...or tries to...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Small Town

Just a quick shout-out to anyone watching tv tonight: my small town was voted Most Fun Small Town in America by Rand McNally, and the Travel Channel will tell us why, on Best of the Road, tonight, at 8 pm. Though I'm a little leery of calling anything the best of anything, I can say in full confidence that my town has been exactly that for me, and I love it to pieces.

A little illustrated compilation of why:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Down the Alley

Walking down Artists' Alley, downtown Delray Beach, on Open Studio night,

right alongside the train tracks, (not the commuter tracks, but for the mile-long freight trains that still clatter like the percussion in an old Hank Williams song),

and little islands of light glow after the car repair garages and welders nearby shut down for the day.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Solomon has the right idea.

After a day of working to a radio program interviewing an author about the impending death of the middle class, after sitting so long at the computer that I could no longer feel the difference between my own body and the chair I was sitting on, after turning away from the roll of paper I taped to the wall for a photo shoot and listening to it tear from the wall and crush the stand I had carefully constructed, after having to run a malware program in case an infected website I visited had passed its Spyware onto my hard drive, (it didn't, but I found 65 cookies that were telling other systems exactly when I was looking for blue suede ballet flats)...You get it. After things like that and more, it was no small relief to go out back for a few minutes, just as the sun was starting to set, and stand in some grass.

The motivation was to cut some herbs for our pizza dinner, though that was just an excuse. What backs up to our house is not, in any substantial way, a yard, it's more a strip of land that keeps our neighbors a polite distance. It's a few feet of very sharp bermuda grass, a hedge, a cabbage palm, and some kind of a kind of walnut tree, (I think). I'm not growing or arranging anything that a real gardener would do anything but shrug at. But those three terra cotta pots of spindly basil and oregano and chives and cilantro, set into a calamity of ixora and umbrella plants: they're my plot, my crop, my bountiful harvest.

Yeah, I know. But what it's really about is a few minutes outside, a scrap of sky, a fringe of canopy, a strip of green stuff a hundred million miles away from Spyware.

And it makes for some really amazing pizza, too.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Small things

A slow soft Sunday of small things. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Adams Hote

Miami Beach looks very much like you imagine it would, even if you've never been there: like a city made out of sugar cubes and fondant and ice cream cake. It's an Art Deco phantasm carved out of stucco and seemingly shaped by a spatula, painted in colors completely made up by man. It's been revived and restored and dressed up, and it's just odd enough that the exclusive and expensive and inaccessible is balanced out by its accessible weirdness.  And everybody can swim in the ocean.

We drove the hour south today to go the Bass, a beautiful art museum carved out of coral. I needed to see the miniature work of Charles LeDray in person, an artist I had, until very recently, known nothing about. I'll write about this later - I haven't seen work this individual, this painstaking, this mysterious in a long, long time.

Across the street from the Bass are Deco buildings less impressive than the celebrated hotels that line Collins Avenue, places you know were not designed to shelter a Rat Packer. They were probably meant to be where your great-aunt went for two weeks in the summer and came back leather-brown, or apartments for snowbirds when they actually retired this far south. I like them better for this, their link to the north and my own family's history. But because they aren't celebrated places, they're victims of their own modesty - the pale pink Adams Hotel for sure, an asymmetric eye-browed ruin that was destroyed by a fire, and is rapidly devolving from a Hotel to a Hote.

Can you imagine what it was like, back before it became a resting place for take-out condiments? It's always easier to animate the empty shells, fill them in with our own stories of matching luggage and men zipping up the backs of their wives' linen shifts. This make-believe is strangely more satisfying than accepting Hotel Management Groups' elegant hybridization of places like the Delano and the Fontainebleau, their insistence that they belong to our generation. In the Adams, there's a black hole of time lost in the empty eye-sockets of its broken windows, and in its peeling broken skin. It's not of our time, and so much isn't, and this is something it needs you to know.

(This is what it looked like once, here)