Sunday, November 17, 2019

CHRI__ What? --- Day 8/224

Walk: Cinema Club, Hood
Distance: 3 miles, small yoga

What you are looking at above is CRISPR under a microscope, the discovery of which is dramaticly changing the world.  Whether in positive or negative ways is anybody's guess, literally.  This is what Ciwt took away from her Cinema Club doc today followed by discussion with a prominent science writer.  

She's quite sure she wouldn't have chosen to see Human Nature* so became glad Cinema Club  screened it today.  (Her first reaction: Oh, no..) She wouldn't drag you to the theater, but the doc is very well done, informative to the layperson and the scientist alike (there are several in Ciwt's San Francisco audience) and does Not employ scare tactics or politics.  It's in most of our human natures to be curious, and you'll definitely walk out of the theater knowing more about your world then when you went in.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Buff Talk --- Day 8/223

Walk: No, Day of Rest and Talking with a Film Buff Friend About Movies
Distance: 0, Yoga

The cartoon makes fun of it, but Ciwt loves to talk movies with a few of her film buff friends.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Arty Introvert's Heaven --- Day 8/222

Walk: SFMOMA, AMC Kabuki (Ford v Ferrari), Home ๐Ÿ’“
Distance: 5 Miles

New Thiebaud prints and old friend at Crown Point Press

Meeting with old college friend/artist, visiting gallereies and then eating lunch while catching up.


Escaping into a wonderfully long, thoroughly entertaining, beautifully acted movie about car racing.

Spoiler Alert: James Won a Tight Match*

Coming home for the finals of Jeopardy' Tournament of Champions. Ciw t was particularly dedicated that that event (and all the Jeopardy episodes these days) because it may be the last one with Alex.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Introvert Stretch --- Day 8/221

Walk: Screening Center Annual, PGCC Women's Harvest Lunch, APP Board Meeting
Distance: 5 Miles

Guess which one is Ciwt

So Ciwt took a break from her solo ways today.  A BIG one with two group events, a women's luncheon and, later, a local park board meeting.  Actually, Ciwt has lots of thoughts and does speak up at these things, but it always feels so unnatural, weird and dicey in these situations that seem to be about just going along and making no waves.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Drears --- Day 8/220

Walk: No
Distance: 0, just too uninviting out there but nice at home with odds, ends and cats

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Big Light Birds --- Day 8/219

Walk: PGCC, Mountain Lake
Distance: 4 miles, Exercise Class, Private Training

 Isamu Noguchi (American, 1904-1988), Bird Song, Bronze, 1952 (cast 1985)

Ciwt was charmed by the way sculptor Isamu Noguchi captures the lightness of birds and their songs in this tall heavy bronze at the Asian Art Museum's exhibition: Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasesaga in Post War Japan.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Veterans Day --- Day 8/218

Walk: No, Home Enjoying So Big by Edna Ferber
Distance: 0, Yoga

Sergeant Stubby, the most decorated dog of World War I, captured a German spy and outranked his owner.

In 1917, a stray puppy wandered onto the Yale University campus, where members of the 102nd Infantry Regiment were training. The pit bull mix won over the unit with his antics, participating in drills and even learning how to salute with his right paw. Private J. Robert Conroy adopted the dog, named him Stubby and smuggled him to the front lines in France. There, exposure to mustard gas left Stubby highly sensitive to the noxious fumes and able to warn the 102nd of imminent attacks. He also learned to locate wounded soldiers during patrols. One day, Stubby spotted a German spy and attacked the bewildered man until reinforcements arrived; the achievement earned him the rank of sergeant. In his 18 months of service, Stubby participated in 17 battles, survived a series of wounds and provided a much-needed boost of morale to his fellow soldiers. After the war he returned to the United States with Conroy (who never made it past corporal himself) and became a national icon, leading parades and receiving awards until his death in 1926.

My heroes are those who risk their lives every day to protect our world and make it a better place — police, firefighters, and members of our armed forces. -Sidney Sheldon

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Masterpiece by a Master --- Day 8/217

Walk: Embarcadero Cinema (The Irishman)
Distance: 3.5 miles

Masterpiece by a legendary director on the quiet, understated, dailiness and persistence of pure evil.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Soul, Part 3--- Day 8/216

Walk: de Young Museum (Soul of a Nation Opening Block Party)
Distance: 6 Miles


                                                           Spontaneous Break Dancing

Loud, Rhythmic Drumming and Tribal Dance

Happy Throngs

Now, Ciwt is the first one to rail against crowds and noise at museums. But, turns out the de Young Mueum throws a mean Block Party.  And, if you weren't there you weren't anywhere today.  Totally free to whoever showed up for the opening day of Soul of a Nation, and a total blast.

