Monday, May 22, 2017

The Pleasures of "Slow Food"


"In a world increasingly dominated by fast food, "The Pleasures of Slow Food" celebrates heritage recipes, artisan traditions, and the rapid evolution of a movement to make good food a part of everyday life. 

"Slow Food" is defined by how it's made -- if it's allowed to ripen before it's harvested, prepared by hand and enjoyed among friends it's "Slow Food." It's a philosophy, a way to farm, a way to cook -- a way to live. It's also the name of a 65,000-strong international movement, numbering among its members some of the most distinguished names in the food world. 

"The Pleasures of Slow Food" showcases over 60 recipes from the world's most innovative chefs for dishes that feature local handmade ingredients and traditional cooking methods. Premier food writer Corby Kummer also profiles Slow Food's luminaries, such as Italian cheese-maker Roberto Rubino and Canadian Karl Kaiser, who makes sweet ice-wine. 

Pairing fantastic recipes with engaging stories, "The Pleasures of Slow Food" brings the best of the food world to the kitchen table."  -- "The Atlantic Monthly"

"The organization "Slow Food" -- meant to stand as the antithesis to "fast food" -- dedicates itself to artisanal and traditional foods. Italian journalist Carlo Petrini, president of "Slow Food," and Eric Schlosser, author of "Fast Food Nation," contribute a brief preface and foreword, respectively. 

Kummer s history of the organization ably chronicles its growth from a protest against installation of a McDonald's in Rome in 1985 to its current focus on the Ark -- "a directory of endangered foods around the world that members rescue by enjoying them." 

There is a section on 10 of the artisanal products included in the Ark, some coupled together for comparison (for example, there is a short essay on cheese made in the Basilicata region of Italy and another on cheese made in Vermont) -- these stories provide glimpses into the psyches of people like Jim Gerritsen, who has dedicated his life to growing heirloom potatoes in Maine. 

Kummer then offers simple, homespun recipes, and proposes that through each one, the homecook can learn "how to imprint that taste on your own dishes." 

Recipes are arranged from "Old World to New," so there are a few selections from Italy, such as Pesto alla Genovese from the Garibaldi family, who run a farmhouse restaurant in Liguria, and from Ireland - Baked Cheese with Winter Herbs from Tom and Giana Ferguson of County Cork. 

The vast majority of these 44 recipes, however, come from American restaurateurs such as Ana Sortun (Lamb Steak with Turkish Spices and Fava Bean Moussaka) from Oleana Restaurant in Cambridge, Mass., as well as from Alice Waters and Daniel Boulud -- and while the recipes from America don't always focus on local ingredients, they do embrace the spirit of "Slow Food." This is a noble and handsome effort." -- "Publishers Weekly"

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Mid Century Modern Landscaping

Mid Century Modern design is all the rage now. I love it too. 

The 1972 book published by Readers Digest, "Practical Guide to Home Landscaping," has contributions from noted Landscape Architects -- Douglas Baylis, Thomas Church, Robert Malkin, Theodore Osmundson, and others.

This book is a comprehensive reference of Mid Century Modern Landscape design and architecture. Exciting inspirational ideas for landscapers, designers, carpenters, architects, and homeowners. Includes hundreds of cool color, and black and white photographs, drawings, plans, and illustrations. Subjects covered include:

Ideas For Your Garden -- limited space, outdoor living, remodel existing landscapes, city gardens

Planning -- design principles, sizes and shapes, drawings

Planting -- trees, schrubs, accent plants, herbs, vegetables, fruit

Construction -- wood, concrete, brick, concrete block, stone, canvas, plastic, earth

Projects -- walkways, paths, steps, fences, walls, gates, screens, sun, shade, outdoor living, privacy, childrens play areas, storage, water, light, decorative art, sculpture

Feature Pages -- classic ideas, privacy, free materials, Japanese landscaping, tools, gravel, mailbox, storage, light for dramatic effect, railroad ties, climate and more

Some of the top-flight Architects and Designers that are featured in this book include: Robert W. Chittock, Lawrence Halprin, Burr Richards, Benjamin Baldwin, and others. 

Rembrandt Bugatti

Rembrandt Bugatti (1884–1916) was an Italian sculptor, known primarily for his bronze sculptures of wildlife subjects. 

Born in Milan, into a family with a strong and long tradition in the arts, Rembrandt Bugatti was the second son of Carlo Bugatti and his wife, Teresa Lorioli. 

His father was known for his exotic and fanciful furniture, silver, metalwork, and musical instruments. His older brother was Ettore Bugatti who became one of the world's most famous automobile manufacturers. 

As a child he hung around his father's workshop and was encouraged to try sculpting in plasticine by the family friend and renowned Russian sculptor, Prince Paolo Troubetzkoy. 

In his short life he produced more than 300 works -- an oeuvre which is unparalleled for descriptive intensity and diversity of form and subject. Making his first professional appearance at the Venice Biennale in 1902, Bugatti followed in the tradition of the great Impressionists Medardo Rosso, Edgar Degas, and Auguste Rodin, with additional influences from Art Nouveau and Symbolism. 

