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December 10, 2005

Anti-Love Poem — by Grace Paley

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Sometimes you don't want to love the person you love
you turn your face away from that face
whose eyes lips might make you give up anger
forget insultIndent_white_space_block_2_letters_1steal sadness of not wanting
to loveIndent_white_space_block_2_letters_1turn away then turn awayIndent_white_space_block_2_letters_1at breakfast
in the evening don't lift your eyes from the paper
to see that face in all its seriousness a
sweetness of concentrationIndent_white_space_block_2_letters_1he holds his book
in his handIndent_white_space_block_2_letters_1the hard-knuckled winter wood-
scarred fingersIndent_white_space_block_2_letters_1turn awayIndent_white_space_block_2_letters_1that's all you can
do old as you are to save yourself from love
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December 10, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

18k Gold Flash Drive

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It started last year, when Links of London offered its silver–plated flash drive (below),

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costing six or seven times what comparable capacity drives were running at the time.

Then SanDisk got into the mix and brought out its much more reasonably priced titanium–covered flash drive (below).

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Now, just in time for the holidays and those who've someone special on their list who's impossible to shop for comes the 18k gold flash drive from Obsidian.

This private London art gallery, established in 1978, specializes in vintage Cartier objets d'arts, jewelry and watches.

Since there really aren't any such baubles with a flash drive, it would appear that owner–founder Harry Fane decided to create one from scratch.

This should not have posed too monumental a task for his extensive roster of specialized craftsmen and artisans.

In any event, Jonathan Margolis featured the golden drive in his "technopolis" column in yesterday's Financial Times "How To Spend It" supplement.

It costs £1,175 ($2,062; €1,744) in 18k gold; £846 ($1,485; €1,256) in 9k gold; and £611 ($1,072; €907) in silver.

Both gold versions hold 1Gb; the silver, 512Mb.

PC and Mac compatible.

Obsidian is at 13 Duke Street, London SW1; 020-7930-8606; email: info@harryfane.com

December 10, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Experts' Expert: Über–Chef Daniel Boulud on the best cheap eats in New York

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Maybe you were so bedazzled by the maestro's aura when you saw him last week at Macy's that you forgot to ask where's a good place to get a dog in Gotham.

Not to worry — the Wall Street Journal's Katy McGlaughlin tracked him down and popped the question.

Boulud's five favorite cheap, fast and delicious Manhattan food stops are noted in McLaughlin's story in today's paper; the article follows.

Tell you what: If I'm in New York today I'm off with this list for a great day of food fun.

    Chef's Choice

    Daniel Boulud on his favorite cheap eats in New York

    Daniel Boulud, chef and owner of restaurants including Manhattan's haute-cuisine Daniel and DB Bistro Moderne (home of a $69 hamburger stuffed with foie gras and fresh truffles), doesn't do downscale. But when he's off the job, the French chef lays off the caviar. "Not that I live on junk food, but I like cheap eats," he says. In Paris, he goes for the bistro scene -- the "best and cheapest" of which is Le Comptoir in the Latin Quarter, where the chef's choice of five courses costs about $47. As holiday visitors from around the country sweep into New York, where fine-dining costs can be exorbitant, we asked him to pick some places where people can stay on budget but still get great, authentic food.

    * * *

    F&B Güdtfood
    gudtfood.com
    269 W. 23rd St., 646-486-4441

    The restaurant "has hot dogs from all over the world. They have the Great Dane, exactly what they have in Denmark [$3.50]. They are a little slim and long, with sweet relish, chopped crispy onions and Danish mustard."

    * * *

    Joe's Shanghai
    joeshanghairestaurant.com
    9 Pell Street, 212-233-8888
    24 W. 56th St., 212-333-3868

    The crab and pork soup dumplings (which contain savory broth as well as stuffing) have a "very good crab stock; the crab flavor is almost refined as French cuisine. These are some of the best," even counting restaurants in Hong Kong and Beijing. At Pell Street in Chinatown, $6.25 for eight dumplings; at 56th Street, $8.25 for six dumplings.

    * * *

    Via Quadronno
    viaquadronno.com
    25 E. 73rd St., 212-650-9880

    It has "a very interesting tiramisu. They serve the biscuit, the coffee," and the mascarpone cream, "and you make your own little mix" ($14 for two people). The panini are also good: "I like the mortadella panini, with a little mustard" ($6.50).

    * * *

    Daisy May's Barbecue U.S.A.
    daisymaybbq.com
    623 11th Ave., 212-977-1500

    Mostly takeout and delivery, with some limited seating. Mr. Boulud's former protégé, Adam Perry Lang, who worked at Daniel as a line cook, owns the place. "I was very proud to see a chef who found his muse -- that's important." Mr. Boulud likes the ribs ($9.50), the greens ($7 for a medium creamed spinach) and cornbread ($2).

    * * *

    Franny's
    frannysbrooklyn.com
    295 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn, 718-230-0221

    "For me, a good pizza is a blend of a crispy and lightly chewy crust, wide and thinner rather than shorter and thicker. I like the clam pizza," he says, calling it "briny, garlicky, herbal, with a bit of olive oil" ($15).

