Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 30, 2011 – The Adventure People

Because today was such a nice day, it seemed right to take the Adventure People out for a little photo shoot. Until last summer, they were lost in an attic on Cape Cod. The Fisher-Price Adventure People finally made it to the West Coast where they can go hiking in their sensible shoes and have, well, adventures. The Adventure People were Carter-Era toys that looked suspiciously like the Village People. Back from the days when they saved endangered species, joined the Peace Corps and put up solar panels. It was an era when Barbie learned math and GI Joe had a beard.

More photos from their adventures can be seen here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 29, 2011 – Field Guides

Being someone who loves the outdoors and hiking, of course I have a bookshelf full of nature and field guides including some of the distinctively blue Peterson Field Guides. I suspect these might be seen as a quaint collection in a few years. I can already hear young whippersnappers telling me, “There’s an app for that.” One day soon your phone might be able to recognize the image of any plant or animal you show to it. It will recognize the sound and then tell you the name of the bird. You might be trying to get a signal and, I could have told you, that’s a mountain lion that has it’s jaw clamped on your head….

In the meantime, I’ll stick to my old fashioned, field guides. They go with me on road trips and, if not too heavy, maybe in the backpack too. And just in time for summer in San Francisco, a new page not quite out of the Peterson guides, the various fogs of San Francisco.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 28, 2011 – Company Picnic

The company picnic is one of those vanishing traditions. It goes back to the days when employers still took a paternal attitude towards employees and kept many of them until retirement. I have mostly worked for smaller companies, but even had I worked for large employers, I still doubt I ever would have had the opportunity to go to a company picnic.

In my collection of collage fodder I have a Standard Oil employee magazine from 1940. There is a whole spread on the two, annual employee picnics they held. One picnic was down at Tejon Ranch and one for the Bay Area employees at the Rod and Gun club at the refinery in Point Richmond. The Rod and Gun Club was a large recreation area that included swimming pools and gyms for the workers at Standard Oil’s refinery. The images in the 1940 magazine have a bit of time capsule quality to them. The 1940 picnic was the last one before the U.S. entered Word War II. Very quickly everything changed in Richmond. A company town became a booming city almost overnight as workers poured into the Bay Area for the war effort.

Monday, June 27, 2011

June 27, 2011 – Emma Goldman

Can there be such a thing as an Un-National Holiday? Today would be a good candidate for one. We would certainly celebrate with dancing for it is Emma Goldman’s birthday. Emma Goldman was an anarchist, activist and writer who nowadays may be best known for a quote attributed to her, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” There is some debate if she actually said that, but the quote is in spirit of her writings and its sentiments hold true as much today as they did a century ago. Is there any better way to kill a party than with a humorless leftist?

Now, if you want to dance the Emma Goldman, it is really easy. The most important rule is that anyone can lead. Head up, look forward and always step to the left.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 26, 2011 – Weekend in Havana

Back in 1941 Carmen Miranda helped glamorize the ultimate getaway – the weekend in Havana. As soon as the war was over, travel was easier and trips to Cuba came back into style. Maude and Jack got down there for a little trip in January 1946 to see the Caribbean Shore where the view and music is tropical. I imagine a trip full of fruity cocktails and dancing the rumba. I have surmised all this from a postcard they mailed to their friend Patty Ann Burdge on Mapleleaf Avenue in Cincinnati. The card read as follows:
Dear Patty Ann,
Jack and I are in Cuba, come over on a big airplane. Everyone is so nice to us and I can’t understand a word they say, so they smile, and try to tell me by going through the motions.
Lots of Love,
Maude + Jack
Before cutting up these Cuban postcards I preserved them in a scan (see below). Patty Ann received a card with a cosmopolitan image of Havana. I had another card from the same era that depicted the cutting of sugar cane. Perhaps I am reading too much into the image, but there is something foretelling about the worker armed with a machete in the foreground while the plantation boss wears a pristine white suite and sits astride his horse. I could not resist juxtaposing both images, but then again, historical hindsight is always 20/20.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

June 25, 2011 – Gaudí

I can still remember the moment when I emerged from a Barcelona subway station at got my first glimpse of La Sagrada Família. I knew little about Barcelona and had no idea who Gaudí was. It was love at first sight. When I see photos from friends’ trips to Spain, I can see that the construction of the Cathedral has progressed along. It makes me a bit sad, reminding how long since I have been to Barcelona — one of my favorite cities.

