YSL at DAM=G-R-E-A-T!!

Last week marked the opening of the Yves Saint Laurent Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. I had heard about the exhibit coming to Denver, but didn’t realize what a big deal it was until I started researching the history. This event is ONLY being held at DAM, and for a very limited showing (March 25th-July 8th). Yes folks, that means that DAM is the only Museum in North America that got to host this retrospective. Pretty cool.

The curators of this show outdid themselves, each piece is presented in such a way to highlight the piece itself, but also to show how YSL’s fashion changed through the decades. When you go, be sure to stop and watch the many videos about him and his work throughout the exhibit, trust me, it’s very very educational and interesting. Also be sure to get the audio narrative box, which has some fascinating bits about YSL and the history behind his creations.

The most memorable quote of the audio was this:

“The most beautiful clothes that can dress a woman are the arms of the man she loves. But for those who haven’t had the fortune of finding this happiness, I am there.”
Yves Saint-Laurent
Pieces of note, that were quite stunning and had historical weight as well were:
1964 Cocktail Dress, as worm by Princess Grace of Monaco
1965 Mondrian Dress
The collection of long evening dresses in chiffon
1969 Evening Outfit worn by the Duchess of Windsor
Be sure to carry your visitor guide with you to check out what each piece is, the date, and a little history. We played “guess the decade” with some of the intermingled pieces, which is a fun game.
Finishing off the exhibit with the Wall of Tuxedos and the Grand Ball dresses was a really great way to highlight the impact of YSL on fashion. The pieces look effortless to wear, and could complement many various shapes and sizes.
Make an effort to get to the Denver Art Museum and see the YSL Retrospective. Even if you are a fashion novice like myself, you’ll find it fascinating!
We also stopped in and saw the small but nice Bayer show in the basement of DAM. It would have been nice to see a Colorado historic artist of his magnitude represented a little better than in the basement gallery, where no one really goes, but everyone’s a critic, right? Make sure you visit the “lower level” of the Museum after visiting YSL and check out some great pieces of Herbert Bayer on display.

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TAG, you’re IT!!!


I admit it, I am a sucker for a good deal. I get notifications from Groupon, Living Social, Google, etc, and more often than not, I don’t snag the offers. Most of the coupons are for places way far away, for activities I am not interested in (please please PLEASE stop sending me yoga coupons!) or for items I don’t need. Since Rando is quite the cook, eating out isn’t high on my agenda either, though after reading the menu for TAG RAW BAR in Larimer Square, I broke down and got not just one Living Social coupon, but a second one as a birthday gift for a friend.

Due to timing, schedules, and the like, I just couldn’t get the schedule right for a few of us to meet up at TAG. Once we did all agree we could go, unfortunately, it was a Monday and TAG was closed, so we had to find another option (gee darn, we ended up at Sushi Den, the horror, the horror *Note: insert massive sarcasm here*). With only a few days left to use my coupon, I snagged my sister and we decided to go on a Saturday afternoon. But again, I blew the timing and they were closed. So we tried once more that Saturday night, but with nearly an hour wait for a table, that wasn’t going to work either.

This was now a serious game of TAG, and I was it, and getting nowhere.

Extremely frustrated at this point, but now determined to use my coupon and find out if this place is worth 4 attempts, my sis and I rescheduled and met up last night at TAG. Though it was much more subdued than our Saturday night visit, the place was still quite busy, and a good portion of the customers were regulars. We picked out a couple of stools at the bar, which is pretty much their full kitchen. If there was one word to describe their outfit, it would be EFFICIENT!! These guys have it DOWN. Everything is within reach, with a good amount of working space for such a small kitchen, and very neat and tidy. It was an extra treat to be able to watch them prepare the meals not just for us, but the other customers as well.

My sister developed an allergy to soy in the past few years, which has made it more difficult to go places and enjoy sushi, Asian, and the like. While perusing the menu, we were again having a hard time finding her something to enjoy that didn’t have soy in it. Shaun (one of the main chefs at TAG) overheard us discussing what to do, and immediately offered to substitute ingredients for the soy, or just leave the soy out so she could enjoy much of the menu. Being an oyster nut myself, I had to try a couple of their oysters on the half shell, which were delectable with a light islandy salsa as a garnish. Sis and I ended up splitting a SAKE 2ME roll and a CALFORNIA-CATION roll, both of which were refreshingly unique. The Cali roll was probably the best I have ever had, and that means it even trumped the amazing sushi Randy & I shared in SF. It wasn’t loaded down with tons of mayo, sauce, etc, the crab was über fresh, and the rice was perfect. There was a hint of some citrus and fruityness to the roll which made it seem more summery than heavy. The Sake roll was also full of flavor and surprises, layered with salmon over shiso, cucumber, and avocado. (They left out the miso so sis wouldn’t have an allergic reaction) As an appetizer, we were served thick pieces of seaweed, fried in a sesame oil with garnish until they were crispy like crackers, and a variation of caramelized popcorn…which wasn’t popcorn and only resembled carmel in color, for it had just a hint of sweet without being overpowering. I could have eaten that by the basket!

Gerard, their cocktail magician, was terribly disappointed that he couldn’t perform his libation magic show for us, because we both needed to drive home. But man o man, were the cocktails beautiful! An, I am sure, VERY VERY TASTY!! The Seasonal Mojito with lychee juice, pomegranate, lime and rhubarb dry soda was AMAZING to look at, and fun to watch him make!

During the course of our meal, the guys were a treat to interact with. You can tell they are serious about their food, but they were also very entertaining and full of wit and banter, making it difficult to choose between laughing and eating! We were so impressed with our selections, we also tried the cucumber salad, which again was so full of flavor for such a simple dish, I am not sure how they did it!

