Archive for the ‘art’ Category


August 30, 2009


i moved recently and uncovered a book i read when i was a 20 year-old college student. when re-reading rumi, a 13th-century persian poet, i can see why so much of his writing resonated with me back then. below are some of the more beautiful passages i rediscovered and which continue to touch that black piece of coal in my chest i call a heart.

(i took these passages from The Essential Rumi, translations by coleman barks with john moyne, copyright 1995. apologies for not citing each passage by name.)


Be patient.

Respond to every call 
that excites your spirit.

Ignore those that make you fearful

and sad, that degrade you

back toward disease and death.

All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
I have no idea.
My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that,
and I intend to end up there.

This drunkenness began in some other tavern.
When I get back around to that place,
I’ll be completely sober.  Meanwhile,
I’m like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary.
The day is coming when I fly off,
but who is it now in my ear who hears my voice?
Who says words with my mouth?

Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul?
I cannot stop asking.
If I could taste one sip of an answer,
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.


We have a huge barrel of wine, but no cups.
That’s fine with us. Every morning
we glow and in the evening we glow again.
They say there’s no future for us. They’re right.
Which is fine with us.


The wakened lover speaks directly to the beloved,

You are the sky my spirit circles in,
the love inside of love, the resurrection-place.

Let this window be your ear.
I have lost consciousness many times

with longing for your listening silence,
and your life-quickening smile.

You give attention to the smallest matters,

my suspicious doubts, and to the greatest.

You know my coins are counterfeit,

but you accept them anyway,

my impudence and my pretending!

I have five things to say,

five fingers to give
into your grace.

First, when I was apart from you,

this world did not exist,

nor any other.

Second, whatever I was looking for

was always you.

Third, why did I ever learn to count to three?

Fourth, my cornfield is burning!

Fifth, this finger stands for Rabia,

and this is for someone else.

Is there a difference?

Are these words or tears?

Is weeping speech?

What shall I do, my love?

So he speaks, and everyone around
begins to cry with him, laughing crazily,

moaning in the spreading union
of lover and beloved.

This is the true religion. All others
are thrown-away bandages beside it.

This is the sema of slavery and mastery
dancing together. This is not-being.

Neither words, nor any natural fact
can express this.

I know these dancers.

Day and night I sing their songs

in this phenomenal cage.

My soul, don’t try to answer now!
Find a friend, and hide.

But what can stay hidden?
Love’s secret is always lifting its head
out from under the covers,
”Here I am!”

Outside: the freezing desert night.
Another night inside gets warmer, illuminating me.
Though the earth be covered with

impenetrable thorns 
In here there is a green and gentle meadow.

When the continents are devastated -
cities, towns and everything between
scorched and blackened –

the only news is future full of grief -
while inside me there is no news at all.

This is our intimacy, my beloved friend:
anywhere you put your foot,
feel me in the firmness under it.

How is it, soul-mate, that
I see your world and don’t see you?

Listen to the whispers inside poems,
follow their intimate suggestions

and never leave their premises.

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


“I am not a criminal. I am new to Cairo. I live in Baghdad.” He told the story of his dream and the buried treasure, and he was so believable in telling that the night patrolman began to cry. Always, the fragrance of truth has that effect. Passion can restore healing power, and prune the weary boughs to new life. The energy of passion is everything!


trip to NYC

June 23, 2009

i went to NY this past week to celebrate a friend’s 40th. he and another good friend of ours do this trip every year, mainly to see a handful of broadway shows. i’m not much of a theater queen, but used my friend’s 40th this year as an excuse to make it out.

each show i saw was great! hair, fuerzabruta and broadway bares. so much fun.

but what i also love to do when in a city that isn’t my own is walk around to see the people, public spaces, buildings and art, and NY is one of the best places to do it. below are some of my favorite scenes from the week.


taken from high line. a little hard to see, but great street art on the wall.

taken from the high line. a little hard to see, but great street art on the wall.


also from high line, chelsea/meat packing district

also from the high line, chelsea/meatpacking district


japanese restaurant in chelsea

japanese restaurant in chelsea


sweet building in midtown, next to the chrysler building (also a favorite)

sweet building in midtown, next to the chrysler building (also a favorite)


