Thursday, November 30, 2023

December Eve --- Day 12/328

Walk: Marin

Distance: 1 measly mile + a little yoga

Visitors walk around the annual Christmas market at Römerberg Square on the market's opening day, on November 27, 2023, in Frankfurt, Germany

So, tomorrow we welcome December, the holiday month.  Let the festivities and shopping begin!

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Ciwt's Holiday Musical --- Days 12/326 & 327

 Walk: 1. Hood & Marin West Elm 2. SF Playhouse (Guys and Dolls)

Distance: 3.5, 4

Adelaide (Melissa WolfKlain) and Her Debutantes

Adelaide and Her 24 Year Fiance, Nathan Detroit (Joel Roster)

So, Ciwt just saw her holiday musical. Guys and Dolls.  Not as old as The Nutcracker but totally up her alley with showtunes galore, high kicking, goofy romantic plot, and .....

A Happy Ending!

Monday, November 27, 2023

Did Your Team(s) Win? --- Days 12/324 & 325

Walks:  Hood, Presidio, Shopping

Distences: 3.5 miles x2

The football games have been played (mostly), the Black Friday sales are over (mostly), the leftovers have been eaten (mostly), everyone has headed home after the Lonnnnggg (and lovely) Thanksgiving weekend.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Who? --- Day 13/323

Walk: Errands Home and Abroad

Distance: 2 miles

So, after these past few days writing about Botticelli, it occurred to Ciwt that some of her readers might not be familiar with the artist.  But they probably are familiar with two of his most beloved paintings.

Sandro Botticelli, Primavera, 1480, tempera on wood, 207 x 319 cm (6.8' x 10.5")
Uffizi. Florence

Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus (c. 1484–1486). Tempera on canvas. 172.5 cm × 278.9 cm (5.65' × 9.13'). Uffizi, Florence

Friday, November 24, 2023

Art School --- Day 12/322

Walk: Presidio

Distance: 4 miles

Sandro Botticelli, Portrait of a Young Man Holding A Roundel, ca 1480, tempera on poplar panel

So, as Ciwt understands it, some art schools today encourage their young students to "Express Yourselves!" often without training in even the most rudimentary basics of making art.  

Not so with Sandro Botticelli whose father arranged for him to become an apprentice to Fra Fillipo Lippi (1406-1469), who operated the most sought after art workshop in Florence. Botticelli was either 14 or younger when he was accepted to this intensely competitive beginning position.  He didn't come and go; such a workshop operated like a boarding school.  With his small group of fellow apprentices, Botticelli lived, ate, slept, worked there.  And pure self expression by artists was a good 450 years in the future.  Botticelli was taught by acidulously copying his master in all drawing and painting techniques, beginning with just sky, then buildings and architecture, and, finally when he had mastered these painstaking skills, he was elevated to figure painting. 

This is how a renowned Renaissance artist born with extraordinary talent began learning how to express his Art.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Thanksgiving Wishes --- Day 321


Walk: Presidio

Distance: 4 miles

Happy Thanksgiving to Cooks and Non-Cooks Alike.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Day Before Thanksgiving --- Day 12/320

Walk: Marin shopping returns

Distance: a mere 1.5 miles

Everyone, including this squirrel in Ankara, Turkey, is getting ready for tomorrow's feast.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

This Time of Year (1) --- Day 12/319

Walk: Legion of Honor (Botticelli Drawings), Fillmore Street Errands

Distance: 4 miles

It's a couple of days before Thanksgiving and Ciwt noticed one of her neighbors has gotten an early - and festive - start on Holiday house lights.  Also how pretty the city is on the clear nights we have at this time of year.  

Monday, November 20, 2023

Monday Errands --- Day 12/318

Walk: Monday errands

Distance: 5 miles

Sunday, November 19, 2023

And Here Is Painting --- Day 12/317

Walk: Presidio

Distance: 5 miles

With apologies for her photography, Ciwt continues to let Sandro Botticelli's art speak for itself to her readers:

Sandro Botticelli, The Virgin and Child with Young Saint John the Baptist (Virgin of the Rose Garden), ca 1465-70, Tempera on poplar panel   (Louvre)

Sandro Bottticelli, Angel of the Annunciation, ca. 1485-1493, Tempera and gold on panel    (Glasgow Museums)  

Sandro Botticelli, Portrait of a Lady at the Window, Known as Smeralda Bandinelli, ca 1475, 
Tempera on poplar    (Victoria and Albert Museum)

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Here Is Drawing --- Day 12/316

Walk: Rainy Hood

Distance: 1.5 miles

Sandro Botticelli (Italy, ? - 1510) . Such caring, graceful and soft lines 

Sandro Botticelli , Study for Portrait of a Lady (Simonetta Vespucci), ca.1480, metalpoint, heightened with while, on light brown prepared paper

Friday, November 17, 2023

Tour de Force --- Day 12/315

Walk: Legion of Honor (Botticelli Drawings)

Distance: 3.8 miles

Thank you dear readers for making CIWT popular enough that the San Francisco's Fine Arts Museums qualified Ciwt to attend Press Previews of their important shows.  This is Ciwt's favorite art perk, and the exhibition that she got to preview today is truly the most impressive she has seen in all her years attending previews and other exhibitions.