I didn’t get any pictures to show you, which was a travesty on my part, because the presentation of all the items was impressive as well. We felt as though we were being served edible art, it was almost a shame to eat it, but IT IS OH SO GOOD!!!!

So, if you are looking to get filled up without filling out, and you want to have a great meal without breaking the bank, TAG is the place! There are oodles of options in the 16th Street Mall and by Writer’s & Larimer Square, but this one will leave you smiling all around! Coupon or not, I’ll be back!

I almost forgot…they are expanding, so soon they’ll have 34 more seats to offer, too!


1423 Larimer Street | Suite 010 | 303.996.2685
Email: getraw@tagrawbar.com

Thrills and Spills in Palm Springs, Part 3

I had the epiphany on Monday morning that maybe I should pack my stuff as far as I could right then, because from now on things would be crazy and off schedule. This was one of my smarter moves, and I was definitely right on with my fortune telling skills for the remainder of the trip. The traffic at the show was quite light, and we didn’t move as much merchandise as we’d hoped, causing Randy to go into full panic mode about it fitting back in the truck, as he had purchased two items early on in the trip for himself. We had sold a few things, and I was confident that though we didn’t have Win-master packer there to assist, we could muddle through it without too much difficulty.
After being couped up in the show for three days, and knowing there was great weather outside that I was missing, I made a break for it about 1pm and went outside to see the vintage car show. It was a smaller event, much smaller than many of the shows we have here in Denver, but what it lacked in size it made up for in quality. Predominately American Steel from the 50s & 60s, this show highlighted “Big is Beautiful,” and there were huge fins, hoods, tails, and acres of interiors everywhere. Much like the gala night, everyone was smiling and laughing, having a great time and enjoying the lines of these fantastic autos. I come from the Tifosi end of the spectrum, mainly setting my sites on Italian Automotive design, but as a lover of all cars, some of the best and brightest of the USA were there to represent. In addition, the owners were very congenial and excited to have a paparazzi reception from the crowd. Great fun, and a big highlight for me from the trip!

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As the final bell sounded for the show, we raced into tear down mode, with Kevin and I in the booth deconstructing, and Randy back at the truck with an old friend Victor packing what we sent them via the porter. Within 2 1/2 hours we had the booth empty, and all the items back on the dock for assessment. Randy had the brilliant idea of dropping the truck off at the dock very early in the morning, so we had a great spot ready to go for load up, without the two hour wait like we did at set up. Just as Kevin and I were on the last sweep of ancillary items in the booth, Randy came out in a panic…”It’s not going to fit, I can see it already!” Kevin and I gave each other a long look, and headed back to the truck, and it wasn’t nearly as dire as Randy had gave the impression it might be. Another 2 1/2 hours of patience, understanding, and creative packing resulted in the truck not only being fully packed with all the items on it, but with room to spare for the suitcases and food cooler. All was not lost, actually occurred in a timely fashion, and we were home by 8:30 for supper, which we all were ready for. Victor came out the winner, with Randy sending him home with many leftovers and snacks that wouldn’t make the journey back in the truck. At midnight we all called it a day, and Randy went to bed technically on his birthday, with the next leg of his adventure ahead of him.

What goes up, must come down.

Tuesday started with a shot, and we were all up early for a day of travel. Randy had to finish some business with associates on the Palm Court strip, so that left me to pack everything up. Kevin was a great help and did dishes, organized, and got things to where it was easy to pack. Randy showed back up about 15 minutes before Kevin, Anna, and I were supposed to leave to catch our flight, and threw things in the truck. With everything packed and the cleaning lady doing her thing at the house, we said goodbye to Palm Springs and headed off for our flight, and Randy made his way to LA to drop some items at the spring LAMA auction.
We unfortunately guessed wrong about the amount of traffic at the airport. “Oh, it’s a small airport, it will only take you a few minutes to get ticketed and through security….” Yeah, right. Apparently, everyone who stayed for the Modernism show was leaving at the same time. On all airlines. And had to check bags. I didn’t need to check my bag, but stayed with Anna as Kevin dropped of the rental car, just in case I needed to check his bag as mine in the effort to save time. United wouldn’t let me use the iPad to check in as I had done on the was out to PS, so I had to deal with that at the counter anyway. After some confusion at the ticket counter, the gal found my ticket, and we were on our way to a completely screwed up security line. My sister likes to call it the “Disney Swap”…basically, it looks like the line is short, until you go through a door or round a corner (after already waiting in line) to find the rest of the line is ridiculously long. I really didn’t care if I got bumped or otherwise, as I could swing the time off, but Anna was kinda freaked about the possibility of missing our flight. After finally getting through the metal detector/sniffer, as I grabbed my things I could hear the intercom paging final boarding for our plane! I also heard them slaughter my name as they attempted to page me to the gate desk, but I decided I’d just ignore that and see if I could get on the flight. Sure enough, all three of us made it onto the tarmac with 3 minutes to spare before they closed the gate door. PHEW!!
Once on the plane, it was obvious everyone had the same idea to get home Tuesday, as there were NO open seats anywhere than our assigned spots. After settling into my seat, a nice lady asked if anyone was willing to swap with her, as she wanted to sit next to her daughter, who was sitting in 18A. This was interesting, because my seat was 18A. When I mentioned this, and we started comparing tickets, it turns out that United had printed out and given me the ticket for her daughter…my name wasn’t on the ticket at all! In the rush to get to the plane, I never looked at the ticket, other than to check the gate! I had made it through ticketing, 3 security checks with my license, and boarded the plane ALL WITH SOMEONE ELSE’S TICKET!!! Talk about a EPIC SECURITY FAIL!! At this point I thought for sure they’d throw me off the flight, but the stewardess did a quick count and determined they had exactly the right number of passengers for takeoff, so we were going. That was close!
The rest of the flight was uneventful, and it was good to get home. But the story doesn’t stop there….because Randy was still on the move in LA!
Randy’s adventures involved having a delectable Italian dinner for his Birthday with two friends…

…unloading and reloading his truck twice, once for the auctions items, a second time to make it road worthy…

It's just what I do, baby!

