lost notice

photograph courtesy of the sartorialist-
fall/winter 2011

black rabit scarf.
a billiondy dollars.

slipped off somewhere on the upper east side;
i went back,
i searched,
retraced steps,
but alas.
gone forever.

it wasn't designer,
it wasn't expensive,
it wasn't even that luxurious.
but it was just what was wanted,
and it was me.


i want to be this guy

perhaps with less facial hair;
i already have the scarf though.

how does one become a creative director?
for carolina herrera no less.
or for that matter,
how does one become an artistic director?

it is something i've long wanted to pursue,
but often wondered how and where to begin.
it can be googled,
(i've searched),
which means there are others wondering the same.

perhaps i'll start trolling craigslist for "creative director" postings.




i understand the logic,
and a little bit of the math,
the initial notion that new york has the most affordable rentals,
is kind of laughable.

when the ratio is renting compared to buying,
it suddenly makes slightly more sense.
doesn't it?
or does it?



two teaspoons of good vanilla

enjoying all the falling snow,
snow days included.

late-late breakfast menu:
honey-covered yogurt,
huge earl grey tea,
luscious pear,

to my delight,
ina garten was my snowed-in houseguest,
and a terrific breakfast companion.
perfect start to a lazy white-out kind of a day.

how easy was that?


bon annee 2011

i saw an old friend the night before new year's eve.
last we saw each other was at the same time two years ago;
he was visiting the city for just a couple of days,
so getting together was mandatory.

it was a great night.
we wound up at bell book and candle.
(more on that later.)
he and i had drinks and laughs and swapped stories and joked,
talked about when we both lived in boston and future plans.
seemed like old times.

in his text to me on new year's eve day,
after his thanks,
he said:
this is the year for you.

hope he's right.

new year,
new me.
same shit.
here's hoping for an eventful 2011.


people are afraid to merge on freeways in los angeles

a window on the world -
middle of the country -
on the way to the west coast.
very beginning of the trip,
enroute to los angeles.

my mimosa;
or third?
cannot recall.
a bit of light reading.

beautiful mountains,
about an hour from landing at lax.

the trees of santa monica.

mr. fred,
we love you.

book of egon shiele's letters,
with an awesome,
somewhat cryptic,
message on a beginning page:
"my promenade leads me over the abyss."

essentials by the ritz pool:
lemon-infused water,
spf 25 sunblock,
dark glasses,
"red house" by sarah messer,
and an industrial strength bloody mary -
the last of two.

on my first visit,
i read "less than zero."
i had wanted,
very much,
to read bret eason ellis' latest,
"imperial bedrooms."
after all,
how perfectly west coast,
how perfectly l.a.,
how perfectly indulgent.

as it happened,
this didn't happen,
so made headway with messer's "red house,"
and was just as pleased.

another essential,
a packable,
(almost) foldable,
nearly indestructible,
straw hat.
courtesy of my friends at a little place,
a little place,
called the gap.

a delicious mojito at the ivy,
resting atop their cook/memory/coffee-table book.
one of the best mojitos i've ever had,
and besides,
what a wonderfully refreshing way to start dinner.

beautiful flowers at the ivy.
i was asked to return them to their rightful place,
after having gotten as far as the curb,
with them strategically hidden under a friend's wrap.
(not really.)
i only made it to the door...

a colorful,
yet simple way,
to arrange and set a table.
notice the centerpieces,
colorful roses and baskets of lemons and limes.

awesome animated (miniature) big band.

after reading ann magnuson's l.a. woman in paper magazine,
i was desperate on my first trip to l.a.,
to discover this valhala she spoke of -
silver lake -
the closest i got was griffith observatory,
and getting lost for 45 minutes around the reservoir...
this time,
was a different story.
met a dear friend for lunch at cafe stella,
and finally made it!

another simple-simple-simple centerpiece,
with leaves ever so soft.
the also had a delicious cucumber-ade drink that i wish i had right now.
perhaps another venture out west sooner rather than later?

my sinful croque madame at cafe stella.

my friend's hand with their perfectly bombshell red painted nails,
holding an iced something-or-other from intelligentsia.

more red.
appropos for the week of the fourth of july.

