Hi 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.