Tuesday, April 26, 2011
the red building

"You've come a long way baby"..... For those of you who are regular readers, you may remember that three months ago, the above picture of The Red Building at The Pacific Design Center looked like this, below.....! They have been really busy these last three months, and seem to be moving along at a rather nice pace--trying to finish the Red Building----it still has a long way to go, but, I was thrilled to see how much had happened since January 25th......As you may recall, there are two other buildings that comprise the Pacific Design Center here in Los Angeles......See this post of mine...... The "Blue Whale" was the first building of this complex and it opened in 1975, I believe.....The Green building opened around 1988.....and then finally, the Red Building, which will complete the complex, which they hope to have finished by the Fall of 2011...... I didn't take the picture above, but it gives you a really good idea of how big these buildings are......As I reported in my previous post about The PDC, I have quite a lot of time in The Blue Whale. There are lots of Wholesale Businesses there. I found Fabric for two pieces of furniture in my living room, in that building, back-in-the-day....And I have been to a number of AIDS Fund raisers there, too......Below, a Digital Artists rendering of what the Red Building will look like when it is finished, from the San Vicente Blvd. side of The Pacific Design Center..... The curve in the street really doesn't exist---but that is not what is important. What IS important is the beauty of this fabulous building---especially in the context of the two other buildings. I think this whole complex is really beautiful and very innovative.......Below, a closer look at the side of the Red Building from San Vicente Blvd., a few days ago....... And below.....how it looked, back on January 25th, 2011........ Isn't it amazing how far they have come with these glass tiles, only three months later? Honestly, I think it is quite fantastic! Look at that! It is magnificent....! And then, when you look closely, you can see that there is a short darker group of tiles, just above the bright red ones---up to a point, that is........ I know there has to be a reason for this---more than aesthetics, I think, but I could be wrong---Especially since it stops and doesn't go all the way across......So far, I haven't been able to get any really good pictures of the other side of the Red Building----Whatever I have taken is through the car window and that changes the color of the tiles. But given that, here below are a couple of examples....... This is the side that faces Santa Monica Blvd......And just so you can see the more finished side, once again......here it is below......Here is a closer look at the back-side or front side, depending on your point of view..... You can see from this picture above that more of that darker red-almost-brown is being used on this side of the building....Again, I know there must be a reason for this, I just don't know what it is, I'm sorry to say......Below.....another picture of the Santa Monica side where you can see the other end of the building....... It is strange. It almost looks like two separate buildings from this picture. I need to wait till more of it is finished and then try to photograph it from a different angle from the Santa Monica side---not easy, given the traffic, let me tell you........ I love that you can see a man working up there....It really looks like a big Ship, in a way, doesn't it? And rest assured, I will be following the progress of The Red Building, as time goes on......

I will leave you with one last image of the more finished other side of this extraordinary building, because I think it is Soooo damn pretty..........





More To Come...........




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Saturday, April 23, 2011
happy easter

A Very Happy Easter To One And All........I hope your day will be filled with Peace, Serenity and Love,

And...........a Little Bit Of Chocolate, too........




More To Come...........


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Tuesday, April 19, 2011
nature's miracle

I'm excited! This "stalk" that looks like an Asparagus has me very excited! Why, you might ask? Well, I'll tell you why.....Better yet, I will show you why.....! In December of 2006, two of my Green Agave's began getting a little something in the center......I knew, from experience, that this meant the plant was going to flower. By the time I took notice of the 'asparagus' looking stalk below....it had been growing for probably two months...... Believe it or not...these stalks can and do get very very tall.....In the picture at the top of this post, taken on April 15th, it has been growing since December, 2010.....So, it is still very young and relatively small....But, as in the picture below of one of these stalks back in 2007....you can see it will get pretty tall......And then, as time goes on, eventually, these "pods" began to show up on the upper sides and the top---and at a certain point, it will look like this, below...... It is fantastic how tall these Flower Stalks can and will get to be......And when the flowers start to appear...Well, it is downright thrilling! In fact, I would have to say it is Miraculous....! These flowers pods are so lush and beautiful in color and in nectar, too----they attract all kinds of birds-----but most especially, they attract Hummingbirds. Lots and lots and lots of Hummingbirds...... This is what I have to look forward to in just a few months and I am excited to think that I will have hundreds of Hummingbirds visiting me.....To see more Hummingbirds in one afternoon than I have seen for all the years of my life before this Agave Flowered---what a great gift from Nature to me.....Here below is a closer look at the kind of Agave that is on the way to flowering this summer---hopefully in time for my birthday at the end of June. I couldn't ask for a greater gift, believe me.........Such a beautiful plant.....So.....can you see why I am excited? This is like a great great 'show' that nature is providing for me....And though I am unable to go down into my garden now---I can see this fantastic show from my deck....! Here below, another view of the new stalk showing where it is right now......But it will be getting bigger and bigger as time goes on........ Above.....February 10th, 2011......And below.....April 16th, 2011...... It grows slowly, but surely. Right now it is hard to believe that in a few short months, it will turn into this, below....... But it will, I'm happy to say........











