Friday, July 31, 2009

Listening to Waters

...As the heat mirages on the river in front of me danced with and through each other, I could feel patterns from my own life joining with them. It was here that I started this story, although, of course, at the time I did not know that stories of life are often more like rivers than books. But I knew that a story had begun, perhaps long ago near the sound of water.

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs*.

I am haunted by waters. (Norman Maclean - A River Runs Through It)

*the word "theirs" refers to dead loved ones of the author.

We all have rivers, rocks, and words beneath the rocks that we should and need to listen to. Those words don't necessarily have to come from a family member. They can also come from someone who loves us or is loved by us. Nor does that person have to be dead - they can still be breathing and walking the planet. The important thing is to listen and pay attention to "the words under the rocks" for it is there that we sometimes get the most insight from and about those we love and are loved by.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Feeling Parched?

One way to stay cool on a hot Sunday...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sotheby's to Sell Property from the Legendary Collections of Dr. Arthur M. Sackler

Krass und Mild (Dramatic and Mild), 1932 - Wassily Kandinsky

Personal note from me: anytime you have the opportunity to see any of Kandinsky's work do so - as fabulous as it looks on the page it is even more impressive in person.

Dr. Arthur M. Sackler was one of America's foremost collectors, whose passion for objects transcended any one collecting category or time period, featuring outstanding examples of ancient art of many cultures, as well as European sculpture, furniture, and paintings from the Renaissance to the modern era. Dr. Sackler's passion for collecting was matched only by his generosity, gifting objects and endowing galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Princeton and Columbia Universities, the Smithsonian, and the Royal Academy in London, in addition to establishing museums at Harvard and Beijing Universities.

Sotheby's November sales of Impressionist and Modern Art will include eleven works from Dr. Sackler's collections. Among those to be presented in the Evening Sale on November 4th is a monumental work by Wassily Kandinsky, Krass und Mild (Dramatic and Mild), one of the greatest Bauhaus-period works to have appeared at auction in years. (est. $6/8 million). Painted in May 1932, during Kandinsky's final months at the Bauhaus, the canvas is a visual symphony of geometry and color. The provocative title for this picture, also known as Drastic and Mild, evokes the powerful forces at play during the era in which it was created. Kandinsky painted this work in the spring of 1932, only months before the National Socialists closed the Bauhaus headquarters in Dessau. Krass und Mild was purchased by Dr. Sackler in Sotheby's historic sale of Fifty Paintings by Wassily Kandinsky from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in 1964. The appearance of Krass und Mild on the market is particularly timely given the recent revival of interest in Kandinsky as a pivotal artist, evidenced by major shows in London, Paris and in New York this fall

Friday, July 24, 2009

Why I Don't Go on Opening Day

Opening Day attendance this year was the biggest in the track's history - it even surpassed the attendance set on the day in 1976 when Dare and Go beat Cigar in the Pacific Classic (this is Del Mar's big kahuna million dollar race). In 1976 the attendance was 44,181 - this year's Opening Day attendance was 44,907. However, just because I didn't subject myself to all the craziness that is known as "Opening Day" I still placed my bets. The track has "Early Bird Betting" wherein one can go to the track between 9 and 10 AM and make one's bets before the track opens at noon (gates open at 11:30 on the weekends). Opening Day usually results in chalky (the "chalk" is the favored betting choice) payoffs, due to part to the fact that a goodly portion of the people who come on Opening Day don't have a clue as to how to handicap the races and bet, resulting in screwed up odds. However, this year there were a few races that proved semi- profitable for long shots bettors such as me. Let's hope the remainder of the meet starts bringing in those long shots Del Mar is known for!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's Finally Here - Christmas in July!!!

In the words of race announcer Trevor Denman - "... and away they go..."!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

1 More Day....

My adrenaline is starting to gear up, my palms are starting to itch, my tummy is filling with butterflies and the Daily Racing Form is awaiting my attention for Opening Day handicapping. Only 1 day and about 6 1/2 hours until the first race. Yea, Yea, Yea and Hurray!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

British Museum to Show Revolution on Paper: Mexican Prints 1910-1960

Portrait of Emiliano Zapata. Angel Zamarripa. c.1953. Woodcut. Copyright Trustees of the British Museum. Reproduced by permission of the Sociedad Mexicana de Autores de las Artes Plasticas (SOMAAP)

LONDON.- The exhibition will be the first in Europe focusing on the great age of Mexican printmaking in the first half of the twentieth century.

