Posts Tagged ‘children’s art’


Hi Everyone!

     I’m excited about the revamping  and the updates on the website.  Thanx to my wonderful web mistress who  understands my vision and was patient with me.   A great start to 2011- Happy New Year everyone!

     Therapy can be expensive.  I think I have discovered a  free and wonderful alternative.  Although  I’m Jewish and have studied Buddhism, I was raised celebrating Christmas.   About  10 years ago,  I  noticed the mailbox  for Letters to Santa at  one of the main post offices.  I decided to write “Santa” a letter about  a relationship issue I was dealing with for many years.    I felt a sense of relief  as I dropped the sealed envelope in the box.  I realized  a few months ago that the matter I had written  about had been resolved.  So I decided to do it again.  This time, I chose a different location.   No not the post office.   My letter was totally anonymous.  I  assume I   gave  some vastly underpaid employee  ( or employees) a voyeuristic thrill into  my personal life.  As I dropped my  letter into the “mailbox” , I felt a sense of relief and “letting go” of the issue.  I don’t know when  the issue will be resolved. It might take months or years;  maybe not even  in this lifetime. However.At least in that moment, I felt  a sense of relief and feeling better than I used to feel is always a constant  goal for me.


     Speaking of this past holiday season, I  stumbled  upon more wonderful art created by children.  I was attending the  annual Paper, Book  & Scissors event at the Central Library in Philly. I wandered  into  the Children’s library and discovered  sculptures based on the characters from the Nutcracker Ballet  created by students at the Cecil B. Moore School in Philly.  I loved all the sculptures and took a ton of photos.   I  was a little sad there were two long rows of sculptures on high book shelves that were  difficult to look at from the ground.  I feel the library should have exhibited them  differently but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to see them.  I have posted a few on this blog.

      I  enjoyed  the first season the HBO  series  BOARDWALK EMPIRE  .  I was  especially loving the  presence of a store front  fortune teller  who appeared briefly in one of the first few episodes.  However, in the  episode which aired   October 3, 2010,  a fortune teller  was featured giving a tarot  reading to the  character  (played  by Gretchen Mol ).  I screamed out loud  when I saw the deck  was the  Luigi Scapini Medieval  Tarot Deck.  This deck  was created  by Mr. Scapini ( a sculptor from Italy) who is very much alive.  It came out I believe in 2001.  Not during  the time period of  BOARDWALK EMPIRE .  I own  this deck and use them all the time.    The cards are gorgeous  but are not of the right time period.  I have  uploaded a photo of  my Scapini tarot cards .

     I  just finished reading  ” JUST KIDS” by Patti Smith which   won the National Book award and is a fascinating  account of her  relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe before they both achieved fame  and success.   Ms. Smith’s writing style  is so smooth and easy that I devoured it like a box of chocolates.  Reading  this book made me want to write more.   I saw an exhibit of Mr. Mapplethorpe’s photographs  at UC Berkeley Museum  in the late 80s while I was still in art school.   The  images were intense, disturbing and  haunting.

     The 1971 John Cassavette’s film MINNIE AND MOSKOWITZ has been playing frequently  on cable.  When I first saw the film  ( last year), I hated it.  But  then I  watched it  several more times and I  think this film is brilliant.   I love this film  for so many reasons.   Cassavettes cast his own mother in the role of the mother of Seymour Moskowitz (  the iconic Seymour Cassel) and  Lady Rowlands, Gena Rowlands real life  mother played her mother in the film.   The film is full of humor and  Pathos.  The funniest scene of the whole film occurs in a restaurant  towards the end of the film when the main characters and their mothers all meet each other.  The film explores loneliness and  the attempts to connect to another person.   Mr.  Cassavettes   focusses on this in many  if not all of his films.   The characters in this film are  carrying  heavy  emotional baggage.   if you keep in mind that they are  struggling for   freedom from their past ( especially Gena Rowland’s character Minnie), then you begin  to see the genius of Cassavettes.  His film becomes a therapy session which  compels the characters to move forward and conquer their inner demons.   It is only  then, when Minnie  becomes empty that she can let Moskowitz into her heart.    On the superficial level I love this film for its small moments of style and fashion.   Ms. Rowlands is undoubtedly  one of the most stylish women of the cinema.  I couldn’t take my eyes off her tiny  red rose barrettes, her oversized Italian smokey tinted  sunglasses or her black turtleneck sweater  and   matching cigarette pants that she wore with ease.   Her  ensemble was  very reminiscent of  the  outfit Audrey Hepburn wore in FUNNY FACE when she did  that strange, funny dance in the  underground  boho cave nightclub  in Paris.  I also loved the giant eye mural in her apartment and the raven in trees with apples  mural in the house the character  John Cassavette ‘s character lives in.    The final scene of this film is so beautiful that it reminds me of the Sun card of the tarot deck.   Celebration with children,love, laughter and happiness in visual motion.