Something tells Ciwt nobody is ever going to convince this little girl that museums are for quiet communing

Friday, November 8, 2019

Soul, Part 2 --- Day 8/215

Walk: Hood
Distance: 1.5 miles, Yoga

With its brazen colors, clenched fist and dripping American flags imagery, Ciwt has always assumed Black Power art was created by isolated, angry artists to menace if not incite violence. But as she listened to the Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983artists tell it like it really was she learned that much of that 60's and 70's art was created in thoughtful artistic collectives.  Collectives that discusssed issues like what was Black Art, what was its look and purpose, how could it be important and endure.  They were also in the process of forming a Black Nation they, their brothers and sisters in Africa and the States would identify with and take pride in.  These artists meant to be creative, inclusive and expressive. They were passionate, but, especially knowing no galleries or museums would likely display what they made, they - most of them anyway -  weren't being incendiary. 

Photographer Ming Smith  put it so well: I wanted to show the grace, the love, and, how do you say?, the surviving.

On her way to the preview Ciwt certainly didn't expect a change in her understanding of 'Black Power Art' in the decades immediately following Martin Luther King and the tumultuous 60's. Black Power was not her cause (although she was a contemporary with great sympathy); when she'd encountered the works back then she'd assumed they were in-your-face angry (for good reason she might add).  If the artists hadn't been at the de Young preview to speak their truths she's not sure she would have gotten how much more considered and profound their art actually was. She didn't have time to notice whether he exhibition's signage speaks for this 'softer' understanding, so she wonders whether viewers will see the soul and not the anger, and how they will apply it to their current views about racism.  Just wondering, no solutions here.  Overall Ciwt found the show richly engaging, alive, thought provoking - historically and in the moment.  

As for the individual works, she had her favorites.  She loved the powerfully poetic black and white simplicity of several pieces.
Norman Lewis (1909-79), Processional, 1965, Oil on Canvas
Moving and growing larger and more filled with light from left to right, Processional, evokes three Civil Rights marches from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.

Ming Smith, America Seen Through Stars and Stripes, New York, NY, 1979, gelatin silver print
Adger Cowans (b. 1936), Shadows, NY, 1961, gelatin silver print

She had several color favorites, two of which involved fabric.
Sam Gilliam (b. 1933), Carousel Change, 1970, acrylic on canvas and leather string

She particularly enjoyed talking with husband and wife artists Wadsworth and Jae Jarrell.
Wadsworth (center: white tee shirt) and Jae Jarrell as Jae describes one of her fashion designs 

Jae Jarrell (b. 1935) made artistic statements though her clothing fabrications, one of the most of famous of which is her two piece Revolutionary Suit where she replaced bullets with oil pastels in the bandolier.

And then her husband painted Angela Davis (from a photograph) wearing it.

Wadsworth Jarrell (b. 1929), Revolutionary (Angela Davis), 1971, acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Jae Jarrell in her suit some time in the 1970's
Ciwt plans to return tomorrow when the de Young is having a Block Party public opening for Soul of a Nation and the entire museum is free for all visitors.  Guess she'll learn then how it is being received.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Soul --- Day 8/214

Walk: de Young Museum (Press Preview: Soul of a Nation:Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983)
Distance: 1 mile, Yoga

The exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983 has legs.  It started in 2017 in London (Tate) and has traveled to Arkansas (Crystal Bridges Museum) and New York (Brooklyn Museum). It was meant to stop there, but word of mouth was so strong that West Coast museums made all efforts to bring it out here.  L.A. (Broad) first and now here in San Francisco (de Young Museum).  At last! Ciwt might add given that the Black Panther Party was founded in Oakland in 1966 and had community offices all around San Francisco, including Ciwt's neighborhood (The Fillmore).

Ciwt had heard about the show but didn't realize that an entourage of the original artists included in the show - basically the ones who are still surviving - travel to each opening.  So, when she walked into the Press Preview, she was happily surprised to see the room filled with them.  Surprise being the key work here.  Eg, she started talking to one of the men about the time of day, that sort of thing. (Actually she asked him whether the sweet potato pie the Museum was offering was good).  When he went off to get some coffee, his friend who'd been standing next to him leaned toward Ciwt and said "He's one of the most famous photographers in the world.  His name is Herbert Randall." Oh,.....Ciwt stopped talking, quickly ate her first ever piece of sweet potato pie, and started listening as these artists and the show's curators took the press through the exhibiton  - and Ciwt learned that 'his friend' was also a world renown photographer.  

