9 summer lives, trips + wishes: somebody, nobody, somebody came

24Jun11

When I was about 6 my mother gave me a book called “Somebody Came.”

Supposedly a gift from my Grandfather, who had passed away 4 years prior, I took it like a gift from beyond, as it was a lushly illustrated story of a little girl and her Grandfather, the keeper of a bright green magical crystal ball egg in which she could see and choose her future. The old man was very protective of the ritual of looking into the egg and kept it packed away in a box at the top of a closet in their big, isolated farmhouse surrounded by verdant hills. Impulsed by her desire for playmates, he allowed her to look into the egg, and depending on the order of a rhyme he had her sing to the plucking of petals from a summer flower, a kind of “he loves me, he loves me not” song, either “Nobody or Somebody came” in the form of children coming to visit as magical appearances in the egg, singing her name.

A little reminder riff on perspective in life.  Choices and how to ground our glass half-empty, glass half-full Ego sing-songs in a steady reality.

This cosmic dance tune cycle from May to June to July moves from the earthy sign of Taurus and The Grounder to Gemini, The Twins into Cancer, the sign of The Nurturer in July. The energy moves from grounded practicality and sensuality to Gemini, the air sign that is Ruler of Everything Dual: reflecting the possibility to shift the realms of the mind’s quickery and quackery to its destiny of divine design ruling a mutable but balanced duality.  Who is coming? Depends on who you entertain and amplify today in the crystal egg at the top of your closeted (?) mind. Who and what will you choose to nurture?

The Shape of the Outside is the shape of the Inside. Balancing “voices” or perceptions is not homework assigned in a mental clinic. Identifying, naming the characters which appear in our mind’s egg with all their mixed messages of chatter or brilliance and deciding whether to listen deeply, asking them to work a little with us or telling the announcers of tired, old news bulletins to “just take a hike” is the power to harness our energy for Good.

Our private dramas playing out on the stage of our minds operate much like a closet, either a place to hide stuff or a box of creativity where we dress ourselves to reflect our dreams. The Kabbalists say this time is perfect to balance these dualities. We can also trace this “shizophrenia” in a positive way to the Eastern philosophy of the koshas, or sheaths of bodies or intertwined layers of consciousness or lives. Your neighborhood yoga teacher or Yoga magazine is already prattling on about our energetic bodies with their Gates of Perception or Chakras, all with their own voices and characters as if the balancing were as easy to reach as the white pants you pull from the back of the closet after May 31.

This month street art, graphics, characters and graffiti seemed to reflect some of my hidden voices, like the Nine Lives that Live in Me as Responses to Life’s Triggers so that the space for what I really WISH for and what I want to nurture to come alive. I decided to name the Nine Lives to somehow either tame or cultivate them.  A choice to see a Whole Verdant Crystal Egg full of possibility rather than some sort of scattered Sybarite Schizoid Sybil. Friendliness to all these personas keeps dancing in checks and balances. A little schism is a like a little spice to to lead to higher heights.

While a famous crooner sang, “We are “Nobody” until “Somebody” loves us,” our “Somebody’s” first begin with ourselves in twinkling reflection and evolution. For moving from Duality into a Verdant Nurture cycle at the beginning of Summer, here are my 9 summer WISHES, lives, trips, loves, spaces, faces and places I’ve been lately. Somebody, Nobody, Somebody Came.

Anna Fischer photo

ONE. WISH: I AM A CHANGELING. Dress Me Up In My Love. I am Somebody: I am Isabella Blow catwalking in the smartest clothes on Earth.

A Goddess of Dandy, Isabella Blow, and her discovery, designer Alexander McQueen, were always like imaginary pals in my mind’s egg. Superlative visitors into everyday life, amping up imagination, she with her madness, 9 million hats and clothing and he with his runway spectaculars that made me moan. Herself a sartorial vision, mutual friend #3, Daphne Guinness, paid homage to her two friends with her performance in the windows of Barney’s, with Isabella’s resplendant closet opened to the world on the opening night of AQ’s homage at the Met’s Costume Institute this year. (See her article in Vogue here.)