A sparkly little collage in honor of Gaudí (who was born on June 25, 1852) is today’s piece for the 2011 Project. If ever there was a “mixed media architect,” it was Antoni Gaudí.

Friday, June 24, 2011

June 24, 2011 - Moore, Moor, More

About 10 years ago there was a large retrospective of Henry Moore’s work at the Legion of Honor. I dutifully went to have a look, yet have to confess that I rarely appreciate sculpture in a museum setting. I like to see sculpture outside and particular like to see large pieces in a more natural environment. Imagine if they could have closed the Lincoln Park golf course and filled it with Moore’s sculptures for the show. Yes, the security might have been a hassle and the golfers would have complained, but oh what a show. Ironically, what I liked best was on the walls, seeing Moore’s sketches for his work was nearly as interesting as the work itself.

In Northern California the best place to experience sculpture is probably the di Rosa Preserve up in Napa. The sculpture collection includes many pieces of public art that were rejected by communities. Communities like my own City, where the loudest nimby or hackneyed newspaper columnist feels entitled to act as art critic. San Francisco is a city bereft of public sculpture.

We do have a Henry Moore but it has to fight for attention on busy Van Ness Avenue in front of Symphony Hall. It’s a tough corner to work. But I always give it a look when I stroll by. On a recent trip I went past the sculpture and headed to the Main Library. At the weekly book sale out front I founded a tattered catalog of Moore’s work. Priced at only one dollar I felt no guilt in cutting up and creating today’s landscape.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 23, 2011 – The Conservatory

Add the Conservatory of Flowers to my list of favorite places in San Francisco. It was designed and modeled (on a smaller scale) after the greenhouses in Kew Gardens in London. Which is one of my favorite places in London. I always enjoy a good Victorian glass house.

This started back when I was about 10. San Francisco’s Conservatory was designed by the firm Lord & Burnham & Co. They also designed a similar structure for a Frederick Law Olmsted park in Buffalo. My grandfather worked at the one in Buffalo. I always remember those Sunday afternoon/early evening visits after the building was closed to the public. To this day, I kind of feel I should be entitled the same privilege here in San Francisco. Don’t they know my grandfather used to work in one of these?

I have read various histories about the Conservatory and there is some debate as to which facts are accurate. I will stick to the story I like best. In 1878 the building was ordered by local millionaire James Lick for his garden. Built to order in component parts, it was shipped from Great Britain. While the pieces were being shipped Mr. Lick expired. His widow had no interest in a white elephant of glass and wood. She generously donated it to the City for the new Golden Gate Park. The Conservatory is well built. It survived earthquakes in 1906 and 1989. Legend has it that the only damage in 1906 was the loss of three panes of glass. Afterwards the plants were brought outside and the building served as a makeshift hospital.

There may be some debate as to the older history of the Conservatory. I was here in December 1995 and remember what happened then. We had a very intense, windy storm blow in. Hundreds of big trees were toppled in Golden Gate Park and the Conservatory suffered some serious damage. The storm was blamed, but the biggest culprit was the City and a culture of neglect and corruption when it came to maintenance. In the aftermath of the storm local politicians including the mayor held the Conservatory hostage. They threatened to tear the Conservatory down. Fortunately the building was saved and restored after it was rolled into one of our massive bond issues. The politicians behaved as ugly as they always do, but luckily we got to keep this gem.

I walk around the Conservatory a few times every week, but only go inside a couple of times a year. I prefer those visits for the dampest and coldest winter days when I need a dose of the tropics.

I left my Art in San Francisco

As I approach the halfway point in the 2011 Project, it’s not surprising that many pieces have San Francisco references. Here are some of the specific San Francisco pieces.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 22, 2011 – Tobacco

Such a beautiful plant, if I had a garden I’d probably want to grow some tobacco. In my collage fodder boxes I found this old photos of a pair tobacco farmers. By the size of the original photo I am figuring it is from the 1930’s or 1940’s. Alas, it is a beautiful plant, but as most of us have figured out, smoking it is a pretty bad idea. If you’re not convinced, the FDA has a released a new series rather gruesome images of the effects of smoking. They are coming to a cigarette pack near you in 2012.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June 21, 2011 – Buzz

The year is nearly half over and today is the beginning of summer. In honor of summer and to celebrate National Pollinator Week today is the day for a honey bee portrait. Where would we be without our bees (and hummingbirds, butterflies, bats, et al)?

