It’s 3am. I just got home. On the way in through the kitchen, out of habit I loped toward the cabinet above the sink to take my nightly cup of water to my room when I remembered I was completely sober and I could stand up straight and calmly reach for the cup of my choice.
My evening started at 6pm at a gallery in the West Village where I watched an artist demonstrate unusual ways to conduct electricity in order to light a lamp. He successfully turned a hot dog into a battery. I wasn’t that impressed because as a child I had had a potato clock from the Klutz catalog. But he was humble in his presentation and earnest in his dedication. He said he had researched many different brands of hot dog and found Nathan’s to be the best. Continue reading
Visiting Barcelona, I walk into Vinçon, a cutting edge design shop. I peruse glass cases of gadgets, gifts and housewares. “Well, this is awkward,” I think to myself as I come upon a display of art supplies featuring a box of Caran D’Ache color pencils. “Here I am, a Jewish customer, and they want to sell me a product whose brand is named in honor of- whose logo is, in fact, an adaptation of the actual signature of one of the most vilely anti-Semitic illustrators in recent history.
It’s a lot of drama for a nice set of pencils and no one else in the store seems aware.
I first learned that the name Caran D’Ache was related to something other than art supplies in 2006 when I visited the Museum of Jewish Art and History in Paris. They were showing “Alfred Dreyfus: The Fight for Justice,” an exhibition telling the story of the “The Dreyfus Affair,” 19th Century France’s biggest scandal, through artifacts, correspondence and the press. Continue reading
I’ve recently gone down an ebay rabbit hole, fascinated by three costume jewelry brands: Jonette Jewelry, American Jewelry & Chain and Danecraft. I started collecting a few JJ (Jonette Jewelry) pieces and am impressed with the quality of these mass produced castings. I am also baffled by the variety of whimsical and literal subject matter. An outsider studying 20th century American culture through costume jewelry would be convinced that we were obsessed with cats chasing mice and fish. I guess current internet culture does demonstrate our obsession with cats. I now work as a designer and model maker for a big jewelry company in California and I also wonder at the number of models and molds each of these companies created just dedicated to one particular theme.
The following pins depicting a cat and fishbowl were ALL MADE BY ONE COMPANY, Jonette Jewelry. I imagine every few years they felt they had to revamp this popular theme or give the consumer options within this theme. Each of these pins was available in different finishes and you can see the last one even has added color, definitely elevating the production cost. (I’m not even going to get started on the variety of cat and mouse jewelry because it’s too vast!)
JONETTE JEWELRY CAT AND FISHBOWL PINS
Next we have designs from two companies, Danecraft and Jonette Jewelry. I like to imagine a JJ design meeting: “Those jerks at Danecraft have a cool cat couple in a car?? We’ll show them!”
It’s not just cats. Cows are thoroughly represented, as are nurses, real estate brokers, wizards, pretty much every aspect of human, animal and fantasy life. There are Continue reading
Today, after 30 years on the Upper East Side I settled in to my new home in Los Angeles. I will continue to write from here but for my farewell to the UES I am going to reveal some never before seen faces…
The building I grew up in, 4 East 88th Street, has been referred to as NYC’s finest example of neo-federalist architecture by the Carnegie Hill Neighbors Architectural Guide. Designed by Electus D. Litchfield and erected in 1922, the building features a “broken pediment” whose void, just atop the awning, is filled by a carved stone “potpourri” of heads.
No one seems to know for sure who these heads represent. It has been suggested that they are American patriots or that one is Electus Litchfield, the architect himself. I have also only read or heard the head count at four to five even though at least four are clearly visible from the street. But, lucky for me the sculpture sits in one of my family’s windows and during some recent construction I leaned out the window (over a scaffolding and set off an alarm) and photographed the heads as best I could.
There are 8 heads. They go all the way around as if the sculpture was meant to sit on a table or in a garden with all sides visible, and not up against a wall. Unfortunately, their condition has deteriorated over the years and you can see some repairs are also deteriorating. So far I have looked for Litchfield’s records regarding this building in his archives at Columbia University’s Avery Library to try to find out where he acquired the sculpture. The records for this building were not at Avery but there is a chance they could be in the archives at the Met Museum – a task for when I visit my parents in NYC or maybe a task for Christopher Gray.
Anyway, without further ado, I present to you all eight heads.
1. The Topper…
Thursday, October 4, 2012
I’m moving to LA in January so I’m going to try to actually journal these last few months as a New Yorker and Upper East Sider.
Lost on the subway.
Went to Lefferts Gardens to have jewelry photographed by Alex Crowe
. Got on 5 train going home, ran across platform at Atlantic Ave to get 4 train thinking it would be faster, got absorbed in the free Metro paper (yesterday’s weirdly having been guest edited by Richard Branson
), arrived at last stop in wrong direction, Crown Heights. Had to take 4 all the way back to 86th Street, got very far in Metro paper because I was afraid to play boggle on my iphone because of all of the recent iphone muggings, especially because of the hypodermic needle mugger even though they caught him.
Still finding great architectural details.
6pm: Walked from 88th to 75th on Park Ave, excited to notice new architectural details. It happens often because so many buildings have scaffolding up for weeks or months at a time for repairs, when the scaffolding comes down there’s a discovery. Continue reading
that whenever I see an Afghan dog on the street (not very often) it reminds me of Sally Kellerman’s character in Back to School which is a nice thing to remember. It’s not just the hair, it’s the attitude.
Afghan Hound Photo by Mary Bloom