Saturday, June 28, 2008

Brian Brushwood

Announced by Josh Porter as a Bizarre Magician, a Blockhead, a Fire-Eater & Human Straw, Brian Brushwood captivated his audience last evening. It was particularly wonderful to watch the wonder and awe in the faces of the youngsters in the crowd. as Brian went through his varied acts listed above. My favorite other than the fire eating sequence was his take as a noir Birthday party performer.

Secrets of the Sideshow

Photobucket Album
Curious, Mysterious and Strange: Secrets of the Sideshow opened last night to a large, enchanted audience. The exhibits shown in the video are magical "madelines" of childhood circus, country fair midways, for me: memories of Coney Island. The show runs from June 28 to August 30. Bring everyone...they'll enjoy it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Animal Happenings

I glanced out at the patio last evening to see if it was still raining. And on its hind legs, peeking into my studio doors, was a tiny rabbit, no more than 4" in length, chocolate in color, including its pom-pom tail. Before I could grab my camera, he hopped away. This am, without success, I looked closely at the roots of nearby trees to see if I could find the rabbit hole. I imagine that my patio guest is risk taking Peter Rabbit, and that his siblings, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail are staying safely with Momma Rabbit.
And Ira related that our neighbor's cat, Smoky, who loves to climb trees, is again this summer, being attacked by a mother mockingbird as soon as he places a paw into our yard. Ira reported that yesterday, he watched the bird actually strut behind Smoky, squaking loudly, actually chasing him as he headed to his home driveway so as to hide under the truck parked there.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Works

These pieces are on paper, ranging in size from 22" x 30" to 16" x 22". They are not traditionally framed, but have a back sleeve through which is a bamboo pole; this has each "floating" on the wall.
As I look at these, I say to myself that Yeats line: "The centre cannot hold", and realize that the works express my thoughts of the need for a new, stable, enduring center.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Just received an email from Willie Middlebrook saying that he's put up a new web page: Do go to that page to see what our wonderful friend and mentor has been doing. The web page also includes "history of career" photos and a link to his blog. The photo on the welcome page made me wonder if I'd gotten the right page... a portrait of Willie without his dreads! I sure wish he'd visit again and stay with us a while.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

More Birds

Since we put up a feeder near our patio, we've had the joy of viewing lots of bird life, and lots of squirrels too. We enjoy the squirrel's canniness in getting to the feeder, but love how the birds not only use the feeder, but also our cats' food dish. Each day we see a symphony of sparrows, (at least 2 different kinds of sparrow); blue jays, cardinals, mockingbirds, 2 kinds of doves and robins. But this morning was special as we had the company of a wood thrush and a red-bellied woodpecker.
The neighbors' cats for whom we fill that dish, sometimes hide around the corner of our spa house and stalk the birds. They're thankfully unsuccessful in their quest. They also chase the squirrels, sometimes going right up the trees, and again lose their prey. Last summer, one mother mockingbird had it in for Smoky, the one young cat who particularly likes to climb trees. Every time his paw hit Nathan grass, she'd scream and divebomb him until he sought shelter under a shrub or left the yard. None of the other cats were targeted. Smoky hasn't come to her attention this year...he's gotten older and perhaps smarter.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Remember Guernika

I understood what it meant to be an artist when I first saw Picasso's Guernica mural at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. So this trip to the town of Guernika was in a sense, a pilgrimage. The town has been completely rebuilt and the only reminders of that destruction by the Luftwaffe and Italian planes are the Peace Park and the carcass of the original oak . It and the present Casa de Junta (now the seat of the Basque Parliament)were the only things remaining. Many oak trees originating from that tree have been planted. The oak has become a striking symbol/metaphor for the Basques. The world forgets quickly and there are only 2 sculptures that were donated out of the many promised, in the park....note the graffitti on the Henry Moore shown here. The Casa has a video presentation of the bombing, etc. that unfortunately isn't as traumatic in our battle weary world where civilian casualties are taken for granted.
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Friday, June 13, 2008