This piece is also featured on a print/poster available from Society6.

Monday, June 20, 2011

June 20, 2011 – White

The series of pieces for 2011 Project are including ones based on specific colors. Technically white is not a color, but I feel it needs it’s own piece as well. It was a bit challenging to determine the right way for me to express white. I could go with the blank canvas or similar minimalist approach. Then there is always the single, faint line of graphite on the piece of white tissue paper. “Sublime,” some of the gallerati might even exclaim. I so roll my eyes when it comes to that sort of silliness. Yesterday I visited the Botanical Garden in Berkeley and had my in inspiration

It was a hot, sunny day up in the Berkeley Hills. The Matilija Poppies were dazzling the way they captured the sunlight. When the sun catches the petals they appear to float like intense bright, pieces of tissue paper (how ironic) in front of a green background. Matilija Poppies have the largest flowers of any native Californian plant. If you think about it, it makes sense that a white flower would really have to put on quite the show to attract pollinators in California. Only the biggest and brightest white would do.

Matilija Poppies are the floral equivalent of bright white bed sheets floating in the breeze on a line of clean laundry. They are the perfect way to express the color white.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 19, 2011 – Diva

Sadly, the word “diva” has become so overused that it is beginning to lose it’s meaning. But the film of the same name lives up to its title. The other night I was surprised to learn that a friend, who knows his French movies, had never heard of, let alone seen Diva. It’s one of the greatest films of all time and I am rather astonished to realize it has already been 30 years since it was first released.

Diva was the directorial debut for French director Jean-Jacques Beineix. It starred Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez and Frédéric Andréi. The film is visually beautiful and has one of the best soundtracks of all time. I have listened to the soundtrack hundreds of times. It includes an Aria from Alfredo Catalnai’s opera La Wally. Catalani is a relatively unknown Italian composer and his operas remain fairly obscure. His most well known contribution to music may be the aria used in the film.

Diva had a steady showing on the second-run theatre circuit in the 1980’s. As many of those old theatres have closed up, it’s sad that films like this don’t get shown very often. They become overwhelmed and lost in the in the thousands of titles available from services like Netflix. There was something to say for the curatorial approach that certain art house theatres took back then. It’s sad too, because like many films, Diva has less of an impact on the small screen.

If I still haven’t convinced you yet to seek out Diva, just watch the trailer

Saturday, June 18, 2011

June 18, 2011- Glitter

What if volcanoes spewed glitter instead of lava? The world would certainly be a more dazzling and glamorous place.

I realized the 2011 Project needed a piece dedicated specifically to glitter. It’s not quite lava, but glitter deserves to be categorized a “dangerous” art supply. It has a special way of getting into everything. You can be reminded days later that you were working with glitter. Little flecks of it are always showing up here and there. It’s no wonder that glitter has recently replaced the pie-in-the-face when “greeting” politicians. They can always clean up after a pie, but glitter will keep appearing for a while, reminding them that they got glittered.

Friday, June 17, 2011

June 17, 2011- Summer Pie

Another piece about pie, but don’t we all want a second piece of piece of pie? This time I used reproductions of vintage fruity wallpaper as well as an image of one of my great grandmother’s pie recipes in her own hand. It’s just about time to make her strawberry glazed pie. It was one of her favorites (and mine too).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

June 16, 2011 – Pie in the Sky

As I worked on today’s piece for the 2011 Project the image of the blueberry pie morphed into a Pie in the Sky. This made me curious. I wondered where this expression came from. It turns out it is a line in the chorus from the song The Preacher and the Slave written by Joe Hill in 1911.

And the Starvation Army, they play,
And they sing and they clap and they pray,
Till they get all your coin on the drum,
Then they tell you when you're on the bum
You will eat, bye and bye,
In that glorious land above the sky;
Work and pray, live on hay,
You'll get pie in the sky when you die

The song was written as a parody of the sort of hymns sung by the Salvation Army. The full lyrics are here. Joe Hill was a Swedish-born, American labor leader and songwriter. He was framed and then executed by the State of Utah in 1915. Not surprisingly, my America education never taught me about Joe Hill or his legacy. Rather, I learned about him when I was an exchange student in Sweden.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 15, 2011 – Civic Center

After all these years, I still go back to the same image every time I walk through Civic Center Plaza. Under the pollarded trees I always am ready for Donald Sutherland to pop out with his scary face from the end of the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I have friends who really object to those alien-looking trees. Personally I can’t imagine Civic Center without them. I like them.