I choose this glimmering apparition, this Alexander McQueen catsuit to begin my Nine Lives explore. A brilliant reflection of the gyrating soup of electrons this skin spacesuit of ours really is. (Yes, number 15 is a shoe.)

Rick Owens leather jacket at Kirna Zabete. This is what we call a “Sandwich” mind trick. Of course we love McQueen and the cool bio-jackets made from mushrooms that follow. But can we get a cheer for this mushroomy buttery pure indulgent leather confection from Rick Owens? it’s not PC, it’s not fast-fashion, it is meat in the middle per say… and it is not even mine yet. But it should be. Somebody, Nobody, Somebody Came.

Other garb I am feeling is Biocouture, organic Kumbacha clothing by designer Suzanne Lee  to “new pedigree” clothing sculpture by Schmidt Takahashi, made from elements of previously owned clothing with the added bonus of being able to contact the former owners.

Suzanne Lee of Biocouture has not quite figured out what to do when it rains as the mushroom goop becomes re-constituted, but she is at St. Martins in London and they do experiments like this and make TED videos from it to inspire us.

Schmidt Takahashi are two design school alchemist friends from Berlin who not only re-constitute vintage garb into new designs, they give the scan code as a kind of DNA way to connect online and, like a green crystal egg, discover the father and mother previous owners of your hybrid remixed new clothes. You decide: TMI or NBFF’s?

T’is true we are all connected and discovering new friends through what we put on our bodies may be a new amped up shopping therapy and perhaps more intriguing than Facebook. (OMG, physical connection? more intriguing than FB? NFW! WWJD?) As it is said in the Yoga Vasishtha, an ancient Sanskrit text: “For the ignorant person, this body is the source of endless suffering, but to the wise person, this body is the source of infinite delight.”

…and speaking of that…

TWO. WISH: I AM A SQUIRED WOMAN. I am Somebody: I am a James Bond Girlfriend.

I’ve had this vintage Esquire magazine for awhile and love the cover girl, a James Bond teaser, spurring him to action. Complete with cocktail ring visits from my own life, it always makes me smile. Esquire is so testosterone in that burly, man-scented way so I was thrilled to see the spanking new furniture line, The Esquire Home Collection at ABC Carpet and Home launched with a little highball spirit-ual gathering (many pieces bear the names of cocktails, of course!) A by-product of the Esquire Houses, which created and hosted ultra-loaded abodes during celeb-fetes like the Oscars and Cannes, the furniture no doubt is an easier sell. Everything is revved up… coffee tables on steroids are 10 times bigger and more man-cave cuddle than they should be…

Bond chairs, perfect for bondage, seem to weigh tons…

…and the liquor cabinet makes me think a man might close me up in it, spin me around and saw me in half. Oh, don’t I wish. C’mon, you know I mean metaphorically. It’s a steamer trunk of liquor. Def a green egg to make Somebody come.

THREE. WISH: I AM A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH.  Babymaking, Billy Holiday and Bubble Tea in Brooklyn. I am Somebody New in Iconoclastic BROOKLYN.

At the first Brooklyn BBQ rooftop party of the summer, the tar beach is perfectly-peopled with former world-touring tattoo’d heavy metal guys, lithe models in toga minis and digital genius’s touting Beta-models on matching single people for baby-making. ( the next “to-do” after you come out of your closet, discover the parents of your clothing and decide to breed ) Also on the set, a hyped-up indie-father, a Pizza Empire Entrepreneur babysitting his 5-year old who slept soundly while a 25-year old, too-old-to-be-a-child, dancing too close to the roof edge is escorted out.

We sit and sit and sit and sit and sit…and slowly watch the sunset over the Manhattan skyline, “that brain beehive over there.” Absorbing watermelon, burgers on the grill, simplicity and tonics. “When we want to play, we play. In a happy setting, we’re getting, some fun out of life…”

More Brooklyn Love goes to my friend Richard Velloso and his new atelier/shop, Olga Guanabara, a new gem in Dumbo. Olga being Richard’s fat, lovable chocolate labrador retriever and Guanabara, meaning “bosom of the sea” from the Tupi-Guarani language, reflecting his Brazilian roots. Richard ditched his advertising career to engender new furniture from the reclaimed and gather delights from artisan friends. The real deal is the pieces built on site, a combo of said found objects, the purveyor’s bespoken edicts and Richard’s creative whims. Is it not less steroid than the Esquire furniture and tons more lush and resonant?

