Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern

Speaking of Inspiring Women…

O’Keeffe in a 1929 gelatin silver print by her husband. Credit ALFRED STIEGLITZ; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Alfred Stieglitz Collection

You’ve got to admire how O’Keeffe was the master of her own public persona at a time when there was no social media.  She told photographers how to “shoot her”, not the other way around.

A refreshing new exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum (on until July 23, 2017) for the first time combines O’Keeffe’s art and her wardrobe with photographic portraits. “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern

The painter of simplified images of enlarged flowers, Lake George tree trunks and New Mexico’s terra-cotta hills applied her meticulous sense of austerity and detail to every garment she owned. Some she designed and sewed herself, others she had custom made, and still others she bought off the rack or in antique shops (Japanese kimonos, for example).

O’Keeffe’s self-created image shaped her work’s accessibility, while at the same time shielding her privacy. This unity is revealed in the links drawn among some 50 works of art and 50 garments or ensembles, accessories included, and nearly 100 photographs of the artist taken by 23 photographers, from Ansel Adams and Cecil Beaton to Andy Warhol and Bruce Weber.

The greatest number of these images were taken by O’Keeffe’s husband, the eminent photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, often considered her domineering mentor, whom she met in 1916, began living with in 1918 and married in 1924.

For years, O’Keeffe limited her wardrobe to mainly black and/or white, until the Southwest loosened her color sense a bit and also introduced her to denim and jeans. She favored an androgynous look, frequenting the same New York men’s tailor — Knize — (as did Marlene Dietrich), liked Ferragamo flats and wore little jewelry. A rare favorite, visible in many photographs, was a brass brooch made for her by Alexander Calder. It represents her initials, OK, with ancient rock-painting complexity, and she wore it vertically to make it more abstract. In later years, she had it copied in silver, because she thought brass didn’t look good with her white hair.

Source: NY Times

https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/

Arts/Crafts: La Quinta Arts Festival

It’s the whole package!art1This has to be the most remarkable outdoor arts festival I’ve ever been to.  Certainly the largest.art5

what can be nicer than art in a stunning landscape with music, food & friendship.

what can be nicer than viewing art in a stunning landscape with good music, food & friendship?

art20No wonder it has been ranked #1 in the Nation for many years.

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This is the 35th year the Annual La Quinta Arts Festival has returned to the visually stunning setting of La Quinta’s Civic Center Campus in the greater Palm Springs area.art13

As one of the Coachella Valley’s premier attractions, the award winning event attracts art patrons and tourists from across the nation.  The festival raises funds for the Foundation’s non-profit mission of promoting & cultivating the arts.art15art10

The world class artists have traveled from all over to present the very finest in contemporary artwork.  Only 220 gifted artists and crafters are chosen from over 1,200 applicants who vie for the opportunity to showcase their incomparable works of art in the magnificent outdoor gallery.art16art21

Live music, entertainment, delicious food (Ruth’s Chris Steak House had a kiosk with filet steak sandwiches & champagne), wine and beer complement the experience.  A few examples on this page.art18art19

art6images: d. king

Vancouver designer  and textile artist Joanna Staniszkis (r) & Joanne wear her  beautiful creations.

Vancouver designer  and textile artist Joanna Staniszkis (r) & Joanne wear her  ethereal creations.

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Art/Nature: DesertX

Well the thing is, art can be found everywhere, even in the desert.  And it makes perfect sense; beauty with beauty.whitewater3

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Wildlife with Art

Wildlife with Art

I realized that while taking a nature walk with the dogs right after a picnic.  The location being Whitewater Preserve about 20 minutes northwest of Palm Springs.  An absolutely stunning setting of over 2,000 acres of pristine desert with hiking trails and wildlife.  From a distance I came across what looked like a birding roost, and on closer inspection found out it was made from sand bags.  It’s actually an art piece. built to replicate how pigeons in Israel are put to roost. But it’s hard to keep up with everything that’s going on around town especially now, so I had to find out *more.
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*From Feb. 25 through April 30, 2017, the Coachella Valley and its desert landscape will become the canvas for a curated exhibition of site-specific work by established and emerging artists, whose projects will amplify and articulate global and local issues that may range from climate change to starry skies, from tribal culture and immigration to tourism, gaming, and golf.  The artworks, in various indoor and outdoor locations will be available for free and will offer visitors a way to see the valley and reflect on serious and playful issues through the lens of the participating artists’ creativity and work.

