Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ciwt Remembers CIWT 2015 --- Day 4/325

Walk: Presidio, Sloat Garden Center, Trader Joe's
Distance: 5 miles and small yoga

Hard to pick, but....

January (3/363):   NYC with friends, Matisse Cut-Outs

February (4/17)    Hardwood Discovered/Restored!

March (4/55 & 48)               Image result for Charles james 'tree' evening gown  Brooklyn Museum Costume Show
                         or  National Galleries of Scotland Show

April    (4/90)           Image result for benjamin moore lace handkerchief
                          New Hallway Paint and Carpet

May  (4/104)        New Vases
and (4/117)1Yoga Teaching Retirement

June  (4/151)         JMW Turner Show
                         JMW Turner, The Lake, Petworth: Sunset, Fighting Bucks, ca 1829, oil on canvas

July  (4/169)     

August (4/195)  Image result for david foster wallace David Foster Wallace, End of the Tour

September (4/233) Image result for drive along highway one to getty villa L.A. art and cultca tour

October (4/253)     Image result for auguste renoir most famous painting  Opportunity to Revisit Renoir
                               Bal du Moulin de la Galette, 1876

November (4/291) mentally checked out- Mildred was always focusing on her television programs. Although she was lying in her bed, but her mind was not on Montag or other things happening but on her television.: Alex Noriega, Stuff, Art, Illustration, My Life, Funny, Draw Bunnies, Things, Alex O'Loughlin Drawing Bunnies Season Begins

December (4/294)    Always Matisse
                                    Cat, India          Small Striped Urchin   Alexander Matisse

And Ciwt Favorite of All: CIWT Readers 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Terra Firm - and Bella --- Day 4/324

Walk: Absolutely not.  So cold plus rain even.
Distance: Good day for extended home yoga

Large Glazed Urchin  Alexander Matisse

Teapot   Alexander Matisse

Small Striped Urchin   Alexander Matisse

                                               Medium Striped Urchin   Alexander Matisse

Alexander Matisse Bio 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

More East Fork Pottery Works Come West --- Day 4/323

Walk: Crissy Field
Distance: 3 miles and small yoga

Matisse_alex (37 of 81).jpg

Small Bottle in Shino with Drips --  John Vigeland, East Fork Guild Potter

                                                        Small Bottle at Home

Tumbler   ---   Maker: A.H.Cook, East Fork Pottery, Apprentice

                                            Tumbler at Home

Ciwt is so pleased with her new pottery works from East Fork Pottery, which was founded in 2010 by Alexander Matisse.  John Vigeland has since joined the North Caroline workshop, and the team of apprentices continues to grow. Ciwt sees a distinguished future for these hard working young potters. The heft and beauty of the shaped and fired clay and the restful livability of each piece communicates all the way from Asheville and is stunning in person.  Stay tuned for the very best tomorrow.....

Monday, December 28, 2015

Ciwt's Xmas Season Report --- Day 4/322

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (The Big Short)
Distance: 2 miles and small home yoga

Ciwt's Christmas Season means Ciwt's more-movies-than-ever season.  After seeing
Image result for the lady in the van The Lady in the Van at her Cinema Club (See Day 4/314) and 

Image result for star wars the force awakensStar Wars on Christmas Eve Day (See Day 4/318) she took in:

 Image result for the hateful eight  The Hateful Eight which she liked a lot because she thinks Tarantino is a genius and really likes/respects his films.  The Hateful Eight isn't his best but is  still in genius territory - and still in territory anyone who doesn't follow Tarantino should avoid.  If you've never been to one of his films, do not start here.  Serious warning because they are always very bloody and violent.  If you follow him, you pick up (marvel at, really) the reasons for the audacious grimness and everything in his films. But if you don't, you are always in for a very unpleasant experience - if you even stay in the theater.  Tarantino buffs have probably already seen it; the theater was completely full.