********************

Boulud is everywhere: on November 30 the New York Times had a front page Dining section story with a photo of Boulud and his krew preparing a bespoke private meal in the home of a Manhattan couple for a small group of friends invited to a no–limits tenth anniversary celebration.

Turns out that if you've got the cash, Boulud — or almost any world–class chef — will happily stop by with their knives and stuff to prepare you the meal of a lifetime.

That's cash with a boldface capital $.

December 10, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Zipper Pull Strobe Watch

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A lot going on in a small space.

"This simple zipper pull has a digital clock built in and an LED strobe at the end, just in case. Twist–on/off strobe can be seen up to a mile away. Dangles approximately 3" from the zipper."

• Digital time

• Waterproof

• High–impact plastic construction

• 1.5 mm climbing cord

• Metal hook clip

• Batteries included

• 4.5"L x 0.5"D

• Weighs 3 oz.

In Lime (top), Red, Yellow or Blue.

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$12 here.

December 10, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Fashion in Colors'

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The photo above took up nearly the entire upper half of yesterday's New York Times Weekend Arts section front page, and well it should have.

It's sensational, as is the outfit it depicts, designed by Vivienne Westwood in 1993.

The ensemble is one of 68 exhibits in the new show, "Fashion in Colors," which opened yesterday at the Cooper–Hewitt Design Museum in New York.

Roberta Smith wrote a rave review of the show: it follows.

    Sartorial Brilliance Before All Was Black

    Talk about an opening salvo.

    "This is not your usual museum fashion exhibition," claims the first text panel in "Fashion in Colors" at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

    The imperious italicized sneer may grate a bit, but the claim is justified.

    Where there is art, there is almost always color, and at the moment New York's big museum shows seem to be unusually steeped in it.

    One can bask in the radiant golds and pastels of the early Renaissance in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Fra Angelico exhibition.

    The same palette echoes through the icons that lead off the "Russia!" show at the Guggenheim Museum and the New York Public Library's movable feast of illuminated manuscripts.

    At the Museum of Modern Art, the sonorous hues of Elizabeth Murray's shaped canvases are offset by the ethereal tones that dominate the Redon exhibition downstairs.

    The Richard Tuttle show at the Whitney explores color as material, often to exuberant effect.

    Still, for a ravishing, eye-bending, mind-altering experience of color as color, try "Fashion in Colors" with its superbly selected and presented array of 68 garments and ensembles.

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    Sartorial gorgeousness abounds.

    Each design is a standout in one regard or another, and each rewards extended study.

    This show transcends the usual fashion exhibition because color has been allowed to reign supreme.

    Rather than style, technique or chronology, the installation is ordered according to the spectrum.

    It starts with a gallery of black garments and after a wild-card multicolor section proceeds through galleries devoted to clothing that is exclusively blue, red or yellow and finally white.

    "Fashion in Colors" is a collaboration with the Kyoto Costume Institute, a prestigious collection of Western garments in Kyoto, Japan, and has been organized by Barbara Bloemink, the Cooper-Hewitt's curatorial director, and Akiko Fukai, the institute's chief curator.

    It ranges through 300 years of Western dress for women, concentrating on lavish gowns and ensembles from the 19th and 20th centuries. Names like Vionnet, Chanel, Dior, Commes des Garçons and Balenciaga recur. (So do Viktor & Rolf, the Dutch avant-garde fashion designers, who organized a larger version of this show with Ms. Fukai and Shinji Kohmoto, chief curator of the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto last year.)

    Lighting by Leni Schwendinger Light Projects reinforces the show's color-by-color progression, along with the color-coordinated mannequins, pedestals and walls that are part of the installation designed by Tsang Seymour Design.

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    The white screen-like structures that function as palate cleansers between some of the sections are a bit gratuitous, but one transition almost counts as installation art.

    The ceiling of a long corridor following the gallery of multicolored garments is stretched with a pixilated camouflage fabric whose colors and patterns are in constant rhythmic flux, thanks to invisible computerized lighting.

    Resembling an artificial sky fast-forwarding from night to day and through the seasons, it wordlessly demonstrates a basic principle: color is a variable in which both light and matter collude.

    This show has a formal rigor and wholeness that Minimalist gurus like Donald Judd, Dan Flavin and James Turrell might endorse.

    The garments and their carefully orchestrated presentation place color midway between art and life, making you think about it aesthetically while experiencing it viscerally.

    This is unusual and intense.

    Perhaps because clothing relates so directly to the body and to personal taste, its impact can sometimes exceed that of other artworks or artifacts.

    Tailors and dressmakers have known for centuries that color changes when its materials change, but this concept is relatively new in Western high art.

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    It was brought to the fore in the late 1950's and early 60's, when artists like Judd, Flavin, John Chamberlain, Claes Oldenburg, Yves Klein and Lucio Fontana began to take strong undiluted color beyond the traditional materials of painting and sculpture. (Judd in particular complained about the lack of color in three-dimensional work, but he might have paid closer attention to fashion.)