Photos in Web Album

Its taken some editing, lots of time in Photoshop, but at last I've finished placing the photos that Ira shot with his Canon S80, on our recent voyage on the Azamara Journey. So many times on these adventures, I wish that my friends and family were with me to enjoy that moment; thus sharing these photos. Note especially the ones taken of treasures in the British Museum.
There are lots of pages, but I hope they're in a form that'll hold your interest. If not, just click off, or select those that do interest you. Use the link above or click on this:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jazz at the Barnwell: The Sidemen

A large crowd gathered on the patio of the Barnwell Center, Thursday evening, June 12, for the 4th in the Friends of Barnwell Jazz Series: two more are scheduled. So nice to see such a cross section of our local population coming together on a summer's eve; and staying and enjoying in spite of a sudden, heavy shower.

The Sidemen are an outstanding group and the applause was loud and long for "St. James Infirmary", "Josephine", Shake, Rattle and Roll, "Europa" et al. I didn't catch the names of every musician, but was delighted with the thrilling riffs of the two guitarists, the cool drummer with a great voice. Johnny Broussard on the sax and Henry Riggins on the keyboard made me feel that I was back at the Village Vanguard. The 2 hour session was just too short; I could've listened to their music for at least two more.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Almeria, Spain

We arrived in Almeria Sunday morning. The shops were shuttered, the streets quiet as we walked uphill to the cathedral. Constructed in 1524, its a fortresslike structure, a very dark interior w. a mix of Romanesdque & Gothic styles. The windows are high in the walls; the domes in the side chapels add light. Our friend, Val, stayed for mass and told us it must have been a special day as the bishop conducted the mass, and one of the statues was paraded in the church and outside in the square w. great ritual.
Ira and I continued our hike up the narrow winding streets to Alcazaba Fortress and Palaces, a less advertised Alhambra, constructed in the 10th century by the Moors, and destroyed by an earthquake in 1487. There are archeological excavations in many places, and the restoration is evident (see middle photo). Its a beautiful place w. many levels w. eye popping views, each having a water feature, lots of greenery, and decorative inlaid
floors. So many areas, niches, places to explore, and fun to do so with the many families from the area that were enjoying
this serene mountaintop.
Almeria has a lovely park along its coastline. Sculptures, play areas, fountains and many benches are
included and there were many large social gatherings, everybody seemed to be talking at one time, at various places
as we strolled back to our ship.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Just returned from a marvelous adventure aboard the Azamara Journey. With my friends, Ira and I boarded the ship at Barcelona and wandered for a few hours, before sailaway, along the wonderful Rambla. Lots of mimes and freeze-pose models entertaining large groups, groups of artists selling their works, souvenir kiosks, cafes, flower shops along this pedestrian boulevard. I especially loved walking around the market that's next to the Rambla, looking at carefully arranged meats displayed to whet the appetite, fresh, crisp vegetables and fruits that create a riot of color and though the aromas of the fish stalls aren't great, the beautiful shiny fresh catch of fish and shell fish is visually great. My camera kept clicking.

Our next port was Valencia...yes! that song kept reverberating in my head. As we came into port, I was having breakfast on our balcony, thanks to efficient room service. How I wish I had room service at home. Again, visited a much larger central market housed in an old, elegantly tiled, very light, huge space. Across the avenue was La Lonja, a UNESCO world heritage site that was the Silk Exchange, built in 1483. It looked like a cathedral w. very high quoined ceilings, a lovely garden at its center. My favorite stop was at IVAM, the museum of modern art. There was a fine Joseph Beuys show that included his wooden sled laden w. blanket & flashlight, the Coke bottle in a box, et al. But the big surprise was a Jean Tinguely retrospective. Each of the kinetic sculptures was set in motion by a floor mounted button, and oh! what happened was pure magic.

The local soccer team had won their conference and were being feted w. a special mass as we came to Plaza de la Virgen. Armies of fans had the team colors draped around shoulders, waists, as flags waving furiously in front of a huge mural of the Virgin created w. flowers. And we visited the sleek Arts & Science complex designed by Calatrava. Another city that I'd like to visit again!