      As far as  cooking and eating  is concerned, this March  will mark my first year  anniversary of going meatless.  I couldn’t give  up fish and seafood.   I also decided going  Vegan  was  too extreme for me.    I’m learning to make peace with tofu.  I’m going to be honest.  I  will never love tofu-ever!  I did buy a food dehydrator and have made tofu jerky a few  batches  using a homemade Teriyaki marinade.  It tastes pretty good but not as good as real beef jerky.   I have had several  dreams of eating Korean fried chicken ( the best tasting fried chicken).    When I awoke, my pillow was covered with drool  and I felt   guilty.  My reasons for going meatless have solely been driven by health issues, not politics or morals.  I love animals but  I will probably eat chicken again at some point in the future and when I do it will be Korean fried chicken.  I don’t miss the massive amounts of  meat, pork, and lamb I used to eat.

      I love homemade  Ceasar Salad with homemade croutons.  I know this sounds a bit egotistical but  my Ceasar salad  makes me swoon.    One of the issues I was concerned about was using a raw egg in the dressing.  Luckily , I discovered an easy way to coddle ( partial cook) the egg  to avoid any i  possible health concerns.   I put the egg in a small ceramic dish  ( an  individual ramekin or a glass pyrex pudding dish).  I then put that dish in a large pot.  Meanwhile I bring a large saucepan of water to boil.  I then SLOWLY pour the water in the pot  until the ramekin and egg are completely submerged.  Timer is set for  exactly 60 seconds .  When you crack the egg, the white will look like it is just starting to form.   I add a few dashes of hot sauce into my salad dressing mixture and  I use  the best  bread i can find for the croutons ( from Metropolitan Bakery here in Philly).   I usually get a french baguette or sourdough loaf.

     Well that’s it for now.  I hope to  write this blog more frequently.

Santa and Me



Children’s Art Show At Russell Byer’s Charter School  PhillyChildren’s Art Show At Russell Byer’s Charter School  PhillyChildren’s Art Show At Russell Byer’s Charter School  PhillyChildren’s Art Show At Russell Byer’s Charter School  PhillyChildren’s Art Show At Russell Byer’s Charter School  PhillyHi Everyone!It’s been awhile since I  have last blogged.  I’m always immersed in seeing plays, art exhibits, cooking, making art, reading, watching films and studying astrology. I have had to decide what would go into this particular blog. Although I titled this blog Play, romp and be happy, I think a better title would be ” WAKE UP CALL!”.  Several months ago,  I had a serious personal wake up call.   Don’t you just  love those?  First  you get hit with a tiny pebble and the it becomes a rock , then a brick and finally a boulder.

I decided  one morning it was time for a  major life style change.  I have made extreme changes  to my diet.   Although  I buy most of my food from the Farmer’s markets ( go local!) and  walk  almost every day, I knew deep in my heart, I needed to make  changes.  I have given up meat, coffee, refined sugar and most dairy.  I also  am working out on a daily basis in addition to walking and biking.

I  have been immersed in learning to cook vegetarian gourmet and find  food substitutes.   Some things food switches have been relatively easy;  which brings me to Turtle Mountain.

