Posts Tagged ‘Warhol’

New Orleans Lunch

July 3, 2016

I had it today.

Not lunch exactly, although I did eat quite well, but what is referred to as having a “New Orleans Lunch.”

My host at the luscious Air BnB I am staying at in the historic (what part of New Orleans is not historic, by the way) Treme district, explained to me as she was making late reservations for Friday lunch at Galatoire’s in the French Quarter, that a New Orleans lunch is a lunch that lasts all afternoon and is really an excuse for old friends to catch up with each other.

It lasts at least two hours, usually three, sometimes four.

Today lunch was three hours for me.

I have not had a more enjoyable lunch with better company in some time, not in recent memory, that is certain.

She was a new friend, so I suppose that the idea of old friends catching up did not apply, but she felt like an old friend, in fact, by the time we had finished our time together, me teary eyed with gratitude and love for the experience, she had become an old friend.

I did not start out the day knowing that this would happen.

I am so grateful.

Utterly and completely and sincerely grateful that I say yes to things, always say yes, say yes, even when you don’t want to, say yes when a stranger touches your arm and asks you out to lunch.

Say yes.

I had started out the day in a very leisurely manner.

Which was really needed after yesterday’s travel and hit the ground running start to my time in New Orleans.

I was not able to blog last night since there was a problem with the WiFi here at the Air BnB, which is just scrumptious as I said previously, with just enough Southern Gothic creepy, but not too much, I mean, yeah, I did have a moment of wariness when I knelt down to pray last night before the sleigh bed that is four feet off the ground, what is underneath this monstrous thing? But a divine space, even with the cobwebs in the corner, filled with enormous, stunning, astounding amounts of art.  The owners are collectors, artists, collaborators, and are also a part of the CANO-LA organization.

It’s basically an art home.

So chock full of art, it’s almost, but not quite, too much.

The hostess gave me the best suggestion as to how to spend my afternoon, I wanted to be to the conference to check in by 6p.m. last night, so I had the afternoon.

She drew a little map and told me to go to the New Orleans Museum of Art and then take the Canal St. Street Car down to the river and walk about.

I did exactly that.

It was divine.

I decided to walk from the mansion, to the museum yesterday, I wanted to see New Orleans from foot for a while, I find that the best place to discover and experience things.

I took a bath first in the amazing bathroom that is part of my room, which is really not a room, I really have a full suite, huge bedroom, huge ( I mean huge, the bathroom is literally the size of my studio) bathroom, and my own, again, rather large, front balcony with rocking chairs and lounge chairs and a gigantic table, and a view, of I kid not, a huge nest with six (!) baby grey crested herons.

Then I was off to the museum on foot, after a pit stop at the Pagoda cafe to get an iced coffee.

Google maps said 40 minute walk.

It took me two and a half hours.

But.

You know.

I wander.

I meander.

I stop and take photographs.

I had a beautiful, sweet, small lunch at the Degas Cafe, a gorgeous little plate of gulf prawns with okra and corn choux and chili oil.

I walked around the St. Louis Cemetery #3.

I stopped at a wig shop.

Come on!

I had to.

I browsed through a vintage store.

And I strolled around City Park for a little while before heading into the museum.

There was a great exhibition by Bob Dylan, yes the musician, of paintings he did in homage to New Orleans.

There was a spectacular Monet that I had never seen before, Snow at Giverny.

There was also a Warhol, Stilettos, that was amazing, never seen it before either, not in books or other Warhol shows.

I got my art on.

Then I took the street car down Canal Street, wandered around the edges of the French Quarter and after headed to the conference.

I came back to the Treme district and had an amazing dinner at Lola’s and then slept like a baby through the night.

As I said prior, I didn’t have much of an exact idea what I was going to do today.

I knew I would be heading to the conference in the evening.

But.

Other than that.

I was rather in a mood to let the day unfold and surprise me.

Which it did.

In spades.

I started again at Pagoda cafe and got my iced coffee.

I flipped through a little guide book my hosts had left me and decided to go the Marigny district to see the galleries there.

I took a car, it was too hot to spend an hour walking, besides, I walked so much yesterday my feet needed a break.

I went to the Front Gallery on St. Claude.

And.

Fuck.

It was closed for an installation.

However, there were some other galleries in the neighborhood, so I did an impromptu art walk and discovered a gorgeous installation at the Good Children Gallery by Lala Raščić.

It rather blew me away.

The artist was there and explained how she data mined the internet to get the images that she created that were sheets of glass painted with 24 karat gold leaf and mounted on blocks of wood, then she strategically placed lights in areas to create shadows and shapes and the results where shined upon the walls.