Between 1910 and 1920 the country was convulsed by the first socialist revolution, from which emerged a strong left-wing government that laid great stress on art as a vehicle for promoting the values of the revolution. This led to a pioneering programme to cover the walls of public buildings with vast murals, and later to setting up print workshops to produce works for mass distribution and education. All the prints in the exhibition come from the British Museum's collection which has been compiled thanks to the generosity of James and Clare Kirkman, Dave and Reba Williams and The Art Fund.

Some of the finest of these prints were produced by the three great men of Mexican art of the period known as ‘los tres grandes’: Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. The best-known print is Rivera’s Emiliano Zapata and his horse which has achieved iconic status in twentieth century Mexican art. Other prints including Rivera’s portrait of Frida Kahlo, Siqueiros’ Dama Negra, Orozco’s The Masses, demonstrate the extraordinary breadth, imagination, and quality of the works shown. In addition to the Los Tres Grandes, many other artist were involved and rose to prominence, especially after the founding of the Taller del Gráfica Popular (TGP) in Mexico City in 1937. The range of material is fascinating: as well as single-sheet artists’ prints, there are large posters with designs in woodcut or lithography by these same artists, and illustrated books on many different themes. The exhibition will also include earlier works around the turn of the century by the popular printmaker, José Guadalupe Posada, who was adopted by the revolutionaries as the archetypal printmaker who worked for the people, and whose macabre dances of skeletons have always fascinated Europeans.

Printmakers in Mexico often belonged to groups, societies and movements which were underpinned by their commitment to politics. The earliest movement was Stridentism, an avant garde group which was launched 1921 and was similar to the Italian Futurist movement because it rejected the past. The Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP) was formed in 1937 by Luis Arenal, Leopoldo Méndez and Pablo O’Higgins as a graphic arts workshop which was influenced by communism. TGP members had access to printing equipment at the workshop and did not need to have artistic training. The collective produced prints for posters, flyers and portfolios which were printed on cheap paper. Their prints often supported the campaigns of trade and workers unions in Mexico. For example, Pablo O’Higgins and Alberto Beltrán collectively made a poster advertising the first Latin American Petrol Workers conference. The TGP was also particularly committed to the fight against international Fascism. Angel Bracho’s striking red and black poster, Victoria! (1945), which celebrates the allied victory over the Nazi’s in 1945, is a key example of the TGP’s anti-Fascist stance. Other printmakers addressed subjects such as corruption, capitalism and Mexican daily life in their prints.

In 1957, the TGP held a major exhibition at the Fine Arts Palace in Mexico City to celebrate its twentieth anniversary as a printmaking collective and its activity continues even today on a minor scale. Members of the TGP and other artists’ groups have published extensively in support of the visual arts. Other artists associated with the TGP went on to establish art schools, institutions or museums.

Portrait of Emiliano Zapata. Angel Zamarripa. c.1953. Woodcut. Copyright Trustees of the British Museum. Reproduced by permission of the Sociedad Mexicana de Autores de las Artes Plasticas (SOMAAP)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Feasting on the Fourth

Yes, I know it's been a while since the 4th of July. However, I was waiting for recipes and photos from others before I could complete this post. So, here's the deal - a friend, who just loves to cook for herself, her family, the neighborhood, the whole world(well, you get the idea - she LOVES to cook!) came up with a theme for our Pre-4th of July party - everyone had to pick a recipe from either the Food Network or Epicurious, take a photo of said recipe from whichever web site they chose (FW or Epi), make the dish and then bring both photo and dish to the party. Now, so there wouldn't be all hamburgers and nothing else, we had to send our recipe/photo to Leah. Well, I didn't know what I wanted to make and was chatting with my friend Kim who turned me on to Aaron's Potato Salad (thanks, Kim - the potato salad was loved by one and all!). Then, one of the people who was going to come but came down with the flu was supposed to make the baked beans so guess who got to make that as well? Yep, 'twas me. They too were delicious. Actually, everything was delicious! I'm not showing pictures of the chips as we all know what bags of chips look like. Drinks included soda, lemonade, peach ice tea, regular ice tea, Long Island ice tea (hey Kim, remember the crab crawl down the Del Mar cliffs...), beer, wine, cocktails and assorted coffees (the coffees accompanied the desserts).