You never know what you will encounter while out on a simple walkwhitewater2

CHECK out this short VIDEO:

https://www.desertx.org/about-us/

You never know what you will encounter while out on a simple drive

On the drive to the nature preserve you will come across hundreds on windmills20170224_140637The windmills are there for power generation with renewable energy.  However I hate them for the fact that the valley is infamous for the number of birds that are killed because of them.

Photos: d. king

 

 

Oscar Night – let the parties begin

Image credit: Chris Pizello/AP 

Image credit: Chris Pizello/AP

Entertainment and entertainers in general are more important than ever these days when we want to lose ourselves in someone else’s drama rather than our own at home.

And if you want a really good laugh and you haven’t already seen it (most have) you’ve got to check out Melissa McCarthy’s SNL portrayal of Sean Spicer. Way too funny!  It’s a way of finding lightness & humour in the absurd day to day real life performances. She should get an Oscar. As they say there is always something good that comes out of something bad.  Which brings me to tonight at the Oscars.  It’s Hollywood’s biggest night and with all talented people involved there is only one who gets to take home the prize in each category.  Every year it seems more difficult to choose only one winner when there are so many deserving nominees.

Past Winners: Penelope Cruz, Halle Berry & Audrey Hepburn.

Past Winners: Penelope Cruz, Halle Berry & Audrey Hepburn.  LOVE the dresses!

You might be surprised to find out who the biggest losers of past academy award shows were.  I know I was, which just goes to prove….there is more than just one winner in each category. Before finding out which dreams will come true and who might be overlooked, let’s take a look back at some of the biggest surprise Oscar snubs of years past.

The most fantastic biggest Losers:

1) Bette Davis, Of Human Bondage 

The 1934 film adaptation of  W. Somerset Maugham’s novel starred Bette Davis as tea-room waitress Mildred Rogers, who draws Philip Carey into an obsessive and abusive relationship. Davis originally did not receive a nomination for her performance, and the public was so upset by the oversight that a special write-in campaign was permitted to recognize her.

2) Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz

Possibly my all-time favourite movie!  Judy Garland won hearts all over the world with her performance in the MGM musical as Dorothy Gale, the plucky girl from Kansas who ends up over the rainbow and determined to return home. The New York Times described her as “a pert and fresh-faced miss with the wonder-lit eyes of a believer in fairy tales,” yet Garland did not receive an Academy Award nomination for her timeless performance.

3) Peter O’Toole, Lawrence of Arabia

Peter O’Toole was heralded for his performance in this 1962 blockbuster film, which won seven Academy Awards. Its accolades included best picture, but failed to recognize O’Toole’s performance chronicling his experiences in the Arabian Peninsula during World War I. O’Toole went on to earn seven more nominations throughout his career — but he never took home an Oscar.

4) Martin Scorsese, Taxi Driver

This psychological thriller is famous for the cast, the story and the famous line, “You talkin’ to me?” But one aspect of the film that wasn’t entrenched in history was an award nomination for director Martin Scorsese — even though the film received nominations for best picture, best actor in a leading role for Robert De Niro and best actress in a supporting role nominations for Jodie Foster.

5) Jack Nicholson, The Shining

The idea of Jack Nicholson accepting an award for his performance as Jack Torrance by saying, “Here’s Johnny!” is a thrilling fantasy, but the opportunity never materialized, as Nicholson did not receive an Oscar nomination for his role in the Stanley Kubrick-helmed adaptation of the Stephen King novel.

6) Leonardo DiCaprio, Titanic

Despite his starring role in the 1997 blockbuster that drove devoted fans to watch the movie over and over, Leonardo DiCaprio did not receive an acting nomination for his performance as Jack Dawson. The movie took home 11 Oscars of 14 total nominations.

7) Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty, a grim, gritty and powerful film, was nominated for best picture — but its director, Kathryn Bigelow, was not recognized with an Oscar nod. Long criticized for its lack of racial and gender diversity, the Academy was accused of overlooking Bigelow — who became the first woman to win two best director awards from the New York Film Critics Circle — because of her gender.

8) Ava DuVernay, Selma

The critically acclaimed civil rights film that narrated the epic march from Selma to Montgomery tapped into heated emotions about racial relations in America — and that was before the cast wore “I Can’t Breathe” shirts to a screening. The film, considered controversial due to its depiction of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, received nominations for best picture and best original song. The omission of director Ava DuVernay, a black woman, from the nominations was hotly debated.

9) Alfred Hitchcock

Despite securing five nominations, somehow the acclaimed director known for suspenseful films like Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo and Rebecca never won an Oscar.

Possibly my all-time favourite dress is drumroll….