The real jewel of Civic Center is San Francisco’s City Hall. I love having an excuse to go inside. The best word to describe it is grand. When you step under the dome you know you are in one of the greatest civic buildings in the West. I know some Europeans can be a tad dismissive, I’ve heard Brits make snide remarks like, “When you have St. Paul’s… Uh yeah, but for the Western U.S. it’s pretty darn good. And unlike the grand edifices of London, we actually are happy to have you walk around and have a look. No matter which of the grand buildings you visit in London, you’ll always encounter some pompous old curmudgeon who confuses being a docent with a being a member of the WWII Home Guard.

Aside from City Hall itself, Civic Center is a place that it seems many San Franciscans really dislike. They still complain about the Old Main Library being converted to the Asian Art Museum (I like it actually). And yes, the new(er) Main Library is not quite perfect, but I like it as well. I appreciate how the contemporary façade compliments the other Beaux-Arts architecture around the plaza. Visually it is a good urban space. The plaza also acts as the perfect stage set for the mob. Oh the mobs and the memories….

Civic Center might also be a bit haunted. It sits on top of the old City Cemetery. That is the same cemetery that was relocated to what is now Lincoln Park. When the golf course and Legion of Honor were constructed, the cemetery was once again relocated down the Peninsula. The headstones were moved and most of the human remains were moved. But in both cases, quite a few graves were left behind.

Today is Wednesday — it is usually my day to visit Civic Center. I always check the steps of the library book sale and find some good collage fodder for $1. The next stop is the farmer’s market. Nectarines are in season and they are about to head into the oven and meet some brown sugar for dessert tonight.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 14, 2011 – Bear Flag

165 years ago today, in 1846, Sonoma experienced the Bear Flag Revolt and the declaration of the California Republic. The short-lived republic lasted less than a month until California was “annexed” by the United States during its war with Mexico. Mexican historians would likely tell a different version of this bit of history. Although all parties involved tend to ignore the native Californians who had been living here for thousands of years before any Europeans arrived.

The lasting legacy of the Bear Flag Revolt is our state flag. Our flag is a modern version of the flag designed in 1846 by William Todd. It featured the red star from a lone star flag from an earlier rebellion in 1936. The 1846 flag had the addition of a grizzly bear, a red bar and the words California Republic. Hypothetically, if we were to have our own country, California has a ready-made flag bearing the name California Republic. It’s been our official flag since 1911.

My favorite part of the Bear Flag’s history might be this little bit I found on wikipedia:

In 1953, the design and specifications for the state flag were standardized in a bill signed by Governor Earl Warren. The Californian state flag is often called the "Bear Flag" and in fact, the present statute adopting the flag, Gov. Code 420, states: "The Bear Flag is the State Flag of California."

Code 420 indeed! I love California.

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 13, 2011 – Aerogramme

1) Fold first at notches, 2) Second fold, 3) Seal top flap last.

This is what you did with an aerogramme after you had filled it with as much information as possible. Nice tight small handwriting or a typewriter really helped. I found some unused aerogrammes from 1984 today. These were the special ones with an Olympic theme. In those days they cost 30¢. It was the cheapest way to send a lot of information overseas. They were franked with postage and designed to be folded-up, licked and sealed. The backside made it’s own envelope and the rule was you couldn’t put anything in side. In some countries you could buy aerogrammes in stationary stores and affix stamps to them. They were ideal for broke students and also immigrants. It was an inexpensive way to send a letter back home. And, as there were never any additional contents, the mail was not as likely to be stolen in countries with a less than reliable postal service. It all harkens back to the days when receiving a personal letter was a pleasant event. About five years ago the U.S. Postal Service decided to let the current stock run out because there hadn’t been any demand for aerogrammes in many years. I can’t remember the last time I sent an aerogramme, it’s been over 20 years.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June 12, 2011 – Sunday Afternoon

