Friday, May 22, 2015

Havana, day 2

Yes, every turn of a street can bring one something as stunning as this - reminiscent of Naples in the 70s, I suppose, but interspersed with  much more that's ruinous, even as a good deal is being renovated and patched.

There are, indeed, some standard tourist scenes as we walk from one part of the Biennal to another - it's just starting to get under way - very dispersed through out the city so it's a little difficult to fathom what one's seeing where (who, for example, was the performance-artist-mime in a cage?).

Some bits of street art are here just for the Biennale - like this wrapped and tagged palm tree;

some, like these shoes, may have been around for a little longer (these are outside a printmaking collectivo/workshop),

which in turn had some lovely spaces leading up to the roof.

But mostly, whether walking or in the bus, I like seeing all kinds of bits of ordinary life, from people working on their cars

to waiting outside little stalls to have their spectacles mended.

Because an art opening is an art opening - even when there's a Cuban supermodel there, 

and when they're held in private apartments with stunning 30s architecture, and plenty of strong mojitos to go round.  Well, ok, they're a great deal of fun, here ...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

greetings from Havana ...

Who knew that I would be able to get on line?!  I thought that FTBL might have had to take a week's unexpected vacation.  I'm not sure whether this will post to Facebook, which seems to be blocked here, but for those of you who check out FTBL directly ... here are some Cuban cliches: the revolutionary art in the square of the revolution;

some crumbling buildings;

people looking musingly out of crumbling buildings;

artists sitting under flame-colored trees in a park - this man was actually painting on cabbage leaves to make a large cabbage-scaly fish;

things being erected that one fervently hopes aren't part of the Biennial (this is a very very large molar);

and cute schoolchildren.  More tomorrow (internet willing).  It's been a long long day's travel, interspersed with mojitos.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Who knew?  I mean, probably everyone who's ever been to Miami knows, but it's worth coming to Miami simply for this (for the record, I like Miami much much more than I did on my previous visit, c. 1982, when the Greyhound timetable allowed me just enough time to wash my hair in a basin in the bus terminal.  Don't even ask.  It was a long time ago).  James Deering (made his money in Chicago from agricultural machinery) decided that he was going to import as much of Renaissance Italy as humanly possible - including tapestries that Robert and Elizabeth Browning had in their home.  Unfortunately one can't take pictures inside the house ...

Deering had a thing about galleons, and wrecks;

and mermaids;

and had beautiful gardens constructed, full of water features,

and statues,

and with some very fine - and large - iguanas.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Deering was "a life-long bachelor;" the principle designer of Vizcaya, Paul Chalfin, was, shall we say, less discrete; and Sargent, when staying, painted some portraits of some of the African-American workers on the estate ...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

the beach

in Miami.  Here for thirty six hours, or so, before getting a flight to Cuba.  It's pleasantly off-season, or so it seems.  I have the door open to my balcony and can hear the Atlantic crashing against the shoreline.  I walked a fair way down the boardwalk this evening - a curious combination of hyper-fit people and women teetering along on the highest possible stilettos.  Tomorrow it's museum time, when I figure out the transport system ...

Monday, May 18, 2015

downtown view

Sometimes in NM, even running errands downtown turns out to be shockingly beautiful.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

back home in NM

Back in time for the last of this year's irises, and the last of today's sun.  Even if I'm just back here for a scant 36 hours or so, it's quite wonderful to have peace and quiet (and the kitties).

Saturday, May 16, 2015


On our way back to LA from New Mexico last October, we spent a night in a very excellent resort near Phoenix (where we'd stayed once before). Only it wasn't excellent, on this occasion - we weren't given the room category that we'd booked (something we took a little while to cotton on to, since we'd hurled ourselves at a computer in order to watch a USC/Stanford volleyball game ...); etc etc. We wrote a pretty scathing report on Trip Advisor at the end of the whole badly managed episode.  Result - a free night, in a top grade just re-furbished suite; cheese plate brought round with compliments, and the entire resort staff treating us like we're VIPs.  Even the humming birds were evidently told to pose.  Trip Advisor will be revisited tomorrow, with, of course, an ecstatic review. Ah, hotel management in the internet age ...