NJ As Non-Site – Show at the Princeton U Art Museum

NJ as Non Site - Show Entrance

NJ as Non Site – Show Entrance

The New Jersey as Non-Site exhibition at the Princeton University Art Museum came to my attention in the New York Times Arts section a few weeks ago. I guess it’s ironic that I’d find out about the show through the NY Times since one of the themes of the exhibition is New Jersey’s proximity to New York City, and yet how the landscape is totally outside the urban center. (What’s even more ironic is that I was reading the NY Times in California, where I had traveled on business… but we can only have so many degrees of ironic separation here.)

Today I made the trek from Jersey City, down the NJ Turnpike, over to Route 1, and then over to Route 27 into the heart of Princeton… far from any urban center or major highway which are the primary subjects of the show.

Maybe this suburban remote location for this “boutique” sized exhibition is fitting because the museum attempts to mount a show about a subject that is much larger than the space afforded – the exhibition composes two small galleries in the museum.

Of the images on display in the show, this one is the most striking:

Nude

Nude

Beside this photograph is a video showing how the artist (in the photograph) is building a miniature “landscape” on his own body. You cannot see it well in my version of the photograph above, but in the video we see him building tiny walls on top of a dirt foundation, brick by brick, built on top of his torso.

We don’t see the artist’s whole body in the video, just the close up of the “building site” each brick is perhaps one inch… the finished image (above) is the final result.

I think it’s quite beautiful.

The curator’s description of the show:

New Jersey was one of the principal laboratories for experimental art after World War II. Between 1950 and 1975, a host of innovative artists flocked to the state’s most desolate locales. There, in its industrial wastescapes, crumbling cities, crowded highways, and banal suburbs, they produced some of the most important work of their careers. The breakthroughs in sculpture, conceptualism, performance, and land art that New Jersey helped catalyze are the subject of New Jersey as Non-Site, which features more than one hundred works by sixteen artists.

It is neither incidental nor accidental that artists came to occupy New Jersey in the years after World War II: much about the state resonated with ideas and themes already in the air. Intrigued by its people as well as its landscape, artists found New Jersey both informative and revelatory. Whether they crossed the Hudson River to collect materials, forge a political movement, or stage performances, artists seemed to agree on one thing: peripheries like New Jersey provide critical leverage not available in cosmopolitan centers, an unfamiliar perspective that disables convention and expectation alike.

Behind artists’ commitment to New Jersey lay something specific: difference. For more than a century, New Jersey’s identity has been measured in terms of its difference—not to mention its distance—from New York. Long considered New York’s “other,” New Jersey was one of the first “other” places that artists explored in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, a period when many, including those featured here, started to abandon the insular world of the studio for the environment at large.

Here are some other images from the show:

Bayonne - photograph of landscape sculpture

Bayonne – photograph of landscape sculpture

.

Photograph on a NJ beach with oil drums

Photograph on a NJ beach with oil drums

Unfortunately, the depth of this show and its subject matter is not conveyed in the limited materials on display at the Princeton U Art Museum in “New Jersey as Non-Site.”

New Jersey’s urban landscapes are iconic and inspirational on many levels. There were too many things “left out” and what remained was a smattering of rock sculptures, photographs of landscapes, and other objects that did not hang together cohesively enough for me, as the viewer.

As a life long resident of New Jersey, I’ve always had conflicting views about my home state anyway… so it’s no surprise I’d have a mixed reaction to this show.

The show will be on view only a few more days, until Jan 7, 2014. Entrance to the Princeton Art Museum is free, and always worth a look.

Advertisements

Three Shows on Now – Chelsea Art Galleries

Yesterday I went art gallery hopping in Chelsea to see the latest and greatest. It has been many months since my last visit. Along the way there were three artists I found interesting enough to want to share their work here.

It’s impossible to go to Chelsea and see “all” the galleries in an afternoon, there are too many. So what I’m presenting here is just a tiny slice of what I saw yesterday, which is an even smaller slice of what’s actually on view.

