Friday, April 25, 2008

Elephants never forget

I have always loved elephants and never cease to be amazed by their immense size and incredible social structures; sadly there are fewer and fewer in natural habitats and zoo conditions are horrible for so intelligent an animal (for any animal for that matter). People still poach elephants for the ivory and the spaces they once roamed freely are being encroached upon.

Thanks to the folks at The Elephant Sanctuary in rural Tennessee who for years have been monitoring the welfare of elephants in captivity and who have been able to offer refuge to several dozen of these amazing pachyderms. How many elephants can you fit in a Mini Cooper?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Julius Shulman in Palm Springs

Was in Palm Springs this weekend and was fortunate enough to visit the Palm Springs Art Museum and see an amazing show of Julius Shulman's photographs - they manage to intimately explore the relationship between the desert and mid-century architecture at it's best.

Included in the exhibit is the famous Kaufman House painstakingly restored by Brent & Beth Edwards Harris who are now divorcing and putting the house up for auction - it is estimated it will fetch $15-$20 million and you may have recently seen it featured in your J. Crew catalog.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Geodesic Domes & Big Sur

Big Sur Dome in Bixbee Canyon

View of the front yard from upstairs at the dome

Buckminister Fuller in front of Geodesic Dome

Spent this weekend at friend Sandy's wonderful geodesic dome nestled in the woods of Bixbee Canyon where we walked to the beach directly under Bixbee Bridge on Highway One in Big Sur.
I have always loved domes and remember as a teenager going to see Buckminster Fuller lecture in Toronto. He was amazing as he stood with a blackboard and chalk and and explained the magic of the equilateral triangle to the audience.

Several years ago my friend Marianne had tickets for an amazing one man play here in San Francisco called R.Buckminster Fuller: The History (& Mystery) of the Universe. If it's ever revived and you're in the neighborhood go see it!

The dome may not be the best use of space, but the openness of the space and all the sunlight it allows into your living space is wonderful - especially when the living space is mountains and trees filled with songbirds!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Umrao Jaan

I appear to be still deeply immersed in Indian culture after my trip to Rajasthan earlier this year. Two or three years ago I purchased an Indian movie poster from 1981 online from a very nice woman in New Delhi. Truth be told, I bought it because of the beautiful actress Rekha depicted in it with her deep kohl-rimmed eyes, and jewelled hands inviting me in to another world. It turned out Umrao Jaan is a fairly well-known movie based on a well-known Urdu novel and so I decided to rent the movie from Netflix and watch it myself. The movie is not your normal Bollywood extravaganza as you can see a bit of it for yourself below, but it is a musical based on a form of poetry known as the "ghazal" that often centers around themes of "illicit unobtainable love". Being that is a universal theme, the movie has a classical, timeless quality to it. Unfortunately the 2006 remake is terrible, even if it does star the beautiful Aishwarya Rai who was Miss World 1994.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

malini ramani

Malini Ramani is evidently as much a celebrity in India as she is a clothing designer worn by Bollywood stars - Her 2006 bikini show leaves little to the imagination, but it's a far cry from learning how to wear a sari. Her own site is a fun online visit too.


One of my favorite sights in Rajasthan was the jugad which one might translate as "a put together contraption that moves" or, as a recent article on 1/1/08 in the Hindustan Times about Tata Motor's new car the Nano decribed them, "street slang for the Indian ability to find a way around the system".