LOVE the art deco detailing

LOVE the art deco detailing





facade of comme des garcons in chelsea; love the juxtaposition of the street art with the futuristic, egg-shaped silver entrance

facade of comme des garcons in chelsea; love the juxtaposition of the street art with the futuristic, egg-shaped silver entrance


cool amphitheater/aquarium-type lookout space at the high line

cool amphitheater/aquarium-type lookout space at the high line

adverts from across the pond

December 30, 2008


last week i visited my older bro, petey (apparently i’m the only person on the planet that still calls him this instead of “pete,” which probably makes sense since he’s creeping up on 40 years old, but already, i digress), and his wife, ann, in minnetrista, MN — a town of about 4,000 people outside of minneapolis. although i was hoping for some cultural nourishment in minneapolis, i didn’t plan anything ahead of time. and besides, i was coming off a busy year in LA and the only thing on my agenda was sleeping and eating…and what culture would I ever find in minneapolis of all places?*

lucky for me and thanks to petey and ann, there was plenty, and at the top of the list was our trip to the walker art center, the contemporary art museum downtown. petey and ann have been attending the annual british television advertising awards shown there around new year’s every year for some time now, and got tickets for us this year. the awards are just what the name implies (and a little more) — it’s an hour-and-a-half  screening of the top TV, online video and in-theater spots to come out of britain for the year.

i love TV spots. there. i said it. when done right, TV ads, or any video advertising, can make us feel the gamut of emotions, and i’m not speaking in hyperbole when i say that. (full disclosure: i work for an advertising technology company. i’m not sure if that helps or hurts the point i’m trying to make, but do with it what you will.)  the great thing about british spots is that they can also be a little edgier, a little sexier, a little vulgarer than the ones here, and those shown at the walker were no exception.

i’ll only include a few of the ads i particularly liked below, because i just found out that LACMA is going to run these awards here in LA on Jan. 23 (which makes me happy as a clam, btw), and i don’t want to spoil it for anyone that plans on going.  some of the spots were from brands unfamiliar to most americans or they focused on UK-specific issues, so i missed the point on those, and there were a few that I didn’t like (DESPISED the viagra ads), but i was surprised at just how translatable the majority of spots seemed for our market and wondered why brands don’t repurpose some of this content for us.  i guess the web and people like me are doing it for them!

let me know if you’ve seen any standout ads from other countries recently.  i lived in Japan for a couple years after college, and while their programming came straight outta wackyworld, i found the majority of ads a little staid (and chock-full of Western celebs). i’d be interested to know what the advertising is like in other countries, especially non-western ones, so if you have any insight, share it here!

*i don’t really think like this.

(warning: there may be material unsuitable for the kiddies.)

toyota yaris, “tag” — one of several winning ads from yaris along the same “treat it with respect” theme.


VW, “cuckoo” — like yaris, volkswagen had several winning spots. (the car companies were well represented…wonder if they’ll be able to afford such high-quality creative in ’09.) this was my favorite.

maltesers, “nipples” — so, maltesers’ ad titled “nipples” was their winning spot, but i couldn’t find it online. this one has the same actresses and basically the same message with a slightly different punchline.

adidas international, “david beckham—workshop”. i never even knew he could speak, and this is such a poignant story.

levi’s, “dangerous liason” – does such a great job at capturing levi’s brand heritage.

street museums

December 26, 2008


street art is by far one of my favorite parts of life in LA. we’re really lucky to live in a place where in so many areas of town you get the chance to see some really beautiful work without having to pay entry into a museum. my hood (the los feliz-silver lake-echo park area) is a major repository of this art, and whenever i get a chance i take pics of it.  i’ve finally started to put some of those pics on flickr here, but i still have a lot more to upload.

december’s de Lab event at GOOD magazine

December 9, 2008


one of my favorite ex-coworkers and current editor extraordinaire for curbed LA, marissa gluck, invited me to december’s de Lab event.  (curbed is actually in my blogroll, but for some reason when I updated my blog to display my twitter feed, my blogroll disappeared. argh! baby steps.) UPDATE: i figured it out.

below is a quick description of the event from de Lab’s facebook group post:

“Join de LaB on Monday, December 8 for City Listening, when we’re bringing together the best and brightest voices in Los Angeles design and architecture writing for a special evening of readings about our fair city. We’re honored to present our final de LaB of the year as part of GOOD’s Community Monday, just one of many events that will be taking place during GOOD December.”

and here’s a list of the speakers:

·         Frances Anderton: Host, KCRW’s DnA: Design and Architecture; LA Editor, Dwell

·         Jade Chang: West Coast Editor, Metropolis

·         John Chase: Urban Designer, City of West Hollywood; Editor, Everyday Urbanism