The first artist is Justin Bower, and the show is Panic Room. It’s on (through December 10th) at Unix Gallery, 532 W. 24th St in Chelsea, New York City.

Here’s an excerpt of the statement on the show:

Panic Room focuses on the destabilization of the human subject and problemitizes how we define ourselves in this digital and virtual age. Complex backgrounds referencing optical art relate to a certain kind of “code” and control the subject in Bower’s paintings. His art interrogates the autonomy bestowed upon us by the ideals of the Englightenment and opens a dialogue documenting the trauma that technology has on the contemporary human. In an age where infinite data is comprised of replicable code, the works confront the viewer with a radical question of “What am I?”

Alternatively, you could go with my interpretation of these works:

Chuck Close on acid.

I like them.

Here they are:

Justin Bower - Panic Room face 1

Justin Bower – Panic Room face 1

.

Justin Bower - face 2

Justin Bower – face 2

.

Justin Bower - face 3

Justin Bower – face 3

.

Justin Bower, face 4

Justin Bower, face 4

.

The second show is Skylar Fein’s The Lincoln Bedroom, on now (through Dec 21st) at C24 Gallery, 514 W. 24th Street, NYC.

The Lincoln Bedroom is a series of installation pieces that provoke the viewer to re-imagine history as a not-so-sanitized version of events as what we might read in our school textbooks.

Here’s an excerpt of the gallery text describing the show:

Abraham Lincoln shared a bedroom with Joshua Speed in the 1830’s in Springfield, IL. Many historians, biographers, and scholars have speculated about the nature of their relationship, causing an ongoing debate about Lincoln’s sexuality. Fein’s work combines factual and fictional histories, and proposes evidence of these uncertain moments through his imagery and objects. Since no photographs exist of the Speed residence, the artist relied on photos and sketches of similar structures, as well as on his imagination to create an impressionistic, and slightly hallucinatory recreation that is far from a museum period-room.

What I can tell you is that the Lincoln Bedroom is highly amusing and yes, thought provoking. The installation works well and pokes fun at many histories that have been told and re-told, or are largely untold, in the textbooks.

Here are some images from the show:

An entire building was constructed to house the bedroom. The outside looks like a general store.

An entire building was constructed to house the bedroom. The outside looks like a general store.

.

"Men's Magazines" is a rack of fictionalized mags, many with pornographic themes

“Men’s Magazines” is a rack of fictionalized mags, many with pornographic themes. My favorites are the top two on the left showing a menacing wrestler in his underwear, but the topics are “antiques” and “camping.”

.

Moorcock's "Specifics" - treatments on the right for women, and on the left for men. Very funny stuff.

Moorcock’s “Specifics” – treatments on the right for women, and on the left for men. Very funny stuff.

.

The last show I have to share is Shinichi Maruyama’s Nudes on at the Bruce Silverstein Gallery, through Dec 21st, 535 W. 24th St., NYC.

The SLATE article written about the show says it well:

Specifically for NUDE, Maruyama created each image by combining 10,000 individual photographs of the dancers to compose a single shot. Maruyama is aware his images capture a new way of showing the human form and motion over time, and he hasn’t forgotten photographers who paved the way for this new technology.

“I know the advancement of technology has allowed me to create these new images that would have been impossible for others in the past,” said Maruyama. “The scientist/photographer Étienne-Jules Marey, who contributed a lot to many artists more than 100 years ago, used a camera that shot 12 images per second. But because of the technology we have today, I was able to use a camera that let me take about 2,000 images per second.”

I took some shots with my cell phone camera to share here, but the shots on the SLATE site are much better quality. Use the link I provided above to SLATE if you want to see more images than what I have here.

Dancer 1

.

Dancer 4

.

Dancer2

.

Dancer3

That’s it for now, until the next time I visit the Chelsea galleries!

A beautiful day in the neighborhood – Jersey City view of the Freedom Tower

It was 65 degrees and sunny today – the Freedom Tower looked fantastic glinting one of its jeweled facets in the sunshine.

