Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Garden

This beautiful Peony is from my garden. And I picked it. I have a habit of picking other people's flowers. Lilacs, Peony's a rose from time to time if I can maneuver around the thorns. But this one grew up in my garden. And more are blooming.

On my deck, the vegetables are all green thanks to the abundance of rain. My gardening lesson is to follow the sun. It took a while for me to realize that not everything was going to grow in my garden because of a lack of direct sun, that's why the veggies are on the deck. Photos coming soon.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Philip Johnson's Retreat

Today I visited the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan. It is really more of an "experience" than a house. The house is actually one small part of the 47-acre retreat that Johnson and his partner David Whitney built into an oasis. The surroundings -- the trees, pathways, meadows, use of shadow, sky and horizon - all play a role in the experience.

The entrance is protected by a gate that features an aluminum bar that is the mast of a ship. The pathways are specifically designed to lead you down to the house and to enter the house at an angle. The grass surrounding the house itself is carefully mowed to be a "carpet."

Opposite the glass house itself is the brick house, the guest house. It has no windows that face the glass house because Philip Johnson didn't want to see his guests -- and he didn't want then to see him. The house overlooks meadow and pond with a vista of trees carefully planted. The property was farmland so when Johnson and Whitney planted the trees, they would sit a top the landing where the house stands and through a bullhorn, instruct those planting the trees exactly where to plant them.

An art gallery is built into the side of a hill and is constructed in a clover leaf pattern. Inside the clover leaf's form three circular spaces that allow the gallery to turn the walls and display different art work from the collection (Jasper Johns, Julian Schnable, Frank Stella - you get the idea). Then there is a sculpture gallery that is also wonderfully built to allow light to play of shadow and sun.

I ordered tickets 6-months ago. They only go on sale once a year. I got tickets for summer and fall - hopefully when we return in October, we can see it a new.

You can visit the site here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Speak- easy

You know you have a trend when you can cite 3 examples of the same thing. That's what happened today -- three different times the word "speakeasy" was part of the conversation. And in two of its uses - it meant a different thing.

First - a new Wall Street Journal section that they are calling "Speakeasy." A mash-up of culture, trends, the arts, style, etc that shows a softer side to the newspaper. I'm guessing it's their attempt to build readers online while the paper itself sticks to harder news.
You can see it here.

Then, I heard about a mobile marketing campaign for Remy Martin that was called "Speakeasy" a program that provided a mobile link to those who opted in to secret bars and clubs. You gain admittance by bringing your phone and downloading the secret invite.

Finally at the end of the day was the ultimate story about what a real speakeasy is in the NYTimes Dining section. Seems that the cocktail party of prohibition era is once again hot (which I knew from my sister and her neighborhood hot spot "Drink.").

You can see the NTY story here.

Personally, I've been obsessed with mixology since my first visit to drink where each cocktail came with ice carefully molded for each drink. Chopped, blocked or simply shaken and strained, each drink made as much out of the ice as ingredient as the tinctures, alcohol and mixers that were included.

Of course if you look at the etymology of the word, all of the cases cited seem to meet its meaning: From the online Etymology Dictionary a "Speakeasy" is:
"unlicensed saloon," 1889 (in New York "Voice"), from speak + easy, from the practice of speaking quietly about such a place in public, or when inside it, so as not to alert the police and neighbors. The word gained wide currency in U.S. during Prohibition (1920-1932). In early 19c. Ir. and British dialect, a speak softly shop meant "smuggler's den."
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