Posts Tagged ‘Takashimaya’

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.


Trio of Mini Skull Paintings @ GoreyFest AuctionI haven’t written a blog for awhile. I wanted to let everyone know you can bid on a special trio of mini skull paintings I created especially for the Edward Gorey House 7th annual Gorefest Auction.   The event – the live auction is  happening October4, 2008.  For more information go to:

The three tiny skull paintings I made were done in a Victorian Gothic style as Mr. Gorey emulated this style in his work. The paintings come with their own wood stand. The money raised from the auction benefits The Edward Gorey House Museum and animal charity they work with. I do not profit from this auction. Like I said in my last blog, The Edward Gorey House Museum in Old Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts was such a fun and artistically inspiring museum.

As summer turns into fall, I find myself going through my vast cookbook collection and searching for recipes online. I love comfort foods in the winter. Well I love comfort foods all the time. I have started making cold food dishes a wee bit early. This week I made ( for the 1st time) a cream of crab, asparagus and mushroom soup. I used fresh asparagus and four different kinds of mushrooms from the Farmer’s market. I did not follow a recipe but I usually don’t unless I’m baking. I am getting ready to try my hand at making bread; specifically sourdough bread that tastes like the kind I grew up eating in the Bay Area. Every Christmas Eve, I now make Cioppino ( which is an Italian fish stew in a tomato broth base with white wine, basil and garlic). My mother would make it once a year and we always had it with Colombo Sourdough bread. Last year I was so desperate for some authentic sourdough bread to accompany my Cioppino I ordered 2 round loaves via Boudin Bakery. It was worth the $30 with shipping for the bread. Toasted with butter, it was the perfect companion to my Cioppino. I will be making my own sourdough starter. I still need to buy a Kitchen Aid mixer with a bread hook. I am happy to say I finally manifested a long-wished for kitchen item; a vintage glass Pyrex double boiler which I found at the Hamilton Porch Sale in Powelton Village last weekend. Yes, I realize I could have easily bought one on eBAY but the one I found was only $4. Now when I make my Grand Marnier Souffles, it will be much easier.

O .k. let me digress to some art crap now. The Mark Dion show which was hyped up to the max at Bartram’s garden ( show runs thru December) was basically an artsy -boho guy who got a huge Pew grant to take a road trip and go thrift stores and flea markets in the South . I already did that 10 years ago but didn’t get any money for it. Still the exhibit is kind of cute and interesting to me as I like specimens that he put in glass jars and opening up the various curio cabinets. The best part of my tour of the exhibit was my substitute tour guide ( I won’t be naming names here). The person ( a non- artist) was hilarious as they told me all the gossip about the show and basically saw the art world for what it is- gimmicks and hype ( the words of the tour guide). Yes I think we are definitely in the age of “Emperor’s New Clothes” in many cultural and political ways. Why is some worthy if they look a certain way, dress a certain way, have lots of money or speak eloquently without a track record or actions to back up their words? I tend these days to look at a person’s actions, not their words. But that’s just me. I prefer being around Buddhists ( or Buddhist minded people) over artists because they are kind and down to earth . I guess this makes me seem like a snob. But to continue with art stuff- I also managed to see the Ernst Ludwig Kirchner exhibit called Berlin Street Scenes and the huge “( Salvador) Dali in Film” exhibit at MOMA. Fantastic, wonderful, full of soul, inspiring, overwhelming- these are a few adjectives that I felt while looking at Kirchner’s paintings and Dali’s paintings and films. After seeing the exhibits, I headed over to Takashimaya and had high tea. I chose the East West Tea service- a combination of British and Japanese delicacies served in such a beautiful way, that the plate was pure art. Takashimaya is to me what Tiffanys was to Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast At Tiffanys”. It is a store- five floors of exquisite luxury items that aren’t essential to ones survival but as a woman with five planets in Taurus, the store represents my ultimate materialistic fantasies of beauty under one roof.

So it is obvious that now as the weather turns colder I become obsessed with handmade wool scarves, sweaters and hats. I continue my my search for the ultimate purse. I love the purse/slouch bag/tote that Michelle Pfeiffer had in the films “FRANKIE AND JOHNNY” and the one she used in “ONE FINE DAY”. They both were huge bags, leather and from the looks of it, Made in Italy.

Tashi Delek,