aloft the great city of los angeles.
view from the hills at the top of mulholland.
fun ride during the day;
potentially quite dangerous once night falls.
a friend in the car said he needed a dramamine.
it was quite roller-coaster like,
and admittedly,
with me behind the wheel,
i suspect it was not unlike mr. toad's wild ride...

what really terrific lines,
what calming colors,
really perfect and so california.
what a great place to live...
this is the home i chose to lay my hat,
if given the choice.

i did find it difficult to leave l.a. this time.
i would imagine settling in,
not returning to my beloved east coast,
and starting out fresh someplace anew.

above and below,
two favored pieces at a home where i spent july 4th:
a beautiful bombay chess table with chairs,
and a vibrant modernist still life.
again as at the ivy,
got as far as the door before being asked to return the painting...

remnant of a party.
clue to a good time.

last night:
the fourth of july.
we celebrated our independence.
marina del rey put on a lovely display of colors and patriotism.

later in the night,
after packing,
i went downstairs to the hotel pool,
and relaxed in the hot tub.
a young woman in an american flag bikini was there,
celebrating her 30th birthday with friends.


put on your red shoes and dance the blues

earlier this year,
i saw a refurbished "the red shoes" at the film forum,
and i was charmed beyond words.
the film took me right in,
and i wondered why i'd waited to see it.
i remember i had planned to wear my red shoes,
but it was wet out,
and alas dear reader,
the red shoes are suede.
this accident-waiting-to-happen was not an option,
so the red shoes remained home.

a close up of vicky's dangerous ballet slippers in "the red shoes."
photo courtesy of (pilfered from) verdoux,
whose post is informative and features some great photos.

"time rushes by, love rushes by, life rushes by, but the red shoes dance on."
- lermontov of "the red shoes"
diana vreeland was obsessed with red;
according to her,
the best shade can be found on a child's cap in renaissance painting.
the color has long been a symbol in literature and film and art,
used as a marker,
whether a letter of adultery or a riding hood or dancing slippers.
often times,
it's a harbinger of impending trouble,
but it also means that an adventure is implicit,
and that's the exciting part.
i think that's why people are attracted to it.

case and point,
danger and adventure.
i only discovered kate bush's song a year or two ago,
but now whenever i see a pair of red shoes,
i think:
"oh the the minute i put them on,
i knew i had done something wrong."
but i also think:
"put them on and your dream'll come true."

most likely,
the world's best known red...
or um,
should i say,
ruby hued shoes.

in the oz series by l. frank baum,
dorothy's slippers were actually silver.
according to film lore,
the silver notion was dismissed,
in favor of a more technicolor friendly color,
something vivid and striking,
which would translate well.
that something was red.

just imagine,
if the film had been done in black and white,
with shirley temple as dorothy,
incessantly tap-tap-tap-tapping in silver shoes,
"the wizard of oz" would've been completely different.
millions of children wouldn't've grown up with "over the rainbow."

life imitating art.
(shoes are the artist's own.)

i looked for a pair of perfect red shoes for years -
literally years -
it wasn't just that they're different or striking,
it's the idea of fantasy behind them.

in one story,
they danced the girl to death,
in another,
they took her home.
maybe mine will take me on an adventure,
and then to the opposite side of the hudson.

with my luck,
they'll throw me in front of a train...


reading material

stack of books on the nightstand.
not always my favorite,
not always what is currently being read,
but always an interest -
something to be read up on -
or a story to be kept close.

on some level,
conscious or subconscious,
the books represent whatever i'm channeling,
or in the case of "alex,"
something i'm trying to channel.
kinda hippy dippy,

from bottom to top:

a biography of the ballet dancer moira shearer,
who played vicky in "the red shoes,"
(more on that subject later);

a birthday gift from a close friend,
the unfinished novel "answered prayers" by tru heart;

a wonderfully interesting book called "children of the sun,"
about the generation between the world wars,
the bright young people in england,
about their heady youth and bedraggled ends.
found this one somewhere in boston,
what a superb title as well;

a biography about conde nast editor alexander liberman,
a man of incredible struggles and incredible chic,
signed by the man himself.
co-written by calvin tomkins,
i found this at the left bank bookstore,
before they moved to 8th avenue;

and lastly,
the book of poems "a shropshire lad" by a. e. housman,
the others will surely come and go,
but i think this one will remain.