There are a number of pleasant distractions for a Sunday afternoon here in the Bay Area. Yet, if I were in Madrid, I could add bullfighting to the list. I actually have never been to a bullfight and really have no interest in seeing one. Yet there is something I find compelling about the imagery. When it’s depicted in an Almodóvar film, bullfighting becomes downright glamorous. I wonder if there is an artist somewhere in Spain who would look towards America and say the same about NASCAR? I suppose it is always possible to see something in a foreign culture that is not really there, but that would be a stretch. The imagery of bullfighting in art always draws me in as well. Can a corpse be stunning? It can if it is Édouard Manet ‘s painting of a dead bullfighter. Today’s inspiration and material came from something a little more ordinary — some vintage bullfighting postcards and a ticket to a bullfight in Madrid on a Sunday afternoon 50 years ago.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

June 11, 2011 – Frozen Desserts

This is the time of the year when we are reminded that San Francisco is a different place. In a different country called America it is hot and summery. Friends and family there start complaining about the heat. They are either are incredulous, annoyed or both when we casually mention putting the heat on here n San Francisco. Our summer rule is never leave the house without layers, lots of layers.

For all those folks cooking away in America, it’s time for something summery like a frozen dessert. The manual from a 1950’s Coldstar Refrigerator has all sorts of recipes for “delicious” frozen treats. Every desert seems to involve jello. Snow pudding calls for gelatin, sugar, and beaten egg whites. One of these days, when I am feeling particularly ambitious, I’ll have to host a dinner party only using vintage, 1950’s recipes.

Friday, June 10, 2011

June 10, 2011 – Land of Georgia

There is a Georgia as in the former Soviet Republic and there is Georgia in the South, but then there is the Land of Georgia as in Georgia O’Keeffe. New Mexico is the Land of Georgia, or as I prefer to call it, The Holy Land.

This week I bought a kid’s Georgia O’Keeffe art book at the dollar sale on the library steps. All but discarded, I could use it for collage without any guilt. Dissecting and repositioning pieces of her paintings is an interesting exercise in Art History. I quickly realized that in some ways, everything she painted was a landscape. You see it in the flowers you see it in the skulls.

Unfortunately I hear too many people dismiss Georgia O’Keeffe. Yes, her work is very popular. It’s also been over reproduced in the world of calendars and greeting cards. But you know why people love the work? It’s really good. It is a silly type of snobbery just to dismiss an artist solely because her work is popular. And if you know New Mexico, and you can’t be there at the moment, one of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings has the power to take you right back. You can feel the summer heat, sense the stillness and you and maybe you can even smell the smoke drifting across the state right now.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

June 9, 2011 – My First and Favorite CD

Even back to the days when albums still meant vinyl, I always have purchased and listened to music the same way. Depending on how much I like the album, I tend to play it constantly for a period of days or weeks and move on to the next “new” thing. The ones I really like stay in rotation and make gradual reappearances. I do not think I am unique in the pattern. Ironically, the first CD I ever purchased 20 years ago, the day I bought a CD player, remains an all time favorite that I still listen to regularly. It was a release called The Legendary João Gilberto. The CD contains 38 original bossa nova tracks recorded between 1958 and 1961. It is perfect and flawless. A few years back I was able to see João Gilberto in concert, or I should say, bask in his presence. Today is João Gilberto’s 80th Birthday. Feliz aniversário!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

June 8, 2011 – Caverns

I always like a good cavern or cave tour — the colors, the cool, wet air, stalagmites and stalactites. If they make you wear a hard hat, it even feels like more of an adventure. But if it’s serious spelunking, I’ll pass. That’s what PBS and National Geographic are for.

I bought a whole bunch of postcard booklets on my latest Vintage Paper Fair excursion. I really love these things. I even made a series of handmade one-of-a-kind postcard booklets in 2009. One of my latest acquisitions was a postcard booklet from the Caverns of Luray in Virginia.

The postcard booklet used for this piece was mailed in August 1941 to Mrs. Zraleny at her home in Pittsburgh (see below). I was curious – the house still stands on Lotus Way in Pittsburgh (thanks Google Streetview). The surname Zraleny seems to have vanished (it’s not on Goggle). It might be one of those names that was altered and Americanized in the last 70 years.

I have never been to Luray Caverns. I might just need to take a trip to Virginia.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June 7, 2011 – Kodachrome Explosion

It sounds like the name of a short-lived Albuquerque new wave band circa 1983. Actually it was just inspired by a vintage, souvenir booklet with lurid, colorful images of scenic New Mexico.