Beautiful lower Manhattan skyline view from Jersey City - Nov 2013

Beautiful lower Manhattan skyline view from Jersey City – Nov 2013

Also, it’s been made official, while the building itself is 1776 feet (the year of independence for the U.S.) with the architectural spire at its crown, the Freedom Tower is the highest building in the United States.

Sometimes even I can’t believe how lucky I am… this view is only a fifteen minute walk from my apartment!

The Freedom Tower - Nov 2013

The Freedom Tower – Nov 2013

It was a great day for a walk in the neighborhood!

Goran Djurovic’s Prime Time Revisited – A Story of Friendship

To begin: the story about how I came to find the Goran Djurovic exhibit in Gent, Belgium.

I didn’t tell this story earlier when I posted about Djurovic’s Prime Time solo show, but I think it will be nice to pull back the curtain now. It is yet another example of how I’ve met extremely kind people in my travels. (And I want to say how much I really like Belgium!)

So.

I was walking down the street in Gent, on the Saturday morning I was in town. I had my city map in hand, trying to find the “Patershol” neighborhood. Patershol is known for its charming streets and interesting restaurants and is less touristy than the historic center. But I sensed I was lost, although I was walking alongside one of the main canals running through the city.

It just so happened, as I walked down the street adjacent to the canal, that a young man was walking toward me holding a bag of groceries. Now, given that the Gent Festival was getting started, I quickly deduced I’d have a better chance of asking directions of a local than another tourist like me! Who better to ask then, than someone holding a bag of groceries?

I flagged him down and said I think I’m walking in the wrong direction. Can you help me? He looked at where I was pointing on my map and confirmed it. I was walking in the exact opposite direction of where I needed to go! Since he was heading in that direction anyway, he said, why not walk together so he could point out how to get where I was going? I welcomed the opportunity. 🙂

That young man’s name was Wim, and once we started chatting, we realized we had a lot in common. So I invited him to come with me to Patershol if he had the time and wanted to show an American tourist from New York City around his fair city. He graciously agreed, and off we went.

When we got there, Wim actually wanted to show me a different – and very famous – piece of religious art that is known as The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghent_Altarpiece. But when we got to the museum associated with it, we found the Goran Djurovic exhibit instead.

As you may know, reader, from my previous post – I took a sampling of photos at the Djurovic exhibit – but I neglected to take photos of some of the works Wim and I stopped and talked about the most. I regretted it later after I got home.

But, as kindness would have it, Wim and I exchanged email addresses and became pen pals even after I returned home. When I expressed to him how much I enjoyed our viewing of the exhibit and I was sorry I missed taking some shots of the works we talked over at length… he went back and took photos of over 100 Djurovic paintings and emailed them to me.

I was blown away by his tremendous kindness and enthusiasm for the artwork. In turn I promised him I would post another 15+ Djurovic works on my blog to give a much better sampling of what we saw that day.

Also, in fairness to Mr. Djurovic I don’t think it would be right for me to post images of every single piece in the solo show – however – if this blog posting helps spread recognition for his work and talent, then I am grateful to be part of that process in a very small way.

And so, without further delay, here are more of the works of Goran Djurovic … photos taken by Wim of Gent, Belgium, a gentleman I am proud to call my friend.

Let it be said: art brings people from all over the world together.

The art of Goran Djurovic

The art of Goran Djurovic

Goran Djurovic Many Laptops Goran Djurovic010 Goran Djurovic018 Goran Djurovic020 Goran Djurovic026 Goran Djurovic035 Goran Djurovic037 Goran Djurovic050 Goran Djurovic053 Goran Djurovic058 Goran Djurovic069 Goran Djurovic091 Goran Djurovic094 Goran Djurovic105 Goran Djurovic106 Goran Djurovic107

 

Brugge Beauty Shots

After all the moaning and whining I’ve done on the blog about the bad weather and difficult transportation conditions, I’d like to show you some photos I took in Brugge, Belgium.

