Sunday, February 28, 2010

dear old glasgow toon

The center of Glasgow is a quick train ride from the center of Edinburgh, just shy of an hour's ride. I've been out twice and have enjoyed it each time. Glasgow is quite different than Edinburgh. I actually can't think of two cities being so geographically close and so culturally different.

Edinburgh, Scotland's capital, is pretty, village-like, quiet, soft, quirky, winding, hilly, old. Glasgow feels urban, big, fast, buzzing, young.

I haven't been here long enough to define what ingredient makes something "Scottish", but Glasgow seems to have more of it. Hopefully this kind of statement doesn't get me in to trouble.

The way I see it, it's a language thing. The Glaswegian brogue is so thick, you just can't escape recognition that you are indeed here. Edinburghers generally have a gentler sound. Anyway, this is based upon my own personal experience, and there is obviously variation to this.

The ladies and the Scots


Peace, love and...


Ultimately, if I were to stay in Scotland beyond this year, I'd venture to say that Glasgow would be preferable over Edinburgh. Edinburgh is a great town, but in terms of a job market, Glasgow would have more going on for a young person, more moving and shaking. There is also a great late-night noodle bar. If its 3am on a Friday night, make this your last stop. It's kind of a requirement, as far as I can tell!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Not gonna lie...

...Love my new/used iphone, acquired for a trade of my art skills. It does make me more efficient, as I get facebook and (insert other time-sucking website here) out of the way when on the bus or waiting for an appointment, rather than in the middle of writing an artist statement or planning for a fundraiser. Now, if I were wiser I'd simply avoid these distracting websites altogether - but let's be realistic.

I like the sounds it makes and the design, though I'm no good at typing on a touch screen. I like that I can be lost and easily found, and easily find a store or restaurant without planning ahead. And I like the camera:

While we're on the topic of iphone cameras and things I like, here are some iphone camera photos of an installation I liked- created by my ECA colleague, Daniela Justiniano, and titled Wandering. Daniela took over the space of a gallery room with hand-woven snake/worm/seaweed/hair/intestine-like forms that she made from muslin, string and wire. The forms appear to come in through the windows, cascade over the walls, creep across the floor and cling to poles or anything else that might get in their way. Aside from conjuring up organic forms and any narrative they might imply, the piece has a formal balance, easy sense of craftsmanship, and sensitivity to the space of the room that transcends all simple associations. Muy bien hecho, Daniela!

The exhibit Storylines is on view for another few weeks at the Patriothall Gallery on 1 Hamilton Place in Stockbridge. If you are in town, do yourself a favor and see the show! On display are also excellent works by ECA colleagues Thomas Trippet and Gerald Smith, all relating to the show's title.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Not about Scotland

I'm the Best Dressed Girl in Edinburgh, just ask that drunk dude who wouldn't leave me alone the other night out about town. (true story).

There are a lot of clothes in my closet and I end up wearing the easy, studio-friendly ones. Boring! Lately I've been trying to channel my wardrobe to a more interesting place. So, In honor of drunk dude + NYC's fashion week + Sunday laziness thanks to a nagging cold, here are some cute pictures of my fashion icons. We'll never know some of the color combinations of the outfits. But black & white is all a part of the glamour. Enjoy the lovely ladies (and occasional gentleman):

Baez sisters Joan, Pauline & Mimi

(especially Mimi)

Actress/singer Zooey Deshanel

Carrie Bradshaw (duh)

Audrey Hepburn (another duh)

Mary Travers (love the bangs)

Bob Dylan (love the shades)

Singer Cat Power (love the balance act between casual/chic). Often saw her with bf Giovanni Ribisi at the Silverlake dog park. She always looked stylish.

Joni Mitchell (love the mini skirt + boho guitar strap)

Maryanne Faithful (love the patterns, layers, accessories)

French singer/actress Francoise Hardy (love the headband, the colors, the hair...)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The C&L edition

I just adore my big sis Courtney! She came back through Edinburgh at the end of her European travels. We had many good times over the course of 3 days. I'll illustrate a few here.

1. En-route to a night out at a pub called Brass Monkey. Funny, the "Brass Monkey" in Los Angeles is a Korean Kareoke bar. Anyway, I was so pleased to have my friends meet Court. At one point I joined her and Madhuri outside and exclaimed "This is so fun! All of my friends in Scotland in one place tonight!"

... And then some drunk piped in, "Yeah ... all 2 of them". HA! Funny mostly because it's not true! One of my best personal qualities is the ability to move to strange places and make friends fast.

2. Fyfe girls standing atop the hill that leads to the Castle from Princes St Gardens. The view in the background is the region of Fife. The heartland, so to speak. We were a little winded, as its a hearty little ascent.

3. Our venture into Botanic Gardens, which has fast become one of my favorite spots in the city. It was a lovely clear day, birds tweeting, green grass, sunny skies, harbingers of what's to come in Spring. Which, for the record, could not come any sooner.

We then found our way to the Water of Leith footpath, winding its way across the city. One of these places I'd heard about but never been on before. Sure will be back, and hopefully with a bicycle!

4. At the Whisky Experience tour on the Royal Mile. Yes, it is overpriced. Yes, riding around in a barrel is ridiculous. Yes, you could learn everything on the tour by sitting yourself down in a local pub and asking the bartender about his favorite malt.

All the same, we enjoyed seeing "The World's Largest" collection of whiskies, and definitely enjoyed the smell and taste tests. It helped us determine what we already suspected... that Scottish whisky is awesome. I like the light, sweet, earthy ones and so far have found friends in Macallan, Glenmorangie, Benromach, Glenkinchie, Highland Park and a few from the Speyside region.

5. High Tea on Frederick Street. A snappier version of the traditional 4pm high tea that you'll find at posh hotels. We loved this place and loved the food. The restaurant name could use some help - Eteaket - (like Etiquette?) but we'll give them a break since everything was so tasty.

6. For their last night, we went East to Dunbar, home to my host Rotary Club and Counselors Alan & Elizabeth. It was perfect timing- the girls' last night in town coincided with the Dunbar's Annual Scottish Supper at the Golf Club. The perfect way to end their visit to Scotland!

By day, we toured pastoral roads and landmarks of Dunbar:

By night, we dined on haggis (well, some of us dined on haggis), enjoyed the great company of Rotarian friends, listened to recitations of Robert Burns poetry and heard some rather hysterical songs. I was impressed with all of the singing/recitations done by Rotarians. His poetry and songs are immaculately crafted and seem impossible to remember, but many knew them by heart.

Presentation of the Haggis! With the club's own Rotarian bagpiper, David!

Desert was delicious too - homemade shortbread, butterscotch icecream, and raspberry cranachan: yum.

I felt like an extra-stellar tour guide because Alan wore his kilt. We showed up in style! A great night had by all!

The girls left the next morning and I spent the next few days sad and depressed. Hopefully my sister will come back for another visit. Court, if you are reading this: there are many places still to see, much whisky to be tasted! Many more folk songs to be heard at the Royal Oak! Many more Scottish expressions to add seamlessly to your vocabulary!