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Kandinsky at the Guggenheim 2022

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Megan Caldwell and Everyone Else at Longbranch

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For a long time now, the only painting by Megan Caldwell in the collection has been this little painting on a tiny block of wood in the kitchen.  We fixed that.

Sad to miss the opening due to Indiana, though we got a preview of the show before everyone invaded.  What a fantastic collection of work, not just Megan’s but also great stuff from Winslow McCagg, Anna Billman (whose photography is excellent) and Leigh Henry.

So now we have some Megan in the house.  Or we will.  Or something.

This one depicts a local stretch of the river very close to home.

The artist and the mini artist

 

A whole nother artist

Same spot, different time of day.

Because Eli and Romey insisted, the upper left painting now belongs to me. The water is magical.

This is a study for the painting I purchased. Had to get it too.

Winslow and Anna’s work was in another room.  The pairings were perfect.  An incredibly well-designed show.

Nice to see such great work at Longbranch.  Clarke County’s art scene is top notch.  (The show will be up through May 8, 2022.)

 

 

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.

 

MoMA Where Did All These People Come From?

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The MoMA…can’t live with it, can’t live without it.  So many people.  But so much art.  And the food is great too.

The Mind’s Eye?  Surveillance capitalism?  Who knows.

Romey’s favorite artist, but no dice on seeing her favorite painting this visit

Not my favorite Kandinsky period

Frank

 

 

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.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

From the bow

 

Norway

 

Mountain boat

We called ahead to the Flåm for a pizza from the bakery.  This is a good move!  The pizza was delicious and it was great to walk in and have a hot pie waiting.

 

Yum!

 

 

Then it was a 3 minute amble over to catch the Flåm–>Myrdal train (one of the steepest inclines in railroad) in an historical vehicle.  Here we go.

 

The climb really is remarkable.

 

Myrdal here we come (check out the switchbacks)

A short stop at the waterfall is always in order.

Romey takes a picture

Romey also takes a video.  (These bits are for Emily.)

 

 

 

 

 

And then on to Myrdal with some daylight remaining (remember, the sun sets around 3:30pm in late November).

 

We made it!

 

 

After a few minutes at the top, the train to Bergen arrived.  Then it was three hours back, arriving just in time for dinner with friends (including Vemen and Hovard this time).

Last train back

 

The route

 

Back home in Bergen.

Catoctin Creek: Local Excellence in Distilling

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It was an interesting evening…a fundraiser for the USO at the best local distillery (well, the best legal local distillery anyway).  The dress instructions were vague and a bit confusing.  Something about casual something or other with red and black.  LOL.

So anyway, we wore this.

Our dear friends Donnie and Geri came and we scored the head table with our excellent hosts and good friends Scott and Becky.  Scott and Becky are the powerful couple behind Catoctin Creek.

Scott pinged me and we did the kilt thing!

I love wearing my kilt, and I especially love it when my buddies wear theirs too.  More kilts is what we need to solve global warming.

The kilts and the stills

 

Romey was resplendent in her red shoes.

 

The food was good.  The company was interesting. And the 1908 Rye?  Well, you only get to try that once or twice in one 2021 life.

We ran the proof in the back.

 

Fred Minnick was the MC

Fred did a great job keeping things moving and imparting wisdom about the booze we were drinking.

 

Geri in the house

 

More fred

 

There was cake.

 

All the hosts at once.

 

A Paper Plane nightcap back at the home bar ended the evening.

 

Romey Buys a Building

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Jumping way ahead.  The Natural Mane in its new state.

 

As a successful salon business owner for over a decade, Romey knew she should own her own space instead of renting.  Any idea when the best time to take a financial risk and do that is?  Never!  So when is the second best time?  During a global pandemic, of course.  It takes a special kind of vision to fly directly into the vacuum.  Here is Romey’s story.

Before: The Barbershop

The discussion quickly became a reality in late 2020 when the 1850s era Berryville jailhouse (that had been a barbershop for many years) came on the market.  Here is what the space looked like before it was purchased.

From the back room

You can’t quite tell from here, but that floor is 5 layers of flooring all tottering on joists that are about to give up the ghost.

 

Florescent lighting and dated fans (instead of AC).  And that green.  No words.

 

Looking back (one of the stations is shown here)

 

The bathroom where the basement “access” was

 

The back was in better shape, though still green

 

 

Romey contemplates ownership

Before buying the building, finding a contractor and spitballing what renovation would cost was the next step.  Also an in-depth inspection.  Needless to say, Romey kind of knew what she was getting into.  Kind of only because a building from 1850 always holds surprises.  This was going to be a hell of a project!

Demolition

The barbershop was utterly removed, the attic was exposed and cleaned out, the floor was removed, and lo and behold the bones of the building began to emerge.  But first, a permit.

Demo permit

 

Removing rubble

 

These beams turn out to be a treasure

One of those unexpected finds was a chimney basically hanging in space.  It had to go.  But the architecture review board had to approve first since the skyline changed.

Uh oh, an unexpected chimney ready to crash down and kill somebody (the beams are from the contractor)

 

Oh but these stone walls!

 

One day this will be a gorgeous window

 

But first a slight delay waiting for a building permit.  Thanks to Allen Kitselman, all of this permitting happened as smoothly as possible.

The permit (and the new holding company)

Floor and Plumbing

All that flooring?  Gone.  And all of the joists?  Replaced.  Plus the basement was parged and lined with plastic.  While the floor was missing, the plumbing trade got started bringing the building’s water system to code.  Everything was replaced.

For a while, it was fun to walk on the skinny boards that sufficed for a floor.

Floor joists and subfloor

 

Reframing the back

 

Plumbing in the basement

 

Hey look, subfloor

 

Framing the back of the main room where the stonework was not up to snuff

Stonework

Repointing the stone was also an unexpected expense, but one well worth the investment.  just look at these walls.

Gorgeous stone

 

Yes please

The rest of the space was framed for drywall.

Shampoo area

 

Newly widened doorway to back (in order to meet code)

 

Looking almost roomlike