Yes, these are beauty shots, there is no way around it. Brugge is a beautiful town and a designated Unesco World Heritage site.

It’s a town for tourists, the place is overflowing with them, but it’s easy to see why. The architecture is magnificent, even on a grey-skied, rain-drenched day like the one I spent there.

The view from my overpriced tourist hotel room in Brugge, phenonemal view

The view from my overpriced tourist hotel room in Brugge, phenonemal view

A rainy street scene - Brugge, Belgium

A rainy street scene – Brugge, Belgium

The views along the canals in Brugge are so charming, and somehow the misty rain just added to the romantic feel of the photos. I doubt you can take a bad photo there.

Canal view of Brugge - ancient buildings and lovely greenery in the mist

Canal view of Brugge – ancient buildings and lovely greenery in the mist

Yeah, yeah… “oooh and ahhh”

The charms of Brugge

The charms of Brugge

Come on, aren’t you getting tired of seeing all this loveliness?

No?

Okay, here are some more… but you asked for it…

Lovely canal view - Brugge

Lovely canal view – Brugge

Brugge town square

Brugge town square

This next one feels like cheating, too easy to romanticize it…

Horse and carriage - Brugge

Horse and carriage – Brugge

Another canal shot in Brugge

Another canal shot in Brugge

Okay, that’s it for Brugge. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you – it’s a beautiful place but being run these days for tourists.

Travel Tip: If you are going to go to Brugge, do it as a day trip from Gent which is close… Gent is a bigger city that is gorgeous and you’ll have a ton of options in the evening for entertainment and the hotels will be much more reasonably priced!

SMAK Contemporary Art Museum – Gent Belgium

As a New Yorker it’s difficult not to compare other museums with our world class museums, and in this case, SMAK Contemporary Art Museum in Gent holds its own as an innovative space showcasing European contemporary talent.

At the entrance to the museum you will find SMAK publications called “The Artist in Their Own Words,” which are magazine style printings of interviews with artists who have had shows at SMAK.

Below are some photographs I took of the works on view now, but if you are in Gent and interested in contemporary art, SMAK is a must-see destination.

—————————————————————————————-

KOEN THEYS – Home Made Victories

I was particularly excited about the ground floor galleries dedicated to the work of Belgian artist Koen Theys. The exhibition, “Home Made Victories” is the first major retrospective for the artist and includes extensive use of compelling video and photography and will be on view until mid-August 2013.

.

Still Life with Apples

Still Life with Apples

Above: Koen Theys photograph, Still Life with Apples II, 2010

.

Series, Still Life with Apples - Koen Theys, 2010

Series, Still Life with Apples – Koen Theys, 2010

.

This photograph I took is a small detail portion of a larger "collage" framed photograph by Koen Theys

This photograph I took is a small detail portion of a larger “collage” framed photograph by Koen Theys

The image above is kind of hard to explain, but I’ll try. Koen Theys creates large tableaux photographs where he carefully assembles thousands of objects like clocks, skulls, books, candles, old computer equipment and various other items he uses in these works.

The photograph I took, is a tiny portion of one of these tableaux photographs because unless I took a small part of the image and blew it up there would be no way to see the detail.

Another thing I cannot show, but which I thought was extremely interesting, he set up a video camera on a trolly and slowly rolled the camera through the tableaux, and then showed this video in another room adjacent to where the large-scale photographs were displayed.

This extremely innovative use of technology, photography and found objects made for an extraordinarily compelling viewing experience.

It's not really possible to see the details of this Koen Theys collage but this is the entire image

It’s not really possible to see the details of this Koen Theys collage but this is the entire image

————————————————————————————–

The upper floor exhibitions had a variety of sculpture, painting and photography too, some more thought provoking to me than others, but all worth seeing.