More To Come............



Note: "Vagabonde", a lovely and talented blogger that I met recently 'In person', has written a post about me! To say I am flattered, is to put it mildly. There will be a part two, as well.....so, if you get a chance, drop by her blog and while you are there, do read her very fascinating posts about her many many travels. Her pictures are superb and her research on every place she visits is incredible---I have learned so much about so very may places from this amazing women.....Enjoy!


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Thursday, April 14, 2011
a celebration

On Wednesday, April 6th, over 600 people gathered to Celebrate Dear Betty's remarkable life. Because of my Health Issues, I wasn't able to be there 'in person', but I did put together a Video, with the help of David Shine, a Video Wizard, who came to my house to tape me and then took the three "clips" I wanted to show in the body of my Tribute back to his editing bay, and put it all together, brilliantly. Not only was it exactly as I had discussed with him, he even made a few little improvements---he really understood what I wanted. I had spent quite a lot of time deciding what I wanted to say and just what 'clips' I wanted to include. Because I have always been a Historian at heart, I have 8mm films from back in New York during the "Spoon River" experience, 1963, and some film of Betty and Larry when they visited me in Hawaii back in June of 1974.....And, then, in 1997 I had a gathering I at my house for John & Kendall Carter---dear friends of Betty's and many of us at Theatre West, which I Video Taped...They had moved to New York and were on a visit here. John had directed Betty in her one woman show, "Betty Garrett And Other Songs", back in the spring of 1974 and every time she did the show subsequently, over the years....San Francisco, Palm Springs, New York, Texas, and London, to name a few of the places she did her show.... Then, at the gathering, after lots of yummy food and a visit down into my Cactus Garden, we sat around and told story's and Betty told a couple of jokes....She told my very favorite joke she ever told and that I constantly asked her to tell over the years.....Unfortunately I cannot show you this because it is rather x-rated....lol....But very very funny....The Hawaii films are a bit bawdy, too....Betty "mooned" us---twice! She was so game.....The third and last clip that I showed on my tribute to her was a clip from when we appeared on The Today Show back in October of 1963....We did about 10 or 15 minutes of some poems and songs from the show....And included in that 15 minutes was the poem that Betty did of a woman named "Lucinda Matlock", who was based on Edgar Lee Masters Grandmother---a woman he absolutely adored! Joyce Van Patten and I always felt this character and the way she lived her life, was the closest to who Betty was in her own life.....





I'd love to be able to show you her doing this poem---but I don't know how to isolate it and then post the video---it was a Kinescope so the fidelity is not fabulous but it is from the 'Today Show' back in 1963.....Betty patterned her 'Lucinda' after a neighbor of hers who was from Sweden, so she had a slight accent.....Here is Lucinda Matlock:



I went to the dances at Chandlerville.



And played snap-out at Winchester.



One time we changed partners,



Driving home in the moonlight of middle June,



And then I found Davis.



We were married and lived together for seventy years.



Enjoying, working, raising the twelve children,



Eight of who we lost



Ere I had reached the age of sixty.



I spun, I wove, I kept the house, I nursed the sick.



I made the garden, and for holiday



Rambled over the fields where sang the larks.



And, by Spoon River gathering many a shell.



And many a flower and medicinal weed---



Shouting to the wooded hills, singing to the green valleys.



At ninety-six I had lived enough, that is all.