I was breathless with the beauty of it.

After that I rather drifted down the road.

I was uncertain about going further, it was hot, there was not much shade, and it was a long patch of road before I would get to anything else resembling a gallery.

I noticed a place that I had passed in the car on the way to the Front Gallery and decided I would just peak in.

So grateful I did.

This is where I met my new friend.

I did not meet her walking in, I met two other artists and chatted with them, told them I was visiting from San Francisco and wandered around.

I was not there all that long, twenty minutes perhaps, and I was feeling the call to move on.

I stepped outside to get a car.

And then I felt a hand on my arm.

“Excuse me, I just wanted to ask you a question,” a lilting female voice.

I turned and smiled at her, “ask away.”

“Well, this may sound a little odd, but are you doing anything for lunch?  I just, well, I like to meet interesting people and I overheard you’re from San Francisco, and you look interesting, and well, would you?”

I was struck with the flattery of it.

I am an interesting person!

Jesus.

Hello.

Carmen.

I have hot pink hair, a wild assortment of tattoos and I am wearing a vintage gingham black and white halter dress.

Of course I look interesting.

And of course.

I said yes.

What transpired next was so astounding I am still in awe hours later.

We went two doors down from the gallery to her house and she gave me a tour of her art collection.

Then.

We drove, yes, I got in a car with a complete stranger, (not that I don’t every time I call for an Uber, but) off to one of her favorite restaurants in the neighborhood.

We talked and talked and talked.

And talked.

I told her my story.

She told me hers.

Suffice to say.

A fast friendship was formed.

She’s an amazing 72 year old woman living a rich, full, wonderful life.

I aspire to be that kind of woman.

She owns her home, has loads of art, goes out to jazz clubs, loves New Orleans, travels, does photography and has just started to become a writer.

There was so much more said and spoken of, matters of the heart, that I won’t divulge, somethings that are best left at the lunch table.

She footed the bill, “a little taste of Southern hospitality,” she said and laughed.

Then she gave me a ride clear across town to Magazine Street, through the French Quarter, sharing stories all the way.

We exchanged numbers, e-mails, and addresses.

We hugged.

I got teary.

Of course I did.

That’s what I do.

Heart on my sleeve and all that.

“Now you have a New Orleans connection, you’ll stay with me the next time you’re in town.”

And what do you think I said?

Yes.

Of course.

I said.

Yes.

I am honored, awed, and thrilled.

New Orleans.

I think I love you.

 

 

Day Two

May 22, 2016

New York.

I’m beat.

I mean.

I walked so much today, I started to get shin splints.

But I couldn’t bring myself to get on the subway again after getting off it in Brooklyn at the Barclay Center stop.

I had gotten switched up on the trains as they were doing construction and the line that I was supposed to connect with was suddenly no longer available and I could have done another transfer but wanted off.

I wanted to walk.

That’s the best way to see things.

On foot.

I took loads of photos and saw some awesome graffiti and paste art that I wouldn’t have if I had been on the train.

That being said, I am pretty proud of myself at having navigated as well as I did.

The train system is smart and pretty easy to figure out, but I did find myself having some anxiety this morning as I headed off to the big city from Brooklyn.

And I realized now that it was my first time by myself figuring out how to go from one point to the other.

And I did fine.

I did get turned around, but, haha, not on the damn train, on the sidewalk.

I am so freaking dyslexic, I read my navigation backward, I literally look at the screen and go right when I should go left.

I am so grateful for the navigation and map apps on my phone.

I would have been wandering around in desperate circles.

I am a total know it by mistake person and a land mark person.

Oh.

That church there, that’s where I need to go, or I can go on this block, or I will remember, as I did earlier when I was at Union Square, which way I came the only other time I was there and did the deal at the Seafarer’s Union hall, but ask me if it’s North or South, East or West, and I am at a complete standstill and close to tears, if not in tears.

I don’t have pet peeves per se.

However.

Ask me to be your navigator and I will be a very unhappy lady.

Don’t hand me the map.

Don’t ask me to figure it out.

Just don’t.

You want a happy traveling companion, do not ask me for directions.

Or.

Expect to get lost.

Getting lost for some is fun, an adventure, a party, but for me, it just produces a lot of anxiety.

I know from a lot of self work and a lot of introspection and a lot of having done the deal and some outside therapy that has, oh, a little to do with needing to control my environment and being in fear.

It’s a safety thing.

I get it.

I let myself be gentle with myself when it comes up.

I have, however, been on the receiving end of some not so nice words having gotten lost with people.

It’s not comfortable.

