Tuesday, July 28, 2015


"Amy is a film that makes you feel culpable, but it also stirs up waves of sympathy, of a desire to protect her and, also, an anger at those in her life who – you feel – could have done so much more to save her. This extends to pretty much everyone with whom she had a professional relationship (oh yes, and Blake Fielder-Civil). “It brought out the worst of a lot of people in her life,” says Kapadia. “If one looks carefully, there are lots of people who make lots of decisions or who were aware of one thing – whether it was the drinking, the bulimia, or the drugs – and nobody stopped it. That’s what the film is really about. It’s pretty heavy. You can’t quite imagine what it’s like when they’re in the film. To go through it all again, it’s really tough. There’s certain people who just can’t watch the second half."


Sunday, July 26, 2015

'Amy Winehouse, A Family Portrait' at the Contemporary Jewish Museum

Who was Amy and what made her tick? Was she just another rebellious girl from North London who happened to be Jewish or something far more? Unfortunately the current show at the CJM doesn't begin to explore the depth of Amy's talent and tragedy.

“Amy,” the documentary just released takes a far more honest look at the problems in Winehouse’s life: her discomfort with fame and the obnoxious paparazzi, her strained relationships with her father who comes across as a manipulative user, and and her toxic ex-husband, her fatal substance abuse.

More at:  http://www.examiner.com/article/amy-winehouse-a-family-portrait-at-the-contemporary-jewish-museum

Monday, July 20, 2015

'Night Begins the Day: Rethinking Space, Time and Beauty' at the Contemporary Jewish Museum

Darvaza crater (translated as the “doorway to hell”) in the former Soviet Republic of Turkmenistan

So many museum shows today focus on the transitory and the ugly, the crude and the disparaging. The viewer enters, looks, maybe reads a text or two and then moves on, maybe giving each piece a total of 30 seconds. What a shock then, to walk into the exhibit and encounter beautiful image after beautiful image - all of which are more than beautiful, a new 21st century definition of the sublime. The works evoke awe, tears, wonder and, ultimately fear that we are destroying the best that our world has to offer through our own greed and indifference. The museum’s ambition to encompass time, space and the modern sensibility Is largely successful.

 Peter Alexander, PA & PE, 1990

By returning to the older ideas of space and time, the museum has created an exhibit that is both contemporary, compelling and timeless.

More at: http://www.examiner.com/article/night-begins-the-day-rethinking-space-time-and-beauty-at-the-cjm

 Laurent Grasso. Soleil Noir (2014)

Vanessa Marsh. Chromogenic photogram
Joshua McElehny. The Center is Everywhere
Institute For Figuring, Bleached Reef, 2007–15. Yarns, beads, baskets, felt, sand, 84 x 24 in. Courtesy of Bleached Reef, part of the Institute For Figuring’s Crochet Coral Reef Project.  

Images courtesy of the Contemporary Jewish Museum

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Celebrate Bastille Day!

Celebrate Bastille Day in the Bay with a long list of events! Viva La Belle France.


On July 14, 1789, the French people stormed the Bastille, a fortress in Paris that represented the ancien regime. People were sent to the Bastille on the basis of arbitrary orders from the monarch, orders which could not be appealed. At that time, the prison only held seven prisoners but the actions of the Parisian crowd held great political significance. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bastille_Day)

Celebrating the day came to represent all that the French Revolution had accomplished - the ending of the monarchy, the declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen and a new vision of government:

"The rights of man are held to be universal: valid at all times and in every place, pertaining to human nature itself. It became the basis for a nation of free individuals protected equally by law. It is included in the preamble of the constitutions of both the Fourth French Republic (1946) and Fifth Republic (1958) and is still current. Inspired in part by the American Revolution, and also by the Enlightenment philosophers, the Declaration was a core statement of the values of the French revolution and had a major impact on the development of liberty and democracy in Europe and worldwide.

How can we celebrate Bastille Day without singing the French National Anthem - La Marseillaise? "Allons enfants de la Patrie." This version is from one of my favorite movies of all time. You know the scene..

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Happy Birthday James McNeill Whistler

San Francisco's museums have a lovely collections of his etchings but most of them are not on view. However, you can see the ones at the Legion on the web here:


and a review of a 2011 show here:  http://www.examiner.com/article/happy-birthday-to-james-mcneill-whistler

James McNeill Whistler: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Abbott_McNeill_Whistler

The Case for Beauty: http://www.pbs.org/program/james-mcneill-whistler/

NY Times Obit (1903): http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0714.html

Lunder Collection: The more than 300 etchings and lithographs that make up the Lunder Collection of James McNeill Whistler represent some of the rarest and most beautiful impressions by this American master.

Freer/Sacker Gallery: https://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/online/whistler/intro.htm

His deft marks: http://www.artistdaily.com/blogs/masters/archive/2007/10/15/whistler-s-mark.aspx

Friday, July 10, 2015

RIP Omar Sharif

Omar Sharif as I (and millions of other women) first saw him - riding out of the desert, the Sheik incarnate. He and Peter O'OToole were the perfect yin and yang of that movie and the object of millions of fantasies.