Bugatti's love of nature led to him spending a great deal of time in the wildlife sanctuary near the Jardin des Plantes in Paris or at the Antwerp Zoo where he studied the features and movement of exotic animals. His animal figures such as elephants, panthers, and lions became his most valuable and popular works.

The silver elephant mascot that sits on top of the radiator of the Bugatti Royale was cast from one of Rembrandt's original sculptures.

During World War I the Antwerp Zoo was forced to kill most of its wild livestock. This deeply affected Bugatti because he had used many of these animals as subjects for his sculptures. Tragically, in 1916, at the age of 31, he ended his own life.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The OCD Zone: "The Nick of Time"

The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no.Season 2
Episode 7
Directed byRichard L. Bare
Written byRichard Matheson
Featured musicUncredited
Production code173-3643
Original air dateNovember 18, 1960
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology

"The hand belongs to Mr. Don S. Carter, male member of a honeymoon team on route across the Ohio countryside to New York City. In one moment, they will be subjected to a gift most humans never receive in a lifetime. For one penny, they will be able to look into the future. The time is now, the place is a little diner in Ridgeview, Ohio, and what this young couple doesn't realize is that this town happens to lie on the outskirts -- of the Twilight Zone."

"Counterbalance in the little town of Ridgeview, Ohio. Two people permanently enslaved by the tyranny of fear and superstition, facing the future with a kind of helpless dread. Two others facing the future with confidence -- having escaped one of the darker places -- of the Twilight Zone."

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Loie Fuller

Loïe Fuller was a visionary artist who crafted a novel genre of performance, one that combined billowing costumes with dazzling lights and projections to conjure transformative imagery of hypnotic beauty. 

Born Marie Louise Fuller 1862 in Fullersburg, Illinois, she embarked on an early theatrical career as an actress and singer in vaudeville, stock companies, and burlesque before developing the dance style that made her famous in the early 1890s. 

Through experiments with silk drapery and colored lights, she evolved her first Serpentine Dance. Thereafter, the genre became known as "serpentine dancing" and was widely imitated. Fuller was heralded as a technological wizardress for her many stagecraft innovations, which included: doing away with scenic elements and plunging the theater into total darkness; harnessing a revolving disc of colored gels to shine ever-shifting multi-hued patterns on her swirling skirts; projecting images (such as photographs of the moon's surface) onto her garments; lighting the stage from below, as in her famous Fire Dance to create the illusion of being ringed by flames; and choreographing shadows and silhouettes. 

Fuller's 1892 debut at the Folies Bergère in Paris catapulted her into international celebrity. Her performances enraptured the fin de siècle artists, poets and intellectuals. She was depicted by artists in many media and became influential in such movements as Art Nouveau, Symbolism, Cubism, and Futurism. Fuller's serpentine dancing lies at the origin of modern dance. 

Although they later became rivals, Fuller helped the career of a young Isadora Duncan. Ruth St. Denis was an admirer of Fuller and choreographed works in homage. At the turn of the 20th century, Fuller brought dance to the cutting edge of modernity, and her energy and ambition made her one of the most influential American women of her era. 

Fuller died in Paris, France, on January 2, 1928.

Jules B. Dahlager Painting: A Golden Summer Day in Beautiful Behm Canal

Here's one that got away -- a small 6" x 8" oil painting on masonite board by renowned Alaskan artist Jules Bernard Dahlager of Behm Canal near Ketchikan, Alaska. The painting is signed and dated in the lower left "Jules '45" in red oil paint, and bears the printed artist label on reverse with Dahlager's ink signature, reading: "A GOLDEN SUMMER DAY/ In Beautiful Behm Canal Near/ Ketchikan, Alaska/   Painting by/ Jules B. Dahlager [artist signature]." The painting is housed in its original gold gilt Arts and Crafts-style carved frame, likely by Seattle-based framemaker Lloyd Jensen.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Scenes from Federico Fellini's "La Strada"

Federico Fellini has called "La Strada," "a complete catalogue of my entire mythological world -- a dangerous representation of my identity that was undertaken with no precedent whatsoever." As a result, the film demanded more time and effort than any of his other works, before or since. The development process was long and tortuous --  there were various problems during production, including insecure financial backing, problematic casting, and numerous delays. 

Finally, just before shooting was completed, Fellini suffered a nervous breakdown that necessitated medical treatment in order to complete principal photography. Initial critical reaction was harsh, and the film's screening at the Venice Film Festival was the occasion of a bitter controversy that escalated into a public brawl between Fellini's supporters and detractors.

Subsequently, however, "La Strada" has become "one of the most influential films ever made," according to the American Film Institute. It won the inaugural Academy Award for "Best Foreign Language Film" in 1954. It was placed fourth in the 1992 British Film Institute directors' list of "Cinema's Top 10 Films."