    The impact of material on color emerges slowly in the all-black opening galleries, where the prevailing darkness attunes the eye to subtle tonal shifts.

    The garments skip from ostentatious 19th-century mourning gowns (an American one with jet beads and lace dates from 1865, the last year of the Civil War) to early examples of the sexy, modern little black dress developed by Vionnet and Chanel in the years following World War I.

    The black materials include a long skirt of chenille fringe over lace-covered cream-colored satin (!), gabardine, cotton, crepe, silk gazar (a puff-sleeved dress by Balenciaga) and silk taffeta (a spectacular example of one of Viktor & Rolf's effusively bowed ribbon dresses, also puffy).

    The multicolor section provides instant relief from the austerities of black.

    A pungent A-line dress from 1967 by Yves Saint Laurent combines an enlarged paisley motif in magenta, yellow, green and black with a broad, glass-bead yoke that is worthy of Cleopatra.

    The importance of materials is repeatedly driven home.

    The soft reds and greens of an Armani evening dress made of woven velvet ribbons contrast with an equally colorful draped vest, by Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, covered with hard, shiny sequins.

    A 1775 French court dress in heavy brocaded silk rife with flowers and vines measures its considerable mass against a frothy parfait of a skirt by Vivienne Westwood from 1993, which takes up almost as much room with layers of contrasting nylon tulle, dotted and plain.

    The show's most sublime section, also one of its largest, is devoted to blue, a color that only the royal or the rich could once afford.

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    There are several garments from the high-income brackets, including an imposingly broad Mantua dress from 18th-century England whose light blue silk taffeta is brocaded with a bold leaf pattern in silver.

    And there are some fascinating modern excursions into color: a tiered pouf dress from 1956 by Christian Dior that seems printed with a photograph of watery blue reflections - actually just watered silk - and a gown of polyester organdy by Junya Watanabe so bulky that its mannequin seems wrapped for shipping.

    A red and yellow jacket and skirt ensemble is only slightly less sculptural.

    Color reaches a searing intensity in three opulent day dresses made in England and France between 1865 and 1875.

    Two are mauve, one is an almost violently bright deep blue; all were made after 1858 when aniline dyes were invented and saturated colors became more widely available and wildly fashionable.

    As the next gallery demonstrates, there was such a rage for red in England that it was used for corsets, bustles and petticoats.

    The red section also includes a handsomely severe French redingote, or full-length coat, from 1810, which shows the influence of military uniforms on women's fashions, and a visite, another coat favored by French women, that suggests a Japanese kimono made from a fringed paisley shawl.

    There is also another ribbon dress by Viktor & Rolf, strikingly sculptural and gloriously impractical, in shades of pink.

    This exhibition confirms that color is one of the natural world's greatest gifts and also one of its most inherently refined.

    It is not a raw material that we transform; we can only emulate colors that already exist, hoping to copy them or equal them in brilliance.

    "Fashion in Colors" reveals some of the fruits of that effort, amplifying the power and nurturing force of color to a revelatory degree.

    Revel in it.

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    What sharpens the senses sharpens the mind.

********************

Note: The left sidebar of the Times story has a link to a multimedia slide show featuring a number of other exhibits in the show; it's narrated by Barbara Bloemink, the Cooper–Hewitt's curatorial director.

Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, 2 East 91st Street, Manhattan, through March 26; 212-849-8400; ndm.si.edu

December 10, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gucci Ice Cube Trays — Now in festive holiday colors

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When these came out last year everyone laughed but Gucci's laughing all the way to the bank.

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The original black version (below), made of rubber, sold so well at $60 a pair they decided to expand the color palette and now, just in time for the holidays, bring us red and green versions (above) as well.

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$70 a pair.

Yes, I know the red ones look orange in the photo above, taken from Gucci's website; not to worry, as I've seen a picture in a magazine and they are indeed red as advertised.

December 10, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A chat with John Updike

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Last Sunday, December 4, Updike (above) did a live three-hour-long interview on C-SPAN2's Book TV, taking telephone and email questions from the audience.

C-SPAN has put it up on their website here so if you are like me and are just finding out about it and wish you hadn't missed it, well, all is not lost.

In fact, you're even better off, in a way, than those who caught it live because you can stop it without missing a word whenever you like and pick it up whenever you wish.

And if you prefer NFL football to Updike, as do I, then you're not forced to choose but, rather, get to have them both.

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Here's a link to a superb web resource about the author and his work.

December 10, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Automatic Wine Bottle Opener

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From the website:

    The Whale Tail Automatic Opener revolutionizes the uncorking process.

    It can open 50 bottles of wine with its self–contained batteries when fully charged.

    Two–position switch removes the cork from the bottle, then delivers the cork back to you.

    It is by far the easiest way to open a bottle of wine, unless someone does it for you.

    Includes battery charger, stand and foil cutter.

    Stands 14" high.

$59.99 here.

December 10, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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