Image result for carol movie Carol.  Ciwt will let a friend and her husband review this one.  From a text message: I love Cate Blanchett.  (My husband) thought the movie was beautiful.  He thought Rooney Mara in particular was. The subject matter made him uncomfortable, and the movie was slow.  Rooney Mara drove me nuts, though.  She had one expression: deer in the headlights.  I didn't sense any on-screen electricity between the two actors or reason for the two characters to be together; they hardly spoke to each other so the relationship was unfathomable to me. But the filming, lighting and costumes were lovely. 
    Ciwt wrote back saying "Agree with All!!"  And "Overall, lushly sensual and furtive between two people portrayed solely by their social stations, looks and sexual orientation.  Therefore to me alluring but uninteresting, and kind of annoying."

Image result for the big short movie  It was touch or go whether Ciwt would go to this movie.  With its large, multi-star cast, she assumed it would be a send-up entertainment based on the abominable 2008 financial collapse precipitated by the housing bubble collapse that ruined millions and millions of people all over the world - and almost our entire economy.  But all her friends and a reviewer on Fresh Air thought The Big Short was superior, so off she went.

And glad for it.  The movie uses that stellar cast to show in an entertaining but factual way that sad/outrageous/infuriating/sickening/terrifying catastrophic episode - the negative adjectives go on but never really capture. (It's based on Michael Lewis's non-fiction book: The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine the title of which comes much closer to describing it all).  The film isn't bombastic, lays out the enormity of the financial crisis and shows great respect and sympathy for all who suffered - which includes much of the world - except for, frankly, a comparative handful of bankers and Wall Street brokers.  So Ciwt joins her friends and many reviewers in recommending The Big Short.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Got Space? --- Day 4/321

Walk: No
Distance: Back and forth to closet, home yoga

Amy, Ciwt's darling cleaning woman, might have noticed certain shirts had a tendency to slip off their hangers no matter what clever way Ciwt hung them.  Certainly she must have noticed that Ciwt would love more space in her city-sized closets.  Or?  For whatever reason, Amy gave Ciwt a big box of Huggable Hangers for Christmas.

So, to honor her gift, Ciwt spent her day re-hanging her closets with the ultra skinny, velveteen- covered Huggables. And Oh, Boy!!! Much more space plus non-slippage!

Ciwt's Huggables are black, but there are any number of colors.  Whichever shade you go for, Ciwt says look for a good price (on Amazon) and give them a try.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Glove Save By Ciwt!* --- Day 4/320

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (Carol)
Distance: 2 miles and small home yoga

Ciwt has defied all the experts and arrived at the definitive method for getting the must/mildew smell out of gloves:

1. Buy very expensive, high quality gloves at exceedingly deep discount.
2. After you throw away all the packaging and return receipts and discover they stink, dab with cheap vodka and hang inside to dry .
3. When smell is exactly the same, consider throwing away.
4. Retrieve from trash and hang outside .
5. Completely forget the gloves as they go through 2 rain storms.
6. Look outside, remember and apply wool washing liquid to soaking wet gloves.
7. Continue to keep (forget) gloves outside for another rainstorm.
8. After that rainstorm, check smell.  If it seems quite a bit better, soap again and place in washer on gentle cycle.
9. Place in dryer until dry, checking occasionally that they don't burn or shred.
10. Smell again.  If good, place in closet for use in cold weather .

*See Days 4/308 & 310 for beginning of Ciwt's glove saga

Friday, December 25, 2015

Different Christmas Strokes --- Day 4/319

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (The Hateful Eight)
Distance: 2 miles, small yoga

1963 Eucalyptus Ave., San Carlos, San Mateo County, 94070 - This house is one of many creating a walking neighborhood display. For two blocks, neighbors decorate their houses, making for a nice holiday stroll, especially on weekends when many homeowners sit outside their homes and explain their displays to visitors.
352 Hillcrest Ave.,
Livermore, Alameda County, 94550  - This house, know as Deacon Dave's house, is as close to a must see in the Bay Area. The display has been entertaining crowds for 33 years and probably contains the largest display in the Bay Area - over 403,462 lights. For more info:
Best of the Bay

