Sunday, October 25, 2015

Madison Square Garden

This is not the Madison Square Garden your thinking of, it's actually the Madison Square & Garden Cafe in Laguna Beach California.  My good friends Julie and Dave (most of you know them) introduced me to this place and Julie and I have had breakfast or sometimes lunch here when I visit them in California.

It's a very eclectic place with all kinds of interesting gift items.  You know; its the kind of place where you love to browse and almost always come home with something.

They also cook up some very good meals served outside on their antique lined patio.  It's a fantastic place to enjoy your food slowly while enjoying all the interesting items that line the garden.

All of this is packed into a Registered Historic Structure built in 1912. 

You also might just find that certain something you can't live without like this cute little dog made of old boots.  No, I didn't buy this one.

Or maybe this big eyed frog.  If I still had a garden I would have been tempted.

I did give in to the urge to buy this cute little door stop and I immediately put it to good use when I got home.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Art, Art & More Art

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is a vast complex of several buildings each filled with a vast array of classical, contemporary and culturally significant art works.  The photo above shows one of the buildings with it's maze of stairs, escalators and platforms.  The views from that top platform are quite spectacular.  You can see the Hollywood sign and the observatory at Griffith Park from up there.

Also on the outside of the museum is this art installation called Light by conceptual artist Chris Burden.  These rows and rows of classic street lights are very popular with people of all ages.

And it seemed they were even more popular at night when they were all lit up.

Another installation by Chris Burden is called Metropolis II.  It's an intense kinetic sculpture modeled after a fast paced, frenetic modern city.  It's operated in full motion at specific times during the day and when it's on, the cars, trains and busses whiz by you on that network of roads and bridges.  You can actually see the operator in the photo above there in the center of the "city".  This one was fun to watch and as you can imagine, a big hit with the younger museum guests.

The piece above is called Red Concave Circle by artist DeWain Valentine.  It's made of cast polyester resin and it certainly makes a perfect place to snap some interesting photos.  It is part of the 50 for 50 Exhibition at the museum celebrating the 50 years that the museum has been in operation and showing pieces that were gifts to the museum celebrating that anniversary from 25 different donors. 

I even managed to create my own "artistic" shot while I was there by photographing just this single chair that was part of a much bigger art installation.  I liked how that red chair looked sitting there in the dark.  

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art or LACMA as it's affectionately known is a treasure trove of artistic ideas and talent.  It's a must see while visiting the Los Angeles area.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Italian Groceries

There is something extremely charming about Italian grocery stores with their variety of displays designed to draw you inside.  They made me wish I could do some shopping and go home to whip up a nice meal.  Since that is hard to do in a hotel room, I had to just admire them and snap a few photos of the ones I liked.

This one I found in Rome down a quiet little street.  I think that might be the butcher standing outside.

In Florence, this one was right down the street from the hotel so I passed it quite often.  Those gorgeous vegetables on display have attracted that young shopper.   I think she's talking her mother into buying something delicious.

This one caught my eye in Siena.  It looks like it could have been here selling fruits and vegetables, olives and olive oil for hundreds of years.

This one in San Gimignano is loaded with sausages, pasta and wine.  I bet I could have found the ingredients for a fabulous pasta dish in this place.  I think I see everything I need right in this display.

In Verona I saw this charming place that advertises meats and olives and of course olive oil, all of which are on display.  I think I see some wine back there too!

But I think my favorite little grocery shop was found in the town of Bassano del Grappa.  That window with the strings of peppers in it beckoned me in immediately.

And, what a surprise inside.  There were more peppers hanging from the ceiling and around the counter and they were perfuming the air with their spicy scent.  This place had jars and jars of sauces and jams all featuring peppers in some way.  I so wished I could have brought some home with me.  There were so many delicious looking choices.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Treasures of the Getty Villa

Last week I featured the gardens of the Getty Villa and this week we'll peek inside a few of the galleries.  The photo above shows a statue of the musician Orpheus with two sirens standing behind him.

The Temple Herakles Galley houses J. Paul Getty's most prized possession the Lansdowne Herakles, the Greek Hero who carries a club and a lion's skin.  The statue is named for Lord Lansdowne who once owned the statue and had it on display in his London home.

I thought the floor in this room was extremely attractive and just a tiny bit dizzying.  It's composed of triangles of Numidian yellow and dark gray marble.  

Another beautiful room is this one pictured above with various statues of Greek and Roman women.  The statue at the end in the place of honor dates back to AD 200 to 250 and depicts Hygiene - Aphrodite.  The statue seems to combine the two goddesses showing Hygiene who represents health, holding an egg and carrying a snake.  The other goddess, Aphrodite is depicted in the hair style with her son Cupid at her feet.

I thought the tops of the columns in this room were especially attractive decorated with flowers and shells.  

The gallery showing male statues featured this row of busts with Caligula located in the center position.  

This last photo shows a display of one of the things that truly fascinates me, ancient glass vessels.  I have a hard time not breaking a wine glass when I wash one so the fact that these pieces all date back to AD 1-100 is simply mind boggling to me.  The cup on the left is decorated with grapes and ivy, the tall beaker on the right is decorated in a volute pattern and the glass container in the center is decorated with palmettes.

So that has been a peek inside some of the galleries at the Getty Villa.  What an incredible collection of ancient artifacts awaits every visitor to this historic place.