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Last week a fantastic Gordon Park’s exhibit opened in Rome. Titled, Una Storia Americana (an American History), this is one of the largest retrospectives of his work.

Gordon Parks was a true renaissance man.  He was a self-taught photographer, musician, writer, film director, and poet.

Parks was also quite popular with the ladies. When he was sixty he met a young aspiring writer named Candace Bushell, who had recently moved to New York City.  She moved in.  She was eighteen.

He became the first African-American to direct a major Hollywood movie and was the first African-American photographer hired by LIFE and VOGUE magazines.  His range of subjects, along his talent, made Parks one of the most important American photographers of the 20th century.  Many of his images are iconic and will be for years.

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Last Sunday, my friends Erica and Darius decided to take advantage of the great weather and organized a quick walk through EUR.

I still have problems pronouncing the area’s name correctly.  The second time I visited Rome, a friend from L.A. was in town.  She asked her lover (they met the year before) if he could show us around EUR.

L.A. Friend:  Marco, can you drive us to E.U.R.?  (spelling it out in English)

Marco: Dove? (Where?)

LAF: E.U.R.

Marco:  Non capisco.

LAF:  Big buildings, Mussolini.

Marco:  Oh, AY-oor.  Certo. 

That was a fun afternoon as my friend spoke no Italian and Marco spoke several languages but none of them were English.  However, they spoke the universal language of love lust, so it was all good.

On Sunday, I met up with the rest of the Twitter folks (aka Tweeps).  One of Darius and Erica’s friends was born in the area and still lives there.  He knows the area well and it was fascinating to hear his point of view.

If you have any interest in architecture or 20th century Roman history, EUR is definitely worth a visit. It’s a very unique neighborhood.

Here are a few snapshots from Sunday.

Darius jumps.  He landed safely.

Darius jumps. He landed safely.

Palazzo della Civiltà di Lavoro - aka "The Square Colosseum".

Palazzo della Civiltà di Lavoro – aka “The Square Colosseum.”

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A relief of Italian history.  Notice the large Mussolini at the bottom.

A relief of Italian history. Interesting portrait of Mussolini. What is he doing?  (center – bottom)

It's JFK.

It’s JFK.

This building reminds me of the late great old Penn Station in New York City designed by McKim, Mead & White.  The architects of that landmark were inspired by the Bath of Caracalla.

This building reminds me of the late great old Penn Station in New York City, designed by McKim, Mead & White. The architects of that landmark were inspired by the Baths of Caracalla and other buildings from ancient Rome.

We ended our walk with aperitivi at the famous Caffè Palombini.  There's outside seating.  Perfect during a warm evening.

We ended our walk with aperitivi at the famous Caffè Palombini. There’s outside seating. Perfect during a warm evening.

What a crazy week this has been.

My sister, who lives in Washington DC, was in Hamburg for an international public policy conference and we decided to meet in Munich.

One of the highlights of our very quick trip was the Brandhorst Museum.  This modern art space has some really impressive pieces, including works by Cy Twombly.

When I returned to Rome, I hit the ground running.  Suddenly, everything came to a halt because my laptop (granted, it was very old) died.

Now I’m typing on an Italian keyboard.  I’m glad that the € symbol is right there along with é and è but the darn ‘ and @ are in completely different places.

It’s a good thing I’m getting better about rolling with the punches (thanks dysfunctional Italy!)  If this large and unexpected expense had happened last year, I would’ve worked myself into a giant knot of stress while freaking out about my credit card bill.

Instead, I’m thankful that I have a business that’s growing and I know that this purchase was an investment in that business.

That said, I must admit that a tiny part of me was thinking, “damn, I could’ve bought a scarf and the bracelet I love at Hermès for that amount.”

As one of my close friends would say, “It’s only money.”  Of course this statement is usually uttered by people who have money.  She went on to say that experiences are more important.

I do appreciate nice things and I would love to have some of them in my life but I agree with what my friend said about experiences.

Yes, I took a big hit this week but what I will remember is standing in a large room in Munich surrounded by Twombly with my sister talking about art, politics, and how despite a ten year age difference we have the exact taste in men.

Several of these pieces are in the Broadhorst. Inspiring.  Buon Weekend!

 

 

 

 

Sebastião Salgado is one of my favorite photographers.

His show, GENESIS, is at the Ara Pacis until  September 15th.

page_su_salgado_genesis_09_1304111900_id_617883Photo: Taschen

It’s a large exhibit filled with staggering beauty. At times I was overwhelmed.  There was a lot to take in.

Salgado spent eight years traveling to thirty-two different locations to photograph people, places, and animals that have had little or no exposure to modern society.   It’s about how they relate to the earth.

I will be thinking about this exhibit for a long time.

Buon weekend!

 

 

I first became familiar with Nelson’s work when I saw his piece “Swin Party” in the movie “Something’s Gotta Give.”

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Photo: Kenton Nelson

Incredible painting.  The colors are so saturated.  When I look at it, I think Southern California in the late 30′s.

I know this painting will be on a future mood board.  Look at that red!

Buon weekend.

Another super hectic week.

I had all these great ideas for blog posts and how many did I end up writing?  None.  This is an issue. I cannot turn this blog into “The Weekend Inspiration Blog.”

I feel the need to go to a quiet place and think for a minute.  I know just the spot.

tizianoI saw quite a bit of Tiziano when I went to Venice a few years ago and the Scuderie is one of my favorite exhibitions spaces in Rome.

This show runs until June 16th.   For information about times and tickets, HERE is the website.

Buon weekend!

I was reading one of my favorite interior design/lifestyle blogs, FROM THE RIGHT BANK, and Ally’s post about making time for your passions really struck a chord with me.

