Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Niki de Saint Phalle's Queen Califia's Magical Circle

If you are ever planning a trip to the Escondido, California area, get yourself over to Niki de Saint Phalle's Queen Califia's Magical Circle (DANG, that is a mouthful). It is AMAZING! It really is MAGICAL! It is so fun and so incredible to see in person, and definitely a crowd-pleaser. Kids absolutely love it and get to touch and climb all over everything, and adults of all ages were smiling and taking pictures non-stop.  It's pretty much a fun place for anyone to visit.  And it is free.  And it is located in a gigantic park, so bring a picnic, a dog, a bike, a friend -- bring it all.

Here are a few pics I took while visiting over the weekend.

HA!  Sorry.  HAD to include this pic, because I am klassy like that.  And so is he. 

Note: this snake in the grass isn't part of the sculpture garden, 
but it is in Kit Carson Park nearby, and it is pretty freaking fabulous 

More info about this sculpture garden, as seen here...

Queen Califia's Magical Circle is the only American sculpture garden and the last major international project created by Niki de Saint Phalle (born France, 1930-2002). Inspired by California's mythic, historic and cultural roots, the garden consists of nine large-scale sculptures, a circular "snake wall" and maze entryway, sculpturally integrated bench seating, and native shrubs and trees planted within the interior plaza and along the outer perimeter. The garden bears the brilliant, unique mosaic ornamentation that is an unmistakable part of Saint Phalle's later work.

Queen Califia's Magical Circle is situated within a 12-acre natural habitat in the Iris Sankey Arboretum in Kit Carson Park on a parcel of land donated by the City of Escondido. The park's entrance is located five minutes from I-15 (Via Rancho Parkway Exit) at the corner of Bear Valley Parkway and Mary Lane.

The sculpture garden's key architectural features are an undulating circular wall measuring 400 feet in length (with varying heights from 4 to 9 feet) that surrounds the garden. Monumental playful serpents, decorated in colorfully patterned mosaics, slither along the top of the wall, their curved bodies forming a pattern of solids and voids that allows visitors to see landscape vistas beyond the garden. The "snake wall" opens into a maze whose walls and floors are covered with black, white, and mirrored tiles. Once through the maze, visitors enter into the central courtyard.

There are nine freestanding sculptures in the garden. The imposing mosaic sculpture of Queen Califia standing on the back of a five-legged eagle commands the center of the garden. Eight large totemic sculptures surround Queen Califia. They are covered with symbols and forms freely drawn from Native American, Pre-Columbian, and Mexican art as well as the artist's own fantastic imagery.

Visiting times are extremely limited, so please consult the website before you plan your trip.

Niki de Saint Phalle's Queen Califia's Magical Circle
Located in the Iris Sankey Arboretum
Kit Carson Park
3333 Bear Valley Parkway
Escondido, CA 92025

Friday, June 10, 2016

Do Ho Suh

I recently had the pleasure of seeing the Do Ho Suh exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

The works are absolutely incredible to see in person.  The main gallery contains a  full-scale replica of the artist's New York City apartment.  The entire replication is made out of beautiful translucent colored fabric.  It is meticulously sewn together and has a bright, quiet, delicate and ethereal quality.  I was lucky enough to wander through this exhibition all on my own, and it was quite an experience.  Gorgeous.  Thoughtful.  Interesting.  It makes one think about their own home, about materials and construction, and all of the things in our own dwellings that we whiz past daily without a thought. 

Here are a few pics I took at the exhibition:  

Here is information from the MCASD website about the Do Ho Suh exhibition:

This solo exhibition by artist Do Ho Suh features work ranging from large-scale architectural installations and sculptures, to works on paper and video. Operating within a distinctly twenty-first century global mode, Suh crafts evocative works that reflect ideas of home, identity, and personal space.

In his work, Suh draws on his personal experiences growing up in Seoul, South Korea, studying art in the U.S., and moving homes several times over the course of his life. He now lives a global and “nomadic” existence, with homes in New York, London, and Seoul. Inspired by his personal history and biography, the artist’s sculptures and installations reveal a range of powerful themes, including notions of public versus private space, global identity, memory, and displacement. At the same time, Suh’s works strike viewers with their delicate monumentality, subtle beauty, and intricate construction techniques.

This exhibition will transform MCASD Downtown’s Jacobs Building into a maze-like installation that replicates the artist’s apartment spaces from a single building in New York City. Created in luminous swaths of translucent fabric, the ghostly rooms and hallways are mysteriously supported by a subtle stainless steel armature. Three combined installations—Apartment A, 348 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA (2011–2012); Corridor and Staircase, 348 West 22nd Street New York, NY 10011, USA (2011–2012); and Unit 2, 348 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA (2014)—encourage the public to pass through the ephemeral, dreamlike representation of the artist’s personal history. Rendered in blocks of translucent color, the fabric walls at once conceal and reveal the details articulated within. A long, salmon-colored corridor connects to a bright red stairway suspended from the ceiling. A veil of blue walls contains a kitchen, bathroom, and living spaces with details including window moldings and interior fixtures. In Unit 2, the artist’s latest and final work in the series, yellow walls describe additional rooms, which the artist added to his New York apartment and that served alternately as his studio space and living quarters.