Hear this. Brooklyn and Summer to me is always about music and I discovered an afro-pop, jazz fusion, rare soul and old school hip hop internet radio station called Basement Soul Radio, the perfect beginning of Summer of ’11 soundtrack, where Billie came wafting in this month. Like my idol Chanel, Billie grew up abandoned and challenged. Lady sings the Blues, names her dualities, demons and desires. Life has challenges and suffering say the Buddhists, and this is exactly where we must keep finding the flower to put on our head or adorn our perfect Chanel suits and pop on as a dandy boutonierre, because those moments are perfect for transcendance and new births.

Of course, in basement soul deep connect, the subway art on the way to Brooklyn summed up this duality deep dive.

And, the perfect drink to a Remix of Suffering, New Birth and Humor? Bubble Tea.

At an art opening in Chinatown, I was coerced into drinking this foul concoction of tapioca balls (bubbles) by a cadre of Brooklyn hipster gals, promising virtues of bliss and convinced by them and the bright ads, I took a few sips. Tapioca bubbles are not happy nor a key to getting some fun outa life. I liked the signage way better than the elixir.

FOUR.  WISH: I AM A NU-SOUL: I am Somebody, I am The Dalai Lama’s Sister. I am a PEACE WARRIOR.

Fear can show up in a shortened breath or an all-out life-threatening situation. The gig is to make it an ally and I discovered recently, that naming the perpetrator of a silly irrational and repeated fear monologue of mine, “The Blithering Idiot,” (said with a smile) really took the power from it.

It can be said that fear and anger are the primary destructive forces on the planet and in our minds today, thus, defusing fear with understanding and compassion makes the Dalai Lama the man of the moment…every Now moment there is.

“Finding inner peace is a pivotal precondition to making positive change in the world. People change systems, not the other way around, “The world belongs to over 6 billion human beings, not governments or religious leaders,” the Dalai Lama said. “The world belongs to people.”

                                                                                                                                                 Newark Peace Summit image: Associated Press

The Newark Peace Education Summit, held recently in Newark, New Jersey was the brainchild of two men, Drew Katz, a philanthropist millionaire from my hometown suburb of Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Robert Thurman, the renowned Tibetan scholar. Newark is the city in which I was born and where my Grandfather and his family prospered. The confluence and conference was a bit like a gorgeous green egg taken down from an old dusty closet shelf. I thank Visionary Mayor Cory Booker for that too.

“On the same panel you’ll have Nobel laureates with an anti-violence street kid talking about their collective experience and sharing it,” said Drew, who first conceived of the conference two years ago when he met Robert.  The Dalai Lama, along with a diverse group of speakers ranging from actors, Edward Norton and Goldie Hawn to activists such as a former member of the Bloods street gang to Jody Williams, a peace activist from Brattleboro, VT to Earl,The Street Doctor who tirelessly reaches out to teens on the streets to a 12 year old girl who spoke for her generation sat equally on a panel. The Street Doctor’s encounter with the Dalai Lama was the preciousness of Pure Heart. I rubbed urban zen shoulders with both Donna Karan and the impressive kids whose Newark schools work with Goldie Hawn’s charity, The Hawn Foundation, a program for schools teaching emotional and social intelligence. It’s gonna take more than facts and figures to heal this planet.

Grateful the Lama is everyone’s Grand Papa.

FIVE. WISH:  I AM A SIMPLE MONK. A wish for a Peaceful HOME. I am Somebody living in My Concrete Desires.

When my home turf of NYC makes me feel like this…

…or grey and tiny and dirty not in the best way, it suddenly seems to be the month of May and May is ICFF, International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York, a world where people live clean designed lives with the best, bright furnishings. Last month, we reported on the green and sustainable industry leaders for Metropolis magazine and particularly loved this collection from Spain.