So what what were Ciwt's thoughts?  Stay tuned, please....

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

(Sort of) Ciwt's Cute Book --- Day 8/213

Walk: PGCC
Distance: 1.5 miles, small yoga

So a member of Ciwt's club asked for her help in creating a book of his photographs and prepping him for the slide show talk he was going to give in connection with it.  The presentation was this evening (It went Perfectly if Ciwt says so herself) and the book was nearly a sell out.  

All in all this was a challenging and interesting experience for Ciwt in which she learned to appreciate much more deeply very high quality photography books. Luckily, the book Ciwt helped edit was never intended to be one of those. They are extremely complicated and expensive to produce.  But she thinks 'her' book is pretty cute.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Looks Don't Matter --- Day 8/212

Walk: PGCC, Legion of Honor
Distance: A Few Blocks, Exercise Class, Private Training

How could bread pudding look so awful but taste so good?  One of her art tourers bought Ciwt a piece of it today at the Tissot exhibition.  After finishing it she was reminded of why she needs to stay far, far away.  Otherwise Ciwt would have it for every meal. 

Monday, November 4, 2019

What's Up with Our Owners? --- Day 8/211

Walk: Monday Errands
Distance: 2.4 miles, Yoga

Resting Up So They Can Rally Their (Apparently Confused)  Owners At Meal Times

These days right after Daylight Savings ends are always disorienting.  For everyone Ciwt assumes, and particularly for those of us with pets.  Just when we are expecting to wake up to more light, we wake up to even more darkness our physical clocks have 'fallen back' but our animals'  internal clocks haven't changed at all. The supposedly bright new 7 a.m. for Ciwt is actually the dark old 6 a.m. and breakfast time for them.  So there they are running all over Ciwt's bed, batting at her, doing whatever they can to get her up and to their food preparation.

Same mismatch in the afternoon.  As Ciwt settles more deeply into the peace of an afternoon book (So Big at the moment), her cats are crawling all over her.  They can tell by the light it is dinner time.
And Ciwt looks at her watch, then looks out the window, and sees that they are right.  It's near dark, and she wonders where the day went.

Somehow we all adjust within a week and all goes smoothly until the discombobulation of 'Springing Ahead' into Daylight Savings.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Cinema Club Catch Up --- Day 8/210

Walk: Cinema Club (Waves)
Distance:  2.3 Miles, Yoga

Writer Director Trey Edwars Shults' WAVES
The acting is uniformly excellent and the story has depth and poignancy, but ultimately Ciwt felt Waves is a sound and light show in search of a movie.  By sound she means thudding bass amplified at the lowest, loudest decibel level and by light she means strobes, and by movie, she means 135 minutes chock full of those technical tricks.  Several audience members had to leave early because of them and those who stayed understood the decision to make the tricks such a large part of Waves (the tech world young people live in today) but still found them off-putting.

Too bad because Waves has much to say (and she'd recommend it to certain people), but the audience has to work very hard to hear it.

Francois Ozon's By the Grace of God
By the Grace of God was the Cinema Club movie Ciwt missed while in New York.  It opened this week in San Francisco.  Probably she wouldn't have gone so if she hadn't been curious about why Cinema Club had selected it.  After all, all the journalistic pieces, books and movies about pedophile priests Ciwt didn't feel uninformed about the topic and had trepidation about being dragged through some sort of wringer.  But not at all.  By the Grace of God, is very compelling, well done and feels as much like a thriller as an informative movie about the intelligence, stamina and courage of wounded men pursuing a present day legal battle.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Putting Pickle Back in the Jar --- Day 8/209

Walk: Presidio, Vogue Theater (Doc Fest)
Distance: 4 Miles

Waiting for a Pickleball Court (now multiply those who wait by 10)

So here it is a beautiful, clear, crisp Fall day in San Francisco.  Perfect Pickleball weather.  And where is Ciwt?  Here at her CIWT instead of out on the courts.

Why?  Well, she has decided that 'the Pickle' isn't an appropriate game for her.  Mostly because of the high injury rate.  In the time Ciwt played several people injured their knees, a few experienced near concussions, reports of spine problems were legion - and one man broke his ankle.  All that and a few other aspects of the game that were beginning to bother her* in four months.