The party didn't start until 6ish and, as you can see by the photos below, we had enough food for a third world nation. Surprisingly, though, amongst the main courses and side dishes there was not one leftover to be seen or had. There was, however, some cake and trifle left but I think that's because everyone was stuffed when the aforementioned was being served. By the time we were finished cooking and eating, a fabulous time was had by all.

Jack's Peach BBQ Beans
This recipe makes approximately 24 servings.

8 strips bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 (#10 can, about 6 pounds and 10 ounces) baked beans (recommended: Bush's)
3 cups canned peach pie filling
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons Jack's Old South BBQ Rub, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until somewhat crispy and its fat has rendered. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, leaving the fat in the skillet. Add the pepper and onion to the skillet and cook, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large baking pan. Add the bacon, beans, pie filling, barbecue sauce, and rub to the pan. Mix to combine and bake, uncovered, until hot and bubbly, about 1 hour.

Jack's Old South BBQ Rub:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1/4 cup kosher salt
3 tablespoons black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
Combine all ingredients and mix well.
Yield: 3/4 cup

Coffee Rubbed Cheeseburgers
Coffee rub:
1 tablespoon freshly ground coffee
2 teaspoons (packed) golden brown sugar
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

8 slices applewood-smoked bacon
1 pound ground chuck (preferably grass-fed)
1 pound ground sirloin (preferably grass-fed)
8 slices smoked provolone, smoked caciocavallo, or smoked Gouda cheese (about 8 ounces)
8 potato-bread hamburger Buns
8 slices red onion
8 slices tomato

Barbecue Sauce (yields about 1 1/3 cups):
1 tablespoon butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 chipotle chile from canned chipotle chiles in adobo,* minced with seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Stir in ketchup and all remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until reduced to 1 1/3 cups, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. do ahead Can be made 1 week ahead. Cool slightly, cover, and chill.

For coffee rub: Mix all ingredients in small bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
For burgers: Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Break in half. Gently mix chuck and sirloin in large bowl. Form meat into 8 patties, each 3 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter and 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Using thumb, make slight indentation in center of each burger. DO AHEAD: Burgers and bacon can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover separately and chill.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Sprinkle 1 teaspoon coffee rub on top side of each burger. Place burgers, rub side down, on grill rack. Grill until slightly charred, about 4 minutes; turn.
Place 2 bacon slice halves atop each burger. Cook 3 minutes.
Top each with 1 cheese slice. Cover and cook until cheese melts, about 1 minute longer. Place burgers atop bottom halves of buns. Top with onion slices and tomato slices. Spoon dollop of Barbecue Sauce over. Cover with bun tops and serve, passing additional sauce alongside.

Aaron's Potato Salad
The recipe makes 4-6 servings so you'll need to adjust your measurements accordingly.
3 large Yukon gold potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 large eggs
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
2 tablespoons sweet relish
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
2 scallions, thinly sliced

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and spread out on a sheet pan to cool. Meanwhile, bring a separate pot of water to a boil. Carefully add the eggs; cook for 12 minutes, then remove to a bowl of ice water to cool completely. Peel the eggs under cold running water, then roughly chop.
In a large bowl, combine the onion, celery, relish, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and the mayonnaise. Fold in the potatoes, eggs and scallions. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Dry Rub Baby Back Ribs
The recipe makes 3-4 servings so you'll need to adjust measurements accordingly.
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
4 pounds baby back ribs, cut into 2-rib portions

In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients except the ribs. Rub spice mixture all over the ribs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate ribs for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours.
Preheat the grill to medium heat.
Arrange the ribs on the barbeque and grill for 40 to 45 minutes, turning with tongs occasionally until meat is tender and crisp on the outside.