Arxe is a kind of Peace Collective with home spun concrete values and spare, clean and raw, earthy vintage products textiles for the home made of salvaged, antique industrial materials such as wood, leather, iron, concrete and steel with strong appeal. The hands at the top of this post are from their site reflecting the value that gardeners know well, that glimmering satisfaction when you get your hands dirty with solid work.

The concrete place. Designer, Alex de Betak and actress, Audrey Marnay’s home, featured recently on the cover of New York Times T magazine, lounges lazily on the Spanish coast. I got the skype-on-a-laptop tour of the place from a friend staying there last year and I declare, it is my ideal idea of a home for me and some Arxe furniture. Somebody, Nobody, Somebody Came.

SIX. WISH: I AM A FREE RADICAL. I am Somebody: Forget Simplicity! I am a Drag Queen Gypsy Drunk on Color, Flowers and Sensual Imbibements.

I am declaring it “The Summer of The Free Radicals.”

I see everywhere elements of gypsy-esque expressions. Very androgynous. Very bright and mixed with every kind of style. There is a baggy to the knee and tight on the calf dirndl pant showing up on men and women. I see lots of light ends and tips on hair of all kinds and bright mixed patterns everywhere. I see grape-crushing flat simple sandals. Big hippy pouch bags. New places of piercings like the middle of a face, and it’s not the nose. Green Tea cannot stop these free radicals.

This colorful caravan of women from around the world, in cheerful flowery garb but ego-distinct foul moods, sat together randomly underground on a Monday afternoon while the world roared and purred above them. They represent the Multi-Mooded Personas in my mind I have come to name My Own Drag Queens, no reference at all to those hard-working showgirls, all due honors go to the damsel of distress called PMS. C’mon gals, break out the real flowers, aromatherapy is here for YOU!

Up above ground, a meeting with one of NY’s original indie perfumers was the colorful counterpoint reminding that catering to the senses is always a free and radical idea.

Maria of Aroma M is a painter and expert in Japanese culture who is the “chef” of gender-neutral, artisanal perfumes mixing ingredients such as absinthe and dark chocolate, lychee with rose, and white chestnut blossom with muguet. The layers and “sexiness” of the scents is undeniable. “Beauty is a Daily Responsibility,” and so dutifully, we met Maria at the Rubin Museum, haven for heavenly art, with its tonkas of multiple bodies, forms and on-high views of Highly-Dressed, Non-Stressed Queens and Kings.

Like a mysterious fortune teller, author Julie Chaplin left a signed copy of her book, “Gypset,” at my Pal Joey’s place, Shangri-La Studio in Brooklyn, and I was drawn to it. I was captivated by it’s profiles of the traveling surfer, artisan set living in treehouses and bohemian rhapsodies and so I borrowed it from another friend when a copy appeared Again on her coffee table.

One Gypsetter in the book, jeweler Carolyn Roumeguere, grew up in Kenya and lives in a treehouse there. Descendant of Isabell Eberhardt, the heroine aka The Nomad, who dressed as a man to live in Islam in the Arab world, her intention-filled life pays grand homage to her grand lineage. Carolyn roams the world and this particular gold bracelet reminds me of the Kabbalist’s talk of shattered light, the broken pieces of our original soul and the work we do here to join this scattered light and wisdom into a whole place again.

And to float it all way above our heads, thoughts and wishes…the kites of artist, Jacob Hashimoto in his exhibit, “Silence Still Governs Our Consciousness.” is a real call to nurturing the Free Radicals in our auras.

SEVEN. WISH:  I AM A BUILDER.  I am an architect like Jeurgen Mayer H. I am Somebody FUSING ORGANIC VISCERAL GEOMETRY with every move.

