Posts Tagged ‘Philly’

It has been a long- time goal of mine to start documenting my  personal style on my blog. My vision was inspired  in part by my fashion bible, CHEAP CHIC, Tavi Gevinson, Style Maven Iris Apfel, a woman in Narberth I call Narberth Iris (Apfel) and another woman I met at a Dalai Lama teaching .  My style is a work in progress; constantly evolving due to my thrift store finds, my  cultural experiences ,travels and moods.

I think there is a big difference between fashion and personal style. I also feel that just because everyone is wearing a certain designer or a specific piece of clothing, that  that alone does not constitute fashion.For me, fashion is  timeless.  A dress made in the 60s could be worn now and look fresh. My personal style can be summed in the  following way: colorful, ironic, vintage, handmade, fun, comfortable and eclectic.

I grew up in the 70s on a steady diet of SEVENTEEN, MADAMOISELLE, GLAMOUR and VOGUE magazines.  I never really found clothing  I wanted to wear in the magazines  of  that time period. Around the age of 15, I started making trips to San Francisco and would visit the Esprit factory outlet and various small boutiques. This is when I started dressing for myself. A geisha print white sweat shirt, a black pleated wool skirt, white tights with black Japanese characters, oversized red plastic ball earrings, Mary Jane shoes and red lipstick was characteristic of the way I liked to dress in high school.  Sadly, someone  else who was popular  stole my look and won the title of  fashion trend setter  in the  high school yearbook.

Growing up, I had a huge aversion to shopping for clothes at thrift stores for reasons I do not wish to discuss.  I’m  not skinny , and   my  poor body image kept me  from being bold and daring. When I entered art school, I started to give myself more permission to be who I was, and it dawned on me that what I wore was an extension of myself as an artist.   I overcame my distaste for thrift stores when I moved to Philadelphia  in  the early 90s. Finding cool vintage clothes in Philly is like shooting fish in a barrel. Seriously, if you love thrift stores and vintage clothing, move to Philly.

As soon as I buy a piece of clothing, it goes straight into the washing machine or to the dry cleaner . Oxyclean is King in my house. I’ve been able to perform miracles with it. I fear no stain or yellowing fabric. I love children’s graphic prints, pajamas pants, and African textiles ( to name but a few of my style influences.). Unlike Iris Apfel, I don’t wear a lot of accessories. The jewelry I wear usually has spiritual properities. You will never see me without a Hamsa necklace.  I dress for comfort. I do like to smell nice, so scent is a must for me ( as mentioned in a previous blog). Depending on what I’m wearing, I will change my scent O.k. now  on to my outfits in this entry. Photo #1.

Outfit #1- Vintage Shark T shirt  Dr. Seuss Mens Pajamas- One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

Outfit #1- Vintage Shark T shirt Dr. Seuss Mens Pajamas- One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

I call this ensemble “Fishing”. The t-shirt is vintage- a giant shark with its mouth open. I bought it for $2 at the Uhuru Flea Market in Clark Park ( West Philly). I love this t-shirt. I love the fit and the cotton is soft. The pants are soft cotton mens “pajama pants”, Dr. Seuss-One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” .  I bought these at Target several years ago for around $17. I love the pop art colors and the fact these pants have pockets. When I wear these pants out in public, children will squeal and point at me and their mothers will smile.  My shoes are Mens fisherman sandals which I purchased at DSW for around $40. Fisherman sandals are great for so many reasons. They cover your whole foot but allow it to breathe in the summer. They are wonderful walking shoes. Most sandals are not great for walking and leave feet vunerable  to injury. Lastly, these sandals are great for people who have ugly feet or toenail issues. The straps are velcro. My feet feel secure in these sandals.

Neo 80s- Grace Jones Hand silk screen cotton crop tank top  from Philadelphia Print Center paired with a  short flared retro children's print skirt  by Wally & Bebop

Neo 80s- Grace Jones Hand silk screen cotton crop tank top from Philadelphia Print Center paired with a short flared retro children’s print skirt by Wally & Bebop

Outfit #2 is a crop tank top with a hand printed image of  a punk Grace Jones- nice soft sheer cotton. I bought this item from Uhuru Flea Market also. It was made by someone at the Philadelphia Print Center and there were other incredible t shirts at the table, all handmade by various Philly artists. I paid $20 for  the tank top. The short flared skirt is one of my most prized possessions. A retro- inspired children’s happy print featuring colorful cute bears, birds, rabbits, snails, little blond girls, carrots, apples, mushrooms, flowers & trees. The skirt  was  handmade in NYC by Wally & Bebop. They sell at the Rittenhouse Craft Show which occurs every year in early May. The skirt was $50. The look is kind of neo 80s. I have a tummy and a big chest, but I love this outfit nevertheless.