It’s important to recharge and to be inspired, especially if you work in a creative field.

I know in our culture (American) we have this thing about “not wasting time.”  We live to work and don’t take vacations.  For some, they feel pressured not to use their few measly vacation days because they don’t want to be seen as slackers. When you have a CEO barely taking maternity leave, it sends a very clear message, “You have no life outside this office/job. Don’t even think about taking a vacation.”

I know many people who work for themselves and they brag constantly about NEVER taking day off.

I used to do that.  I felt guilty if I wasn’t always working or doing something “productive.”  I was going to out work everyone and move up that ladder.

I don’t know if it’s getting older, moving overseas, or getting completely screwed over at a former job, but I don’t think it’s great to never take a day off.

If I go to a museum one afternoon how is that wasting time?  Maybe a color in a Caravaggio would be perfect for a client’s dining room.  Maybe that painting will inspire me in a way that won’t be clear for years.

For my mental and physical health, my creativity, and my soul I must waste more time.

I love the Bertrand Russell quote in Ally’s post.  “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

I agree.

Last week my friend Courtney and I went to see the new Helmut Newton exhibit at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni.

There are two hundred photos covering three legendary books by Newton.  This blockbuster show runs until July 21st.

Newton forever changed fashion photography and is considered one of the most influential photographers of the modern era.   Many copy his style, but few have his talent.

It was incredible to see all these iconic photographs in person.  This one was shot for VOGUE in 1975.

Le Smoking

Le Smoking

Photo: Vogue.com 

My friend and I left the show very inspired. Newton was passionate about life and his work.  He was shooting until the day he died at age 84.

His first book of photography wasn’t published until he was 56 years old.   By Hollywood standards that’s close to 100.

I’ve worked for years in culture that was/is obsessed with age and making it. I had friends in L.A. who started getting Botox in their 20′s and I’m not talking only about actresses.

It’s hard to be in that world and not lose your sanity.  Once I moved to Rome, it was a little easier.  However, there were times I still woke up in the middle of the night in a panic because I haven’t “made it” yet and time is running out.  I thought, “I’m done. It’s a wrap.”

Last week I walked out of that exhibit thinking,”later for that nonsense, I’m just getting started.”

Buon weekend!

I saw marble everywhere.

Surfers taking advantage of the big waves after a rain storm.

Beach club in Marina di Pietrasanta before sunrise.

A sidewalk made of marble.

View of the sun rising from the Forte dei Marmi pier.

Delicious branzino at Pinocchio a Pietrasanta.

Michelangelo slept here.

 Fresco.

The pretty piazza in Pietrasanta.

Botero cat.

Botero exhibit.

I haven’t spent that much time in Tuscany.  I’ve been to Florence, Siena, and the tiny town of Terriciola which isn’t too far from Pisa.

I was going to stay in Rome for my birthday.  However, the horrendous heat, the fact that 99 percent of my friends were gone for Ferragosto, and dealing with screaming drunk American college students and loud high school Italian teenagers on my street pushed me over the edge.  I booked a trip out of town.

My friend Michelle, who lives in Milan, told me about Versilia.  Her husband happened to be in the area that weekend. He was dropping off their young son who was going to stay at his great aunt’s house.  He showed me around Versilia.

I don’t know if it was escaping from the heat or what but I fell in love with this part of the Tuscan coast.  Sometimes referred to as the Tuscan Riviera, Versilia is in the Northwest part of Tuscany.

I stayed in the town of Marina di Piestrasanta. I had no idea I was so close to the Forte dei Marmi border.  The two towns share a great park filled with pines trees.  The smell was glorious.

Marina di Piestrasanta was a little more laid back.  Forte dei Marmi reminded me of the Hamptons/Martha’s Vineyard.

There were all these super chic people on their bicycles whose families have been going to the area for decades.  Then you’d turn a corner and see a Veline/showgirl with massive fake breasts, injected duck lips, and a much older man on her arm.  As with the Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard, the new money is pushing up the price of real estate sky high.  Many locals worry about losing stores like a butcher shop or pasty shop to another high-end clothing store.

FDM has become very popular with wealthy Russians.  Most of the real estate offices had signs in Italian and Russian.

I know this is going to sound nuts, but it was so weird not to see any Americans or hear English.  Yes, I live in Italy, but Rome has a lot of tourists and American expats.  All the tourists in my hotel were Italian or German. There wasn’t a single flip-flop girl sighting the whole weekend. I wonder why that is.

Above Marina di Piestrasanta is the hill town of Pietrasanta.  This small town was packed with art.  The famous artist Botero has been going to Pietrasanta for thirty years and has a home in town.  To celebrate his 80th birthday, there was a large (and free) exhibition of his work.

Versilia has been popular with artists for centuries. Michelangelo stayed in Pietrasanta.  What looks like snow on the Apuan Alps is actually marble.

On my next trip I would like to visit one of the marble quarries.  Speaking of marble, some of the SIDEWALKS in Forte dei Marmi were made from the expensive material.

I’m definitely spoiled by Caribbean beaches.  It’s strange that I would love to have a place in the area but I probably wouldn’t join a beach club.  I loved the beach town vibe but didn’t love the beaches.

People were very friendly and the food was delicious. I drank a lot of Franciacorta.

Overall, I had a great birthday weekend.  I had one moment of, “everyone is here is with someone or their family, and I’m alone” but it passed pretty quickly.   I think it helped to be surrounded by so much beauty, delicious food, and the sea.

The night of my birthday I went to the Principe Hotel roof bar for a glass of Franciacorta after dinner.  The views were stupendous.  I believe the views were the reason my glass of wine was double the price of what I paid at dinner even though it was from the same vineyard.

That’s okay, as the kids would say YOLO, you only live once.

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