Mushrooms, Fungus, Crystal Light + Architecture, Communications and New Technology = $H!T Happens in Berlin.
An ungainly title for an exhibit, yet Berlin, art and life philosophies are best when undeniably linked.  We recently met all three in the person of brainy pollinator and architect of space and thought, Jeurgen Mayer H, along with the exhibit co-curator, Tyler Greenberg, at the wine and brain teasing invitational at the Relative Space showroom party. They invited a co-generational cross-section of Berlin designers, who in turn invited others to join in curating the objects in this “….happening.” Speaking of organic matter, Brian Greenberg, principal at Relative Space, was the most knowledgeable sustainability thought leader we encountered during the design week events and we adorned him with praise in our second post for Metropolis entitled Trending Green.  A simpler, gentler title, yet reflecting the perfection and promise of my new life credo: building and feeling a perfection of organic geometric fusion. (fancy-talk for LOVE)

Jeurgen’s recently spawned LOVE-ly, fantastical Metrosol mushroom in Seville is covered here in Architects and Artisan‘s article. How many times have I seen this exact structure in my dreams? Many. Imagine building it!

Paul Clemence images

“Spiritual Technology” are words that came to me to describe this feeling of brainiac love. From new explorations of Kabbalah and sequential systematic re-organizing of old thought patterns there is a fluidity in structure that conceptually is my latest credo.

EIGHT.  WISH: I AM TIED AND BOUND TO COMMUNITY. I am Somebody forever binding, bonding lifelines to Senses and Essence.

Most people know the word yoga means union and it also means tethered. To be bound or in a bond with an idea or others. They used to say that art made by women always was “crafty.” And so what. It’s always good to touch a Superwoman Vibe of traditional crafts and culture as I saw recently around New York. Get into it with this video of the Senses & Essence exhibit at FIAF, French Institute, Alliance Francais, part of the World Nomad Festival with three Moroccan artists, Amina Agueznay, Safaa Errus and Najia Mehadji.

The entrance to Moss in Soho for ICFF echo’d this rope forest.

…while underground, above the throngs of commuters in a downtown subway station, a swirling twiny sculpture, an unexpected gift by just looking up. Proving that sometimes the way to tether thoughts, lives and impulses is to exactly allow swirling.

NINE.  WISH: I am a MENTALLY TRIPPING Somebody at the Movies: A Wish for Bliss.

And above the subways, I thoroughly enjoyed two movie premieres this month, both spoke volumes about Wishing,Traveling and Freedom.

Owen Wilson plays Gil, an OK Hollywood screenplay writer about to get married to an upwardly mobile blond and scary fiance who is expert at shopping for $50,000. furniture while he just dreams of living in Paris to finish his novel. Woody Allen doing time-travel was unexpected and made for silly light Summer fare. 

The first scene in the German indie film, “Vincent Will Meer” (opening nationwide and in New York on June 24th, see trailer) has the lead charactor having a Tourette’s Syndrome episode in the middle of his mother’s funeral and running out of the small church to huddle in front of the church entrance, overwhelmed. A very exaggerrated scene of anyone’s stress, it introduces a road movie of brilliant acting. Lead actor, Florian David Fitz, also wrote the screenplay. Plus he is veeery easy on the eye.

The next scenes of Vincent and his father as they root through closets is nothing like a mystical wishing green egg scene.

Institutionalized by his politician father after his mother’s death, Vincent  is “adopted” by Marie, an anorexic and they rope in Vincent’s obsessive compulsive roommate, Alexander. Vincent’s mission is simple. He wants to bury his mother’s ashes in the seas of Italy, as was her wish.  The trio escape the clinic taking off in their doctor’s car they in which they alternatively drive each other crazy and sane in touching ranges of their afflictions. These “conditions” distinctly mirror large doses of sanity, breaking down walls of separation or categorizing of what is “normal,” “healthy” or “disturbed.”

The green egg of the mountains holds them in a safe crystal of expression where literally their spirits run free.

The last scene of the movie is Vincent saying good-bye to his Father and choosing his own path. We are left wondering if he will choose to see his girlfriend again as she is tied against her will to a force-feeding life support system. Begging him to free her from it, he has told her he cannot help her. She will die if taken from it. By “abandoning her,” he ultimately gives her back her own will to survive and thrive. Whether he will return to her or not…Somebody, Nobody, Somebody Came is the mystery of the movie. 

May Your Own Dreams Come True This Summer.




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