Oven-Fried Chicken

The recipe makes 6 servings so you'll need to adjust your measurements accordingly.

2 chickens (3 pounds each), cut in 8 serving pieces
1 quart buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil or vegetable shortening

Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Take the chicken out of the buttermilk and coat each piece thoroughly with the flour mixture. Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed stockpot to a depth of 1-inch and heat to 360 degrees F on a thermometer.
Working in batches, carefully place several pieces of chicken in the oil and fry for about 3 minutes on each side until the coating is a light golden brown (it will continue to brown in the oven). Don't crowd the pieces. Remove the chicken from the oil and place each piece on a metal baking rack set on a sheet pan. Allow the oil to return to 360 degrees F before frying the next batch. When all the chicken is fried, bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink inside. Serve hot.

L.A. Burger

Bobby's Perfect Patty
Shape 6 ounces of 80 percent lean ground beef chuck into a uniform patty, no more than 3/4 inch thick (don't overwork the meat). Make a depression in the center with your thumb so the burger won't bulge; the indent will rise as the patty cooks. Preheat a grill or cast-iron grill pan to high. Brush the burger with canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until golden brown and slightly charred, turning once (7 minutes for medium-rare). Avoid pressing with a spatula! Add cheese for the last minute of cooking.

Your pick: Monterey Jack is a California favorite, but Bobby loves this burger with cheddar, too.

Avocado Relish:
Avocado is one of Bobby's favorite ingredients. He mixes 2 chopped Hass avocados with 1/2 diced small onion, 1 minced jalapeno, the juice of 1 lime, 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, and salt and pepper.

L.A. doesn't do iceberg lettuce, so Bobby tops off the burger with this peppery green instead.

One thick, juicy slice take the place of ketchup.

Chili Cheese Dogs

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 all beef hot dogs, about 1/2 pound
4 hot dog rolls
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar

To make the chili: Heat a skillet over medium flame and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil gets hazy, add the onion and cook, stirring, until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef, breaking it up with the back of a spoon, and cook until nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the ketchup, chili powder, and mustard; simmer for 15 minutes until thick; season with salt and pepper.

For the hot dogs: While the chili is cooking: place a large grill pan on 2 burners over medium-high heat or preheat an outdoor gas or charcoal barbecue and get it very hot. Brush the grates with oil to keep the hot dogs from sticking. Parboil the dogs first before grilling: bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the hot dogs for about 5 minutes. Remove from the water and grill the hot dogs just long enough to give them grill marks. Brush the insides of the rolls with the remaining oil and place them face down on the grill until toasty. To serve, top each hot dog with the chili and some Cheddar cheese.

Watermelon/Cantaloupe Fruit Salad
1 bunch fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice, from about 1 lemon
1/4 cup simple syrup, recipe follows
1/8 teaspoon amaretto
2 cups watermelon balls, from about half a watermelon
2 cups cantaloupe balls, from about 1 cantaloupe

In a blender, combine mint, lemon juice, simple syrup, and amaretto. Blend until smooth.
In a large bowl, combine the watermelon and the cantaloupe. Add the vinaigrette and toss. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
Simple Syrup:
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
In a saucepan, combine water and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. Take pan off heat and cool the syrup. Any extra cooled syrup can be saved in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Yield: 1 cup

Red, White and Blue Trifle

1 box red velvet cake mix, about 18 ounces (if you can't find red velvet cake use 1 box chocolate cake plus a bottle of red food coloring)
1 (16-ounce) tub whipped topping
2 pints blueberries
1 pint strawberries, tops removed

Bake the red velvet cake mix according to package directions and allow to cool.
Using a serrated knife cut the red velvet cake into 1 inch square pieces and line the bottom of the trifle bowl with half of the cake squares.
Using a spatula, spread about a 2-inch layer of whipped topping on top of the cake squares.
Layer about 1 1/2 pints of the blueberries on top of whipped topping.
Layer the remaining cake pieces on top of the blueberries forming a second layer of cake.
Using a spatula, spread remaining whipped topping over the cakes pieces.
Decorate the perimeter with the strawberries; placing the strawberries cut side down. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries on top of the trifle inside the strawberry perimeter.

