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All’s Well at the Whitney Biennial

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What do you do when you’re in NYC with friends just for fun?  Well, for one thing you go to the Whitney Biennial (which you get to by walking down the High Line…but that’s another story).  The Whitney has become my favorite museum in the city.  The Biennial was interesting, but not really much more interesting than the usual stuff on display at the Whitney.  Of course, the usual stuff is usually great.

The top floor of the Biennial is downright anxiety inducing.

Are we living in a computer simulation?  Don’t ask Dave.

Fortunately, things are brighter in the sunshine.

Romey romes the Whitney

 

Out back

 

Little Island

For more see A Little Island Off the Big Island

A crow for Emily

A plastic shower in the Whitney. NPS does not approve.

 

Picasso Perfection at the Phillips Collection

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The Phillips Collection remains one of my favorite art museums.  The incredible level of curation at the new Picasso exhibit shows why.  Great combinations in addition to world class art.  Top notch.

For those who know their picasso, this is early stuff, basically 1901-1904 (including the blue period).

We went to the show as a last birthday present of the 38th year.  Thanks Romey. What an excellent present, art with the ones you love.

PICASSO

 

 

NOT PICASSO

 

 

My favorite painting at the Phillips.

In a new spot.

After art, we were hoping to have brunch at the Bistrot Du Coin, but once again the google hours were wrong.  Fortunately, there was La Tomate to fill in admirably.  We had lots of cacio et pepe.  Ahhhh.

Man Ray RVA: Such Gossip

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The Man Ray exhibit in Richmond is well worth a visit, especially when you surround yourself with friends.  Romey set up this visit to the VMFA with Stan.  Gorgeous pictures, interesting technique, and oh the gossip!

There were the famous.

picasso

The dead.

Dead Proust

The musical.

Stravinsky

The queer.

Barbette

Some film (with a modern soundtrack by Paul Mercer called Emak-bakia)

 

 

 

 

 

Some high art.

With new techniques.

The silly.

Duchamp

 

Nobody in particular

Memories. memories. memo. mem. me.

 

Memories were invoked

POW

 

Wow

 

Woo

Tell no one

Love and beauty.

 

 

“Post-pandemic” Solstice Fire 2021

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The weather was iffy with heavy rain to come.  But the night started out beautifully enough as the tiki torches were lit.  And we were off on the experimental solstice fire on xmas edition.

 

The afternoon was balmy at 65 degrees

Who ordered this crazy weather?  This has to be the warmest winter solstice on record.

The scene

 

Tikis wink on

The highlight of this year’s fire was a set of busted up instruments that Josh brought out.  We used a 3/4 size bass (well, what used to be one anyway) to light the fire.

 

 

The logs this year were immense as the ash tree that once held the treehouse came down over the summer.  One or two of the giant logs still remain.

 

The lighting.

Turn the sun!

 

Meanwhile back in the barn, the super dangerous Boilo was out and the keg was tapped.  The food was plentiful and included both shrimp and carrot cake.

All’s well in the party barn

 

 

 

 

We started into a wobbly rendition of “let it snow” and the torrential rain pushed us first under the tarp and then up into the barn.  Where we proceeded to play even more xmas music in sing-along mode and drink way too much boilo.

Things get a little hazy after that.  But the sun has turned, so we got our main job accomplished.

 

 

Two days later, the fire is still smoking.   Thanks to all who came.

Up the Gondola in Bergen

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The morning started with a quick visit to pick up some pottery cups we couldn’t leave Norway without.  We were driving in a Leaf.

The cups in question

 

The artist in question

 

The leaf

After a circuitous meandering walk, we made it to the gondola, and up we went.  The gondola has been newly renovated.

Gondola

 

Up we go

 

Masked of course

 

Sunset coming soon

Photo op at the top

 

The couple

Hot chocolate behind you

 

 

No gøran

 

Gøran

We escaped through a classified tunnel back to the leaf.

Bare and the Paparazzi

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No food for this guy

Bergen has its first Michelin star restaurant, called Bare.  We finagled our way in and had an incredible 14 course meal.  Always go to fancy pants dinners with really fun friends.  We laughed as much as we ate.

Course 1 (this was a pre-dinner bar treat)

 

The paparazzi have arrived

 

Course 2 (also in the bar)

 

Course 3 came in a beautiful dish. Each was different.

 

Course 4 was lil tacos (still in the bar)

Finally, we moved into the dining room.  BTW, a hint about having a meal like this. say YES to all possibilities (like the caviar course and the wine pairing option).  Always YES.

Starting the meal

 

Cider and a fist

 

Course 5 (sea urchin) with the cider

 

Our first wine (blanc de blanc) with the caviar

 

The incredible caviar course (number 6). very creamy.

 

Were we happy?

 

Course 7 wine: sauvignon blanc

 

Course 7 was calamari (which I usually don’t eat)

 

More paparazzi

The bread arrives

 

Now the paparazzi are out of control!

 

Wine for the crab

 

Course 8: alaskan crab with barley

 

Wine from Santa Barbara 

 

Course 9: king crab and parsnip

 

wine

You will like the wine!

 

Wine

 

Course 10: lamb and mushroom

 

wine from Italy

 

Course 11: reindeer

 

sweet wine

 

Course 12 into the sweets (with blue cheese topping). Wow.

\

Course 13, a tart little number

 

wine (a “white amarone”)

 

Course 14 finished the evening

 

grappa in the bar (coffee for some)

 

the empties

 

 

 

Walk to the Top in Bergen, and Slide Down

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The funicular is being renovated, so a walk to the top was in order.  The walk was easy and beautiful.  It proceeds in stages, zooming out as you gain in elevation.

If you start with cake, you must hike to the top.

 

 

icicle

Listen to the drips.

 

 

 

 

proof

Then the slide down.

 

Then a visit to No Stress for a Negroni before heading out on the metro.

 

 

 

Fin.

 

Norway in a Nutshell with Romey

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This iteration of Norway in a Nutshell was a one day jaunt out of (and back to) Bergen.  Things got underway early (around 8:40) at the Bergen train station.  The trip went Bergen–>Voss–>Gudvangen–>Flåm–>Myrdal–>Bergen (through Voss).  Arrival at home was 6pm.

Of course the day was perfect and the light was beautiful.  Even the clouds of Bergen parted temporarily as we departed.

Here’s how the day went.  After a delicious breakfast in Bergen at the Børs hosted by the delightful Dalia, we walked to the plastic-wrapped train station and found our place.

Masked on the train to Voss

It was still early in Voss and the 15 minute connection wait for the bus was uneventful.

Voss station (the blue appears)

The bus to Gudvangen is roomy and nice.  But no wifi this time (WTF?!).  The trip took about an hour, leaving 45 minutes to have some cocoa and walk around in Gudvangen.

Waterfall from a bus

 

On the way to Gudvangen

 

Majestic and way bigger than this picture makes clear

 

Looking back to Gudvangen

 

The bridge

 

The fjord was simply magical

 

A crystal clear day with little wind left the Fjord a gigantic deep mirror.

 

The ferry arrives

Since we were touring on off season (and during a pandemic), snacks were harder to come by than on previous Norway in a Nutshell runs.  Even the ferry (which usually has a nice snack bar with various food items) was limited to coffee and tea.  Bring along some snacks.

The two hour ferry ride is nothing short of stunning.

Pretend Viking boat

 

The ferry (very upscale)

 

 

These days, the ferry (which can comfortably hold 400) is a super modern, quiet boat with lots of room.  It is also fast.

Pole position (with a charger)

Just as we departed, some base jumpers blew in from on high.  Check out this spectacular landing.

 

Looking back into the wake