Classic me- My own  Hamsa  designed t shirt  from Zazzle  paired  with  funky African  pants  with a  red horse motif.

Classic me- My own Hamsa designed t shirt from Zazzle paired with funky African pants with a red horse motif.

Outfit #3 is classic me. I designed the pop art hamsa t – shirt. The image originates  from an original painting I made on an old wooden  kitchen cutting board.  I digitally changed the image and had it printed by Zazzle. You can purchase it here:

http://www.zazzle.com/pop_art_hamsa_evil_eye_protection_shirt_by_taurusg-235088416744758886

I cut off the arms of the t shirt. It is a mens large. Nice soft cotton. The pants are African; red horses with black outlines on a yellow background. The pants have pockets and a drawstring waist. I found these pants in the West Village NYC. A guy had a stall and was selling African pants. I bought these for $20. African clothing and textiles are HOT!!!! I have several pairs of African pants and a few dresses & daishikis. Ironically the ODUNDE festival just happened yesterday ( June 8th), but all you fashionistas- mark your calendars now for 2015. Odunde is a huge annual African street festival in Philadelphia which spans many blocks.   It features tons of wonderful clothing and textile vendors, as well as beads and jewelry vendors. African street faires are the perfect place to find unique handmade clothing if you desire to be an OOAK ( one of a kind) and develop your own personal style.

A Statue of David Tank top  found  at Buffalo Exchange compliments the skinny  orange vintage Halloween "eyes" pajama  pants.

A Statue of David Tank top found at Buffalo Exchange compliments the skinny orange vintage Halloween “eyes” pajama pants.

Outfit #4 – I love anything with the Statue of David on it. This cotton tank top is no exception. This is a mens cotton tank top with a photographic of David and the caption “NEVER NUDE”. I found it at Buffalo Exchange. I thought it was a little pricey at $14, but I had to have it.  The pants are vintage ( 90s!) Old Navy orange Halloween “eyes” pajama pants  which I  bought  on eBAY  for $5. They are form- fitting and people always comments that “ it isn’t Halloween” when I wear them.  Oh really? I had no idea.

 

Thank you to  my crew  who  helped make this  blog entry possible.  You know who  you are  and I really appreciate your help. I’m opening up this blog entry for comments. I would love to hear about your personal style and anectdote  on your beloved pieces of clothing.

Love, Katie     meditationphotojune9.jpg

Pendle Hill Witch #10-

Pendle Hill Witch #10-

It  is  irrelevant  how I  ended up   staying  at  a  ritzy hotel in New Jersey  back in March of  1990.  Suffice it  to  say, I  was  sick with a  head  cold  and  was ordere  by a  doctor not  to fly  back to California.  My  first night on the East Coast  had been spent in a  chain motel without  incident.

So I  was  very  sick with a severe head cold, sore throat  and  fever when I  checked into  the Victorian era, ivy -covered stone building.   I was dizzy and fatigued  and  craved soup and sleep.

I  was sharing a  room with my  mother.   As  we  made our  way down  the corridor, I  noticed  the  Laura  Ashley  motif  covered  everything from  the walls  to  the  seat cushions  to the  comforters  on our  beds.   I  ordered   room service: duck  wonton  soup   and   lemon- lime  soda  for my  throat.  I took a hot  shower, put on my  pajamas  and  crawled into bed.  My mother  was  concerned, but let me  be.

In  the  darkness hours later, I  awoke to  find  an old  woman with long grey  hair  in an old fashioned  night gown  trying to smother me  with a pillow.  Behind her  were  four  other  women  dressed in similar nightgowns. The look in this woman’s  eyes  was frightening.  She  seemed possessed.   The  women behind her were chanting “kill her! Kill her!”  I  struggled  with the apparition and  screamed “NO! NO! NO! NO!”. I knew  my mother  was asleep in the  bed next to me, and  when I screamed “NO! ”  the third  time, she  turned on the light  and  rushed to my side .   I  pointed  and  said ”  there  was a woman in this  room  who  just tried to kill me!”   My mother shook her head and said  “No.  You were dreaming.  You  have a  fever and a head cold.”  I  responded ” I  know I am dealing with a  head cold, but  what I experienced was real.”

