Hollywoodland

April 22, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | TRAVEL |

Los Angeles, April 2018 – What a strange place Hollywood is.  As Dorothy Parker replied to the question ‘what is it like there?’ – ‘There is no there, there.’ As Clive James once commented: “…really, aren’t Americans strange? They are the new Japanese, living a life of ritual, with every evening an occasion and no one allowed to be alone.” Apart from the hackneyed (but to a movie fan, still stirring) markers of Old-Gold Hollywood, what defines it are the people, both gone and extant: Although the current inhabitants are a mixed bag of lollies…the grave, kindly old panhandling gentleman outside…

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“More Weight”

April 20, 2018 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | ART, TRAVEL |

"Honey Bee Swarm with Flowers and Fruit" by Paul Stankard, 2012, made specially to mark the re-opening of the AIC's paperweight galleries

Art Institute Chicago, April 2018 – Paperweight Galleries ‘More Weight’ quoth Giles Corey in The Crucible. In a happier context, The Varnished Culture says “More Weights.”  The paperweight galleries are sublime, offering beautiful function and form by the likes of the New England Glass Company, Gilliland of New York, and Clichy, Saint-Louis and Baccarat from France. Some favourites below: forest scenes… miraculous funghi… …fruit… …flowers: and faces and forms. More weights!

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“Our Kind of Town”

April 18, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, TRAVEL |

Chicago, April 2018 “The wind comes howling in off the lake and gosh only knows if they ever heard of lobster Newburg” – Charles Foster Kane to his friend Jedediah in Citizen Kane, concerning Chicago.  We’re with Mr Leland. Chicago is our kind of town. There’s a famous coffee chain named after a character in “Moby Dick”, but The Varnished Culture finds it’s slave-free coffee tastes like mud.  We went instead to this place (below) on West Adams Street with the impressive gold-vaulted roof. The Anglosphere, in the main, doesn’t seem to get what they do on the continent, or South America, and…

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Windows to a Nation’s Soul

April 17, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, TRAVEL |

Art Institute, Chicago, April 2018 – Marc Chagall did some illustrated glass (opaque in effect and content) to commemorate America’s bicentennial, and also, oddly, to mark the administration of Mayor Richard J. Daley, on 15 May 1977. Call us churlish, but wouldn’t it be better to honour Mayor Daley with a mural of cops bashing children with night-sticks? After all, during the 1968 Presidential Campaign, he did unleash the mother of all anti-democratic primaries:

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Art Institute Chicago

April 16, 2018 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | ART, TRAVEL |

April 9, 2018 – on a damp, freezing day in Chicago, the Art Institute was the place to be.  Although here are to be found many depressing exhibits evidencing the decline of art, there are still wonders, old and new, to be seen in the very attractive and grand halls. Aside from the Thorne miniatures and a delightful collection of paperweights by Baccarat and others, discussed elsewhere, the AIC is very strong on painting before and during the Counter-Reformation and the development of impressionism (a wrong turn, but full of inherent interest). Here is a mere sample of some of…

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