…then a nice supper of Sushi the following night, a visit to the museum the next day for the California Design show…

If I don't smile, you won't know I am having a good time.

and finally off on his drive back to Denver. But nothing can be easy, and in the first leg of his drive something went awry with the liftgate, resulting in the main electrical feed to the lift catching fire. Fortunately, 2 hours and $100 later, he was back on the road, but only made it to Barstow. The 2 day drive became 3, and the liftgate is still broken as its age has made finding a replacement motor difficult.
So, was Palm Springs everything I thought it was going to be? Well, I don’t really know. The show was amazing, there were some unbelievable things for sale, stuff you only see in museums. What I saw of Palm Springs when going here or there, the architecture was outstanding, and the winter climate was great. The amount of work was not unbearable, nor was it more than I had bargained for. Would I do it again?

Thrills and Spills in Palm Springs, Part 2

Saturday looked promising after attendance at the gala, so we were ready for some action. We had brought along two Milo Baughmann club chairs that Randy had recovered in Jack Larsen fabric, and they were just stunning to look at, and amazing to sit in. So amazing, that I made an effort NOT to sit in them during the show because I didn’t want to get up once I sat down, and it’s hard to help customers when you are taking a nap in the merchandise. Watching the “oh YEAH!” look on customer’s faces as they sat in these chairs all weekend was a treat, as the chairs sold themselves.  Many of the other pieces we brought had admirers, but none so much as the perch chair and George Nelson floating rolltop desk, which were groped by customers the entire show.

One happy visitor enjoying the Baughmann barrel chairs!

Randy was stressed out most of the day, so he spent the better part of the show MIA. But all in all, we sold some goodies and were hopeful for the turnout on Sunday. All of us were daydreaming about the ribs, and due to the sheer quantity of food Randy asked several of his vendor friends to join us for dinner. We only had one taker, and that was Chris from Dallas. Great guy, super nice with a kiddo on the way.

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Now here’s a little reminder: the appliances were a bit spotty on performance. By the time we returned to the house to start the ribs it was pushing 7pm, and the ribs were easily going to take 3 hours to bake to perfection. Randy phoned a friend to get advice on advancing the cook time, and came up with a good solution that should have had decent results by using the grill. However, the grill had two modes: off and Hubs of Hell. Even on low, the grill blasted out temperatures approaching 600 degrees. Combine that with some scotch, Bass, and conversation, the resulting meal resembled an F1 car…heavy on the carbon fiber. Once you got past the aluminum bits that were stuck to the carboned edges, the meat in the middle was great! However, the presentation resulted in discussions involving the repercussions of consuming the aluminum bits, and it was decided that doing so might result in, uh, gastronomic distress resulting in sparks, so we avoided the aluminum bits of garnish. Randy also attempted to make his world-class garlic & goat cheese potatoes, but the stove wouldn’t cooperate either, so the potatoes were only half done by the time 10pm swung around. However, the ribs that stayed in the oven for the 3 hrs did come out perfect, and made for an epic lunch snack Sunday.
Apparently, we weren’t the only ones celebrating on Saturday night, and there were many a story of hangovers, rough edges, and the like Sunday morning. Kevin was REALLY not feeling well, and insinuated that Randy poisoned him with the carbonized ribs. However, as the day progressed it became quite apparent that he had caught a 24hr flu bug, which a few of the dealers had been talking about going around. Buyer traffic was considerably slower than Saturday, but did pick up after the church hours waned. After 3 solid days of standing and setup, I succumbed to the Baughmann club chairs, and spent a good portion of the show demonstrating how comfy they were by placing my posterior there for an extended amount of time. Add a Bass, and I was content just to sit and watch the world go by.

I fought the club chair, the club chair won.

That evening was the Dealer Party, held at a nice hotel on the main strip. The weather was perfect, just a slight breeze, warm but not hot, stars, palm trees, great. The soireé was held in the pool courtyard area, complete with large fire pit and snacks. Randy & I brought our own alcohol, as the stuff supplied at these events inevitably is overpriced and watered down. Five minutes into the introductions to other dealers, Randy disappeared. Gone. But I had a huge scotch and a fire, so I was perfectly content to just sit and enjoy the breeze. While zoning out, not looking at anything in particular, this group of 3 younger guys look in my general direction.
“You winked at me!” the jock in the group says.
“Uh, no.”
“Yes, you did!” he leans into his best “I’m sexy and I know it” pose.
“Uh, no I didn’t dude. Must have been a twitch or something.”
“Yeah, too much Red Bull! Ha!” he answers.
At this point, I deem it necessary to turn the other direction, so I can enjoy the rest of my solitude and scotch in peace. More scotch and time pass, which allows Mr. Loser to get up enough stones to take another run at it.
“Hey, are you here with someone?” he says.
“Dude, look at me. Do you think I am here by myself?” Wow, listen to that scotch talk. I kind of surprised myself with that one.
Annoyed, he says “Well, he must be an asshole to leave you there by yourself. I wouldn’t do that.”
This jock has now scored seriously negative points with me, and with as much scotch as I had consumed, the little filter between my brain and my mouth was on hiatus. However, there was enough sense left in me to take into consideration I was at a “work function,” so a clean five across the eyes was not going to play out as much as I wanted it to. Therefore, a nice pointy response was in order.
“See, the dude knows when I need time to myself, unlike losers like you.”
I admit, not the best comeback, bur sufficient. His buddies laughed, they got it. Apparently I wasn’t very clear.
“Was that supposed to be a slam?” he feigned being insulted.
“So, you’re deaf AND dumb? Yes?” My disbelief in the arrogance of this guy was really coming through at this point. Luckily, his buddies convinced him they needed to go hit the bar inside the hotel, and shortly thereafter Rando appeared just as I finished my scotch. Passing the bar, it was fun to see the look of disbelief on the jock’s face as Randy escorted me back to the house. Priceless!
Dinner proved to be magnificent, as we reheated the ribs, grilled (carefully, this time!) steaks, finished the preparation of the goat cheese potatoes, and had some other tasty items from the fridge that needed to be consumed. As we were coming into the last few days of our stay, it became readily apparent that Randy not only brought too much food, but cooked too much food! A quick tally proved that some of the meat needed to go back into the freezer to be suitable for the trip home, and that we had to consider not cooking anything else before leaving, therefore only consuming leftovers. Even with that plan, we still ended up sending care packages home with a friend or two, and gifting the nice cleaning lady some eggs. Chris came back over for a refresher that Randy really CAN cook an excellent meal, and Randy redeemed himself in spades. All of us admitted to being super tired from the show, and we still had another day plus load-out ahead of us. It was going to be ugly.