So she was beginning to question continuing with the game anyway when she met a friend in New York who immediately asked "What about your knee injury and pickleball?"  The very question Ciwt was avoiding!  It turned out her friend had a niece who, last time she saw her, was limping because of a pickleball injury and was filled with stories of other friends' injuries.

Even then Ciwt was reluctant to stop.  Partially she was addicted, partially she was enjoying all the old teenage competitive energies that showed up, partially she was just enjoying being back at a racket sport.  But she was also aware of her knee and back feeling increasingly irritated and trying to ignore the question of whether she was too old for any kind of serious injury.

Well, yes on that latter.  Older people don't recovery quickly, well or sometimes not at all from bad falls.  There it is.  If we want to stay in life, certain activities -  like walking, swimming, yoga (done safely), Tai Chi, mobility and strength exercises and others - keep us fluid, strong, balanced and enjoying our lives.  Other activities, sadly, are best left behind.

So, bye-bye Pickle. Ciwt is walking away from you while she still can. It was fun while it lasted.

* There are increasing issues in connection with 1. not enough courts for more and more players, 2. very long waiting times, 3. rivalries with tennis players who want the courts for their sport, 4. mismatched/unfun competitions when you finally do get on the court, 5. etiquette difficulties, including some outright shouting matches, as a result of these frustrations.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Catching Up on Movies --- Day 8/208

Walk: Asian Art Museum (Noguchi and Nasegawa Exhibition), Opera Plaza Cinema (By the Grace of God)
Distance: 4.5 Miles, Yoga

Writer Director, Bong Joon-Ho, and cast of Parasite
If you are a movie buff, Ciwt says run don't walk to Parasite, Bong Joon-Ho's masterpiece about class struggle (warfare actually).  Ciwt went twice, one with her New York playgoing friend, and then with a visiting friend whose son is enrolled at Columbia University's Film School.  His thought after seeing Parasite is that it will be taught at film schools for the next 20 years.  It's that technically perfect; not a wasted cinematic moment.

All that said, Parasite is easily respected, but not so easily liked. And it is definitely not for everybody.

One of these years Willem Dafoe is going to get an Best Actor Oscar.  He is outstanding and memorable in every part he's played over the decades, including The Lighthouse.  Robert Pattinson might eventually get one too; his acting and handsomeness were a revelation to Ciwt in The Lighthouse.  But, for Ciwt, the acting was not enough to keep her from looking at her watch every few minutes from 5-10 minutes into the movie.  The bleak, B&W movie about two repressed, guilt-ridden, not-too-sane men (one bombastically long-winded) trapped on a lighthouse island felt interminable.  Oh, and did Ciwt mention the actors speak in an often indecipherable brogue?  Good acting, but so what?

Ciwt was skeptical about JoJo Rabbit after seeing the preview.  A send up of Nazism and Hitler with a child star no less, no thanks.  Since she was still in a funk about the leaden The Lighthouse, she went in hopes of being lifted a bit. Und, voila, it worked - especially watching Sam Rockwell almost steal yet another movie.  

Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Moment it Began --- Day 8/207

Walk: PGCC Exercise Class
Distance: Not Far, 1 Hr. Class

Henri Matisse, Conversation, 1909-12, oil on canvas, 69 5/8" x 85 3/8"
Until she saw the painting pictured above, Picasso was at the top of Ciwt's personal favorite painters list.  She liked Matisse enough in 1992 to have traveled back to MoMA for its huge and hugely important Matisse Retrospective.  He was second on her list actually, but she thought of him as sort of a 'happy painter' who made wonderfully colorful, joyful but ultimately pretty art.

Then, hung on a MoMA wall by itself, Conversation jumped into Ciwt's soul.  She was in the midst of the crowds who had come from various distances around the world for the Retrospective, but it was as if she was all alone.  Alone and transfixed.  Her whole sense of Matisse and her relationship to him and his art changed in a nonsecond and forever.

Facing directly at each other, these two people - recognizably Matisse and his wife Amelie - are polarized. This is a real moment in the real lives of both of them. Whatever the conversation, it is more like a confrontation.  There's a coldness here, in the deep but stark blue color, her black robe, the stiffness of the rigid stripes in his painter's pajamas, the dark ebony grillwork separating them from nature.  In the most minimal, poetic and revealing way Matisse has distilled so much about the state of his marriage, his relationship with his wife, his isolation or stand-offishness as a painter.  (In fact one of the first things he said to Amelie before they married was " I love you, but I will always love painting more.") The feeling is so direct Ciwt might as well have been in the room with them.