The  doctor  had explicitly  told my mother  I  was not  to fly  for another  four  days.    My step father  was coming to meet us  after attending a conference in Boston,  which  meant I  had  to  move  into my  own  room  down the hall.  I  was scared.  I  told my mother ” this hotel is haunted.”  She   laughed  at me.    My new  room in the  hotel was  decorated  exactly  like the  first  one;  patterns of   blue  peonies  and pink  carnations  were  everywhere.   My mother had told me  I  could order  room  service and watch cable  T.V.  News of the  tragic Happy land  Dance hall fire   in Brooklyn, which  killed  several  dozen  people,  was  splattered on all the  stations. I kept going  back to watching music  videos  to forget what had  happened the night  before.

Maybe it  had been a bad dream.  Tonight  would be better,  I  told myself.   I  turned off the  T.V. and  then the lights.  I  don’t know  how long  I had been  asleep  when I awoke to  find  yet  more women  with the  same night  gowns in my room. I  quickly  turned on the lights & the  T.V. Splashing  water on  my  face , I  realized  the  next few  ays were going to  be rough.   There  was  no way I was going to  be able  sleep without the lights on.

I  asked  someone  in the hotel   if the place  was haunted.  They  just  shrugged.  I vowed  that one day I would find out the truth.

Maybe I could  discover it  in Public Records, some kind of history of the building  before it was a hotel.   These  were the  days before  the Internet .  The  incident  never left my psyche.  Someday.  Someday.

Several  years later I  moved to the East Coast.  I was living in Philadelphia and was at a church rummage sale.   I noticed two older women  who appeared   to be in their  early seventies sitting  in a  corner of the room.  I went  over  and sat next to them.   They smiled and said hello. I asked them  where they lived.  They  mentioned the  town  where the hotel was located.  I asked them if  they  had heard  of the hotel.  They nodded.   I paused, unsure if  I  should tell them  the story.    But I  knew what  I  had experienced  had not been the result of a  feverish head cold or a common  nightmare.

I  expected  laughter to  erupt.  Instead the faces  of the  women had a look of  compassion and kindness.  “We  believe you” they said  in unison.  The hotel  had been a  residence for homeless and mentally ill women at the turn of the Century.   As they shared the history of the hotel,  I felt  myself go pale and my legs started  to  shake.

Several  years  later   I moved to  the  suburbs.  One of my neighbors  was fascinated  by the paranormal.  I  shared  my  story with her, and when I  mentioned  the hotel and  it’s  location, she  got very excited.  ” I have  a cousin who lives  in that town! I ‘m  going to call her right now and    find out  if she knows anything about this hotel.”

For  years I had tried to  do research on the hotel.  A  well -known  travel rating  site  didn’t mention the hotel being haunted , but it did mention  the lovely  rooms..  Ten minutes  after  my  neighbor left  to go home, she called me on the phone  ” I  just talked to my  cousin”, she  said. ” That  hotel is  VERY haunted.! It’s an open secret.  Everyone who lives in that town knows that.”

Since that time, I  occasionally  google the  hotel to see if  anyone has mentioned if  it is haunted.   No on has.  I toy with this idea of going  back  for  an overnight stay at the hotel.

A  few weeks ago, I  created a series of witch paintings   I dubbed  THE PENDLE HILL WITCHES.  The last  witch- witch number ten closely  resembles the  apparition who tried to smother  me with a  pillow.

Happy Halloween.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 8, 2012

All Things Taurus – Part 3

 

Several weeks  ago I attended a  riveting   lecture by   several  scientists  from the Monell Institute  titled I SMELL YOU SMELL  as part of the Philadelphia Science Festival. The Monell Institute is the world’s  only independent non profit scientific institute dedicated to basic research on taste and smell.   As a  five planets  in Taurus woman, smell ( and taste) are crucial to me.   When I was  little girl, I  wished I  could be the fairy of good smells.  I’d wave  my magic wand and make  everything  seem wonderful like  fresh flowers.   The lecture  took  place in a darken cabaret  room  at the Society Hill Playhouse.  Three  scientists  talked about  the power of  smell and how it relates to  relationships, attraction and  illness.   I ‘ve always  been fascinated  by the  subject of pheromones.   I learned that  everyone’s  scent is different.  No  two people smell alike.   Our  personal scent is like a  fingerprint.   It  doesn’t  change  due to  diet or  hygiene.   The scientists  debunked the myth that  a certain perfume  or oil with attract a man ( or woman) to you.    Maybe that’s  true  but I  have been in some  situations  where the lack of hygiene  has definitely   a repellant.    Smelling  good has always  been important to me.   My  favorite  soap is  Santa Maria Novella’s Melograno  soap.  Melograno is  Italian  for pomegranate.  This  soap is   triple milled and is so gentle.  You  can   use it on your face too and it last much  longer than regular  soap.  Made by   Florentine Monks for   600 hundred years, Santa Maria Novella products are  a personal  favorite.   Heavenly!