And passed to a sweet repose.



What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness,



Anger, discontent and drooping hopes?



Degenerate sons and daughters,



Life is too strong for you---



It takes life to love Life.






Betty always ended this poem with a little 'Huh?' and a very dear and knowing laugh.....In truth, Betty always knew that 'it takes life to love Life'......






I heard from many many people about what a special and wonderful afternoon this 'Celebration' was....Betty's sons worked so hard to make it as special as Betty herself was, and from what I hear---they more than succeeded....Everyone said it was Superb, in every way....Moving and Funny and so very Loving....! I will get to see a DVD of the afternoon eventually---and I look forward to that more than I can say. People were very enthusiastic about my Video, and that pleased me very very much. Creating it alone here, in a kind of vacuum---it was hard for me to tell how it went. I hoped it was everything she deserved---the humor, the talent and the love---and from the feedback I got, it sounds like it indeed was.....So, that made me feel very good. Now, we all have to try to get on with this loss and what it means to each of us in our day-to-day reality. I always knew that this would be a very very hard one for me....And I was not wrong about that. But I am not alone in this and that helps to some degree, too....For each of us who knew Betty and felt her love, and who loved her back, this continues to be a very hard time. But, to have had such a rare and special person in my life has been the blessing of my life---to have been that lucky for so very many years, truly warms my heart.......I thank you all for your understanding and for caring in such a moving and meaningful way....it means everything, believe me......









More To Come.......









Note: "Vagabonde", a lovely and talented blogger that I met recently 'In person', has written a post about me! To say I am flattered, is to put it mildly. There will be a part two, as well.....so, if you get a chance, drop by her blog and while you are there, do read her very fascinating posts about her many many travels. Her pictures are superb and her research on every place she visits is incredible---I have learned so much about so very may places from this amazing women.....Enjoy!










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Friday, April 08, 2011
inspiration

Martha Graham and Agnes De Mille This is a re post from April 29th, 2006. I had occasion to re-read this because someone contacted me about Agnes DeMille just a few days ago....I loved what this said so much that I decided it was important to re-state it all, once again....So, here it is. “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you.....no artist is pleased…there is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than others” The great dancer and choreographer, Agnes De Mille, wrote about what the great Martha Graham said to her in her Biography. Those words above, are that quotation....there is more to this, I believe, but this is all I've ever seen.... In 1984, my dear friend Betty Garrett was in a beautiful Tony nominated play called “Quilters” here in Los Angeles at The Mark Taper Forum, (part of The Los Angeles Music Center Complex.) This is a wonderfully inspiring play honoring the indominability of the American Pioneer Woman and all she had to endure to survive. The play involves seven women. An “every mother” and her six “every daughters”. In this production, Betty played the ‘every mother’ role. Combining songs, music, dance and dramatic scenes, this play pays eloquent tribute to the courageousness and the spirit of our nation’s pioneer women. Each scene is defined by story blocks in a quilt presented as a backdrop for the show and it is based on actual oral history’s of American frontier women in the mid-1800’s represented in a ‘Heritage Quilt” that the ‘every mother’ character prepares for her ‘every daughters’. The production at The Taper was exquisite. It was moving and original in its concept and staging and all the actresses were first rate. I saw the show three times and was deeply moved by it each time. This is one of those shows where the cast bonded in a fantastic way during their extended rehearsal period and because of that bonding and the great love and reverence they all had for this material, they began this special ritual before every performance. The seven actresses would meet in Betty’s dressing room about 15 minutes before curtain and stand in a circle holding hands, almost like a meditation, and each night one of the actresses would share something inspiring with the others…something that gave them a sense of community as ‘artists’ together. These moments before the curtain, were used as a way to drop the days stresses and trauma’s, to leave behind the cares of the day as preparation for the work they were about to do, and to become again, the superb ensemble that they had become during their ten-hour-days-six-week-rehearsal process….needless to say, this nightly ritual served the show beautifully. Part of the ritual was that whatever was shared was then written down in a “Quilters” Diary so that there was a record of what had taken place…weather it was a poem or a song or an inspiring piece of writing such as this quotation from Martha Graham to Agnes De Mille… ... Betty invited me to come down to the theatre one night to be their ‘inspiration’ for that performance. She wanted me to sing a particular song from “Spoon River” that she felt would 'center' the group and be a lovely way to contribute to this nightly preparation ritual. I was quite honored to say the least. It was pretty awesome to be a part of this beautiful show in whatever way possible. And it was a bit daunting and it felt like a huge responsibility to know that whatever I did would set the tone for that performance. But, I felt very privileged to be participating. So I was in Betty's dressing room before it was time for all of the women to get together, and as Betty was doing her make-up, she showed me the “Quilters” diary so I could look at it and also so I could write down what I was going to do before the performance on that particular evening. I began leafing through the diary after I had written down what I was contributing that night and came across that quotation of Martha Graham’s, (Incidentally Betty G. had studied with Martha Graham when she first went to New York and had performed in her dance company on Broadway, as well) . I had not been aware of this quotation before. I’d never heard it or read it or anything. I found it so moving and important to me personally, that it brought tears to my eyes. As an artist, as a creator this quotation reached right into my soul; right into the core of me. Betty felt the same way as I did and so did the rest of the “Quilters” cast…I could see why one of the cast members had brought this quotation into to their circle for inspiration. I copied this quote on a small piece of yellow note paper, right there and then. And when I got home that night I put it on my bookcase in my bedroom where I could see it every day of my life and be reminded of these profound words. This piece of note paper has been sitting there on my bookcase for these 22 years. It is frayed and kind of faded but for me it is just as fresh and deeply inspiring as it was, the first time I read it.