Ciwt's Home

In the 'Hood (Ciwt is unclear on the concept)

Whatever it looked like, Ciwt (and Callie) hope you had a very nice Christmas 2015.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Nice Ride --- Day 4/318

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (Star Wars: Episode VII, The Force Awakens)
Distance: 2 miles, small yoga stretch

Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew)              Han Solo (Harrison Ford)

If you're not a Star Wars diehard, haven't been watching the franchise on and off since 1977, you're like Ciwt.  And, like Ciwt, if you catch Episode VII: The Force Awakens one of these days, you'll likely walk out thinking Harrison Ford simply makes the movie. After Ford, you'll like his pal Chewy and the totally endearing 'pet' droid, BB-8 Image result for star wars the force awakens.  Overall, it's The Force Awakens is an enjoyable, visually stimulating, action packed (and also comprehensible - yay!) light ride which you'll most likely enjoy a lot.

If you are a Star Wars follower and/or youngish, you'll probably like The Force Awakens even more and be most attracted to younger characters, especially Rey played by Daisy Ridley.  Finally, spoiler alert, the movie is about an enormous battle between Good and Evil a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. That's all Ciwt is going to tell you......

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Little Things --- Day 4/317

Walk: Rose's Gift Shop (to say goodbye), Trader Joe's (to say goodbye the Lucky Penny next door),
          Fillmore Street
Distance: 4 miles and home yoga

Ciwt loved watching this little bird outside her window today.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Now We Begin --- Day 4/316

Walk: Union Square, San Anselmo
Distance: 1 mile is all

                             Ocean Beach, San Francisco

Truth be told, day after winter solstice doesn't feel much longer...

Monday, December 21, 2015

This Is It, Northerners --- Day 4/315

Walk: Toward Clement Street a little in the rain
Distance: 1 mile, smallish home yoga practice*

Cold, gray, blustery; perfect weather out here for the shortest day of the year, or Winter Solstice.  The sun will go down early, then, in the dark, at 8:49 p.m. in San Francisco the North Pole will be tilted farthest from the sun signaling the actual Solstice, or 'sun standing still.'

The place on earth most associated with Winter Solstice is Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument which, for reasons not entirely known, is precisely on sight line with the Winter Solstice sunset. For centuries and right to the present pagans, druids, and other worshipers have come to Stonehenge to honor the Solstice sunset with rites, revelries, devotionals. As they perform their rituals (including eat, drink and merriment), this year's Winter Solstice will occur at 4:59 a.m. their time in Wiltshire, England.   .

The night may be long for those assembled on Salisbury Plain, but the gift will be the sunrise (this year at 8:04  )Winter Solstice at Stonehenge where they will witness the return of the sun and the beginning of the lengthening of the days until Summer Solstice in June. It is the most important day of the year for many of them because it welcomes the new sun.  Some pagans see it as New Year's Day and will burn a traditional yule log to give the sun strength.  Ciwt thinks more power to them.

*Practice what you preach Department: On this shortest, darkest day, it seems appropriate for yoga teacher Ciwt to mention what she used to tell her students in the waning days.  Ie, The year is ending, much that your being has accumulated on all levels is being assimilated.  Your being is working hard; it is a time to give it the quiet and rest it needs to integrate all it has learned.

She was reminded the other day by doing exactly the opposite of what she knows. She was feeling less than energetic so decided 'Enough already,' 'Just Overcome It!'  So she put herself through multiple hard paced yoga practices and forced marches. The next day, she, who never has any of these conditions experienced lower back pain, knee pain, near shin splints and other aches.  Lesson relearned: Listen to your body; it has wisdom.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Mid-size Van, Giant Size Driver --- Day 4/314

Walk: Cinema Club (The Lady in the Van)
Distance: 2 miles and home yoga

                    Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings 

"Not everyone recoils from The Lady in the Van the way I do." David Edelstein, Vulture 

Copy that, David.  Just looking at the promotion pictures, like the one above, and enduring the previews when she went to other movies have been enough to make Ciwt recoil.  She would have walked a mile to avoid this movie, but, as luck would have it, she walked a mile (in the morning, in the rain and cold) to see it.  The Lady in the Van turned out to be the season finale of her Cinema Club's Fall season.