I’m very well aware of it, but it will still catch me totally off guard and then I’m like, fuck, I’m lost, how did that happen?

But today, mostly, I just got lost in things I love.

I got lost in books.

Oh.

The books.

Stacks and stacks and heaps and piles and floors and aisles of books.

So many yummy books.

Oh.

The smell.

Such a good smell.

Not my most favorite smell in the world, wood smoke, bonfire, fire wood burning in the fireplace on a cold night, but right up there.

The clean, crisp, warm smell of paper and book binding glue and I just perused the aisles at The Strand and was a very happy lady.

My friend that I met today suggested popping into it.

And my.

What a good suggestion.

I actually put down all but one of the books I wanted to buy.

Not from a place of frugality, although, that did rear its head a bit, but more from the perspective of, oh, wait, how much weight do I want to carry around?

And.

Can I get this book in San Francisco?

The answers were obvious.

But I did buy some notebooks, yay!

And some stickers.

Double yay.

And a magnet.

And one book for the flight back.

So that was nice.

My friend departed before me, off to work on his film project, and left me with directions to get to the MOMA.

Which I promptly forgot when I was on the second floor of The Strand.

Where did he say to go?

Get out the phone.

Map it out.

And yes, still spend way too much time when I got off the subway walking the wrong way down the streets.

Seriously I have a problem.

I did, however, make it to the MOMA.

And started at the top.

Rothko.

Although, to be honest, not my favorite, not in my top ten Rothko’s at all, I didn’t like the lightness of the colors he used, I like the deep oranges and greens or the super dark brick reds almost black or the indigo violet blue ones, this one, though luminous and gave me a pause to look at, was not something that held me for very long.

I was drawn to Van Gough’s Starry Night.

Me and too many other tourists, good grief, too many, too many, too many fucking tourists.

Which is probably why I enjoyed the walk home through Brooklyn so much, like that, “home.”  I have caught myself saying that a number of times, I’m heading home, I’ll be home soon, or I’m at home, and it’s the Air Bnb I’m staying in.

Off all the places I’ve been in the city, I actually like this neighborhood and Greenpoint the best, there’s a mix of cultures and ethnicities that make me happy and I feel right at home and yeah, there’s projects, but I have been in the projects before and I just put on the walk and I am not bothered.

If I were to move to New York, which I don’t foresee, at all, the winters, yo, I would live in Brooklyn–but not Williamsburg, too white, too many hipsters and man buns and women reading tarot in a way too serious manner selling over priced hyper curated vintage and emergency sage smudging kits.

Dude I think I had seen it all at that point.

REALLY?

You’re selling emergency smudging kits?

Where am I?

Santa Cruz or Brooklyn?

I feel better in this neighborhood with the barber shops and the families and the hair salons, the little bodegas and the funky art and the graffiti.

But that’s just me.

I’m often at home where ever I go.

And yes, I got asked for directions again.

This time in Greenpoint by a woman from the city trying to figure out what train to get back on.

I had to laugh.

And.

Of course.

I helped.

The blind leading the blind.

I also walked, because I had a funny feeling about being on the train past the point where I had gotten off.

I don’t know why, I don’t have to know why, but I had to turn around when I was heading down the stairs to the underground, it felt wrong.

And it was raining and I was tired and I thought, shoot, just call a car, but no, the walking.

The brownstones and the lights within, the big leafy trees, the sound of the rain falling like that, the smell of wet sidewalks.

It was a nice way to sort through my day and recall all the lovely art I saw.

I only got to the Rothko before digressing.

The ones that stood out for me, Andrew Wyeth, Christina’s World, that stopped me in my tracks.

The two Klimt’s I saw, Hope II, Adele Boch-Bauer II.

The Mondrians, three of them, just stunning.

The Hopper, House by the Railroad.

Stumbling upon the Monet Water Lilies, I did not know they were there, at least this version of them, and I was brought to tears to think that I have gotten to see them in Paris and in New York.

How lucky am I?

The Seurat, Evening Honfleur, brought me to tears.

I was so startled by it and just stood transfixed.

I don’t always know that is going to happen with me and art.

I get something deep within, I am moved, I am transported, I feel deep joy.

And gratitude.

From my humble, poor, meek beginnings.

To a bit of a traveler and a bit of an art junky.

It’s so nice.

I’m so lucky.

I really.

I’ll say it again.

The luckiest girl in the world.

And.

All tuckered the fuck out.

One more day New York.

Let’s make it smashing, shall we?

I hear you have some art for me to see.

Next stop.

The new Whitney.

But first.

Bed.

Night y’all.


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