Flag Cake

This recipe yields about 20-24 pieces, depending on how you slice the pieces.

18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 cup sour cream at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
For the icing:1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
To assemble:
2 half-pints blueberries
3 half-pints raspberries

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter and flour an 18 by 13 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed, until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs, 2 at a time, then add the sour cream and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and stir until smooth.
Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.
For the icing, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mixing just until smooth.
Spread three-fourths of the icing on the top of the cooled sheet cake. Outline the flag on the top of the cake with a toothpick. Fill the upper left corner with blueberries. Place 2 rows of raspberries across the top of the cake like a red stripe. Put the remaining icing in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe two rows of white stripes below the raspberries. Alternate rows of raspberries and icing until the flag is completed. Pipe stars on top of the blueberries.

Some people serve this cake right in the pan. If you want to turn it out onto a board before frosting, use parchment paper when you grease and flour the pan.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sand Architecture

Now in its 29th year, the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition, a Southern California favorite annual event is scheduled for the weekend of July 18 and 19.

The event features a two-day street festival along Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach, live entertainment and a sandcastle building competition for children, amateurs and professional teams. The Kids-N-Kastles Competition is held on Saturday while on Sunday the official U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition will be held. This is the championship of sandcastle building where the professional sand carvers vie for the title of Master's Champion. Professional and amateur sand carving teams throughout the U.S. will compete in the sandcastle building competition with more than $21,000 in cash prizes.

The competition originally began in 1980 as a local event organized by a group of Imperial Beach community members. Over the years, the competition has grown to become a national tourist attraction, bringing more than 325,000 spectators to the small surf town over two days.

Imperial Beach’s sandcastle building competition is the largest in the country and attracts sand carving teams from across the United States.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Picasso: Peace and Freedom

The Charnell House

LONDON.- A major exhibition bringing together over 150 works by Picasso from across the world will be presented at Tate Liverpool from 21 May to 30 August 2010.

Picasso: Peace and Freedom will reveal a fascinating new insight into the artist’s life as a tireless political activist and campaigner for peace, challenging the widely-held view of the artist as creative genius, playboy and compulsive extrovert.

This is the first exhibition to explore the post-War period of the artist’s life in depth, and will reflect a new Picasso for a new time. Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the exhibition provides a timely look at Picasso’s work in the Cold War era and how the artist transcended the ideological and aesthetic oppositions of East and West.

The exhibition will bring together key paintings and drawings related to war and peace from 1944-1973, alongside a wide range of contextual materials and ephemera. The centrepiece will be the artist’s masterpiece, The Charnel House 1944-45, marking 50 years since it was last seen in the UK. This remarkable work was Picasso’s most explicitly political painting since Guernica 1937. Monument to the Spaniards who Died for France late 1945 to 31 January 1947 will also feature in the exhibition along with The Rape of the Sabine Women 1962, painted at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis on the verge of Third World War.

The Rape of the Sabine Women


Picasso's Dove of Peace became the emblem for the Peace Movement and universal symbol of hope during the Cold War. Picasso’s lithograph of the fan-tailed pigeon, given to him by Matisse in 1948, was selected for the poster of the First International Peace Congress held in Paris in 1949. Picasso later provided variations on the dove for the Peace Congresses in Wroclaw, Stockholm, Sheffield, Vienna, Rome and Moscow. The dove also had a highly personal significance for Picasso going back to childhood memories of his father painting doves kept in the family home. In 1949 Picasso named his daughter ‘Paloma’ – Spanish for ‘dove’ – born in the same month as the Peace Congress in Paris.

Dove of Peace

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was arguably the most influential and prolific artist of the 20th century. After 1944 Picasso, the greatest living artist, became a figurehead of left wing causes. He joined the Communist party in 1944 and it was during this period that the political content of his work came to the fore. His paintings frequently reference and comment upon key historical moments, chronicling human conflict and war, but also a desire for peace.

