Friday, January 31, 2014

On the Edit Floor --- Day 3/20

Walk: de Young, Mindful Body
Distance: 2 miles and teach yoga class

As mentioned in CIWT a few days ago, Thursday was the first docent lecture on Georgia O'Keefe's early Lake George years with Alfred Stieglitz when they spent summers with his extended family at the Stieglitz summer 'cottage.'  The years were approximately 1918 to 1930, and they span both the development of O'Keefe's modernist style and subject matter as well as the rise and flattening of her love affair and later marriage to Stieglitz.

Much is known and written about both the love affair and the art, but Ciwt has always wondered how O'Keefe could have been so overtaken by Stieglitz or what impetus could have been strong enough for O'Keefe to take herself to New Mexico and then essentially spend her life there with occasional trips to New York.

Much is made of the love story, the 300 pictures he took of her and hung on his walls at his famous and powerful Gallery 291, the extramarital living together, her instant rise to financial success.  But nothing written really explores his Svengali power over her personally and career-wise. Or her - I would say pretty innocent - 'submission' to his dazzling power and personality.  Nor has Ciwt seen any deep examination of the dark aspects of their love story: her feeling of exclusion and entrapment by his huge, boisterous family at Lake George, his decision against providing her with the child she strongly wished to have.  And, Ciwt has never read about his philandering or about his most flagrant affair with a young woman, Dorothy Norman, approximately seven years into his life with O'Keefe.

These little things came out in the course of the lecture on O'Keefe's art, sunk in silently and literally woke Ciwt up with a nightmare.  Stieglitz quite literally replaced O'Keefe to her face - and apparently expected her to stay with him.  He brought the young Dorothy Norman into his gallery as an assistant and photographed her in the exact same poses he created for O'Keefe.  It must have been so painful for O'Keefe and was the (largely unspoken - maybe because he continued to control the image) reason she went to New Mexico.  

So much of what is known about both O'Keefe and Stieglitz is image.  Just image.  Sometimes the image is all and speaks volumes- both were supremely talented in their art, he in his photography and she in her paintings and drawings.  But - as with everyone - there is a shadow to each person and their relationship, and, in a way, that has been largely erased, painted over, cropped out.

Georgia O'Keefe by Alfred Stieglitz    Dorothy Norman by Alfred Stieglitz

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The New 30 --- Day 3/19

Walk: de Young Docent Lecture (O'Keefe at Lake George), Mindful Body
Distance: 2 miles and take yoga class

This made me smile:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Just a little bit further.... Day 3/18

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance:  10 Blocks

Got a massage which Ciwt never remembers to do then edited a friend's article and am suddenly out of time.  Funny how days do that - just conclude.

Tomorrow is the first docent lecture on the upcoming Georgia O'Keefe show at the de Young. Wonder if Ciwt's thinking will change on O'Keefe by the end of the show after my usual 'research' - multiple times through the show, reading, attending lectures.  Probably.  So often I start out a show thinking my mind is quite formed about a certain artist or theme, and, by the end, there has been much broadening and enriching.  Not an easy process often - the opening of Ciwt's mind can be challenging.  But, as they say, worth it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Preserved Lemons, Anyone? --- Day 3/17

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance: 10 Blocks and Teach yoga class

One of my students has some fruit trees that periodically come into generous bloom.  Thoughtfully she brings bags of the fruit to the yoga studio for Ciwt and various students, front desk people and massage therapists to share.

One (or several?) of those trees is a Meyer lemon.  The clear, clear yellow is so pure and beautiful in the bag, I just love looking at them. But, since it is just me and Callie around here, I wonder how to use them all.

Today another Mindful Body student who is a well-known cook/chef sent a recipe for preserving lemons in her 'Tuesday Recipes' mailing.  It should work perfectly for Ciwt - and maybe for you?
Here's the link: 

Monday, January 27, 2014

One Single Prescription --- Day 3/16

Walk: JCCSF and beyond
Distance: 2 Miles and Take Yoga Class

A(n old boy)friend who is single (like Ciwt) sent me a clipping he'd cut from I don't know where. It reads:

Being a single person searching for love teaches you that not everything is under your control.  You can't control whether the person you've fallen for will call.  You can't force yourself to have feelings for the nice guy your best friend fixed you up with. You have no way to know whether attending this or that event - a co-worker's art opening, a neighbor's housewarming - will lead to the chance encounter that will forever alter your life.  You simply learn to do your best, and leave it at that.

