Monday, May 19, 2014

Tea Partier (the fête not the fright)

Go Westbeth, young man and woman!
This past Sunday we had the pleasure of attending a Tea Party, given by Debra Rapoport and Stan Satlin. Debra is a milliner and maker of jewelry and one of the stars of the new documentary, "Advanced Style." Stan is a musician. Stan was gracious enough to host the party in his apartment in the storied artists' housing, Westbeth, in the far West Village in New York City.
 The occasion called for the utmost
in the utter ultimate of dresses so
I donned my new Alpana Bawa dress.
Alpana found this gorgeous embroidered fabric
and fashioned dresses and blouses with it.
I paired it with my Nuit et Jour beads
with blingy-bling, aka a huge faux diamond bauble.
 Stan has the most charming apartment in Westbeth filled with art.
Richard is wearing his new Saint Laurie Madras jacket and blue pant
with a lime-green linen shirt.
 Beautiful Elke Kuhn with her Bakelite and bangles.
Her jacket is from Gundrun Sjoden.
She collects the felt flowers which adorn her hat
on her trips to Copenhagen, where her son lives.
 Objects of interests in Stan's apartment.
 Debra made this mask of the Statue of Liberty
from a piece of metal found on the street.
 Stan at left of Jimmy Carter.
Stan has been collecting Americana to honor Nelson Mandela's
birthday. Stan's "Auratorio Americana: Songs of Peace,
Love and Spirituality" will be performed at an event called
"Footsteps of Mandela" at Riverside Church on July 18 at 7 p.m.
 Stan Satlin
 A flying mermaid.
 On the left, Vivienne Cable, a visitor from Australia,
next to Jean. Vivienne has a clothing boutique
called Image by Design.
 The inner courtyard of Westbeth.
From 1868 to 1966, Westbeth's 13 buildings were originally the home of Bell Laboratories .  Opened in 1970, Westbeth was one of the first examples of the adaptive reuse of industrial buildings for artistic and residential purposes in the United States. Now it houses 384 live/work spaces for artists. Westbeth also sponsors art shows, poetry readings, performances and concerts. It's a very arty place.
 Stan with Jean and Valerie, the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas.
 Lina Plioplyte, the director of the Advanced Style documentary.
 Debra and her sister, Cydonia.
Nonnie Balcer and her husband.
 A guest.

 After the party, we walked down Washington Street
to Wallsé for a delicious dinner.
 Wallsé has a Viennese-themed menu.
 The artist, Julian Schnabel's "Pink Palazzo" is
nearby, and several of his paintings
are displayed in the restaurant.
The Pink Palazzo
 Pinot Noir for Richard and Rosé pour moi.
The server's nail color perfecting complemented my
Strawberry Rhubarb crisp.
It was yummy!

See the "Advanced Style" trailer here.

À Bientôt!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mary on Mother's Day

It's Never Too Late
My mother, Mary Katherine Markel, died on January 11, 2008 at 7:10 pm in the Amsterdam Nursing Home, 1060 Amsterdam Avenue, New York 10025. She was 88. For approximately the 10 years before she died, she was a victim of the most horrible disease I can think of, Alzheimers. In the beginning, it was not too bad, and we all coped. She lived alone in a condo in Southold, Long Island. Then my brother, David, moved in with her. We hired a woman to come in during the day to cook and clean and take her places.

On weekends, one or the other of her children would go to Southold to be with her. For me, this meant a 2-hour train ride from New York City. I would ride the Long Island Railroad with a a steely resolve for the weekend ahead. Get Mary to take a shower. Get her dressed in the morning. Make her oat bran muffins. Keep her interested in staying awake. Take her out to dinner.
Mary Katherine Markel

Or my sister, Jeanne, drove from her home in Katonah to perform the same routine. For Susan, it meant an 8-hour drive from Syracuse -- and using her vacations, to visit Mary. Until 1995, I was working full-time as well.

