Summerized Blog

Gluttonous, social and slightly cultural week in the Big Apple

We had a great time in New York. We saw lots of friends, though you never get to see everyone in one trip. Simon and
Carolyn’s hospitality at their lovely flat saved us a stay at Days Inn. I lost my camera midway through the trip, so these are mostly random phone photos.

Saturday, I met Claudia and Marge for brunch at Deborah in the West
Village. My favorite duck hash was just as I remembered it; I’d been dreaming of it for
months. We walked around Nolita after, and explored a designer’s
market, among other things.

That evening I
went to Williamsburg and paid a visit to the Future Perfect. Then
I met up with Jason, Gary, Daniel and Jay at Monkey Town. Gary,
Daniel and I bored everyone else with Cranbrook talk. Monkey Town has some really lovely
large-scale fiber works in the dark interior. They look like
cocoon-like structures made by elephant sized butterflies. Everyone had
dark and stormies to drink; the entrees were nothing special, but the
delicious bread
pudding with dried cherries and caramel made up for it.

Sunday’s theme was babies. We brunched with
Catherine and her friend Irene (sp?). Catherine looked amazing at nine
months pregnant, and gave birth to Max two days later. Unfortunately, I
was sick by then, so we couldn’t go see him. We enjoyed seeing her
new spacious new midtown digs with its great view. Next stop was Dave
and Michelle’s loft by NYU to catch up, and meet their new baby. Madeleine is a dark haired cutie. We
liked the way they’d set up a sitting area in front of the window, to
look down on the Broadway action. That evening, we went to
Marci and Neal’s Park Slope condo for a lovely lasagna and more cute tots. Hugo, their
little boy, is now riding a miniature push-bike that resembles those
hand-welded high tech ones that grown up bike geeks love.

Tricia and
Miyuke were
also there, with their little "Mini," who’s just learning how to walk.

On Monday, I checked out the Design and the Elastic Mind show
at the MoMA. It explores the marriage of technology and design, and how
designers are currently responding to technological advances. It’s one of the
MoMA’s seminal design shows for sure.

Peter Worthington’s Shadow Monsters is an interactive installation that’s lots of fun. You step in front of a projector, and see your silhouette in front of you. And the program immediately adds lots of ornaments and silly prosthetics (and sounds!) to your body that change as you move. If you scissor your arms open and closed, it will draw teeth between them, making a monster mouth, and you’ll hear roaring sounds. Though somehow this image reminds me of a Balinese dancer.

This origami by Robert J. Lang uses computer aided designs to achieve levels of complexity previously impossible. And yet they still only use a square of paper.

It was great to see Front Design’s work in person. Their Sketch Furniture is based on an in-air doodle. Basically, they do a drawing in the air, the drawing is captured with video-capture technology, then digitized into a 3d model, which is printed by a rapid manufacturing machine. This particular piece is a "chandelier."

Later in the day I went to Moss to see what I’ve been missing. Their
space just keeps expanding. And I found a great shop/brand in Nolita
later that day – Calvin Tran.
There’s actually a store in San Francisco too. The designer
creates a lot of clothes that can be worn multiple ways. There were so
many European tourists out shopping and sightseeing because of the weak
dollar. That evening, we had a nice dinner with Dan and Jason at Falai
on the Lower East Side.

Tuesday, we checked into the Hudson. It has a high density of architect glasses.

I went to see the Cai Guo-Qiang "I Want to Believe" at the Guggenheim. Dan loved it and had said I had
to go. It was pretty interesting. The first thing you see on entering
the giant rotunda is about ten white cars suspended in a chaotic
column through the center of the giant space. Thin rods animated with
LEDs explode from within the cars, and each car lights up in sequence.
It gives an impression of seeing an animation of a car blowing up and
flying high into the air. The rest of the work has an explosive nature;
some is literally pyrotechnic. He does some amazing sculptural
fireworks where the black or white smoke of the explosion becomes a
mass to be sculpted, and the thrumming rhythmic sound of the fireworks
going off in sequence and in unison is also incorporated. They’d be great to see in person. In all the work, there is a blurring between entertainment (like fireworks) and the repulsive aspect of violent explosions.

CAI GUO-QIANG, originally uploaded by t_a_i_s.

That evening,
we joined Jennifer, Steven, Simon and Carolyn for dinner at Pamplona. Food publicist extraordinaire Jen knows the chef; we were
treated very well. The food was wonderful; my faves from the tasting menu
were cauliflower soup with pork belly, a little fried cube of chickpea
puree, a bacon-y duck breast, a thickish chocolate confection (with sea salt?),
and a hot white chocolate infused with truffle, topped with espresso
foam. We’ll be back.

Wednesday, I checked out the just-opened Whitney biennial, and it
was, well, like usual. Highlights were a
hot-tub sized cat litter box,
performance artists doing some kind of tin woodsman inspired contact
modern dance, and a deconstructed goat farm with projections of women
with hair longer than their bodies, milking goats and harvesting the runoff from
washing their hair. Actually, I really liked that one.

And there was a new little shop in Soho selling cardboard housewares. There have been so many cardboard objects on the green design blogs, it’s interesting to see an actual storefront.

Later that day I was at Anna, a favorite little clothing shop. It’s a hidden gem in the East Village, and
can be hit or miss, with clothing that looks best on the body, rather
than the rack.
That night, we met up with a bunch of Jason’s old Vindigo crew for drinks in the
garment district, which was a lot of fun.

It was a great trip, and as one of Jason’s friends pointed out, we’ll always know where we were when the Eliot Spitzer story broke. Oy vey.


Weekend Guests and Freelance

It’s been a busy and fun couple of weeks, with freelance work, and guests almost every weekend. First Dan came to town, and we walked, shopped and ate in the Mission, Hayes Valley, and Outer Richmond. He loved Burma Superstar. And we bought some housewares at the giant Chinese restaurant supply place nearby.

Then Kat came for the weekend. She hadn’t been back to SF for years. We we went to my favorite tapas place, Laïola, with Wai and Lisa. Their bacon-wrapped, chorizo-stuffed medjool dates just kill me. Then some obnoxious guys attempted to pick us up during our brunch at Slanted Door.

And last weekend, my whole family came to town to celebrate Dad’s 60th. Birthday dinner was dramatic Peruvian cuisine at Limon. The next night Jason and I actually cooked, and our Salmon en Papillote was a critical success. Brittany’s hand-sewn cowboy themed decorations completed the effect. We checked out the Olafur Eliasson exhibit at SF Moma, looked at bathroom fixtures for Dad and Mom’s future home, and cruised yet another restaurant supply store.

Now we’re gearing up for a week in New York.