Curator, Furio Rinaldi

Impressive for many reasons.  For the remarkable connoisseurship by Furio Rinaldi who conceived of the exhibition and spent more than three years researching, culling the drawings actually done by the renaissance artist Botticelli from the many strewn around his workshop, contacting and securing the sixty works in the exhibition from such eminent institutions as the Uffizi Gallery, the British Museum, the Louvre and 39 private collectors around the world. (It is difficult to imagine the initial resistance he likely encountered as most owners of important art are loath to let them travel).  Impressive for the clean, modern, spare design of the exhibition which both honors the works and lets their exquisite details stand out.  Impressive for the fresh scholarship and view of such a thoroughly familiar and beloved artist.

Impressive also because it turned out Botticelli Drawings includes not just preliminary drawings but,  many cases, the actual paintings they were made for.  

Ciwt felt fortunate to have spent a few preview hours in Renaissance Florence, and she could sense the large gathering of her fellow 'press' members felt the same.  If you are able to come to the Legion of Honor between now and February 11, 2024, you can do the same.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

November Light --- Day 12/314

Walk: Legion of Honor

Distance: 3.5 miles

A big reason Ciwt lives in San Francisco is the light.  Even in the midst of fog or rain there  is something very clear and moving about it.  In November it becomes exquisitely dear.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Major League Distration --- Day 12/313

Walk: Union Square, Presidio Heights

Distance: 5 miles

So, Top Brass* is arriving in San Francisco from everywhere for a Major conference this week.  Some by private jet, some by helicopter, and some by ship under the Golden Gate Bridge and who knows what other means.  We locals are excited but also distracted and holding our breaths.  Law enforcement vehicles and officers everywhere,  many roads closed, freeways jammed, newspaper articles galore cautioning us to keep travel to a minimum, alerting us to to things like protests.  Ciwt isn't alone in thinking it will be good to have it over and hoping all goes well in the meantime.

*Just a few of the many assembled include: 

In addition to President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, this year’s APEC summit will gather governmental leaders such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo and  Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. 

The APEC CEO Summit has also drawn tech industry leaders including X (formerly Twitter) owner Elon Musk, Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai and Microsoft Corp.'s Satya Nadella.

The finance ministers meeting will be chaired by Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, while Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai will jointly convene their foreign and trade counterparts for the APEC ministerial meeting. 

A lot of security required. of our beautiful and small city....

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

One of Those Shoes Days --- Day 12/312

Walk: Hood and Marin

Distance: 3 miles

Today Ciwt went shopping for shoes.  Kind of embarrassing, but she has always been clueless about shoes and purses.  As the price tag for both continues to climb, she gets more and more bamboozled when she looks at her choices.  All this to explain why her CIWT writing mind is quite blank today...

Monday, November 13, 2023

Mid-Century Modern Where Are You? --- Day 13/310

 Walk: Monday Errands

Distance: 5 miles

So, it has been a year and a half since Ciwt moved into her new place.  And she's still struggling with making it feel like home.

Her new building is mid-century modern in style, and she's beginning to think that is one reason for her decorating difficulties.  She is more used to traditional homes.  In those she could plunk something down and it would begin to play with the environment.  

For example, even in the extremely spare traditional living room above, the pure white couches visually connect to their surroundings.  The walls, beamed ceiling; they fit into their surroundings and everything works together to make a whole.

But in the mid-century modern living room below, each piece of furniture is a statement in itself.  One by one by one, they make a very attractive room, but their environment is detached; the glass walls and view just stand there - stunning but apart.  The room seems very stylish, but not homey or cosy. 

Or at least this is the excuse Ciwt is coming up with for why she can't seem to make her new home feel 

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Back From LA: Day Three Walks --- Day 12/309

Walk: Marin Shopping

Distance: 1.5 miles

Tour: Downtown LA Architecture

So, there are of course numerous architecturally significant buildings in downtown Los Angeles.  But, far and away, the most memorable one for Ciwt was the LA Central Library.  There is a whole and  excellent book on it by Susan Orleans which Ciwt read and thought thoroughly prepared her for seeing the Central in person.  

But, not at all.  The original architect, Bertham Grosvenor Goodhue, was some combination of mystical dreamer, perfectionist, and designer.  Hence it seems every inch of the LA Main Library is adorned with exquisite and symbolically complex art, fixtures, architectural elements.  It is stunning and exceedingly difficult to photograph adequately or to encapsulate in an architecture tour. You can see the guide of all three of Ciwt's LA Walking Tours working mightily to point out even a few of the details.