Ciwt respects the club, its terrific moderator and highly intelligent and informed audience, so she stayed for the movie.  The good news is Dame Maggie Smith's acting.  One reason Ciwt wanted to avoid the movie was what she thought would be a predictable performance by Smith, excellent but snippily predictable.  But, no.  Smith was the opposite of predictable and the entire reason to see The Lady in the Van.  Smith gives it all she's got, and that's saying a lot.  She plays her Lady in the most wide ranging way, unlikable, sympathetic, pridefully paranoid and essentially unknowable throughout, original, mad as an arrogant, bedraggled hatter.  Ciwt couldn't take her eyes off Smith, even though she dearly wanted to.

Other than Smith, the movie, based on a play, loosely based on facts felt middling to Ciwt. Intelligent in an ambivalent and Twee way.

PS - Lady in the Van is the second movie in the row (the first being 45 Years a couple of weeks ago*) where Ciwt has had the opportunity to see legendary actresses - extremely beautiful in their youth - command the lead and their films.  Both Smith and Rampling have aged with the minimum of cosmetic work (if any) and in public and now in extended close-ups on film.  Ciwt thinks this very strong, courageous and so admirable.  (As well as unusual)

*See Day 4/303

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Over Time... Day4/313

Walk: de Young Museum (Jewel City: Art from San Francisco's Panama-Pacific International Exposition)
Distance: 5.5 miles and small yoga

Alson Skinner Clark (American 1876-1949), In the Lock, Miraflores, 1913, o/c

Many cities have those 'historic places and/or events' they often tout but locals fail to attend or learn much about.  For instance, the Foshay Tower, the tallest building in Minneapolis.  Ciwt grew up around there, heard the tower mentioned at least daily on the news or something and never went to tour it.  Nor can she think of anyone she knew who did. (As proof she can cite last night's Jeopardy question about Foshay and his tower which all the contests And Ciwt missed.  Ho hum).

Out here in San Francisco we have several historic happenings and places, one of which is the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE).  It ran from February to December 1915 and is celebrating its centennial this year with, among other events, an art exhibition at the de Young Museum.  Having worked in the local art world as well as briefly for Golden Gate Park (location of the de Young), Ciwt has heard (enthusiastic) talk about the PPIE for many years, glanced at numerous pamphlets, posters, books and prints.  She has also been aware of the size and splendor of the undertaking which covered over 630 acres of what now comprises the Marina District with gorgeous architecture in a variety of styles according to the country which erected them.  

But has she cared?  Not really.

Not sure why.  For one thing, she's just not a World's Fair type person - not in Montreal, not in Seattle. Not a parade or spectacle person either.  And there are certain things she has simply been remiss about, like going to the Statue of Liberty when she lived in New York. Also, taking herself off the hook, when looking at or hearing about one era from the vantage point of another, it is often difficult to recapture the excitement, energy, impact of the celebrations and controversies from that previous time.  (Case in point, the outrage and scandal precipitated in Paris by the first Impressionist salons. Can you really grasp that when Impressionism today is the most universally loved painting style?)

Anyway, Ciwt finally paid proper homage to the PPIE today at the de Young and got a truer sense of the look, scale and import of that truly remarkable undertaking. She made many (mildly to tell the truth) interesting discoveries, one of the first being the connection of the PPIE with the completion of the Panama Canal.  In fact celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal was the ostensible purpose of the fair. But it was widely seen by San Francisco civic leaders as an unparalleled opportunity to invite the world to San Francisco and showcase its recovery from the 1906 earthquake and desirability as a cultural center and magnificent place to visit.