From smells to  tastes.  The last  few months I ‘ve  become   obsessed with the Korean  dish- Bibimbap dolsot ( also  spelled bibimbop).   Bibimbap dolsot is  basically  a hot rice dish with  meat and veggies.    My obsession  with Bibimbap  began when I first  had it at Giwa  in Center City  ( Philly).    I  had an OBE  ( out of body experience)  after  eating it for the first time.   I’m not joking !  I literarily  got high and was floating  out of my body for several hours  after  I  finished eating.   I   tried  the  dish  at several  other restaurants in Philly after   Giwa.    There  are   many more  restaurants  I need to  try bibimbap from , but so far Giwa  is the  best.    The dish is  served in a  cast iron  deep bowl which  arrives  all steamy and popping.   The popping sound is  from the  bottom layer of rice  cooking and getting brown and  crunchy.    A sauce  made with red pepper paste   ( called gochujang)  is  mixed in the  dish as you eat it.     As  most of my  readers know,  when I  get  a idea into my head, especially when it comes to making a  certain  dish, I must make it and make it  right.    For  several weeks I  just  thought about  bibimbap.   I  looked online and  at H-Mart  for the same  cast iron  bowls I was served Bibimbap in at the various  restautants. H-Mart  does sell these outrageously  heavy stone bowl  for around $30 a piece  to  make bibimbap.  But I ‘m  a cast  iron  woman.  I  finally  found a  food blog  that mentioned  cooking bibimbap in a cast iron skillet.  Hallelujah!    I  combined  several bibimbap  recipes and then  altered them  further.    I have  made this  dish  3 times so far.  Once with  rib eye steak ( traditional).  One with Chicken and once with pork.    The first attempt  with rib eye steak  remains  my most  successful attempt.    I was able to get the  rice on the bottom crunchy.  One of the ways  in which  my bibimbap  differs  vastly  from the  bibimbaps I have eaten in the restaurants &  the  recipes I  found on line is  my  compulsion  to  season  each component separately.    Sadly, this  need to  have  more flavor resulted in severe rice failure on  my second and third attempts at  making the  dish ( the  goal  being  a crispy crunchy layer of rice at the bottom of the  pan).    I put  butter and  Swanson  flavor packets (  chicken and vegetable) in the  rice water right before cooking the rice.  The  rice was  bursting with  flavor but I realized the butter made  the  cooked  grains  too  moist to  cook  effectively .    Egg was  served on  top of the Bibimbap  when I  ate it Tampopo ( raw  which  cooked as the  veggies,rice and  meat steamed)  and Koreana  (  cooked over easy) but not at Giwa.   I  decided to  top my bibimbap with organic  duck  eggs I  bought  at the  farmer’s market.  By using  duck eggs instead of  regular  eggs, a deeper  depth of  flavor  was  achieved.   I also  altered the   sauce  made with the  gochujang  by adding  fresh  grated  ginger, more sesame oil and more  sugar than the internet  recipes listed.   And  while I  have written previously about  my attempts to  become  vegetarian, I have fallen off the wagon.  I  decided  last  year that  my  body  functions  better on a little meat.   I only buy organic  meat.  Maybe  someday I will become a vegetarian but not now.

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In keeping with this theme of  this blog of ALL THINGS TAURUS,  I highly recommend   F for Fake  (written, directed and starring Orson Welles).  Mr. Welles was  a quintessential Taurus ( May 6th).  The  real reason  for   viewing this “documentary”   is not  to learn about the  famous  art  forger Elmyr de Hory or  see  footage of Clifford  Irving the subject of the film The Hoax.  The REAL  reason to watch F for Fake  is  the fashions  that Orson Welles’s then girlfriend Oja Kodar  models as she is  portraying the fictitious muse of Picasso.  The two minute  “fashion show”  features  some very incredible  clothes.  A must  rent for any  fashionista.