Coming up next…how will our heroes fare on the last day of the show? Will they sell enough stuff, or will it be a disaster? Will there be enough Bass to finish the tale? Stay tuned and find out!

Thrills and Spills in Palm Springs

So ever since the 2010 Denver Modernism show I’ve wanted to go to Palm Springs. Ok, I actually wanted to go before then, but after competing in the inaugural Miss Modernism contest for a shot at going I really wanted to go. Sun, palm trees, un-freaking-believable modernism goodies, what more could one ask for? So when Randy determined I was going along to the 2012 PS show, I hopped on that opportunity like a hobo on a ham sandwich.
However, the celebration is called Modernism WEEK, not Modernism WORK, which is what it really, really should be called for those of us running the booths. I don’t think there is a direction or limb I can move that isn’t stiff, sore, bruised, scratched or otherwise. But I digress…
The start of the vacation trip was outstanding, leaving cold weather in Denver for a leisurely one-stop with a short layover in Vegas. It’d been a while since I’d been to Vegas, and though I never left the airport, getting to see the strip from the plane and the concourse is always a treat. My ipod randomly selecting “Welcome to the Pleasuredome” in perfect timing with the descent and landing was an added bonus. I HIGHLY recommend the dusk arrival, as you can see the strip just before dark, then the puddle-jumper to Palm Springs flies RIGHT OVER the strip with it completely lit at night. AMAZING! And no, I did not follow the “turn off you stuff” instructions, which is why you too get to enjoy these great shots from the twin turbo prop…
GREAT FLIGHT!!!! Fun, cozy, with the added bonus of some sleet and heavy rain was we came into PS. How is crappy weather and added bonus, you ask? Since the plane was so small, as we descended the lights on the wing highlighted the precipitation such that it looked like hyperdrive on the Millennium Falcon. Seriously. Freaking. Cool.

Just like this, minus the wookie.

The palm springs airport oozes cool, and considering it’s an airport, that’s a pretty neat trick. The gates and the main terminal are enclosed, the rest is an open air facility with some nice architecture and landscaping. Most of the planes coming and going are small, so you deplane right onto the tarmac old-school style. Since it was raining heavily when I arrived, I didn’t get any nice night shots of the airport, nor did I get any on the way back for interesting reasons, which you’ll have to wait for a later blog post to read about.
After Randy and his buddy Kevin (who came out for a short vacation with his wife) whisked me back to the house to dump my bags, we shot over to the shops on Palm Court to visit Ken Erwin at Funkis Inc., one of Randy’s best friends who was participating in an opening night shindig for the start of the Modernism show. Many little shops were open along the strip, and the stuff in the shops was too cool not to get drenched walking from one store to the next. Some of the best examples of MidCentury, Atomic, Modernism, and the like were ubiquitous compared to our selection here in Denver. Randy was amused at my constant gawking and slack jawed drooling, elbowed me in the ribs and said “this is just the tip of the iceberg, baby. Wait until the show.” And I can give you a teaser now, he wasn’t kidding.
Once we finished with the after-hours soiree, we headed back to the Alexander rental house we booked for the stay. Kevin had rented from the outfit before, and it was a pleasant experience, especially being able to cook. Randy did miss his kitchen, as the one in the rental had very little counter space to work on, and the appliances were spotty at best for new models, but he got it done, and done right most of the time. After a quick stop for more Bass, we settled in for Rando to get his Iron Chef on. Though Randy claims to have no hobbies other than stressing out about business and drinking Bass, he actually has a fairly serious hobby when it comes to cooking. Not only does he love to do it, he’s also quite good at it, and does so in large quantities. So for supper we had italian sausage stuffed peppers baked to perfection, with a giant meatloaf that could feed 20. It was AWESOME.

Good design means flowers can look awesome in a blender.

View looking out from the front of the house

Our Alexander Rental...very nice indeed!

Thursday morning came awfully quick, and thus began the start of Modernism Work. The carpet in the convention center, is, well, convention center carpet, so it lacks that pizazz you’d prefer to have when displaying the kind of wares we brought. In previous years, Randy had acquired pieces of paneling to produce a floor that helped display the items appropriately, so once we got in line with the truck for load off, he borrowed a pickup and an off to score the flooring. After a two hour wait, Kevin & I finally got a dock space, and began the unloading process with the help of one of the super-friendly porters that the center provides. Originally, our good friend Winston was coming out to help with the heavy lifting, but due to a series of unfortunate events, we were left Win-less, and in more ways than one. We had about 1/2 the truck unloaded and placed in the booth by the time Randy showed up with the flooring, at which point we all decided we were famished and left for a bite at the Fish Market. Randy and I took a slight detour to return the borrowed pickup, which had consequences later, so read on.
Now, if you’ve been keeping up and read about the trip to San Francisco, you know about Swan’s. If you didn’t read that, go here and read about it now. Go on…go! I’ll wait. For those of you who did read that post, you know that the oysters were out of this world, and we determined it’d be difficult to find their equal. The oysters at the Fisherman’s Market tried really hard to tie that record, and just barely missed the mark, but where they fell short, the fish tacos grabbed the ball and RAN! WOW!! All talking ceased and nothing but yummy noises could be heard from us as we wolfed down the tacos. The meal was reasonably priced for the size of the plates and the quality, and it was determined on the spot that we’d be making a repeat visit before going home.