Jennifer Lawrence in Christian Dior Couture

Jennifer Lawrence in Christian Dior Couture

Source (for biggest losers): Carey Purcell for Arts.mic

Life+Style: A peek behind the hedges 

OLD LAS PALMAS – an intimate glimpse into old Palm Springs

Mary Pickford Estate

Mary Pickford Estate

Thanks to a friend of mine I had the privilege of visiting eight outstanding homes & gardens as part of Modernism week.  This is the first time that these unique homes have been opened to the public.tour18tour19
tour8The little enclave known as Old Las Palmas has always been recognized as one of the premier neighborhoods in Palm Springs and many of the older estates and homes have been updated and enhanced over the years.   As we tiptoed through the tulips Mary Pickford’s estate, the home of Mary Martin,  a home Howard Hughes had built for himself (a long time residence of film director Howard Hawks) Liberace’s house and others, we wore little slippers to cover our shoes from tracking dirt through the houses. Each home was as interesting and magnificent as the next. Of course I sneaked in a few selfies!

A little info about a lotta glamour

Old Las Palmas boasts the largest number of celebrity homes in Palm Springs, dating back to the mid-1920’s.  Some of the well-known celebrities who have lived here include Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Todd, Liberace, Mary Martin, Goldie Hawn & Kurt Russell, Lily Tomlin, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Debbie Reynolds, Kirk Douglas, Edgar Bergen, Samuel Goldwyn, Edward G. Robinson, Clarke Gable, Gene Autry, George Hamilton, Harold Robbins, George Randolph Hearst, Ronald and Nancy Reagon and countless others.  The many, world-renowned architects who have built homes for their clients here include William Krisel, Cliff May, Donald Wexler and E. Stewart Williams.

tour7mm

Home of the original Peter Pan - Mary Martin

Home of the original Peter Pan – Mary Martin

Among the splattering of residents the area is alive and kicking with current Hollywood icons such as Leonardo DiCaprio who owns the house Dinah Shore used to live in.  We drove by but it was unfortunately not part of our home & garden tour.

A colorful quintessential midcentury re-design

A colorful quintessential midcentury update

The Old Las Palmas Neighborhood Organization makes sure to protect and preserve its special heritage.

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photos: d. king (while lovely to look at, these photos only reflect a bit of the elegance and don’t really capture the expanse of these charming homes).  Also, I took many photos inside the homes and realize that it would overwhelm one post.) I hope you enjoy them nonetheless.

 

blending Art, Culture & Exercise

INspired by ART

Just when you thought the melting pot couldn’t get any narrower some smart person added working out to the mix of blending art with just about everything.workout1

Everything being fashion, music, culture (a given), food with or as an art, now getting FIT with Art which started only last month. might be the next new craze.  And like all big success stories it takes place in NYC at the largest art museum in the United States, “the Met”.

Here’s the lowdown taken from T, the NY Times Style Magazine:

Monica Bill Barnes & Company, the irreverent contemporary dance troupe, started “The Museum Workout”: a 45-minute physical journey that spans two miles of the Metropolitan Museum of Art before opening hours. The workout, commissioned by the MetLiveArts, contains a route curated and narrated by the illustrator Maira Kalman, the author of “The Principles of Uncertainty,” and encapsulates the company’s motto to “bring dance where it does not belong.” “We wanted to honor what exists and build from it,” Barnes, the company’s artistic director, says of the unlikely setting.

By pre-selecting objects to encounter along the way (the Met’s permanent collection houses over two million items) and dictating participants’ movements, Barnes hopes the format’s “physical framework allows each audience member to have a unique emotional experience.” The workout begins promptly at 8:45 AM; at this hour, the museum’s usually clogged steps are clear, shrouded in shadows and bright patches of morning light.

Within the museum, Barnes and the performer Anna Bass serve as our athletic docents. They dance side by side, snaking through the museum, trotting, marching, speed-walking with ease. When objects, like a terracotta monument carved with angels, obstruct their path, they diverge like hand-holding lovers, separated by an oncoming crowd.

Make no mistake: this is a workout. Your body will perspire, your heart rate will rise and you’ll shed any light layers. (That said, my one request would be to increase the cardio incrementally and start with more stretches that early in the morning.) And because our enjoyment of anything increases when it’s otherwise prohibited, the workout’s massive pleasure derives from its illicitness:“trespassing” the Met before re opening hours, writhing to Elton John within the galleries, gently sweating on various marble surfaces. It confers other singular bragging rights as well — like having done jumping jacks before the marble statue of a nude Perseus

WATCH the Museum Workout Video Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Though Kalman isn’t physically present, her presence is pervasive. Her narration proffers personal thoughts about art and unexpected aphorisms on mortality. Barnes admired her work as an acquaintance, and admitted that, like anyone she approaches for projects, “It’s just an excuse to become close to somebody that you think is going to add value and perspective to your own life.” Novelty aside, the building is exceptionally beautiful uncluttered with people. What the workout gives participants is an appreciation of the museum itself: the soaring ceilings, narrow hallways, spacious galleries; how the sunlight rakes and refracts through the windows, then scatters like beads from a broken necklace across the floor.