The  other Taurus I  want to mention in this blog is  filmmaker/writer/actor Lena Dunham ( May 13th).   I really enjoyed Ms.Dunham’s first film Tiny Furniture   ( 2010) which was an instant  hit at the Sundance Film Festival when it premiered.  Her current HBO series GIRLS which  she  wrote,directed and stars in, features  some of the  same cast  from
Tiny Furniture .  I  find Ms. Dunham fascinating to watch.  I  thought about  why I like her and find her  so appealing.  The answer was  of course,  right in front  of me.  It is the Taurus  factor.  She is  real and unpretentious.  She  looks like a normal person, not a Hollywood-glammed up  movie star.  She is  a little bit  chubby and isn’t afraid to  show her body  on  camera in  various  stages of undress.    She   explores relationships and sexuality (  due to the  intense simulated sex  scene the  series airs on Sundays nights at 10:30 p.m. EST).  Ms. Dunham’s  take on relationships and men is honest,refreshing and  of course witty.  I  heard her interviewed by  Terry Gross on  NPR ‘s Fresh Air yesterday ( May 7th).     Although Ms. Dunham stated  clearly that the  character of Hannah isn’t  her, Hannah  does seem to possess many  Taurean tendencies ( like eating  cupcakes in the bathtub) and being kind of   slow to “get it” at times.  Now  I myself have never eaten cupcakes while taking a bath, but  both activities  top  my pleasure list.

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More things related to my Taurus:

There are two films both available on dvd which deal with the subject of redemption and forgiveness. I love both these films. The first of these films is Flipped directed by Rob Reiner based on the popular book Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen and the British independent film In a Day. Both these films deal with the relationship between a boy and a girl ( FLIPPED) and a man and a woman ( IN A DAY). Rob Reiner said of FLIPPED it is the best film he’s directed. I agree with him. The film although it is very Hollywood, is the kind of film that should be shown in school  to junior high students. The message of not assuming or making judgements based on appearances is important and crucial. How do these two films relate to Taurus? Well Taurus is a stubborn sign and I  have  been  guilty of assuming and making  judgements.      My  assumptions  about  Korean  food  kept me  from a world of sensual pleasure  for decades.   I  hope EVERYONE   will see  FLIPPED.   It is a  great film  for adults too.

Recently, I  saw  a powerful documentary  which  lingered in my  head for days.  Elephant in the Living Room directed by Michael Webber, follows Officer Tim Harrison as he struggles to deal with the exotic animal problem in Ohio. More and more people in the United States are opting to have wild and exotic animals as pets. This documentary examines this horrifying, sad , shocking and idiotic ( yes I said it) trend.  I  learned a  permit is not  required  to own an exotic/wild  animal in Ohio but   you  need of course  to have a  license for your  dog.  This is one of those documentaries that should be,in my opinion, required viewing to children in public schools every year they are in school( I would say starting with 4th grade children). In my opinion, it is a disgrace that hundreds of thousands of domestic animals are euthanized in shelters every year. Now there is this new problem of wild and exotic “pets”. I feel for Tim Harrison and his heroic efforts to save and place the abandoned and abused exotic wild life that he encounters on his job.   I hope this documentary can  change the  state laws  regarding  wild/exotic pet ownership.

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I’ve previously  mentioned I how much I love CBS SUNDAY MORNING ( airs Sundays  at 9 a.m. EST).  It is one of the few  art & culture  shows on  a major Network  Channel.   I  need to  mention  another  fabulous arts & culture  show called   EUROMAXX ( Highlights).   This  22 minute show airs on   Comcast  here in Philly on MINDTV on Saturday mornings at 7:30 a.m.  MINDTV is  the local independent  Philly cable station.  Euromaxx  is a German produced  show which features  what’s hot and  happening  in Europe.  Sadly, I’m either  on my way to the  gym or  farmer’s market or  thriftin ( yard  sales, flea markets etc.)   on Saturday mornings so I often  miss  this  wonderful  show.   It would  be great if   MIND TV  would air this  show on Sunday mornings  before CBS Sunday morning.