Ironically, actual kodacrhome images have held up incredibly well. Slides from the 1950’s have retained stunning color. When they are scanned, they sometimes look like brand new digital images. A friend recently started posting scanned slides of his 1950’s childhood. The images look new. It’s another example of how popular photography technology keeps changing and how some of the older images hold up much better than photos from the 1960’s and beyond. The concern is to make sure our current digital images are properly stored. One of the biggest faults with digital photography is that we will lose the opportunity to find random old photos in boxes and scrapbooks in the future.

Monday, June 6, 2011

June 6, 2011 – Red

The color for today is red. It starts with a scavenger hunt through the house looking for red things to cut up. It’s not long before have more than enough. For the 2011 Project today’s color is red. Over the course of the year I want to do a piece about each color.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

June 5, 2011 – Prayer Flags

The prayers of all good people are good,” were the words of Willa Cather spoken through the voice of the grandfather in her novel My Ántonia. Ever since I first read that, I’ve felt that if we are going to have religious sentiments on our currency, we should remove In God we Trust and replace it with The prayers of all good people are good. It’s a sentiment that expresses tolerance and respect for others as well as acknowledging the positive aspects of other people’s beliefs. Imagine a world where The prayers of all good people are good was a tenet of every religion.

While I am neither Tibetan nor a Buddhist there are things I find attractive about Tibetan prayer flags on many levels. Of course I go for pretty much anything colorful. And beyond the color, I like the sense that the flags are like temporary art installations. The prayers flags are admirable just from an aesthetic point of view. But it gets better — traditionally the flags are printed with prayers and the belief that the wind carries the positive message printed on the flags out into the world.

There are also traditions that respect the flags as sacred objects — one might question cutting them up for a work of art. But the flags I used are those fundraising ones that virtually every San Franciscan gets in a letter a few times a year. Those five little flags are as ubiquitous as a Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon. In themselves, they do not feel sacred. And even if some perceive these flags as sacred, wouldn’t it be appropriate to use them in art to spread a positive message? The mantra for the day is The prayers of all good people are good.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

June 4, 2011 – International Drawing Day

Today the 2011 Project will include my contribution for Drawing Day. I am not sure if a million drawings in one day are possible. Now there are just 999,999 to go. And of course when I draw, an element maps and collage is always part of the work.

Friday, June 3, 2011

June 3, 2011 – National Donut Day

Admittedly it’s a silly excuse for a holiday, but what can be wrong about a holiday where the sole way to celebrate is to eat some donuts? I try to eat relatively healthy, but on National Donut Day we all get to be Homer Simpson. We can all take a day off from paying attention. This morning I picked up my “models” (see below) and had to resist while painting.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

June 2, 2011 – Apricot Time

There are many ways to measure time. Fruits and vegetables can be nearly as accurate as any calendar. Just allow for a bit of variation due to weather. Any farmer’s market regular has a pretty good sense of the time of the year by what appears at the farmer’s market. It all depends on where you live. Here in the Bay Area we know it’s June and the year is almost half past when the farmer’s markets fill with fresh apricots. California grows over 90% of the apricots in the United States and they sure are tasty. I am not objective when it comes to apricots.

The apricots on my kitchen counter tell me it’s June. I’ll know it’s 5 o’clock when my home is filled with a wonderful smell coming form the oven. The smell is from the meeting of sugar, apricots and cherries in a summer cobbler. Some great recipes are right here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 1, 2011 – Cosmos Pliage de Papier

I know just enough French to know better, but not that much to know French.

On my most recent Japantown excursion I bought some groovy, outer space-themed, foiled origami paper. It’s the sort of thing that will always come in handy. Oddly enough all the Japanese is translated quite literally into English and French. The product is described as Japanese Folding Paper. Obviously the translator was unaware that origami is an English word now too. There are some important cautionary warnings on the package in Engrish. My favorite is, “No horseplay with the folded paper.”

What caught my eye this morning was the French translation for origami paper — Cosmos Pliage de papier. It stirred my imagination and I quickly imagined some dashing, aristocratic French playboy circa 1959. Cosmos Pliage de Papier would be the sort of jetsetter who’d be racing cars, hobnobbing in Monaco and training to be France’s first man in space. He’d finish a quick last cigarette. Then climb aboard the rocket that would blast off from a base in Nouvelle Guinée. I can imagine the black and white footage and I can nearly hear the Serge Gainsbourg tune about Cosmos Pliage de Papier. All that from a package of origami paper….