The exhibition is organised by Tate Liverpool in collaboration with the Albertina, Vienna where it will be shown following its presentation in Liverpool. Vienna hosted the World Peace Congress in 1952, promoted by a poster featuring Picasso’s drawing of a dove surrounded by a circle of interlocking hands.

Les mains liees

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Video to soothe your soul, awaken your mind and get your booty up and shaking

Very compelling video if you'll look at the images' social, political and humanistic message while blending your soul with the music's soul

A real gem from 1989 with John Lee Hooker

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Unknown road to Machu Picchu discovered

LIMA.-(EFE) Peruvian archaeologists and Spanish technicians have discovered an Inca road unknown until now and apparently held sacred that led to the citadel of Machu Picchu, the Project Ukhupacha team said Friday in Lima.

The discovery was made early this week by archaeologists from the Peru National Culture Institute and technicians from Jaume I University in Castellon, Spain.

The Inca road is made of stone masonry approximately 1 meter (3 1/4 feet) wide, with sustaining walls along the way rising some 4 to 5 meters (13 to 16 feet) high, according to a communique from the Project Ukhupacha.

Several stretches of the road have collapsed that began at what is now the Wuarqtambo archaeological premises, went up Machu Picchu mountain and then came down from the citadel.

The director of the Machu Picchu National Historical Sanctuary, Fernando Astete Victoria, said there had been evidence of an Inca road to the citadel different from the one that was known, and so its discovery became one of the Ukhupacha Project's goals.

A large part of Peruvian territory is united by different extensions of a great Inca road leading to the sanctuary of Machu Picchu, built high on a ridge and declared a World Heritage Site in 1983.

The archaeologists involved in the project said that this road could have been held sacred, so that it was only traveled by spiritual leaders who celebrated religious rites.

The team of experts will carry out another expedition next week to determine the route and length of the road, since on the western slope of Machu Picchu mountain it is apparent that several stretches have been destroyed.

Happy B'Day Big Ben

The largest four-faced chiming clock and the third-tallest free-standing clock tower in the world, Big Ben first struck time with the Great Clock on this date in 1859.

Friday, July 10, 2009

"New" Santana

Picked up this 2-CD set when it came out at the end of June and finally had the chance to listen to it in its entirety. It's "totally groovy" (thought I'd use vernacular from back in that time period. Who am I kidding? I STILL use that phrase) and afforded me a memory trip back to where Santana exploded onto the musical landscape and changed me. This CD rocks because, well, it's Carlos and anything he does rocks. The 40th anniversary of Woodstock DVD is also out and it's worth picking up as well. Some re digitizing has been done and his performance is even better than the one seen on the original VHS set (trust me - I have the original as well as the 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition). In any event, some "new" Carlos for one's auditory pleasure.

Important Dyce Discovery to be Offered For Sale at Sotheby's

I'm not a particular fan of religious, Victorian and Edwardian art but the painting below is a rare find and therefore I'm sharing this news. The vibrancy of color is really wonderful, wouldn't you say? It will be interesting to see what the piece fetches - stay tuned for that update.

LONDON.- A stunning William Dyce painting that has been lost for over a century is to be offered for sale at Sotheby’s next week. The Meeting of Jacob and Rachel is expected to fetch between £100,000 – 150,000 when it is offered for sale in Sotheby’s Victorian and Edwardian Art sale on Wednesday 15 July 2009. The painting illustrates the Biblical text ‘Jacob kissed Rachel and lifted up his voice, and wept’ - Rachel’s father had tricked Jacob into working for him without payment on the understanding that he could marry Rachel. The work has been untraced since it was exhibited in the 1850s – first at the Royal Academy in 1850 and later at the Manchester Art Treasures exhibition in 1857. The discovery was made when an image of the work was sent to Sotheby’s specialists who were later able to identify it as the original by a small part of torn label on the reverse that identified it as having been in the Manchester exhibition.