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And lastly- Thank you Town & country Magazine  for printing my Letter to the Editor  (May 2012) regarding the  Ali MacGraw  cover ( February 2012).   Unfortunately, I  don’t buy the editor’s response  as to why they  chose to put a  photograph of Ms.MacGraw  from 1969 on their  cover while inside they have  recent photographs of her looking  fantastic at 72.   I can smell B.S. a  mile away.  This may  be a revelation to  some people who think I’m naive.  The truth is  most of the time I  keep my mouth  shut because  I  have never been able to   confront  a liar and get the truth at the  time I was confronting them ( I’m not  implying the editors of T & C  are liars).   These  days I  bide my  time and   know  that in time, the truth is ALWAYS revealed  in almost every situation.  That is the  epitome of  a Taurus  being patient!

 

 

 

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.

 

A few weeks ago I saw the most riveting documentary ” MAN ON WIRE” about the French tightrope walker/ acrobat Phillipe Petit who constructed a wire between the Twin Towers ( World Trade Center) in the mid 70s right after they were completed . He had an overwhelming urge to walk between the two tower. The urge became an obsession. An obsession that even he thought was “impossible”. In my opinion, ” Man on Wire” is one of the most intense documentaries I have ever seen. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. To quote a friend ,” Definitely not boring!”. The documentary, sadly is no longer playing at my local theatre. I’m sure it will be available on DVD shortly.

While on the subject of men and wires, this past weekend I journeyed to the Perelman building- which opened last year across from the Philadelphia Art Museum . It was my first trip since it opened. Yes I am a slow mover. My main reason for going was to see Alexander ” Sandy” Calder’s jewelry exhibit. I keep using the word “stunning” but the collection of rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, tiaras etc. was so incredible, I wanted to run home and make jewelry ( I don’t make jewelry). His materials were simple- wire, brass, silver, stones, glass. Most of the collection was made for his wife, mother & friends. The way he could bend wire. I read at parties he would show up with wire and pliers and make sculptures for his friends.

Another ” MUST SEE” exhibit is the James Castle Retrospective which just opened up across the street at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. James Castle ( 1899- 1977) was a deaf mute self trained outsider artist who lived in Idaho. He made incredible black and white drawings primarily with soot and spit as well as constructed tiny books from found ephemera. His work is on the genius level. The exhibit is a ” MUST SEE” for EVERYONE ( whether you consider yourself an artist or not). After missing two different screenings of a documentary made about James Castle, his life and art, I was overjoyed to discover they are showing the film every hour inside the exhibit. The exhibit runs through January 4, 2009 and information about the James Castle Retrospective can be found on the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s website.

To digress now to some more of my favorite things about fall; specially fall on the East Coast. The leaves changing colors, the way the air smells- crisp with a smoky tinge, Caramel Apples- the really good kind that you make at home or buy at a high end candy shop. I love apples and fresh apple cider. Anything pumpkin; especially good pumpkin bread and pumpkin pancakes, hearty homemade soups. My favorite apple is Honey Crisp, handknit scarves and shawls. Fall colors in clothing. Sad to say on a recent trip to MACYS, every piece of clothing I looked at from inexpensive to expensive was Made in China. I looked at a sweater dress that was priced at $198- it had threads hanging off it; very poorly made. What happened to quality? This is yet another argument for me continuing to shop at Thrift stores and seek out D.I.Y. artist/designers/seamstresses. Thank God for eBAY. This is a great place to find handmade items. I have found wonderful people on eBAY who have made me wool winter hats, scarves, hand loomed sweaters, wool socks etc. I choose handmade any day.

Now that the cooler weather is setting in, I am switching my facial products around. I just adore Source Naturals SKIN ETERNAL face cream and SKIN ETERNAL Face Serum. Natural skin products that don’t cost a fortune and really work ( for me), Drinking lots of spring water, at least 2 ounces of Aloe Vera Juice and being consistent with taking Womens Essential Oil Capsules.

And before I close this blog let me talk about films. I just HAPPY GO LUCKY ( in movie theatres now). A definite ” must see” film with Buddhist themes. I think Mike Leigh is a wonderful film director ( in a future blog I will write more about favorite films and film directors etc. ) THE VISITOR – which is out on DVD- another “must see” film. Buddhist ideals show up in this film too.

Since Halloween is approaching, I must confess I do have a weakness for horror films. I recently re-watched Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 film DON’T LOOK NOW with Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. Using the city of Venice ( Italy) as the backdrop, I really enjoyed the “psychic” aspect of this film. It is a terrific film that really holds up well 35 years later. I recommend it as ” must see” film.

Tashi Delek,

Katie