Land of the Free

Land of the Free

America has for years been tagged; land of the free, home of the brave. The truth of that tag line is tested regularly as the country evolves. For better or worse, America remains a young country with an evolving landscape and identity. Relative to cultural arts as part of the fiber of our nation, we have historically done well. American arts leading the way globally, allowing citizens to take pride, pursue careers and succeed. From fashion to architecture, visual arts and performing arts, controversial or emerging studies, classic and modern, American people, American talent, has been passionate, cultivated, recognized, and rewarded. Until today. America is in turmoil. Regardless of what side of any argument one person finds themselves, the fact is that cultural arts are in the throws of enormous challenges. Leadership in America no longer advocates to develop or support the cultural arts as a part of national heritage or education. Cultural arts in America is no longer embedded in the future plans for our “land of the free”. Access to the arts is increasingly unaffordable, inaccessible, privatized, and elitist. It’s likely to get worse. A fact of survival for cultural arts organizations and artists, is an increased need for funding from the private and corporate sectors.   The erosion of funding for the arts has always been a challenge. Today, its simply  catastrophic, a prerequisite for choosing a career in this sector “only brave need apply”. Arts organizations in America are destined to shrink, in many cases rapidly. The future survival of any organization is dependent on shifting business models, new attitudes about revenue generation, and cost of services. This means increased selection of what and who succeeds based on new commercialized standards for business practices. In the land of the free,...
Art Collecting Dreams

Art Collecting Dreams

Such a lovely French Actress captured by Édouard Manet. As detailed in the New York Times the impressionist works has sold for a very large some and surprisingly trumped the previous weeks trend of surrealism being the big ticket wave! Wow..what a bidding war and the selling price staggering! In some ways to see this impressionist work leave the private sector bound for a lovely museum on the west coast is bitter sweet. While all of us can soon travel out to the Getty for the future showing of this beauty, the fact that paintings like these are no longer hanging mysteriously in the old salons and apartments of collectors around the world somehow seems sad. Imagine works of art like this appearing from the private hands that have treasured them for generations; it’s like a curtain parting, allowing us to peek into a world far away from our meager day to day lives. How exciting and wondrous to think about the homes and people who can say “yes, we have a small Manet in the hall, it’s been there as long as I can remember”. Makes me feel like this gracious lofty world is still magically intact and even if it’s only in my dreams, I may fantasize being part of it! I would love to have a Monet, a Renoir, a Caillebotte and or even a Pissarro to hang in my home some day. Perhaps if I ever come into wealth I will buy my apartment in Paris and go to the auctions at Christie’s… out bid those dealers representing the great museums and purchase that rare gem...
5 Travel Tips to the City of Light

5 Travel Tips to the City of Light

TRAVEL IN EARLY FALL! Imagining a perfect trip to Paris does NOT typically include 90F (32C) weather, lines two hours long, hot cramped chateaus full of families with screaming children. The fact is; who seeks crowds and heat! If this rings true, September travel should be perfect timing!! September – October not only is the weather perfect but the prices are great as well. Technically speaking summer has ended; children are back in school and its back to business as usual for locals. Seasons are starting to change and IF there happens to be a rainy day it is easily remedied by ducking into a café, shop, museum, church or grabbing a cab… p.s. carrying an umbrella isn’t a bad idea either. No matter, keep in mind Paris is beautiful in the rain! START YOUR TRIP IN THE SUBURBS The fact is that a big city requires transitioning and can sometimes be slightly overwhelming. In addition everyone for the first few days deals with that not-so-fun travel companion…jet lag! Starting travel somewhere relaxing can be a great way to ease into and make a journey extra rewarding. My favorite place to go for the first few days is the city of Versailles! It’s a perfect quant little suburb of Paris and only a train ride away from the city center! Versailles offers many beautiful hotel options, my personal favorite being the Trianon Palace a beautifully restored chateau occupying its own corner of Versailles gardens. Not only is this a beautiful hotel but it provides easy access to the Versailles chateau, gardens, the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon. Leaving...
Negotiating Treasure

Negotiating Treasure

Finding myself in Paris again and what do I do…go to the “Puces” of course!! I have long figured out how to negotiate at the Flea Market! Over the years I have used the same 4 step process with much success. The first key is that you pick the right time to do your buying. This is important because the vendor must be in need of sales. Come on we all know what it is to hit quota for the day! Typically I pick Saturday afternoon…not too late just enough to gage the crowd. Say 3:00-4:00pm.   Then I use the 4 steps: Step 1: Desire…when you first encounter something you want make sure you evaluate the item. Loads of copies here…which is ok but just be certain you’re getting what you pay for? Comprenez-vous? Step 2: Pout…Make sure the seller understands that you want the item but cannot spend more than a set amount…pout…I want it so bad would you take… €200? No! S’il vous plaît! Ok I understand…now POUT! Facial expression only! Step 3: WALK AWAY! Yes, walk away. You may love it but remember two things the seller may come down and you may find something else just as wonderful around the next corner!! Step 4: Give it 30 minutes (minimum) and up to 1 hour (maximum). Find your way back to the stall…look around do not ask about the piece just look around…If the seller say’s nothing then the deal will never happen BUT don’t be surprised at how often they come around. I SWEAR IT WORKS! Like a charm…of course if the seller does...
Chefs are the New Rock Stars and Food is their Music

Chefs are the New Rock Stars and Food is their Music

Food has always been a symbol of culture. It is the one thing we all have in common our love for a good meal. But the culinary world is changing, food is no longer just for nourishment it has become an art form. …And chefs are the artist People pay thousands of dollars and travel across the globe just to experience food prepared by a particular chef. In 2012 the food network had an average of 1.1 million viewers per night in America alone. We don’t even care about eating the food…as long as we can see chefs make it! Just as every painting is different, every plate is unique. Each chef has his or her own form of expression, style and background. Each explores flavor, technique and visual to create their own individual kind of food. It is the creation of visual edible art. Not to get too flowery on you but… there is also something even more amazing about each dish that you eat because it is immediately destroyed. Even if the dish can be recreated it will never be exactly the same. Every culinary experience is completely different, just like every song, painting and sculpture. It has the power to make us happy, sad, excited and frustrated. It is the thing closest to our hearts. It is what literally keeps us going. To every great chef and those aspiring to become one I say “bravo” and “encore!” Who’s...
Men Love Paris?

Men Love Paris?

While patrolling the internet for anything to do with Paris I found an article on AskMen which suggested that the average man cringes at the thought of traveling to Paris. For them the “City of Light” lacks luster, as they see it Paris is “a city filled with America-hating wimps who sit around all day in cafes drinking wine and writing poems.” Of course It doesn’t help that half the time they are being dragged there by their better half in search of a romantic getaway. NOT the typical Man’s cup of café… non? I am sad to say that I find this often to be true. The problem is that there is a great deal of very masculine oriented aspects about Paris that often men seem to forget or not know about… For one, did you know that the Eiffel Tower was only meant to stand for 20 years? When first erected many thought the Eiffel Tower was an eyesore… WHAT a giant metal phallic monument that overshadows Paris an eyesore?  Funny that it is now a symbol of Paris and France for that matter!  The only reason it survived was because the French military realized it was an amazing long-range radio. Thankfully this amazing monument was saved even if only because it is very tall! Another très cool thing about this monument; for a period of 40 years the Eiffel Tower was at 10,000 feet the tallest structure in the world… also the base pillars are oriented with the four points of the compass. Pretty sweet! I am sure every man can appreciate this one, Paris was the birth place of...