Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mary Hambleton - The Brilliant Painter, The Lovely Woman


Welcome back Dear Readers.

It always seems that we are 

losing too many fine artists.
      Last year for example, 
one of my favorite pianists,
Alicia de Larrocha
passed away.
Now who's going to serenade me with 
Mompou's Impresiones Intimas?

The great Jazz player, 
composer, conductor, educator,
and author of 
George Russell
left this Earth.
Dear Dodo
Merce Cunningham 
is gone too.


 closer to home,
a friend of mine,
after a courageous,
years long battle     
with cancer

Mary Hambleton
was quite a brilliant painter, 
a lovely woman, Mother, and Wife.

I will miss all of these great artists.

Elements of a Periodic Table

This posting 


Global Around Town 

contains some of Mary's works 

and a few images that may have inspired

and humored 


Dot Calm
It just never seems fair 
when we lose such great artists. 
Particularly when they are so young.

Nine Dodos

Game Plan
Hard Rain
"And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son ?

And what did you hear, my darling young one ?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin'
I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world

I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin'

I heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin'
I heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin'
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall."

Blue White Dodos
4 Blue Dodo

Waiting for the Miracle

A note here from Mary's husband Ken Buhler
            Painter Mary Hambleton was diagnosed with advanced melanoma in June of 2002. For 6 plus years she defied the odds, living a full life though a challenging one, mounting several one-person shows, teaching, traveling and receiving a Guggenheim, two Pollock-Krasners, a Gottlieb, and a Fellowship to Ballinglen Foundation in Ireland. She died on January 9, 2009.

           Her work chronicled her journey of living with the disease, starting with the introduction of images of extinct species into her once abstract work, and later images from the innumerable scans of her body. Mary never let her illness define her, but chose to define it instead by transforming it into art. As her own energy waned, she took the scans of the disease that would ultimately take her, and she turned those into striking and profound images. In that sense, she had the last word, because her body of work is a living, poignant reminder of who she was.

(Many thanks to my Dear Friend, Mary's husband Ken Buhler, for his contribution. )

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dining in Paris - "From Paris With Love"


Global Around Town

Senior Travel Correspondent

Doug Wingate

just got back from a 

calorie filled visit

to Paris.

Here's his report:

For my short 4 day stay, I decided to try several Michelin starred, upmarket places (all at lunch time; I took the evenings "off," choosing a simple baguette sandwich instead), including dining at 2 of the 3 current Parisian offerings of uberchef Joel Robuchon (currently the chef with the most Michelin stars worldwide to his name). The first JR spot I dined at, on my 3rd day in town, was my return to the original "L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon"in the 7th Arr.

L'Atelier de JR was everything I could have hoped for, and as good as I had remembered it. It was just one faaaaaaantastic mouth orgasm after another, esp. as I opted for the 9 course tasting menu. I also let the sommelier choose a complementary wine-by-the-glass for each of the many courses (including a customary coupe du champagne upon being seated, mais oui). None of this came cheaply of course. With the rotten Euro to Dollar exchange, I ended up dropping over USD$300! But ... it was worth every penny (or Euro, to be precise)!!

The first day I arrived, I dined at a more modestly priced place, but with a nonpareil pedigree as well. I dined at "L'Atelier Maitre Albert" in the Rive Gauche 5th Arr..  It's a beautifully modern interpretation of a rustic rotisserie restaurant, created by Chef Guy Savoy (whose eponymous Parisian flagship is a Michelin 3 star joint too of course). I had a special lunchtime set menu of 3 courses that was a relative bargain: I chose a fancy crabe millefeuille starter, followed by a superb free-range roast chicken with heavenly whipped potatoes, finished by an extraordinarily delicious and unique pamplemousse terrine dessert, which was the perfect light ending to an otherwise hearty meal. All of this, plus the wine, for "only" about USD$70. Again however, the price-to-quality ratio exceeded expectations. 

On my 2nd day in town, I tried New York uberchef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's first foray into the Paris market, with a "casual but trendy" spot in the fancy schmancy 8th Arr., called simply "Market." See Mr. Vongerichten, who has 3 Michelin stars for his eponymous Manhattan flagship, Jean Georges, was the only one who disappointed me at all (too bad for him as he's a lousy ambassador for the USA to France!). His expensive chicken dish was not even as good as the chicken stuffed with foie gras that they served me in my upgraded Business class seat on my return American Airlines flight!!! Shame on Jean Georges! Don't bother (In fairness, the starting butternut soup was very good, but the main chicken dish was genuinely virtually inedible! I did NOT bother with a dessert there, but instead rolled around the corner to the Champs-Elysees, to stop at one of the many cafes).

I chose a cafe called Le Deauville ( , near the George V metro stop) mostly because they advertised that they serve Paris's justly famed Berthillon ice creams!  A couple of "boules of Berthillon glace" and a very good double espresso made for a superb dessert, and almost erased my bad memory of MARKET.

On my final full day, I tried Joel Robuchon's 16th Arr. entry, "La Table de Joel Robuchon," introduced after his success with L'Atelier.  Things didn't begin well there, as they called me in the morning to ask me to come at 1:45 PM instead of my original res. of 1:30. No biggie of course. But, when I got there at 1:45, they had no table yet, and sadly they have no bar area either. So, I had to wait in a small vestibule, next to the coat check for about 45 minutes more. However ... Chef Robuchon's staff knows how to "make good" for a problem like having an earlier party NOT vacate their table. After I'd been standing there about 10 minutes, they offered me a complimentary coupe du champagne (a 25 Euro tab at L'Atelier!!), then they brought out a chair for me to sit upon, and also offered me a platter of their best Iberian ham, one of their specialites de la maison (de rigeur in Barcelona, but all the rage in Paris right now too).  And finally when I was seated, they happily were perfection. They also had a special lunchtime-only "Menu 'Club'" that offered an hors d'oeuvre, main dish, cheese course, dessert, coffee and a demi bottle of wine, all for "only" Euro 59 (around USD$80)!!! As my meal was again just superb, and they had already "comped" me over 40 Euro worth of food and wine while I had waited, I was most content! VIVE LE CHEF ROBUCHON!!!

Many thanks 

to Doug 

for keeping us abreast 


The Culinary World in Paris.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Old Friends, New Friends - Once Upon A Time In Rio

I've just finished watching this


but heartbreaking film.

Like some of the characters in it,

I am trying to reassure myself that everything will be OK

by saying

"calme, calme"

to myself.

I guess it was naive of me to have hoped that

this modern day  Romeo and Juliet

set in Ipanema and one of the favela's

surrounding it,

(where the joys of life and the violence of death exist so closely)

could've ended up

"happily ever after".

I guess that was the romantic in me.

I am hurt,

and I am saddened

that this was

(yet again)

not the case.

Once Upon A Time In Rio

is a very powerful, moving drama

with great acting.

A film that I cannot recommend more highly.

There have been many fine films

coming out of Brazil in recent years.

City of God

and City of Men,

are also not be missed.