eat. shop. love. nyc.

November 29, 2010, 12:29 am
Filed under: Love, Think | Tags: , , , ,

That would make for a great Scrabble word, huh?

Have been burying myself in poetry today: reading, writing, sketching, dreaming. I couldn’t stop thinking about this Picasso scribble of Don Quixote, so I thought I’d share it with you. Enjoy.

Pablo Picasso, Don Quixote, 1955, ink wash


Learning vs. education

My friend Mike has become increasingly dismayed by higher education’s not-so-subtle shift in focus away from learning and towards profit maximization. He is alarmed by the fast-growing, already-massive amount of student loan debt in this country, and he wants us to step back and rethink why it is that we go to school, why it is that we pursue higher education – to get back to the core of it all: learning. His blog entry entitled College, Inc. explored some of the facts and figures surrounding the student loan crisis and floated some of his ideas for educational reform.

He’s decided, now, to actually do something about it all. Mike’s co-founded an educational startup called Skillshare, which is launching next month. Their mission is to flip the traditional notion of education on its head and revolutionize learning.

He’s teamed up with the folks over at The Cultivated Word to help spread the word about the looming student loan crisis and why we need to pay attention. They want to create an animated video to shed light on the issues at hand and to get people excited about learning again, not just about going to college or getting a degree.

So pledge a few bucks to help him make this video. He’s got a goal of $2,750 to hit by December 2nd. If he doesn’t reach his goal, you won’t be charged a cent. If he does, you’ll get to be a part of something good.

Follow Mike | Twitter @mikekarnj or @skillshare | Blog

Protected: My bucket list
May 20, 2010, 9:11 am
Filed under: Love, Think

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Celebrating the American Woman

Catherine Malandrino Flag Dress. Photo credit: Pascale Richard

As a nation founded on fantasy, busy dreaming and reinventing… we like the idea of the American Woman; we traffic in fantasies, build archetypes, are seduced by precisely these national stereotypes, oddly stirred by them.

Flying British Airways from Nice to London to NYC, I picked up an exceptionally interesting Financial Times weekend paper. Breezing past the news of the Greek financial meltdown and other such heavy and unhappy matters, I headed straight for the Life & Arts section to read about Rothko’s return to Russia.

I was happily sidetracked by the headlining article American ideal by NYU professor Katie Roiphe explores and celebrates the American-Girl-turned-American-Woman, delving into the stereotypes and varying definitions of said woman and girl. This was an article that made my little heart swell with pride as it resonated deeply with me, as I’m sure it will with many other American women and those who love them.

Roiphe (halfheartedly) wonders whether the upcoming Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute exhibition American Woman: Fashioning National Identity will amount to more than a collection of worn-out, overplayed stereotypes. Is there even such a thing as the American Woman; is she anything more than a figment of our collective imaginations?

The thinking person has to acknowledge that the whole idea of the American Woman is silly. There is no American Woman, only millions of American women: the huddled masses, the poor, the sick, the hungry and the very, very rich, the bluebloods, the Chinese immigrants, and the daughters of Pakistani taxi drivers, trying to go about their lives as best they can.

The author revisits our childhood adoration of tomboys from Little House on the Prairie and Little Women. From a young age, Americans are taught to admire girls who “get dirty, run fast, scrape their knees, break rules, and harbor secretly unfeminine ambitions.” These American girls grow up to become American women, and their rebelliousness and strength are deeply valued.

Ultimately, Roiphe concludes that the American Woman does, indeed, exist, albeit as a fantasy or a glorified ideal that is part and parcel of our own national identity, and that she is brought to life by literature, glossies, and the silver screen.

We secretly love our suffragettes, our flappers, our screen sirens, our bohemians, even if they never quite existed… we secretly cherish the incorrigible tomboy, that vulgar flirt, that stubborn, independent pioneer girl, that infinitely romantic notion of American womanhood, that freedom and grit and spirit.

The article is available for viewing online via the Financial Times website. Also worth reading is the shorter article at the bottom, ‘Gossip Girl’ as American Woman by executive producer Stephanie Savage (what a great name, huh?).

Go: American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity. May 5, 2010–August 15, 2010. Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, 2nd floor. Opening Gala to take place on April 3, 2010.

American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity will explore developing perceptions of the modern American woman from 1890 to 1940 and how they have affected the way American women are seen today. Focusing on archetypes of American femininity through dress, the exhibition will reveal how the American woman initiated style revolutions that mirrored her social, political, and sexual emancipation. “Gibson Girls,” “Bohemians,” and “Screen Sirens,” among others, helped lay the foundation for today’s American woman.

The exhibition is made possible by Gap.
Additional support is provided by Condé Nast (Vogue)

A related exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection (May 7–August 1), will highlight masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection.