Discussing the work Grant Ford, Senior Director and Head of Victorian Paintings at Sotheby’s said: “This is one of the most important pre-Raphaelite paintings to appear on the market for some time. It is thrilling to have uncovered the whereabouts of this striking Dyce work, especially as it was just last autumn that we set a record William Dyce, The Meeting of Jacob and Rachel, Est. £100,000 – 150,000 for a work by the artist at auction with Welsh landscape of two women knitting which was included in the sale of the Scott Collection at Sotheby’s London.”

The painting illustrates the Biblical text ‘Jacob kissed Rachel and lifted up his voice, and wept.’ Rachel’s father had tricked Jacob into working for him without payment on the understanding that he could marry Rachel. However, after fourteen years he insisted that Jacob should first marry his elder daughter Leah before eventually allowing him to marry Rachel. This theme must have been particularly meaningful to the artist as he had been forced to delay his own marriage until January 1890 – maybe on account of the 27 year age difference between him and his 19 year old bride.

Other highlights of the Victorian and Edwardian Art auction include Liverpool Docks, by John Atkinson Grimshaw, an atmospheric night-time depiction of 19th century Liverpool estimated at £250,000-350,000 and Wind and Sun by Dame Laura Knight – a light-filled costal scene painted in Cornwall expected to fetch £200,000-300,000.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Only 14 More Days Until The Live Meet!

Horse and rider on a "meander" along the beach, enjoying the calming solitude before the bustle of the live racing meet begins (by the by, if you've never done the "horse ride on the beach" thing - do it! It works wonders for the body, mind, spirit and soul - both yours and the horse's).

The second shot is of the back of the racetrack facilities from the beach.

14 more days, 14 more days, 14 more days....

Get the feeling I'm ready for the live meet to start?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Red, White and Blue Day!

Before we start our partying this day let's all stop and reflect on what this day truly symbolizes and give thanks for those blessings we're afforded by living in this country. Even with all its foibles and the major need for major changes in this country we still are fortunate to be citizens of the United States. However, let's also remember that if we want to make this a better country we need to "get up and stand up" and make the changes we feel are necessary. Edward Abbey once said, "A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government". So, if we truly love our country we need to ask ourselves, "what kind of country do WE want to live in?"; what kind of citizens do WE want to be?". We must echo Gandhi and become "the change we wish to see in the world". We must be ever vigilant in remembering both Martin Luther King's words - "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" as well as Bobby Kennedy's words - "Each time someone stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope" as we strive to improve our lives, other lives and our country. So, instead of just bitching, moaning and pontificating about the state of the things, get up off your arse and DO something!

We all know that Michael Jackson just died. No matter what you think of the man his song "Man in the Mirror" is truly applicable and so I'm going to include a video that will let you view Jackson singing this song during his "Bad" concert. Now, of course, you're going to see lots of crying and fainting fans in the video. However, there is also interspersed historical footage of individuals who "got up and stood up" for change so it's pretty cool to watch and hear the inflections. If you want to read the lyrics they are also included with this link. Anyway, here 'tis the video:

For those who have forgotten the power of the word – that ideas matter – that words, beautifully shaped, reshape lives - read Jefferson's (or, as I like to call him, Tommy J) words that he penned in the Declaration of Independence so many years ago. This living document still inspires every person on the planet who yearns for freedom. Yes, the world has changed immensely since the days of our founding fathers but the core of the D.O.I. still stands. The following video is a reading of the D.O.I. by a group of actors - since the declaration was written to be spoken rather than read perhaps you'll hear the power of Tommy J's words if you listen to the clip plus it's a really cool video - so watch it!! And for those of you would who bring up the tired arguments about Jefferson, remember that the D.O.I. was written, not as only Jefferson's sentiments for the new country. The D.O.I. was written as the "expression of the American mind". Here's the video:

Watch the clip and let the words inspire you to DO SOMETHING to make this country the best that it can be. Allen Ginsberg stated that "the only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world." So, let's all reclaim our awareness, our country and our worlds by looking at the man/woman in the mirror, getting off the couch, stop thinking about just ourselves and become that change we wish to see and that our founding fathers wanted for us.

And, last but certainly not least,