Dr. Zhivago was a great film and in it Sharif gave his greatest acting performance. When I first saw Dr. Zhivago I still fell hopelessly in love with with both him and Julie Christie. In the film the doctor meets Lara - he is smitten - circumstances take them apart. But we, the audience, know and yearn for the inevitable.

Romantic drama - yet today's millennials find the film a bore. "Where's the action?". "It's too long." They simply don't get romanticism that twists and aches, consider the plot a silly waste of time, and in the age of Tinder can't be bothered with tragic love. And that pretty much explains why there are no romantic drama films of this caliber anymore. And also explains the state of today's films, its actors and why so very few are memorable.

His parents were Syrian/Lebanese Catholics like my grandfather's people; maybe that's one of the reasons that I adored him (me and millions of people). The culture that he came from in the Middle East has been demolished by today's bigotry and violence. But his reputation will remain as an example of a kinder, gentler, more tolerant time.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Celebrate Bastille Day


Mid-Week Roundup-Temple on the green, birthdays and more..

David Best's temple returns on Patricia's Green in Hayes Valley


July 6 through 12: opening at Arc, SF Women Artists Guild, photos of transgender people in Cuba.. and more (of course)


Something to look forward to - the new BAM/PFA building opens in January 2016. It's hard to tell what it will look like. Architects' renderings are always very clean and fancy but at least those of us who use public transportation won't have to walk very far: http://www.examiner.com/article/bam-pfa-s-new-building-will-open-to-the-public-on-january-31-2016

Important Birthdays this week: Kathe Kollwitz and Marc Chagall

Haight Street rat: Get a last glimpse of Banksy’s classic piece of street art before it leaves San Francisco. The iconic work will be displayed in the gallery window to be viewed from the street. Free. All day. Sat., July 11. 836 Montgomery St., S.F. www.836m.org

Monday, July 6, 2015

Red, white, blue and one pink - symphony in cupcakes

Since I was up late on Saturday and didn't want to murder my obnoxious, noisy neighbors, I used the energy to do a lot of watercolors.

This is my red, white and blue cupcake series - with one pink one thrown in for good measure. No munching allowed.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Green Boat on Sunday

 I went out to escape all the hammering, banging and paint smells in my apartment house and got back home around 2 PM as the painters were wrapping up for the day. I has just settled down for a nap when the bozos down the street decided to party - bringing a table full of booze onto the side walk and bellowing like they were at a ball game.

Then, around 8 PM, they were setting off firecrackers! I was able to block the noise with a fan, earplugs and a head set but if they decided to party until 2 AM every Saturday night/Sunday morning, I will call the police.

I figured that because if was the 4th of July that the police wouldn't bother to come - although if I'd reported liquor and illegal fireworks they might have. I was so tired I could have cried when the nose started up - don't know where these rich white kids got the idea that they own the street and can make as much noise as they want throughout the night.

But I did use some of my energy to make art - maybe I want to sail away from the noise although I don't think this old boat would take me very far.

I can see Turner's influence in the wet on wet flow of paint; I just hope he would approve.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of July

Corita Kent, Flag Of My Home, 1976. Screen print. Collection UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Hammer Museum. Corita Kent Bequest.

Happy 4th of July! For over 200 years, America’s women have toiled, protested, lobbied, advocated, and fought for many of the freedoms that we enjoy today, such as the right to vote, Title IX, and non-coverture. (Photo: New York City suffrage parade, 1912. Library of Congress.)

The fight for women's suffrage: http://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/the-fight-for-womens-suffrage 

Notable women: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/suffragists/tp/suffrage_biographies.htm 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Hayes Valley Temple, Arts Calendar and a 'freebie" from the SFPL.

Burning Man Temple on Patricia's Green. watercolor by Nancy Ewart

Burning Man temple returns to Patricia's Green in Hayes Valley:

July Arts Calendar from SF Art Enthusiast: http://sfartenthusiast.com/calendar/

Discover and Go: San Francisco Public Library is transitioning its beloved free museum and attractions passes program, known as Check Out San Francisco Family Pass, to a new online platform called Discover & Go. Library users will still be able to access free passes to more than a dozen San Francisco museums and attractions with the use of their library card. With Discover & Go, library users can better plan their visits to local attractions by reserving a pass online with their library card and printing their tickets at home or at the neighborhood library. In addition, while the Check Out San Francisco Family Pass was available only for families accompanied by children under 18, many Discover & Go attraction passes are available for users of any age.

To start accessing passes to a variety of Bay Area attractions with your Library card, go to: discover.sfpl.org

San Francisco’s Discover & Go program is sponsored by the Department of Children Youth & Their Families (DCYF) and San Francisco Recreation & Parks.


Highlights from past SFAQ projects: http://sfaq.us/event/highlights-from-past-sfaq-projects-2012-2015/ 

Ten things to do this weekend: http://www.sfstation.com/guides/10-things-to-do-this-4th-of-july-weekend/