Martha Graham was a fantastic innovator. American Masters said about her: “Martha Graham’s impact on dance was staggering and often compared to that of Picasso on painting, Stravinsky on music, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s on architecture. Her contributions transformed the art form, revitalizing and expanding dance around the world. In her search to express herself freely and honestly, she created the Martha Graham Dance Company. As a teacher, Graham trained and inspired generations of fine dancers and choreographers.” And The Kennedy Center had this to say about Agnes de Mille: “Although Agnes de Mille seemed destined to perform on Broadway, since her paternal grandfather, father, and Uncle, Cecil B. de Mille were all successful writers and actors involved in the theatre, she avoided the easy path to The Great White Way. Instead, she struggled in obscurity and poverty, courageously pursuing a career as a dancer and choreographer. When her amazing talent was finally recognized, and she made her way to the stage, she transformed the world of musical comedy and ballet forever.”


Both these great great woman artists lived a very long time. Martha Graham was 97 when she died and de Mille was 88. How many women—how many people have both these artists inspired and touched and enlightened with their great talent and their wise understanding of what it is to be an artist and to live the life of an artist…? How very many people have read those words of Martha Graham’s and said to themselves, ‘yes’….I must never forget the importance of these words. I have shared this quote with so very many young people from time to time over the years, especially when I see someone struggling with what to do with their lives and/or being discouraged by how difficult what they have chosen to do or be, is….


The struggle and discouragement that faces artists is so very difficult and often depressing in it's loneliness and sometimes very killing to the spirit…these words of the great Martha Graham remind you that you are unique….”there is only one of you in all of time”, and further, that “if you block it, it will never exist through any medium and be lost….”. If we are to cherish something let us cherish ourselves. Let us nurture ourselves and honor that which would not exist if we do not do this, and by cherishing this, we allow who we are and what we are to grow and to be expressed in whatever way is true to ourselves. Amen, Amen.


More To Come..............



NOTE: It seems so fitting to me that I would re-read this almost on the eve of The Celebration Of Betty's life---(I will post about that, next time)----She too was an inspiration to so very many people---she too lived a very long and incredibly productive life, in every way......

Blogger won't let me do the paragraphs like I want to---Grrrrrr. So, bear with me here....... Update: Saturday, April 9th, 2011. The incredibly talented film director, Sidney Lumet, died this morning. I had just written a post about one of his most memorable films "The Verdict" in March.....He was a Giant in the world of Film and Directing.....One of the last of a group of fantastic directors who began directing in what became known as The Golden Age Of Television.....His great great body of work includes such classic films as "Dog Day Afternoon", "Network", "Serpico", "Long Days Journey Into Night"---to name just a few....I admired him greatly. RIP, Mr. Lumet. We won't see his like, again.


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