Touch: Flower Class

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

This past Saturday I drove to the North Willamette Valley with my Mom, sister and niece for an afternoon of arranging flowers. Our friends own Red Ridge Farms, a beautiful vineyard and olive oil farm that has been lovingly cared for over the last 4o years – they’ve added olive trees, lavender fields, a nursery and even an overnight cottage.  The class took place in their newly added event space and was filled with plants collected from the property:  gourds, curly willow, echinacea, sedum, eucalyptus and rosemary that we made centerpieces out of. It was a beautiful way to spend the afternoon surrounded by family, flowers and a fireplace.

Next weekend they are having the third annual Olio Nuova Festa to celebrate this year’s harvest. Spend the afternoon tasting fresh pressed olive oil, sampling wines and sharing bruschetta with other wine and olive lovers. If you are in the Portland area, I highly recommend it. It’s a really special place.

See: Portland Art Museum

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

I was lucky enough to make a quick trip to Portland, Oregon (where I grew up) this past weekend to visit my family. Although it was a short trip, John and I made the most of it. We flew out Friday and immediately headed to James Beard Rising Star award winner Gabe Rucker’sLittle Bird“–the sister restaurant to “Le Pigeon“–where we ordered brussels sprouts, french fries, steak tartare and a gorgeous artichoke soup. Sitting at the bar drinking red wine and a smoked orange bourbon cocktail(!) we imagined ourselves living in Portland–everyone plays this game when they travel, right?

Post-lunch we grabbed a quick coffee at Barista and then headed to the Portland Art Museum for a quick but beautiful hour of art. I hadn’t been in years and we both were incredibly impressed. Sometimes Portland surprises you like that. You think it will be pretty good but it wildly exceeds your expectations. The museum’s collection is spectacular. It isn’t overwhelming like the Met, where you feel like you’ll never see it all and race through the museum.  The quality of painting is extraordinary and it is always a privilege to see art in person. Their collection of Color Field painters is beautiful and there is an Arshile Gorky still life that I could barely tear myself away from. In the downstairs space they had an exhibition similar to StoryCorps: you make an appointment and talk at length about an object you love and cherish and it is held in their archives for others to hear and enjoy. My whole world is oriented around considering objects and the memories surrounding them so I love this idea.

Jules Olitski, Noble Regard (detail), 1989

Friedel Dzubas, Found (detail), 1972

Chris Burden’s “Ghost Ship” fills the sculpture court with the rudders and sails moving and unfurling periodically giving you the feeling that you’re out at sea with them. Really, really beautiful. There is more to come about our visit west and we’ll keep you posted. I didn’t even mention the show of Ed Ruscha’s recent work!

Chris Burden, Ghost Ships, 1991



LISTEN: You don’t love her… YET

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Today’s “LISTEN” segment in Loving’s Five Senses celebrates Portland (and you all know my love for Portland given my Oregon roots) – singer/song-writer, Rebecca Gates. I’ve enjoyed her company over many evenings of drinking and eating. Not only is the music warm and beautiful, she is too. If you’re fortunate enough to be in Portland, you should give her a call.

In the 1990’s Rebecca founded the indie band, The Spinanes, with Chicago drummer, Scott Plouf. Their discography ranges across tracks like the funky “Kid in Candy” and the lyrical “Epiphany”.  After the Spinanes, Rebecca went on to do vocal collaborations with Elliott Smith and Ben Lee. Her rich musical past weaves itself like a golden thread through her present-day tonal consciousness.

Her deep, soulful grace turns every song into a moving ballad (as witnessed in her solo rendition of “You Don’t Love Me Yet”) reminiscent of great alto rock heroines of yesteryears Cowboy Junkies, Susan Tedeschi, and K’s Choice.

Experience the sound of Rebecca Gates LIVE tonight, Wednesday November 2, from 6-7 PM EST at the “Upright Citizens Brigade” Theatre or on WFMU’s Seven Second Delay. The show is broadcast live on WFMU 91.1 in the NYC/NJ area and is archived online at WFMU.org.

TAGGED: Portland