Saturday, March 30, 2013

beverly hills hotel

UK Vogue March 2013
I should have been wearing this lovely, float of a gown when I walked through the Beverly Hills Hotel on my recent trip to LA rather than the red jeans and striped shirt of a french longshoreman I had on. I didn't expect to be in what had only been an imagining of what the place could be when we happened on it as we drove through an odyssey of Hollywoodland. We parked on a side street near to the bungalows and sauntered up the path, penetrating the environs. Security did approach us, but saw that we meant no harm, and so were left to wander the glamorous grounds uninterrupted.

a bungalow
 I have read about the hotel so many times in the pages of the magazines that I read monthly. More than what the Chateau Marmont seemed to be, which was nearly inpenetratable, the Beverly Hills Hotel continues to reflect a by-gone era of Hollywood legend. It reminded me as we walked through the grounds and then the hotel itself of the Caribbean Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I have the good fortune to be there fairly regularly as my sister lives on the island, and soccer often takes us to San Juan for matches, and the Hilton is our place to stay. Each is timeless, yet still full of a time that is long gone.

the lobby
The lobby was regal, but not overstated. The creamy walls and golden light made everyone to look a movie star. We sat near a fireplace in a placement of chairs close to the path that partygoers took to reach their destination. Quiet filled every corner with hush. And the months of a long, cold midwestern winter peeled off of me. We moved to watch the long red carpet, perhaps in hope to catch a glimpse of someone; instead, dark, liveried sedans dropped off anonymous, though very evidently monied, guests of the party. My friend tried to take a snapshot of the red carpet, but here we encountered our only 'don't' of the hour we spent nestled in the past.

Leaving the hotel, we all walked the red carpet and out on to the street to find our car parked, not valet'd. I felt ... grand.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

jack white's lair

Rolling Stone March 14, 2013
inside Jack White's secret lair ... hmmmm. Boy would I want a peek into that world. I think that if he spent a little time with me that we could make a solid record. Of course, he would have to do all of the work. I'd smile, be bashful, and maybe take on a persona that would have the right to be in that room.

Years ago, before I began an 'official' graduate program, I dabbled for a year in a Master's of something or another and rather non-specific. I believe that they called the course Liberal Studies. Sounds about right. All of the classes were very interesting and diverse. One in particular was excellent, and it was named, 'The City.' We learned all sorts of stuff about the rise of cities in the United States. Each of us had to do a formal, final project. Mine was an easy topic to choose ... Marshall Field's department store. I was working there at the time, and it's connection to the rise of the city of Chicago is storied. I enjoyed the work, and the class seemed to as well when I made my presentation. I think that I even had a few artifacts to share. I worked in the State Street store, the original, and was a part of the huge transformation of the space. My boss, a wonderful man, took me on an odyssey of sorts through construction and into the dark corners of the floors that probably hadn't been seen for decades. We picked up little treasures along our way, and I was able to use them for my presentation.

I bring this up as one woman in the class chose the blues as her topic. Interesting. She gave her spiel, and then she took out an acoustic guitar and treated the class to several country blues songs that led to what became the Chicago blues, Memphis blues, etc.  What made me think of this is that Jack White, who is a blues aficionado, talked about bringing some old blues men back to life on his record label. One of the groups, Mississippi Sheiks, was "hugely popular in the Twenties and Thirties, the Mississippi Sheiks played string-and-fiddle country blues on steam-for-then records like "Bed Spring Poker."Well, this little lady in class belted out some of her own steamy-for-now songs. Sitting in a class room at the time, it seemed sort of strange, but beautiful all the same.

So if I ever get to Jack's secret lair, I think that I'm gonna be a saucy country blues singer. I want it pressed on vinyl so that I can bring it home and play it on my suitcase record player. That could be the end and all of a music career for me, for sure.

Note: the bands highlighting at the bottom of the article can all be found on ITunes ... it's worth a listen. The bands are Charley Patton, Blind Willie McTell, and the aforementioned Mississippi Sheiks.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

spring's best

I don't like to just load pages with advertisements, but these are exceptional. The March reads were disappointing, but the Saks ads were dazzling. I have chosen four of my favorites to blow up here for you to peruse. Even the look here on the right isn't what I would ordinarily be drawn too, and Mark Jacobs did the voluminous hips just months ago fabulously, but it is photographed beautifully, and so I forgive the copy.

My favorite is the Carolina Herrera. The dress looks so easy. And I love the print that runs down the dress ... the green is almost trellis- like as it holds the beauty of the silk flowers. But the photograph ... the couch, the mirror. It is so lush without being or seeming fussy. I can imagine myself lying just so, enjoying the beautiful dress that is making me feel fabulous and so comfortable at the same time.

Enjoy the beauty of it.


In Style March 2013
Miller as Sherlock on the show Elementary ... organizing his locks.
My nephew turned me on the show Elementary. I had seen advertisements for it, but wasn't much interested in it as I had my BBC Sherlock and he satisfied all of my need  of the sleuth. But after watching one episode, I was hooked. Jonny Lee Miller is perfect as a transplanted Sherlock in NYC. I hadn't remembered ever seeing him in anything else, and when I ran across the editorial in InStyle, I was surprised by his back story. Married to Angelina Jolie? Starred in Trainspotting? Who knew.