hats and gloves and shoulder pads, oh my.

care of http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2010/04/mildred_pierce_on-set.html#photo=11x46268

at the end of april,
i read hbo was filming a mini-series remake of mildred pierce,
with kate winslet.

they must still be filming.
meandering downtown tuesday night with a friend,
and feasting royally on our grom gelato,
(dark chocolate and raspberry),
we noticed bright klieg lights off of 6th avenue.
being naturally curious,
(read: nosy),
we decided to casually stroll by...
three times.

i asked a small group of waiting extras,
if this was the mildred pierce project.
judging that they were in full vintage bregalia -
i figured it was a safe assumption -
and was right.

photo care of friend's camera phone,
(please forgive subpar quality.)

hats and gloves for sure,
but it seems as if the film is set in the thirties,
perhaps in the midst of the depression,
so let's not count on those shoulder pads.
joan crawford may be rolling over in her grave.


pie, pie, pie

"pie pie pie" from 2010 by me.
life imitating art.

recently went for lunch at a favorite eatery in town,
called raymond's,
on church street in downtown montclair.
funnily enough it is named after it's owner,
i've been going since i was a little boy,
and it was a few stores down,
the shape and near proportions of a shoebox.

i've been awaiting their fresh blueberry pie since last summer.
i asked in vain in november,
then in january,
then in march.
i then asked last week,
but to no avail.
it is finally the season for it.
the piece is a generous portion,
as is apparent,
and is also $6.50 worth of heaven on a plate.
i was so concerned they'd run out,
that i ordered a piece before ordering the actual meal!

what a lovely way to start the summer;
what a lovely way to spend the summer;
and what a lovely way to end the summer.

something tells me,
i'll be having a vast amount of blueberries this summer.

"pies pies pies" from 1961 by wayne thiebaud.
art imitating life.

a progression from start to inevitable finish.

that is,
as they say,
the plate.



today's letter is brought to us by c

i believe that c is for coolbirth.

this lithograph is by william nicholson,
it's one of a set ranging from -
you got it -
a to z.

a single one ranges anywhere from $130.00 to $200.00;
it will remain on my wish list...
or rather,
my covet list.
(see below.)


it may be a cardinal sin to covet,
but if it indeed is,
don't show me the way to righteousness.

interesting dish (partial) set found at the hell's kitchen flea market.
perfect for that "starter" apartment;
but since i have no apartment to start,
i left them for the next starter upper.

beautiful parrot green adam kimmel scarf in barney's window,
with sign for clarification below:

a witty and funny print,
found whilst loitering on the home floor of bergdorf goodman.
still smarting from the $25.00 gotham salad though,
i neglected to enquire about the price.
another time,
another life.


new york state of mind ii

self-explanatory icing on the best carrot cake,
and i don't even like carrot cake...

as a final goodbye,
so long,
last hurrah,
what you will,
the good people of the empire diner,
decided to throw a goodbye party.
in attendance were:
longtime patrons and relatively new ones (me),
servers from long ago and current ones,
and everyone in between.

everything was on the house,
the smiles came easily,
conversations became boisterous,
memories were revisited,
and people lingered.
it was as it should have been.

one of the waitresses,
circa 1979,
shortly after the diner opened,
giving an interview to ny1.
there was a collection of three,
each in black and funky jewelry,
with fascinating stories.
one met her first husband there.
anther remembered numerous limousines after hours,
and jerry hall,
or was it bianca jagger,
eating in a large party at one end.

there were sad stories too though.
out of three original owners,
one died of cancer,
and the other from aids.
all were spoken well of and remembered fondly.

as a young kid,
running in and our at all hours,
laughing too loudly with friends,
i could've guessed at the fun tales,
but did not know the sad ones.

the first piano player,
on the extreme left,
overcome by sun.
in the middle,
someone playing for kicks that day,
and on the right,
a patron,
(in the great scarf),
who's first meal in america -
i'd heard him admit -
was at the empire.

one of the handful of owners -
i believe -
spiking the punch.
it had been rum.

before we knew it,
the cake had been cut and eaten,
the drinks had been finished,
and the day was close to running out.
it was time to go.