In contrast to this bright, airy space, the artist’s Specimen Series(2013) is installed in illuminated vitrines in a darkened gallery. These sculptures replicate appliances and fixtures in exacting detail and, like the larger installations, are constructed entirely out of polyester fabric over a stainless steel framework. For instance, in Specimen Series: Stove, Apartment A, 348 West 22nd Street, APT. New York, NY 10011(2013), elements such as the stove top burners and control knobs are rendered with meticulous realism. At the same time, the ghostly translucency of the blue fabric comprising the sculpture lends a delicate, otherworldly air to what would otherwise be a heavy cast iron fixture.

The exhibition will also include a selection of works on paper, rendered in thread, watercolor, and pencil, as well as videos and a model from Suh’s 2012 work Secret Garden.

Do Ho Suh isorganized by The Contemporary Austin with additional support by Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. Funding for the San Diego presentation is made possible by generous lead underwriting by Joan and Irwin Jacobs. Additional support has been provided by Matt and Nancy Browar. Institutional support of MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund.

This Do Ho Suh exhibition will remain on display through July 4, 2016 if you are in the area and have a chance to see it. Note: there are also many drawings in the exhibition that are very beautiful and interesting.  I wasn't able to properly photograph them, so you will have to try and see them in-person if you want to know what they look like.  :)

Here are a few more images of his work that I found on-line.  I love this artist!!!!!  

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Carriage House

Last week I took a mini-break down to San Diego, and I stayed in this adorable Carriage House.  I found this beautiful home long, long ago when daydreaming about vacations and browsing through VRBO rental options.  The recent ending of my long-term relationship had me itching to get away, and I ended up booking this place at the very last minute (2 days before Memorial Day weekend started -- I could not believe my luck that it was available!!!).  It was SO CUTE!  Absolutely adorable!  So much character, and so many fabulous details.  Pics below for your enjoyment.

fresh flowers were waiting for me as soon as I opened the door!  Squeal!

All of the horsey things!  
All of the beautiful wood and tile!  Scream!

This bed was SO COMFORTABLE!  And the pillows?  14 million times better than my own.  
Plenty of room for two in the big bed, but given my recently SINGLE status, 
I got so sprawl diagonally in it and had plenty of room to spare.

The official description of this lovely little Carriage House, courtesy of

Make your vacation unforgettable by staying in a spacious, newly remodeled historic Carriage House located in the most desirable area of San Diego, the historic Mission Hills District.

Originally built in 1913 as a building for the horse carriage and caretakers family, this wonderfully inviting home was remodeled by a local architect/design team to include the finest of luxury modern living while capturing the artistic detail using period antiques and custom artwork. This spacious one bedroom/one bath home is perfect for artists, writers, world travelers or anyone who appreciates a home that is itself a living work of art. All of the amenities have been carefully planned and selected for your comfort. Features in this home include a king sized signature HEAVENLY BED and HEAVENLY PILLOWS purchased directly from the Westin, hardwood floors, exquisite linens, gorgeous raised mahogany wood beam ceilings, French doors, restored antique decorative doors, soothing water feature, custom lighting imported from Morocco, flat screen TVs, mood lighting, WIFI, Internet Ready Blue Ray player which allows you to access your personal HuluPlus or Netflix account, IPOD docking station, custom walk-in closet, an additional sitting room with incredibly comfortable chairs for reading or watching TV, separate laundry area with washer/dryer, central heat/air conditioning, and professionally designed landscaping including organic herbs for cooking. The kitchen is set-up for anyone who loves to cook including heavy-duty cooper pots and pans, basic spices, gas stove, microwave, and dishwasher. The large outdoor deck is completely private and has lighting on timers with an outdoor gas BBQ grill, accentuating it as a wonderful space for outdoor dining all year round.

But the best part of all is, the owners of The Carriage House are passionate about helping horses and believe in respecting the circle of life for the horses that once lived on the property therefore 10% of all proceeds will be donated to non-profit horse rescues.  YAY!!!

Choose from some of the best restaurants in town, less than one mile away.

Walk three blocks to The Mission Hills Nursery, the oldest plant nursery in San Diego established in 1910.

Take a five-minute cab ride to Old Town for authentic Mexican food.

Stay in and read or watch TV in bed to the peaceful sound of the water feature or the silence of the majestic old trees.

Join the famous Mission Hills Garden Walk and meet new people while getting a first hand tour of this architecturally unique and affluent neighborhood.

Open the numerous windows and doors in the sunroom to create a feeling of being outdoors yet inside reading or watching TV.

Enjoy a glass of wine or beer at the English pub table or dine outdoors on the spacious deck under the stars.