Volcanic ash is pas bon
April 16, 2010, 1:11 pm
Filed under: Go, Think | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m in Cannes for MIPTV and due to fly out from Nice via London to New York tomorrow, but what with the volcanic ash from Iceland, a whole lotta flights to and from northern Europe have been canceled since Thursday. As such, I’ve decided to pack up what I can in hopes that my flight will be on time tomorrow, but I suppose there are worse places in the world to be stranded due to flight disruptions caused by volcanic ash clouds. Today I took a ferry to the Ile Saint Honorat, where there is an active wine-producing monastery and surrounding vineyards, a breathtakingly beautiful ruined fortress, and crystal clear water amid glorious Provencal foliage. Life is not completely sucking.

The French don’t do doggie bags
April 11, 2010, 6:03 pm
Filed under: Cook, Eat, Think | Tags: , , , , ,

I have always known that the French don’t do doggie bags for some reason or another. I always assumed they felt it undignified or otherwise lowly, for the peasants. Yesterday, I realized it was something different altogether. It’s just not a part of their culture of freshly prepared food in modest quantities; food is to be consumed as and when it has been prepared.

Sara and I went to lunch at La Farigoule, one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants in Cannes where Lillia will show you the heart-shaped freckle on her breast and then chastise you for looking at her decolletage and owner Patricia will offer you a complimentary shot of blood orange liqueur (or several) as an after-dinner cordial. We’re not talking fine dining, but rather home cooking, but always tasty. Their prices are fairly modest for Cannes (three course menu for 16 euros), especially during convention times when most restaurants double their menu prices to get the most out of the conventioneers. We had the spaghetti carbonara and the spaghetti aux moules (with mussels) for 10 euros each, and both were hearty and totally hit the spot after a long plane ride and the lugging of very heavy stand supplies.

The carbonara was chock full of fatty bits of ham in a rich cream sauce, served with an egg yolk on top to be mixed in for extra ooey goodness.

The mussels were fresh, plentiful in a very seafood-y saffron cream sauce.

However, the portions were very hefty (especially for France) and neither Sara nor I could finish. It seemed such a waste of perfectly good food, so I dusted off my high school French and asked sweetly, “Est-ce que nous pouvons les emporter, madame?” I think that translates into something like, “Is it that we can bring these?” – which was good enough for Patricia. She said, “Bien sur!” and took our dishes away. When she returned with our leftovers, she handed us a plastic bucket with my pasta on the bottom and Sara’s pasta on top, separated by a piece of aluminum foil. The bucket bore a Foie de Poulet label on top, which indicated that this was not actually intended to be a to-go container, but rather, it had been meant to house wholesale quantities of chicken livers.

We were greatly embarrassed for having asked for the to-go container because Patricia had clearly gone to a lot of trouble to (a) find us a suitable container and (b) clean it out for us and (c) had not been able to find a second container.

We won’t be asking for doggie bags any more, though we do strongly appreciate Patricia’s willingness to find us one.

Today, we went to the Carrefour supermarket to pick up some groceries for the work week so we can make ourselves dinner at home a couple times this week since the apartment we rented has a fabulous kitchen. I wanted to make some pasta salad and some gourmet salads for our group so we could eat during the day because the food at the Palais is absolute crap, and overpriced crap at that, and we never have time to leave the stand and go out to pick up lunch elsewhere. The ingredients here – the dairy and the cured meats and the fish – are SO good here!

We wanted to find some individual plastic tupperware, but there was none to be found. I thought they were out, but Sara said she wasn’t surprised that they didn’t have any since the French don’t make extra food in order to have easy-to-reheat leftovers for lunch at work the next day. They go to work, then break for a home-cooked lunch, then return to the office, and then go home (or out) for dinner. They don’t eat hurriedly, stooped over their desks, shoveling food in their mouths with one hand while typing with the other. Meals, even lunch, are to be eaten little by little at a leisurely pace, sprinkled generously with conversation, every moment savored.

Very often, I wish I were French.

Eat: La Farigoule (Cote D’Azur) 82 Rue Meynadier, 06400 Cannes, France. +33 04 93 38 94 95. Ambiance: cozy and familial, tiny space with red checked tablecloth, outrageously friendly staff, heartwarming food.

Play Scrabble online
March 7, 2010, 10:41 am
Filed under: Do, Think | Tags: ,

A professed logophile, I am partial to online games like Text Twist, crosswords, and of course, Scrabble. Luckily for me, with the advent of gadgets and widgets on iGoogle and Facebook and the like, I can play Scrabble whenever I want, even if no one I know wants to play with me in person. I can play online with people I know, as well as with fellow Scrabble lovers I don’t know.

If you have iGoogle, add the Scrabble widget by clicking here.
To add Scrabble to your Facebook, add the app here.
If you have an iPhone, you can download the app for $4.99.