So there it was Matisse is after the Truth in has art. Human truth. He's also in search of spirituality and attendant joy. And it is solitary, demanding work - deeply difficult for him and those around him. Including those of us who love his art. We see him in all his work; his presence is as unmistakable as it was for Ciwt in Conversation. But, he stands alone. We love, are profoundly - often joyfully -  affected by his art.  We follow him whenever possible but can never completely grasp him or his luminous, figurative and profoundly personal art.  In this we are in the best of company: nobody respected or was more tantalized by Matisse and his art than his artistic rival and real life friend Picasso.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Back From New York, Part 6: Vizslas, Ciwt, NYC --- Day 8/206

Walk: Orpheum Theater (๐Ÿ’“Hamilton๐Ÿ’˜)
Distamce: 5 Miles, small yoga
William Wegman, Stationary Figures, 2018, NYC Transit  23rd Street Station
No, they aren't Vizslas as advertised but these marvelous subway mosaics of Weimaraners look so much like Vizslas many people can't tell them apart.  Hint: Vizslas have chestnut colored coats and are the ones known as 'velcro dogs' because they like to stick with their owners whenever possible.

So, what are these dogs doing in in a CIWT entry? Well, the shaggy dog story is that Ciwt was with her Belgian shoe afficiando friend at their store on Madison Avenue when she saw two Vizslas standing patiently out the window.  As she began to tell her friend about how loveable and beloved these dogs are by their owners, their actual owner - who was trying on a pair of the delicate and lovely shoes - spoke up.  Since Ciwt has a cousin who breeds and raises Vizslas, she asked this owner whether she'd ever heard of her.  Well, turns out she had gotten her first Vizsla from Ciwt's cousin. Very smalll world in a very big city.

These things happen to Ciwt in New York, and she misses them out here in San Francisco. The coincidents aren't totally surprising; Ciwt's formative years were in the Midwest and East Coast (upbringing, school, college, first jobs, the works) as were her parents' and grandparents'.  So there are many associations, connections, much history back there.

These encounters kind of makes her feel more real.  And she'd love to have more of them. Maybe. Maybe if she lived back East, there actually wouldn't be that many of them.  Or they would be a pretty insignificant part of her daily life.  Or maybe there would be too many; constant pulls back into ancient history and her ancient self.

Then there's the matter of stimulation.  NYC is always a zap for Ciwt.  San Francisco, never really.
San Francisco is gorgeous and wonderfully liveable and accessible. But, scenery aside, there isn't much about it that's particularly exciting to Ciwt, including its gold rush history.  But, is that just the way with all home towns?  We live in them because something in us resonates to them and allows us to be our true selves even if we aren't constantly stimulated.

Just odds and ends of thoughts as Ciwt leaves her Back From NYC entries and lets sleeping dogs lie until her next visit.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Back from NYC, Part 5: Underground Artisans --- Day 8/205

Walk: PGCC, Presidio Library (Melinda Gates Book)
Distance: 2 Miles, Exercise Class, Private Training

Imagine living in - or even visiting - New York City without its subway. People did until 1904 when The New York City Subway opened its first section, shortly began adding sections and eventually became one of the largest rapid transit systems in the world.   As she was whisked for essentially $peanuts from Midtown to Harlem and Beyond and under much of the foot traffic in Times Square she was so appreciative as she always is of that extensive, rapid and convenient system.

Budapest may have been first to an electrified underground (1896) followed by a handful of other European cities, but Ciwt finds it difficult to believe any of their stations were more beautiful than the sumptuous tiled and leaded glass former terminus located beneath City Hall Park.
And she's not sure any European early European camerapeople were on had to capture some of the
earliest subway trips like GW Bitzer was in 1905 when he filmed his ride from 14th Street to 42nd Street.

She is sure Bitzer's 42nd Street stop wasn't as tentacled as it is today.  Direction challenged anyway, Ciwt would have been lost forever trying to find her connection to the next ride down below 42nd Street without her subway pro friend to guide her.
Notice all the different corridors, then add throngs of people.
Mercifully, as you make your way through that noisy, crowded, sometimes confusing underground
that tile work and artistry are still there in abundance to interest your eye and brighten your mood. 

Edith Kramer, New York Subway Station, 1994 at Spring Street subway entrance

Ming Fay, Fish Mosaic at Delancy Street subway station

59th Street/Columbus Circle