Oysters, oysters, YUM YUM YUM!!!

While at the Fish Market, Randy realized that he left his cell phone in the pickup we returned. Ok, not a huge deal, except that when we returned to the truck, the doors were open for unloading, and the phone was GONE. Completely MIA. We tried calling it multiple times, no luck, called the Fish Market in case he was mistaken and left it there, no luck again. Upon further thought, it was determined that when Randy handed me his cell phone while in the truck, and in my state of having a headache and needing to eat I left it on my lap, thus when I exited so did the cell phone. Someone must have picked it up, because it was no where in the parking lot. Randy was, uh, unhappy, I’ll just leave it at that. In a last act of desperation before cutting of the service to the phone, I texted my cell number with a plea for returning the phone, and hoped for the best.
This marked the point when Murphy decided he was full on going to bitchslap us and the booth. Our first hurdle was the booth was 1 1/2″ short of 32 feet, so the last row of panels didn’t fit and needed to be cut back at the store. Then we realized the flooring panels that Randy picked out had a warp to them, but we figured some strategic placing of heavy items would take the warp out. That, of course, made arranging the booth extremely difficult, in fact impossible. When the “tower of power” we use to display chairs was assembled, it listed worse than the Concordia in Italy, so finding some reinforcement pieces was a must before we could place any chairs in the display. And in the process of the final unloading of the truck, one of the lamps slid out of a hidey hole and broke before we could even get it to the booth.

Note the start of the warp on the floor...not good.

All of us were glad to see the 5 o’clock bell chime to end setup, but non of us were looking forward to day two, as we were now wickedly behind schedule, without a cell phone, and I ended up with a massive migraine from the stress and another vendor shellacking chairs in our area of the show with some nasty chemicals. So it was early to bed for me, and an early start of heavy drinking for everyone else.
There’s a saying about “tomorrow is another day,” and Friday was a new and much brighter day on our horizon. While drinking the night before, the boys came up with a plan for getting the wood cut, the pieces we needed for the tower, and some semblance of a plan for how to attack the booth. I was still a bit foggy from the migraine, but considerably sharper than I had been the entire previous day. Randy prepped what would be our dinner on Saturday night, endless racks of ribs with a killer rub provided by Adam, one of my best friends back in Denver.

You cannot have enough meat, as illustrated here.

Meat, it does a body good.

While finishing my second latte, my cell phone went off, and a nice older couple had found Randy’s phone, saw the text, and were happy to return it to him! YAY!!! Randy gratefully provided our saviors with free passes for the show, and I got to work reactivating his phone.
When the 3 of us arrived back at the booth, we were greeted by the fact that the flooring had not flattened out, but had warped much much worse as a result of drying out in the desert air. Kevin and I tried several things, but to no avail, the floor had to come out. This was at 12:30, and we needed to leave to get ready for the gala no later than 3:30. So we had 3 hours to sh*t a booth. Several of the other vendors looked on in awe, stunned we’d even attempt a redo this late in the game, others sort of snickered implying we’d never make it, or have the worst booth in the show. What none of them knew is that when working under pressure, Randy, Kevin and I are the Hillbilly Gator Stomp Champs, and not one of us stopped moving the entire time, placing, drilling, arranging, and assembling. Anna, Kevin’s wife, came later in the day, bringing some much needed tools and supplies, and also chipped in to get the booth done. Through a combination of determination, a good eye or two, and some happy accidents, the space went from f*cked to UN-F*CKING-BELIEVABLE in 3 hours flat. We left the show to go back to the Fish Market for food right at 3:30, which was our initial plan before everything else happened.



We noshed a quick lunch, which seemed a shame because the oysters were even BETTER than the day before and deserved more time for enjoyment, then rushed back to the house to clean up for the gala opening. From the looks of awe we received, the multiple compliments, and the never ending requests to take pictures of the booth, I think we nailed it. We had, by far, the most colorful booth at the show, and one of the best spaces for traffic in the entire place. I’m not sure if it was the cash bar or the items in the show, but everyone at the gala was beaming from ear to ear, oohing and ahhing everywhere you looked. Many dealers had friends at the show, and laughter flew around the room like a small flock of birds as you heard snippets of stories and greetings. The 3 hours at the opening went very quickly (thanks to the scotch I smuggled in), and when it was over, we were all ready to go home and have some supper. The peppers from the previous night reheated nicely, and it was a quick and tasty supper in a short amount of time. I don’t think going to bed had ever sounded so good as it did after such a crazy day.

We finished the booth on time, so there.

Tune in soon for part two of Thrills & Spills in Palm Springs!


Surrealism’s Startling Appeal, featured in WSJ

Surrealism’s Startling Appeal


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Surrealism is set to fire the imagination at auctions in London next week.

On Tuesday, Christie’s will follow its major Impressionist and modern art sale with one devoted to “The Art of the Surreal.” On Wednesday, Sotheby’s will include a range of striking Surrealist works in its main Impressionist and modern art auction. “We prefer to show Surrealism in the whole context of modern art,” says Sotheby’s specialist Samuel Valette.

[Collect2] Christie’sRené Magritte’s ‘La Parade’ (1940) is expected to fetch £700,000-£1 million.