A sample of other items on view at SMAK…

Sculpture: three grotesques holding a pencil, a paint brush and a screwdriver

Sculpture: three grotesques holding a pencil, a paint brush and a screwdriver

This sculpture of three artists features grotesque heads, and the artist’s arms are bound one to the other so they cannot move, or ever see one another. The description of the sculpture suggests their poses are like samurai warriors with their pencil, paint brush and screwdriver stuck into their belts like swords.

.

Framed photographs of grotesque head sculptures

Framed photographs of grotesque head sculptures

These framed photographs of grotesque head sculptures was also a part of this exhibit. Text describing these items suggested that some of the heads were modeled loosely on some European politicians.

.

Horse hide sculpture - a provocative display of what looks like two decapitated horses

Horse hide sculpture – a provocative display of what looks like two decapitated horses

.

Mark Manders - MomentenMachine

Mark Manders – MomentenMachine

.

This installation features classic art hanging on the walls with grocery shelves of old sacks of flour and other staples blocking the view

This installation features classic art hanging on the walls with grocery shelves of old sacks of flour and other staples blocking the view

This detail view of the installation shows the classic art seen through the shelving and its contents

This detail view of the installation shows the classic art seen through the shelving and its contents

 

Photos: Memories of Minnesota

Gooseberry Falls – Minnesota

Gooseberry Falls is an easy walk down a paved trail. While this isn’t the largest waterfall I’ve seen (I think Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge probably holds that distinction for me at 200 feet), it was a pleasant walk and an enjoyable photo op.

According to the entry plaque at Split Rock Lighthouse – it is one of Minnesota’s most cherished landmarks.

I didn’t spend a lot of time at Split Rock Lighthouse (you could say I saw the lighthouse and split… groan.) The reason, at least for me, was that the hiking trails along Lake Superior had ugly chain link fences separating visitors from the foliage and lake shore. Maybe they get so many visitors in the summer they want to protect the landscape, but it creates an eyesore. Not an enjoyable hiking experience.

The view from Split Rock Lighthouse onto Lake Superior and the shoreline.

In addition to the Split Rock Lighthouse, I also slept in the Two Harbors Lighthouse (see previous post) … and I saw the Harbor Light in Duluth.

Duluth Harbor Light reflected in a puddle

One of the nicest features Duluth has is its “river walk” a long stretch of a winding pathway that runs right along the Lake Superior riverfront. At one end of the riverwalk you’ll find this harbor light.

Duluth Harbor light and sailboat – view from river walk

Of course for me, the very best view I had for my entire Minnesota trip was this one:

Three handsome nephews – the Army uniformed groom to the left, his little brother in the center, and his Navy uniformed brother to the right

 

Lake Superior’s North Shore

My nephew is getting married this weekend in Minnesota. I haven’t seen him in awhile and when he called me to invite me, I was happy to say yes. It will be great to see him,  meet his fiance and catch up with family members.

As long as I’m going to be in Minnesota, I thought, what should I do when I’m there? I began looking at a map and realized the northern shore of Lake Superior is within several hours drive of where the wedding is taking place. How could I resist?

If you’ve ever seen my photography site (http://cdeminskiphotos.shutterfly.com) you know I have a love of raw, natural scenery. The north shore of Lake Superior seems to be one of those wild spots where the waves from the lake crash ashore, waterfalls thunder with an abundance of Spring runoff and lighthouses dot the shoreline. I’m in!

I’ll tote my laptop along in case the writing mood strikes, but my primary tool of choice on this trip will be my camera. I hope the weather holds out and I don’t get rain or (gasp!) snow – and even though I expect it to be chilly (I’ll be a scant few miles from the Canadian border after all) I’m saying prayers now to the sun god.

If I’m lucky enough to get a WiFi signal or internet connection while I’m away, I’ll attempt a post, otherwise it may have to wait until I return with tales of the lake.

New Orleans Photo page now up!

Hi everybody, I’ve composed my New Orleans photo page on my Shutterfly site.

While quite a few of the images appeared on my blog, they are scattered across numerous postings. My Shutterfly site has the photos all in the same spot, with quite a few images that did not make it onto the blog. I hope you’ll check them out.

