Friday, July 10, 2015

Van Gogh and I:

When did I become fascinated with Van Gogh? Well, it was the time when my sister Grace imparted to me the subject of the song “Vincent” by Don McLean. In my 12-year old mind I felt a pang of sympathetic sadness for the artist when he was yet alive and as years passed on I would make it a point to recognize that when people said “Van Gogh” with paintings, it would be about this painter. It wasn't long after that that Newsweek reported one of Van Gogh's paintings named “Irises” fetched $53.9 million at Sotheby's in New York, in 1987, it was the one with the white vase and was labeled as the most expensive painting ever to be sold at the time. “A painting of oil on canvass done by a man who was penniless and mad trounces the world of the arts and culture.” Said I back then.

So it goes that in an immense sense, Van Gogh became my doorway into studying paintings; his style which was “post impressionism” in my view is the most genius and innovative of all the movements in paintings. Even after having delved into other forms like the Rococo, impressionism, German expressionism and the vast morphologies of abstract and surrealism, I am still most captivated by the originality of Van Gogh's strokes and vibrancy. So intimate did I become with Van Gogh's work that I even began to pronounce the “Gogh” as “gokh” like the Dutch, instead of the usual “gow.” In connection with this, I did dabble on paintings and sketches because of the man's ability to evoke artistry even to the ones who aren't so inclined.“Starry Night,” “The Sower,” “Sunflowers,” his still life(s), along with paintings of Van Gogh's peers like Paul Gauguin and Paul Cezanne moved me.

As I grew older and as life continued to present reality to me - in flagrante delicto, such idealistic and dreamy times of my personal belle epoch was set aside. However, when I finally came face to face with one of the painter's “Irises” and one of his self portraits with the straw hat at The Met, I literally thanked the Lord God in Heaven for taking me to that place. Yes, we all have our own Holy Grails. 

Most recently, I ran into a video-documentary about Van Gogh based on the correspondence he had with his brother Theo. The film was called: Van Gogh: "Painted in Words"; it was very well presented and stars the luminescent Benedict Cumberbatch as the painter. The subject was about Van Gogh's emotional journey paralleled with the evolution of his craft. As it happens, there are more stories to be told about him besides the madness, and self-mutilation. There was his admiration for the working class, his desire to be a clergyman and his innocent belief in love. What was revealed in his letters was a tender-hearted man behind the bold and decisive genius of the art. 

His work was far ahead of his time but hardly any recognized him when he was yet living, however, as if to make up for it, forms of today's pop culture from the "Starry Night” pastiche in Woody Allen's “Midnight in Paris” to Don McLean's song “Vincent” to Dr. Who's episode of “Vincent and the Doctor” pay homage and even seek to rectify the inequity of Van Gogh's living days. But oh dear, not even a Time Lord's time machine, nor a high-grossing Woody Allen film could undo it all for Vincent van Gogh. His art lives yes, but as for the man, McLean's elegy echoes centuries of truth about the artist, “This world was never meant for one as beautiful as him.”  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Naomi, Cannes 2015

In my humble opinion, Naomi is winning this year at Cannes. Oui?

(photo taken somewhere in the Net)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Spring-ing is it?

photo from tumbler

Berries and peonies...

This is perhaps my first spring away from the US in about 20 years, yes, I won't miss the pollen and oak allergies, but I will miss the berries, blooms, colors, the new bustle of life from the dead of winter.  However, I make the most of what I have so, check this link out (S'il vous plait?): LINK

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

This is my initiation to Mitch Albom's works and may I say, it is enthralling. Finished the book by the 2nd time I opened it. The Time Keeper is a transporting fiction that borrows from the ancient Babylonian times wherein the main character “Dor” becomes the first human to count and or keep time. As a boy, Dor was gentle-hearted, the kind that wondered about the things around him and asked innocent questions. Whereas, his brother “Nim” was the overachiever, visionary-type that built "that" tower intended to skyscrape toward Heaven. At this point I wonder if the names of the the brothers “Nim" and “Dor” (backwards for “Rod”), put together completing “Nimrod,” (the delusional dude in the Bible that built the Tower of Babel) was intentional. But I digress. 

Going back to the book, Dor falls in love with childhood mate Alli, during their time as husband and wife, Alli falls ill and upon nearing her death, Dor has a meltdown and decides he will stop his wife’s suffering by scaling upward the tower to talk to the “gods.” As he did so, the people building said tower follows his ascend, the tower and the people then begin to fall, language confusion starts and the only one that reaches the outer dimension is Dor who enters a sort of purgatorial place and at this point becomes - the father of time.

While in limbo, Dor’s tears becomes a pool of psychedelic blue (or something) and through it he begins to hear human beings’ plead for “time” for eons. Among the voices heard through this portal pool of sound, two stand out, that of a cancer-striken billionaire pleading for more time and that of an insecure teenager who cannot wait for time when asked out on a date by the most popular jock in school who turns out to be a jerk.  Subsequently, Dor, a.k.a. Father Time is given a chance to redeem his transgression by being sent here to earth to intervene with the bad impending heartaches of these two and thereby completing his own journey as well.

This book is very imaginative, descriptive and a bit mystical which perhaps is a common thread with Mitch Albom (ex. Five Peeps You Meet in Heaven) right? To be honest I did not get anything religious here, just a fascinating story told that transcended elements and yet maintained the frailty of humans which in itself is a fascinating matter and the book is page-turner because of these traits. It is good light reading and has made me curious about Albom’s other books. If you are the dreamy, romantic and the interested kind, give this one a tumble, it won’t be a waste of time, pun intended.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Tartan Table: Olde Scottish Food

A stumbled into a notable 'hole in the wall' restaurant in Central Florida, about 47 miles from Tampa named The Tartan Table and dining here was intimate and flavorful. I sampled a Scottish Meat Pie made from Angus Beef which was served with mash (potatoes), chips (or fries) and a freshly baked dinner roll by the cook who also owned the place. Turns out, the cook is a native of Edinburgh, she was in the restaurant business there and is a transplant to Spring Hill, Fl. I was much obliged that the pie crust she used for my meat pie was the puff pastry-type, that buttery flair to it I remember distinctly and the chips (which we do not have much expectations from) were crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

The ambiance and decor was of course Scottish and each table was clothed with different Tartan patterns that represented a few clans from Scotland; I dined at the “Taylor” clan table, as it were. 

My waiter was a personable young man who was very well versed with the menu, theme and the nuance of the place. It was a special touch that the chef/owner herself came to meet me at the table and chatted a bit. It’s gestures like that which make dining special. I just relished in the pleasant experience I had here and if I ever go back to the area, I will want to visit it again.  


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Audrey in 1955

photo from Reddit

Don't do Valentines Day hype but look at Audrey, she just makes you appreciate it, doesn't she?