Surrealism was a revolutionary movement of writers and artists that rose between the two world wars and ended with the death in 1966 of its founder, the French poet André Breton.

Stressing the subconscious and dreams, the movement’s artists created startling images filled with hidden meanings, strange combinations of everyday objects and unforgettable erotic figures. They were also experimental in using all techniques at hand, including the new effects opened by photography. Later stars of the art world that were influenced by the European Surrealists include America’s Jackson Pollock and American-French grande dame of the global art world Louise Bourgeois.

Many Surrealists were undervalued at the start of the 21st century, despite their great influence on subsequent generations of artists, says Olivier Camu, Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art deputy chairman. To raise awareness, the auction house started dedicated Surrealist sales in 2001. It was a slow start, he notes, but now many previously undervalued artists have taken off, such as Max Ernst. Others, he says, still have a way to go, such as Francis Picabia, who is represented in next week’s sales. “Surrealists have hit a nerve of our times,” Mr. Camu says. “We are living in an age of psychology and eroticism.”

Both Christie’s and Sotheby’s will offer monumental and rare works by Joan Miró. At Christie’s, there will be one of his famous “Painting-Poem” canvases from 1925, in which the artist creates an hallucinatory atmosphere mixing Abstraction, free-flowing forms and text (estimate: £6 million-£9 million). At Sotheby’s, “Peinture” comes from another group of iconic Miró paintings from 1933 (estimate: £7 million-£10 million). The painting is full of energy, pouring out from free forms in red, white, yellow and blue, seen against a delicate brown and green background. Standing before this picture, I was stunned by its combination of power and subtlety. I could only agree with Mr. Valette when he said, “It doesn’t get better than this.”

Christie’sPaul Delvaux’s ‘The Nude and the Mannequin’ (1947) is estimated at £2 million-£3 million.

René Magritte is always a top Surrealist attraction, combining mystery, beauty and humor. A work at Christie’s that deals with the hidden side of life will be “La Parade,” a painting from 1940, the year the Nazis invaded his homeland of Belgium. This seemingly simple image shows a leafless tree before a red curtain, hiding a desert landscape. I don’t pretend to understand it, but there is an enormous impact there in its hidden meanings (estimate: £700,000-£1 million). At Sotheby’s, a dreamy, blue painting of a large petrified apple under a distant moon is pure poetry, designed to give plenty of contemplative moments (estimate: £1.5 million-£2 million).

For eroticism, it’s hard to beat Paul Delvaux, who specialized in naked beauties in totally strange backgrounds, such as “The Nude and the Mannequin” (1947). The painting at Christie’s depicts a white Venus figure stretched on a couch in a railway station, with a black tailor’s dummy at her side (estimate: £2 million-£3 million). A gentler side of Surrealist eroticism is represented by Picabia’s transparencies, paintings where the artist transposes the images of beautiful women upon each other. “Hero” (1929) at Christies, in which women’s heads float against a backdrop of a nude, creates a sensual vision as in a dream (estimate: £400,000-£700,000).

Write to Margaret Studer at wsje.weekend@wsj.com

I left my Art in San Francisco (part two)

It’s taken a little bit to get back to finishing the story, so let’s finish this up before January becomes February!

When we left off with the story, we’d had a superb supper with Rex Ray at  Bar Bambino, and were getting ready for setup at Deco the Halls. Friday morning came early, and we’d prepared for the long day by visiting Trader Joe’s for supplies and snacks to get us through. But upon arrival, our crate o’goodies was nowhere to be found. The shipper had their wires crossed and delivered the crate a day early, which we worked out, but now here it is the day of and no crate. After about an hour and a half wait, it did show up, and there was much rejoicing. Sort of.

Tags awaiting items to be put on

Randy demonstrates his superhuman strength (ignore the guy behind with the pallet jack)

The view of our booth, and down our aisle

The crate o’goodies consisted of many vintage clothing wares, some very good examples of art pottery, and a set of vintage psychedelic rock posters from the late 60’s and early 70’s, owned by no other than the frontman for Lothar and the Hand People. In fact, we actually had the Pearly Suit worn by Lothar on stage back in the day.

Lothar in his Prime...rrrrraooooowwwww!

Now came the fun part…unloading the whole crate, laying everything out, assembling the racks, hanging everything up, tagging it, making tags for stuff that got added while packing, and then making sure the booth had nice”flow.” Randy took over setting up the pottery, which was fine with me since that sh*t ain’t cheap. While setting up, I blinked and realized it had been over 4 hours and I hadn’t had lunch, let’s everyone give a big round of applause to Trader Joe’s!!

Yes, that is my knife. No, you can't have it.

After wolfing down lunch and getting back on track, it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn’t seen Randy in FOREVER. Other than him walking by for a smoke break, and saying “YAY TISH!” as he was going somewhere else. But then he’d appear, and sell some of the pottery that he was attempting to put in the case, or some of the clothing, or was generally being friendly to the other vendors who hadn’t seen him in a while. It was funny to hear the vendors walk by, see the booth, not realize I was in the both/working with Rando, and say things like “Randy is here! Did you see Randy is back? Oh Wow, dude, I think that’s Randy’s booth!” Since we were on a very short schedule for setting things up, I pretty much just resigned myself to being the “grunt” on this particular part of the adventure, which was a small price to pay for the food and accommodations provided. Closing time came very quick, and I still had some things that were not where I wanted them, but for the most part we were ready for business the following day.

This was one of only a few times Randy was actually in the booth!

The Art Pottery was so good, it was featured by the show organizer in a front case!

At the end of Friday, I was fried. Just completely fried. Nothing sounded good to eat, though I knew I was famished and then some from setup. On our walks about town previously, we found a neat little Thai place just a block from the hotel, and it was a gem! “Inexpensive” for SF prices, but very tasty and they even had caipirinhas! The Basil Thai was just perfect for the end of a long day. After a few drinks and some of the best fried rice ever, we crashed out for the night. Thanks Basil Thai!!!