Make of it what you will. My sense is that, in sending it to Ciwt, he might have been thinking therefore show up at more events.  For others he sent it to, there may have been other thoughts.
But, Ciwt was thinking just the opposite: since meeting that life changer is out of your control, enjoy what you can, do what truly calls to you.  In my case, continue your CIWT life.  

This divergence in viewpoint probably goes to the heart of why we dated and are friends but never were a couple.

Anyway, by continuing her CIWT life today, Ciwt was able to enjoy one of her K. Libbey Nash's as well as the warm, happy spirit of spring in the Trader Joe's flowers she keeps in constant supply.

Then when she left home for yoga, she chanced on the the filming of Diary of a Teenage Girl

at the Presidio Branch of the Library.  No life changer among the cast or crew.  But she enjoyed watching and left it at that.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Deliver Mine to San Francisco, Please ---- Day 3/15

Walk: Sundance Kabuki Cinema Club (The Lunchbox), Dosa Restaurant
Distance: 2 miles

10:00 a.m. - which is when my cinema club meets - is a strange time to see a movie.  Certain themes can be too raw at that tender hour, and other movies can be too subtle to be appreciated when you aren't quite into the day. Today's selection was just right - at any hour I'd say.

The Lunchbox. An Indian movie but not Bollywood.  No fully saturated, popping colors; no dancing or happy, happy music; no darling plot developments or resolutions.  Subtle, muted and very real cinematography; excellent acting; deep, broad, unpredictable plot.  Not sure when it will be released in the States, but I say see it when it does.

After the movie - a large part of which revolves around food - it was only natural to go to the Indian restaurant near the theater for lunch.  Actually, with a light breakfast and hours looking at and talking about Indian food in the discussion afterward, Ciwt could not get there fast enough. Many diners were Indian so the food is authentic - and generous and complex, and hot. Stimulating if you will; there's a concentration necessary to eat it.

The movie and the food, reminded Ciwt - as Indian encounters usually do - that she thinks it would be very difficult for her to even visit India. She can get into sensory overload even on a walk around San Francisco or a meal with a friend.  Given the extreme crowding, and extreme nakedness if you will of life teeming on India's (Mumbai's) streets, added to that the spicy food and sheer stimulation of color, commotion, life conditions, disorganization, and more, Ciwt fears she would be overwhelmed at best.

There is a memorable scene in Jewel in the Crown (or was it Passage to India?) where an English woman new to India is taken to some ancient spiritual caves.  It is a long journey in great humid heat and devastatingly spectacular, uniquely Indian scenery. When her small entourage reaches them, the caves are an arduous climb.  The mounting foreignness with no place in her mind to process it finally overtakes her being and she faints.

Ciwt can relate to this. The constant, constant cacophony of sound.  The steamy, sweltering heat, the swirl of movement and incomprehensible mixture of people from beggars, wandering infants, wealthy in gold trimmed silks and jewels.  All these - usually in Ciwt's life organized into traffic lanes, separated into neighborhoods, regulated somehow - all these at once would be overwhelming.

For now, India from a theater seat is the India for Ciwt.  And The Lunchbox is a small jewel.



Saturday, January 25, 2014

Topic: Symposium, Ancient Greek --- Day 3/14

Walk: Mindful Body, Laurel Village
Distance: 2 miles and teach yoga

Ciwt recently went to a docent lecture on Ancient Greek art.
We all know something about Greek statues (eg, Venus di Milo)  and architecture .

But Ciwt did not know particulars about the ancient Greek symposium.  Since the FAM Greek art collection is homogeneous with most being symposium serving pieces, the lecture concentrated on that ancient greek social institution.

Associating the word 'symposium' with Plato, Socrates and modern conclaves of scientists and scholars, Ciwt has long assumed it to be an elite, erudite gathering.  And some symposia were. But in actuality, symposia were drinking parties, male drinking parties.  The men were served by slaves and male and female prostitutes were often present for 'entertainment.'  Each symposium was organized around a specific topic chosen by the host. Topics ranged from philosophical dialogues to the most mundane - sports, plays, subjects were off limits, and presumably symposium discussions that started at a noble level would often devolve into debauchery as huge kraters  of thick, potent though diluted wine sat in the middle of the symposium room (andr┼Źn) and participants' cups (kylix) were constantly refilled by pitchers (oenochoe) carried to them by slaves.