We waited until August to have a small memorial service for the family. We scattered her ashes in Peconic Bay on the North Fork of Long Island. It was a perfect morning. Her children and her brother, John, the only other surviving sibling out of 10, climbed in to an aluminum dingy called "Fairytale" and rowed out from the shore. We each tossed a bit of Mary in to the sea. Back on the beach, David sang her favorite song, "Moon River."

This was my eulogy to Mary.


Beautiful, smart, intellectual, funny, quiet, generous, stylish, private.

Early memory. She, reading Alice and Wonderland to Susan and me as we sat on a corner of the couch at 291 Glen Avenue in Sea Cliff.

She read only the most erudite literary magazines: Harper’s, Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker.

Except when she didn’t. Murder mysteries.

Intellectual ahead of her time:
She loved Robert Altman’s McCabe and Mrs. Miller, memorably described by Pauline Kael, the New Yorker’s film critic, as a “beautiful pipe dream of a movie.” 


Maker of Rock gardens, woodland gardens, cottage gardens.

Planter of Mimosa tree, peonies, and myrtle.

Surreptitious transplanter of lady slippers. 

Clothes Horse.

Shopped only at the best stores once she could afford it.
We all know what she thought of B. Altman. We lived at Miracle Mile.

Little black crepe de chine I appropriated for college.
Powder blue Anne Fogarty with its matching blue petticoat.
(The girls played with it.)

Measured by what she gave me, and I thank her:

She made a magic childhood by the sea.
She ironed plaid cotton dresses for me to wear to school.
She gave me lessons in painting, ballet, piano and even horseback riding.
She gave me love of words and reading.
She gave me red carnations every year for my birthday.

I started this post by saying, it's never to late. Never to late for what? It's never too late to say thank you and I love you to a beloved.

Two days before Mary died, I visited her in the nursing home. She was in bed now, and of course, she had not recognized us for perhaps 2 years or so. I sat next to her, and in a soft voice, I thanked her for all the things she had done for us and for me. For the ballet lessons, the piano lessons, the painting lessons, the horseback riding camp, the beautiful clothes from Best and Co., the love of reading, the days at the beach, the beautiful childhood in the postcard-perfect village of Sea Cliff, the gardens she had made.  When I had finished thanking her, I told her I loved her. Then a miracle, or what I consider to be a miracle, happened. Ever so imperceptibly, she moved toward me and kissed me.

On the morning of January 11, which is my birthday, the nurse called and said that Mary would die that evening. She had had a stroke. I called my brother and two sisters. We all met at the nursing home. We sat with her all day. In the evening, the time between her breaths got longer and longer. Then they stopped.

Thank you. I love you. It's never to late to say it.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Art in Dumbo

The Art of Paul Santoleri
This past Saturday we went to Dumbo. That's an acronym for Down Under the Brooklyn Bridge.
Our friend, and Tyler grad, Paul Santoleri, was having an open studio at his space on Jay Street which houses the Marie Walsh Sharpe Program. Paul has a residency there for this year.
 Richard sitting in front of a painting by Paul.
 This is Paul's giant installation in his studio.
Paul is a great muralists, and has done many fantastic
murals in his native Philadelphia, as well
as around the world.

 Energy roils out of the work.
One may detect nature or industrial forms.
Paul's colors and lines are passionate.

 A view of the Manhattan Bridge from Paul's studio.
 A plant form will probably be assimilated into a drawing.

 On the left, a photo of an oil container painted
by Paul in South Philly.
On the right, a mural.
 A silkscreen by Paul.
 Shown in a catalog,  a building facade painted by Paul
in Philadelphia.
 Guests at Paul's open studio.
I love her socks and shoes.
I have a pair of acid green socks that I
bought at a store in Philadelphia called Asta de Blue
about 25 years ago. Love them.
I unwittingly wore the perfect camouflage dress to 
Paul's Open Studio. 
 Buildings in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
I love the neighborhood. It reminds me of
Olde City, Philly, where we lived
in the 70's.

À Bientôt!