Tag Archives: Culture

Memorial Weekend Escape – Old Lyme and Mystic

A weekend day trip out of New York City can be hectic, but when you are less ambitious and just play by ear, it can be relaxing. The only planning is to rent a car and set a limit of how far you want to go. Getting together with like minded couple of people is key. So our group of four decided to take a day trip to the town of Old Lyme and Mystic in Connecticut on the Memorial weekend Saturday.


Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme is a lovely small museum that is the home of American Impressionism. In the 1890s, a women named Florence Griswold decided to operate a boarding house and it just happened that one of her visitors was Henry Ward Ranger, a New York artist in search of establishing an art colony like what he discovered in Europe. What followed was his friends and fellow artists like Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf…etc. Many of the paintings were inspired by the house, its garden and the Lieutenance River that runs pass the property. Today, the museum has a new building with a rotating exhibition and a gift shop. We happen to catch the current exhibition of “…isms: Unlocking Art’s Mysteries” and enjoyed it quite a bit.

After the museum, we drove in to S & P Oyster Company for some lunch. We ordered  lobster tacos and lobster rolls to help celebrate the local annual Lobster Fest. The lobsters were nice but the highlight is to sit by the water and watch the Mystic river and the old drawbridge. After lunch, we walked around the main street a bit and dropped in some of the vintage shops and souvenir shops. For us, this quick escape outside of Manhattan was perfect!

Nina Simone – My Baby Just Cares For Me

Nine years ago on April 21th, Nina Simone passed away, left behind her art, her spirit, her style and her legacy.


This is one of my favorite songs performed by her: My Baby Just Cares For Me

My baby don’t care for shows
My baby don’t care for clothes
My baby just cares for me
My baby don’t care for cars and races
My baby don’t care for hot town pleases

Liz Taylor is not his style
And even Lana Turner’s smile
Is somethin’ he can’t see
My baby don’t care who knows
My baby just cares for me

Baby, my baby don’t care for shows
And he don’t even care for clothes
He cares for me
My baby don’t care
For cars and races
My baby don’t care for
He don’t care for hot town pleases

Liz Taylor is not his style
And even Liberace’s smile
Is something he can’t see
Is something he can’t see
I wonder what’s wrong with baby
My baby just cares for
My baby just cares for
My baby just cares for me


Listen and enjoy…

Hong Kong: New Force in Art and Design

2012 in Hong Kong was declared by the local government as the Hong Kong Design Year (HKDY). Throughout the year, there will be many events and activities to celebrate Hong Kong as a creative city and an important force in art and design in the region. Having worked and lived in Hong Kong for a few years in the past, I always have a soft spot for Hong Kong. It’s a very special place.

So last Wednesday I had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion “Hong Kong: New Force in Art and Design” in Asia Society. I especially enjoyed one of the panelist Gary Chang’s talk. Gary’s work, particularly his apartment has been on many publications and it was great to have a chance to hear him talking about the subject of sustainable living and design. He is very humble and humorous too.

Below is a picture of Gary’s apartment – a domestic transformer. A 334 square foot apartment in Hong Kong changed into 24 different configurations, just by sliding walls and panels around.


(see the video below on the transformation)

This makes New York City living seem so spacious!


Monday Night at the Speakeasy

Anna and I arrived on a poorly lit street in Lower East Side, saw two men dressed in blue police uniform in front of a short metal gate. She whispered “cannolis” to his ear and we were led down a staircase in a typical tenement building. Repeating the same password in front of a big metal door, a door opened to a room full of people, laughters and live jazz music. We just walked in the immersive play called “Speakeasy Dollhouse“.

We stopped by the bar and asked for a drink that seemed to be popular among the patrons, a champagne cocktail served in a tea cup. We decided to take a seat across the Howard Fishman Quartet to enjoy the music and enjoy an evening of intrigue and fun in the 1920′s.

Speakeasy Dollhouse is based on a family mystery of the writer and the producer Cynthia Von Buhler. Cynthia was intrigued by the story of her grandfather’s death so she embarked on extensive research. She wrote a book and built dollhouse like models with extreme attention to detail and produced this immerse theater piece.

Throughout the show, you are encouraged to explore the rooms, talk to people and try to piece together the plot. We were asked to hand a note to Lucrezia at the bar which led to perhaps the cause of the shot later on.

Here the hostess seemed to have discovered something.

The waiter was watching the crowd in the bar.

We felt that we were having a fun party in the Prohibition era. It was definitely interesting and different!

Each month there is a different theme, currently it runs until June. You can get the tickets online and receive the password from the email.

History Tells the Future?

In its fifty-eighth year, the New York Winter Antiques Show opened with a loan show from Historic Hudson Valley and with exquisite antiques from seventy three blue chip exhibitors. I stopped by yesterday to say hi to a friend who is an exhibitor and to admire the fineries.

This is the entrance way with a digital moving image projected in front of the Park Avenue Armory which is one of the amazing space in New York.

A Salvador Dalí Ruby Lips Brooch.

There were so many other beautiful paintings, sculptures, furniture, jewelry, textiles, ceramics, books…etc., but this federal budget of 1797-98 caught my eye. Back in the days, the total federal budget was $10,161,097.48, today, the President proposed $3.7 trillion for the Nations’ budget of 2012. Back then it was just 9 pages long and today it’s 216 pages long with a 1,364-page appendix. It was interesting that we were already borrowing money with domestic debts and foreign debts back then. Guess certain things don’t change much. We over spend.

The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring original hand writings by historical figures such as Mary Antoinette, Abraham Lincoln, J.D. Salinger, hearing stories of how small pieces of bones of Christopher Columbus was moved, and admiring paintings by Miro, Matisse…


A Classic Music Gift for Valentine’s Day

Have you heard of Anne Akiko Meyers playing her beautiful Stradivarius violin? Especially the recently acquired “ex-Napoleon/Molitor” Stradivarius from 1697. The sound is just so rich and pure. Of course, she is such a dynamic and expressive violinist. It’s delightful to listen to her music and just close your eyes and enjoy.

On this Valentine’s day, her new album “Air” will be released. For the first time, the solo part of the Double Concerto were recorded on two different violins: The 1697 `ex-Molitor/Napoleon’ Strad and the 1730 “Royal Spanish” Strad.

Here’s a small sample of the album “Air“, a classic Valentine’s gift.

Here are a few more of her music from Youtube. This one has my dear friend Reiko Uchita playing piano. They were been performing together since they were kids. Isn’t that neat?



Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue…

Back in the city, it became windy and rainy this afternoon. I decided to go out and get some pretty paper from NY Central Art Supply store in the neighborhood to do a small craft project.

Sandwiched between the shiny new pharmacies and banks, this unassuming little store is an institution for artists and students. Opened in 1905 by Russian immigrant, it passed down through the generation and is still a family business. Pretty rare these days in the big city… The shop became known from supplying artists like Chuck Close, Andy Warhol…etc. with the highest-quality and hard-to-find items. The staff are extremely knowledgeable and helpful. The entire upstairs is devoted to paper and they’ve got more than 3000 of them, all organized and labeled impeccably by country, maker, specifications. I have to say, I have not found any other store with this range of paper. It literally has papers produced by the world!