At the end, there’s coffee, clementines, crusty bread and butter. The assortment, neatly spread in the American Wing cafe, was chosen by Kalman, and her handwritten notes — scribbled with “KEEP MOVING” — lay arranged for participants to pocket. Though thrilling, the experience is ultimately ruinous. Wandering the halls after the museum has opened, your resting heart rate restored, How wonderful, you’ll think, as school children scuttle around, when none of you were here.

Source for Story: ALEXIS CHEUNG for T MAGAZINE – NY Times

What do you think?  Meet me at the Met.  Yes, No?

Humorous Sidenote (which has nothing to do with this post – I was phoning an auto repair shop): Today is Presidents Day in the U.S.  I phoned Saturday to find out about getting an oil change on Monday (today).  Asked if they were open on Monday.  Girl who answered replied “Yes, we’re open.”  To clarify I said “but it’s Presidents Day.”  She replied “yes,  but we’re Mexican!”  How about Sunday?  Are you open then?  No, she replied.  “We’re Mexican!”

Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks

Notice how as the sunset is coming to an end the colours become even more intense, brighter and vibrant? – paraphrasing a line from the playdancelesson1

I just saw a wonderfully thought out play about life, unlikely friendships, loneliness and aging presented by Coyote Stageworks at the Annenberg Theatre, which is part of the Palm Springs Art Museum.  Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks warrants discussion on several life issues such as what it’s like for a woman living alone, toleration and discrimination but with exceptionally witty dialogue.

The play stars Loretta Swit (most recognizable as Hot Lips Houlihan from M*A*S*H TV series) and Broadway Actor David Engel, both of whom I met recently at Village Fest while I was out walking my two dogs among the madness. Infact, I found out about this play from Loretta Swit. Coincidentally and funnily enough when I called to tell my husband about meeting her, he was at home watching an episode of Mash.

Michael (David Engel) teaches Lily (Loretta Swit) how to dance

Michael (David Engel) teaches
Lily (Loretta Swit) how to dance

Swit plays Lily, an elderly widow who hires Michael (Engel) a gay dance instructor to come to her home to give her lessons from Tango to Swing to Viennese waltz.

Both actors compliment each other incredibly well and are really fun to watch amidst some enjoyable dance moves.  They lie and they argue but ultimately they share more similarities than not and what enfolds is revealingly heartfelt. The audience also enjoyed two stagehands who entertained us while swiftly re-arranging the room in between each of the scenes.dancelesson3

They plan to take the play on tour.  When it comes to your city I highly recommend seeing it.

Have you seen any good plays lately?

http://www.coyotestageworks.org

PhotosBroadwayWorld.com

Art/Exhibits: Light and Space

This UNUSUAL INSTALLATION by James Turrell is designed to entirely eliminate the viewer depth perception.light1

Perceptual deprivation is something I struggle with at times all the time when trying to park parking my car but this is completely different.  In general his work blends the worlds of art, science, architecture, astronomy, mathematics, archaeology, and spirituality.

James Turrell, Breathing Light

Ongoing at LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Artlight2

You don little sock booties and walk through a sloping curved room with a strong light source at one end that continuously changes color.  A little 60’s psychedelic, a little eerie mixed with some unexpected enlightenment.

About the Artist: 

James Turrell was born in Los Angeles in 1943 and attended Pomona College, where he studied art, art history, mathematics, perceptual psychology and astronomy. He took graduate courses at the University of California, Irvine, and received a master’s degree in fine art from Claremont Graduate School. 

www.lacma.org

Interiors + Architectural Design           

There’s an abundance of inspiration in art, design and architecture to be found in and around Palm Springs.chris1I’m always on the lookout for something unique and I found it when I stopped into Christopher Kennedy’s incredible interior design store/studio.

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Christopher Kennedy is a nationally-published interior designer and modern furniture designer based in Palm Springs, California. He was just named Best Interior Designer by Desert Outlook Magazine.

