Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Lower East Side Girls Club

Girls Rock on the Lower East Side
I have been doing some Spring cleaning and organizing, and I found a stash of gingham fabric that I have had for years. At one time I was using it to make dolls, and admittedly, I am gaga for gingham, but I decided to de-accession it to a good cause.
 These are some of my gingham dolls.

My friend, Mary Adams, dressmaker extraordinaire, and author of The Party Dress Book, teaches sewing at The Lower East Side Girls Club. I gave her a holler and she said that she would like to have the gingham. So last week, Richard and I went to the Girls Club, and Mary gave us a tour.

A corner of Mary's studio at the Girls Club.

The Lower East Side Girls Club was founded in 1996.
 It provides programs and services for girls and young women 
ages 8 to 23. 
At the Club they learn, have fun and develop confidence.
Mary Adams and Richard outside
the Girls Club on 8th Street near Avenue D
New York City
Girls gather in the Club's lobby after school.
The Club's mission is to break the cycle of poverty 
and to train the next generation of ethical, 
entreprenurial and environmental leaders.
 The Girls Club is housed
in a beautiful, 30,000 square foot building.
This is a sculpture by Kiki Smith in a courtyard.
 The Bake Shop at the Club makes
goodies for their shop at the Essex Market.
 Mary, Richard and I in the Club's cafe.
 The bathrooms have all been done up in
fantastic mosaic designs.
 This is the digital and audio arts studio.
 The Club has its own radio station, WGRL.
 Amy Sedaris, author, actress and
craftmaker, often
works with the girls to make
wonderful things.
Dolls made in Mary's sewing class.
 Fancy eye masks made by Mary's students.
 The Girls Club received a donation of denim,
and the girls made wonderfully inventive 
garments with it.
 An apron with a girl's drawing.
 Mary's eye is evident in this dress.
 The sunlit sewing room has the
best karma.
 Aren't these little fellows adorable?
 Sewing room still life.
 Scraps will be put to good use.
The Girls Club has a photography studio,
a Maker Shop and a 64-seat planetarium
with a 30-foot digital dome.
 These works were made by the
younger girls using pencil shaving.

Richard shows off a doll made for the Art on Paper Fair,
one of a group called Paper Doll Couture
made in Mary Adams' class.

À Bientôt!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Lazy Girl Goes to Cuba: Part Four

El Pueblo de Cuba
We met such lovely people in Cuba. You would think that after 50 years of enmity between the United States and Cuba, people would be less welcoming. But it just was not true. One of my favorite moments came when I was leaving my hotel room in Varadero, an ocean-front town a few hours from Havana. I met the lady who was cleaning rooms. We had a short conversation and introduced ourselves. Her name was Muriel. And she said to me, "You have a friend in Cuba."

Last week the American DJ, Diplo and Major Lazer performed a free concert of their Caribbean-inspired electronic music in Havana. Almost half a million young Cubans thronged the Jose Marti Anti-Imperialist Platform plaza in front of the U.S. Embassy, loving the music and the sense of excitement and freedom it represented.
Diplo in Havana
Here are some of our Cuban friends.
 This lady works at Hemingway's house. 
 You give her your camera and
she walks around taking pictures of the objects for you.
Hemingway's typewriter.
 Angela Rojas, a professor of architecture,
talked to us about Cuban architecture before a
walking tour of Old Havana.
 A tourist in Havana.
 Keeping the streets of Havana tidy.
 A vendor and her wares.
 Three charming people of Havana.
Beautiful color.
 There are a lot of stray dogs in Havana.
Sometimes they wear sweaters.
 Mariette, a tour member,
handing out coins to the delight 
of these kids.
 Dogs in costume.
Pictures cost one peso.
 Kalea Wiseman of Academic Arrangements Abroad.
Kalea was one of our guides and she
was so efficient and pleasant.
 Tour members Tara and Jeff looking
sweet in their revolutionary hats.
 One of the beautiful ladies
adding color to the plaza.
Cuban kids.
 Tour members John and Olinda 
at an artist's studio.
 Randi checks out art work at a private studio.
 Artist, Maria Cienfuegos.
 This sweet lady is Dianna. I met her when I 
wandered over to her flower stand across from the
cigar and rum store.
She insisted on giving me one of her roses
which I kept in my hotel room for the
duration of my stay.
 Three gentlemen tending bar at our
private tour of the Ceramics Museum.
 Tour member, Debbie Mullin.
I had to photograph her in this
artful, graphic dress.
 A dancer at the Buena Vista Social Club.
School kids in their yellow 
school uniforms.
 How you get your new toilet home in Havana.
Reminds me of the time I saw a guy loading a
giant pumpkin in a taxi at the
Union Square Market.
How we roll in the city.
 Bartenders and my sister, Jeanne,
at the Ludwig Foundation for the Arts
where we had a dinner and
met Cuban student artists.
 Enjoying our cocktails.
 When Jeanne and I saw this lady, who
turned out to be our guide in
Matanzas, we jumped up and down.
"Take her picture NOW," said Jeanne.
 Abel, our Cuban guide.
We learned so much from him.
Note his lapel pin.
 A maid in the Hotel Parque Central.
Our Havana team.
Left to right, Sergio, our bus driver, Lynda Murphy, Tour Director,
Kalea Wiseman, Tour Director and Abel, our Cuban guide.
Photo by Jeanne Markel

Read about the Diplo concert here.
À Bientôt!