For a variety of reasons, many writers prefer to highlight the proper, aristocratic, structured nature of symposia.  The Metropolitan Museum for instance opens its Greek symposium discussion thusly: The Greek symposium was a male aristocratic activity, a tightly choreographed social gathering where men drank together, conversed, and enjoyed themselves in a convivial atmosphere.*  

But other writers paint a slightly different picture.  The article below is entitled Men Behaving Badly and points out that 'no one left a symposium entirely sober.'** Ciwt is inclined to believe this writer and others along this line - especially when looking at the paintings on the ancient Greek
 vessels which depicted symposium activities.     


Friday, January 24, 2014

So Far.... --- Day 3/13

Walk: Mindful Body, Best Buy
Distance: 2.5 Miles and take yoga class

Ciwt went with a friend to San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park the other day and found the drought so far to be really quite lovely.  

Rhodies and Magnolias not quite showy yet but beginning to reveal their colors off thin sculptural branches...

Had to watch out for the squirrels though. They run right up your pant leg and don't take no for an answer. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

See Me Now? --- Day 3/12

Walk: Legion for Docent Lecture (Ancient Greek Symposium)
Distance: Just a few blocks.  Waylaid in afternoon by host of tech glitches (grrr)

So now CIWT photos don't seem to be displaying - except on my home machine.  Below are two different ways of posting photos on CIWT.  Just seeing what works - hoping at least one way does.

For those of you who can see, They're Back!!!!  10 Daffies for $3.99 in January! In a little while they'll be down to $2.99 - or less.   Must be especially nice for people in the cold, snowy weather back East.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

After the Show Was Over --- Day 3/11

Walk: Golden Gate Park Arboretum, de Young Museum, Mindful Body
Distance: 4+ miles and teach yoga class

Where there used to be crowds a few engineers behind ropes and walls were carefully replacing each Hockney one by one into its specially produced crate.  Soon the trucks will begin their gentle journeys back down to Los Angeles or points unknown.

Behind the scenes art people going about their work.  No museum visitors except Ciwt, friend and a few others.  So quiet, so peaceful.  A true art space.  Ahhh, Felt so good.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Quiz Question --- Day 3/10

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance: 10 Blocks and teach yoga class

Do you know/remember why CIWT is titled CIWT?

Ciwt will give you a day or so to come up with the answer.  Stay tuned.....

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Big Goodbye --- Day 3/9

Walk: Fillmore Street, Laurel Village
Distance: 3+ miles

Bye, Bye David Hockney Show, A Bigger Exhibition.  Still don't know quite what you do technically with your ipad drawings.  I know they've been reviewed as everywhere from 'deft' to 'dead, bland and gutless.'  But I enjoyed their company and looking at them and learned a lot from the stimulating, occupying show.

We've been blessed with some amazing art shows out here - especially in the past three years. Living within walking or easy driving distance of many of them, I go often over the months they are up.  So when they close, I feel I'm losing a friend/companion. Or just the energy of the art. Anyway, something feels missing.

Yosemite I, October 16, 2012, ipad drawing printed  on six sheets of paper mounted on six sheets of Dibond,
143 1/2" x 128 1/4"

Yosemite II, October 5, 2011 ipad drawing printed  on six sheets of paper mounted on six sheets of Dibond,
143 1/2" x 128 1/4"

Sunday, January 19, 2014

CIWT Movie Awards: 'Complete' List --- Day 3/8

Walk: Mindful Body, Trader Joe's
Distance: 2 miles and take yoga class

Having already announced the CIWT Award for Supporting Actress, the time is ripe for the entire CIWT list of personal favorites from the official Academy Awards nominees.

Best Foreign: The Great Beauty   

Best Animated: Frozen               

Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence (See Yesterday or Below)

Supporting Actor:  Jared Leto  

Best Actress: Cate Blanchette 

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey

Best Director: David O. Russell        

Best Picture, Ta Da...: American Hustle  (sort of fulfills my idea of an Academy Award movie; other movies very good)

These are not Ciwt's predictions, just her favorites from the nominees. There were many deserving actors and movies this year so Ciwt; if others on her favorites list win, she will be happy. (Except for anything 12 Years a Slave - which probably will get some awards.  Ciwt went to it without knowing what she was getting into.  In some ways, great acting not withstanding, something about the unrelenting, crushing, dispiriting experience is still with her. Not in an educational way. If Jennifer Lawrence, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leno weren't so good in their categories, CIWT would probably feel guilty not awarding the corresponding 12 Years actors because they were excellent).