If I were investing in a food  company, it would be Turtle Mountain.  Based in Eugene, Oregon ( I used to live there),  this company makes the most delicious   line of  coconut milk based ice cream, ice cream sandwiches and yogurt.

I just bought their  coconut drinking milk today and coconut creamer.  Their Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream with big chunks of walnuts and ribbons of fudge is as good in my opinion as my former lover, Haagen Daz.  Their products are sweetened with agave .   They have another line of ice cream which is soy based  and  many people already know this but their Peanut Butter Zig  Zag is like crack and I don’t even like chocolate and peanut butter ice cream.Several weeks ago I saw a documentary film of Outsider artist Purvis Young ( who sadly died at the end of April).  The documentary, PURVIS OF OVERTOWN.

Purvis was a self taught artist who  lived life his way and did not cater to the art world.  His  focus was making  paintings and helping out  his friends and neighbors in the impoverished area of Miami called Overtown.   I feel it take courage to follow one’s own heart and path.    Mr. Young’s work is amazing.  Raw and full of soul and color.

While  at the film’s screening, I heard about an art exhibit that was happening at the Russell Byer’s Charter School in Center City.

I  went the next day to find an incredible display of artwork by the children at  the school.  The exhibit was inspired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s retrospective  of  self taught  outsider artist  James Castle (whom  I wrote about in an earlier blog).  Led by art teacher Amy Jerrod, the children made their own version of specific works by Mr. Castle- watercolor paintings based on a little girl, cardboard birds and animals,  chest of drawers and  furniture ( also constructed from cardboard & string  as well as handmade books from ephemera and houses from cereal boxes.  I consider the exhibit of the children’s art exhibit  to be the  considered the next step beyond  James Castle.

I have included a few  photographs I took of the show.Last week  I saw the Otto Dix Show at  the Neue Galerie( museum)  in NYC.   I love German expressionism.  Especially from the 1920s and 30s.

Dix’s watercolor paintings of prostitutes, sailors  and widows  are incredible.  I liked his watercolors better than his oil paintings.

Also last week  I got to see the documentary film EXIT THRU THE GIFT SHOP directed by controversial UK  street artist Banksy ( I love his sense of humor).   Although this film  has a great title, it is misleading as to the nature of the documentary.  The documentary chronicles the rise of a French man ( Thierry Guetta)  living in L.A.  and his rise to fame and fortune in the art world.  In many ways EXIT THRU THE GIFT SHOP is in direct opposition to  the Purvis Young documentary.  Purvis did not care  about money or fame.   Mr. Guetta’s focus is solely for publicity and  money.  Because Thierry suffers from  what I would  consider clinical obsession, I found EXIT  THRU  THE  GIFT SHOP  fascinating and  hilarious.  I was laughing so much I was crying and sweating.   There was an older   couple sitting in front of me.  Every so often the man would turn around and look at me.  I was worried he was going to tell me to shut up.  At the end of the screening, he turned around and thanked me for laughing.  His wife  nodded as he explained it made the film even better.   I couldn’t believe it.  An  atypical response from someone on the Mainline!   All the laughing, crying and sweating  felt  cathartic.

Speaking of obsessions, I’m currently  obsessed with a few things.  I missed the Iris Apfel  fashion show at the Met in New York.  I love Iris Apfel.  She is a style maven.   I have a pair of giant round  ( prescription) glasses similar  to hers which I have only worn out  in public a few times.  I got snickers and sneers from the  young Amish women  working behind the bakery counter when I wore them once to the Farmer’s market.   I bought them as dead stock  vintage on eBAY  but lately  I have noticed they have developed this weird white  ectoplasm   which I have tried to remove which various solvents  but it  keeps reappearing.

Several months ago, I finally finally bought a pair of incredible red, blue, tan  and white wide  striped  vintage 70s  Big Smith overalls.   The fabric is a very soft cotton and  they are very big on me.  My friend’s have commented  that they look like clown circus overalls.  I doubt Mrs. Apfel would think so.  She would love them.