Particularly knowing about the numerous hazards involved with constructing the Panama Canal (including the fatal outbreak of malaria caused by the tse-tse fly), it never occurred to Ciwt that artists were present.  But in fact a handful of intrepid artists were attracted to Central America to capture the spectacle of the massive project.  One of those was Alson Skinner Clark, whose painting is seen above.  Clark, an American expatriate then living in Paris, traveled to the Canal Zone in the spring of 1913 and completed onsite a series of colorful oil paintings.  No easy task at the time.  Eighteen of these were shown at the PPIE and earned the artist a bronze medal.

Perhaps more CIWT on PPIE; time will tell.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Essential Home --- Day 4/312

Walk: No
Distance: 0, Home Yoga (2)

Johannes Vermeer, The Little Street, ca 1657-1661, 21 3/8" x 17 3/8" oil on canvas

Oh Goodie!!  A Vermeer painting Ciwt didn't know existed until today! And being (always) a homebody and (now) a city person, she was instantly taken by this naturalistic townscape.  It is a slice of daily, domestic 17th century life in Delft so exquisitely rendered that it captures the poetic beauty of and reverence for everyday life throughout Holland. In its tidy, clean, unadorned simplicity, The Little Street is essentially a portrait of Holland.


In Vermeer's time, the virtuous Dutch home had risen to the level of sanctuary, the seat of the individual soul where all domestic and good citizenship values were modeled and passed on.  Unlike European countries at the time, women's work was highly valued and so was the play of children. Sewing, like spinning was considered an attribute of Biblical origins, and cleanliness, washing and sweeping were associated with spiritual cleanliness and purity.  So too the purity of children who were dressed plainly in frugal, hand-me-down clothes.  All these values and thoughts - and so much more - are rendered easily, naturally and, to Ciwt, with such great love that Vermeer has quietly made his viewer an active participant in The Little Street's silent townscape narrative

Nice to connect with The Little Street at this particularly 'at home' time of colder weather and short days.

This spring, after 320 years, The Little Street will be reunited with the place where it was created. It will be in Museum Prinsenhof Delft from March 25 to July 17, 2016 in case you are planning a trip or live abroad.  Otherwise it will be at its museum home, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Different Notes --- Day 4/311

Walk: Marin Driving Day
Distance: Not much, small home yoga

Ciwt had an interesting encounter with music the other day at Fort Mason Center here in San Francisco.  She and a friend went to The Forty Part Motet, a sound installation by artist Janet Cardiff.  Entering the space they found it naked except for forty speakers placed in a large oval and standing at ear level.  When the music, Spem in Alium,* by Thomas Tallis, began each speaker played just one individual voice recorded from the Salisbury Cathedral Choir and listeners could place themselves in the center of the choir and let the waves of sound wash over them.  Or they could move closer to the speaskers and hear single choral voice. The path to listening was chosen individually and the experience was entirely personal.

More personal than Ciwt at first imagined!  She had been immersed in the, for her, moving sounds - at times finding tears spontaneously arising.  She thought the experience emotionally touching and beautiful. But when she met up with her friend at the end of the performance loop, she learned her friend was captivated by the music but not particularly (or at all?) moved.  Her friend has extensive experience recording sound tracks, so what she found herself doing was visualizing the length of the sounds and space between them as they would look on a recording track.

Or something like that.  The point being that Ciwt and her friend had had two absolutely different relationships with Cardiff's installation.  And, Ciwt began to realize, this was probably true of every individual in the room with her and all those around the world who have experienced the installation as it has toured internationally.

What about you?  The link above brings you to a short video and listener comments on the Motet's installation at the Venice Architectural Biennale 2010.  Ciwt wonders how you will relate to it.**

*Spem in Alium, a Forty Part Motet by Elizabethan Thomas Tallis (c. 1505 - 1585) was composed to celebrate the 40th birthday of Queen Elizabeth I and first performed at Nonsuch Palace ca. 1750.

**Online are several complete versions, such this one, of 'Spem in Alium'

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Cyber 'Deal' Coda* --- Day 4/310

Walk: Fort Mason, Fillmore Street
Distance: 3 miles

Out With the Compost
In with more opportunities.... 

*See CIWT Day 4/309