H. L. Mencken and Crap Towns

September 12, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Non-Fiction, TRAVEL, WRITING & LITERATURE |

H. L. Mencken (12 September 1880) There’s a splendid English book called Crap Towns.  Lovingly referred to by ‘The Sunday Telegraph’ as “The Domesday book of misery” it celebrates awful urban constructs, from Luton to Hull to Bury St Edmonds.  TVC once thought to produce an Australian edition, covering such lively towns as Mt Druitt and Wilcannia, NSW, and Millicent, SA. But the great H.L. Mencken beat us all to it.  In his 1928 article, The Libido for the Ugly, Mencken canvasses the ugliest towns in the USA: “I have seen, I believe, all of the most unlovely towns of…

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Get Thee to Getty

May 2, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, TRAVEL |

J Paul Getty Center, Los Angeles, April 2018 – We mentioned this great pavilioned village above L.A. containing the eclectic cache of zillionaire J. Paul Getty, with reference to his classical statuary. But he, and his trustees after him, have amassed a goodly stock of other stuff: You may recall this Abraham Solomon painting, “Waiting for the Verdict” from the cover of the Penguin edition of Bleak House, then in the Tunbridge Wells Museum…it’s now at Getty. It was fascinating to see the influence of ancient Mughal painting on high Flemish painting, including Rembrandt:  Amid French empire parlours, and before works by Watteau, Tiepolo,…

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We Love Lucy’s

April 30, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | FOOD, Restaurants, TRAVEL |

Lucy’s El Adobe Café, Melrose Avenue, Hollywood We were stuffed. That is, exhausted and footsore. Having walked from Hollywood Blvd; having traversed the entire Hollywood Cemetery; having found that there’s no easy way from there to Paramount Studios except to walk another few miles, even though it is adjacent; having found that there’s virtually nowhere along Melrose to sit and eat, we chanced upon this place with the modest sign and modest exterior, just over the road from Paramount. Our luck was in. This was a great little Cantina, and the signed photos of stars all over the walls bore testimony…

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The Getty Center

April 27, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, TRAVEL |

Los Angeles, April 2018 It’s slightly under an hour from Hollywood to John Paul Getty’s multi-pavilioned complex in the hills above Bel Air and Brentwood, but when you arrive, a whole array of art and artefact (some, it is fair to say, makes you wish, to paraphrase Paul Keating about David Roche, he could have put down his scatter-gun) is free. He only employed classicists but we fear, in his collecting, he may not have always consulted them. Some of the eccentricity of Getty’s collecting can be seen in this sequence of busts; genuine Ptolemaic renderings of Alexander, c. 200BC…

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The Little Village

April 26, 2018 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Annabel Lee, ART, CRAFT, TRAVEL |

New York City, April 2018 – The Whitney moved from the upper East side to the charmingly-named meat-packing district, swelling the capacity to display its great stock of American art, but it left behind, over the road, a little piece of pixie masterpiece. The elegant building on 940 Madison Avenue is now an ‘Apple’ store, and nestled in the top right office ledge is a tiny village… This is one of several created by Charles Simonds. “Since 1970 Simonds has created Dwelling places for an imaginary civilization of “Little People” who are migrating through the streets of neighborhoods in cities throughout…

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