·         Christopher Hawthorne: Architecture Critic, Los Angeles Times

·         Marissa Gluck & Josh Williams: Editors, Curbed LA

·         Greg Goldin: Architecture Critic, Los Angeles Magazine

·         Sam Lubell: California Editor, The Architect’s Newspaper; Author, London 2000+

what i lack in actual knowledge of LA art and architecture i hopefully make up for in excitement as a relative newcomer to the city and the scene (although, 5 ½  years may be seen as an old-timer to some here).  needless to say, marissa and josh from curbed were the funnest (most fun? most fun.) of the speakers. they had a slideshow of some of the worst (or best) pics from curbed’s “that’s rather hideous” column, which shows actual shots from actual MLS listings of some of the truly questionable design choices some people have made in their LA domiciles (and CHOSE to make public), and then read comments that curbed readers had posted about them.  hilarious.  the other speakers were great as well.  john seemed a little off-topic and made me uncomfortable, but that probably says more about me…and who am I to judge anyway?

marissa – invite me to more of this shiz. i promise to be mostly seen, not heard.

p.s. funny coincidence…literally the day before this event, a writer named kelly samardak from mediapost (an online news site for the advertising/media industry) — whose stuff i follow and is hilarious — had mentioned in her newsletter a place called SVA. i had never heard of it, so i twittered her (which isn’t half as dirty as it sounds) and asked what it stood for.  she told me it was the school of visual arts in manhattan and was probably sighing and rolling her eyes as she typed it, but whatever.  ANYWAY, long story long, when the de Lab hosts were explaining the genesis of their series, they said that it was an event at SVA a year ago that inspired them to start it! maybe that’s really not as random or strangely coincidental as it seemed to me last night after a couple glasses of free cabernet, but i’d like to think that it was.

here are a few more pics from the event.





trashy art

December 6, 2008

earlier today i saw this post by dakota at curbed LA about a couple of local artists who go around turning junk people throw to the curb into art.  it made me think of an online video about joshua allen harris i saw done by new york magazine awhile back.  i’m so happy these artists are out there doin’ what they’re doin’, and hope to stumble upon some of their work someday. 

below is the video from new york magazine’s story.

downtown LA culture day

November 25, 2008


on saturday, the crew and i went on a great walking tour of downtown run by the LA conservancy, followed by a visit to the MOCA’s bourgeois exhibit (bourgeois the artist, not the socio-economic class).  here’s a snapshot of what we learned:

  • majority of buildings we saw were either beaux arts or art deco (called “style moderne” back then); most were built sometime between roughly 1900-1930
  • beaux arts architecture shows baroque and rococo influences (classical columns, cornices, garlands, etc.), and the buildings are characterized by a horizontal, squat appearance, kinda like a french bulldog. examples downtown are the biltmore, the subway terminal building and the grand central market
  • art deco buildings are vertically oriented, influenced by far- and mid-eastern designs, and incorporate materials like limestone, terra cotta and marble. examples include one bunker hill (formerly socal edison and current home of my past employer golinharris; also one of my favorite buildings on the tour), the interior of the oviatt building, the library and the eastern columbia building
  • exteriors of lots of buildings have eye bolts near the corners. apparently the city had cable cars, and the cables ran through the eye bolts. can you imagine downtown LA with cable cars? take a look next time you’re downtown. neat stuff.


eye bolt in the right-center of the shot

eye bolt in the center of the shot

  • only in LA moment: they were shooting a jerry bruckheimer pilot when we were at one bunker hill. i thought it was a suzuki commercial
  • apparently the pyramid at the top of the library building was added during construction when king tut’s tomb was discovered and all things egyptian became the rage; so funny that it’s right across the street from golinharris, given golinharris launched the king tut exhibit at the LACMA a few years back (btw, that was a shout out to my peeps at GH)
pyramid atop the library building

pyramid atop the library building

  • the older buildings downtown aren’t taller than 150 feet because of an ordinance that capped them at that height until the late 50s
  • exterior of the million dollar theater — amazing; interior of bradbury building — even better


exterior of million dollar theater in churrigueresque style

exterior of million dollar theater in churrigueresque style

interior of the bradbury building where the scene in Blade Runner with crazy cartwheeling chick was shot

interior of the bradbury building where the scene in Blade Runner with crazy cartwheeling chick was shot








as for the louise bourgeois show at the MOCA, all you need to know is that the woman is a twisted genius with an obviously effed up family history, and you should see the exhibit if you can. it ends jan. 25, 2009.

see my flickr set with more photos here.