Saturday was showtime. Both of us got “all dolled up” for our customers arrival, me in a vintage Lilli Ann suit that is a real head turner, Rando as Rockstar Rando. I had sense enough from working enough shows to bring some knitting along to pass the time, and it helped a lot during the “dead times.” To our surprise, when we arrived at the show for final set-up n the morning, the vendors across from us had called in and weren’t going to make it! So Penelope offered us the extra space, since it wasn’t being used anyway, and it “fluffed out” the aisle we were on. BONUS! Except for the mad dash to get everything placed before the show opened, and Randy was once again off on his adventures, and not in the booth.

Lothar's Pearly Suit on display

All in all, it turned out pretty good, Randy did show up in a little bit and got the second booth tightened up, as the shelving wasn’t very stable.

But the best part of the show days had to do with the visitors. We did not have a mirror for people to check out items as they tried them on but we did have the trusty ipad, so we took pictures and showed people what they looked like! It was a hit with our visitors, and a lot of fun in the process. Here’s a sampling of the “models”…

Once the show closed down, we were ready for supper. Since we’d already done sushi, and Swan’s was closed, Randy called Rex and asked where we should go for a steak. “Epic, you gotta go to Epic. Trust me.” So we did. And we were NOT disappointed.

Epic Roasthouse was at the end of the pier, with a stellar view of the Bay Bridge. Because of our last minute decision to go there, we didn’t have reservations and the only seats left were either in the bar, or at an impromptu breakfast style counter facing the kitchen. We opted for the counter, and next to the view of the bridge, this was the best seat in the house. We watched as dish upon dish of AMAZING entreés wisked past our spot, and got lost watching the dance of the kitchen staff as they effortlessly grilled, baked, chopped and tossed their creations into veritable edible art. Eventually the “den mother” of the wait staff came to check on us, as I am sure with out wide eyes and grumbling tummies were looked a bit overwhelmed and out of place. But once we started giving her our order, she realized we were in the right restaurant. My “Resolution” martini was unbelievable, and the house selection of cured meats and cheeses as simply AWESOME. Once I realized they had beef tartare, there was no going back, this was going to be an EPIC dinner. Our waiter prepared the tartare right in front of us, and it was like watching a magic trick…he seemed to suspend the meat in midair, and massage it with spoons to get it into an egg shape, then guided it onto the plate as though it was a feather landing gracefully onto the dish. It was so beautiful, it seemed a shame to eat it, until taking that first bite, and then it was a shame I had to share it with Randy! We each ended up with a “Steak and Cake,” which consisted of a Filet Mignon, a crab cake, and a crab salad (emphasis on crab, not salad!). Our sides were brussel sprouts that would make even the biggest hater of the things fall to his knees and beg for more, and truly perfect potatoes au gratin. Truly. Perfect. We stuffed ourselves stupid, and still had some to take back with us to the hotel. I am sure that anything on their dessert menu would have put me to tears, as the entire experience was the most elegant, fun, and upscale I have had to date. Randy has travelled the world, and even he was floored by the quality and depth of flavor to come from Epic. We were so giddy with the adventure, that we visited with several of the waitstaff and the head chef, Jan, and had a wonderful conversation and learned a lot while watching and waiting for our courses. I think the waitstaff was surprised to have customers speak with them instead of at them, and truly enjoyed their work as much as we enjoyed eating it. Here it is almost February, and Randy & I still talk about Epic.

Here’s a few highlights from the meal:

ahhh...next time, dessert!

After that meal, we just went back to the hotel and digested. There was seriously nothing else we could have done to top that end to our day. Epic.

Sunday was both show day and pack up day, so we had a lot ahead of us once again. Due to the 49ers game, attendance was slow, and people weren’t really in the mood to buy, just look. The only one buying things was Randy, who bought this sculpture right out from under me…

This was supposed to be mine, damn it! If I had seen it first....

Unlike set up day, packing day Randy was in the booth nearly the entire time, especially for tear down. Part of the motivation there was due to needing the crate ready at the exact time of pickup…too soon, and we’re just milling about bored, too late, and you get charged for however long the guy has to wait while you finish packing. We finished packing the crate at 9:55, and they showed up to pick it up at 10:20pm, so that really wasn’t so bad. But were we beat! Leftovers and snacks were our only option for food, since most things were closed by the time we got out, but that was ok, a night of tv and lounging after all the excitement was just fine.

Monday was a lazy day, off to a late start of sightseeing, and riding the trolley, then another visit to Swan’s because, well, it’s Swan’s. The afternoon was spent recovering from all the craziness from the day before, and packing up our stuff for the trip home.The trolly ride was AWESOME, though, and if you ever get the chance to do it, it’s well worth the effort!

All in all, it was a great trip filled with great food, great memories, and a good show. Tune in next time for the recap of our next big adventure…details to come!

Celebrity Death Match: Vance Kirkland vs. Clyfford Still

Ok, ok, no, it wasn’t a true celebrity death match, although both artists are deceased and both were painting and showing at the same times in their prolific painting lives. Hugh Grant of the Kirkland Museum and Dean Sobel of the newly opened Clyfford Still Museum teamed up last night to give a spectacular and informative presentation on the life and times of each of their museum namesakes. Coordinated by the ever-talented Maya Wright of the Kirkland, this sold out event was well worth the price of admission, and we can only hope it will be repeated in the future.

But wait! It will!! If you missed the event last night, KBDI Channel 12 PBS recorded the event, and it will air in the near future! So be sure to check their listings often, and DONATE to keep programs like these coming in the future!