Enjoy!

Click this link: http://cdeminskiphotos.shutterfly.com/neworleans

NoLa Diary #14 – Birds of a Feather: Audobon Park II

Today was a sunny day with temperatures in the 70’s, I decided to head back to Audobon Park to enjoy the scenery and to take more photographs of the birds in the park since there is such an amazing variety.

Feathered friends - Audobon Park

It’s very relaxing to walk in Audobon Park, and I love seeing all the little kids on their bicycles or the people jogging or sitting on the benches. Although the park isn’t that large, you can do a “lap” by walking the path that circumnavigates the park and take in different views of the scenery from many angles.

Beautiful fountain

And there are tons of birds. The air is filled with quacking, squawking, chirping and all manner of bird calls.

Enjoying the sunshine - 3 turtles on a log and two ducks looking on

 

And the birds aren’t just in the water either. Sometimes they climb up onto the banks of the stream that runs through the park and take refuge in the shade of the bushes.

I call him the Ugly Duckling - he's got a face only his mother could love

 

And let’s not forget the herons who never cease to amaze me; they are so beautiful…

The heron - such a majestic bird

 

And it seems that the trees in the park are ancient; I love their twisted limbs.

Beautiful Tree - Audobon Park

 

 

Audon Park and St. Charles Ave. streetcar

 

the only thing better than one NoLa classic is two: Audobon Park and the St. Charles Avenue streetcar together.

NoLa Diary Lucky #13 – the Allure of Algiers Point

In order to get to historic Algiers Point from New Orleans, you’ll need to take the Algiers Ferry. You can catch the ferry across Canal street from Harrah’s Casino.

TRAVEL TIP: As you approach the ferry entrance, you will see homeless people sitting on the steps, most drunk. You can avoid this entrance by continuing on towards the Mississippi River, walk over the streetcar tracks for the French Market streetcar and to your right you’ll see a ramped walkway marked “handicapped entrance.” When you get to the top of the walkway, go to your left and up the stairs into the ferry terminal.

I believe the best photographs of St. Louis Cathedral are to be had from the Algiers Ferry. You cannot get the entire cathedral in your shot if you are standing in Jackson Square – the Algiers Ferry shot gives you the entire building, and it is a beautiful view.

St Louis Cathedral - as seen from Algiers Ferry

The best reasons to go to Algiers are the historic homes, plus the Holy Name of Mary Church is picture worthy. A quick stop at the Tout-Suite Cafe across from the church is a great place to have lunch or a snack before heading back to the ferry.

If you do go to the Tout-Suite and you see a distinguished older gentleman with white hair at the counter, it’s probably George. He’s a local and a regular. He’s so friendly and helpful, make a few minutes to chat with him. You can’t help but be charmed!

———

SAFETY: Only go during the day. Don’t wave your expensive camera around or flash your i-Phone 4. Don’t walk around texting or talking on the phone. Pay attention to your surroundings.  Be alert and sensible, and have fun.

The first time I went to Algiers I was freaked out by the thuggish looking types I saw sizing up tourists on the ferry and hanging back in crowds watching everybody around them. I didn’t stray far from the ferry entrance and went back quickly. My second time, was a beautiful sunny day in the early afternoon, I felt relaxed, kind of knew my way around, and it was a much better experience.

I had no problems on either trip but for me, the second trip felt safer. Always trust your gut!

———

An Algiers home adornment

Okay, so you’re probably wondering how charming the houses are… how about this one?

This Algiers home is picture postcard perfect!

So many of the houses I saw were like the one above – manicured landscape, well maintained and great looking paint to accentuate the architectural embellishments. You could pretend on some streets that you were in Bermuda, not New Orleans. I noticed tropical foliage seems more abundant on Algiers Point.

This Catholic church is pretty, you can practically see the spires of the church from the ferry.