His book: California Modern

His book (as in he wrote it): California Modern

Born in San Francisco and raised on California’s Central Coast, he brings a synthesis of big-city style and relaxed resort living to his work. He combines vintage and contemporary sensibilities to create spaces that are layered, liveable, and inviting. Neither trapped by tradition nor tied to trends, the hallmarks of Christopher’s style is easy elegance and casual sophistication.

His current projects include beach houses in Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, and Malibu; lofts in New York; and numerous desert projects in Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells and La Quinta. Known for his unique brand of luxurious modernism, his work has been featured in Luxe, Dwell, Palm Springs Life Magazine, California chris6Homes, and The Los Angeles Times.chris2

Hockney Swimmer Original

Hockney Swimmer Signed Original

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Photos: d. king

Source: taken from website – christopherkennedy.com

Ginger/Mango Candle

Ginger/Mango Candle

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Manifesto

We believe that design is powerful and transformative.
We believe in wiping the slate clean from time to time and the power of a fresh coat of white paint.
We believe in hand-written thank you notes and old-fashioned telephone calls.
We believe that there is a place for books in our homes and in our lives.
We believe that food tastes better and is more nourishing when the table is set.
We believe in the importance of travel — of the opportunities it presents for learning, growth, and discovery. We also believe in the joy of returning home, after a long day at work or a long journey abroad.

I believe in ALL of the above

Address: 590 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs    Phone: 760.325.3214

Art/Film/PSIFF – The Dancer & King of the Dancehall

Fresh from the Palm Springs International Film Festival:danceTwo more movies with two intriguingly distinctive avant-garde dance styles and the ensuing competition that goes along with them. Because I wanted something artistic and upbeat as the festival draws to a close.

The dynamic energetic movies revolving around dance could not be more different from one another.  One resembling poetry in motion and the other raw & sexually charged.  Adversity is the only thing the main characters have in common and a drive to succeed.

I knew THE DANCER would if anything be visually stunning and I was correct.

Soko in

Soko in “The Dancer”

I loved it.  It was based on the true story of Loïe Fuller (perfectly played by French singer, songwriter, musician and actress Stéphanie Sokolinski, better known by her stage name “Soko”) an American dancer who became a sensation in Europe in the early 20th century-only to be swept aside just as quickly when a greater talent emerged on the scene. Don’t you hate when that happens? Said talent was Isadora Duncan whom you may have heard of as she became quite famous (gracefully played by Lily-Rose Depp in her first screen acting debut).  The story relates how Fuller went from living a difficult life with her father in the Midwest to ending up at the prestigious Paris Opera creating a dance that was unlike anything that was seen before. She became the toast of the town and a legend who helped almost by accident to create another living legend. A hauntingly striking film.

King of the Dancehall

kingofdancehall

In Jamaica they really do dance to a different beat.  I chose this movie because of the subject but also because I spent a lot of time all over Jamaica and part of that time was spent in Kingston where the film was shot.  It was written, directed and produced by Nick Cannon (host of America’s Got Talent) who was also the main star.  In other words a Nick Cannon production.  Cannon was at the screening and answered some questions at the end.

Shot in actual Jamaican outdoor dancehall venues, Cannon plays Tarzan (they all have nick names), a Brooklyn drug dealer fresh out of prison, whose mother (Whoopi Goldberg) is ill and unable to pay her medical bills. As he contemplates ways to make money he heads to Kingston where he contacts his cousin Toasta (Busta Rhymes) in the hopes of striking up a deal to export the island’s finest ganja (aka weed) back to his hometown.

The movie is in English with English subtitles that I assure you helps with understanding the dialogue because a lot of it is in Patois.  At least it’s authentic.

Toasta introduces Tarzan to the island’s nightclub scene with its vast network of fearsome gangstas, and his wife’s virginal (and sexy gyrating dancer of a sister) Maya whose suspicious bishop father (Lou Gossett Jr.) keeps her under a watchful eye.

Maya teaches Tarzan all the necessary moves so he is able to enter a contest in hopes of winning enough money to help out his mother.

What you need to know is that superstars like Beyoncé and Rihanna have used a lot of the original Jamaican dancehall moves in their shows and music videos.  The North American audience says “that’s a great move” while the Jamaican dance audience say  “she’s doing the (such and such…they all have names) move.”  In Jamaica, the dancers are celebrities in their own right, known all over the island as dance stars.

All my time in Jamaica I never visited a dancehall such as in this film, but I did go to a nightclub and in Negril the locals & others dance to live Reggae music at night on the beach.  This is where I witnessed very similar sexy dance moves as in the film. I had never seen dancing like that before….not here in North America!