mushrooms, tomatoes and green goddess dressing, and then on to Incline Village, I mean the Ponderosa Amusement park to tip my hat to Pa and the boys. Ponderosa would be a great name for a truck n'est-ce pas? Alas, it is only a horse trailer. After viewing the park (it took two days to see all the attractions) I was off to Area 51, zooming across the Nevada desert at full speed, the high chaparral blurring out the window.

The road sign NV 375 gave me a chill even though I do not believe in extraterrestrials. I was hungry and needed to refuel the Portobello. The vision of a saucer shaped car parked outside of the Little A'Le'Inn had UFO buffs come running out of the restaurant. I think this is where the rumor started that the American car industry may be in trouble here, but is doing fine in other galaxies.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Chrysler has a new mid-size luxury car - the Portobello. Apparently a marketing expert was leafing through Elizabeth Schneider's Plants from Amaranth to Zucchini when the name popped out at him. Amaranth is one of the most beautiful words and a strange flower grandma grew. It is edible and used as a dye, in fact it's Red Dye No. 2. To quote Arthur Rimbaud:

The Lily they bestow on the Bard
Together with the pink and the amaranth!

Unfortunately, amaranth is a bit of a mouthful for a gum-chewing car salesman, thus the name Portobello stuck. The car "quotes" the Cordoba including a fabulously retro analog clock. The LS model features Corinthian you-know-what seats in a 70's mushroom color. The LS also has shag carpeting.

WARNING: Do not pick wild mushrooms. Period.

John Cage likes to pick wild mushrooms, but he's an amateur mycologist. Click here to see his interactive mushroom piece. Ricardo Montalban passed just last year. Perhaps Tony Bennett can take his place driving a Portobello. Here is his tag line:

Bella! Bella! Portobello!

Being round like a mushroom cap the Portobello seating arrangement is a revolution. Passengers sit inside in a circular padded leather conversation pit. The vehicle is steered by the group leaning this way or that. It is a team sport like yacht racing.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

"Yet connection went with brains" - Carson McCullers

Hypertext books flopped. Smarmy know-it-alls predicted that reading books on the Web would produce a new type of narrative where at a link the reader could choose the plot direction. sort of like being in the audience of an improv.

Wait! I just realized something. This blog is a hypertext narrative. Never mind what I said before.

Last night was Writers With Drinks at the Makeout Room. The teasing, hilarious, off-the-wall introductions of the writers by organizer and hostess Charlie Anders, are my favorite part. I usually find most of the intros impossible to remember because they fork down so many paths. Her encyclopedic mind jumps from radical gender politics to literary genres to science fiction. Her mind is quick as lightning and she writes in a style Robert Bly called leaping poetry. Here is a paraphrase to Charlie's intro of Cherie Priest, author of Boneshaker:

Cherie turned the city of Seattle into a sentinent being. Unfortunately,
sentinent beings have a tendancy to fall in love with their creator. They become clingy. Cherie told the city to give her some space. The city started to enclose around her, the buildings bending to perform a wall.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I can name that hat in _________

We all remember the show "Name that tune!" Junk Thief once appeared on "Name that hat!" Of course he won.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pop's House

Palo Alto's women's bar Pop's House recently held a Barbara Bel Geddes costume party with many Midges and Miss Ellies in evidence. The peninsula is obsessed with Vertigo. Makes me think back to the film's 50th anniversary symposium at the Stanford Humanities Center. One of the papers presented was Mythological Themes in Hitchcock's Vertigo (c) Peter Y. Chou, WisdomPortal.com, to whom we owe the Midge frames in our previous post.

The silk, blue-green wrap the faux Madelaine is wearing on the set of Ernie's restaurant as she dines with Gavin is to die for. The wrap is very John Singer Sargent, but her back is Ingres. Speaking of Ingres' backs there is a scene towards the end of As Good As It Gets where Helen Hunt is about to go into the tub and a struggling artist (Greg Kinnear) says, "Wait a minute! Hold it there." He proceeds to sketch her and his career is changed forever.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Steel and Art

I love everything about New Orleans: the oysters, the po' boys, the architecture, the music; the walking tours, so I'm glad they won the Super Bowl whee! But I feel sorry that Pittsburgh lost, so I thought I would lead us on a tour of the losing city just for "equal time."
The "Bridge of Sorrows" goes between the courthouse and the jailhouse.

Frederick Osterling's Union Arcade originally had four levels of shopping. Love the dormers. He built it for Henry Clay Frick one of the most horrible human beings of all time and an art collector. Frick purchased Ingres' Comtesse d'Haussonville that might just be the inspiration of the portrait of Carlotta and subsequently Midge's self-portrait in Vertigo. There's a Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh. The Frick Collection in New York City where the Ingres is housed is not-to-be-missed. It's Frick's formerNew York mansion and takes up an entire city block. Other works include Vermeers.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Favorite Sculptor

Richard Deacon is my favorite sculptor. His early works were riveted sheet metal doodles that twist and turn like mystical air conditioning ducts. Form is what is amazing and surprising. His wooden works speak the quiet language of driftwood and the withered forest, but do not look like coffee tables. This sculpture is not based on abstract predecessors of the 50's, yet not realistic. His rivets of his works in metal are elegant, reminding one of a Victorian Martian spacecraft, though his pieces are probably most related to music. Many works combine man-made with natural materials as musical instruments do. The work shown here is from "Art for Other People" a very different series for Deacon. Looking at a Deacon work is like sipping a very good French onion soup (in France they call it onion soup - soup a l'onion). He lives in London, but teaches at the Beaux-Arts where Julia Morgan was the first woman to graduate in architecture. There is something very English about his pieces.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Roar of the Grapefruit

A rival revival of one of my favorite musicals The Roar of the Grapefruit - the Smell of the Crowd is coming to the Orange County Performing Arts Center (across from Southcoast Plaza). A mother and her teen fraternal twins, travel west from Minneapolis finding themselves, somehow, in Orange County where the no-count father promised he had a new house waiting for them. It's full of tragedy, courage, humor, and vitamin C.