Having sat through many an art history lecture while in art school, usually resulting in a prolonged nap, this presentation was a refreshing change from the monotony of the usual artist biography. Mr. Grant And Mr. Sobel bounced back and forth with information about their respective artists, and each contributed his own flair to the tale, making the lecture both informative and entertaining. The slides chosen to highlight each artist’s work corresponding to topic points was spot on, and rounded out the narrative exceptionally. One of my close friends, an engineer who’s art education is, well, that of an engineer, was pleasantly surprised by the content, and found an appreciation for some of the abstract work he previously had not found interest in. A good time was had by all, thank you to both museums for putting on a wonderful show! We hope to see more in the future!

If you haven’t been to either the Clyfford Still or the Kirkland Museum, put these on your list of things to see in 2012. You won’t be dissapointed!

Here’s a few highlights from the museum, and the lecture:

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Park in Style

The Sleekest, Coolest Parking Garages

By Arian Campo-Flores, WSJ.com
January 18, 2012
Provided by:

A rendering of the ultramodern Collins Park garage in Miami Beach, Fla.
Rendering: Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid, the celebrated London-based architect known for her sinuous designs, has created dazzling museums, concert halls and railway stations across the globe. So what has she decided to tackle next? A municipal parking garage in Miami Beach.

“I’ve always been fascinated by garages,” Ms. Hadid says. “I’ve always liked this idea of bringing the street into a building and making that into an urban space.”

She has company. Miami Beach has become a magnet for high-end architects intent on rethinking what the often drab, utilitarian parking garage can be. In 2010, Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron completed a towering, airy parking structure in the heart of South Beach that has won international acclaim. Seven blocks east, Frank Gehry created, as part of his New World Center concert hall, a steel-mesh garage that is illuminated at night by multicolored LED lights. A few blocks south sits Mexican architect Enrique Norten’s recently finished garage, featuring a taut, white concrete facade pocked with perforations like a punch card.

Slideshow: The Parking Garage as Architectural StarSlideshow: The Parking Garage as Architectural StarNext up: Ms. Hadid’s $12.5 million, city-financed garage in South Beach’s Collins Park neighborhood; a parking and retail complex by Miami-based firm Arquitectonica in the Sunset Harbour neighborhood; and a planned development near the beach by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas’s firm, OMA, that is expected to include a parking garage, possibly topped by a restaurant.

South Beach is also slated for three new automated parking garages designed by ADD Inc Miami that are believed to be the first of their kind in Florida. After drivers drop off their cars in a bay, thin robotic platforms will slide underneath, lift them up and whisk them away to a parking spot.

For drivers, the normally humdrum experience of parking gets a dash of flair. Simon Parra, a part-time resident of the city, refuses to park his black Chevy Suburban anywhere but the Herzog & de Meuron garage at 1111 Lincoln Road. “It’s a work of art more than a garage,” he says. “Everywhere you look, there’s a view.”

He doesn’t mind paying a premium for the experience. The parking rate at 1111 Lincoln Road, $4 an hour, is more than double the rate at the municipal lot a block away.

Herzog & de Meuron’s creation, part of a $65 million project, has gone the furthest in revolutionizing traditional notions of a garage. “Our building is not designed to be a garage,” says owner and developer Robert Wennett. “It’s designed to be a civic space.”

The structure – with thin concrete slabs at irregular heights and no exterior walls, leaving vehicles on open display – is more than a place to stash cars. It features luxury retailers at the street level, a glass box housing a clothing store on the fifth floor and a soaring space with stunning views on the seventh floor that can be rented for events – all connected by an internal staircase that spirals up like a DNA helix. A few hundred people a day wander in to explore, Wennett says, and the seventh-floor space has hosted weddings, yoga classes and a Lexus commercial.

In some ways, the architectural ferment today harks back to the early 20th century, when garages were beautifully designed by well-known architects, says Shannon Sanders McDonald, author of “The Parking Garage: Design and Evolution of a Modern Urban Form.” By the 1970s, though, “they became cost-driven and functional and ugly,” she says. Not until the late 1980s and 1990s did architects grapple once again with how to incorporate garages into the urban environment.

Miami Beach was at the forefront then, too. Stocked with architectural gems, including Art Deco and Miami Modern buildings, the city wanted to ensure that its parking structures “became urban assets rather than urban albatrosses,” says William Cary, assistant director of the Miami Beach planning department.

Here are more of the sleekest, most chic new garages:

New World Center garage

This parking garage at the New World Center in Miami is appropriately artistic.
Photo: New World Symphony

Frank Gehry designed this steel-mesh garage that is illuminated at night by multicolored LED lights as part of his New World Center concert hall in Miami Beach, Fla. The city has become a magnet for high-end architects intent on rethinking the often drab parking garage.


Herzog & de Meuron’s garage

Herzog & de Meuron’s garage worthy of a party in Miami.
Photo: Alberto Tamargo/MBeach1, LLLP

Herzog & de Meuron’s garage at 1111 Lincoln Road. The garage features luxury retailers at the street level, a glass box housing a clothing store on the fifth floor and a soaring space with stunning views on the seventh floor that can be rented for events – all connected by an internal staircase that spirals up like a DNA helix.


Park@420 garage

The cool Park@420 garage in Miami.
Photo: George Kousoulas

The Park@420 garage at Drexel Avenue and 16th Street, designed by architect Enrique Norten. Light enters the perforations throughout the day, sometimes spraying the floor with bright spots, other times filtering in obliquely to give the space a chapel-like feel. The exterior also offers vivid displays, with palm trees casting shadows on the white facade during the day and interior lights producing a glow at night.


Sunset Harbour garage

The stylish Sunset Harbour garage in Miami.
Photo: Arquitectonica

An artistic rendering of the planned Sunset Harbour garage, a parking and retail complex on Bay Road in Miami Beach, designed by Arquitectonica.

Exceptional article on Eichlers, check o

Exceptional article on Eichlers, check out the slideshow! @WSJ http://ow.ly/8x1dg