Venture just four miles away to the famous downtown Gaslamp district where you will find entertainment, theater, live music, movies, shopping, and internationally acclaimed restaurants

Walk just a few block for morning coffee at the local bakery/coffee shop and stop to shop for gifts, get a massage, take a yoga class or pick up some food items at the neighborhood market on your way home.

Throw the beach towels in the car (supplied) and drive ten miles to the beach. At the end of the day you get to come home to a spotlessly clean quite house away from the crowds.

And of course, don’t miss the opportunity for food, music, and local produce at the Mission Hills Farmer’s Market every Wednesday. Experience local San Diego.

If you are interested in renting this lovely lovely lovely little home, you can find it at VRBO.comListing #412455.  I wholeheartedly recommend it and would love to visit again soon.

Sunday, June 5, 2016


Through the joys of social media I recently found out that my partner of 4 (nearly 5) years was cheating on me.  Unbeknownst to me, these shenanigans were going on for the last year.  Possibly more.  Who knows.  So, needless to say the relationship is over, because FUCK THAT.

The entire experience has been rather awful.  The horrible thoughts never stop when you find out your partner has been living a double life.  I've been questioning every single thing that was ever said or done -- it just feels like all the smiles, words spoken, promises and plans made -- everything was fake, phony, and a gigantic fucking LIE. 

I don't have the energy to get into the horrifying and humiliating details, but let's just say it's like he was trying out for top billing on a Jerry Springer episode.  Or maybe he watched too many bad Lifetime movies (or old rap videos?) and thought, "Hey!  That's the life that I want!" Cheating can be so entertaining as a plot device in fiction -- not so much when your real-life partner is sneaking around and having a relationship with another.  Or, more likely, with OTHERS. 

It all hurts like hell.  My heart has been broken, my confidence crushed.  But it'll be ok.  Shitty things happen all the time, and people find ways to deal and move on. And maybe I'll even find something better someday.  Who knows.

I'm not at the "phoenix-rising" stage just yet -- more like a one-legged penguin slipping and sliding and scrabbling to get some kind of foothold.  I'm just trying to find ways to keep busy and occupy my brain -- in ways that are healthy or at least semi-healthy (note: my attempts to drink during my recent mini-trip to San Diego were not so successful -- it was all I could do to drink 5 beers over 4 days -- LOL!).  I also need to devote some energy into scrounging up some new friends -- seeing as I abandoned most friends when I sunk the majority of my free time into a guy that sunk his prick time into me and into another.  

I did a little reading on-line to find out why people cheat.  The answers are pretty obvious -- it is usually due to unhappiness and/or opportunity.

In semi-hilarious/horrifying news, I also read that men usually cheat "down" -- going for women that are less attractive and that have less social status than their current partner; and women usually cheat "up" -- going for men that are more attractive and that have better economic status than their current partner.   Any way you slice it, it all sounds opportunistic, conniving and manipulative. 

A friend of mine that recently divorced her dirtbag cheating husband also said people cheat -- consciously or unconsciously -- as a power play.  I believe it.  Like a three year old that doesn't always get their way, or a Greedy Gus that wants more more more, they act out, consequences be damned. 

I feel like SOME PEOPLE haven't advanced much past the apes. If you are THAT unhappy in a relationship, just end it.  If you feel the need to pork anything that gives you the time of day, you really don't need to bother attempting to be in any kind of REAL relationship.

So I've been trying to get my head straight -- thinking about things and NOT thinking about things.  I recently took a mini-trip to San Diego to just get away for a few days.  I stayed in the cutest place EVER.  It was good to get away, and it was terrible.  Changing locations doesn't really get rid of problems.  :/  I was so isolated and so ALONE, that everything really just hammered home.  Maybe that's good?  I don't know, but I didn't find myself enjoying much -- just slogging through every moment trying not to have the worst thoughts and not obsess on the shitty facts.  But I did it.  And life will get better eventually.

In the meantime, if you have any words of advice....I'LL GLADLY TAKE THEM.  :)

P.S. The third party involved in this little "love" triangle recently posted a pic on Instagram (presumably in reference to the above-mentioned situation) saying we all make mistakes and we need to forgive others for what they have done.  OH REALLY.  Does this always apply?  Are you supposed to be a MARTYR, forgive and forget, and welcome someone back no matter what their transgression(s)?  My thoughts on this approach?  FUCK THAT.  Aren't there degrees/conditions to forgiveness?  Should EVERYONE be forgiven?  Would you forgive a cheater?  A child molester? A rapist? A murderer?  HITLER?  Does a forgiving heart make you a better person or a CHUMP?  Clearly I am angry and lashing out, but Jesus Fucking Christ shouldn't one set LIMITS on what is acceptable and what isn't?  I guess it's a personal decision, and anyone is welcome to stay on with a cheater if they want to.  Me?  NO THANKS.  I can do better and DESERVE BETTER, or I will do without.