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29 April 2007

i had a perfectly lovely weekend. i listened to great music. i ate good food. i explored a little more of my world. and i got my first sunburn of the season. here’s a brief rundown:

art. i spent friday afternoon (after an hour and a half in traffic) wandering the norton simon. it’s a beautiful little museum in pasadena with an impressive collection. i started with the 20th century and worked my way back in time and ended up in the scuplture garden, where the water lilies are promising to burst into bloom anytime. i didn’t take the time to go downstairs to the asian collection, prefering to spend my time contemplating the works i loved rather than cramming it all in. i’ll go back, i’m sure. my favorites:

  • picasso’s ‘woman with a book.’ a brilliantly colored portrait that i’d never seen before. i love its combination of dramatic lines and air of contemplation.
  • matisse’s ‘the black shawl (lorette vii).’ i love the way that black shawl is simultaneously insubstantially transparent and inescabably heavy–almost confining. it seems a fitting representation of beauty and sexuality.
  • adam and eve. luminous. and such a fascinating mix of innocence and sensuality.
  • the humanity of joseph holding the infant christ; personality captured in portraits; and the dutch tendency to include insects in still lifes of cut flowers (as i looked at a couple, it struck me as a humorous trend).
  • as much as the dutch cut flowers amused me, it was cezanne’s tulips that i loved.
  • and rodin’s burghers of calais always absorbs me, especially the figure of pierre de wissant. the norton simon has the full size nude and clothed studies of de wissant as well as the ensemble. rodin’s ability to capture intense emotion through hand and foot gestures and with exaggeration amazes me.

books. on saturday, i spent my afternoon at the l.a. times book festival. it takes place every spring on ucla’s campus. with 300 exhibitors and hundreds of authors in attendance, it’s a book lover’s kind of event. i found a few treasures to be given as gifts. and a book or two for myself. the highlights include:

  • meeting bill peet‘s son. as a child, i knew exactly where bill peet’s books were in the children’s room at our local library. his stories of creatures in crisis and fantastic beasts fascinated me. there’s something almost magical about forging a real life connection (no matter how brief or secondary) with the source of one of my childhood dream worlds. if you don’t know bill peet’s books, you should.
  • walking ucla’s campus. i’d never been there before. it’s a gorgeous campus.
  • taking a break for a diddy riese ice cream sandwich and an hour spent reading aeschylus.
  • don cheadle and john prendergast‘s presentation based on their new book, not on our watch, about the crisis in the darfur region of sudan. their passion about the issue was inspiring. and their suggestions for actions practical, with potential to effect real change. i was frustrated that the corporate sponsor cut short their presentation in order to have them sign books. they had been scheduled to speak until about 4:45 and then spend an hour signing, but for some reason they couldn’t stay as long as previously planned. so barnes & noble’s shill tried to end the presentation and Q&A at 4:30. the crowd (with my vociferous contribution) called for more Q&A, rather than the signing, but needless to say a corporate sponsor couldn’t give up the opportunity for a marketing event in favor of disseminating actual information. i’ll be writing more about this book (which i bought and started reading last night) and this cause.

food. i stayed with RAF and JP overnight. which of course meant i could count on not only great company, but also wonderful food.

  • mexican at la cabinita in montrose. not the best mexican RAF and JP have introduced me to in the last couple of months (that distinction is reserved for another restaurant which shall remain nameless for all but the lucky few), but incredibly good. some yummy cheesy, creamy spread with fresh corn tortillas for an appetizer. followed up with some very good carnitas. and topped off with a positively delicious guava and cream cheese empanada.
  • RAF’s homemade chocolat chaud. which is positively, absolutely delicious. so completely decadent. a lovely way to start a day. followed up by his homemade pancakes. which were wonderful. and i’m a little demanding in my expectations of pancakes. i eat them with nothing but butter, so there’s no syrup or sugar or fruit to mask their quality. these passed with flying colors.

and between my excursions, i had a few hours spent in the company of RAF and JP, complete with great conversation, my first ever northern exposure episode, and photos of paris and london.

as you can see, it was a fabulous weekend. and to top it all off, i got to raise temperatures a notch or two today for the, ahem, rather conservative member of my sunday school class by suggesting that the society in which christ lived was sexist (shocking of me, i know).

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 30 April 2007 10:33 pm

    I’ve wanted to go to that book festival but never planned it well enough to make it happen. Maybe next year. Or else never.I just started getting acquainted with Bill Peet recently and I love his books! My boys love them too. I still haven’t read nearly half of them, but it’s fun to look forward to so many more titles.

  2. 2 May 2007 8:35 pm

    so i just fully explored the link i provided for bill peet. i had looked at the stuff on his books. but i didn’t realize he had a 27 year career at disney and was responsible for some of my favorite films–at least in part, and in the case of 101 dalmations (which i love) in full.

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