I’m patiently waiting for the  fashion industry to  bring back my favorite piece of clothing- the cotton one piece romper ( or playsuit).  I bought  one many years ago from a thrift store in Philly  that was fuchsia  bold white  flowers on it, big pockets  a big zipper in the front.  Total 60s Miami Beach kitsch, I  wore it on a trip  I won to Hawaii.   The romper costs me  five dollars  and brought me much joy.

Short sleeved and sleeveless cotton rompers ( short length)  ( some   inspired by auto mechanic jumpsuits)  with a front zip and big front and/or side zip pockets  will be  everywhere in the next year or so.  Add to that graphic designs on these rompers  inspired by eighties imagery and pop art as well as neon /glow in the dark strips.   Jumpsuits- redux  will be big also. No I don’t work in the fashion industry.  I own a sewing  machine that continues to gather dust.

I used to have a copy of a fabulous book CHEAP CHIC by Catherine Milinaire and Carol Troy.    It was my fashion  bible in the late 70s /early 80s.   The soft cover book is sadly OOP and a used copy  on Amazon now  is around $137.

My major lifestyle change is in full swing ( It has been almost two and a half months now), I’m experimenting with cooking Vegetarian gourmet meals now. I finally tried Quinoa ( pronounced Keen- wah) and liked it. It is the only grain which is also a complete protein, and have dived deep end into eating tofu. I have to be honest and tell you all that previously I was NOT a fan of tofu. In fact I have a magnet on my fridge depicting a 50s style house wife in an apron with the phrase ” TOFU! Looks like wallpaper paste, but tastes much worse! I bought that magnet at Whole Foods and now I’m eating tofu or tofu based products at least four or five times a week for dinner. I still don’t love it, but I’m trying to make peace with it.

I had a Vietnamese tofu hoagie from Fu Wah Market ( in West Philly).   The classic Vietnamese hoagie sandwich is called a Banh Mi and many recipes exist on the internet.  My version is made with tofu ( not meat and pates) and  I start off with  a really good french baguette ( from Metropolitan  Bakery).  I make my own  teriyaki sauce and I soak the extra firm tofu for many hours in the teriyaki  before dipping it in an egg wash and coating it with seasoned bread crumbs. I then lightly fry the tofu .   I also marinate thin strips of carrots and cucumbers in a  sweet vinagrette and add tomatoes, jalapeno peppers and baby romaine salad mix ( which has my own special house dressing on it) to the hoagie.   The secret to  a great sandwich is the bread ( of course) and the fact that every component  is well seasoned.   Each  item in this sandwich is seasoned in a different way  so that when you bite into the sandwich,  the marriage of flavors comes together.

I’m also loving and I mean loving the tea blend by Divintea called PEACE ON EARTH.   As I mentioned in a previous blog that the Good Earth  Cinnamon tea was magical, so too is this tea blend. After drinking this tea, I have had some lucky things happen.

Anyway play, romp and be happy! And again I apologize for putting up three of the same photo image and the fact that the paragraphs aren’t showing up in this blog despite putting in the manual html code.

P.S.   TAKASHIMAYA- R.I. P. Update- I was in NYC again last week to see THE ADDAMS FAMILY  and I  thought I would stop by Takashimaya briefly before the show.   It  has gone out of business ( at least the NYC location).  I was sad.   Takashimaya to me is like Tiffanys to Holly Golightly.  It was one of my many ( thankfully!) happy places in NYC.  It was a five floor department store unlike any other.  To me, an artist with so many planets in Taurus, it was the ultimate  merger of art, culture, luxury and style  in one place.  I bought this cool umbrella from  the store a few years ago with Asian people head drawings.  I never use the umbrella  for fear it will break.  I recently broke my I LOVE YOU Lulu Guiness umbrella.  By the way, they were selling a very cool umbrella at the ADDAMS FAMILY show with the characters  drawn underneath the umbrella  instead of on top.  But  it was $45.   Because  I’m always  busting up my umbrellas, I bought several recently at IKEA for $2 each.