Here's an example of what Phil was up against in trying to get everything about the LA Central in:  

Rotunda of LA Central Library: Artisan tiled floor and ceilings, four-part mural depicting stages of California history, exquisitely crafted chandelier, fine carved woodwork, all inspired by ancient Egyptian and Mediterranean symbols and architecture.

And this is just one room of the third largest central library in the nation (after the Library of Congress and the Main Branch of the New York Public Library).  Truly amazing!

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Back From LA: Day Two Walks --- Day 12/308

Walk: Marin Furnishings

Distance: 1.5 miles

Walk One: Old Hollywood

Capital Records Building, opened 1956 (historical landmark)

The Capitol Records Building is the site of the historic Capital Studios, where Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, Nat "King" Cole, Sir Paul McCartney and many more musical legends recorded some of the most treasured music in history. Its studios feature underground echo chambers designed by legendary guitarist and recording innovator Les Paul. They provide reverb that lasts up to five seconds - an effect perhaps most famously heard on The Beach boys classic Good Vibrations.

In its time, it was often referred to as "the building Nat "King" Cole built."  That's him in the center of the Jazz Mural; in spite of all the recording artists active in the building, he was by far Capitol's biggest star and money maker for years. 

Like so many viewers, Ciwt assumed the round shape of the building was an homage to a stack of 78 rpm records.  But Welten Becket, the architect has said, no, not so; apparently he was just ensuring that all offices would have good views.

Grauman's Chinese Theater, opened 1927

After hearing about it for many years, Ciwt was surprised at how large and busy the movie palace and its star signature-embedded concrete courtyard are today.  Not nearly as surprised though as the original developers of Hollywood, Daeida and Harvey Wilcox, would be.  They came from Kansas, bought the original ranch land, named it Hollywood and laid it out as a real estate subdivision in 1887.  The Wilcoxes, both prohibitionists,  had a dream for their Hollywood: an ideal church-building filled community based on sober religious principles. No drinking, no smoking or cards, no speeding, etc.  It actually was - for a while.  Then, well, .....

Walk Two: Old & New Downtown LA

Know where you are? If you guessed, San Francisco, it would be understandable but incorrect. Until the 1950's the present site of all those Los Angeles skyscrapers and modern civic auditoriums was a neighborhood of elegant Victorian homes.  But the original wealthy builders had moved on by the 1920's and wide spread urban decay had moved in.  Then the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency developed a drastic plan.  The following pictures say it all:*

Downtown Los Angeles in the 1950's

Downtown Los Angeles today - and growing

The Victorians are all gone, but Ciwt enjoyed seeing some of the gorgeous gilded age interiors still surviving in some of the hotels and office buildings.  Like the Biltmore Hotel **below.

Biltmore Hotel (opened for guests 1923) Side Lobby and Small Lounge

Biltmore Hotel Ballroom (one of several)

*If you are interested in this history, here is an outstanding site

Friday, November 10, 2023

Back from LA: Day One Walks --- Day 12/307

Walk: Hood 
Distance: 3 miles

Ed Rusha, Bloated Empire, 1996-1997, acrylic on canvas

Ciwt is back from her Los Angeles walking tours where her first (and long overdue for an art tour professional) stop was the Broad Museum.  It is brim full with seemingly miles and miles of variations on Pop Art, some from its New York origins in the 60's to contemporary statements - most all Enormous.  Perhaps more from Ciwt on it later, but for now she thinks Ed Rusha's painting above says much of what can be of the Broad Collection.  

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Day Three: LA Walks --- Day 12/306


Walk: Down Town Los Angeles Architecture

Downtown LA Architecture Tour

Then Home:

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Day Two: LA Walks --- Day 12/305


Walk: Old Hollywood and Old and New Los Angeles Walking Tours

Walking Tour 1: Old Hollywood

Walking Tour 2: Old and New Los Angeles 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Day One L.A. Walks --- Day 12/304

Walk: SFO, Omni Hotel, Broad Museum

Distance: TBD

Omni Hotel, LA

First Ciwt checked into her hotel, dropped off her bag, had a spot of  lunch.  Then she headed off to the Broad Museum to see if its modern art collection is as bold as its building.

Broad Museum

Monday, November 6, 2023

Ciwt Meets Downtown Los Angeles --- Day 12/303

Walk: Pre-trip hood errands

Distance: 4 miles 

Los Angeles, California

So, even though she has lived in California for a good long while, Ciwt has been remiss about gettng to and to know that city to the south.  Tomorrow she will do something about that, get on a plane and of course Walk around around Los Angeles.  Walking, the Best way to get to know any place.

Being direction and map challenged, she will join walking tours given by professional guides who aren't challenged by these things, and, most important know much about that city.