Holy Name of Mary Church - Algiers Point

And if you want a place to stop and relax, I can think of no better spot than the Tout-Suite. This couple opted for the outdoor tables to drink their coffee, but the inside is just as charming.

Tout Suite Cafe - Algiers Point

I loved this old Gulf station too, which had a classic charm all its own. Check out those Spanish tiles on the roof of the gas station! And the slightly rusted orange Gulf sign is a piece of Americana.

Gulf Station - Algiers Point

Everywhere you look, people have decorated their homes so meticulously.

All dressed up - Algiers Point

And that is the allure of Algiers Point!

 

NoLa Diary #12 – the amazing people of New Orleans

No amount of words can express how wonderful most of the people are here in New Orleans. A few encounters today encapsulate the best of my experiences.

I went out and did some shopping before the holiday, and as I walked down Magazine Street, I stopped to photograph a charming storefront. It was Probst Decorating and Interior Design. I liked their old time lanterns, potted plants and worn brick building combined with green holiday wreaths along with the requisite NoLa bicycles out front.

Probst Decorating - Magazine St

After taking the photo an older woman looked at me from inside the store – even though the sign on the door said Closed. I walked up to the door and wondered if I was in trouble for taking photos of her store. When I got to the door she said through the closed door, would you like to come in? Yes please, I answered. So she walked into her back workroom to get her door keys then back to the front of the store where she unlocked the door, let me in and started turning on all the lights.

I’m not open today, but I saw you wanted to come in. I don’t keep the door open when I’m here by myself, she said. That turned into a wonderful conversation about how her family has owned this 130 year old building and run this decorating shop in it for the last 60 years, and she has worked in it all 60 of those years. She told me about her mother opening the shop, and how after 60 years she is ready to turn things over to her daughter. She mentioned she makes all the pillows and curtains and is now referred to as “the lady that works in the back.” I joked with her that they only needed to call her one thing: Da Boss. She laughed at that. We said our warm goodbyes and she encouraged me to come back around sometime to visit.

I went across the street to pick up some groceries and walked to the bus stop to grab it going back home. A man approached and struck up a conversation with me while we waited together. He asked me if I was from New Orleans, because he thought I was. When I told him no, but that I’d been in town for about 2 weeks, he asked if I was staying for Mardi Gras. Unfortunately no, I said. That’s too bad, he answered, because I’m about ready to adopt you as a native once you been to your first Mardi Gras. And anyway, he continued, by the end of this conversation we’re gonna be just about family.

An extraordinary glimpse of Mardi Gras in December - pure luck!

 

And that sums it up for me: we’re all just about family – the human family. New Orleans can be such a great example of how people rise up to meet their humanity. The family of compassionate souls includes people like that woman, making pillows and curtains for 60 years running her decorating shop. Or the man at the bus stop, who got up early today to deliver donated toys to children on his way to work as a painter and said gently yes, he was a little tired. When he shook my hand with his paint covered hand, I felt like I’d never done an honest day’s work in my life.

New Orleans is a very special place, and I’m extremely glad I decided to come here and stay awhile. These vignettes and experiences in the neighborhoods are, I’m convinced, the real gumbo of NoLa with an extra helping of love.

Passion for clarinet

This is a collection of photos of the wonderful people of NoLa I’ve spotted in my wanderings here…please enjoy.

Tromboner salute

Of course the French Quarter is an endless source of wonderful images of musicians…

Singing her heart out on Royal

This gal sure could sing. She was belting it out without a mic. She projected loud and strong, along with her back up band doing a great job.

Slice of Life street scene - Bourbon St

The personality of New Orleans pours out of every brick and lantern in the city, and of course from the hard working people…

Workmen in the French Quarter

There are quiet moments when you can’t help but be charmed by such a place….

Resting by Traceys - Irish Channel

And take in so many smiles and good wishes…

Man with bowler and bicycle

…yes, these things and more are what gives New Orleans its flavor.

Enjoy this wonderfully moving song by Susan Tedeschi called 700 houses, her impressions of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina…

and Happy Holidays everyone.