In the show, he plays a wonderfully articulate, quirky, and quietly intense Sherlock, who has many secrets and a damage that is portrayed poignantly. He's sort of a loner as all Sherlocks are, but his seems rather more of tortured outcast. It doesn't seem as it is only his pathological nature that haunts him. And that's what Watson is trying to figure out in each episode. Lucy Lui is okay as his sidekick. I don't really pay attention to her ... it's Johnny who captivates all of my attention.

What is it about Sherlock?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

flowering hats

Vogue March 2013
Hats should always appear effortless and light, never clumsy or heavy. that's the mystery of the craft, and so much labor goes into creating that illusion. Replicating a flower is the most difficult, because it's truly perfect.

Every time that I see a hat like this, I return to Moorea, a small island 30 minutes by hover-boat from Tahiti. It is nearly uninhabited. And I spent a lovely week there, living in a little cottage, exploring the wilds of the volcanic rock mountains, and the mile long beaches. I happened there, interestingly, after reading an article in Elle magazine. I was waiting in an airport gate for a plane to take me away from my one true love, when he looked over my shoulder (yes, it was pre-09/11) and said, 'where's that?' And when he looked over the article, he said, 'oh, we've got to go there.' And so I arrived in the South Pacific a few months later, moving from island to island on small boats across the big ocean.

Moorea was idyllic. Staying at a BandB in Tahiti for a few nights, the proprietor assisted us in securing reservations at each of the islands that we planned to visit: Moorea, Huahini, Bora Bora, and Raitea. We had no idea what to expect or how to get each when we took off from ORD, but we figured it out. On Moorea, the 'momma' had got our arrival date wrong. And after much confusion and apology, we were placed in a room of someone else's cottage ... just for the night. He was a singer from France who performed every night on the big island. And he had agreed long ago that if someone needed a place to lie their hear, his spare room was available.

On on our first night, we asked if there was a restaurant to go to ... we hadn't seen one, as when we got off of the boat, there wasn't even really a town so much as just a dock. But yes, there was one, along that road and up the path. We found a delightful French restaurant there to have our petite celebration. I had just finished a Master's degree and my companion was insistent that we have a celebratory dinner. And so we did. And then the lights went out. Not to worry, said the maitre 'd. It happens all of the time as he placed candles on our table. Of course, my guy wanted to use his credit card for the splurge and not use up all of our cash. Again the maitre 'd came to the rescue: no problem, come back tomorrow for cafe, we'll take care of it then.

On one of our jaunts across the island, we found bicycles to ride. Along the way, we came across a woman who was selling her floral wreaths and palm hats. He insisted on buying us both hats for our candle lit suppers in the cottage that we eventually landed in. In the middle picture, you can see that I have the pleasure of wearing both. The wreath of flowers was so beautiful. And each night as I sauteed saucisse (French sausages) and we drank wine, we would wear our hats and light candles in the empty Tahitian beer that we would drink at the end of our long days.

One day on the island as we tramped across a wild to reach the volcano, he was bitten by a dog. Yes, I should say that he was shooing them off of me, putting himself between me and their teeth. Unfortunately, one got him. We walked back to the market to find bandages. We asked if rabies was a problem on the island, and an American woman approached us to say that she didn't think so, but she would be glad to take us to the doctor. We climbed in her jeep and away we went. While the doctor looked at him, she explained that she was a black pearl jewelry designer and on her many trips to the south seas to buy the pearls, she met and married a local. As it happened, the animals of the island did not have rabies. The man was fine. Our pearl designer offered to drive us back to the cottage ... for a rest.

Oh, that was a wonderful trip. And the people of each island were friendly in a way that I've never experienced before. They all had such a joy and peace about them. The flower wreath lasted all week. I left it on the table for the next inhabitant. My guy, he took his hat home. And on one of the last great evenings we ever had, he brought it out to wear.

Oh, I love accessories for my crimes.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


In Style March 2013
Typically, I don't like, 'the question,' but this one made me wonder ... what am I the maestro in my home?

hm. I know how to cook, sure. But my tiny kitchen is very hard to cook in. It's hardest when I invite people over and insist on COOKING. And of course, everyone always crowds into the kitchen, making it even smaller and super hot. But I guess that I like that because I keep inviting people over. But I'm not the maestro of it ... it's not exceptional.

housekeeping .... yeah, right. I can remember when every Saturday, I scrubbed from top to bottom. Not so much anymore. Why? I live alone, keep things tidy, and really how dirty can it get? Oh yeah, the kitchen floor could use a swab more than it gets it now, but that floor is HORRIBLE, and so why give it any attention. It's not ever going to look CLEAN.

I imagine what I am the maestro of, as evidenced by my Sunday morning, is a little of this, and a little of that. I love a 'putz,' moving from one little thing to another. Nothing big. Nothing that is going to make a difference in any kind of big way. Just dustings of time to keep things ... in control. Active. And not too far from my mind. It's not a cleaning, but a ... remembering. A touch base. A roll in all of the things that makes me happy to be home at the end of the day.

I am maestro of the putz. Probably so true, on so many levels.